The Message In The Baghdad
August 25 2003
If terrorism is the murder of innocents for political ends, Aug. 19 was
the Day of the Terrorist.
In Jerusalem, a suicide bomber blew up a bus packed with Orthodox Jews.
In Baghdad, a terrorist drove a truckload of bombs into the
hotel-headquarters of the United Nations. Forty perished in the two
attacks, 20 are still missing in Baghdad, over 200 were wounded.
Both were acts of pure terror, massacres of noncombatants. But as the
World Trade Center attacks bore a message – United States out of Saudi
Arabia! – so, too, did these twin massacres. Far from being "senseless
acts of violence," they were savagely purposeful.
With the Jerusalem atrocity, Islamic Jihad and Hamas were paying Israel
back for killing their leaders and using terror to say, "This is the
price of your continued presence on Palestinian land." But what was the
message of that bombing in Baghdad?
It is this: America's enemies in Iraq have decided to escalate, and
widen, the war. Not only are they targeting U.S. soldiers, but, by
car-bombing the Jordanian embassy, blowing up the oil pipeline to Turkey
and the water main in Baghdad, and truck-bombing the U.N. headquarters,
they mean to sabotage the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq.
Message: He who is not with us is against us. All collaborators in the
U.S. occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, be they U.N. aid workers or
Iraqi employees, will henceforth be regarded as enemies.
With Islamic radicals now pouring into Iraq from Syria, Iran, Turkey and
Saudi Arabia, to join the anti-American guerrillas who are daily
attacking our troops, we are in a new war.
For months on end before we invaded, some of us warned that if we
occupied Baghdad, the call would go out in the mosques from Morocco to
Malaysia for Islam's young to go to Iraq and wage jihad against America.
What we predicted has now come to pass.
President Bush should go back and discover who misled him into believing
the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators and that democracy would
flourish in the Islamic world. If the creation of a democratic Iraq
seemed a utopian goal before last week, today it is hard to see even a
glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.
Sen. John McCain is urging President Bush to add more troops to the
146,000 in Iraq. But it is a law of guerrilla war that the defending
power needs 10 soldiers for every guerrilla. If 5,000 warriors of Islam
make their way into Iraq, are we ready to add 50,000 more troops? Where
do we get them? What do we do if the Islamic jihadists and the Iraqi
guerrillas recruit another 10,000?
A second rule of Fourth Generation warfare, as strategist Bill Lind has
named it, is that the guerrillas win if they do not lose.
Our enemies in Iraq – Baathists, jihadists, former soldiers, humiliated
Sunnis, religious zealots – need only to keep attacking and killing
Americans and terrorizing civilians who work with us to prevent us from
reconstructing the country. Thus, the issue becomes a simple one: Will
they tire of fighting and killing us before we tire of paying in blood
and treasure for what seems a hopeless endeavor?
The difference between us and the Israelis is that we do not live in the
neighborhood, we have no desire to occupy Arab land and our survival as
a nation is not at risk in Iraq. We can go home.
But if the Israelis – who considered southern Lebanon vital to their
security – could, fed up with the cost in blood, turn it over to
Hezbollah, how long before we declare the democratization of Iraq
mission impossible, turn it over to the United Nations and walk away?
As we now know, Saddam was not Osama's ally, and Iraq had no role in
9-11 or the anthrax attack and had no nuclear weapons program, no
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and no plans or any intent to
attack the United States. It was an utterly unnecessary war.
But because President Bush launched this war, we now have 146,000
soldiers tied down in Iraq under daily attack and we face a $300 billion
to $600 billion reconstruction effort – while we must combat Iraqi
guerrillas who want to drive us out and Islamic terrorists who want to
smash our effort to build a new nation for the Iraqi people.
The neoconservatives who plotted this war before they ever met George
Bush, and who prodded and pushed him into it, are now pushing for
confrontation with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Their agenda is not now
and has never been America's agenda. President Bush would be well
advised to clean house of these neocons and go talk to the Old Man in
Kennebunkport about what we should do now.
His father may not have understood politics, but he understood the world
better than the crazed ideologues who captured his son.
© 2003 Creators
for printable version.
Click here to mail this article to a friend.
Click here for
Daily Column Archives