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The Iraq War, Our Just Cause, and the Big Picture
By Jim Perry December 31, 2006

I have an announcement to make. There is no war in Iraq or Afghanistan. In both cases, we quickly and effectively deposed a dictatorial regime guilty of heinous crimes against all of humanity. To quote the Bible, The Taliban had their tens of thousands, Saddam his hundreds of thousands. If we are guilty of anything, it is perhaps of winning both wars too quickly. A war normally involves two sides of uniformed soldiers waging an armed struggle for specific territory. The mission, of acquiring an entire nation for the sake of the liberty of its people, was accomplished. Twice. Do you doubt this?

A recent article by Tom Raum of the Washington Bureau of the Associated Press claimed that the U.S. had been involved in the so-called war in Iraq longer than in World War Two. This is a misleading statement. We won the second Gulf War in record time. It is the occupation and subsequent installation of a free and democratic government that has occupied our time and cost American lives. Happily, the restorations of Germany and Japan went along swimmingly. Do you recall how long our occupations of Germany and Japan lasted?

We're still there.

Democrats and some Republicans believe the Iraq operation in particular needs to change direction toward a political solution and away from a military solution. The reason is that we won the war, and now our attention has been turned to the restoration of the country, which in large part has been accomplished through political means.

There is, however, a clever insurgency fueled by cash and weapons from Syria and Iran, comprised of a curious assortment: Baathists with undying loyalty to "Mr. President Saddam Hussein," foreign fighters from the aforementioned Iran and Syria, Sunnis and Shiites fighting each other, and various Iraqi citizens drawn into an emotional, high-stakes struggle for the future of their country.

For the first, Saddam Hussein will soon feel the choking grasp of the hangman's noose, and the Baathists will no longer have a reason to fight. Of course there will be the revenge factor, and the Baath party has already indicated their intent to "retaliate, with all means and everywhere, to harm America and its interests if it commits this crime." But the funny thing about revenge is its irrationality, and revenge fades with time.

For the second, this is a larger and more complicated problem, because we wouldn't have the third and fourth members of this insurgency, to any degree close to what we've experienced, without the foreign fighters; because with them they bring weapons, money from their host nations, and a helpful dash of incendiary rhetoric. Sunnis and Shiites aren't going to be predisposed to cooperation, seeing as how minority Sunni dictator Hussein oppressed the Shiite majority. So on one hand the Shiites are out to avenge decades of oppression, while the Sunnis try to defend themselves from genocide without their benevolent protector, or retain Sunni control over Shiites. For either side, there is not yet a political solution, because this battle between the two is fought on sectarian religious grounds.

For the various Iraqis drawn into the conflict, their reasons are as diverse as their individuality. What is inescapable is this fact: The fires on all sides of this conflict are being fueled by terrorists and terrorist states, who know no other solution than violence, and know no other ultimate goal than death. For Patrick Henry, his cry was for liberty first, death if that was to be denied. For the Islamo-fascist killer, it is death first, virgins later.

That is why our military struggle is one of defense, not attack. They know, as George W. Bush has known all along, that should the Iraqis devote themselves to the democratic process en masse, then more citizens of the Middle East will hunger for it, and as the face of the Middle East changes to one of democracy and law and order, all purpose for the existence of Islamo-fascism fades into the ether.

The Islamo-fascist is smart enough to know that the surest way to defeat the United States of America is not by attack from without with guns, tanks, and bombs, but by tearing it apart from within. They know that the American media, ever helpful to their cause by being ever unpatriotic to this nation, will air the bad and the ugly, and ignore the good because it doesn't sell papers or screen time. They have seen Viet Nam, and they have learned their lesson from it.

Thus, there can be no political solution so long as there are those hell-bent on the destruction of our nation not in material fact, but in world opinion and self-image. We ought to be fully behind this effort, to bring democracy to the Middle East, but unfortunately we stand divided; and the enemy knows that united we stand, divided we fall. Somewhere along the line our enemies began believing that statement, while we summarily forgot.

Ultimately, we are engaged in the larger, nonmilitary struggle called the War on Terror, which has its military applications. We are trying to teach the world the lesson we taught them in World War Two: If your government engages in genocide, as Saddam and Hitler did, we will dish out the consequences. If your government thumbs its nose at the world community, as Hitler did to the League of Nations, and as Saddam did to the United Nations, we will dish out the consequences.

Regardless of whether there were stockpiles of nukes and chemical weapons or not, there was a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, and that was Saddam. The mass graves prove that. The children locked up in Iraqi prisons prove that. If you think he had nothing to do with 9/11, his nose-thumbing and middle-fingering of the UN, which served to embolden those who think us weak, proves that he did beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Our teaching is directed toward men like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who threatens our allies with nuclear war, who threatens the West with destruction, who consistently thumbs his nose and gives the political middle finger to the United Nations. We cannot afford to let idle threats go by unchallenged, because they only serve to embolden those who exacerbate the conflict. We cannot afford to take the chance that another Hitler might come along and do exactly what he threatens to do. Hitler wanted to bring the world under his fanatical, Arian religious fascism, while men like Ahmadinejad and Osama Bin Laden would love nothing more than to bring the entire world under their fantatical, Islamic religious fascism.

This is why President Bush is not an idiot, but rather a visionary on par with Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln. He recognizes the threat, and has the guts to head it off at the pass before we have a fourth Reich. His genius and boldness is evident: establish free democratic governments right on the opposing borders of the greatest terror-sponsoring nation in the world, in a region where no one ever believed democracy could work, and squeeze them out of their fascist existence.

It's a complicated struggle, but the big picture has not changed. From the very beginning of this fight, we knew it would be hard, we knew the cost would be great, and everyone knew it was for far more than WMD's. Rather it was the beginning to the war for the soul of the Middle East. If the soul is changed; if democracy reigns throughout that region, we will have no more Ahmadinejad's threatening Israel with Nuclear Holocaust, just as today we have no Hitler, Lenin, Stalin or Kruschev threatening the rest of the world, thanks to the United States of America.

That is the battle we have been fighting, and on November 8, 2001, President Bush elucidated it for us, and even today his words are immutable in their truth. "We cannot know every turn this battle will take, yet we know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured. We will no doubt face new challenges, but we have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, let's roll."

Copyright © 2006 by Jim Perry

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