Americans deserve an answer
By Ted Belman
Hillary Clinton recently said
- “If I had been president in 2002, I would not have started this war.”“If we in Congress don’t end this war before January 2009, as president, I will.”
Both of these certitudes ignore the context and the realities. This may be because the Democrats by and large are in denial or believe that America is to blame for terrorism. If only America would stop oppressing the Arabs or stop favouring Israel, terrorism would greatly diminish.
Even if they are prepared to accept that we are in World War IV with Islamists, staying engaged in Iraq is counter-productive, they argue. It produces more terrorists than it kills. It is also costly to American lives and treasure.
Finally they argue that the war in Iraq was not prosecuted properly and that more troops should have been sent. While in hindsight, there is generally consensus on the errors but now the Democrats are against the surge and any attempt to correct the errors or the tactics or the strategy. Just bring the boys home and all will be well.
But what about World War IV? What are the causes of this war and how should it be prosecuted?
This war is a product of Islamic Jihad. Andy Bostom, author of the Legacy of Jihad, writes,
“The noted 19th century Arabic lexicographer E.W. Lane, who studied the etymology of the term, observed,
“Jihad came to be used by the Muslims to signify wag[ing] war, against unbelievers”. The origins of the Muslim institution of jihad are found in the Qur’an. Sura (chapter) 9 is devoted in its entirety to war proclamations. There we read that the Muslim faithful are to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them. . . . Fight against such as those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah. . . . Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah. That is best for you, if ye but knew.”
From such verses in the Qur’an and in the hadith, Muslim jurists and theologians formulated the Islamic institution of permanent jihad war against non-Muslims to bring the world under Islamic rule (Sharia law).
The consensus on the nature of jihad from major schools of Islamic jurisprudence is clear.
Summarizing this consensus of centuries of Islamic thought, the seminal Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun, who died in 1406, wrote:
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty because of the universalism of the mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.
Clearly the actions of the west are not the cause of the war as claimed by the Left.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Arabs turned to socialism under the Baath Party and pan-Arabism under Nasser. Their massive defeat in ’67 at the hands of the Israelis gave rise to the resurgence of Islam lead by Khomeini. With it came the call to Jihad, fueled by the new found oil wealth.
On Feb 1, 1993, one month before the World Trade Centre bombing, A Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, reported,
- Since the Fall of 1992, there has been a significant increase in Islamist terrorism, subversion and violence in such diverse countries as India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia, and many others. Despite the different circumstances of these incidents, they do not appear to be isolated events. Rather, they are the first incidents in the escalation of an Islamic Jihad against the “Judeo-Christian world order”. Thus, the climax of this struggle could well be an increase in terrorism throughout the West.
Muslims went on the attack all over the world giving rise to the expression “the margins of Islam are bloody”. Americans were often the victim of these attacks, the most egregious of which occurred on 9/11.
This was not a singular occurrence but it was a dramatic escalation in the war against the west promising more of the same.
What was America to do? In the past it “lobbed a few missiles” as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq or retreated as it did from Iran and Lebanon. 9/11 required more than tokenism. It required America to fight the war it had been avoiding for over twenty years.
Even the Democrats supported the war in Afghanistan and perhaps still do. But they question why Bush invaded Iraq. They argue it had nothing to do with the war on terror as if it was enough to invade Afghanistan only. They argue that terror must be treated as a matter of criminality and fought as such.
Given this history of the rise and growth of Jihad with its incumbent terrorism, how can Democrats suggest that it has anything to do with the invasion of Iraq.
When President Bush spoke to the Joint Session of Congress and the American People on Sept 20, 2001 he described al Qaeda thusly,
- This group and its leader — a person named Osama bin Laden — are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.
- Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
Bush was speaking not only to the American people but for them. Yet Hillary Clinton said if she were the president in 2002, she would “not have started this war”. Was she referring to the Iraq war which started in ’03 or the Afghanistan war which was started in ’02. In any event, what would she have done to protect America or American interests? Americans deserve an answer.
And now she says, if elected, she will end the war in 2009. What does she mean? Does she intend to pull out of Iraq entirely and allow Iraq to fall to Iran which certainly will happen. If so, Lebanon and Jordan will also fall to Iran and its proxies shortly thereafter. And so will the entire Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia included.
Or is she prepared to drawn the line of retreat somewhere in order to maintain American presence in the Middle East and to protect its allies and interests. If so, where? Would it not be easier by remaining in Iraq rather then to retreating from Iraq? Americans deserve an answer.
If Americans withdraw from Iraq then what purpose was served by invading Afghanistan in the first place? Certainly the Taliban were punished for harbouring al Qaeda and the training grounds for terrorists were eliminated. But what is the point of the latter if they are allowed to regroup in Pakistan or Iraq or anywhere else for that matter?
Either America wants to prevail or it will be defeated.
Michael Gaynor in his article, Churchill, Lincoln, and Bush: Win! wrote,
PM Winston Churchill First Statement in House of Commons, May 13, 1940 put it this way,
“Victory, at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”“We will have no truce or parley with you [Hitler], or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst — and we will do our best.”
He did not pretend that war would proceed according to plan:
“No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.”.
He was realistic and resolved:
“Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey; hardship our garment; constancy and valor our only shield; we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible.”
He had faith in the ability of the British people, once awakened, to persevere:
“We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”
The same must be said of the American People
One must keep in mind that Great Britain declared war on Germany before she was attacked. Still Churchill understood what was at stake.
Many have compared the threat posed by Hitler and Nazism in the thirties with the threat posed by the Islamists of today and concluded that the later is a more formidable enemy.
Bush has risen to the challenge. Clinton is shrinking from it.