Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Iraq was the Right thing to do

There's a long article on NRO yesterday morning (9/23/04) by Andrew McCarthy about how John Kerry at last 'gets one right', about how invading Iraq was a distraction from the "war on terrorism". I hate to burst his bubble, but it just isn't so.

The President has had to be very cautious about his real reasons for invading Iraq. If he'd been up front about it, not only would there have been far more screeching from the far left, but many of our "allies" would have been even more upset with his decision. Invading Iraq was a major step in the war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. There were many reasons for going to war, quite a few of which have never been spoken aloud - at least to my knowledge. I'm not a mind-reader, and I'm not someone "in the know", but I've spent hundreds of hours thinking about this, and events have shown that at least some of my conclusions are valid.

The United States invaded Afghanistan because Osama bin Laden was headquartered there as the welcome guest of Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban movement. Bin Laden had declared war on the United States, and September 11th was only the culmination of a number of strikes against American interests around the world. We had a legitimate reason for striking back, and we did. The war there hasn't been a great success, but it's disrupted bin Laden's network significantly enough that there haven't been any major strikes against the United States or its interests in more than three years. Bin Laden's Al-Qaida network has had some significant successes, but not against the United States or Great Britain, two of his prime targets.

After Afghanistan, the United States had to choose its targets carefully, or be considered by every nation in the world as the aggressor. Iraq was different - we were already at war with Iraq, beginning back in 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the United States, working through the United Nations, re-took that nation from Iraq. After the battle, Iraq was forced to accept a number of sanctions, forced upon it by the United Nations. Iraq steadfastly violated every one of those sanctions it could, and got away with it. Attacking Iraq for its many violations of UN sanctions following Gulf War I was a legitimate option. The fact that Iraq also supported terrorism - Hezbollah and Hamas in Palestine for sure, others probably - also provided legitimate reasons for overthrowing the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein and changing that nation's government.

In truth, that's probably the least of the reasons for invading Iraq and establishing a US military presence there - one that Washington will work very hard at extending far beyond their national elections in January. Iraq is the England of this new war.

England provided a jumping-off point for the final attack from the west on NAZI-occupied Europe. It also provided airbases for a constant rain of bombs on transportation networks, major industries, and other war-fighting capabilities of the German Wehrmacht. Without England, attacking NAZI Europe would have been difficult and far more costly.

Iraq may soon serve the same function in the Middle East.

We know who our enemies are. We know which states actively support terrorism - on a local basis, and on a global basis. Syria is one sponsor of terrorism, primarily aimed against Israel, but also aimed against its own indigenous Kurdish population, and to a lesser extent, against west-leaning Jordan. Iraq shares a long border with Syria.

Iran is another state sponsor of terrorism, providing a significant portion of the funding for Hezbollah, and probably providing logistics and security for Al-Qaida members who have escaped from Afghanistan. Iran shares a border not only with Iraq, but also with Afghanistan, another nation where there are significant US forces, and another nation where national elections will be held soon.

Saudi Arabia is the heart of Wahabbi Islam, the violent, fundamentalist sect that most terrorists belong to. It was no accident that fifteen of the nineteen terrorists that smashed US aircraft into buildings on September 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia uses its immense wealth to support the export of this fundamentalist version of Islam. Sooner or later, the United States is going to have to force changes in Saudi Arabia - either militarily or politically. Saudi Arabia knows this, and is fighting a political delaying action. It's not going to work, and someday the Saud family will be overthrown. Having a strong US military presence in Iraq will probably ensure that day comes sooner, rather than later.

Iraq has provided the United States with one additional opportunity. Since the defeat of the Iraqi army and the occupation of the country by US military forces, tens of thousands of angry Arabs have converged on Iraq to wage war against the "great Satan". We know precisely how many US troops have been killed, but how many Arabs have died? That's a much more shadowy number, but I'd estimate there have been thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands. Several thousand others have been killed in Afghanistan. Each of those deaths is one less potential terrorist that could have attacked the United States, or its interests abroad. It's been referred to as a "flypaper" strategy, but more precisely, it's a war of attrition. There are only so many people flawed enough to be willing to die in the mere HOPE of killing an American. Sooner or later, the flood will become a trickle, and eventually the flow will dry up completely.

The United States is at war. That is not debatable. Al-Qaida has declared war against us, and will do everything it can to crush our freedom and bring the United States under the yoke of fundamentalist Islam. We have only one choice as a free people - fight back, and win. The president's policy in Iraq puts US forces squarely in the center of the enemy's home territory, with enough strength to force the collapse of Wahabbi Islam. It may take another year, another decade, another century, but there is no other option if we are to remain free.


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