Iraq: It's not for us.
There's a few things I want to get a few things cleared up here before I set off on my photoblogging adventure at the Reno Air Races.
War is not limited to just Iraq. The world is at War. When we talk about "The War", some of us are talking about the Iraq Theatre of Operations in the First Jihadi War. Some of us are talking about Americas Unilateral Aggression in Iraq as an "illegal war". I hope to persuade the latter of the reality of the former.
Let's be clear here. Battles in this war have been fought on every continent in every country in the world. In the last three years the Jihadi madmen have killed in:
There is a clearly a war going on, but it is a "world war". Iraq is just a small part of it. Iraq is just one of many "Theater of Operations". And in case you havent been paying attention to the headlines, unlike WWII, we in the US are living in a "theater of operations". America is an active battleground. There is no safe place for us to hide, no organization with which we can sign a peace treaty, no border to respect.
Second. I want us all to understand something that I think we are missing in the debate over Iraq.
We are not in Iraq for ourselves. We don't give a damn one way or the other how Iraq goes. But the Iraqis had better care, and the Islamic world had better care. Iraq is not just a country, Iraq is the Islamic worlds last chance. If Iraq falls, our response to terrorists will no longer involve our putting our men and women at risk for the hope of bringing property and human rights to the native populations. Our response so far has been to allow our men to die in defense of greater ideas, in the belief that the people of Islam, if given a choice, would choose Democracy over Tyranny. We've given them a choice. The choice is simple, Change, adapt, or you will die. Not necessarily by our hands, but most certainly by their own. The Islamic world is so far behind in every meaasureable metric that without the accident of geology that is middle eastern oil reserves, it is entirely likely that Islam would have already died out like the ancient world believers in Marduk.
We have a choice in how we fight the Jihadis. Our men are not losing their lives because the enemy is effective, our men are dying because we wish to be humane. We will not continue to do this if we feel that the Islamic world would prefer to live in Tyranny. We can destroy people in mass numbers if we choose to. For now, we simply choose not to. Our respect for other nations and cultures is not a suicide pact. We will defend ourselves and we have been known to kill in mass numbers in the past to defend our lives and liberties.
Islam has the choice in what its future will be, not us. We can leave if we choose to. I would caution those who think that is best to remember that our leaving will not only not bring peace, to us or the Iraqis. It will very likely lead indirectly to the deaths of millions of innocent Iraqis due to the terror that would certainly follow in the rush for power and directly in the war with us that would surely follow.
Why are we in Iraq? To preempt a far larger and more deadly war.
Why should we stay in Iraq? Because to do otherwise would be inhumane.
Who gains if we stay? Islam will survive as a pillar of culture in that part of the world.
Who loses if we stay? All of the Jihadi Tyranny systems that exist. The power structures of the middle east have existed largely out of a power vacuum. By prodiving a strong alternative to the Jihadi leaders, we can lower their importance.
Who gains if we leave? The powerful who prey on the weak, those who wish to enslave people and treat women as farm anmials.
Who loses if we leave? Billions of innocent people who want nothing more than to live their lives in freedom.
Iraq is an experiment in which we can only hope that it will work. No one really knows how it will turn out. We've run this experiment before, in Europe and in Japan. While we were successful with those two, it would be best to remember that the world laughed at us when we ran that experiment in Germany and Japan. Once people are enfranchised with Democracy, they have proven again and again to be a powerful force, one that will very possibly overthrow the Jihadi Tyranny that exists in the middle eastern islamic world.
Knowing what the alternatives are in the world that "might be", I think betting Iraqi Democracy is worth the risk.
Third: The war is not our idea. This is not a border dispute or a trade problem or some cultural greivance in which we have transgressed the values of other people. We are hated for no other reason than we exist. Our women wear nearly nothing and live a life of freedom and privledge unfound even for men in the best Islamic countries. We are the living embodiment of blasphemy to the Jihadi madmen, as were black men to the klan and jews to the Nazis. It's not just our territory or our prosperity that threatens them, our every existence threatens these ghouls. You don't negotiate with the Klan, and you dont sign treaties with Nazis. You dont try to understand their anger or accomodate their needs in the world. You hunt them down and kill them.
The war has been brought to us, by the Jihadis. We've been trying to avoid it at least since 1979. We've tried every other method there is to not fight it, but its here and in the final irony, the best way to get the war over is not to avoid it, but to fight it to its conclusion. They must capitulate.
Those that think we can live peacefully 'side by side' with the Jihadis in brotherly understanding and respect simply havent been reading their books. Weve only been given one choice in this war, "submit to islam or die".
I'm not ready to do either. All wars are fought until someone capitulates. If you're not ready to surrender to the Jihadis, then I suggest you shut the hell up about seeking peace. We didn't seek peace with Hitler, we wanted him dead, at the end of a rope, or under city sized rubble and millions of bodies of his own countrymen, we didn't care.
How do you fight an idea? We don't have a Jihadi Navy to attack, Jihadi Air Forces to shoot down, Jihadi Armies in uniform all marching in neat rows to capture or their territory to command. Our enemy lives in the back alleyways of thousands of towns and cities throught the world. It lives on the soiled resentment of the loser in life who believes that their lot is the fault of someone else. "the jews' they used to say, and now they say "the americans".
How do you fight an idea? First, you defend your own. We are an important and valuable culture that has a lot to offer the rest of the world. Our culture has roots that go back 4,000 years and have been under assault in every generation since the Athenians thought up the idea of asking their citizens to participate in decision making. Every generation in 4,000 years has had to add to the tradition of laying down their lives for the freedom of others. Every generation finds a way to expand the offerings of liberty to mankind. Freedom is not free and liberty is essential to life.
How do you fight an idea? Do you stay home and hide? Ask the "freedom riders" who lost their lives in pursuit of other peoples right to vote in the backwoods of Alabama, Missisippi and Georgia. Ask them if that was only something that was important only for African Americans. Then ask them if the same rights they fought to secure in the south should not be extended towards the lives of the people of Iraq or Afghanistan. Ask them if the cause that Martin Luther King believed in and died in pursuit of, ends at our shoreline.
How do you fight an idea? Ask the men of the Union buried in Gettysburg. And then, go thank God that they did.
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» it's not for us from Blog Machine City
I'm writing this post a) because I want to try out the TrackBack feature and b) I think that this post by Varifrank is an excellent summary of why we're in Iraq now and why we can't leave anytime soon.... [Read More]
Tracked on Sep 18, 2004 9:53:45 AM
» Putting the war in perspective from Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated
Varifrank is a fairly new blog. He's hit the ground running, and there have been some great posts up there. Here is another one. It's a beuaty: well-written, erudite, and covers what you've been thinking but couldn't put into words. Go read. ... [Read More]
Tracked on Sep 18, 2004 10:53:46 AM
Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 6:24:31 PM
Beautiful, my friend!
Posted by: roberto | Sep 18, 2004 12:01:57 PM
Beautiful indeed, but echoes alot of Norman Podhoretz's WWIV thesis, which is well worth a look too.
Posted by: Don | Sep 18, 2004 12:33:11 PM
Posted by: Juliette | Sep 18, 2004 12:55:45 PM
One the best defenses of the War in Iraq I've ever seen. Excellent.
Posted by: Tim | Sep 18, 2004 8:08:26 PM
You fight an idea by remaining true to your own ideals and values. Just as we cannot allow Abu Grhaib to continue or exist, we cannot kill unnamed prisoners in Afghanistan, we cannot attack civilians. We must remain very very American in all our endeavours.
The fight is over which side has the greater military might and violence potential AS WELL AS which side has the most discipline and greater values.
We must remain American in allowing those who disagree to speak up. We must protect the young, weak and old. We must be American in our attitudes and outlook.
American style democracy is not for everyone. American sytle freedom to choose should be.
Luckily, the best ambassadors for what America stands for are the young men and women who serve. They represent the best among us. Their honesty, earnest good faith, generousity, and willingness to sacrifice are noticed by both the Iraqi civilians and our own citizens. The bad guys also notice but they see strengths as they probe for weakness.
This war may be fought for another 50 years. The forces of evil will ultimately fail because people do not wish to return to the 7th Century. The fight will spread the seeds of democracy along both sides fof the battle lines.
When we stop being true to American Ideals and virtues then we will lose. We will deserve to lose.
Posted by: Andy | Sep 18, 2004 10:30:16 PM
Posted by: Raymond | Sep 19, 2004 12:31:07 AM
Well said. Your ideas touch my Wilsonian and Jeffersonian idealism, but your unswerving and forthright statemnt that we will do whatever it takes touches my dark and silent Jacksoniam heart. Thank you.
Posted by: Lgude | Sep 19, 2004 6:28:49 AM
Excellent post. I do have to disagree with one small part of Andy's comment, the rest of which seems to add to your main post. I do not believe that we will still be doing much fighting in this was 50 years from now. The war will not last 10 years. THAT is the greatest danger that the jihadis pose to their Islamic brethren.
Posted by: Oscar | Sep 19, 2004 7:45:22 AM
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