01 November 2007

Iraq War: Round #2

The Theist
Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer
October 23, 2007

Shouldn’t we leave Iraq as soon as possible? The Objectivist presents a litany of familiar reasons – in short, it costs too much, and we allegedly get too little for this cost. Here I’ll only address a couple of his central points. He forgets the terrible price we paid on and after 9/11. Lay aside the fact that we lost more people than at the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. 9/11 was an effective piece of terrorism, as a tidal wave of terror swept over us. Remember? That terror alone took a large chunk out of our economy over the next several years. It has since rebounded, and no further attacks have occurred. (Think President Bush’s policies had anything to do with that? If not, partisan hatred may be blinding you to the obvious.)

The Objectivist is thinking too small; he imagines that further attacks on our soil would be lesser than, or about the same size as that on 9/11. Al Qaeda has bigger plans. If Al Qaeda had access to a nuclear device which they could get into our country, they would gladly use it. They are drunk with the delusion that the U.S. is on some kind of global crusade against the religion of Islam, and if they got a nuclear device, they’d feel sure that God Almighty had delivered us into their hands for a severe beating. And it would be severe. Again, lay aside the immediate losses, the thousands or tens of thousands of deaths. Can you imagine the wave of terror that would sweep over us, if, say, Baltimore were nuked, even with a very small device? It would probably cripple our economy for years, as well as ramp up our military and intelligence spending. And Patriot Act III would be a real doozie. When we spend an unimaginable sum of money on the Iraq war now, we have to compare it to the costs of losing the fight there.

What? You don’t think a withdrawal would be a loss? That’s not how our enemies view it. As we wear them down, they’re just hanging on and fighting what amounts to a propaganda battle, through miscellaneous roadside bombs, civilian massacres (e.g. bombing police recruits or crowded markets) and, most importantly, the media, from Al Jazeera to National Public Radio news. A war is essentially a battle of wills. Who will lose the will to fight first? Either we break theirs, or they break ours. Many of us have lost the will already. This killing and being killed seems worse than pointless. Doesn’t violence only beget violence?

To the contrary, everyone knows that slogan is false. Ever heard of Germany and Japan? Decisive, victorious violence which removes the other side’s will to fight, is a major cause of lasting peace, not of unending war. Of course, before the will to fight is broken, violence stirs up the hornet’s nest. Now let’s grant for the sake of argument that we never should have gone to war in Iraq. Doesn’t that mean we should end this wrong-headed war immediately? No.

Someone comes up to little Billy on the playground, and tells him that bully Bob has just punched Billy’s little sister Becky. Billy proceeds to punch Bob in the nose. Soon thereafter, Billy finds out that it wasn’t Bob at all, but rather Ben who punched little Becky. Now, what should Billy do next? I submit, it depends on how rational Bob (the kid with the bloody nose) currently is. If he’s in a rage, and out for blood, Billy had better fight him, unless he wants to lose his teeth. Of course, we’d all like to see Billy apologize to Bob, explain his mistake, and shake hands with him. But Billy has to deal with reality. He can have all the good intentions in the world, but if Bob is hell bent on hurting him, he had better fight. It would be delusional, when Bob’s in fighting mode, for Billy to declare his love of peace, and try to present him with a flower. It may be that if Billy had never punched bully Bob, Bob would have left Billy and Becky alone. But that’s simply irrelevant after the punch has been thrown.

The Objectivist is not a Democrat, but like most in the current Democratic Party, he’s under the delusion that quitting the fight would likely result in Al Qaeda and a host of would be jihadis losing interest in fighting us. This is delusional; it supposes that these Islamo-Fascists are like Americans, just waiting for the war to go away so they can get back to t.v. watching unimpeded by unpleasant war images. To the contrary, an American retreat would only embolden them in their dream of bringing down America. They’re in the grip of a warped view of the world, and nothing will shake them out of it short of being beaten. Unlike a punched bully, they’re not simply mad. Waiting for their anger to cool won’t accomplish much. They’re nursing a bunch of long-term grudges, resulting in a white-hot self-righteous zeal to fight us all by all available means. Only the heartbreak of unequivocal defeat will convince them that God doesn’t endorse their murderous zeal.

We’ve seen this kind of isolationist ignorance before. Hitler wrote three books in the 1920s detailing his loony view of the world, complete with “the Jewish peril” and his plans to lead Germany to world domination. Few paid attention, until Hitler’s bloody plans actually came to fruition. Back in 1998, when he was much less famous, Osama bin Laden was interviewed by Time magazine. When asked if he was seeking chemical and nuclear weapons, he replied “Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so. And if I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that would prevent the infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims.” Don’t be fooled by his poisonous rhetoric – peaceful Muslims worldwide will celebrate with us whenever the Islamo-fascist movement breathes its last. As things stand, though, it’s neither dead nor mortally wounded. It’s hurt, but has plenty of fight left in its eager teeth and bloody claws. Will we make the mistake of turning away from it?

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