Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Grand and Inspiring Vision
Of The War on Terror, Part I

The bigger picture in the War on Terror; first, Victor Davis Hanson explains why we can't simply up and leave Iraq, the way the surrender monkeys on the anti-War Left keep calling for:

Vietnam is once again in the air. Last month's antiwar demonstrations in Crawford, Tex., have been heralded as the beginning of an antiwar movement that will take to the streets like the one of 30 years ago. Influential pundits -- in the manner of a gloomy Walter Cronkite after the Tet offensive -- are assuring us that we can't win in Iraq and that we have no option but a summary withdrawal. We may even have a new McGovern-style presidential "peace" candidate in Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold.

America's most contentious war is being freely evoked to explain the "quagmire" we are supposedly now in. Vietnam is an obvious comparison given the frustration of asymmetrical warfare and savage enemies who escape our conventional power. But make no mistake, Iraq is not like Vietnam, and it must not end like Vietnam. Despite our tragic lapses, leaving now would be a monumental mistake -- and one that we would all too soon come to regret.

If we fled precipitously, moderates in the Middle East could never again believe American assurances of support for reform and would have to retreat into the shadows -- or find themselves at the mercy of fascist killers. Jihadists would swell their ranks as they hyped their defeat of the American infidels. Our forward strategy of hitting terrorists hard abroad would be discredited and replaced by a return to the pre-9/11 tactics of a few cruise missiles and writs. And loyal allies in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, along with new friends in India and the former Soviet republics, would find themselves leaderless in the global struggle against Islamic radicalism.

The specter of Vietnam will also turn on those who embrace it. Iraq is not a surrogate theater of the Cold War, where national liberationists, fueled by the romance of radical egalitarianism, are fortified by nearby Marxist nuclear patrons. The jihadists have an 8th-century agenda of gender apartheid, religious intolerance and theocracy. For all its pyrotechnics, the call for a glorious return to the Dark Ages has found no broad constituency.

Nor is our army in Iraq conscript, but volunteer and professional. The Iraqi constitutional debate is already light-years ahead of anything that emerged in Saigon. And there is an exit strategy, not mission creep -- we will consider withdrawal as the evolution to a legitimate government continues and the Iraqi security forces grow.

We forget that once war breaks out, things usually get far worse before they get better. We should remember that 1943, after we had entered World War II, was a far bloodier year than 1938, when the world left Hitler alone. Similarly, 2005 may have brought more open violence in Iraq than was visible during Saddam's less publicized killings of 2002. So it is when extremists are confronted rather than appeased. But unlike the time before the invasion, when we patrolled Iraq's skies while Saddam butchered his own with impunity below, there is now a hopeful future for Iraq.

Yes, and as I said earlier today (in this post), our victory in Iraq, and the Constitutional Democracy which it is bringing about will be a step in the strengthening of moderates across the Islamic world, giving them the courage and vision to throw off the shackles of their radical Islamic governments.

And besides, an even larger vision for the War on Terror is slowly starting to take shape. Can we remake the whole world as we did in World War II? Ralph Peters believes we can, and he gives his prescription for just how we can do it. The first step is to beat the hell out of the Islamic extremists:

... the First Battle of Fallujah, in the spring of 2004, was an example of how to get it as wrong as you possibly can. We bragged that we were going to "clean up Dodge." And the Marines went in, tough and capable as ever. Then, just when the Marines were on the cusp of victory, they were called off, thanks to a brilliant, insidious and unscrupulous disinformation campaign waged by al-Jazeera. I was in Iraq at the time, and the lies about American "atrocities" were stunning. But the lies worked and the Bush administration, to my shock and dismay, backed down.

Let's be honest: The terrorists won First Fallujah. And for six months thereafter Fallujah was the world capital of terror--a terrorist city-state. It was evident to all of us who had served that we'd have to go back into Fallujah, but the administration--which I support--made the further error of waiting until after the presidential election to avoid casualties or embarrassments during the campaign. Well, fortunately, in the Second Battle of Fallujah the Army and Marines realized they had to do it fast, before the media won again and the politicians caved in again. The military had been burned once and they were determined not to get burned again. And they did a stunning job--Second Fallujah was a model of how to take down a medium-size city. Great credit to the troops, mixed reviews for the politicos.

The bottom line is this: If you have to fight, fight to win ...
We should never go to war lightly, but if we must fight, we have to give it everything we've got and damn the global criticism. There's a straightforward maxim that applies: In warfare, if you're unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front, you will pay it with compound interest in the end.

The second step is to understand the evil of the vision of the enemy, and understand how it's evil leads to weakness:

Any society that refuses to exploit the talents and potential contributions of half of its population can't remotely hope to compete with the USA or the West in general. Worse, the virtual enslavement of women is as much a symptom of other ailments as it is a problem in and of itself. Where women are tormented by bitter old men in religious robes, there's never a meritocracy for males, either. And such societies are consistently racially and religiously bigoted. Take Pakistan: While the USA is operating at a phenomenal level of human efficiency in the 21st century, say 85%, Pakistan would likely measure in at 12 to 15%.

They just keep falling comparatively farther and farther behind, they hate it, and, of course, they blame us. We're dealing with the abject and utter failure of the entire civilization of Middle Eastern Islam--not competitive in a single sphere (not even terror, since these days we're terrorizing the terrorists). It's historically unprecedented--and unspeakably dangerous.

As far as the inhuman, inhumane--and stupid--treatment of women in the Middle East, yep, Islam is scared of the girls. I wish Freud were alive--he'd really get a look at a civilization's discontents. If you're not terrified of female sexuality, you don't lock women up, insist on covering them up from scalp to toenail and stone them to death for their "sins."

Every single Muslim culture in the greater Middle East is sexually infantile--to use the Freudian term. For all their macho posturing, the men are terrified of their feared inadequacy.
It's like one big junior high school dance, with the boys on one side of the gym and the girls on the other--except the boys have Kalashnikovs.

Now, I realize this isn't the sort of thing most people consider as a strategic factor, but I am thoroughly convinced that the one foolproof test for whether or not a society has any hope of making it in the 21st century is its treatment of women.

Where women are partners, societies take off--as ours has done for this reason and others. Where women are property, there's simply no hope of a competitive performance.

This is one of the keys to how Ronald Reagan was able to persevere, inspire faith, and, ultimately defeat Communism. In the early 1950's as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan watched as the Communists attempted to take over the Union through the means of thuggery.

Reagan assessed the situation thusly:

1) Any idea which has to use thuggery to win must not be capable of winning on it's own merits.

2) The weakness of Communism is in it's inability to inspire people to action through rewarding their successes.

His conclusion was that Communisim would, if challenged with strength and determination, eventually collapse under the weight of it's own bitterness and lethargy.

He stood up to the Communists in theUnion, and was rewarded with years of death threats and the loss of his first marriage to Jane Wyman. However, he persevered because his faith was based in reason, and he eventually won.

Likewise, he eventually was proven correct on the global stage as well, as we saw the Soviet Union collapse in 1989, and the Berlin Wall come down in 1991.

(To be continued tomorrow)