Wednesday, September 28, 2005


From an essay by John Connly Walsh in The American Spectator:
This group of officers (there were seven altogether) was in very close agreement on a number of issues and predictions. The first is that between now and the election at year's end, the level of violence and killing will be extremely high. All agreed that the violence will continue well into next spring. It will end only after one final, very bloody and convulsive explosion of death and violence. That explosion will have an incredulous "world watching in awe and wonder," as one of them put it. They all agreed this final bloody convulsion -- a remorseless and savage Shiite versus Sunni battle -- will be an absolutely essential part of the process of readying Iraq for a peaceful future.

These officers also agreed that the deciding element in settling the convulsion will be the new Iraqi Army. A growing number of well-informed observers are becoming convinced that the Americans are in the process of creating an army that will fight, an army that won't run, and an army whose main interests are secular. At present the new Iraqi Army is earning its spurs in the west, far from the prying eyes of the U.S. and international media who are not prone to leaving the creature comforts of Baghdad, such as they are. The Iraqi Army performed well the other week in Tal Afra. It will probably succeed in sealing off the Syrian border; something long in need of being done. It is becoming the tip of the spear, and, if the U.S. Army training officers have done their work well, we will be seeing more and more of these Iraqi soldiers all over the country.

Perhaps the most important lesson drawn from the meeting with the seven officers was that one can't simply fall into depression every time a car bomb explodes. What we have to do is to keep our eye on the "prize," which is the total achievement of our strategic goals in the Middle East. Those are the establishment of a powerful, long-term, military, economic, intelligence, and political presence in the entire area, with Iraq as its focal point and home base.

The Middle East has served as the cradle and fountainhead of every aspect of worldwide terrorism that Islam has attempted to impose on America and the West. No country in the Arab world is better suited to be the "headquarters" of the war against Islamic terrorism than Iraq. It is centrally located, inherently rich, and of all the Arab countries the least Islamist and the most secular. Militarily, it is a country of wide open spaces. It has an infrastructure of many military bases, particularly air bases, which are Saddam's legacy. Today, in Northern Iraq, which is distinctly friendly to the U.S., our military forces are settling in for a long stay. Bases in Northern Iraq will enable us to keep a very close eye on all those "friendly outposts of Islam" such as Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States.

Americans have to realize that we live in an incredibly dangerous world and that we have clearly been at war since 9/11. What many Americans, aided and abetted by the liberal media, try to believe is that this is not a war because there are no massed and uniformed armies, and no front lines to be seen on maps in the morning papers. Absent those features, in their opinion, this is not a real war.

The Islamist terrorists fight their war with car bombs, suicide bombers, airliners crashing into buildings, and the killing of tens of thousands of women and children in the name of Allah and Islam. Theirs is indiscriminate killing intended to terrify and coerce the political leadership to engage in massive acts of appeasement so that "the Islamist will go away and leave us alone!"

In the next two years, in my opinion, the U.S. will have established the kind of presence in Iraq and Afghanistan that will enable us to wage the long-term war on Islamic terrorism that George Bush had in mind when, right after 9/11, he warned about the need for the American people to be prepared to fight a very long war.

During the Cold War the U.S. ringed the Soviet Union with bases in countries all over the Northern Hemisphere. That encirclement drove the Soviet leadership to fits of apoplexy and, occasionally, to very foolish foreign ventures.

During this war we won't be on the fringes of Islam. We will be in Iraq. We will be right in the heart of Islam. Right in the midst of the enemy who would kill us all. And, when the realization of that sinks in, the American people will finally know why we went to war in Iraq.
Some of us have known all along.


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