Seeking a Path from the Quagmire

By David L. Brown

Star Phoenix Base does not generally concern itself with subjects outside of the areas of science and technology, and in particular those related to climate change. However, the political train wreck that is engulfing our nation, damaging our foreign relations, and creating polarization of our political process such as has never before been experienced — and I refer here of course to events in Iraq — cannot be left unremarked upon.

According to a report issued yesterday by the Associated Press, a soon-to-be-released progress report on the Iraqi government will reveal that the Bush administration’s attempt to build a democracy in Iraq has failed in every detail. Here is an excerpt from the AP story:

WASHINGTON — A progress report on Iraq will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration’s reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said.

One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush’s top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Calls for America to throw in the towel on Iraq are growing louder almost with each passing day, and even Republicans in the House and Senate are beginning to call for withdrawal from this mess. Just yesterday Sen. Pete Domenici from my state has called for withdrawal of U.S. troops from combat. Many conservatives are outraged at what they perceive as Republican defections, but there is much to be questioned about the wisdom of continuing to attempt to build a democracy on the shifting sands of the Mideast, and in particular one such as the social and political quagmire that is Iraq. It is more than clear that we need to take a new approach, but as in the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, once you are engaged in a sticky course of action it isn’t easy to back away.

A major mistake in our invasion of Iraq was to destroy and disperse the Iraqi army, which although it served the Saddam regime also provided the stability that is now missing. The ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu writing more than two thousand years ago in “The Art of War,” made the point that “Generally the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this. To capture the enemy’s army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a battalion, a company or a five-man squed is better than to destroy them.” In the clear light of hindsight we can see that it was a dreadful mistake for us to invade Iraq, and an even worse one to disband the defeated military which could have been turned to our own purpose.

Many who were in a position to know better tried to warn the leaders in the White House, the Pentagon, the Intelligence Agencies, and Congress about the folly which has been played out in Iraq. Those whose advice went unheard included the author of “Imperial Hubris — Why the West is Losing the War On Terror,” published in 2004. The author, Michael Scheuer, headed the CIA’s “Osama bin Laden unit” in the 1990s and was in an unparalleled position to know what we are facing. Scheuer was allowed to publish his book under the byline “Anonymous” while still working as a CIA analyst, although later editions carried his true name. The fact that the CIA allowed this book to be published speaks much to what the agency must truly believe, which we can surmise is that to have invaded Iraq was to play directly into the hands of Osama bin Laden and the Islamic goals of conquest and establishment of a global Caliphate.

Another who attempted to make his voice heard on the subject was Richard Clarke, a long-time player in anti-terrorism efforts in the Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations. For eight years Clarke was White House National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism on the President’s National Security Council during both the Clinton and Bush Two administrations. Talk about being in a position to know what we are up against! And in his book “Against All Enemies,” which also appeared in 2004, Clarke states unequivocally that it was a terrible mistake to invade Iraq. At one point he imagines that it would have been bin Laden’s fondest dream for us to do so.

We can probably all agree that the invasion was ill conceived. But once the mistake was made, for the U.S. to just turn tail and run from Iraq as so many voices from the left are demanding would be a disaster for us, for the Iraqi people, for the entire Mideast region, and to a very real extent for the entire future of civilization. While attacking Iraq was once an option to be weighed, it is not an option today to simply take our marbles and go home. Things are not that simple, for we have set in motion actions and potentialities of extreme danger.

But neither is it an option to blindly continue to blunder along on the failed path upon which we as a nation have chosen and now find to have been in error.* No amount of finger pointing, denial, misrepresentation, and posturing will help us get out of this mess.

So what are the problems here. First and foremost is the failure of the politically correct West to inform itself about the true nature of our enemy, which is Islam itself. We are not engaging some new and limited enemy made up of a few fanatics who have distorted a peaceful religion. Rather, we are once again facing the 1400-year-old campaign by followers of Mohammed to conquer all Infidel peoples of the Earth. As Islam spread throughout southern Asia, northern Africa and even into Spain and Southern France, our European forebears fought many battles to prevent Muslim forces from overrunning the entire continent. At the Battle of Tours (732) Charles Martel turned back Arab invaders intent upon advancing across France. Only after 700 years were the Islamic invaders at last ejected from Western Europe with the capture of Grenada, Spain in 1492. Meanwhile, much of Eastern Europe fell under the Muslim sword and it was only in 1683 that the followers of the Prophet were turned back at the gates of Vienna.

World conquest is and always has been the goal of Islam, as spelled out in the Koran. Every faithful Muslim is exhorted to support this effort. As set down by Mohammed, there are only three alternatives for Infidels who are “people of the book” (Christians and Jews). Those options are submission (the actual meaning of the Arabic word “Islam”) through conversion to Islam; Dhimmitude, a form of second class citizenry which requires the payment of special taxes; or death. For all other Infidels only submission or death are offered as alternatives, so if you are a Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh and fall under Muslim control you will either become a Muslim yourself or die.

The problem with Islam is that it is not really a religion at all, certainly not in any way that we who share the mores of Judeo-Christian ways could ever recognize. Rather, it is a crude political construct with the goal of world domination and having far more in common with Hitler’s Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union. (For more on this subject, read my essays “Is Islam a Religion, or a Cult?” posted May 21, 2006, and “Islam and Communism: Brothers Under the Skin,” posted May 25, 2006.) Hatred of all Infidels and the call to bloody jihad are preached in mosques all around the world, many of them funded by Saudi money “earned” through the sale of oil to the West. Because we naively accept Islam as a “religion,” we presume that they deserve the freedom to practice their faith. But since, in fact, the goal of Islam is to force submission or death upon all others, it is perhaps time to rethink this. Part of our difficulty in coming to grips with what we are facing is that our enemy is not a nation-state, but a cult that has spread to all parts of the world and which lurks like a ravening wolf in the sheep’s clothing of religious freedom.

The situation in Iraq is particularly difficult in large part because there is no such thing as an “Iraqi people.” This quasi “nation” was created by British toffs drawing lines on a map at the end of World War One, and encompasses a variety of Muslim tribes and sects of various flavors, ranging from the Kurds in the north to the Swamp Arabs in the south and including a Shiite majority who are followers of the Persian form of Islam and that are sworn enemies of Arab Sunnis. Although all Muslims may have the intent of smiting Infidels, neither are they brothers living in peaceful harmony. George Orwell wrote in “Animal Farm,” his satire aimed at Soviet communism, “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” Thus it is among Muslims, who often fight each other like sacks of tom cats — but for whom there is always time to turn against Infidels “wherever,” as the Koran instructs them, “they may be found.”

Even assuming that we could eventually cobble together a “government” in Iraq that would lead to a meaningful national election in the Western democratic model (which is unlikely) the result would probably be only a prelude to open civil war. A Sunni minority ruled the country under Saddam, but a Shiite majority would win any “democratic” vote hands down — and would surely institute Islamic law in the same model as found in neighboring Shiite Iran. Remove the U.S. military presence and what would ensue would not be any democracy at all, but rather a bloody internecine conflict which would merely continue tribal squabbling that has been going on there for centuries.

So what can be done in Iraq? Let’s look at some of the alternatives and what the results might be.

Continue as we are.

First let’s presume that we continue to beat against this Tar Baby as President Bush appears resolved to do. It is plain to almost everyone with eyes to see that this will continue to provide an excellent field upon which Jihad will continue to be played out at our expense. The failure of the Iraqi “government” (and I place quote marks around this term because it does not in truth deserve the name) is a grim harbinger of what lies in store for us if we continue the present course. Jihadists will continue to be attracted to Iraq like moths to a candle, in search of what they imagine to be noble warrior deaths rewarded with 72 virgins in Paradise.

There is little or no chance that any kind of democratic government as we define it will ever exist in Iraq. Our democratic model is rooted in Western ideals dating back to the Old and New Testaments and Greek philosophers. No such basis for the concepts of individual freedom exists in Iraq or indeed anywhere in the Arabic and Persian world. Muslims of whatever flavor draw their mores and model their societies on the Koran and its interpretations, a hodge podge of exhortations demanding blind obedience to the supposed demands of Allah (who spoke only through Mohammed according to whom the deity can never again communicate through any other) and teaching hatred and warfare against all unbelievers. That is an extremely shaky foundation upon which to build a civil society. In fact, it is an impossible one. It has been said that no true democracy has ever waged war against another, and while there may be some minor exceptions the point is well taken. Any Islamic society has at its root the unceasing goal of conquest, so by the definition just mentioned any true democracy is impossible in an Islamic setting.

Pull Back to a Non-Combative Position.

As Sen. Dominici and others have suggested, the U.S. could withdraw from combat but remain in place to train Iraqi soldiers and police. For reasons mentioned above this would almost certainly be a futile effort, since we would in effect be arming and training the participants in the ensuing civil war. Restricted to their barracks and surrounded by growing numbers of Jihadi warriors encouraged by our vacillation and retreat, our troops could well be in greater danger than before as civil unrest spreads. The possibility would exist for a frantic evacuation such as ended our national misadventure in Saigon. It seems to me that any halfway measure such as this would have even less chance for success than a continuation of the fruitless conflict in which we are presently engaged.

Pull Out Entirely and “Redeploy” Our Forces.

This is the “solution” being pushed by many, particularly on the left but increasingly among middle of the road politicians. It is without doubt the worst of all possible choices, because should America precipitously depart, Iraq would not only break down into civil war but would become prey for its ambitious neighbors. There is ample evidence that Iran is already participating in anti-American actions inside Iraq, including training and supply of terrorists and perhaps even tentative incursions by Iranian troops. The Mullahs of Tehran are also giving their full support to Syria and the terrorist organization Hezbollah in preparation for the next phase of warfare in Lebanon and against Israel. In the north, Turkey is massing troops along the Iraq border with the possible intent of invading and conquering the Kurdish regions in case we Americans abandon the region to chaos and conflict. If the Americans left, Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons in hand, would be sure to move into Iraq, welcomed by its Shiite majority. It would not be unlikely that an Iraq under Iranian control would once again attack Kuwait and even Saudi Arabia with the goal of commanding control of the Persian Gulf oil, which would be used as a tool to undermine the world economy.

None of these options seem to offer much promise — so what do we do? My take on this is that the problem lies not in what we have done wrong, but in what we have not done enough nor acted in a manner appropriate to the seriousness of the danger. Going in like Goody Two-Shoes to spread the wonderful gift of democracy with “boots on the ground” was a misguided and foolhardy expedition not unlike the ill-fated “Charge of the Light Brigade.” We face an enemy that is not ashamed to lurk among women and children, dresses as civilians, and that attacks not our heavy armor but our lightly armored Humvees and transport vehicles with crude remotely detonated bombs. Our air force with its precision bombing capability is kept on the sidelines, as are our Navy forces. We are fighting this war (and it is indeed a war, and not one against terror but against Islamic conquest) with an Army that has both arms figuratively tied behind its back. It is a vast mistake that we have failed to use the technological advantages at our disposal.

Thus I present a “fourth way” out of this morass, one that is certainly not politically correct but one which has far more chance of having some success. It is the way of total war, the only path that has ever led to true victory in the past. As in the case of the recent World War Two, only the total defeat of the enemy can yield an absolute end to conflict. Look at Germany, Italy and Japan today if you have any doubts about this point.

The “Fourth Way” of Total Defensive War.

How could we fight this dispersed enemy, one that fights without regard to any Western rules of engagement? Why quite simply in the way of Rome, the way of Charles Martel, the way of Eisenhower and MacArthur: Ruthlessly and with resolve to engage and totally destroy the enemy’s ability to do us further harm. There is no doubt in the minds of Islamic Jihadists that they are engaged in total war against Western Civilization, and there should be no doubt in our Western minds that the only effective response must be equally total and defining.

So what form could this “fourth way” take? Obviously it would require entire volumes to explore all the details of such an undertaking, and I have neither the broad expertise nor the time or space to do that here. Here are four general observations to give a sense of some of the things that I believe must eventually be done to respond in kind to the total war that is being waged against us:

1. Wake up to the reality of what we face, which is a determined enemy with the implacable goal of our complete destruction. It is a travesty that our President, many in Congress and even high ranking individuals in our intelligence services are apparently without a clue about the true nature of the danger. From the highest levels we are assured that Islam is “a religion of peace,” something with which Muslims are quick to agree. It would be nice to think this were true, but unfortunately a brief study of history, a few moments paging through the Koran, and even a perusal of current events should disabuse anyone of this canard. In fact, this oft-parroted motto is an example of the proven propaganda technique of turning facts on their head. The writer George Orwell was quite familiar with this method. Adolf Hitler called it the Big Lie, which he defined in his 1925 book “Mein Kampf” as “a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

So let’s examine the statement that Islam is “a religion of peace” through the lens of the Big Lie. Immediately, we can see what is at work here. It’s quite transparent really. First, as noted above, Islam is not a “religion” in any form that we can recognize. Second, it is a movement that for 1400 years has been dedicated to unceasing warfare and conquest against the Infidel world, and in which its followers find peace only in Paradise. So now let us recast the statement with these points in mind: Islam “is a cult of conquest.” Quite a different kind of creature indeed from the harmless and friendly image evoked by the Big Lie that Islam = Peace. Until our leaders recognize the nature of the enemy, total defensive war is not possible and we will continue at every turn of events to play into the hands of our would-be oppressors.

2. Recognize that we cannot fight on our enemy’s terms. Putting our troops in harms way is exactly what Osama bin Laden and all the thousands and even millions who are actively working to destroy us are counting on. The United States has a vast capability to wage global war, and yet we are behaving like those British generals who during World War One sent tens of thousands of men to their deaths in fruitless attacks through No Man’s Land into the teeth of German machine guns and artillery. This is absolutely nuts. We have the ability to strike our enemies with stealth bombers that can fly halfway around the world to deliver smart munitions within inches of their targets and return the pilots home in time for dinner. We have carrier battle groups that contain more destructive power than all the weapons deployed in all the wars of history. We have heavy battle tanks that can overrun almost any obstacle, destroying the enemy at a range of several miles while traveling at 50 m.p.h. We have intermediate range ballistic and cruise missiles with the precision to place their armaments into the most remote terrorist training camp or cave, down the throat of the most oppressive tyrant, or into the heart of nuclear weapon facilities on which nations such as Iran and North Korea are staking their evil futures. We have, if we should choose or be required by necessity to use them, a stockpile of nuclear arms that could turn entire nations into radioactive wastelands.

These weapons were developed to fight World War Three. Well, guess what Sherlock? We are engaged in World War Three, even though it is a bit different than what we expected. We need to respond accordingly, and use the weapons that are available to us. Our enemies live among their women and children, but this must not deter us any more than it does them when they attack innocent civilians. In total war, all of the enemy must be at risk, whether through direct removal of enemy combatants or collateral damage to their women and children. Real soldiers do not take their wives and children with them into battle, and if they did so they should expect them to be at grave risk. Muslims choose to act as “civilian” combatants, and as such they must also accept those risks. The loss of civilian life did not deter the Allies from bombing German and Japanese cities during World War Two, and it must not deter us in this defensive war against Islamic Jihad.

3. Set forth our demands of our enemies and force their compliance. Jihadists can operate from anywhere and might be impossible to find, but nations are a different matter and can be held to account. We must resolve that any nation that chooses to support Jihad against the civilized world will pay a steep price, and not with the pale threat of invading troops but by the delivery of terrible fire from the skies. Does Bashar Assad wish to continue to support terrorist organizations? Then after one strict warning that he should change his ways his palace should be blown to bits with him and all his cadre of supporters with it. Do the Mullahs in Tehran and Qum continue to rattle their sabers and continue on the path of their nuclear ambitions and the destruction of Israel, the only democratic state in the Mideast? It’s their choice — but the price will be steep, involving B-1 bombers laying waste to their compounds and mansions. Whenever and wherever nations allow Jihadists to raise their hands against us, we must strike down the leaders of those nations who are responsible for allowing it to happen. That is the nature of a defensive total war. That is the requirement for the survival of western civilization. Cold? Yes. Practical? Emphatically so. How many palaces would need to be blown to smithereens to change the course of history? One? Two perhaps, but probably not many more for the hardest lessons are the easiest to learn.

4. Determine that our lands are not a proper place for our enemies. Throughout history it was unheard of for any nation to welcome its enemies into its own lands except as slaves. Germans during World War Two who were captured on U.S. territory where they intended to act as saboteurs were tried and executed. One of the methods through which Muslims intend to win their war against us is through immigration, both legal and illegal, and by outbreeding us. This strategy has been preached by mullahs around the globe, sometimes demanding of Muslim women to bear at least five children. It may be true that many or even most Muslims who are spilling into Western nations do not have the goal of overthrowing those countries. But it is telling that polls repeatedly show a large percentage of Muslims in places like France, Britain, Holland, and even the United States agree with the idea of Jihad and the propriety of instituting Sharia, or Islamic law on those nations. This is sure evidence that a large number of those immigrants are in fact engaged in something far different from assimilation. They do not want to become French, British, or American. No, they want the French, British and Americans to become Muslims — or pay the Dhimmi tax — or die. The Koran tells them this is the proper path for good Muslims to tread. Immigrant populations provide the source of new terrorists, the cover under which they can operate, and the support they need to succeed. No good Muslim would turn in his Jihadist neighbor who might be preparing an attack against the Infidel “enemy”.

Therefore, it is important for the survival of western civilization for us to protect our territories from being overrun by Muslim immigrants. That will not be an easy task, particularly in areas of Western Europe where the Islamic presence is already looming large. Political correctness and the ideas of “multi-culturalism” must be cast aside. Our enemies do not recognize these values and in fact use them against us at every opportunity. Viewed through the lens of political correctness, what I am suggesting is “ethnic cleansing.” In terms of the survival of our civilization, it would be merely common sense and the necessary self-defense. Understand that I am not advising genocide, but merely the closing of Western borders against continuing immigration from Islamic lands, and the peaceful but resolute relocation of the hordes of Muslims already entrenched in the West back to their places of origin. They do not want to become part of our cultures, but to change ours in their own model. Therefore, they do not belong here and we should not allow them to remain. This is a logical and natural response in the context of a defensive total war. There was a reason why F.D.R. interned Japanese-Americans during World War Two, and it was because at least some among those mostly loyal Americans posed a threat to our war effort. (He might have interned German-Americans as well, except that there were too many of them.)

That concludes my brief treatment of the options that are available to America, some of the possible roadmaps for a way out of the quagmire of Iraq. I have offered only a few general points about how a total defensive war against Islamic ambitions might be framed. I will leave it at that with the hope that as the danger comes more clearly into focus the need for a response in kind will be recognized and that determined new leaders will step forward to defend our cultural heritage.

Few if any Americans would submit to Islam; perhaps fewer still would want to live in Dhimmitude; and most of us in the end would choose to stand and fight. That is where the strength of our nation lies; not in Washington or among the politically correct talking heads that have colonized our media and universities, but in the tens of millions of American men and women who understand what it means to be free and who in the end, I sincerely hope, will understand and accept the price of that freedom.

*It should be made clear that it was not President Bush alone who charted this course for our nation, nor was it due to his cadre of advisers in the White House and at the Pentagon. In fact, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle supported the invasion and it was only as things began to turn sour that many began to distance themselves from their earlier decision. While agreeing that the war was a gross mistake, let’s agree not to argue about whose fault it was. There is no gain for us as a nation to engage in the ongoing form of political jihad that is tearing our government apart.

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