War on Terror: We could use some good ideas
The attacks on the War on Terror by some liberal Democrat Senators and by some Republican presidential wannabes are hard to miss. But, as Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels declared: “If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it is true.”
Sure enough, if you ignore the many positive gains the Iraqi and the Afghan people and Coalition forces are making in Iraq and Afghanistan and trumpet the inevitable mistakes caused by the fog of war, you can undermine home-front morale. But what the naysayers are doing is like the child who murders his parents and then complains because he is an orphan.
The naysayers have abandoned the national unity we felt in the days following 9/11 in favor of trying to gain congressional seats in 2006 and to win the presidency in 2008. Otherwise, they would be offering positive suggestions on better ways to wage the War on Terror.
While wartime political partisanship is bad enough, the greater challenge is how to defend western civilization from an enemy who is waging a religious war – a jihad -- against us. While we try not to think of the War on Terror in terms of religion, the terrorists have cast their war in terms of a choice between Allah and God. As Rev. Franklin Graham says, “Do not confuse Allah with the God of Jews and Christians. They are not the same.”
Essentially, the fanatical Islamic Jihadists reject the providential God shared by Jews and Christians. They reject the Judeo-Christian God Who wants His peoples to earn Salvation, not by killing innocent civilians, but by a combination of good works and, above all, faith. That fact alone puts Christians and Jews all over the world at risk of being blown to smithereens by some Jihadist wanting to trade his or her miserable existence for Islamic Paradise.
And, for the millions at the bottom of Muslim society, existence is miserable. But that’s not our fault. The fault lies with the Mullahs who cling to a socio-economic-religious system that peaked in the 14th Century, is frozen in place, and is totally unsuited to attaining and maintaining a decent standard of the living in the 21st Century.
As a two-tour veteran of combat in Vietnam and Cambodia, I can see one, and only one, similarity with what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam. But this one similarity is very important: Once again, we are faced with the problem of enemy sanctuaries. This time, instead of Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam, the enemy can find sanctuary in: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and even along the western borders of our ally Pakistan.
Although, we and the South Vietnamese decimated the Viet Cong during TET 1968 and the VC ceased to be a factor from TET on, the North Vietnamese remained constantly optimistic. They understood the teachings of Sun Tzu and Napoleon: The way wars are won is to destroy the morale of your enemy at home. The anti-war movement of the 1960s understood that full well. And, that’s how the North Vietnamese prevailed.
By contrast, the Jihadists, due to their harsh and primitive living circumstances, have terrible morale. But their leaders turn the unimaginably abominable conditions under which their subjects live to their own advantage. They offer people, without hope, without any of the sanitation facilities and comforts we take for granted, a “sure-fire” way out of their desperate circumstances: Strap on a belt of explosives or drive a bomb-laden car to kill yourself and as many infidels as possible and your suicide earns you: forgiveness of all previous sins, entrance into Paradise, an instant audience with Allah and the companionship of those fabled 72 virgins.
So, instead of partisan posturing, we need ideas on how to solve the sanctuary problem and on how to point les miserables toward a better way of earthly life.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2005. William Hamilton.