by Austin Bay
August 27, 2003at
American and allied success in the War on Terror.
As the fall of 2003 approaches, Iraq is two battlefields and
birthplace. On one battlefield, the venomous regime of Saddam Hussein dies
slow, painful and dangerous death. Big vipers die killing because killing
their be-all and -- to the last -- their end-all. With cash stashed in
and corrupt banks throughout the world, with weapons littering Iraq's
landscape, the snake still has ready poison. It's why Americans who
understand the enemy continue to apply deadly, insistent military and
The second battlefield is a large "strategic" ambush, and the
enemy entering the kill zone still hasn't quite figured it out. From an
American perspective that presents an opportunity, an opportunity with
risks, but one with huge potential payoffs.
In Iraq, America is ambushing Al Qaeda and tag-along jihadis
powered by the fantasy ideology of Islamo-fascism.
The ambush was never completely secret. In a column from Jan.
of this year, I wrote: "The massive American build-up around Iraq serves
a baited trap that Al Qaeda cannot ignore. Failure to react to the pending
American attack would demonstrate Al Qaeda's impotence. For the sake of
their own reputation (as well as any notion of divine sanction), Al
cadres must show CNN and Al Jazeera they are still capable of dramatic
endeavor. This ain't theory. Al Qaeda's leaders and fighters know it, and
the rats are coming out of their alleys."
Astute observers have dubbed America's ambush the "flypaper
On 9/11, Al Qaeda chose the battlefields: New York and
Washington. American leaders have decided it's better to fight terrorists
"over there" than "over here." So our soldiers slug it out in the Sunni
Triangle instead of Seattle. U.S. and British soldiers, and increasingly
Iraqi police, are engaged in this fight. It's tough. In eight to 10
we'll know if it worked. Spies "walk back the cat." Jihadis entering Iraq
connect back to terror cliques in rogue states. America intends to make
excellent political and military use of the jihadis' "intelligence trail."
For real freedom fighters, Iraq's two battlefields are one
common struggle. Occasionally reporters glimpse Al Qaeda's and Saddam's
direct links, the Ansar al-Islam gang in Kurdistan being the most obvious.
However, the division between secular and religious anti-American
is -- as scholar Faoud Ajami said this week in The Wall Street Journal --
"distinction without substance." Saddam's Baath loyalists and bin
Laden-inspired Islamo-fascists always understood politically free people
were their common foe.
Which brings us to the birthplace. Iraq is the birthplace of
something every committed human rights advocate should praise -- a free
escaping murderous tyranny. Baathists and Islamo-fascists are both
autocrats, the control freaks of the past trying to kill the future in its
It's an exhausting and bloody birth, and understandably, given
the legacy of murder and theft. Yet Iraq is on a time-line for an elected
government. Even The New York Times, the daily voice of American quagmire
and catastrophe, admitted Iraqis support the U.S. effort in extraordinary
numbers: "Four months into the occupation, the rebellion against American
forces, though fierce, is still largely limited to the Arab Sunni Muslim
population and its foreign supporters and confined to a relatively limited
Iraq's success has frightened autocrats throughout the Middle
East. Autocrats in Taliban caves, in Iran, in Syria, fear Iraqi democracy.
Coalition success in Iraq is forcing the House of Saud to choose between
democratic evolution and fatal revolution.
Defeatist hotheads who natter about "root causes of terror"
understand the taproot of terror is tyranny. Theft and brutality by local
dictators are the leading causes of Third World poverty. UC-Berkeley
resolutions don't stop gangsters. Cutting the taproot usually requires the
explicit presence and sometimes the precious lives of Western soldiers.
August has been a hot and horrid month in Baghdad. Fascist and
Islamo-fascist thugs are testing the collective will of America, the Iraqi
people, Britain, and their coalition allies.
There will be more wretched months. It's war.
It's also a war we are winning.