by Austin Bay
August 27, 2003
It's time for the defeatist hotheads of August to take a lookatAmerican and allied success in the War on Terror.
As the fall of 2003 approaches, Iraq is two battlefields andonebirthplace. On one battlefield, the venomous regime of Saddam Hussein diesaslow, painful and dangerous death. Big vipers die killing because killingistheir be-all and -- to the last -- their end-all. With cash stashed inIraqand corrupt banks throughout the world, with weapons littering Iraq'slandscape, the snake still has ready poison. It's why Americans whounderstand the enemy continue to apply deadly, insistent military andpolitical pressure.
The second battlefield is a large "strategic" ambush, and theenemy entering the kill zone still hasn't quite figured it out. From anAmerican perspective that presents an opportunity, an opportunity withrisks, but one with huge potential payoffs.
In Iraq, America is ambushing Al Qaeda and tag-along jihadispowered by the fantasy ideology of Islamo-fascism.
The ambush was never completely secret. In a column from Jan.29of this year, I wrote: "The massive American build-up around Iraq servesasa baited trap that Al Qaeda cannot ignore. Failure to react to the pendingAmerican attack would demonstrate Al Qaeda's impotence. For the sake oftheir own reputation (as well as any notion of divine sanction), AlQaeda'scadres must show CNN and Al Jazeera they are still capable of dramaticendeavor. This ain't theory. Al Qaeda's leaders and fighters know it, andthe rats are coming out of their alleys."
Astute observers have dubbed America's ambush the "flypaperstrategy."
On 9/11, Al Qaeda chose the battlefields: New York andWashington. American leaders have decided it's better to fight terrorists"over there" than "over here." So our soldiers slug it out in the SunniTriangle instead of Seattle. U.S. and British soldiers, and increasinglyIraqi police, are engaged in this fight. It's tough. In eight to 10months,we'll know if it worked. Spies "walk back the cat." Jihadis entering Iraqconnect back to terror cliques in rogue states. America intends to makeexcellent political and military use of the jihadis' "intelligence trail."
For real freedom fighters, Iraq's two battlefields are onecommon struggle. Occasionally reporters glimpse Al Qaeda's and Saddam'sdirect links, the Ansar al-Islam gang in Kurdistan being the most obvious.However, the division between secular and religious anti-Americanterroristsis -- as scholar Faoud Ajami said this week in The Wall Street Journal --a"distinction without substance." Saddam's Baath loyalists and binLaden-inspired Islamo-fascists always understood politically free peoplewere their common foe.
Which brings us to the birthplace. Iraq is the birthplace ofsomething every committed human rights advocate should praise -- a freelandescaping murderous tyranny. Baathists and Islamo-fascists are bothold-timeautocrats, the control freaks of the past trying to kill the future in itscrib.
It's an exhausting and bloody birth, and understandably, giventhe legacy of murder and theft. Yet Iraq is on a time-line for an electedgovernment. Even The New York Times, the daily voice of American quagmireand catastrophe, admitted Iraqis support the U.S. effort in extraordinarynumbers: "Four months into the occupation, the rebellion against Americanforces, though fierce, is still largely limited to the Arab Sunni Muslimpopulation and its foreign supporters and confined to a relatively limitedgeographic area."
Iraq's success has frightened autocrats throughout the MiddleEast. Autocrats in Taliban caves, in Iran, in Syria, fear Iraqi democracy.Coalition success in Iraq is forcing the House of Saud to choose betweendemocratic evolution and fatal revolution.
Defeatist hotheads who natter about "root causes of terror"mustunderstand the taproot of terror is tyranny. Theft and brutality by localdictators are the leading causes of Third World poverty. UC-Berkeleyfacultyresolutions don't stop gangsters. Cutting the taproot usually requires theexplicit presence and sometimes the precious lives of Western soldiers.
August has been a hot and horrid month in Baghdad. Fascist andIslamo-fascist thugs are testing the collective will of America, the Iraqipeople, Britain, and their coalition allies.
There will be more wretched months. It's war.
It's also a war we are winning.