Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald continues his series of interlocking reflections on what to do in Iraq with these considerations of what it would take actually to win there.
What would “winning the war” mean? Would it mean ensuring a unified state, so that the Kurds would have to give up the possibility of a free Kurdistan? But a free Kurdistan would give other non-Arab Muslim minorities — such as the Berbers in North Africa — ideas, just the kind of ideas we want them to get. A free Kurdistan would hearten them, and hearten other non-Arabs, and cause Infidels to cease to use that inaccurate and dangerous term “the Arab world” which seems to hand over vast swaths of the earth’s land mass to one particular ethnic group, as if Kurds, Berbers, Jews, Maronites (who are Arabic-using but not Arabs), Copts, Druse, Armenians, and a hundred smaller groups, including what remain of ancient peoples or sects (Mandeans, Zoroastrians, and so on) or more recent arrivals (Circassians who form the palace guard for the kings of Jordan, who cannot trust their own Arabs, just as the palace guard of the Assad family consist of Alawites, and even a Christian (Armenian) contingent, but never ever of real Muslims (who would destroy the Alawite regime, not because it is corrupt, but because it consists of Alawites).
And what else would constitute “winning in Iraq”? Presumably, having an Iraqi regime where Sunni and Shi’a sit down like the lion with the lamb, and all manner of things are well. Why is that a desideratum for American, or any Infidel government’s, policy? Was the Iran-Iraq War a good thing, from our point of view, or a bad thing? It was a good thing. It should have gone on, or at least simmered quietly, forever. And if the Shi’a in Pakistan, intermittently murdered by the circumambient Sunnis, and the Shi’a oppressed by Sunnis in the eastern (Hasa) province of Saudi Arabia, come to feel that they, too, might be inspired by Shi’a power in Iraq, and furthermore, Shi’a in Kuwait and Bahrain have their hearts swell with pride as the o’erweening Sunni get what, after 80 years of lording it over the Iraqi Shi’a, they so richly deserve (and are left with no oil at all, but will have to rely on caravans bringing in oil from outside, on camels supplied by the tribe of the Jabal Shammar), is that a good thing — from OUR point of view, which is the only point of view that matters, or is it a bad thing?
And what about the “fixing potholes” theory that some in the Administration cling to? You know, if only Iraq can establish a nice stable regime, after a few thousand other Americans die fighting “for Iraq” (not exactly the Battle Green in Lexington, or the rude bridge that arched the flood in Concord, is Ramadi, or Tikrit, or Fallujah), and the military sustains further degradation of the tanks, and the Humvees, and the helicopters, and the planes, and the size and quality of the Reserves, and the National Guard, and the regular army itself as people leave, or are disheartened, and the better potential recruits cannot be recruited, as they might have even two or three years ago.
Saddam Hussein fixed a few potholes in his time. There are no potholes in Saudi Arabia, where the corrupt Al-Saud family, stealing the country’s wealth (wealth that neither they, nor the Saudi population, did anything to create, and nothing to deserve), but no one there has any trouble believing in, paying for, engaging in promoting the Jihad — that is, the spread of Islam worldwide, the deflecting of attention to what Islam teaches and believes about Infidels, and what the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation teaches Infidels about Believers.
Right now, in grim Iran, after the farce of the election, which was followed by the even greater farce of the run-off election, the candidate who was even worse than Rafsanjani, a certain Mr. Ahmadinejad, emerged the winner. By all accounts, he is as fanatical a Muslim as one could wish — and now that he is in power, will insist that the work on nuclear weapons proceed full speed, a tous azimuths. And Mr. Ahmadinejad won his support as Mayor of Teheran because he was, precisely, a great fixer of potholes, and of everything else. A man who spent his days tirelessly working to make sure that the city ran, taking care of all those little mundane details that big-city mayors must worry about.
And guess what? Mr. Ahmadinejad not only had time for potholes, but he also had time left over in his busy day, and in his fervent brain, for Islam — not “Wahhabi” Islam (the kind that some people tell us is the only kind that should worry us, including sufferers from Weiss-Schwartz Syndrome), but plain old ordinary Shi’a Islam, the religion of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and his epigones, and of Shah Abbas in the bad old days, which so many charming, and suave people who have come out of Iran, from Ms. Nafisi to Vartan Gregorian, seem not to realize is the real Iran. The Iran of the “Najis” Infidel who cannot even be allowed to go out into the rain (as Jews could not, for if a drop of water landed on a Jew, and then accidentally fell on a Muslim, that Muslim would be “unclean” — Jews in this century were beaten to death, in rural Iran, for going out when it was raining) is a lot closer to the views of Khomeini than to the Shah and his relatively enlightened, and comparatively benign, regime.
The “pothole” theory won’t wash. The Light-Unto-the-Muslims-Project is a farce. The obstinacy with which a few people repeat self-evident nonsense about Islam and about Iraq, simply because they either
1) have not bothered to study Islam or
2) accept the “higher apologetics” and rewriting of history by Bernard Lewis
3) wish to “stand by their man” Mr. Bush, although if the same kind of nonsense about Islam were to be uttered by a Democratic president they would be the first to deride him
4) sensing that the original attack on Iraq was both rational and justified, are fearful that if they admit that this part of the war is wrong and wasteful, the first part will also be called into question, for apparently they are rhetorically and conceptually unable to separate Iraq War #1 from Iraq War #2.
5) have a sentimental belief in “democracy” without understanding the full meaning of that term in the Western world, which goes far beyond mere head-counting, nor how long it took to develop democratic institutions and attitudes, nor in what way Islam not only teaches obedience to a ruler as long as he is a Muslim, that derides the notion that political or any other kind of legitimacy (in Islam, they are all one) can flow from the people rather than from the will of Allah, and that inculcates an attitude of mental submission, of obedience to authority, in every field and in every way, that is inimical to democracy.
Just as Rodney Stark has demonstrated that modern science not only did not develop in Islam, but in the Christian or Judeo-Christian West, not accidentally, but because Islam views Allah as whimsical, rather than as setting the universe going according to laws that could then be discovered by scientific inquiry, we can posit something else that is fairly obvious: democracy is palpably absent everywhere in the Muslim lands except where, as in Lebanon for a time, there was a near-majority of non-Muslims who affected the Muslims, or where Islam had been deliberately and systematically constrained as a political and social force as in Kemalist Turkey, or where both constraints and even attacks on Islam, and the existence of large populations of non-Muslims, at least created the conditions where some kind of democracy might emerge (as in, say, Kazakhstan after Nazarbayev who is, at least, a quasi-enlightened despot in the vein of the late Shah of Iran).
But even if there were to be “democracy” (i.e. elections, head-counting) in Iraq, it would do nothing to help Infidels come to understand the theory and practice of Islam, would do nothing to diminish the two most powerful weapons of Islam — the money that comes from the oil deposits, and the spread of Islam both through the millions of migrants foolishly, dangerously, rashly, madly, allowed in to Western Europe in the first place, mainly because of the greed for (seemingly) cheap North African labor in France, and Turkish gastarbeiter in Germany. The costs have turned out, especially after all those “family reunions” and those burgeoning families, and then the constant flow of Muslims into both those countries, and elsewhere in Europe, where they have created a situation that is much more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous, physically and morally, for the indigenous Infidels. How will “democracy” in Iraq help prevent the islamization of Europe?
It won’t. It is eating up our money, when every dollar spent in Iraq should be devoted to energy projects to take away not the non-existent “oil weapon” (there isn’t one, and there never was: the Saudis and all producers will sell whatever oil they can) but rather, the real “money weapon” that is used to pay for mosques, madrasas, and hirelings all over the Western world. It is eating up our military equipment, for a month in the desert ages that equipment more than a year or two elsewhere. It is eating up our men, who are killed, and wounded, in order that one group of Muslims does not kill another group of Muslims, and American lives are sacrificed so that the very fissures within that three-vilayet “country” of Iraq may be narrowed rather than, as we should sensibly wish them to be, widened.
It is eating up the morale of the present soldiers and preventing others from signing up, and without a draft, the citizen-army cannot be treated as it has been treated. Or rather, it can be so treated, and then no one will sign up, or no one very good, and those now in will never re-enlist, and another generation of the very people who are the ones we rely on, the people who make things run, and protect us, will be disheartened and dismayed, and not quite know why — but know only that the Iraqis are ungrateful, the Iraqis are meretricious and malingerers and not the wonderful loyal allies the Administration’s propaganda machine keeps telling us, despite the evidence (they can’t shut up every returning soldier, and the more their story conflicts with the truth, the more they will lose support for necessary, and justifiable undertakings in the future.)
It is a farce. Someone has to tell Bush not only that the invasion was justified, the search for weapons justified, the removal of Saddam Hussein justified, but what has come after is completely unrelated, and not only a waste, but will not, cannot, achieve the ends, rightly understood, of what should be defined not as a “war against terror” (basta con these stupidities — there is a limit), but a war “against the worldwide Jihad.” Iraq is the perfect place to exploit the natural fissures, such as they exist, within Islam.
Instead we are spending money (that should be spent on solar and nuclear and every other kind of energy project, and conservation as well), men, materiel, morale.
Every day shows how stupid this policy is. But reality will only set in once the full malevolence of Islam is understood by a sufficient number of people, and once the inability even of “moderate” Muslims to admit to that malevolence in Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira is recognized. The refusal to give defectors from Islam a major hearing — who in Congress will invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali to testify, or Ibn Warraq, or Ali Sina? — is intolerable.
And if the waste and the farce continue, and if the chance to exploit the Iraqi situation in the right way is lost, who will pay for this stupidity? Americans will still not be enlightened as to the nature of Islam. The islamization of Europe will continue, while the Cassandra-cries go unheard (remember that Cassandra turned out to be right).
“Stay the course”? But the “course” at this point is headed toward that iceberg, rather than into the clear waters of lucidity. “Don’t cut and run” — again, a foolish and cheap schoolboy phrase.
Where are the cunning, intelligent, all-knowing people who helped check, all over the chessboard, the agents and propaganda and military might of Soviet Russia? Do such people still exist, or their modern counterparts, or is Islam, with all those difficult Arabic words, and the necessity of learning about it from the very people who are likely to be Muslims and offer sly apologetics (with those liquid brown eyes, and the zarf-and-finjan (nicely wrought in Morocco, no doubt) coffee ceremony along with the verbs, and the nouns.
With C.I.A. agents at the comical intellectual level of Mr. Scheuer, who was actually for a while in charge of the “Bin Laden desk” (the very title expresses the misunderstanding of what is at stake), with an F.B.I. that takes instruction on Islam from sensitivity trainers helpfully provided by C.A.I.R., with a Secretary of State who keeps prating about what a great religion Islam is, and how much we respect it (she need not tell the truth about Islam; she need only remain silent on the matter — why this insistence? It is intolerable if she thinks this is clever policy, and even more intolerable if she believes it).
We have had it. Up to here. Do gorla. Au ras bord. Non ne possiamo piu.
Will someone, in Congress, in the Administration, anywhere — someone who can distinguish Iraq War #1 and Iraq War #2 — please stand up?