It was right, proper, necessary to destroy Iraq’s military power, and its regime. The Ba’athist regime owed its origin to the desperate attempt of Syrian Christians to concoct an ideology that would be an alternative to naked Islam (Michel Aflaq, the founder of Ba’athism, converted to Islam on his deathbed; his life was one of pathetic dhimmitude, while his Communazi Ba’athism did little, really, to defang Islam). Despite being ostensibly “secular,” whenever necessary the Ba”athist regime made appeal to Islam: witness Saddam Hussein’s use of the Battle of Qadassiyah, the Qur’anic inscription put on the flag, the Qur’an written using his own blood, etc. Like that other “secularist,” Nasser, Saddam Hussein was a Muslim through and through in his essential attitudes — simply one who wanted to start with a unified Arabdom rather than aim for a worldwide Caliphate a la Bin Laden.
But the current campaign is a diversion of men, materiel, and attention. We should be winning back Europe by promoting a long-overdue alarm about the demographic invasion. We should expose the international alliance of fellow-travellers of Islam, from certain members of the BBC (such as John Simpson) and Agence France Press (which is, in its Middle East coverage, virtually a handmaiden of the PA) to some in the European media and in the EU hierarchy, including Javier Solana, Chris Patten, and others. Their antisemitism and anti-Israel attitudes are mutually reinforcing. Those who display either or both are obviously, in their analyses and attitudes, the ones least inclined to see Islamic tenets as a threat to Western (and other) civilizations, and most inclined to ascribe our problems to that pesky affair in western Palestine — like the antisemites who were those most inclined, of course, in the 1930s to pooh-pooh the Nazi threat.
But the winning of “hearts and minds” in Iraq cannot be accomplished. It is a chimera, a Sisyphean and hopeless task, and it is cruel to cause American soldiers to risk their lives to do something which is impossible. There is almost no gratitude directed at the Americans by more than a small fraction of the Iraqi population — for rescuing them from a monstrous regime. There are many reported cases — and returning soldiers have many more to tell — of mobs celebrating the killing of Americans. They will pocket the rebuilt infrastructure, the electricity grids, the dams, the hospitals, the schools, the soccer balls handed out by touchingly trusting and hopeful Americans. But what will be taught in those schools? What will that electricity light up? How will that hydroelectric energy be used — if not to recreate an even more Muslim civilization, at least as hostile, and perhaps more potent in its hostility, toward Infidels, as anything Iraq has seen before?
It is not “democracy” that matters, but human rights — the rights enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights, which, as Reza Afshari, Ibn Warraq, and others have shown, are in every single particular contradicted by Islam and the Shari’a. Will the new Iraq allow real free exercise of religion? Will those born into Islam be allowed to convert out, or openly show their lack of belief? Will women be given equality? In Islam, the greatest reforms that Infidels should welcome — that is, the reforms which limit precisely the power of Islam — have not emerged from “democracy” (a democratic but Muslim state is only more, not less dangerous, to Infidels), but from enlightened despots. These include the vain, stupid, but relatively decent Shah Reza Pahlavi, the farsighted Habib Bourguiba and the Destour Party in Tunisia, King Mohammed V of Morocco, King Hussein of Jordan (the “oily little king,” as Alan Clark once dubbed him, was a great favorite all over the West, from that eternal innocent, Anthony Lewis, to Prince Charles, that great admirer of what he takes to be Islam), and by far the most important, Kemal Pasha Ataturk.
The “democracy” industry — all those bright-eyed people in Washington with Centers for This and That Pertaining to Democracy — has failed to adequately study, understand, and thoroughly assimilate the doctrines of Islam, or to study Islamic history. They understand there is something deeply wrong, but they cling to the notion that it is not the basic texts of Islam itself, but some perversion of those texts. They have it wrong.
No, the troops should not all come home, but a much smaller force, in the Syrian desert, well away from roadside bombs, should replace the current crazy “hearts and minds” effort. The invasion was completely justified; that was War #1. The remaining around to search for, collect, and destroy major weaponry (not just WMD), to find Saddam Hussein, to capture or kill most of the top Ba’athists, was also fully justified. That was War #2. But the current attempt to do the impossible, to make those three former Ottoman vilayets into a single nation-state is hopeless. Since 1920, the Arab treatment of the Kurds, and the Sunni treatment of the Shi’a, has only made things much worse. The Administration should declare that it has done all it can: removed Saddam Hussein, sought for and destroyed WMD programs, sought and destroyed all major weaponry, effectively demolished the Ba’athist structure, and left a small — 50,000 combat troops — force in the desert to keep the essential peace.
It is time to get serious about destroying the real WMD threat in Iran, which incidentally will put a nail in the mullahocracy. If the U.S. fails to do so, and the Iranian regime obtains such weaponry, its prestige among the simple Iranians will be sky high and the reformers will be doomed — so they too have a vested interest in seeing us destroy the Iranian WMD program.
Now notice: I posted the original draft of this article on February 20, 2004, and have done nothing in this version except make some revisions for clarity. In three years, what has changed?