Obama, if elected, may be reluctant to do what McCain, if he could be made to see the Jihad in its worldwide context (especially the problems of Da’wa, demographic conquest, and the Money Weapon deployed in the countries of Western Europe) might more easily and swiftly do. After all, McCain doesn’t have to prove, so it is believed, his “toughness” in national security. Obama now talks in terms of “16 months” and of “sitting down with commanders in Iraq” — who are the commanders, at this point, because they are the ones left who still believe, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, in the quasi-stated “mission.” Under Obama troops might be there for his entire first term.
It would be useful and heartening to see McCain start to make the noises that will be interpreted, correctly, as his becoming aware of the great unhappiness of officers and men, aware of how the Iraq goal is the wrong goal, and aware of how to attain it we will be there forever — because, in Islam, there is no desire for or understanding of the need for compromise. It’s all a matter of Victor and Vanquished. That’s how the Sunni Arabs feel, and that’s how the Shi’a Arabs feel. They’ll take the American money, and take whatever arms they can get their hands on or further inveigle out of the Americans (oh, please do leave us these tanks and these fighting vehicles and these helicopters, and a few dozen airplanes, if you don’t mind — they will make us much more able to control an “unstable” situation, and you don’t want “instability” after you Americans leave, do you?), but they will not take anything that will lead them away from Islam and Sharia rule.
And if Obama were not to simultaneously show that such a withdrawal from Iraq is not a sign of weakness, or still worse, a sign of a desire to appease the Muslims of the world, that would be bad.
But if he or McCain were to carry out that withdrawal swiftly, not leaving behind weaponry, it doesn’t necessarily have to look like a sign of American weakness. Weaponry could be left possibly with the Kurds, if a deal can be struck with them, for they will have to rely only on the United States. Leaving no weaponry behind for anyone else will show that we do not see the Sunni or Shi”a Arabs in Iraq as potential allies. It will signal an end to the time when we allowed ourselves to believe that they were something other than, let’s face it, what they always were in the mass. You don’t make policies for Iraq on the basis of a Makiya, a Rend al-Rahim, a Chalabi, but on the basis of what the mass of primitives in that country believe.
If Obama, or McCain, precedes or accompanies or follows that withdrawal quite quickly with a series of acts designed to make clear that the withdrawal is part of a new, much more intelligent, no-nonsense, unsentimental, even ruthless attempt to defend ourselves by exploiting pre-existing fissures and other weaknesses in the Camp of Islam and Jihad, it will not be seen as weakness. It will not be seen as weakness also if we turn our attention to the most important problems, such as the attempt by Iran to gain nuclear weapons (that problem may have to be dealt with even before the new President assumes office), and to the Jihad in the historic heart of the West, Europe, where we need to counter or check all the most effective instruments of Jihad (the Money Weapon, Da’wa, demographic conquest). It will not be seen as weakness if the new President speaks about all this, and acts, and ceases prating monomaniacally and misleadingly only about “terrorism.”
And certain bold actions may also be taken. I have repeatedly suggested that, for a very small investment of men and money, great defeats can be inflicted on the expansionist aims of Islam in Africa. A few thousand American troops, with the Sudanese airforce preemptively destroyed, could seize the southern Sudan and Darfur, and hold those territories. There would be pictures worldwide of grateful black Africans tearfully welcoming their American soldier-saviors, many of the latter themselves black, who will as they occupy those territories learn a lot about the behavior of Arabs. Learning such things will stand them and our country in good stead when they return to civilian life. The occupation could continue until a referendum on independence from the north can be held. And while the seizure would damage the cause and image of Islam, and raise the morale of imperiled Christians in black Africa, not least in southern Nigeria, it would also be so obviously a humanitarian rescue that no one save Muslim Arabs could object — not even Nicholas Kristof, not even Samantha Powers. The Muslim Arabs, meanwhile, will be enraged and yet unable to adequately express their rage, knowing how it will be taken.
And there are a dozen other such measures that might be taken to make sure that no one, Muslim or non-Muslim, thinks that an American withdrawal from Iraq is a sign of weakness. It would, or could be, a sign of mental clarity, and indeed, of a highly desirable end to messianic sentimentalism, and an embrace of uncompromising, and indeed ruthless, realism.