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June 5, 2005

The Consequences of Failure

This morning in the Washington Times the lead editorial was so "right on" that I thought I'd share it with you. Now, I'm sure that most of my readers will also say "right on!" after you read it, so in that sense it's nothing new.

But that's ok, because that's one thing that makes Internet blogging so grea; the ability to spread good ideas. Well, that and the ability to spread the absolutely whacko stuff spoken by the likes of Eason Jordan, Linda Foley, and our newest corporate bigwig whacko; Indra Nooyi. But I don't want to get too far off on a tangent so I'll get back to what I was talking about.

The editorial is by Clifford May, and unfortunately for some reason the Times doesn't have it on their website, so I went to townhall.com to get it. Which is fine, but the Times can be frustrating like that sometimes.

May asks what the result would be if we simply gave up and pulled out of Iraq. What might happen if we up and agreed with the liberals in the Democrat Party and the mainstream media that Iraq was a hopeless quagmire and that the only thing to do was to pull out?

It surely would mean a blood bath as the Ba'athist insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists settled scores and demonstrated – as an object lesson for others -- the price that must be paid for collaborating with American infidels.

Iraqi terrorist training camps would no doubt be re-opened. Refurbishing Salman Pak, for example, not only would humiliate America but, more practically, could turn out skilled replacements for those combatants lost during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

On a conceptual level, it would now be apparent that America's flight from Beirut after the slaughter of its Marines in 1983, its hasty withdrawal from Somalia ten years later, its refusal to hold any terrorist nation, dictator or group responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing – these were not flukes or mistakes but points in a trend line. It would confirm the belief that the West is in decline and that a superior force is destined to prevail – exactly what both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have long predicted.

Al-Qaeda, Saddam loyalists, agents of the Iranian mullahs – whichever group or alliance of groups emerged on top in Iraq would build on their success. Before long we could expect an “insurgency” in Kuwait: the assassination of a few key figures, some beheadings and suicide bombings. The wave would continue into Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and beyond. Who would stop it? How would they stop it?

With expanding territory, population and resources, including vast oil wealth, the leaders of the new totalitarian confederation or empire – or caliphate -- could manipulate the world's economy to its benefit and to the detriment of those few nations who might dare obstruct their ascendance. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons would soon be theirs. They'd want them only for peaceful purposes, of course; and for deterrence.

Before long, the dream of both Saddam and bin Laden would be realized. There would be an oil-rich, nuclear-armed new superpower, a true rival to the decadent and divided West. Quietly, it would empower “non-state actors,” AKA, terrorist groups.

In Europe, radical Islamists would become increasingly demanding. They'd find European leaders surprisingly accommodating. Americans, by contrast, would be obstreperous and try to better seal their borders. Such efforts would only delay the inevitable. Chances are that, eventually, a nuclear weapon or germ bomb would be detonated in some American population center. World leaders would express sympathy. But what could be done? Investigate who had supplied it to whom? Ask the United Nations to impose sanctions? Retaliate against the civilian populations of Baghdad and Tehran?

So let's break down what he is saying and go over each part a bit:

One, Iraq will experience a bloodbath that will rival Saddam's murders. And they think things are bad now. This happened, recall, when we pulled out of Vietnam. More people were killed by the communists in South Vietnam and Cambodia (mainly the latteer) after the war than during it. We'll have another episode of "boat people", just don't count on the liberals to be there to pick them up.

Two, terrorists newly trained in Iraq will come forth to wreck havoc on the rest of the world. Ok, I can just hear it, some pointy-head anti-war type is saying "see! see! if you'd never invaded we wouldn't have this problem!" Uh, you miss the point. If we hadn't taken down Saddam we'd eventually have had a Iraq free of sanctions and armed with WMD. The sanctions were falling apart by 2003, but I don't have time to go into that now.

Three, Al-Quada would establish their Caliphate and institute fundamendalist Islam throughout as much of the world as they can.
They would create a regular army and send it forth to wreck havoc on the world. And you thought terrorists were trouble? Hmm, there's a historical analogy here somewhere, let me think. Oh yes, there it is; can you say "Third Reich"? Remember that Hitler wanted to recreate what he saw as past German glories. Hard as it is for the modern western mind to grasp, the crazies in Al-Qaeda want to to the same for Islam.

The horror of the post-war in Vietnam would be tame compared to Iraq. May knows that some will say that defeat in Vietnam wasn't so bad, because

...after the U.S. defeat in Vietnam life returned to normal for most Americans. But Ho Chi Min had modest ambitions. He never sought to topple the American colossus; the Viet Cong never attempted to massacre Americans on American soil.

Exactly.

Fortunately for the other countries in the region such as Thailand, they were able to use the time we fought the communists in Vietnam to arm themselves. And the North Vietnamese were so exhausted by the war that they didn't have the strengh to spread their ideology to neighboring countries.

This time is different. As Clifford May says, "Failure is Not an Option" No indeed.

Posted by Tom at June 5, 2005 9:53 PM

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