Sometimes people focus on little things, and miss the big things. Hardly anybody hasn’t heard the old saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” This is precisely the case with the war in Iraq. Quite a few want to see it as, to quote Democrat Senator John Kerry during the presidential campaign, “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Maybe they subscribe to this view for partisan political reasons, seizing upon this cute phrase in order to criticize a President they intensely dislike. They most often recite some dopey factoid like the one that blames the Bush administration for falsely thinking there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, ignoring the truthful fact that everybody in the world thought there were WMD in Iraq.
Perhaps they have not thought through the issue very well, instead believing the mass media reporting that leads one toward a gross misunderstanding of the circumstances in the post-9/11 world.
Or maybe they are simply unable to pull back and see the bigger picture, seeing a tree here and there, but ignoring the forest right before their eyes.
They fail to understand the full significance of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a third target suspected to be either the White House or the U.S. Capital building. It was on that day that Americans should finally have understood that Islamic terrorists had the United States in their sights, even though it was not the first such attack, which occurred nearly thirty years earlier, nor even the first on American soil, back in 1993 when the first World Trade Center bombing took place.
Americans are a little slow on the uptake where Islamic terrorism is concerned.
Islamic terrorism predates the first WTC bombing by more than 20 years, since the kidnapping and subsequent deaths of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic games. America has been a target for nearly as long. Fifty-two American citizens were taken hostage when militant students of radical Islam stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Since then some of our embassies have been bombed, the Marine barracks in Beruit was bombed, airplanes and cruise ships have been hijacked, Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, the USS Cole was attacked in a harbor in Yemen.
Despite this decades-long history, many Americans still do not understand the threat posed by radical Islam. Among the good, the bad, and the ugly that came from the presidency of Bill Clinton was “compartmentalization,” referring to the then-President’s ability to separate unpleasant things from the larger whole to which they belong, as if they didn’t exist. Many Americans want to compartmentalize the Iraq war, to separate it from the whole to which it belongs – the war against Islamic terrorism – and instead imagine the two are not connected. In addition to this failure to correctly connect the dots is a second failure, that of misunderstanding the true nature of Islam.
We are told that Islam is as a religion of peace. However, evidence suggests otherwise. Islam dictates the social, economic and political life of the twenty-one different Arab nations of the Middle East that includes Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. According to the League of Arab States, the Arab people enjoy common bonds of history and tradition, and consider that they are all part of one nation.
The teachings of Islam are comprised of both faith and duty. One branch of Muslim learning defines all that a man should believe, while the other branch prescribes everything that he should do. Islam’s advocates must perform duties, the “five pillars of faith”: Creed, Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, and Pilgrimage. A sixth religious duty associated with the five pillars is Jihad, or Holy War, which requires that if the situation warrants, men are required to go to war to defend or spread Islam. If they are killed, they are guaranteed eternal life in Paradise.
Despite that the five pillars appear to be elements of a religion, Islam is not merely a religion. Far more comprehensive than that, it is a culture, a way of life of which religion is but one component. Islam also has an economic component and a political component. Islam is an intolerant philosophy that brands Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, believers of other faiths and creeds and those who believe in no supreme being as infidels who deserve to die to cleanse the earth of non-Islamic influences.
Terrorism is the political component of Islam, and today is the prime force of its three components. It easily subjugates the peaceful tenants in the religious component, if any truly exist.
Islamic terrorism is Jihad, and today Jihad is the face of Islam.
It is an ugly, evil face. If “good Muslims” oppose the evil deeds of their brutal, murderous brethren, that opposition is whispered, if spoken at all.
Islam as described by the League of Arab States unites all Muslims in a common culture with a common cause: spreading Islam across the world. In this, Saddam Hussein was a major influence.
Deroy Murdock, a Senior Fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, published a well-documented report, Saddam Hussein's Philanthropy of Terror, highlighting Saddam's ties to Islamic terrorism, in the Hudson Institute's American Outlook magazine's fall 2003 edition. In it he states: “Many critics of the war in Iraq belittle claims of Saddam Hussein's ties to terrorism. In fact, for years, he was militant Islam's Benefactor-in-Chief.”
The U.S. went to war against a brutal Islamic dictator whom the world believed possessed weapons of mass destruction, a dictator who had previously used these weapons against his own people, and who was a source of support for Islamic terrorism. That war was won in short order. But Islamic terrorists have not given up, and will not give up. They ignore Hussein’s brutality against his own people, and his support for Jihad against the West, because they share his belief system: Islam. Radical Muslims fear freedom, they hate the infidels of the West and of the free world and will do all they can to see that Iraq remains a place where radical Islamic fundamentalism can thrive, and the Jihad against the West can fester.
Failing to comprehend that the war in Iraq is an integral part of the war against terrorism is to ignore reality.
Some day, just as it has come to appreciate the United States for its brave and noble stand against the Japanese and Germans in World War II, the world will hopefully come to understand that the U.S. once again has stood tall in the face of this menace and threat to peace and freedom.