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Walking the Wrong Way


Editorial in New York Times
August 21, 2005

The Bush administration has announced plans for a Freedom Walk on Sept. 11, which will start at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall, and include a country music concert. The event is an ill-considered attempt to link the Iraq war to the terrorist attacks of 2001, and misguided in almost every conceivable way. It also badly misreads the public's mood. The American people are becoming increasingly skeptical about the war. They want answers to hard questions, not pageantry.

It is perfectly appropriate for the Defense Department to organize a memorial for Americans who died on Sept. 11, since many were Pentagon employees. It is also fine to pay tribute to the sacrifices being made by the troops in Iraq. What is disturbing is the Bush administration's insistence on combining the two in a politically loaded day of marching and entertainment.

Having failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the administration has been eager to repackage the war as a response to Sept. 11. The Freedom Walk appears to be devised to impress this false connection on the popular imagination.

The walk will end with a concert by the country musician Clint Black. Mr. Black is a gifted entertainer, but his song about the Iraq war, "I Raq and Roll" - which contains such lyrics as "our troops take out the garbage, for the good old U.S.A." - sends a jingoistic message that is particularly out of place at a memorial service.

The Freedom Walk is being organized at a time when popular opinion has been turning against the war. In recent days, Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, has attracted enormous attention with her protest outside President Bush's Crawford, Tex., ranch. The increasing war toll and the sad stories of multiple losses in some communities are reinforcing the message that the invasion of Iraq has not been pain-free for all of the country. The mother of a fallen marine, Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II - one of 16 Ohio-based marines killed in a recent three-day period - said last week that the president should either "fight this war right or get out."

These mothers are expressing concerns that a growing number of Americans share. In a recent Associated Press poll, just 38 percent of those surveyed approved of President Bush's handling of Iraq. In a Gallup poll this month, 57 percent said the war has made the United States less safe from terrorism.

The Bush administration took the nation to war on the basis of a bundle of ever-changing arguments, few of which stood up once the fighting began. Ever since, the White House has tried to shore up its positions by discounting all bad news and shielding the civilian public from any war-connected inconvenience. But that strategy has very clearly stopped working. It is time for a somber acceptance of the war's costs, and some specific talk about what the nation's goals and strategy are in Iraq.

The Defense Department's ham-handed mixture of mourning and celebration, and its misleading subtext, feels as if it was dreamed up by an overly slick image consultant. It is not the kind of program the administration should be sponsoring, unless it wants to give the impression that the Pentagon's mood is less serious than the public's.
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I think there is a lot bigger picture here, than is even being considered , as identified in the following article
Why are we in Iraq? This is convincing to me.

I fully realize that my e-mails are not always entertaining - but when I send one, it is something I feel strongly about - and the message is worthy, in my opinion, of serious consideration. This message on our Iraq involvement presents some solid historic perspectives - it is a LONG text, and perhaps somewhat over-extended - but the author describes a real crisis facing all of us - Sept 11th, 2001 was not the start of this new conflict - but it should have really gotten our attention, and focused our national resolve.
If you disagree with this text - especially if you disagree strongly - let me know.

Subject: Why are we in Iraq?

((About the Writer: Raymond Kraft is a lawyer and writer living and working in Northern California. Raymond receives e-mail at rskraft@vfr.net .))

Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat, and had sunk more than four hundred British ships in their convoys between England and America for food and war materials.

Bushido Japan had overrun most of Asia, beginning in 1928, killing millions of civilians throughout China, and impressing millions more as slave labor.

The United States was in an isolationist and pacifist mood, and most Americans and Congress wanted nothing to do with the European war, or the Asian war.

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, which had not attacked us.

It was a dicey thing. We had few allies.

France was not an ally, for the Vichy government of France aligned with its German occupiers. Germany was not an ally, for it was an enemy, and Hitler intended to set up A Thousand-Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, for it was intent on owning and controlling all of Asia. Japan and Germany had long-term ideas of invading Canada and Mexico, and then the United States over the north and south borders, after they had settled control of Asia and Europe.

America's allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia, and that was about it. There were no other countries of any size or military significance with the will and ability to contribute much of anything to the effort to defeat Hitler's Germany and Japan, and prevent the global dominance of Nazism. And we had to send millions of tons of arms, munitions, and war supplies to Russia, England, and the Canadians, Aussies, Irish, and Scots, because none of them could produce all they needed for themselves.

All of Europe, from Norway to Italy, except Russia in the east, was already under the Nazi heel.

America was not prepared for war. America had stood down most of its military after World War I and throughout the depression. At the outbreak of World War II there were army soldiers training with broomsticks over their shoulders because they didn't have guns, and using cars with ''tank'' painted on the doors because they didn't have tanks. And a big chunk of our navy had just been sunk and damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600m given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by Hitler. Actually, Belgium surrendered one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day anyway, just to prove they could. Britain had been holding out for two years already in the face of staggering shipping loses and the near-decimation of its air force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later and turning his attention to Russia, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse in the late summer of 1940.

Russia saved America's rear by putting up a desperate fight for two years until the United States got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany. Russia lost something like 24 million people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow, 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a million soldiers. More than a million! Had Russia surrendered, then, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire campaign against the Brits, then America, and the Nazis would have won that war.

Had Hitler not made that mistake and invaded England in 1940 or 1941, instead, there would have been no England for the United States and the Brits to use as a staging ground to prepare an assault on Nazi Europe. England would not have been able to run its North African campaign to help take a little pressure off Russia while America geared up for battle, and today Europe would very probably be run by the Nazis, the Third Reich, and, isolated and without any allies (not even the Brits). The United States would very likely have had to cede Asia to the Japanese, who were basically Nazis by another name then, and the world we live in today would be very different and much worse.

I say this to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. And we are now at another one.

There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has or wants to have, and may soon have the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world, unless it is prevented from doing so.

France, Germany, and Russia, have been selling these Islamic nations weapons technology at least as recently as 2002, as have North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan, paid for with billions of dollars that Saddam Hussein skimmed from the "Oil For Food" program administered by the United Nations with the complicity of Kofi Annan and his son.

The Jihadis, or the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs. They believe that Islam, a radically conservative (definitely not liberal) form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe and then the world. All who do not bow to Allah should be killed, enslaved or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, and purge the world of Jews. This is what they say.

There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation today, but it is not yet known which will win the Inquisition, or the Reformation.

If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, or the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, and the OPEC oil, and the United States, European, and Asian economies the techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC. This is not an OPEC dominated by the well educated and rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis.

You want gas in your car? You want heating oil next winter? You want jobs? You want the dollar to be worth anything? You better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions and live in peace with the rest of the world, move out of the 10th Century into the 21st Century. Then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away, and a moderate and prosperous Middle East will emerge.

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda, the Islamic terrorist movements.

We have to do it somewhere, we cannot do it just anywhere and we cannot do it everywhere at once.

We have created a focal point for the battle now at the time and place of our choosing, in Iraq. Not in New York, not in London, or Paris, or Berlin, but in Iraq, where we did and are doing two very important things:

(1) We deposed Saddam Hussein and whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11 or not the issue. It is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades, Saddam is a terrorist. Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible for the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians.

(2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq and we have focused the battle. We are killing bad guys there, and the ones we get there we won't have to get here, or anywhere else. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed.

The Euros could have done this, but they didn't, and they won't. We now know that rather than opposing the rise of the Jihad, the French, Germans, and Russians were selling them arms. We have found more than a million tons of weapons and munitions in Iraq. If Iraq was not a threat to anyone, why did Saddam need a million tons of weapons?

Additionally, Iraq was paying for French, German, and Russian arms with money skimmed from the United Nations Oil for Food Program (supervised by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and his son) that was supposed to pay for food, medicine, and education, for Iraqi children.

World War II, the war with the German and Japanese Nazis, really began with a ''whimper'' in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of China. It was at war for fourteen years before America joined in it. It officially ended in 1945 a 17 year war and was followed by another decade of United States occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own again a 27 year war. World War II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year's GNP adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars. World War II cost America more than 400,000 killed in action, and nearly 100,000 are still missing in action.

The Iraq war has so far cost the United States about $120 billion, which is roughly what 9/11 cost New York. It has also cost about 1,000 American lives, which is roughly 1/3 of the 3,000 lives that the Jihad snuffed on 9/11.

But the cost of not fighting and winning World War II would have been unimaginably greater, a world that would now be dominated by German and Japanese Nazism.

Americans have a short attention span, now, conditioned I suppose by 30 minute television shows and 2 hour movies in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. It always has been, and probably always will be.

If we do this thing in Iraq successfully, it is probable that the Reformation will ultimately prevail. Many Muslims in the Middle East hope it will. We will be there to support it. It has begun in some countries, Libya, for instance also Dubai and Saudi Arabia. If we fail, the Inquisition will probably prevail, and terrorism from Islam will be with us for all the foreseeable future, because the people of the Inquisition, or Jihad, believe that they are called by Allah to kill all the Infidels, and that death in Jihad is glorious.

The bottom line here is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away on its own. It will not go away if we ignore it.

If the United States can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an ''England'' in the Middle East, a platform from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East. The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates. The Iraq war is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. And now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons unless we or somebody does prevent them.

The Iraq war is expensive, and uncertain, yes. But the consequences of not fighting it and winning it will be horrifically greater. We have four options:

1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran's progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East, now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.

4. Or we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and maybe most of the rest of Europe. It will be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier then.

Yes, the Jihadis say that they look forward to an Islamic America. If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today.

We can be defeatist, as many Democrats and liberals, peace activists, and anti-war types seem to be, and concede or surrender to the Jihad or we can do whatever it takes to win this war against them.

The history of the world is the history of civil clashes, or cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like and the most determined always win. Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.

In the 20th Century it was western democracy vs. communism, and before that western democracy vs. Nazism, and before that Western democracy vs. German imperialism. Western democracy won, three times, but it wasn't cheap, fun, nice, easy, or quick. Indeed, the wars against German Imperialism (World War I), Nazi Imperialism (World War II), and communist imperialism (the 40-year Cold War that included the Vietnam Battle, commonly called the Vietnam War, but itself a major battle in a larger war) covered almost the entire century.

The first major war of the 21st Century is the war between Western Judeo/Christian Civilization and Wahhabi Islam. It may last a few more years, or most of this century. It will last until the Wahhabi branch of Islam fades away, or gives up its ambitions for regional and global dominance and Jihad, or until Western Civilization gives in to the Jihad.

Remember, perspective is everything, and America's schools teach too little history. The Cold War lasted from about 1947 to 1989 at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Forty-two years. Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany. World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation and the United States still has troops in Germany and Japan. World War II resulted in the death of more than 50 million people, maybe more than 100 million people, depending on which estimates you accept. The United States has taken a little more than 1,000 Killed-in-Action (KIA) in Iraq. The United States took more than 4,000 KIA on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism. In World War II the United States averaged 2,000 KIA a week for four years. Most of the individual battles of World War II lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far.

But the stakes are at least as high: a world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms--or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, and by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia.

I do not understand why many Americans do not grasp this. Too much television I guess.

Many Americans profess to be in favor of human rights, civil rights, liberty, freedom, and all that. But not for Iraqis, I guess. In America, but nowhere else. The 300,000 Iraqi bodies in mass graves in Iraq, not our problem. The United States population is about twelve times that of Iraq, so let's multiply 300,000 by twelve. What would you think if there were 3,600,000 American bodies in mass graves in America because of our president? Would you not want another country to help liberate America?

''Peace Activists'' always seem to demonstrate where it's safe and ineffective to do so: in America. Why don't we see peace activists demonstrating in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and North Korea; in the places in the world that really need peace activism the most?

Are we not supposed to be in favor of human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc? Well, if the Jihad wins and wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc. Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy. If the Jihad wins, it is the death of ALL OTHER "ISMS"! Too many Americans JUST DON'T GET IT!

I TRULY BELIEVE THE ABOVE TO BE A MOST REALISTIC THREAT, NOT TO THE REPUBLICAN NOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BUT, FAR MORE IMPORTANT....TO OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, DEAR FRIENDS AND ALL FELLOW AMERICANS

Bush should not be allowed to try to further connect the Iraq war with 9-11....There is no connection....He and his administration and their followers are liars....He should be called on it by all citizens who value truth from their Government.

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