Monday, May 14, 2007
As seen at the indispensable MichaelTotten.com, a pointer to a guest editorial in the New York Daily News.
This editorial -- by Mohammed Fadhil, one of the blogging brothers of Iraq the Model -- is so extraordinary that I feel I must quote it in full:
A Baghdad plea: U.S. should stay and fight
By MOHAMMED FADHIL
Thursday, May 10th 2007, 4:00 AM
Be Our Guest
I wasn't surprised when I saw Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appear on Al Jazeera to announce America's defeat last week, not long after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did. Zawahiri claims Al Qaeda has won, and Reid claims America has lost.
But from here in Baghdad, I see only a war that's still raging - with no victory in sight for Al Qaeda or any other entity. In fact, I see Al Qaeda on the ropes, losing support among my fellow Iraqis.
In the midst of such a fierce war, sending more wrong messages could only further complicate an already complicated situation. It would only create more of a mess inside Iraq - a mess that would then be exploited by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia for their own purposes: more iron-fisted control of the peoples and treasures of the region, more pushing the Middle East to crises and confrontations, and more spreading of their dark, backward ideologies.
And so, as an Iraqi, I say without hesitation: the American forces should stay here, and further reinforcements should be sent if the situation requires them. Not only that, these forces should be prepared to expand their operations whenever and wherever necessary to strike hard at the nests of evil that not only threaten Iraq and the Middle East, but seek to blackmail the whole world in the ugliest way through pursuing nuclear weapons.
It is up to us to show tyrants and murderers like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, Syria's Bashar Assad, and their would-be imitators who seek to control Iraq's people and wealth that we, the people, are not their possessions. They can't take out our humanity and they can't force us to back down.
The world should ask them to leave our land before asking the soldiers of freedom to do so.
The cost of liberating Europe in the last century was enormous in blood and treasure. In fact, it took half a century of American military presence thereafter to protect those nations from subsequent threats. If that made sense during a Cold War, and it did, then I don't understand why anyone would demand a pullout from Iraq (and maybe later, the entire Middle East) when the enemies are using every evil technique, from booby trapped dead animals to hijacked civilian aircrafts, to kill innocents.
And so, my friends, I will call for fighting this war just as powerfully as the bad guys do - because I must show them that I'm stronger than they are. The people of America need to understand this: the enemies of a stable Iraq are America's enemies, and they simply do not understand the language of civilization and reason.
They understand only power. It is with power they took over their countries and held their peoples hostage. Everything they accomplished was through absolute control over the assets of their nations through murder, torture, repression and intimidation.
Those who prefer to bury their heads in the dirt today, and withdraw from this difficult fight, will be cursed forever for abandoning their duty when they were most capable. I don't understand why someone who has all the tools for victory would refuse to fight an enemy that reminds us every day that it is evil - with all the daily beheadings, torture and violations of all humane laws and values.
With America's help - and only with its help - the decent people of Iraq can still prevail.
Please note that, other than his plea for American troops to be permitted to finish what they started, Mr. Fadhil is not asking for anything. Have another look at his fifth paragraph -- he understands fully that he, and his Iraqi countrymen, must win this fight. He does not ask that America win his battles for him; he asks that America help, as America has done elsewhere, many times before.
He's not even asking the nay-sayers to shut up. He's simply saying that, if you demand that U.S. troops must leave Iraqi soil, you're ignoring the murderers and the terrorists from Iran and Syria and elsewhere... and it would make far more sense to eject them first.
And I don't know about you, but I'm haunted by the nightmare vision in his second-to-last paragraph: Those who prefer to bury their heads in the dirt today, and withdraw from this difficult fight, will be cursed forever for abandoning their duty when they were most capable. We gave our word to the Iraqi people that we would help them; we also gave our word to the terrorists and Islamofascists that we would defeat them. How will history see us, if we walk away from our promises now?
I'm reminded of the powerful words of Winston Churchill: "Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, and still yet if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you, and only a precarious chance for survival. - There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
I don't think there was ever a time when we could depose Saddam "easily, without bloodshed" -- but we have been fighting, and can continue to fight, "when [our] victory will be sure and not so costly". (Yes, I'm quite willing to speak of a "sure victory". How long did the military occupation of Germany last? How about Japan? It took more than ten years, in both countries, to achieve true stability and peace, but achieve it we did -- and we have troops in both countries to this day. As for "not so costly", 3000 fallen American troops is indeed a heavy price to pay... but it pales in comparison to the butcher's bill for WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or any other major conflict we've ever fought.)
For the day may yet come when foreign terrorists, emboldened by their apparent success in driving American troops back home, will strike again at an America cowering within its own borders. (Some of our own elected representatives seem to be doing all they can to bring that day closer.) If we shudder now at the thought of daily car-bombs in Fallujah, how will we feel about them in Minneapolis?
I'm glad that Mr. Fadhil saw fit to write this, and see it published. And I'm deeply sorry that it was necessary for him to do so.