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Defining victory in Iraq

By Henry Lamb
web posted December 12, 2005

Victory in Iraq can be declared when there is an elected representative government in place that controls Iraqi security forces of sufficient strength and experience to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from gaining control of the nation by force of arms.

This victory is essential to the defense of the United States. If there is ever to be relief from the suicide bombers and treachery of the Islamic terrorists, it must come from inside the Muslim world. Iraq offers the best hope of establishing an alternative to the Islamic extremism that has been expanding throughout the world in recent decades.

Make no mistake about it, the goal of the Islamic extremists is to hijack Islam, and convert the entire Arab world into their vision of how society should be organized. Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban provides a good example of what their ideal world would be like.

The war against terrorism is not simply a search for Osama bin Laden, and Al Zarquari. It is a war against the ideology advanced by these people: that all who live outside their narrow vision of how life should be lived, are infidels worthy of slaughter by any and all means.

Iraqi soldiers hold election campaign posters for the Iraqi National list carrying pictures of the head of the list, Shiite secular leader and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi while receiving released prisoners in Baghdad, Iraq on December 11, 2005
Iraqi soldiers hold election campaign posters for the Iraqi National list carrying pictures of the head of the list, Shiite secular leader and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi while receiving released prisoners in Baghdad, Iraq on December 11, 2005

If the Iraqis can create an elected, representative government that can demonstrate the benefits of freedom, the example will have profound influence throughout all of Islam. When Muslims see the results of free speech, free expression, free elections, and economic opportunities that arise from a free market economy, this message will be far more compelling than obedience to any dictator.

This victory cannot be achieved by bringing U.S. troops home now, as the leadership of the Democrat party demands. In fact, withdrawal of U.S. support before victory is achieved is worse than surrender to the Islamic extremists. It would also condemn the Iraqi people who have risked their lives to achieve freedom, to retribution from the extremists, and decades more of tyranny. Iraq would become the new Afghanistan, a haven for terrorists to train and export their fanaticism throughout the world.

Nancy Pelosi says that the majority of Congressional Democrats support John Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says victory cannot be achieved. The public voice of the Democrat base, led by the likes of Ramsey Clark, says that President Bush should be on trial instead of Saddam Hussein.

Democrats appear to be fanning the flame of discontent over Iraq, in hopes of gaining ground in the mid-term elections, regardless of the impact their political pronouncements may have on the troops, or on the outcome of the war. Constant criticism of the war by the Democrat leadership, amplified by the media, gives encouragement to the terrorists who know full well that the only way they can win, is for America to withdraw.

The war on terrorism should not be a partisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans - as well as those who fit neither description - should realize that the war on terrorism is finally an effort by the United States to stop, and reverse, the spread of Islamic fanaticism. All Americans should realize that these Islamic fanatics will use any destructive device, anywhere, to inflict terror as a means of intimidating people to cower before their rule.

They have inflicted enormous suffering inside the United States, and have tried unsuccessfully to stage more attacks. They have attacked innocent civilians in other nations as well. Those who try to separate the London attacks from the bombings in Spain and Indonesia, from the attack on the World Trade Center, from the constant attacks on Israel and from the war in Iraq - are focusing on the trees, and fail to see the forest. All these attacks arise from the same ideology - regardless of who wears the bomb or plants the explosive devise.

America should present a united front against this ideology in Iraq, and in every corner of the world where it raises its ugly head. If we allow the vocal Democrats to cloud the issue and delude the country into believing that victory is not possible, as Howard Dean says, or that the war in Iraq is "U.S. aggression" as Ramsey Clark says, or that the troops should be withdrawn immediately, as John Murtha says, then the terrorists will win.

The President's first responsibility - whether Democrat or Republican - is to defend this nation from all enemies. In the name of Islamic fanaticism, Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States, and orchestrated an attack on this country. The U.S. response is correctly against the ideology of Islamic fanaticism - terrorism - whether perpetrated by Osama bin Laden, Al Zarquari, Hussein, or anyone else, in any country.

Victory in Iraq is not only possible, it is essential, if there is to be any hope of winning the war against terrorism.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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