BAD CHOICES, WORSE CHOICES
Iran is building nukes and anyone who believes Iranian statements to the contrary is gullible in the extreme. Russia is selling Iran defensive missile systems, presumably to protect those areas which need the highest degree of protection – those areas where the nuclear development is taking place. Syria, on the other hand, is brazenly assassinating anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians in a naked attempt to re-occupy and eventually annex Lebanon, a sovereign state and fledgling democracy.
Some will owe this situation to our actions in Iraq, but they would be wrong. Iran has been a rogue state since the revolution that began its “great step backward” in 1979 and it is a culture that has been politically devolving ever since. Now they seem to be a leadership hopelessly mired in medieval attitudes and animosities on the fast track to arming themselves with the most terrible and destructive weapons known to man. Syria, on the other hand, has long been a belligerent state, financing, arming and generally facilitating civil unrest throughout the Middle East. Relations between Syria and the West have fluctuated between warm and cold through the years, but I think this is more a result of doing what is necessary to maintain their influence rather than any form of developing moderation.
Often, there are no good choices and bad choices – instead, we are confronted with bad choices and worse choices, but choose we must. History is rife with examples choices between lesser of evils and those examples have taught us that not choosing is often the worst choice of all.
Post 9/11, it became clear that, in the global war against “radical Islam” (a term I find somewhat redundant), we had but two choices – forcibly confront Islam from without or attempt to moderate Islam’s medieval, violent tenets with freedom and democracy from within. We chose the latter option in the hope that self-moderation would follow civilizational development in a region that has remained stagnant for centuries. Since Iraq had spent more than a decade thumbing its collective nose at the U.S. and numerous U.N. resolutions, threatening its neighbors and lusting after (and developing) WMDs, it was targeted for regime change. This was a daunting challenge, to be sure, but a far preferable starting point than the former.
The United States is in Iraq trying to promote a fragile democracy while Iran and Syria are doing everything on their power to negate our efforts, including the wholesale murder of Iraqi civilians and sending fighters into Iraq to attack U.S. troops. A functioning, free democracy in the heart of the Middle East is terrifying to the despotic regimes that have defined Middle Eastern politics for decades, or rather, centuries. The depots in question will stop at nothing to see that the Iraqi experiment ends in failure, lest they lose control of their own populace. Much as Poland’s defiance of the Soviet Union spelled the beginning of the end of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe, a liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East could portend profound changes, for the better, in the political landscape of the region and Iran and Syria may well be the first recipients (or in their eyes, victims) of that change.
The Iraq war has not been an easy one, though enormously more successful and costing far fewer U.S. lives than its early critics had predicted. Nonetheless, the military action that was once enjoyed enormous support has become an unpopular albatross due to our inability to wrap it up in a tidy package in under three years. The fault lies not in our military prowess, but rather in the short attention span of our populace exacerbated by a full-court press by the MSM. The Islamofacists are not going away and the actions of Iran and Syria as well as their subsequent disregard of “World opinion” thereof clearly shows that they have been emboldened rather than chastised. They smell blood in the water in the form of weakness and fatigue on the part of the west.
Thanks to the never-ending concentration on the negative and complete disregard of the positive emanating from a collection of Democrat politicians and “peace advocate” throwbacks and amplified by the media, our nation’s resolve has been all but vanquished. With those Democrats now controlling the Congress and Senate, retreat is quickly moving from possibility to probability. This development elicits glee not only from Democrats, but from Iran, Syria and a host of other terrorist thugs who have been patiently waiting for America’s dogs of war to be transformed into the puppies of appeasement.
Is this really what the American people want? Do we want to watch Iraq descend into chaos and civil war as those brave Iraqi citizens who embraced democracy are the first to be slaughtered? Would not even the most vehement Bush-Haters among us agree that even a semi-progressive democracy in Iraq is not only far preferable to an aggressive tyranny, but is also conducive to spreading throughout the region? Do we really feel that three years is too long to invade, conquer, rebuild, reform and leave a functioning, free state, particularly when surrounding states (Iran, Syria) actively aid and abet our opposition? Does our loyalty to and support for those who seek freedom and democracy have an expiration date?
If your answers to these questions are “yes”, your vision is sadly obscured by the lens of partisan politics. The “war is not the answer” attitude has been superceded by those who clearly state their goals (destruction of Israel, global Islamic domination, etc.) and on a daily basis demonstrate that they will literally stop at nothing in order to achieve them. Those who feel that negotiation is the answer choose to ignore the fact that submission to Islam is non-negotiable.
There is still time for the Democrats, et al to step back from the precipice of ignominy and stand with the democrats of Iraq. There is still time to show that the United States is the greatest friend to those who choose freedom and self-determination over tyranny and despotism and the greatest foe to those who oppose it. I would like to think that the sober reality of leadership will erode the rhetoric of the campaign and those who championed the “cut and run” strategy will reconsider in view of its disastrous implications.
The clock is ticking.