Monday, August 28, 2006

A Review of Why We Are In Iraq, Part II

“DESPITE VIRTUAL round-the-clock coverage of the war between Israel and Hezbollah, one important aspect remains poorly understood: the reaction of the "Arab street."

Turn on any Arab television channel, though, and you can't miss the rage and widespread support for Hezbollah and Hamas: streets roiling with protesters, callers to talk programs denouncing Israel and the United States, and clerics defending Hezbollah and calling for holy war.

Five years after 9/11, the West still struggles to understand the rage that pushes Arab masses to view radical groups as heroic forces of resistance. On one extreme, there are those who indict Islam or Arab culture. On the other, there are those who blame it on Israeli aggression and U.S. bias for Israel. Both are equally simplistic explanations of the contemporary Arab mindset, which stems largely from how Arab governments have deliberately nurtured this anger toward Israel -- and increasingly the United States -- for more than five decades. Providence Journal, August 25, 2006

Khairi Abaza, a former official of the Egyptian Wafd Party, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

In part I of this series, I explained that the basic American strategy in fighting Islamic terrorism is 1. to draw the terrorists into Iraq and kill them there, and 2. to try to change the deadly dynamics and cycles of violence in the Middle East by introducing democracy and an opportunity to join the 21st century to its inhabitants. That this would be a long and messy process was well understood by anyone with an open mind and with some knowledge of the history of the area. That this also takes courage, patriotism and determination is lost on a large segment of the American population that has none of the above. I also presented in Part I an excerpt from a speech by Haim Harari, former President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, given two years ago. Here in Part II is the rest of his speech:

“A few more years may pass before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already well into it. The first element is the suicide murder. Suicide murders are not new invention but they have been made popular, if I may use this expression, only lately. Even after September 11, it seems that most of the Western World does not yet understand this weapon. It is a very potent psychological weapon. Its real direct impact is relatively minor. The total number of casualties from hundreds of suicide murders within Israel in the last three years is much smaller than those due to car accidents. September 11 was quantitatively much less lethal than many earthquakes. More people die from AIDS in one day in Africa than all the Russians who died in the hands of Chechnya-based Moslem suicide murderers since that conflict started. Saddam killed every month more people than all those who died from suicide murders since the Coalition occupation of Iraq.

So what is all the fuss about suicide killings? It creates headlines. It is spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey.

But the real fear comes from the undisputed fact that no defense and no preventive measures can succeed against a determined suicide murderer. This has not yet penetrated the thinking of the Western World. The U.S. and Europe are constantly improving their defense against the last murder, not the next one. We may arrange for the best airport security in the world. But if you want to murder by suicide, you do not have to board a plane in order to explode yourself and kill many people. Who could stop a suicide murder in the midst of the crowded line waiting to be checked by the airport metal detector? How about the lines to the check-in counters in a busy travel period? Put a metal detector in front of every train station in Spain and the terrorists will get the buses. Protect the buses and they will explode in movie theaters, concert halls, supermarkets, shopping malls, schools and hospitals. Put guards in front of every concert hall and there will always be a line of people to be checked by the guards and this line will be the target, not to speak of killing the guards themselves. You can somewhat reduce your vulnerability by preventive and defensive measures and by strict border controls but not eliminate it and definitely not in the war in a defensive way. And it is a war.

What is behind the suicide murders? Money, power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself. No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead.

Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair. The poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there. There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures, countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more despair in Saddam's Iraq then in Paul Bremmer's Iraq, and no one exploded himself. A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel, inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard to human life, including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power.

The only way to fight this new "popular" weapon is identical to the only way in which you fight organized crime or pirates on the high seas: the offensive way. Like in the case of organized crime, it is crucial that the forces on the offensive be united and it is crucial to reach the top of the crime pyramid. You cannot eliminate organized crime by arresting the little drug dealer in the street corner. You must go after the head of the "Family".

If part of the public supports it, others tolerate it, many are afraid of it and some try to explain it away by poverty or by a miserable childhood, organized crime will thrive and so will terrorism. The United States understands this now, after September 11. Russia is beginning to understand it. Turkey understands it well. I am very much afraid that most of Europe still does not understand it. Unfortunately, it seems that Europe will understand it only after suicide murders will arrive in Europe in a big way. In my humble opinion, this will definitely happen. The Spanish trains and the Istanbul bombings are only the beginning. The unity of the Civilized World in fighting this horror is absolutely indispensable. Until Europe wakes up, this unity will not be achieved." Haim Harari

Washington Post, August 25, 2006, Excerpts:

Between March 21, 2003, when the first military death was recorded in Iraq, and March 31, 2006, there were 2,321 deaths among American troops in Iraq. Seventy-nine percent were a result of action by hostile forces. Troops spent a total of 592,002 "person-years" in Iraq during this period. The ratio of deaths to person-years, .00392, or 3.92 deaths per 1,000 person-years, is the death rate of military personnel in Iraq….

The death rate for African American men ages 20 to 34 in Philadelphia was 4.37 per 1,000 in 2002, 11 percent higher than among troops in Iraq.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Post a Comment

<< Home