soon and very soon

Monday, July 25, 2005

7/7 has nothing to do with Iraq
An al Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence in 2003 laid out its revised strategy: spectacular attacks like those of 9/11 against the United States need to be supplemented by attacks on European nations so they will withdraw their support of the Afghan and Iraqi military operations in order to increase the burden on the United States.

University of Chicago professor Robert Pape's excellent New York Times piece of July 9th lays out its specifics: attack Britain, Poland, and Spain as the most vulnerable nations. "It is necessary to make the utmost use of the upcoming general election in Spain . . . we think the Spanish government could not tolerate more than two, maximum three, blows . . . then the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be in the electoral program." They hoped that would put "huge pressure on the British presence that Tony Blair might not be able to withstand, and hence the domino tiles would fall quickly."

The terrorist strategy may have changed, but the objective remains the same. Al Qaeda understands that in the end the United States is what matters. The United Nations is irresolute and corrupt, and important European nations are indecisive and vulnerable. So drive the United States from the Middle East, establish control of all its nations, and then force the Western European nations to appease and accept an Islamic, theocratic global society.

Like Old Europe, liberal America is bothered by principled international positions. "The Right Nation," by Adrian Wooldridge and John Micklethwait, points out that liberals were "nervous about moral absolutes, preferring to see the world in shades of grey. After Sept. 11, liberal academics looked for reasons to explain al Qaeda: Was it the product of racism? Of economic injustice? Of American policies in the Middle East?" In his presidential campaign Howard Dean, now national Democratic Party chairman, said our "pre-emptive war is wrong for America"; and liberal leader Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, said that "the U.S. presence [in Iraq] is part of the problem, not part of the solution."

President Bush better understands the reality, for as he said at West Point in 2002, "the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy . . . the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act." He must continue to make the case, for to appease rather than oppose the enemy will lose the war against terrorism.

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