Finally it’s starting to make sense

 The war in Iraq had never made sense to me. First we were told there was a connection between Al-Queda and Sadaam Hussein. Then we were told it was because they had weapons of mass destruction and were progressing toward nuclear capability. After the U.S. military arrived and toppled Sadaam and there were no WMDs we were told that the war was to eliminate a ruthless dictator and establish a foothold for democracy in the Middle East. I agreed that Sadaam was a bad dude, but there are a lot of other bad dudes in the world, so that made me ask: why Iraq? Was it about oil? Haliburton? And how seriously do we believe that Iraq will become a foothold for democracy, given that there is no history of this form of government in the region?

 So I have been confused and rather unsupportive of the war. However…

 I just finished a study of a book Social Justice in Islam by Sayyid Qutb. This book is credited as giving rise to Islamism. Its author’s philosophical approach to Islam has been Osama Bin Ladin’s main influence (as stated by Bin Ladin himself). Islamism is different from Islam in that while Islam is a religion, Islamism is a worldview of global Islam, that only through worldwide spread of and adherance to Islam will the world be at one with Allah and that it is the responsibility of Muslims to adhere more fundamentally to the religion and to induce or force the rest of the world to that same realization and conclusion.

The Islamist worldview is held by about 3% of Muslims. However, this percentage gives a raw number between 30-40 million. The largest concentrations of this group are in Saudi Arabia and Iran/Iraq. It is assumed that there are 10-15 million Islamists in Iran/Iraq, making up about 15% of the population (the likelihood of democracy gaining a foothold appears even smaller knowing this).

Is the Bush administration aware of these numbers?? Do they really think that 15 million Islamists will allow a Western-brokered democracy to persist in their frontyard? Or could it be that attacking the Baathists in Iraq was the first step in a long war on Islamism?

This is where it is finally starting to make sense to me for the U.S. to be there. This may be the only way to win this battle against a foe that will not back down or compromise (read the book; they have no interest in interacting diplomatically with Western, or any non-Islamist, governments). Therefore, it seems a pipe dream that the involvement will be short-term and easily won. If this is the reason that the administration has the military there, we as a people need to know the truth, not just be fed a string of deception and false reason. However, the length and extent of involvement will be such that the American people may not find it palatable…unless we truly understand what is at stake. Hence, the administration can state clearly its purposes and perhaps gain support of the American people, or it can continue to deceive and not be believed. 

3 Replies to “Finally it’s starting to make sense”

  1. Oh my goodness. Where to start?

    Your first paragraph portrays an administration with an ever-changing justification to invade and/or stay in Iraq. I would first conetend with that assertion. Although there is good evidence that there were ties to top Al-Queda operatives and senior Iraqi intelligence officials prior to the attacks of Septermber 11th, that it was a main reason for invasion was not given by the administration but rather a straw man built by those who oppose the war.

    Granted, after the invasion there were no large stores of WMD discovered as was expected. You must be careful here with your reasoning as well. The absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. No one has proved that the pre-war intelligence reports (corroborated by intelligence agencies of numerous major countries) were patently incorrect. Even if wrong, however, the accusation of willful deception by the administration is irresponsible given the extent of agreement by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Israel, etc. I don’t know if you are satisfied that Saddam’s potential and/or desire to develop WMD was truly non-existent. I am not. Again, reasonable reports of significant pre-war movement into and through Syria concern me greatly . . . even though I wouldn’t particularly enjoy my next deployment to the Bakaa Valley.

    The idea of a long-term commitment to Iraq is not one that the Bush administration has thought up recently to combat loss of support at home and reports of wartime woes. I refer you to President Bush in February 2003, one month before the current conflift in Iraq began. Cut and paste this into your browser: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030226-11.html

    Granted, we may not win over hardline Islamists. But we will no longer tolerate their world view. I support taking as hard a line with them as they would with us, and often before they would with us. That’s the change that happened that morning in September. We will no longer sit by and allow threats to materialize. If it’s going to be us or them, I prefer us.

    Finally, my personal take on Iraq may be slightly different than others. I, for one, believe that a very long-term committment is the only thing that will ultimately be successful there. Just over forty percent of the population of that country is younger than 15-years old. Give us a generation there and in twenty or thirty years, you will have an entire populous who has grown up seeing the good that has been done there by the United States and our coalition partners. It’s like the kids you befriend on your mission who, despite rumors and myths and prejudices about you in general, grow to trust you and see that you are about something different. The Iraqi people, including the children, see much of the good being done there. They, in general, do not take sides with the Islamists. Let them side with us until that forty percent grow up and begin to run the country. That is my hope.

    So, probably not much of a comment, but I think your accusations of deception are unfounded. I agree that the message may be made both more clear and more loud. However, I don’t buy that the administration has waivered in its pursuit of their goals for Iraq.

  2. Rick,

    Thanks for the comment. My initial paragraph is intended, not to argue that the administration intentionally deceived the American people (it’s possible, but in this case I don’t think it was likely), but to argue that the information that is available to the American people is that which I wrote. Whether it is true or not, that is the perception. You can blame in on a liberal bias in the media (I believe that there is a bias, but it is an elite, both liberal and conservative, bias). That doesn’t change the fact that this is the perception. My argument is that if the administration want to improve public support for the war effort (maybe they don’t care) they need to tell American three things.

    First, we are in Iraq because it is the battleground on which we will make the first step to eradicate Islamism. Second, we must approach the enemy in this fashion because there is no willingness on their part to negotiate; our existence is contrary to their worldview. Third, our involvement is very long term. After Iraq is liberalized (in the classical sense), Iran will need to follow or their government will be next.

    I read the news release. There wasn’t much new (except that Bush reiterated the connection between 9/11 and Iraq and the presence of WMD). Just the long-term commitment isn’t a new policy, neither has it been clearly stated publically until recently, giving Americans unrealistic expectations.

    My only request in for honesty, truth, and transparency instead of cloaking administration intentions (which I have arrived at agreement with) in fear and jingoism.

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