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.