Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget . . . Never Forgive



Video compliments of KG at Crusader Rabbit

It has been seven years since a terrorist attack on our soil that took the lives of 2,998 civilians. Osama bin Laden justified this cowardly attack on the dogma of Salafi Islam. Bin Laden believed, based on his understanding of the history of the United States from days of Vietnam though the Clinton years, that any U.S. response to these attacks would be ineffectual. He expected the U.S. to exact retribution against Muslim Americans, inflaming Muslim sentiments world-wide. He could not have been more wrong on both points.

Seven years later, bin Laden and his second in command, Zawahiri, preside over a greatly weakened movement from their foxholes dug in the backwaters of Pakistan. They were driven from Afghanistan before 2001 drew to a close. They tried to ignite civil war in Iraq and drive America from that country. They would have won had those in our country who placed partisan interests over national security had their way. They did not - but we should not forget who these people were, nor forgive their perfidy.

Thanks to George Bush, American soldiers were given a new mission. Well led, they executed with a precision that should make all Americans proud and all of our enemies shudder. Al Qaeda's dreams of a caliphate suffered fatal blows in Iraq when they were decimated by our soldiers in the "surge" and rejected by the very Sunni Muslims they hoped to rule. The ramifications of the performance of our soldiers, the failure of Allah to grant al Qaeda victory over the infidel, and the rejection of al Qaeda by the Sunnis in Iraq have been and will continue to be far reaching.

Al Qaeda is down but not dead. They still hold on in the hinterlands of Pakistan and are weaved into the incredibly troubled politics of that country. They still seek to carry out attacks on the west and they still seek WMD. Should we act foolishly in the Middle East, al Qaeda can arise again. They must not be allowed that opportunity.

We must never forget al Qaeda's cowardly attack upon defenseless civilians. We must never forget that their goal is the destruction of our society. We must never forget that their goal is to impose their 7th Century version of Islam upon each and every person on this earth. We must never forget that they have no moral restraints. We must never forgive them for their brutal attacks and the massive death and mayhem they have wrought. We must not rest until the scourge of radical Islam is destroyed in all its facets.

20 comments:

Ted Leddy said...

"Bin Laden believed, based on his understanding of the history of the United States from days of Vietnam though the Clinton years, that any U.S. response to these attacks would be ineffectual"

I disagree. The strain of Islamic extremism championed by Said Qutb and followed by Bin Laden had been discredited and most of its supporters had abandoned it by the 1990's. Bin Ladens objective was to hit America hard and to retreat and hope that the American response would anger the world's Muslims leading to a renewal of support for his way of thinking. When America responded like a clumsy blind giant by invading Iraq, Bin Laden hit the jackpot as a venue was created for every Jihadist in the world that wanted to kill Americans.

"Well led, they executed with a precision that should make all Americans proud and all of our enemies shudder." If you actually believe this I can't really help.

"Seven years later, bin Laden and his second in command, Zawahiri, preside over a greatly weakened movement from their foxholes dug in the backwaters of Pakistan" NATO forces have tragically taken more causalties this year in Afghanistan than any other.

Dinah Lord said...

Thank you for this GW.

I will never forget.
I will never forgive.

Love the nuance, ted. But thanks but no thanks to the offer of help, your kind of 'help' we don't need.

In the words of a wise wolf:
They (al Qaeda) would have won had those in our country who placed partisan interests over national security had their way. They did not - but we should not forget who these people were, nor forgive their perfidy.

Dinah Lord said...

Someday I hope to master the nuance of PIMF - hah.

That should be "thanks, but no thanks" there, Ted.

suek said...

>>The strain of Islamic extremism championed by Said Qutb and followed by Bin Laden had been discredited and most of its supporters had abandoned it by the 1990's.>>

And you have some reference to support this, I assume??

suek said...

If you click on ted's name, you'll go to his blog.

For whatever reason, he's pro Obama, thinks Obama cleaned O'Reilly's clock and finds US politics delightfully hickish. He is dismissive of Palin, and doesn't understand her appeal to those primitive but entertaining Republicans.

He's obviously from the stock of those Irishmen who stayed behind, not the caliber of those who struck out for the new country.

GW said...

Ted, we disagree on some fundamental points. The Salafism that underlied al Qaeda was hardly discredited by 2001. It was at its zenith. Even today, among the true Salafists, the argument is not whether bin Laden was wrong in his objectives, just whether his strategy was wrong. As one of the prime philosophers of the movement said recently, and I paraphrase, what does it do to destroy two of their buildings when they destroy two of our countries.

The belief that we can succeed against enemies by failing to engage them when they have shown a willingness to attack us is, I believe, a fool's construct. Of course when we invaded Iraq, it drew in many jihadists. Now that they have lost Iraq, that is a serious blow to their movement.

But beyond that, don't rewrite history. There were two justifications to go into Iraq - WMD and to create a democracy in the Middle East - a land where extremism flourishes under brutal, dictatorial regimes. That WMD was not found does not mean that we cannot or should not act upon our best intelligence. And that WMD was not found does nothing to detract from the second goal.

As to your comment about our military, for you to be able to make that comment tells me you have no military experience and no understanding of military history. Your "casualty" count in Afghanistan further reinforces my belief. If you wish to expound upon your comment, I will be more than happy to argue it with you.

Afghanistan has heated up because Pakistan has been unwilling or unable to address the safe havens within their country. No war against a non-democratic enemy will be won so long as they are allowed a safe haven.

As to the casualty count in Afghanistan, I do not recall what it is, but I believe it is in the two figures, if not low three. Historically, the rate of battle losses in Afghanistan do not even, after 7 years, come close to a percentage of 1% of the casualties we have suffered in virtually all wars in which we have engaged. This should give you an idea of how dominant our forces in fact are. Both in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have never lost an engagement at or above the platoon level.

Were we to take the gloves off and be unconcerned with civilian casualties or territorial boundries, the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan would have been over six years ago. We have not done that, and for good reason. Our goals have not been retribution, but nation building. That is frustrating and long, and it can easily go awry if we loose our will to see it through to the end, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a lot of people in the Middle East with a vested interest in seeing the U.S. fail there. We are engaging them. What troubles me far more are people in our country with a vested interest in seeing the U.S. fail in the Middle East. It is only the latter who can possibly "win."

Ted Leddy said...

Dinah Lord

Thank you, I do put a lot of work into my nuance

Suek

My reference for this conclusion, off hand, is Jason Burke and his books on Al Qaeda.
Sorry Suek but I'm not running for president. Yes I do find American politics hickish at times. Are you trying to discredit my point of view here on that basis. As for the problem you appear to have with my ancestors, I'm sure their turning in their graves.

GW
You raise some excellent points.
First of all I agree that the thinking and intention of the Jihadists is as sinister as any movement the world has ever created. You are right when you say their is a dispute among the Salafists over strategy. Bin Ladens strategy is to garner support among the masses to rise up and fight an unconventional holy war. I believe he was losing this debate to those who wanted to see strong Arab nations militarily and economically so that they could confront the west. 9/11 and the aftermath swung it back in Bin Laden's favour.

My blind giant comment was not directed at the US military but at the decision makers. I think this is an entirely appropriate description of the decision to invade Iraq, a country that had no connection with the sunni Al Qaeda agenda that we are talking about.

It is official as of last week. US forces have suffered more fatalities in Afghanistan this year than in any other year since the invasion, an unfortunate fact. Same goes for the British. This does not indicate that they are on top of things.

For the record, I do admire American will to stay the course.

GW said...

Ted - I apologize for my lack of manners. I note that I neglected to thank you for visiting and for leaving comments. Whether we agree or disagree, I do appreciate the above and the opportunity to exchange ideas and argue points.

My study of the Middle East has led me to conclude that the problem of radicalism goes far beyond al Qaeda. The problem are two radical ideologies that are in serious competition to ecliplse all others in Islam. They are Salafism / Wahhaism and the velyat e faqi of Khomeinist Iran. Al Qaeda is merely an outgrowth of the former. Both provide the ideological basis for war against the West with no moral or ethical boundaries that supercede the imperative of imposing their belief systems on the world. One does not defeat such an opponent simply by trying appease them. I believe it was Churchill who said that makes all the sense of feeding an alligator in the hopes that they will eat you last.

Al Qaeda, and Iran for that matter, are the tip of the ice berg. There is a war going on for the heart and soul of Islam. We have been drawn into that war not by our choice. The war in Iraq was a gamble that has paid off. The defeat of al Qaeda in that country is paying dividends. The rejection of Iraqi Sunnis has and will pay greater dividends.

What is it that you take away from the casualty figures? What do you think it proves?

The fact that casualties in Afghanistan have risen is meaningless in and of itself. The number of casualties inevitably rise as battle is joined. The number of casualties says very little indeed about the state of the war. The casuatly ratio will tell us a bit more - but even that is of limited use.

I blogged several weeks ago on Gen. Barry MacAffrey's assessment of Afghanistan. You can do a search on this blog and find it. That, I think, is a fair and honest assessment of what is going on in Afghanistan and what the future holds. If you wish to argue this one more, I would ask that you take a look at MacAffrey's assessment first.

Anonymous said...

Yes, never forget- never forgive!

Forgiveness is such a sign of weakness. We need to get our justice and we need to do it with revenge and anger and hatred in our hearts because there is no other way to keep awful things like this from happening in the world. We must never forgive!

suek said...

>>Are you trying to discredit my point of view here on that basis.>>

No...one's views of another person's "hickishness" is hardly a discredit to their conclusions. Their upbringing maybe, but not their conclusions. You should be warned,however, that apparent ignorance is no indication of level of intelligence. Inadequate education, definitely - but not intelligence.

>>As for the problem you appear to have with my ancestors, I'm sure their turning in their graves.>>

There's always a reason why some leave and some stay. Those who left had a grit and willingness to plunge into the unknown that those who stayed behind lacked. Perhaps those who stayed were judged the wiser - it's rarely considered wise to jump into a maelstrom - but we in America tend to respect and admire those who are willing to take that drastic jump!

Can you give me three reasons why you think Obama is the better candidate for president?

suek said...

>>We have not done that, and for good reason.>>

Had we done so, we might have accomplished OBL's goal. That we did not was unthinkable to the muslim mind.

GW said...

Anonymous - thank you for stopping by and commenting. Many things in this world can be forgiven. I would like to think that there should be more room in the world for mercy than for anger and hatred. But there must be some bright lines. Somethings cannot be forgiven - at least not on this plane of existence.

If you are suggesting that we should forgive the perpetrators of 9-11, or those in their wake whose hands are awash in the blood of innocents from Iraq to Pakistan to Indonesia and countless points beyond, then we disagree completely. I do not think that you go that far, but rather you are merely critiquing the militant tone of my post.

I would be more than happy to discuss with you our moral obligations to our fellow man and the role of mercy in our lives. I would also be willing to discuss the negative and positive roles of anger on a philosophical level if you wish to so engage.

That talk, however, ends when innocents are targeted and killed by a group bent on imposing their will on you and I. At least for me it does. I cannot afford to be merciful to such as they. Strip away anger and revenge, and we are still left with the necessity of defending ourselves for survival.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot afford to be merciful to such as they"

Does having mercy and forgiveness in one's heart automatically negate the need or desire for carrying out justice, for combating evil? Are the two so diametrically opposed that they cannot ever exist together?

I would argue that we "cannot afford" to lower ourselves to the standard of demanding no forgiveness. Carry out justice, yes, but while doing so, learn to forgive. It's not easy but it will make the world a better place.

Reversepsychology said...

And these The slaves of Allah are our intellectual foe?

KG said...

Thanks for the link GW. It's a pleasure to share with our brothers and sisters in arms. :-)
I'm not going to argue politics on this day.
This day is for remembrance and for a renewal of our resolve to beat these primitives.
All of us who are American in spirit but just born elsewhere join you today and we thank God for America and for Americans.
Bless you all.

GW said...

Anonymous - thank you for your response. Our positions are not diametrically opposed. They are, in all practicalities, probably very close to one another.

GW said...

ReversePsychology - that second link is priceless. Thanks.

KG - thanks so much for the kind words. I see no greater kindred spirits on the blogs than the folks in your neck of the woods. It is greatly appreciated.

Ted Leddy said...

GW

Thank you for the kind words.
I look forward to having future debates with you concerning Afghanistan and other issues on your fine blog.

Ymarsakar said...

I heard that song every time we went to Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Brings back interesting memories.

Ymarsakar said...

I have forgiven the Islamic Jihadists. It is why I don't try to lobby for death by torture and being hanged by piano wire. A quick death is an efficient death.

What more do they want out of forgiveness?