Just because your enemy dresses in what appears to be rags, lives in villages made of stone and mud huts, and isn’t connected to the Internet does not make them any less militarily formidable than an enemy with the trappings of modern sophistication.
To call this a war against terrorism, and then point a finger at the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and suggest that they are the principle enemy is disingenuous.
The principle enemies include everyone who cheers publicly, and/or privately when people are blown up in the name of any religion. And countries which are critical of the West’s battle against terrorism, also have to be considered suspect. And to imply that a defeat for the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden will change anything is dead wrong.
The enemy is a religion steeped in medieval times. The battle that will sooner or later be engaged will not be against those people our leaders like to call terrorists, but more so, against a people that practice a religion that treats its women like chattel and replaces the democratic rule of law with Islamic Sharia.
It is very much politically incorrect and insensitive of me to state that the enemy is actually an Islamic Army with a profound hatred for things Western. Specifically democracy. But that is exactly who the enemy is. Whether it is politically correct to say so or not.
Christianity and Judaism went through growing pains where religious leaders called all the shots, and people were kept “in-line” by threats of ex-communication, community ostracism and worse. But modernity changed that.
Today, Christians and Jews practice their religion in their homes and places of worship. But; not in public schools, businesses, courts of law and government. At least not in Canada, the USA and Western Europe countries.
I also know several western Moslems, whom, like western democratized Jews and Christians practice their religion in the privacy of their homes and mosques. Also; like western democratized Jews and Christians, they hold constitutional rights and freedoms in high regard. And that includes the equal and respectful treatment of women.
But; wherever religion plays a major role in the public lives of people in regions and countries such as: the Balkans, Centra Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Ireland, there is strife.
For the Islamists to embrace a secular world such as ours, where they can practice their religion in the peace and tranquility of their mosques and homes, it would mean surrendering power. The rule of democracy and secular law is the greatest threat anyone who lives by the rule of religion can ever face. And this is what the Islamists are willing to die for, and kill to protect.
As the Western military forces march to combat these “terrorists”, our political class continues to try and make agreements with Moslem states, more or less to keep them out of the war. But; that is actually quite short term. Inevitably, the Islamists will go to war against the West. Not necessarily because that is what their governments want them to do, but, because their governments will not be able to stop them.
Arafat ordered his military to do whatever they have to, to stop the Palestinians from taking to the streets in support of the Taliban. Even shooting to death three demonstrators, and wounding many more. Not because Arafat has any love for the west. But mostly, because it looks real bad for the cameras when Palestinians first danced in the streets when news broke of the slaughter in the USA. And now that the USA and the western democracies are taking on the terrorists, Arafat doesn’t want to be on the wrong side as usual.
And especially since the President of the USA gave Arafat an offer he can’t refuse; an offer that the USA will recognize Palestinian statehood. Also; the last time Arafat had a choice, he chose the wrong side during the Gulf war and backed Saddam Hussein. Even an old terrorist can learn a thing or two.
The USA decided to close its embassy in Saudi Arabia. Isn’t Saudi Arabia supposed to be an ally? The Iranians and Iraqis are talking tough. And the people of Pakistan who favor the Taliban have their government more worried than just somewhat because of their support for the west. And even in Indonesia which has the world’s largest Moslem population, the threats against the west are extremely real.
The Islamic Army is formidable. Not because they have spy planes, satellites, stealth fighter bombers, cruise missiles, smart bombs and equipment that can see through buildings. But; because they have soldiers everywhere. And they have proven many times that they can inflict enormous physical and psychological damage wherever and whenever they wish.
They also have a far different target selection. Where the West will target military installations and troops, and make all conceivable efforts to avoid “collateral” damage, the Islamic Army does the opposite.
They want to kill civilians and blow up buildings where civilians work and play. They want to cripple their enemy with fear. And they are very effective at it.
At the cost of virtual pocket change within the last couple of years; the Islamic Army blew up a marine base in Lebanon killing hundreds of Marines. They blew up two US embassies in Africa, also taking many lives. They just about destroyed a one billion dollar Aegis class destroyer in Yemen waters.
And on September 11, 2001, in just one day, they took down four huge commercial American airliners, destroying two of the most recognizable buildings in the world, and struck a vital blow at the very heart of the US military by smashing the Pentagon.
In addition, they murdered about 4,000 people, crippled travel in the USA and in much of the rest of the world. They even temporarily closed down the sports and entertainment industry as they have the USA sitting on eggshells waiting for the other shoe to drop. And the cost to the USA and the rest of the world is a couple of trillion dollars in hard costs and lost revenue.
Not bad for “just” a group of terrorists.
Soldiers for this Islamic Army are recruited word-wide and trained for specific purposes. The USA has cruise missiles that might, or might not hit their targets. But the Islamic Army has its own version of a cruise missile that is virtually always on target. The suicide bomber.
The West knows that these Islamic warriors come from all parts of the Moslem world, yet, we pretend that the terrorists are an isolated few. We know that they are financed by many governments through many fronts, yet, we pretend that those states that supply succor to the Islamic Army are not all that culpable.
Even this week, Syria, a known terrorist state, was elected by a landslide margin to sit for two years on the UN’s security council. And about a week ago, President George Bush rewarded the Palestinians with a promise to recognize Palestine as a state, a state that harbors terrorists.
We know who the enemy is, even though we pretend that we don’t. And our greatest problem right now seems to be that we don’t know what to do with them. But perhaps that is what Rumsfeld meant when he says that this is going to be a long war. Much of it being fought in the shadows.
That is of course if the Islamic Army is prepared to fight by our rules. And somehow, I doubt it.