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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Zarqawi's losing strategy

Austin Bay in RealClearPolitics:

When Al-Qaida's zealots blow up trains in Spain or subways in London, those are attacks of their choosing conducted on 'infidel terrain.' The genius of the war in Iraq is a brutal but necessary form of strategic judo: It brought the War on Terror into the heart of the Middle East and onto Arab Muslim turf. In Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's theo-fascists have been spilling Arab blood, and Al Jazeera has noticed that, too.
Read the whole thing. The decision to make Iraq the central front in the war on terror has an interesting moral dimension. It is, I believe, to our benefit to have a hugely high stakes nation, Iraq, up for grabs as it were to force the terrorists to fight for it. Rather then a decades long battle where Al-Qaida and like groups occassionally attacks various targets it transforms the central front of the battle to a more traditional one where we can effectively defeat them. It is a battle that they cannot choose as well, a democratic Iraq is a direct threat to the ideology of Al-Qaida and a an insurmountable obstacle to the re-establishment of the caliphate. We, and Al-Qaida, have seen the virulence of the Democratic domino effect in other places, and it is reasonable to suppose that the same effect would happen in the Arab world which would end a good portion of Al-Qaida's appeal. They have to fight in Iraq no matter how long the odds are against them. The moral question though is are we justified in thrusting Iraqis into this war? Ultimately of course we hope, and I believe, that it will benefit them directly. I can certainly also be argued that even with the chaos and death in Iraq now it is an improvement from the time of Saddam. Many Iraqis seem to believe this based upon the polls that have come out. One can also make the argument that Iraq would have had to fight this same fight, and with much less favorable circumstances eventually if it ever was to achieve a free and democratic status. The fact remains though it is was our choice, not theirs, to wage this battle there. It was the only place we really could, and was (and is) the most favorable for us, but it has certainly killed many Iraqis. In war moral issues become confused, the necessary, no matter how vile, becomes in it's own way the moral choice. Perhaps this is a case of that. I hope, and still believe, that this decision will be seen as a good one for Iraq as well as for us. Certainly the fact of Saddam's horrendous nature helps in that. I also believe in the tremendous value of democracy and freedom, and think that as Iraqis fight these terrorists they are also coming to share these values.

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