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A very complex world

When cast against the backdrop of the recent tsunami-related devastation, the war in Iraq may appear senseless. Many who have followed the tragic events that began a week and a half ago found themselves asking the rhetorical question, “Why are the resources that are needed so desperately in Southeast Asia being used to fight a war in Iraq?”One answer comes from no less of an authority than James Woolsey, the former CIA director during the Clinton administration, who tells us that we are engaged in “The Long War of the 21st Century.” Woolsey posits that this war will be measured in decades, will have fighting from time-to-time but not continually and will contain a significant ideological component – all of which offer a striking parallel to the Cold War. Just as the Pacific Theater of World War II was not a fight against kamikaze-ism, this conflict is not against terrorism. Rather it is a battle between freedom and three distinct totalitarian movements that have declared war on us.One movement is controlled by Islamic fascists. The Baathist parties of Iraq under Saddam, and Syria today, were modeled on the fascist parties of the early 20th century. It was fascists who held Fallujah, not insurgents – the word insurgent is too politically correct. It’s the Baathists who want to re-establish Saddam-style fascism in Iraq.The second movement comes from the Shi’ite side of Islam and is supported Ayatollah Khamenei and Rafsanjani in Tehran, Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq and Iran’s puppet organization Hezbollah. This totalitarian movement seeks to control the entire Islamic religion. Their methods are analogous to Torqamada’s during the Spanish Inquisition, who claimed to represent Christianity, when in fact he was the power behind the Spanish throne. Torqamada burned Jews, Muslims and dissident Christians at the stake under the guise of Christianity. Like Torqamada, the aforementioned Muslim clerics are totalitarians in religious clothing. The third movement originates with the Sunni sect of Islam – al Qaeda. They too are underpinned by a strong totalitarian ideology that is anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-modern and anti-female. This movement sprang from the Wahhabist of Saudi Arabia and has grown during recent years the way angry German nationalism grew in the 1930s to become the Nazis.Each of these movements understands that America is their main enemy, and they’ve chosen to take us on for the same reason that Hitler declared war against us after Pearl Harbor. Hitler knew that the United States was the principal barrier to the establishment of the thousand-year Reich. Today, each of these movements understands that we are the principal barrier to totalitarian domination of the Middle East and the destruction of Israel.9/11 has shown that militant Islam loathes us for our values; our freedoms of speech, religion and the press; our open society; our way of life; and our (almost) equal treatment of women. But we are just beginning to realize that the Shi’ite side of Islam has been at war with us since they seized our embassy in Tehran in 1979; that the Ba’athists have been at war with us since the Gulf War in 1990-91 when Saddam invaded Kuwait; and the militant Sunni Islamists declared war on us more than a decade ago. And therein is the problem. After years of failing to recognize these threats, and back-peddling in the face of their seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, their attacks on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, two East African embassies, the USS Cole, the first World Trade Center bombing, the retreat from Mogadishu and finally 9/11, the question becomes: How do we win a global war that we have no choice but to fight? Only time will tell if toppling Saddam was a proper strategy in this war. Nevertheless, most of us understand that had there been even a 1 percent chance of WMDs falling into the hands of Islamic extremists, we had to give the president the benefit of the doubt. The litmus test will come within the next year when the Iraqis begin to take control of their own security after their elections. If the Iraqi people step up to the plate, we should continue our support. If they fail to take responsibility for building their nation, there is little we can do for them. But regardless of what course the Iraqi people choose, we shouldn’t delude ourselves about the nature and scope of this conflict, because even if every American soldier were to leave Iraq tomorrow we would remain at war with all three of these distinct totalitarian Islamic movements well into the foreseeable future. The president believes that the surest way to win this war is to bring democracy and its attendant benefits, i.e. an improved standard of living via education and jobs to the Middle East. While democratizing the Middle East is a daunting task, we must remember that in 1945 there were only 20 democracies in the world. Today there are 117, with some existing in places many thought impossible, e.g. Mongolia, Mali and in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Yes, there’s backsliding (Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, etc.), but the trend toward democracy has been inexorable. There are millions of people in the Middle East who want democracy to take hold there, and soon we will learn whether they have the will to make a stand against Islamic totalitarianism. I believe they will.But back to the question of resource allocation: Not including the two carrier battle groups in the region bringing aid to the tsunami disaster victims, the United States has promised $350 million in relief-funds, which you can be assured will be a floor and not a ceiling.American efforts remain noble in a very complex world.Butch Mazzuca of Singletree, a Realtor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.netVail, Colorado


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