September 21, 2004,
Victor Davis Hanson said it right: In Iraq, the climactic moment is about to arrive. And not just for Iraq, but for the region for Syria with the WMDs it just tried out in Darfur, Sudan, and for Iran with its nuclear reactors almost ready for dangerous action. And for Saudi Arabia and Palestine.
The foreign brain including al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, the Iranian intelligence, and others can see November 2 on the calendar as ominously as John Kerry does. They want the equivalent of a Tet Offensive lots of American blood a shock like that given Madrid before November 2. But, above all, they turn the calendar to the end of January. They have to stop the Iraqi election. They have to do something dramatic in Iraq before then.
Don't think we Americans cannot read a calendar too. Don't think we are remaining passively in our bases in our Iraq, wearing little signs saying "Hit me!" Our guys are out on multiple offensives just now, and will be out on the attack in a gathering crescendo all during the next 45 days. Watch the towns to the East of the Sunni Triangle, the towns guarding the routes fresh supplies of foreign terrorists must traverse on their way to Fallujah and Ramadi. Three of them have either fallen into American hands in the last couple weeks or will soon.
Take a look at Najaf. Sick and tired of totally useless bloodshed, this city of merchants prevailed upon the Americans and Iraqi defense forces to come back into the city, to be welcomed by children with thumbs up and repeating over and over again their few English words: "I love you" to American soldiers. The people of Najaf threw Sadr's thugs out. The people of Najaf had had enough of the riff-raff. They loathe the terrorists' religious "courts," from which those accused often simply disappeared, never to be seen again. Enough extremist terror. Americans did not have to fight their way in, they were begged to come in, and given a warm and happy welcome.
For months before the recent war to oust Saddam began, Saddam and the foreign terrorists (we now know) were planning a guerrilla war after the main invasion passed by. After the fact, they were luckier than they knew, in that the Turkish refusal to allow the American Fourth Division to march into Iraq from the North to subdue the Sunni Triangle, left the pre-planned centers of this guerrilla war Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi, Samarra, Tikrit unsubdued, unpunished, unintimidated, largely unsearched. Those cities are now the center of the bomb-making, training, coordinating, planning, and dispatching of terrorist attacks on strategically pre-arranged targets.
Watch for American forces to cut these cities off, one from another or at least split them into two separated segments and then go into them in force, one by one.
It is odd how American journalists are not reporting this war from the side of American strategic officers and American frontline units, whose officers and men are now enjoying their own professional capacities and daily successes.
Reading the blogs of our own military guys in the field is infinitely more satisfying to intellectual curiosity than reading (or hearing) the ordinary empty droning of journalists. Compared to bloggers in America, American journalists seem like amateurs; compared to military professionals on the battlefield, journalists (whatever their age) seem like undisciplined college kids. When one compares these professions as professions, the military profession to journalism, journalism really is dropping fast and not only because of Dan Rather.
To get back to the main subject: Expect a lot of fighting in Iraq during the next six weeks. The climactic days of the terrorist guerrilla war are at hand. When the guerrillas are broken here, and exposed to the world as the losers they are, then the Baathists in Syria and the tyrants in Tehran know they are next in getting the full attention of the United States, and feeling the full pressures of the desire for liberty among their own people. Nearly half their population is under 25 years old, and those young people are hungry for the opportunities they know the rest of the world shares, which they currently do not.
Our own Democratic party, once the party of democracy and human rights, has lost its understanding of the power of the cause of liberty overseas, among the world's most repressed and mistreated peoples. Fewer than half today's Democratic party, according to polls, grasps what is at stake in the war in Iraq. But a lot of U.S. Democrats do. They are cheering for our troops on the offensive in Iraq, and they are going to vote in droves for George W. Bush, much to the amazement of those who have not yet grasped the transformation of the world that occurred after September, 2001.
Liberty is on the march. And revulsion at Islamo-terrorists that would deliberately kill hundreds of tiny schoolchildren in a remote small-town school has been sweeping Islamic countries, as well as Western ones. Hatred is starting to turn against killers of civilians and instigators of meaningless terror, who bandy about extremist, gibberish slogans.
Michael Novak is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for progress in religion and the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Novak's own website is www.michaelnovak.net.