Pat Buchanan points out Delano’s misdiagnosis:
If we were truly being attacked for our beliefs, and not our behavior, the war would have no end. Yet, all the other guerrilla and terror wars against Western powers there have ended. How?
When the British left Palestine, Irgun terror ended. When the French left Algeria, FLN terror ended. When Israel left Lebanon, Hezbollah terror largely ended. These countries chose to resolve their terror problem by giving up their occupations and letting go. Their perceived imperial presence had been the cause of the terror war, and when they departed and went home, the wars faded away.
The president says we must fight them over there, so we do not have to fight them over here. But, before we invaded Iraq, not one American had been killed by an Iraqi in a dozen years. Since we invaded, 1,500 Americans have died and the number of insurgents has multiplied from 5,000 to 20,000. By Don Rumsfeld’s own metric, our intervention is creating more terrorists than we are killing. We are fighting a guerrilla army that our own invasion called into being.
Do our Saudi friends whose necks are now on the line agree with us that terrorists attack America because of our democratic principles? Or do they believe al-Qaida, when it says it is attacking us because of our Middle East policies and presence? It would appear to be the latter. For Riyadh has lately asked us to remove our planes from Prince Sultan Air Base and our troops from Saudi soil.
Is there anyone who believes that the IRA would continue its anti-British terror if the British Army withdrew from Northern Ireland? It is staggering that so few people understand that the root hatred for the United States government harbored by so many people around the world stems from the fact that there are US troops stationed in nearly two-thirds of the countries around the world. This dislike for occupation is of varying degrees, for while Italians and Germans may resent GI’s dating their pretty young signorinas and frauleins, they don’t hate it enough to bomb US bases in Naples and Ramstein. The Arabs, on the other hand, have demonstrably and violently resented it since at least 1983.
There has never been a time when occupied peoples have not harbored hate for their occupiers. The fact that we utilize a financial imperialism via the World Bank and the IMF instead of a physical imperialism, complete with settlers, only means they hate us a little less.
The only flaw I could see in Mr. Buchanan’s article is that I seem to recall the latest estimate of insurgents active in Iraq by an American military commander being 40,000. If this number is correct and Mr. Rumsfeld’s metric of success is killing terrorists faster than we create them – note that the Secretary of Defense understands how terrorists can be created by an occupying force – then we are not on the fast track to success in Iraq, the elections notwithstanding.
As for the elections, I have still not heard a convincing argument of how the election of an Iraqi government dominated by an Iranian Shiite who was an associate of the Ayatollah Khomeini is likely to be a step towards Western-style government in the long term. The best that Michael Ledeen could do was to insist that the Iraqi Shiites hate and fear the Iranian Shiites, which reminds me of the Left’s argument that Hussein’s secular Ba’athists and the al Qaeda fundamentalists could never make common cause due to their mutual hatred.
Considering that the famous aphorism “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” actually hails from this very region, that appears to be a very frail reed on which to pin one’s hopes. If the Iraqi Shiites hate the Iranian Shiites so much, then how does one explain Sistani, who was not only born in Iran but is even named for a region of that country.