Monday, November 26, 2007

Closing The Battle Of Iraq

November 26, 2007

Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, President Bush's war tsar, has quietly announced that the U.S. and Iraqi governments will begin talks early next year to precipitate a formal conclusion the U.N. Chapter 7 Security Council involvement in Iraq, according to an article appearing in today’s New York Sun

Expectations are that American Troops in Iraq will be reduced to about 50,000 permanently stationed in Iraq, down from the current 164,000, by the end of the Bush presidency.

General Lute says,

"The basic message here should be clear. Iraq is increasingly able to stand on its own. That's very good news. But it won't have to stand alone."

As violence has drastically dropped in the war torn country, due to the change of tactics in the Troops reinforcement policy instituted under General David Petraeus earlier this year, it should be very welcome news that this action will be undertaken and whoever the next president will be shouldn’t have to step into the middle of an ongoing war.

Prominent Democrats who have been highly critical of the Battle of Iraq have complained of the lack of political reconciliation as violence ebbs in Iraq. None have reported any efforts at assisting the newly formed Iraqi government in negotiating between the various sects and factions making up the government in Iraq. It remains to be seen as to what extent they will welcome this and enter into the negotiation process.

It also remains to be seen if the more hawkish supporters will perceive this as President Bush caving into recent pressures from Democrat Party leaders over funding.

Also to be negotiated between the U.S. and Iraq is a "strategic framework agreement," an arrangement for continued U.S. presence in Iraq, to help fend off possible future Al Qaeda attacks and help stave off political insecurity.

American Troop presence would remain, much as was done in Korea, Germany and Japan, after open hostilities ceased in those countries over 50 years ago.

Whether this will mollify Democrat Party leaders and their outspoken criticism remains to be seen. It should also remove the Battle of Iraq as a campaign issue in next years’ presidential campaigns, though.

President Bush has continually stated that as “the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” True to his word, negotiations have been set to accomplish that.

It is my personal hope that all Americans, regardless of their personal feelings towards President Bush and the Battle of Iraq, will support this move and we will be able to bring our Troops home victorious, secure in the knowledge that their sacrifice planted the seeds of freedom and democracy in a troubled Middle East.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The recent events in Sudan regarding the British teacher and the teddy bear named Mohammed once again underscore the crisis that is engulfing the Islamic world and its relationship with Western Civilization (or Asian Civilization for that matter-witness events in the Philippines and southern Thailand.) To Western eyes, the sight of mobs in the street demanding the execution of a 54-year-old woman from Britain for defaming the Prophet Mohammed is nothing short of barbaric. Aside from that issue, we have also recently witnessed the prosecution in Saudi Arabia of a young female victim of gang rape. In Dubai recently, a 15 year old boy from France was gang-raped by three men. When he reported the incident to the police, he was accused of being a homosexual and is subject to prosecution since homosexuality is illegal in the UAE. Clearly, we have a culture clash here. It would be easy to shrug it all off and say that, if that's the way they want to run their societies, let them. We'll just not go there anymore. As simplistic as that is, we must also consider that many (not all) Muslim immigrants in the West want to establish that kind of society in their adopted countries.

Let's look first at Europe. Most western European countries are socialistic and liberal in their policies, especially in regards to immigration and granting of asylum. Many European societies, like France and Germany for example, brought in workers from Islamic countries to do the manual work that the Europeans would not do. In the case of France, many came from former French colonies in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa-predominately Muslim. Today, major riots have broken out among these immigrants twice in the last two years, sparked by police encounters where Muslim youths were killed. (It should be pointed out that much of this unrest stems from economic and social issues in France among immigrant youth.)

In the case of Germany, in the past two generations, waves of workers have been brought in from Turkey, which has had hereto a secular tradition. Of course, Muslims from other countries have come to Germany for study, including some of the 9-11 hijackers.

In Spain, the country basically capitulated to Muslim terrorism after the train bombings in Madrid. They elected a new Prime Minister and pulled thei troops from Iraq.

In Holland, probably the most liberal nation in Europe, that country is witnessing extreme problems with many of their Muslim immigrants. In many cases, Muslim communities are isolated within and around major cities like Rotterdam and attempting to establish their Islamic law within their communities even if it violates local law. More seriously, Dutch film producer Theo van Gogh was murdered for having produced a movie critical of Islamic treatment of women. A Somali immigrant, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was also involved in the film and a former Muslim, has had to live in hiding from extremeists who want to kill her.

In Scandinavia, it is the same thing. Police in Malmo, Sweden don't dare enter the Muslim quarter of town. Denmark? Cartoonists now have to live in fear in their own country for having drawn cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed. Danish embassies were attacked and burned over the cartoons as well.

Probably the worst situation exists in the UK, where certain mosques openly preach hatred toward their adopted country, protestors carry banners in the streets advocating the beheading of those who insult Islam, the killing of the Pope and another 9-11. On 7-7-05, words became action with the bombings of London subways and buses. While the British Government has done its duty in fighting radical Islam in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has no clue as to what to do about extremists in their own country, many of whom are native born Brits themselves.

It is probably safe to say that most of the problems involve the younger generation of Muslims as opposed to their parents' generation. They have become radicalized, perhaps feeling like 2nd class citizens and turning inward to religion. In the mosques, many Imams are fomenting that resentment toward the West. As a result, many Muslim immigrants and native-born immigrants are calling for an Islamic takeover of the West and imposition of Shariah law.

Sound ridiculous? How could a tiny minority in Western Europe take over a nation and impose their own religion, taking away freedoms that have been hard-won by Europeans? Consider this: If present immigration and birth rates continue, Western Europe will be majority Muslim within 2 generations.

Here in the US, we have long held the position that our Muslim population was distinct from that in Europe since Muslim immigrants to the US were better educated and, thus, their off-spring were more assimilated into our society. True, we have not seen the violent unrest among Muslim immigrants that Europe has experienced. Yet, especially among the younger generation, educated as they are, it is growing. If you spend any time on a college campus and pay attention to the fiery speakers that they bring onto campus (such as my school-UC Irvine), you would be alarmed. Many of these speakers call for the destruction of Israel, praise suicide bombers as heroes and call for the takeover of America by Islam.

In addition, we have seen the FBI and other law enforcement authorities make arrests of Muslims in the US for plotting to conduct terrorist operations, such as the plot to blow up Ft Dix, NJ. Is this representative of our Muslim population? No, I don't think so. I feel that the older immigrants especially are mostly grateful for the opportunity to live in a free country and better their lives. Yet, it is a cause for concern. If there are, as estimated, 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, the majority of whom are peaceful, even 1/2 of 1% who are not means a lot of people we need to watch out for. I am concerned that many of our younger generation of American Muslims are feeling increasingly disaffected from America. If this should reach the level of say, Britain, then we would have a serious situation on our hands. Obviously, we want our Islamic population to be on our side in the War on Terror.

The situation in the Islamic world itself is obviously another cause for concern. Consider the worst-case scenario. First, we have a radical regime in Iran building a nuclear weapon capability and talkng about the destruction of Israel. Syria is another supporter of terrorism. Suppose we leave Iraq and that country becomes a satellite for Iran and base for terrorists. Suppose we are not successful in Afghanistan and the Taliban returns to power. Pakistan, with its growing militancy (and nuclear weapons) is in danger of falling apart and being taken over by radicals. Lebanon is still a mess, as it has been for a generation. The corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia is under threat from radical Islamists as well. What if they fall? It doesn't take much imagination to visualize a Muslim world controlled by extremist elements.

That leads to the ultimate question: What would we (the rest of the world)do if we find the whole Muslim world aligned against us? Do we surrender? Do we convert to Islam? Do we give up the freedoms we have sacrificed so many millions of lives to enjoy? Do we allow customs like female circumcision, fatwas and "honor" killings to be conducted in our countries? There are voices in the US, Europe and the rest of the world who can only think of having peace. Are they willing to surrender everything for the sake of peace?

My answer is no-never. Muslims should understand that while we want to live in peace with them and allow them to worship as they please in our lands, that we stand for freedom of religion-and many other freedoms that some of them would take away. We will not give up those freedoms. They should also understand that the US, while trying to help bring peace to the Middle East, is committed to the survival of Israel. We also expect that immigrants to the US should assimilate into our society and accept our values as Americans-even while keeping their religion. A couple of years back, John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, publically told Muslim immigrants in that country that if they were not prepared to accept Australian values, they should leave and return to their countries of origin. The world needs more leaders like John Howard.

gary fouse