Anyone who believes that the Islamic world's anger at the Great Satan - that's us - is the direct result of our being in their ballpark and would quickly subside if we'd just pick up our marbles and go home had better pay attention to what's going on across the globe right now.
A quick scan of current events strongly suggests that what we mistakenly call the war on terrorism is really what its combatants call Jihad - a holy war against Christianity, Judaism and all other non-Islamic faiths.
Our presence in the Middle East is merely one of the irritants that motivate the jihadists, but the main thrust of their campaign is solidly religious in origin and would not fade away were we to retreat from what they regard as their sacred territory.
They don't just want us out, they want us either dead or subjugated wherever we are. And I'm not the one saying that - it's the Jihadists who proclaim it loud and clear, day in and day out. Tragically an awful lot of us are not listening.
There are, however, about 100 million Islamists who are listening and either acting on what they hear or are available to do so.
News Item, November 6, 2007: Italy Breaks Up European Terror Cell. the Associated Press reports that a Europe-wide sweep disrupted an Islamic cell that was recruiting potential suicide bombers for attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Italian police.
Eleven suspects were arrested in the northern Italian cities of Milan, Reggie Emilia, Imperia and Bergamo. Nine others were arrested on warrants issued in France, Britain and Portugal.
The group's members had been indoctrinated in militancy in mosques since at least 1998.
Lead investigator Gen. Giampaolo Ganzer of Italy's paramilitary Carabinieri police, said that while the main aim of the group was attacks aimed at western targets in Iraq and Afghanistan, they also had ties to groups that planned attacks in Italy.
Police said the Milan-based cell helped a Tunisian terror suspect flee to France in 2006.
The attack was meant to be carried out around Italy's national elections in April 2006, police said.
The AP also reported that two suspects were arrested in London and Manchester, England and face extradition to Italy. The men, identified as Ali Chehidi, 34, and Mohamed Khermiri, 53, were accused of forging documents to help volunteers enter Italy illegally.
This is just a drop in the bucket.
All across the globe, intelligence reports show that jihadists are planning mayhem directed at Western targets, aimed not at securing withdrawal of the U.S. and its Western allies from the Middle East but bringing the hated West to its knees.
They are here, there and just about everywhere, inflamed by the radical madrassas into Islamic fanaticism and determined to bring the sword of Allah down upon Western necks and avenge their past defeats at the hands of infidel Western powers.
The grim news out of Pakistan is a wake up call to those who view the conflict as a matter affecting Iraq and Afghanistan solely and committed to bringing about a quick withdrawal of Western forces from those areas in the hope that this will satisfy the jihadists and lead to an end of their holy war.
What the last few days events in that troubled nation has made clear is the terrible peril America and the West face. It is a dilemma with no real solution.
We've been comforted by the fact that Pakistan has been a staunch ally of the U.S., but unable to grasp the unpleasant fact that our ally is President Pervez Musharraf and his supporters, not the people of Pakistan who are split down the middle with the advantage barely on our side.
The chaos there now makes us face the facts that two of the four provinces in Pakistan are firmly in the hands of Taliban and al-Qaida supporters, that the areas on the Afghan border are under Taliban and al-Qaida control effectively frustrating allied forces attempts to rout the Taliban and save the pro-American Afghan President Karzai's government from being overwhelmed by its former tyrannical leaders.
In Pakistan, polls show that almost half the people support Osama bin Laden while support for Musharraf is in single digits. Clearly, Pakistan is up for grabs and al-Qaida is a strong contender for a takeover of a nation with about 50 nukes in its arsenal.
While news from Iraq has been encouraging, the Democrat's determination to withdraw our troops, and the growing public belief that we should leave there as fast as possible, will leave the Middle East in turmoil, leave us without m8uch of the oil that fuels our economy and do not one damn thing to stop the jihad from going after us, which they will do.
It's not about territory. It's about Islam and its desire to rule the world. and a heck of a lot of its adherents are firmly wedded do that goal. Unfortunately, an awful lot of Westerners refuse to believe that because an awful lot of Westerners can't understand that kind of devotion to a religion and its tenets.
Let's face it. We're in a mess. Oremus!
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska.
He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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