Tags: Forget | the | Past | History | Will | Repeat | Itself

If We Forget the Past, History Will Repeat Itself in Iraq

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM

It's an old adage: "Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." If the polls are correct, we are now witnessing an epidemic of mass amnesia and history is about to repeat itself.

Perhaps it would be instructive to take a few steps back and contemplate just what got us where we are in this ongoing war against Islamofascism. And that war did not start with 9/11 or the attack on Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

If you want to be technical, it all began in the eighth century, when followers of Mohammed crossed the Pyrenees, threatening to stable their horses in St. Peter's at Rome, but were defeated by Charles Martel at Tours in 732, just one hundred years after the death of Mohammed.

This defeat halted their western conquests and saved Europe, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, which goes on to explain that in the eighth and ninth centuries the Muslims conquered Persia, Afghanistan and a large part of India, and in the 12th century had already become the absolute masters of all western Asia, Spain and North Africa, Sicily, etc.

They were finally conquered by the Mongols and Turks in the 13th century, who then converted to Islam and, in the 15th century, overthrew the tottering Byzantine Empire (1453). From that stronghold (Constantinople) they even threatened the German Empire, but were successfully defeated at the gates of Vienna, and driven back across the Danube, in 1683.

That defeat failed to quench the fires of militant Islam, and today's jihad (holy war) is but an extension of radical Islam's lust to subdue the world. It has a new face – that of Osama bin Laden – and a revived jihad led by al-Qaida, now the world's most infamous terrorist organization. Al-Qaida – "the base" in Arabic – is a network of extremists organized by bin Laden. It is a multinational force and has a worldwide presence.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, al-Qaida's senior leaders "are also senior leaders in other terrorist organizations, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, such as the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian al-Jihad. Al-Qa'ida seeks a global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none exist. It supports Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo. It also trains members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea."

As proclaimed by bin Laden and other radical Islamist leaders, al-Qaida seeks to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs." He has also said that the only way to re-establish the Caliphate is by force. Its goal, therefore, is to overthrow nearly all Muslim governments, which are viewed as corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries.

Al-Qaida views the West, especially the United States, as the main obstacle to victory and it has acted accordingly. In 1996 bin Laden declared war against the United States. He did it again in 1998, stating:

"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,' and 'fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.' "

These words have been followed by actions:

To put it simply, the United States is at war, and has been at war with the forces al-Qaida represents, since at least the early '90s. The enemy are not the so-called "insurgents" in Iraq, but a determined, well-armed and well-trained force with worldwide ambitions. And it is not a war against terrorism – terrorism is merely the weapon employed by the jihadists.

With all that in mind, consider just how idiotic – and self-serving – are the demands coming from the Left that President Bush lay out a specific plan for getting out of Iraq quickly, as if it would somehow bring to an end the real war – the jihad – in which we and the West are engaged.

The president has stated clearly that we will not leave Iraq until we have defeated the terrorists who are targeting the Iraqi people, and have introduced enough stability to enable the Iraqis to cope successfully with whatever is left of the jihadist war against them.

With a strong and competent Iraqi military on the ground, al-Qaida will have its hands full. Without one, we would be forced to keep our legions in the area for ages to come.

That's what is meant by victory; it is a struggle we can and must win. Victory, however, will not be the end of the real war – whether we like it or not, that will go on as long as there is an internationally organized army of jihadists capable of waging what amounts to a guerrilla war against the United States and the West. But defeating them in Iraq will be a serious blow to their ambitions – a setback from which they will have a hard time recovering.

We have got to begin to understand this. Should we fail to grasp the reality of the situation, this war will go on and on, far beyond the lives of most of those living today. There will be more 9/11s and they will be here in the United States. We are facing a foe that will not give up and must be decisively defeated. Winning in Iraq will go a long way in that direction.

George Bush recognized all this a long time ago. He realized that this war exists, and he reacted by choosing the ground on which it must be fought. He chose Afghanistan and Iraq, vital areas in the region in which jihad was born and bred and where it seeks first to prevail.

Anyone with two cents' worth of brains understands that striking the enemy where he lives is the best strategy. The alternative is to allow the jihadists to prevail on their own ground and provide them with an opportunity to take the battle to their enemy's heartland – the United States and Europe.

History should have taught us that cutting and running – which is what the current Democrat demands amount to with all the fancy rhetoric put aside – only prolongs the agony. Leaving Iraq to the mercy of the jihadists will turn all of the Middle East into a boiling cauldron of deadly chaos.

Putting our oil supplies at risk would be the least of the consequences for the U.S. and the West. A Middle East in flames, Israel imperiled, and a nuclear confrontation between al-Qa-da-dominated Arab states and Isreal all but a certainty.

History is repeating itself because we refuse to learn from history. We are witnessing a replay of the Vietnam debacle when the Left's disgraceful and traitorous anti-war activities at home lost us a war we were winning on the battlefield and rendered worthless the deaths of 58,000 Americans.

They employ the same tactics today. We left the people of South Vietnam to the mercy of the murderous North Vietnamese Communist tyrants. Now they would have us turn our backs on the people of Iraq.

Together with the media, the Democrats have repeated their treacherous activities during the Vietnam conflict – they are busy sapping the will of the American people just as they did then. If the majority of the American people favor cutting and running, it is because they have been misled, especially by a media that refuse to tell them the truth, which is that we are not losing in Iraq and we must stay the course no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.

Sen. Daniel Inouye has complained about a GOP commercial now running on the Internet that suggests that members of his his party are acting as agents for surrender. He tells President Bush that it is disgraceful because it is injecting politics into the debate. That's hogwash and he knows it. The debate about Iraq is fueled largely by his party's lust after an issue that will help it recapture the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. It is politics pure and simple.

And if it leads to disaster in the Middle East a prolongation of the jihad and a renewal of attacks here at home, that's just too bad. Politics trumps all else. If defeat in Iraq leads to victory on Capitol Hill, so be it.

We are, I repeat, at war. It's a new kind of world war that we must win. History leaves us no choice. Defeat is not an option. Wishing that al-Qaida and its allies will go away and leave us alone simply won't cut it. As General McArthur said, "In war there is no substitute for victory."

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & 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 of Former Intelligence Officers.

He can be reached at


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It's an old adage: "Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." If the polls are correct, we are now witnessing an epidemic of mass amnesia and history is about to repeat itself. Perhaps it would be instructive to take a few steps back and...
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM
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