Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia

You remember the bad old days, the days before our glorious savior, Barack Obama, redeemed us from mindless military adventures.

You might ask, how bad was it?

It was so bad that the New York Times-- following a much higher truth than mere facts-- decided that it could not report on the existence of al Qaeda in Iraq, lest its feeble-minded readers imagine that the Iraq War was connected to the attacks on the World Trade Center.

What did the Times do to forestall such misunderstandings? Whenever it found evidence that al Qaeda was functioning in Iraq, the Times rebranded the organization: “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.”

Apparently, the elite intellectuals who read the Times do not know that Mesopotamia and Iraq are the same thing.  

Of course, now that Barack Obama is commander-in-chief, the Times and other left-thinking news organizations have decided to tone down their shrill opposition to the wars.

One hopes that they have a very short memory. Otherwise, what would they think of our new Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, who told our troops in Baghdad that: “the reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked, and 3,000—not just Americans, but 3,000 human beings— got killed, innocent human beings, because of al Qaeda.”?

Uh, oh. There goes the anti-war movement.

Today, the incomparable Fouad Ajami explains the connection between the war in Iraq and the attack on the World Trade Center. His thinking is more sophisticated than the sloganeers, so it is worth quoting at length.

In his words: “Our country made its way to Iraq some 18 months after 9/11 because the menace against America in that time of peril had come from Arab lands. It was Arab financiers who made it possible for the plotters and the death pilots to do their grim work. It was Arab religious preachers, with the prestige of the Arabic language, the language of the Islamic revelation, who were sowing the winds of anti-Americanism and “weaponizing” the faith itself. And it was sly Arab governments winking at the forces of terror and enabling it while posing as America’s clients and allies.  We had to get the attention of the Arabs, strike against Arab targets, take on the pathologies of that world.

He continued: “The Afghan-Pakistani borderlands were of no interest to the Arab intellectual class gloating over America’s wounds. Baghdad mattered to the Arabs—this was a city of consequence, ruled by an Arab despot who had appealed to the atavisms and ruinous passions of the ‘Arab street.’ He was the self-appointed defender of the Arabs against the ‘fire-worshipping Persians,’ and against the Americans. Sure enough, Saddam Hussein was not the hero he had been in the first Gulf War of 1990-1991. The crowd had grown disillusioned with him. But still, he had his swagger, and he hadn’t ducked when caution was the better part of wisdom in the aftermath of 9/11. He taunted America, and it made ideological and strategic sense to take away from the crowd its cherished illusions, and to strike down the ruler in Baghdad.

Ajami goes on to explain the way the American left first embraced, and then rejected the Iraq War. His analysis merits your attention. As the old saying goes: Read the whole thing.

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