Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pulling Out of Iraq: An Exchange of Thoughts

A note from Radarsite: While browsing through my documents file this afternoon I came across this forgotten exchange between myself and another commenter, Ms. Jennifer Solis, from the comments section of one of Dr. Daniel Pipes excellent articles, dated July 2007, "Salvaging the Iraq War". In the article Dr. Pipes puts forward his argument for keeping our troops in Iraq. In support of this view he lists the following reasons:
* Contain or rollback the Iranian and Syrian governments.
* Assure the free flow of oil and gas.
* Fight Al-Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.
* Provide a benign presence in Iraq.

Considering the approaching deadline for a complete withdrawal of all of our combat troops in Iraq, and the escalating threats we now face from our emboldened Islamic enemies in Iran and Afghanistan, from the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hezbolla, and Hamas, I feel that this discussion of the issues involved is perhaps even more pertinent today than it was in 2007. I hope that you agree. - rg


The Battle of Iraq and the Clash of Civilizations
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
Submitted by Roger W. Gardner (United States), Jul 29, 2007 at 16:31

What I am about to say is certain to offend a lot of people, but I'm going to say it anyway. Whether we stay in or Iraq or leave, the war that we have had thrust upon us will continue. For it is not just about Iraq, or Afghanistan, it is not just about al Qaeda. Iraq is just one of the battles in this war. This war is not about what we have done or haven't done in the Middle East.

This war we are in is a war against the hate-driven, pride/revenge culture of the Arab world (in which I include Iran) and the violence-prone religion which supports it. This is just the latest attempt of the Arab-Muslim world to fulfill their God-given destiny to conquer the West. Since the seventh century there have been at least a half dozen of these major attacks against the Judeo-Christian West -- some of which came perilously close to succeeding.

Fortunately, their invasions were thwarted and they were driven back across the Mediterranean, where they licked their wounds and plotted revenge and withdrew further into barbarism. Until this backward and hateful culture is thoroughly destroyed or utterly dominated -- as the last vestiges of the brutal warrior code of the Samurai had to be totally destroyed in WWII -- this never-ending war will continue. If there is nothing else that we have learned from our past conflicts with the Arab world, we can be certain of this -- they hate us, they hate our freedoms and they hate our success and they will never give up their attempts to conquer us.

For most Westerners, certainly for most Americans, it is so much easier to believe that what we are dealing with here is a small group of violent fanatics who have "hijacked" a peaceful religion -- like the Nazis "hijacked" Germany -- rather than having to contemplate the awful alternative: that a major world religion could, itself, be violent and that we are, indeed, in the first days of an inevitable and bloody "Clash of Civilizations." I truly wish that it were otherwise, but wishing won't make it so.

ingredient for lasting peace in Iraq
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
Submitted by jennifer solis (United States), Aug 22, 2007 at 14:58

Interesting suggestion to remove to the deserts and borders. I agree; however there's an imperative ingredient I wish Mr. Pipes would comment on; the inevitable civil war and resulting decimation of citizenry. All we're doing now is postponing what is in my estimation (however politically incorrect for me to articulate) the sad but obvious ingredient for a lasting peace in Iraq. Massive decimation.

After the Gulf war, how did Saddam manage to stop the Kurdish uprising? There was lasting peace afterwards; the Sunnis, Shi'te and Kurds knew, respected, feared the "strong horse" after that. He knew the mentality and culture of Irac citizenry better than we do (or admit we do). How did World War II end? We did not fight that war and succeed by having a "politically correct" mentality. We had a P.C. attitude in Viet Nam and we lost. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the fall of Berlin.......we won.

President Bush is right when he (all too infrequently) says we must stay on the offensive. Wars are won by offensive action, not defensive action. However, the ingrained cultural desire for Theocratical rule (inspite of the 'elections') on the part of the Irac populace has/ will trap them; they are the ones in a "quagmire". Sadly, to the Iracs fear and respect are synonomous; this applies towards whomever eventually brings peace to that country. -JS

Reply to Ms. Solis' comments
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: ingredient for lasting peace in Iraq
Submitted by Roger W. Gardner (United States), Aug 22, 2007 at 21:34

Sadly, I find myself in almost total agreement with Ms. Solis' thoughtful and straightfoward comments. We are in a real war and, as she pointed out so well, half-measures just won't do. Culture does matter. And the culture in most of the Middle East isn't quite the same as the culture in Sweden. I remember, back when our troops first entered the city of Baghdad, one of our embedded reporters was interviewing some of the Iraqis on the street, who were dancing and rejoicing over the apparent fall of Saddam Hussein. One of these excited Iraqis spoke English, and when the reporter asked him how he felt about those people who supported Saddam, he answered, "If I catch one I'll slit his throat and drink his blood!" And I remember thinking --Jeez! And this is one of the good guys!

Yes, they actually might continue"decimating each other" and , yes, there might be a civil war. And finally, you're absolutely right about some people seeming to need strong dictators, even if they're brutal and muderous -- some Russians still look back lovingly to the good old days, when their kindly Uncle Joe was in charge.

Yet despite all of these ominous -- indeed, sometimes seemingly inevitable -- scenarios, we still have to stay there and win. Why? Because all of the senior Al-Qaeda leaders have said that the battle for Iraq is absolutely central to their plans to eventually take control of the entire region and turn it into their long-awaited Caliphate. Like it or not, this is the center of focus for our war against Al-Qaeda. We just cannot allow Iraq to turn into another Taliban-like theocracy. We cannot allow Al-Qaeda to win.

Again, I agree with almost everything the observant Ms. Solis has said; but I respectfully disagree with her conclusion.

knowledge vs. opinion
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: Reply to Ms. Solis' comments
Submitted by jennifer Solis (United States), Aug 23, 2007 at 18:54

How much does the average American know about the religion of Islam?

Do they know that the Qu'ran is the Islamic "bible"? That Islam is the world's second largest religion? That in the Qu'ran the most assured way of going to "heaven" is to kill a Christian or a Jew? That in the Qu'ran you're commanded to lie? That in the Qu'ran you're instructed to "kill the infidel (anyone not of Islamic faith) wherever you find him"? All this is permitted in "times of jihad" (translated "my struggle, my fight". Ominously, the title of Hitler's book, "mien Kaumpf ", translates the same.).

Since 632 AD, the Qu'ran has been the Muslim's bible. There is no other. I appreciate Mr. Gardner's views in "The Battle of Iraq and the Clash of Civilizations". The truth is sad but the truth is this: a religion, second largest in the world, outrageously and graphically violent since it's inception, was sleeping for a couple of centuries; now, since Munich, it's raised it's ugly head.......Americans know about 9-11. Do they realize the vast majority of "peaceful" Muslims turn a blind eye toward their Muslim brothers planning "jihad"?

I agree that Iraq is the main Theater in the war. Strategically we would be fools to give it up. But trying to introduce a Democracy to a culture that is blind, has been blind for over a thousand years due to a dictatorial, violent religion is truly folly. Muslims born in Afganistan who realize this have left; Muslims born in Irac who realize this have left. Recently the "President" of Iraq and his cabinet announced their intention of going on a three-month vacation. Of course the American advisors quickly "hushed" that idea..........I had a hunch when I heard it that the new heads of the government of Iraq wanted to "get the hell out of dodge" while they could.

I found Mr.Gardner's letter to be observant -- "until this hateful and backward culture is thoughly destroyed or utterly dominated........" Question: how will this culture be dominated? What kind of domination has brought a period of peace to the Middle East before? Therein lies the answer. Removing our troops to the deserts and borders as Mr.Pipes suggests will force the Iraqis to step up. Force is something that is in the Iraqi's mental vocabulary. Whomever rises to power in Iraq, if he doesn't cooperate with American forces, blow him up. Really. Then whomever rises again to power, again, if he does'nt cooperate with American forces, blow him up. The Iraqis aren't mentally retarded; soon they'll catch on that they're being FORCED to cooperate with American forces. Let them have a "Theocracy". And, once again, let us be the "strong horse" in the war. -JS

Note: since the Kurds are the only ones who have proven the ability to self-govern, I would remove our forces also to the north to provide extra protection for the Kurds.

Response to Ms. Solis' comments
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: knowledge vs. opinion
Submitted by Roger W. Gardner (United States), Aug 24, 2007 at 17:31

Once again, I must respond to the knowledgable Ms.Solis' well-reasoned statements. I think that she might agree that sometimes -- like in 1941 -- war is the answer, the only answer that will do. And I agree that a strong hand will most likely be necessary for some time to come.

I hold no illusions concerning the difficulties we face in Iraq, and with this whole violent culture; however, if it is any solace to Ms. Solis (no puns intended), when, after Japan's unconditional surrender, we occupied the country and declared our intentions to bring about a democracy there, the wise men here and elsewhere hastened to point out -- quite reasonably -- that for us to attempt to change an alien culture, that had been more or less unchanged in thousands of years, a culture based on a foreign religion and on a national creed of the warrior and centuries of Emperor Worship, was both arrogant and foolhardy, and almost assuredly impossible.

It took about 5 years.

Before the pundits had time to write many books on this subject, Japan already had major league baseball and was quickly beginning to outdistance some of the Western democracies in performing those miracles of capitalism. All this, without losing their essential unique Japanese culture. The same thing happened in South Korea. And the entire Soviet Union fell apart before the CIA had had time for their morning coffee.

Once again, I don't underestimate the difficulties we face, and are going to face in the future in the Middle East and elsewhere. But as the previously examples have proven, there's always room for hope.

On a more personal note, it's been a pleasure talking with you.

And it's also been a pleasure following all of the other thoughtful comments on this subject.


unconditional surrender
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: Response to Ms. Solis' comments
Submitted by jennifer solis (United States), Aug 24, 2007 at 18:53

I thank Mr. Gardner for his response and thoughtfull, "dealing with the reality" commentary. The illustration of the situation of Japan, after WW II, is an interesting one. I'd like to ask Mr. Gardner to comment, however, on these points:

There was one confirmed leader of Japan; the United States had one Leader with whom to sign the treaty, and to whom the Japanese populace would in it's entirety acknowledge. Sure, at the time we didn't know for sure what the citizenry would do. But there was the track record of the Japanes' extreme loyalty toward ONE leader (Saddam never had the loyalty of all three tribes).

The Japanese fought wearing uniforms. How can you fight (in Iraq) an invisible army?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki................what an attention getter / way to gain respect (fear).

The Japanese unconditionally surrendered. Turns out that they did. Turning out not the same in Iraq.

Last, but not least, Japan's religion was not the second biggest in the world, their soldiers where not funded by an eternal flow of oil money, and we showed no mercy in this country by having internment camps on our home soil. Not that I desire internment camps for Muslims. There was, I believe, a "tougher mettle" attitude of Americans back then (they lined up around the block to enlist).

What are your thoughts, Mr. Gardner? -JS

Reply to Ms. Solis' comments
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: unconditional surrender
Submitted by Roger W. Gardner (United States), Aug 26, 2007 at 18:48

Dear Ms. Solis,

As usual, your comments are right on target. Ironically, although I keep agreeing with you, the disagreement seems to continue. As much as I enjoy this ongoing debate, I'm afraid I' m going to have to bow out at this point. Not because I think this discussion isn't an important one, or that I think your ideas aren't sound -- they are -- but I'm just beginning to wonder if this is the proper place to keep this dialogue going.

However, because of the respectful and serious manner in which you've framed your last questions, I'm not going to just disappear without at least attempting to answer them to the best of my ability.

One of the additional reasons I feel that it's probably a good idea for me to leave this particular discussion at this point is that I feel that -- as interesting as it has become -- it has strayed a little too far from my original intent in posting that first "Battle of Iraq ---" comment. If you recall, far from attempting to minimize the problems we are facing in this volatile region, I was attempting to prove that they were in fact much bigger and more ominous than some people seemed to believe; that, rather than being a comparatively smallish war confined to one relatively small country, it was, in my view, just one battle in a much larger and more dangerous looming worldwide conflict.

Yes, as you point out so clearly, there are many differences between what is currently going on in Iraq and what previously happened in Japan and South Korea. And yes, there are of course further differences between what happened in these two countries after WWII and what transpired with the sudden fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. My purpose in siting these examples was not to presume that what happened in these countries could , or ever would, happen the same way in Iraq, but to show that, what appears at first sight to be absolutely insurmountable problems, sometimes turn out to be otherwise. This thought gives me cause for a little optimism.

If you will recall my previous remarks about the violent culture of the Middle East, in general, and Iraq, in particular, I have no illusions about the grave difficuties we face there in the future. Indeed, it may be necessary for us to maintain a strong military presence in this area for 50 years or more.

I completely agree with your assessment of the need for a powerful and intimidating force there to accomplish our long term goals. In order to do this, however, I believe we need two things -- both of which seem to be in dangerously short supply right now -- manpower and willpower. Hopefully, in the future we can correct these shortfalls.

Once again, Ms. Solis, I've thoroughly enjoyed this discussion and hope to continue it somewhere else at a later time.

Best wishes,

Roger G.

the pleasure is mine
Reader comment on article: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: Reply to Ms. Solis' comments
Submitted by jennifer solis (United States), Aug 28, 2007 at 15:28

Dear Mr. Gardner,

Thank you for your reply. That you replied at all to my somewhat acerbic letter is testimony that you're a gentleman and also to your genuine interest and concern reguarding Iraq.

Thank you for pointing out also that what appears to be at first " absolutely insurmountable problems" sometimes turn out to be otherwise. Correcting the seemingly dangerous short supply of manpower and willpower. I couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Gardner.

I will look forward to any other possible replies of yours towards Mr. Pipes' articles, etc. I too have very much enjoyed the back-and- forth..................very respectfully, -JS


  1. The fact that we are retreating from the cities of Iraq is going to happen much to the pleasure and joy of the liberal moonbats.

    I predict that there will be a great upsurge of violence in these cities and towns. A great loss of civilian life. And these same moonbats who are jumping for joy now will be screaming that we left too soon.

    You and Ms Solis both see this, as do many others.

    It took the US 10 years to pacify Germany (a bit too well I must admit) and 6 to pacify Japan after WW 2. We didn't pacify Iraq (we should have) and it will come back to bite us in the butt.

  2. Findalis nailed it. Our leadership cadre has failed to learn and apply the lessons of previous wars.

    The primary value of the series of debates is Roger's exposure of the fatal fact of Islam: permanent war. We can not possibly win in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other Islamic area without eliminating Islam from those areas.

    Until Islam is eliminated, we will be constantly responding to new hot spots where violence breaks out in one form or another.

    Islamic areas will remain pressurized, with hot spots breaking out where containment is weak, until we wise up and eliminate Islam from them.

    Unless we are willing to set about that difficult task, the Hiroshima/Nagasaki model is the only answer.