[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Yes to War on Terror

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yes to War on Terror

From the Miami Herald, some lucid reasons why fighting terrorists is necessary:
Six Reasons Why We Need War on Terror

By Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services

Do we still need to fight a war on terror?

The answer seems to be no for an increasing number in the West who are weary over Afghanistan and Iraq or complacent from the absence of a major attack on the scale of 9/11.

The British Foreign Office has scrapped the phrase ''war on terror'' as inexact, inflammatory and counterproductive. U.S. Central Command has just dropped the term ''long war'' to describe the fight against radical Islam.

An influential book making the rounds -- Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them -- argues that the threat from al Qaeda is vastly exaggerated.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, goes further, assuring us that we are terrorized mostly by the false idea of a war on terror -- not the jihadists themselves.

Even onetime neo-conservative Francis Fukuyama, who in 1998 called for the preemptive removal of Saddam Hussein, believes ''war'' is the ''wrong metaphor'' for our struggle against the terrorists.

Others point out that motley Islamic terrorists lack the resources of the Nazi Wehrmacht or the Soviet Union.

This thinking may seem understandable given the ineffectiveness of al Qaeda to kill many Americans after 9/11. Or it may also reflect hopes that if we only leave Iraq, radical Islam will wither away. But it is dead wrong for a number of reasons.

First, Islamic terrorists plotting attacks are arrested periodically in both Europe and the United States. Just last week a leaked British report detailed al Qaeda's plans for future ''large-scale'' operations. We shouldn't be blamed for being alarmist when our alarmism has resulted in our safety at home for the past five years.

Second, have we forgotten that Nazi Germany was never able to kill 3,000 Americans in our homeland? Did Japan ever destroy 16 acres in Manhattan or hit the nerve center of the U.S. military? Even the Soviet Union couldn't inflict billions of dollars in damage to the U.S. economy in a single day.

Third, in some ways stateless terrorists can be more dangerous than past conventional threats. Autocrats in some Middle East countries allow indirect financial and psychological support for al Qaeda terrorists without leaving footprints of their intent. They must assume that a single terrorist strike could kill thousands of Americans without our ability to strike back at their capitals. This inability to tie a state to its support for terrorism is our greatest obstacle in this war -- and our enemies' greatest advantage.

Fourth, jihadists have already scored successes in all sorts of ways beyond altering the very nature of air travel. Cartoonists now lampoon everyone and everything -- except Muslims. The pope must weigh his words carefully. Otherwise, priests and nuns are attacked abroad. A single false Newsweek story about one flushed Koran led to riot and death.

The net result is that terrified millions in Western societies silently accept that for the first time in centuries they cannot talk or write honestly about what they think of Islam and the Koran.

Fifth, everything from our 401(k) plans to municipal water plants depends on computers and communications. And you don't need a missile to take them down. Two oceans no longer protect the United States -- not when the Internet knows no boundaries, our borders are relatively wide open and dozens of ships dock and hundreds of flights arrive daily.

A germ, some spent nuclear fuel or a vial of nerve gas could cause as much mayhem and calamity as an armored division in Hitler's army. The Soviets were considered rational enemies who accepted the bleak laws of nuclear deterrence. But the jihadists claim that they welcome death if their martyrdom results in thousands of dead Americans.

Finally, radical Islamists largely arise from the oil-rich Middle East. Since 9/11, the price of oil has skyrocketed, transferring trillions of dollars from successful Western, Indian and Chinese economies to unsuccessful Arab and Iranian autocracies.

Terrorists know that blowing up a Saudi oil field or getting control of Iraqi petroleum reserves -- and they attempt both all the time -- will alter the world economy.

This is a strange war. Our successes in avoiding attack convince some that the real danger has passed. And when we kill jihadists abroad, we are told it is peripheral to the war or only incites more terrorism.

But despite the current efforts at denial, the war against Islamic terrorism remains real and deadly. We can't wish it away until Middle Eastern dictatorships reform -- or we end their oil stranglehold over the world economy.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

©2007 Tribune Media Services



Blogger dreamsinpersia said...

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson,
Do we still need to fight a war on terror? I agree with those who say No to your question.
As a historian you should know that the Radical Islamist or as you call them jihadists always have been small group in Middle East . They did their suicidal attacks on middle eastern politicians at the beginning. They could not even change their own government. Yes they were able to kill 3,000 Americans in our homeland, but the number of American killed in Iraq war has been reached more than 3000. The war cost 62570 or more Iraqi’s. Unless you do not count them as human being! This means that we killed Iraqi’s 20 times more than those crazy jihadists killed our people in 9/11. We have every thing to kill and destroy they have their lives.
You said. “The net result is that terrified millions in Western societies silently accept that for the first time in centuries they cannot talk or write honestly about what they think of Islam and the Koran.”
My question is that can they talk about Judaism or Christianity with out being afraid of being bombed?
Do we get close to end jihadists agenda by attacking Middle Eastern countries and killing thousands? Don’t you think that act make more jihadists ? Which kind of historian are you?
I agree with you that if we help that region to become Democratic and secular then we will not have to worry about terrorism. However we can not take the democracy to a land with cluster bombs and invasion.

Maryam Tabibzadeh
Author of
Persian dreams

9:45 PM, April 29, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


May I ask what you would do to instill democracy to the Middle East and eliminate the jihadists? You gave plenty of criticism of Dr. Hanson's column, which is fine. Let's now hear how you would solve the problem.

I don't think it's smart to not take threats seriously. That's why when the Ayatollah and the president of a country such as Iran starts indicating that they want to eliminate Israel and the "Great Satan", we must take them at their word.

The jihadists, for being such a minority, sure wield a pretty big stick in the Middle East. Dr. Hanson is correct, the majority of good, decent people are scared. It also doesn't help that much of the Iraqis killed are due to sectarian violence.

And who can forget about Saddam gassing the Kurds, right? Don't they count, too?

Finally, you surely can't be serious about comparing Islamic jihadists to Christians and Jews. You don't want westerners to generalize, yet that's exactly what you're doing. I think the recent past speaks for itself.

10:08 PM, April 29, 2007  
Blogger dreamsinpersia said...


To answer your question I pose another question. How did we end the communism?
All around the world we used to be a compassionate country that helped the underdog. We help the freedom fighters to get their long wish freedom. What is different between Iran and Eastern Europe? We can do what we did over there.

Do not remind me of what Sadam did. He did not just Gas the Kurds. He gazed the Iranian soldiers who were defending their country with the chemical weapon which we provided him with. At that time world was blind folded. No body bothered to tell him it was illegal. My own brother is suffering until today from the aftermath of Mustard gas. And yes they did count.

The question is not what Sadam did or did not. The question is what did we do or are we doing? The sectarian violence is the after math of invasion. Those people were living together for centuries. Do you honestly think they would kill each other if we did not invade the country and dismantle the army? We should have thought that there is a need for security and a need for the army.

I did not compare them to Jews or Christians. I only said you do not like any one
talk bad about what you believe either. I also like to ask you was Hitler a Muslim or Christian?
One person in Iran asked a question “if Israel should exist that is if we believe this is the correct translation of his Persian statement” which shows his foolishness and ignorance and every one is saying we should attack Iran for one word. Killing is killing; the one who kills more is less human to me. And my dear Robert we kill more because we are better equipped to kill and have precise weapons which we make.

I am also surprise where do these Jihadist find their weapons? They do not make them themselves! They buy it from courtiers which make them. We can easily prevent the flow of weapon to Middle East and all the violence will stop. There will not be any fear any more. Only if we do not care about all the money we get from the sale of these weapons.


10:57 AM, May 18, 2007  

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