Jewish World Review March 23, 2004 / 1 Nissan, 5764
Islamics are looking for victory, should we give it to them?
We can contemplate a good number of things as we think back over the year since our nation invaded Iraq.
Some will say that we are in a quagmire and believe it. I don't, but it does seem that we were not all prepared for the resistance that has continued after the invasion.
That means we are now fighting the real war and are losing troops the way that one does in a real war. Should we be in there or should we pull out?
The deaths of our troops are tragic and are magnified by the news media, which choose to look at each death from the perspective of the families and friends who have lost a loved one. That makes the tragedy of the individual death seem much larger and out of proportion to the reality of fighting a war.
But we endure our news media's present reporting, just as we endured their fervent support when the invasion was moving along with near inevitability. That's America.
But pulling out of Iraq would put us in a much bigger mess because the kinds of loons against whom we are fighting are looking to make Iraq a Vietnam and are counting on a lack of American resolve, on our unwillingness to sacrifice.
The Vietnamese have gone on record as saying that they knew that if they could get American casualties above a certain number they could break the will of the people and support for the war would wilt.
The Islamic terrorists against whom we are fighting think the same way. They are arriving from everywhere in the world, and they are looking for a victory, something to make up for the quick defeat in Afghanistan.
They want to prove that their methods are the ones that can win out against entire armies. They truly feel a deep need to win in Iraq. It would lift the hearts of their followers and deepen their determination. That could give even more inspiration to those behind the slaughters in Israel.
These are the sorts of things that we have to consider since the Age of Terror announced its presence on Sept. 11, 2001. That was the declaration of a war that is going on everywhere. Most recently, it showed its face in Spain, which will probably pay a great price for the cowardice of its leadership. As far too many people have said - and far too many terrorists have proved - if nations give in to violence, they embolden those who commit the terrorism.
I simply do not see a way forward other than one of courage and constant reassessment, of improvising solutions, of being willing to give more than lip service to a war and support it with real sacrifices when necessary.
This is not some gung-ho mindlessness over Iraq. We also need to redouble our efforts in Kosovo and make sure that Bosnia doesn't fall back into tribal slaughter.
We face hard times, and the challenges will keep coming for a long while.
We might be living in a news report - but we are not living in a movie.
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JWR contributor and cultural icon Stanley Crouch is a columnist for The New York Daily News. He is the author of, among others, The All-American Skin Game, Or, the Decoy
of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994, Always in Pursuit: Fresh American
Perspectives, and Don't the Moon Look Lonesome: A Novel in Blues and Swing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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