With the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report pontificating that the “Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists”, I keep asking myself, “Was it so much better before that we should long for the good ol’ days before the Iraq war?” The way the information is presented and the way the MSM has loved reporting it hints that if the war were never waged, the terrorists would be perfectly happy being single-celled organisms working independently from time to time killing off the West. The way it’s been reported, one who didn’t think for themselves might believe that the cause is the Iraq War and effect is terrorism. Wrong. They might also think that because of the war, Muslims who never would have considered violence as a viable alternative to the influence of the U.S. have all of a sudden decided to hate our decadence and take action. Sorry, but that doesn’t hold water.
We apparently need to be reminded that this war was never about the short term. This is obvious both in its goals and its lack of short-term success; the planning for this arena was obviously weak. This was always a visionary conflict, one that would require massive amount of change, both functional and “adaptive,” in the language of change agents. The plan wasn’t simply to rid of terrorists; does anyone actually believe that Bush ever considered the war to be about that, and that alone? It is about the belief that democracy in the Middle East will encourage the people in their own country to demand reform from the extremists who have gained too much power while citizens were looking the other way. This is a long fight, and perhaps it is ridiculous to think these nations can ever change. The question is: was it worth the gamble? For our own security and for the security of those in the Middle East, I think it was.
Is it possible that the increase in jihadists has in fact proved W more right than ever? With every outrage these sensitive religious ideologues experience over the slightest criticism, or even the most serious criticism, their radical nature exposes itself more and more to be deeply at odds with what we call civilization. That Iraq is such a threat to their way of life, and that more jihadists are protesting it, doesn’t it prove that there will be no meeting of the minds with these extremists and the globalized world? And unfortunately, we no longer live in a world where can politely ignore each other, which seemed to be the case only 10 years ago. Advances in transportation and even the Internet have brought the jihadist threat further out of the woodwork so that it must be dealt with, either by them adapting to the standard of living the majority of the world wants, or by being defeated.
I was reminded the other day again of the horrors of the Thirty Year’s War, the result of Reformed Christians and Roman Catholics failing to peacefully resolve their differences. Perhaps this is the stage that Islam is in. After all, Islam is about 600 years “younger” than Christianity, and maybe this is the natural flow of such belief systems: civil war is necessary at certain points to define true doctrine, or to learn how to peaceably live together. I believe Bush’s goal in Iraq is to give the work of curtailing terrorism back to the people of the Middle East. Can they do it? Time will tell. That there are more jihadists since the Iraq War does not mean the answer is no.
For now, that Iraq is breeding more jihadists should come as no surprise, and it changes absolutely nothing, except prove the war’s necessity. It does not make terrorism a more valid or moral act and it in no way legitimates their violent ideology. If anything, the quote from the NIE report that directly follows the above quote carries a great deal of hope with it: “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.” This should be the headline, not that more jihadists are being bred. In fact, the more that are bred, the better. There will be that much more to taste defeat, lose heart, and eventually be pushed aside altogether.