We are in a war for our survival against Islamic extremism.
We have been in this war for quite some time, but we only fully realized it on September 11, 2001. The roots of the conflict stretch back many centuries.
The al Qaeda-inspired Islamists who are taking over Iraq and who hope to establish a mini-Caliphate stretching into Syria mean business. They mean to do us great harm. And increasingly, they will have the weaponry to achieve their ends. They may eventually even possess nuclear weapons, without harboring the sense of responsibility the Russians had with them.
The United States cannot pretend that the world will go away. We can go away from the world, but as we learned 13 years ago, it won’t go away from us.
This country now faces a long-term commitment, similar to the battle against communism after the Second World War, to fight and extinguish Islamist extremism. This means the permanent stationing of troops in the Middle East.
This is a terrible thing to say. It is a terrible thing to advocate positioning U.S. troops for possible battle. But if we don’t, then not far down the road, we are even more likely to have to use them.
We do not have to enter every fight. Where there are leaders in charge who are awful but who nevertheless suppress Islamists, we should leave them alone and even support them, unless they themselves are harming U.S. interests or face a rebellion that could install Islamists. But we must view all conflicts through the lens of the rise of Islamism and whether a threat is posed to the United States from their potential assumption of power.
The United States is the best nation in the world and deserves to be left out of egregious evil that exists in so many places. But we have to face the world as it is. And we are in the world. With our economy and need for resources, very much in it. And the world, as it has proven, is here, with us, too.
President Obama has no understanding of this struggle, because he is a moral relativist. He believes our views are no better, or not much better, than those of others. He doesn’t understand the evil that we face. And he has willfully ignored it so he can focus on advancing his political ambitions and his policy agenda.
We fought two wars in the past decade, one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq. Our history shows that leaving some troops in countries where we have waged war, such as in Germany, Japan, and Korea, maintains the peace.
Here is what I wrote in October 2011, as Obama started to trumpet, for political purposes, that all of our troops would soon be out of Iraq:
Obama’s political success is a foreign policy failure. He may have just handed back the Iraq victory George W. Bush had won. But as long as Iraq doesn’t fall apart before Election Day, this will be a central plank of the Obama campaign.
Even now, as Iraq indeed collapses, Obama can’t bring himself to recognize the catastrophe he wrought by not taking the recommendations of his military advisors and leaving some forces on the ground to influence events. A White House statement on the situation in Iraq was issued Wednesday in the name of the press secretary, not the president, as if this were Jay Carney’s problem.
We will have the same result in Afghanistan when all the troops are removed from that theater. The Afghan military will be even less prepared to deal with its problems than the Iraqi forces were.
As a result of this president’s policies, Islamists will control large swaths of land in, and perhaps the entire nations of, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, while the existing Islamist state – Iran, the birth child of the last failed Democratic president – gains the ability to produce nuclear weapons.
We went to war in Afghanistan to eliminate a terrorist haven. Today, the whole region is a terrorist paradise.
These are existential threats for the United States. Unlike creeping socialism, which may take some time to destroy us, the attacks coming against the United States will not wait for long.
People will die. The mass civilian deaths we read about will be American, not from somewhere far away. And life for the living will be very bad indeed.