OP-ED FROM NEW YORK POST:
Resolution – the guts to stay the course – is often a determining factor in war. In the War on Terror, it stands to be the decisive factor. This is because the only way that Islamist terrorists can defeat America and the West is if the latter lose resolve.
Which is why every time the civilized world shows weakness in dealing with the terrorists, the result is more terrorism. And it is lack of resolve that lies behind both the bloody rioting in Iraq and the weekend’s explosions in Madrid.
Panicked by the Madrid subway bombings, the Spanish people last month voted in a government determined to give terrorists what they clearly want: a removal of Spanish troops from Iraq and a colder relationship with the United States.
Did this appeasement win the Spaniards relief – or even a reprieve – from terror?
Quite the opposite.
Last Friday, Spanish police found a bomb on the Madrid-Seville rail line – the explosives in it similar to those used in the March 11 bombing.
Then, in Madrid on Saturday, a group of Islamists cornered with their bomb-making materials blew themselves up, taking a policeman with them. Among the dead were two main suspects in the March 11 slaughter.
So it would seem that Spain’s show of weakness will win that country nothing but more blood and tears.
Unfortunately, the U.S. military made a similar deadly error in Iraq when it allowed last week’s Fallujah atrocity to pass without a response – and then gave the killers and indeed the world an impression of victory by keeping clear of Fallujah for days afterwards.
U.S. Marines last night were poised to retake the Sunni city – control of which had been ceded to the ill-prepared Iraqi police by the Army in the weeks before the four U.S. nationals were murdered.
But for four days it looked to Iraq – and to the world – as if America had been chased out of Fallujah.
And was staying out.
The immediate result was that Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiercely anti-American Shiite cleric, took advantage of the crisis by ordering violent demonstrations against the arrests of followers suspected in the murder of a moderate cleric.
No one should be surprised by this.
After all, the Israelis harvested a massive increase in Palestinian attacks after they unilaterally pulled their troops out of southern Lebanon, giving the impression they had been driven out by Hezbollah.
Now there’s a warrant out for Sadr’s arrest, and U.S. troops supported by helicopters are cracking down on his “Mahdi Army” in the Baghdad slum known as of Sadr City (named for the Muqtada Sadr’s father, a victim of Saddam).
Fortunately, Sadr only has about 10,000 followers in all of Iraq, and much more influential Shiite figures, like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, are said to want him neutralized (though they won’t publicly admit it and may even try to exploit the current turmoil).
Contrary to the impression given by much of the media, all of Iraq is not in chaos. The problems are serious, but localized. And they’re unlikely to grow if the Coalition answers with the proper firmness.
Basically, Fallujah must be retaken, just as the Israelis retook Jenin, and Sadr and his militia must be dealt with.
In the future, any time American civilians are murdered by terrorists, or savage mobs, the response must be instant and devastating.
Anything less could spell the eventual defeat of America and democracy in Iraq.