Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We are at war -- when are we going to start acting like we are?

By Aussiegirl

Even moderate Morton Kondracke knows we are at war with Islam.

Morton Kondracke

After allowing the Nazis and Japanese to overrun Europe and much of Asia, the civilized world, led by the United States, fought for five years and lost 16 million soldiers (including 407,000 Americans) to conquer the enemy.

Determined to avoid such a catastrophe again, civilization united to resist global communism, and it spent vast treasure to do so for 45 years. In the process, the United States lost 54,000 lives in Korea and 58,000 in Vietnam.

Faced now with a menace from radical Islam, it's not at all clear that the civilized world has the will to fight. The United States has suffered fewer than 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and already 55 percent of the population wants to withdraw immediately or within a year — regardless of whether the country is stable. Only 41 percent, according to the latest Gallup Poll, are willing to keep troops until the job is done or add more.

[...]A nuclear-armed Iran and a nuclear-armed North Korea represent the most profound threats of all in the 21st century. And those could be exceeded if Islamic militants gained control of nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Iran's elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that Israel "should be wiped off the face of the earth" and has stated that "a world without America" is "attainable and surely can be achieved." At the United Nations, he announced that his divine purpose was to prepare the way for the return of the 12th Imam — Shia Islam's vision of the end of the world.

The civilized world needs to counter the menace of Iran and radical Islam much as it did the Axis powers in World War II and communism during the Cold War.

But it isn't doing so now.

Israel is doing its part by seeking to administer a decisive defeat to Iran's agent, Hezbollah, but the world needs to follow up by inserting a robust, willing-to-fight occupation force into southern Lebanon. It's not clear that the will exists.

The U.N. Security Council is obligated to authorize economic sanctions against Iran in response to its illicit nuclear program, but it's unlikely that the sanctions will be serious.

No one knows for certain how close Iran is to having a nuclear weapon — some experts say a year, some say five — but there's a danger that in a short time, it will have the know-how to build one, making actual nuclearization all but inevitable.

Some conservatives advocate early air strikes on Iran's nuclear installations — by Israel, if not the United States — while liberals hope internal stresses will topple the Islamic regime before it presents a nuclear danger.

There is a middle ground, if it can be pulled off: sanctions so stiff, such as a gasoline embargo that threatens to shut down the Iranian economy, that Iran reverses its nuclear course.

The only way for Bush to sustain that course is with a warning to the civilized world: "I will not leave office with Iran on its way to nuclear weapons. It's tough sanctions or ..." There's a debate under way whether the West-versus-Jihad conflict deserves to be dubbed World War III. Regardless of whether we name it so, we did have our Pearl Harbor on Sept. 11, 2001, and we need to act as if we are at war.


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