Saturday, August 26, 2006

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, or Islam and the Decline of the West

Democrat senatorial nominee Ned Lamont’s campaign was stretching the truth a bit – and also taking advantage of a situation to embarrass his opponent, Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman – when campaign manager George Jepsen, citing “a dramatic shift in course,” supposed that Lieberman would denounce Rep. Chris Shays for having adopted a position on the war in Iraq similar to Lamont’s, which may be described charitably as an open-ended withdrawal.

Returning from his 14th trip to Iraq, Shays spoke to a reporter from the plane and said, “"I believe if we left Iraq immediately or prematurely, it would result in just what Joe Lieberman sees: an all-out civil war, fuel prices off the scale. Of greatest concern, ultimately, would be that Islamist terrorists would have won. It would make Iran the new power in the gulf. That can't be allowed to happen."

Shays' talks with Iraqi officials have led him to conclude that, “"The progress simply stopped. The Iraqis lack the political will to be on a time frame to get this done. They want to act in terms of years and we need them to act in terms of months."

Therefore, Shays intends, according to one report, to devise “goals and realistic deadlines that will prod the Iraqis to establish internal security forces and open talks to end sectarian violence - and also reassure the Iraqis that the U.S. will not leave prematurely.”

The future of Iraq will be determined by American resolve; and, as Iraq goes, so goes the entire Middle East – including Israel. American resolve is not likely to hold up very much longer against the barrage of opposition directed against it, primarily by a reinvigorated radical Islamic fundamentalism whose sponsors are Syria, Iran, China and Russia. The battering at home by the usual suspects – Hollywood, the New York Times, bloggers intent on driving Lieberman from the Democrat Party and Lowell Weicker, among a host of others -- has also taken its toll. The rubble in New York is a distant memory, even for those who sit on the city’s principle newspaper. An American who has made his home in Saudi Arabia for a few decades tells me that the United States very likely could not have won World War II without the active assistance of Hollywood and the mainstream press in the United States. He’s betting on the forces of darkness.

If the attempt to plant the seeds of democracy in the Middle East fails, as seems likely, Iraq will be partitioned by its traditional enemies. For all practical purposes, the Kurds, who have suffered so much under Saddam Hussein, will find themselves pressed between Turkey and Iran, whose messianic leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will have absorbed Iran’s traditional enemies in Iraq. That part of Iraq now sandwiched between the Kurds in the north and a relatively free south will become a part of an expanding Iran. An emboldened Syria and Iran will then direct their combined attention to a weakened and abandoned Israel, a mere fly-spec of democratic resistance to the new Islamic fundamentalist hegemon in the Middle East. The new hegemon, animated by Islamic fundamentalism, quickly will become a united caliphate whose drawn scimitar will be plunged into the breast of a disunited Europe.

That is the future that lies behind our veiled politics.

Shay’s timeline may be viewed as a perhaps futile attempt to convince Iraqi officials and those who have devoted their political lives here in the United States to thinking about tomorrow that tomorrow is just around the corner: It will soon be here.

What the moment needs is a Churchill. What it has is a Bush, a Clinton, a Shays, a Lieberman, a Lamont, a burgeoning anti-war movement – and newspapers that have steadfastly failed in their mission of bringing the truth to their reader.

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