Tuesday, August 28, 2007

JihadWatch and the Iraq Conflict

Jihad Watch's Hugh Fitzgerald writes:

Finally, along with the sectarian (Sunni-Shi'a) division inside and outside Iraq, there are possible further unsettlements and sectarian strife in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia (the oil-bearing Eastern Province), in Lebanon, in Bahrain, even in Yemen. Instead of being welcomed -- since when does one attempt to prevent division and demoralization in the camp of one's enemies? -- these are actively being deplored, in warnings from the Great and Good, that an American withdrawal will bring, could bring, might bring, that deplorable thing called "chaos" to the Middle East. Nonsense. Not "chaos" -- not with those kinds of despotisms willing to use their kind of force with their kind of secret police. Not chaos, really, but perhaps a using up of men, money, and materiel, and attention -- but this time they would all bear the initial adjective "Muslim" rather than "American," and that is a highly desirable change.

This is an interesting perspective. And one with which I respectfuly disagree. Jihadwatch.org is one of my favorite sites. A widget over on the right displays the site's feed here and I am a regular reader (and listener, when I can be) of Spencer and Fitzgerald. For a pair of infidels, they have a keen grasp of Islam and the threat the theocratic adherents pose to freedom.

I think they miss the point on Iraq. Or, I think Fitzgerald does with this post.

Osama bin Laden and his right hand boy Zawahiri have declared that the central battlefront on Islam's War against America is Iraq. Their schpiel is that Muslims suffer so greatly because of their fraternization with the west. We are corrupting them and turning them away from Allah.

It is only when Muslims completely reject western ideals of "imperialist" democracy and "exploitative" capitalism and throw the decadent infidels out of Muslim lands that the faithful can prosper and flourish, we are told.

Having infidel Americans work side by side with Sunni and Shi'a Muslims to defeat other Muslims, and install a thriving, productive Iraqi democracy would be a complete repudiation of everything radical Islam stands for.

Make no mistake about this: Al Qaeda is having its head handed to it in Iraq. As in Afghanistan, the radicals completely underestimated the military capabilities of the United States. But more importantly, Al Qaeda also completely underestimated the desire of ordinary Iraqis to simply live in the peace and freedom of conscience that millenia of social evolution have instilled in all of us.

As I write this, Muslims are fighting side by side with Americans, driving other Muslims out of the historic and cultural center of ancient Islam. For Al Qaeda, it is an unmitigated disaster to see their forces beaten like squalling pigs by other Muslims, fighting in sworn alliance with the forces "Great Satan." As bad as that is for them, it will be even worse when the nation that emerges from the conflict begins to thrive economically, politically and culturally.

The stated goals of Operation Iraqi Freedom are not as farfetched as Fitzgerald believes they are. They are extraordinary difficult to achieve however, and I am not convinced that Mr. Bush will see much of them met by the time he leaves office. But at least one goal--showing the Muslim world that everything Al Qaeda stands for is a lie--is worth pursuing until accomplished.