Death to America,” read the English-language sign that a young Iraqi waved before a TV camera in mid-April. I wondered if he had any inkling what Americans and others were doing in his country before they were kidnapped or murdered.
Did this Iraqi know, for instance, that the four U.S. contractors who were killed, burned, and mutilated in Fallujah on March 30 neither built rape camps nor forcibly converted Muslims to Christianity? In fact, they protected food convoys so Iraqis might eat.
Was this, or any, Iraqi aware that the April 11 slaying of Danish businessman Henrik Frandsen ended his efforts to launch a sewage project?
Last month’s abduction (and subsequent release) of Russian electrical workers kept them from repairing Iraqi power plants. The Kremlin’s resulting evacuation of 800 Russian civilian contractors won’t help, either.
U.S. truck driver Thomas Hamill, who Sunday escaped his terrorist captors for the safety of a U.S. military patrol, delivered zero fuel within Iraq after he was nabbed April 9 on Highway 10 outside Baghdad.
As a 550-pound truck bomb leveled the United Nations’ Baghdad headquarters last August 22, diplomats were discussing how to clear landmines from Iraq’s sands so citizens could walk freely without having their legs blown off. Instead, U.N. officials’ legs were blown off. Terrorists killed 22 there that day.
From Basra to Berkeley, war critics denounce the Coalition forces’ “occupation” of Iraq. They forget (or resent) that this remains a mission to modernize that nation and reverse 35 years of Baathist tyranny.
“We are trying to reconstruct the country,” Great Britain’s ever-eloquent prime minister Tony Blair told NBC’s Tom Brokaw April 16. “Now, why are these people trying to stop us? They’re trying to stop us because they can see that if we’re allowed to continue this progress, then everything they stand for is defeated.”
Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore was as seditious as ever on April 14 when he said this about those who kill Americans in Iraq: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow–and they will win.”
The assassins who battle America and its allies are not latter-day Washingtons and Jeffersons struggling for independence against 21st-century Redcoats. Their goals are pandemonium and despotism. These Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign militants embody frozen, concentrated evil. They are cut of the same Islamofascist cloth that shrouds the Middle East like a burka.
Two recently unraveled plots illustrate what civilization confronts in the war on terror.
Jordanian authorities stopped an Islamist bid to detonate a chemical bomb at Amman’s General Intelligence Department, the Associated Press reported April 18. In a published letter to intelligence chief General Saad Kheir, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said the bomb “would have been unprecedented in the country in terms of the size of explosives mounted on the vehicles and the methods of carrying out the attacks or the civilian locations chosen.” Jordanian officials believe the explosion would have unleashed devastation for a half-mile radius and killed 80,000 people. Jordanians also thwarted a poison-gas attack on America’s Amman embassy. (See more here.)
Those arrested say these schemes were directed by al Qaeda’s Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. He trained terrorists in Afghanistan, received medical care in Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad, and is thought to be orchestrating the violence that bedevils Coalition forces.
Palestinian terrorists, lauded by Iraqi fanatics, were caught by Israeli law enforcement during Passover before they could deploy a jihadist with AIDS-infected blood bags strapped to his bomb belt. They hoped to spread HIV among the injured and their rescuers. This would have trumped the conventional Palestinian tactic of soaking nails, nuts, and bolts in rodenticide before packing them into bombs for shrapnel. The anti-coagulants in rat poison cause bomb victims to bleed and bleed and bleed.
One must recall Rwanda’s Hutu mobs to approach such rank depravity. Even in the viper’s nest of Fallujah, American ceasefires have allowed innocent women and children to flee. Meanwhile, the hatred of Islamic killers gushes skyward like freshly struck oil. They even turn fellow Muslims into body parts at Friday prayers, as occurred January 9 at a Baqubah mosque–six killed, 37 wounded.
Whatever Coalition soldiers and civilians could do differently (and some, as we now know have done things that deserve–and will result in–criminal punishment), remember this as smoke twirls like tornadoes above Iraq’s streets: We are the good guys. Our enemies are the bad guys, and they are as bad as bad gets.
Iraqis who want what we offer–at a mundane minimum, the opportunity to eat freely in peace with lights on and toilets that flush–should decry those who toil to deny them even that. Decent Iraqis should identify these butchers to Coalition forces so they can be located and either arrested or shot. Only thus will Iraq stabilize itself before power flows from allied to Iraqi hands June 30.
The Iraqi picture has been head spinning recently. In March, Iraq’s Governing Council signed an interim constitution. Things looked fairly calm and generally bright.
Lately, though, Iraqi bombs have rung out like church bells tolling at a funeral. At home, the September 11 Commission has wrestled over al Qaeda’s attacks, the Bush administration’s response thereto, and whether Iraq is central to or a distraction from the war on terror. The casual observer could be forgiven for believing that President Bush assured passage of the Patriot Act by piloting a 767 into One World Trade Center, while Vice President Cheney flew another jet into Tower Two, each parachuting to safety at the last second, then melting into Manhattan’s rattled streets.
Amid this confusion, Iraqis and Americans alike need to be reminded that we and our Coalition partners are protagonists, trying against steep odds to bring freedom, peace and prosperity to a people tormented by more than three decades of Arab fascism. Our enemies impede food, sewage treatment, electricity, fuel, and even landmine removal.
At home and abroad–in English, Arabic, and every language in which America communicates–this message cannot be made clear enough.