Oscar Jr. points out this must-read NRO story by Michael Ledeen about the nature of the enemy that we’re fighting in Iraq. He points out that there seems to be a lot of confusion in the minds of our leaders, both in the suits and in the uniforms, about exactly who it is that we’re up against. Saddam loyalists? A few crazed independent terrorists? A massive, state-sponsored terror organization?
Ledeen writes about the enemy’s reaction to our swift victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan:
They planned for the next battlefield, and we gave them every opportunity, 14 or 15 long months. During that time they devised the strategy we see in Iraq: a terror war, modeled on their successful campaign against us in Lebanon.
I agree completely, except that there is a crucial flaw in modeling on Lebanon. Or on Somalia, for that matter. The terrorists “success” in those cases was due to our unwillingness to fight the “long, hard slog” that we found ourselves in.
Some folks say this war started on 9/11/01. Some claim we’re misguided because invading Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11. Others wisely point out that 9/11 didn’t really change the world; it only changed America’s perception of the world.
I disagree on all points. This war has been going on for decades. Invading Iraq is not revenge for 9/11.
But most of all, I disagree that 9/11 changed nothing but our perception of the world around us. Or, rather, I think that by changing our perception of the world around us, 9/11 DID change the world.
In 1983 and in 1993 the United States wasn’t in a frame of mind to win a long, hard slog. In 2003 the United States is.
The world has changed.