The Washington Sunday front page seems to be a fairly large scale escalation in their campaign to encourage our withdrawal from the War on Terror. Prominently positioned in the upper right hand corner is a reminder of the costs: Faces of the fallen: U.S. Fatalities in Iraq. The implied question of course, has it been worth it?
This is a collection of information about each U.S. service member who died in Iraq. If you have any comments regarding Faces of the Fallen, please write to us. Click to see U.S. fatalities from Operation Enduring Freedom.
The reader is encouraged to ponder the tragic costs of war, while browsing headlines that argue the futility and question the intent of Administration strategies. Front and center on the page is this one: Experts Say Iran May Use Terror If Attacked.
As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.
With U.S. intelligence officials refusing comment because such information is classified, reporter Dana Priest assembled a collection of outside experts to testify to the Post's version of consequences if the Bush policy of pre-emption is continued. Here's a familiar name: Paul Pillar, recently quoted by the Post for accusing the Bush Administration of "cherry picking" evidence in making the case for war.
Former CIA terrorism analyst Paul R. Pillar said that any U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iranian territory "would be regarded as an act of war" by Tehran, and that Iran would strike back with its terrorist groups. "There's no doubt in my mind about that. . . . Whether it's overseas at the hands of Hezbollah, in Iraq or possibly Europe, within the regime there would be pressure to take violent action."
Among the sources for the article, are anonymous military experts who give voice to the Post's unspoken position. An attack will inflame the "Arab Street".
Because Iran's nuclear facilities are scattered around the country, some military specialists doubt a strike could effectively end the program and would require hundreds of strikes beforehand to disable Iran's vast air defenses. They say airstrikes would most likely inflame the Muslim world, alienate reformers within Iran and could serve to unite Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, which have only limited contact currently.
You may recall this was long the conventional wisdom on Iraq. Last year Christopher Hitchens disputed the myth of an "Arab Street", but he turns out to have been guilty of speaking too soon.
When was the last time you heard some glib pundit employing the phrase "The Arab Street"? I haven't actually done a Nexis search on this, but my strong impression is that the term has been, without any formal interment, laid to rest. And not a minute too soon, either.
Sorry Chris, the Post just brought the "Arab Street" back from the dead, resurrected as the "Muslim world". No matter that dire predictions of inflammation were inaccurate, they rate a "do over" because it's not Iraq anymore, it's Iran we're talking about now.
On a side note, the story provides an interesting revelation. The flawed 9/11 Commission, which has recently gone private, is apparently still in business and, according to this article still "investigating", although what they're trying to find out is a mystery.
A report by the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks cited al-Qaeda's long-standing cooperation with the Iranian-back Hezbollah on certain operations and said Osama bin Laden may have had a previously undisclosed role in the Khobar attack. Several al-Qaeda figures are reportedly under house arrest in Iran.
Even if the investigating commissioners intend to actually discover anything, I doubt there's a one of them that could find his (or her) backside with both hands.
But I digress. As we continue our odyssey down the Post front page, we find an article under the headline, Imprisoned but Not Charged, that tells a story of U.S. and British disregard for civil rights while blindly striking out at the terrorists. It's the story of two Arab men who were identified in London, interrogated in Gambia, and are now held at Guantanamo.
U.S. and British efforts to infiltrate Britain's Islamic underground went into high gear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the documents show. The two men, acquaintances of the radical cleric Abu Qatada, were singled out by MI5 for threats, cajoling and offers of cash and protection if they would channel information. Although one of them offered some assistance, MI5 wanted more.
As a point of curiosity, both of these two front page stories end with the acknowledgment, "Researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report."
Moving on we arrive at a story triggered by the recent release of Jill Carroll, but this one is about the experiences of another journalist and former hostage Phil Sands. In this story the previously unspoken message to stop fighting is actually spoken.
Matter-of-factly, he told me my head would be chopped off if it turned out that I worked with the occupation. If my claim to be a reporter proved true, however, I would be "freed and rewarded." He asked if I thought I was being held by terrorists, what I thought they were fighting for, my opinion of Islam. He sought my views on why Tony Blair had won so many elections, on Saddam Hussein, on Osama bin Laden.
I answered carefully but truthfully, fearing greater anger at being caught in a lie than revealing my honest opinions. With each reply, my confidence grew. I instructed my captor how to Google my name on the Internet to show I was indeed a journalist. I outlined some of my stories for him, including one about an Iraqi whose family had been shot dead, as so many have been, at a U.S. Army checkpoint.
"My wife and child were killed like this," my interrogator said, and the sudden crack of emotion in his voice ignited a slight spark of hope in my chest. A door had opened, however slightly.
He reverted to business. "We will fight the Americans and the British until they leave Iraq, this is natural," he said. "When they leave, our fight will be over and we can rest."
So we have it straight from the terrorist's mouth, as reported by Phil Sands. And that is eventually followed by Phil Sands himself who says,
I harbor no hatred toward the people who kidnapped and threatened to kill me. There was, and still is, a mixture of fear, sorrow, fondness and anger in my sentiments. If I think about them now, in all likelihood suffering the misery of Abu Ghraib, I pity them. They are almost certainly being treated worse by their captors than I was by mine.
Is it any wonder that the President's approval ratings are so low, when there is such an intense campaign afoot. It is very nearly mindless and so in step with with the Democratic party extreme left talking points. Compare this sunny day view of the terrorists as provoked moderates, with the assessments of Iraqi blogger Mohammed Fadhil of Iraq the Model who had this to say yesterday about the situation in Iraq.
Clerics like tyrants tend to bet on the 'street' and to have wrong estimations of how far this 'street' is willing to follow them in their fantasies; they think-just like Saddam convinced himself-that the people will explode like a raging volcano to fight for Allah and protect the faith but this is not true as history proven in more than an occasion and most of the 'soldiers' will seek shelter from harm except for a minority of enthusiasts (fanatics) who will fight until the last man.
I think the coming days will show a stiffer attitude on the end of the religious hardliners and this includes both Sunni and Shia and we will also be hearing more tense and inflammatory statements that will focus more on rejecting the American presence, not only in the form of the calls to deport or replace the ambassador like the ones we heard during Friday prayers but I'm afraid some clerics are preparing to declare Jihad as the American presence represent the major obstacle facing their dreams of a religious state.
Clerics are gathering and charging their followers with hatred to prepare them for a war; hatred towards anything that does not belong to their old school and this may also include provoking these followers against moderate politicians who will be denounced as cowards and betrayers of the faith.
As a consequence of waging their blunderbuss campaign of expert inuendo against the Bush Administration, the Washington Post find themselves on the same side as those jihadists who strive to establish theocracy. So it doesn't come as a big surprise that the Post presents them in a positive light, even quoting one of Sands hostage takers as saying that when the Americans and British leave, "our fight will be over and we can rest." Is there anyone who thinks the establishment of theocracy in Iraq will end terrorism? Foolishness. The jihadists have already said they no intention of stopping there.
So to the Sunday Post's first unspoken question, is it worth the fight? The answer yes, we have no choice but to fight. We will fight the jihadists at a time of their choosing or at a time of ours, but we will fight them. Unfortunately, the Post isn't thinking about them. The Post's fight is with the Bush Administration.