Fallujah, Jenin, Elections and Canaries
To understand the magnitude of the battle for Fallujah and the magnitude of the American and Iraqi victory, click on the link: www.jinsa.org/documents/200412/I-MEF-Effects-Fallujah.pps. These are not images you will see in The New York Times, but (or maybe because) they make a convincing case that terrorism requires a state or state-like attributes: territory, hierarchy, weapons and ammunition and money – lots and lots of money.
To understand the magnitude of the battle for Fallujah and the magnitude of the American and Iraqi victory, click on the link: www.jinsa.org/documents/200412/I-MEF-Effects-Fallujah.pps. These are not images you will see in The New York Times, but (or maybe because) they make a convincing case that terrorism requires a state or state-like attributes: territory, hierarchy, weapons and ammunition and money – lots and lots of money. If you deprive the terror apparat of its base, of its state, you deprive it of its capacity to thrive. Bomb factories, after all, have to BE somewhere.
If this sounds exactly like the IDF entry into Jenin in 2002, it should. We wrote precisely two-and-a-half years ago: “Accounts of relations between Arafat’s people and Hamas and Islamic Jihad; money – including Saudi money; laboratories for bomb making; suicide bomber belts; material for car bombs; illegal weapons and ammunition; and vile anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda… the physical infrastructure of death and destruction, hidden within the civilian population of these cities, has been largely (though not completely) destroyed… people with blood on their hands and those waiting to get bloody were captured.”
In the broader sense, American operations in Iraq have resembled Israeli urban warfare operations. America’s counterterrorism, law enforcement, airport security and military checkpoint systems having come to resemble – with important variations – Israel’s systems. America’s difficulties with the UN, the Red Cross (which has publicly trashed the U.S. and Israel, but never found a bad word to say about ANY other government – including Hitler’s), Amnesty International and the French have come to resemble Israel’s difficulties. Because it is the same war. Because Israel is, indeed, the canary. What happens to our small, democratic ally does in time happen here and elsewhere.
The IDF in Jenin had two main goals, both of which were largely achieved: to disrupt the terrorist infrastructure and to restore an element of deterrence. It may be that the U.S. has achieved a similar level of success in Fallujah. But such victories are temporary unless followed by additional actions to secure the longer-term, and here the similarities end. Israel’s follow-on security relationship with the Palestinians is determined by the fact that Israel isn’t planning to go anywhere. The United States is.
The fighting in Fallujah is an attempt by terrorists, regime remnants and fascists of various stripes to prevent the January election. Up to now, Americans have been remarkably willing to send their sons and daughters to fight and die in a foreign country so other people can know the benefits of exercising their franchise. But there is a limit to both our altruism and our agreement that the war in Iraq is a war for our own interests. Rather than supporting the terrorists trying to postpone the election, Iraqi political parties should understand that this is the best – and maybe the only – chance the Sunni minority will have to constructively influence events in their own country.
If Iraq can hold a fair election, the bar will have been raised for Arabs everywhere. Even the Palestinians.