Stage I is Not Enough; Keep Rolling

They spent years fomenting hatred, infiltrating our system, and conspiring before they blew up symbols of our way of life and killed thousands of people. So we went after them. Stage I.

They spent years fomenting hatred, infiltrating our system, and conspiring before they blew up symbols of our way of life and killed thousands of people. So we went after them. Stage I.

In nine weeks, the President got Congress’s approval to fight the war (something denied his father for months); unified the country; asked for and got lip service from a broad coalition but did the country’s business with real support from a few real friends; and laid down the gauntlet on terrorism, terrorists and their supporters. And, oh yes, he found time to worry about eight civilian aid workers caught in the war, ended the Cold War, and probably did needlepoint.

Our military made the fastest deployment in American history under difficult circumstances (Uzbekistan and Pakistan are not Saudi Arabia with US-built bases waiting for us), cut the Taliban’s and Bin Laden’s supply and communications lines, controlled the skies (the Russians never did), inserted Special Forces, rounded up the Northern Alliance for ground troops (learning from Bosnia and Kosovo that air power is necessary but not sufficient for controlling territory), taken all but one major city including the capital and liberated probably the most miserable people on earth. And while we fought the war, we remained the largest supplier of humanitarian aid to the Afghans, and began to create a domestic security operation to deal with the homeland defense issues not dealt with since 1812 if you count foreign invasion of US territory, and not dealt with EVER, if you count biological agents.

We are good. We are really, really good. Which is why we cant stop now. Stage II is essential and Stage III is the end game.

Terrorists live and train in countries from the Mediterranean/North African coastline to Asia. We have to ensure that governments all across that landmass understand it is not in their interest to provide them with haven and support. How? The same way the President gave the Taliban two weeks to give up Bin Laden, we have to put Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, et al on notice that they have limited time to close the bases and toss the chief instigators.

If they do, we win Stage II. If they don’t, we will do it ourselves and still win Stage II. Either way, the people of the region stand to win in Stage III, eloquently described by Prof. Michael Ledeen of JINSA’s Advisory Board: We should challenge the Middle East tyrants, secure in the knowledge that our values are truly universal, and the people who today groan under despotism will join with us to achieve democracy and freedom tomorrow. President Bush, tear down those walls! Give your full support to the Iraqi resistance! Stop rewarding the vicious and corrupt tyrants of the Middle East, and embrace the people there. Tell Syria’s Assad, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Palestinian Authority’s Arafat, and all the others, that a great revolutionary war is coming to deposit them on the dust heap of history’s failed lies. Say it publicly, so that their people can hear it. And say it bravely, so that the American people understand the true nature of our struggle.

Stage III will be hard, but it is what differentiates Americas wars from other peoples wars, the American Revolution from other revolutions. For those who aren’t sure about the universality of our values, please note that the former Axis powers Germany, Japan and Italy were among the first to offer their troops to this war. And note that millions of people from the Fulda Gap to the Chinese border and from the Baltic to the Crimean Sea were liberated by the very idea of freedom and democracy without a shot fired. Ask Mr. Putin.