Jewish World Review March 18, 2004 / 25 Adar, 5764
They can not be sated only stopped
The surprise election results in Spain still fresh on their minds,
terrorists on Wednesday again tried their hand at forcing coalition
withdrawal from Iraq. The attack on the Jabal Lebanon Hotel, like the rush
hour bombs on Madrid trains, was aimed at changing policy and authority
through bombs rather than ballots. And if they succeed with bombings in
Iraq-as they arguably did with the bombings in Madrid last week-the Baghdad
explosion will be the template for cities and nations elsewhere.
A successful rebirth of the Iraqi nation is perhaps the greatest threat to
anti-democratic efforts in the Middle East, and they've made every attempt
to derail reconstruction efforts. By crowding stability and safety, they
demonstrate to other nations the dangers of reaching for freedom and
rejecting the oppression and fear of extremism. But if the coalition
withdraws and abandons future efforts in the region, it will be cold comfort
for Iraqis: The vacuum would be quickly filled only by violence, a return to
Hussein-like oppression, and a permanent barrier to freedom.
Wednesday's car bomb in Baghdad should serve as a stark reminder of what
Iraq can expect if America and coalition forces leave Iraq in response to
violence. Contrary to rhetoric on the campaign trail and in parts of Europe,
leaving Iraq now will leave Iraqis to the men who've killed, there, and in
nations around the globe. It will leave burgeoning democracy and freedom in
the region to the whim of men who are not satisfied with one victory, or
with the fall of one nation. They can not be sated-only stopped.
Terrorists aren't waiting for an excuse; they're not waiting for elections; they're not looking for American occupiers to blame. They value only death and the ability to spread fear-and as often as possible. It is only through robust efforts of both law enforcement and military forces that the majority of attacks are prevented and the spread is slowed. If anti-terror forces were to withdraw, nearly every attack would succeed; the newly constituted Iraqi security services would simply be overwhelmed, and eventually defeated and abandoned.
There is no doubt that much remains to be done in Iraq before the nation is
stable enough to withstand the interference of those who wish to impose
their violence. But there is hope: Each new success in Iraq-and there have
been many-dampens the effect of the terrorists and strengthens the resolve
of the freed. Though it doesn't often make the news when a new school is
built, a new hospital is staffed or electricity is available on where it
previously was unavailable, these victories are common in Iraq.
To date, the terrorists have delayed-but failed to deter-reconstruction and
the recruitment of Iraqis to local security forces. The reconstruction
efforts in Iraq will continue to set the Iraqis on a path to peace, economic
prosperity and newfound liberties. But it will also impede the cause of
tyrants and terrorists by spreading the growth of opportunity and democracy
throughout the region. There will be continued setbacks and continued
attempts to remove security forces.
The Iraqis have been free less than a year. Yet in that short time they have
already signed an interim constitution, are building their military, and
civil defense forces-many of which responded to the bombing Wednesday with
equipment provided by coalition forces-and in less than four months will
have autonomous control of their own nation for the first time in decades.
All this despite near-daily attacks on both Iraqis and their defenders. They
are not a people easily given to defeat.
If the resolve of coalition forces is similarly strong, Iraqis will have a
very real chance of success. Random violence can't stop them from realizing
a nation of their own. Only giving up can do that.
03/09/04: Is Iraq a success one year later? Ask the president of the Iraqi Governing Council