Jewish World Review March 1, 2006 / 1 Adar, 5766
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Recent headlines call to mind a notable Shakespearean turn of phrase: "These are the times that try men's souls." Actually, what today's events are likely to "try" (or test, in today's parlance) is our national resolve. Hanging in the balance may be nothing short the fate of the Free World and perhaps even our lives.
Consider a sampler of recent, ominous developments:
In Iraq, Islamofascist terrorists have made progress toward their stated objective of catapulting the country into sectarian civil war, quite possibly their only remaining hope of avoiding defeat at the hands of increasingly capable Iraqi security services. The destruction of the Golden Dome mosque revered by Shiite Muslims around the world said to be the work of Sunni al-Qaeda operatives invited and precipitated a wave of reprisals, many of them condoned by both traditions' clerics.
Some of those imams are young firebrands like Moqtada al-Sadr, who seek power and are using such provocations to inspire and incite their growing followings of disaffected, unemployed youths. Others are older religious leaders like Ayatollah al Sistani, who has long been a moderating force, but who now finds himself obliged to compete with the firebrands, or risk having his authority largely dissipate.
The fledgling, fragile political process already riven by historic grievances and the jockeying for influence and treasure since the liberation of Iraq is at a crossroads: It seems likely either to coalesce, or crater. Much is riding on the path that will be taken, not just for Iraq, but for the region and the wider War for the Free World.
Iran has successfully enlisted Russia in yet-another time-buying feint, a just-announced "basic agreement" whereby Moscow and Tehran will reportedly jointly manage the latter's spent nuclear fuel. Even though the details of this arrangement remain to be made public, two things are certain: 1) Iran has not abandoned its determined effort to obtain nuclear weapons and 2) far from preventing such an outcome, this gambit will likely afford the Iranian Islamofascist regime the opportunity to achieve it.
As a result of Russian connivance with its client, Iran, the mullahs in Tehran and their frontman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be able not only to continue to secure the political legitimacy and cover that will enable strategic ties with the Kremlin, Communist China, India, North Korea and others to be strengthened steps designed to checkmate American and/or Israeli military action. It will also afford the Iranian theocrats a chance to intensify their efforts to destabilize neighboring Iraq and prevent a functioning, pro-Western, peaceable democracy from taking hold there.
Not least, the Russo-Iranian maneuver will help Ahmadinejad advance his ambition to accelerate the return of the "12th imam" according to his strain of Shiism, a messiah figure who will usher in a golden age of world-wide Islamic rule under repressive Shari'a law. Particularly frightening is the fact that this tradition teaches that the precursor for the imam's arrival is apocalyptic death and destruction in the world. We cannot sit idly by as a government that embraces this vision obtains the means to help precipitate it.
The narrowly averted attack late last week on the Saudi oil infrastructure and al Qaeda promises that more will be forthcoming underscore the fragility of the energy supplies upon which we continue to be recklessly dependent. Meanwhile, Islamofascist operations have already cut Nigerian oil exports by some twenty percent, with more reductions in the offing, even as Iraqi pipelines and other facilities remain under assault. Iran threatens the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil supply flows, if its nuclear ambitions are thwarted. And some worry that, if we do not surrender operations in nearly two-dozen U.S. ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, the UAE might not help us resist such Iranian threats.
Fortunately, President Bush embraced in his latest State of the Union address the idea of enabling our transportation sector to make far greater use of alternative, domestically producible energy sources. Congress is poised to consider legislation modeled on a bipartisan-supported blueprint for energy security (see www.SetAmericaFree.org) that would translate that program into reality. There is no time to waste.
America's border insecurity is rapidly being transformed into an issue of paramount national security concern. Seven tunnels suitable for moving large quantities of drugs, illegal aliens or weapons under the U.S.-Mexican frontier have been discovered in as many weeks. Incidents of what appear to be armed and uniformed Mexican military units providing muscle for drug- and perhaps other smuggling operations including fire-fights with woefully out-gunned American law enforcement personnel have continued to be documented.
In the coming weeks, the U.S. Senate will debate several pieces of legislation that purport to do something about this metastasizing problem of illegal immigration and the danger it poses to our society, economy and lives. Of these, far and away the best is one offered by GOP Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas. It is, however, an indictment of how far we are from needed corrective actions like building a fence along the entirety of our southern border that legislation passed by the House last year which would authorize such steps is unlikely even to be considered in the Senate.
The common denominator in these and other areas is that we must find within ourselves and our leaders the resolve to meet such challenges. The Nation must urgently adopt a comprehensive war footing if we hope to pass these and other difficult tests of our times.
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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