December 2, 2005

The Dogs That Didn't Bark

Hatched by Dafydd

Yesterday, I was talking with a liberal (because I must, Miss Coulter!) about Iraq, and the fact that it has become Ground Zero in the war against Islamic terrorism. I received the standard rejoinder, but I stymied him with a simple question:

Mr. Liberal: But it wasn't "Ground Zero" before we invaded. It was our invasion that drew a huge terrorist army to Iraq.

Mr. Lizard: Then why didn't our presence in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia draw huge terrorist armies to those countries?

Granted, our presence on the "holy soil of Mecca" was the major reason cited by Osama bin Laden why he authorized the 9/11 attacks, though I doubt it really had much to do with the attack (we were actually way out in the desert, at the Prince Sultan Air Base, not Mecca; but one shouldn't expect much geographical accuracy from Osama). But they didn't pour into either Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, did they? Well... why not?

The reason is pretty clear: because we were not in either of those two countries to democratize them. There was no danger that we would transform either Saudi Arabia or Kuwait from totalitarian dictatorship to a free country. Therefore, the defenders of the faith had nothing to fear.

It would be easy to understand if al-Qaeda had made Afghanistan its do-or-die last stand: that was their home, and we booted them out. But funnily enough, they haven't. Where are they? The Taliban keeps on fighting there, hoping to seize control once again; but al-Qaeda appears to have abandoned them and that poor, old sod, Mullah Omar -- anybody still remember him? -- to their fates.

But Iraq was another story. All informed Americans still capable of rational thought agree on two propositions: there were connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, but al-Qaeda did not run that joint the way they ran Afghanistan; Hussein did, and nobody else. Iraq was a one-man band before 2003. Nor was it an Islamist state. Yeah, yeah, Hussein added "Allahu Akbar" to the flag; but it was nothing like Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Afghanistan.

So on paper, there is no reason in the world why a Wahabbist, Islamist group-of-groups like al-Qaeda would care one jot what befell Saddam Hussein. In fact, to the extent that kicking out the secular tyrant Hussein could possibly (at least in the mind of an Islamist) lead to the Shiite portions of Iraq joining or at least allying with Iran, an undeniably Islamist state, wouldn't one imagine that the terrorists would welcome the fall of Hussein?

So something else must have drawn them to try to destroy the nascent nationalism in Iraq.

"You will not apply my precept," [Sherlock Holmes] said, shaking his head. "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. When, then, did he come?"
-- Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan; "the Sign of Four;" 1890.

Obviously, in real world induction we can't eliminate all possibilities but one. But in this case, we're on pretty safe ground concluding that what distinguishes Iraq from all those other countries that al-Qaeda could have poured into and made the last stand for militant Islamism but didn't is that Iraq is the only Arab country in the Middle East where America is deliberately and with goodness aforethought trying to establish a functioning Islamic democracy atop the ruins of a military dictatorship. Al-Qaeda and its ideological brotherhood cannot allow liberty and democracy to flourish in the Middle East because that would indeed be the doom of militant Islamism -- whose central precept is totalitarian obedience.

Which was, of course, what was to be proved; quod erat demonstrandum.

So Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and of course George W. Bush are absolutely correct: the terrorists decided to make Iraq the line in the sand between civilization and barbarism, so we must treat it as such as well and drive them out. If we lose in Iraq, we lose across the world; but when we win, that domino will topple the rest -- pulling down not merely Arab dictatorships or even just Islamic theocracies, but tyranny from North Korea and Vietnam, to Zimbabwe and Somalia, to Cuba and Venezuela. People everywhere will see that it's possible to have democracy without having to jettison traditional culture and become Americans.

They attacked -- but we will decide.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2005, at the time of 5:05 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Jimbo

It seems as if the only slightly weak point in your argument about the AQ terrorists not cheering the downfall of Saddam is that the AQ dudes are Sunni extremists, whereas the Mullahs and team are Shiite extremists -- lots of centuries-long bad blood there.

The above hissed in response by: Jimbo [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 5:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

America needs to be pruned...pruned big time.

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 6:02 PM

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