For years now, the American left has been arguing that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war against al Qaeda and is counter-productive because it's "creating" new terrorists. Apparently, it never occurred to these deep-thinkers that inflicting a defeat on al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a defeat made possible because a previously sympathetic population turned with our help against al Qaeda -- might constitute a devastating blow to al Qaeda's standing in the Arab world.
The idea that losing a war hurts one's standing may be a novel one for our sophisticated liberals. But Osama bin Laden has long grasped it, famously stating years ago that "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse."
[...]Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa late last year prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. It states: “I urge my brothers the ulama [the top class of Muslim clergy] to clarify the truth to the public . . . to warn [youth] of the consequences of being drawn to arbitrary opinions and [religious] zeal that is not based on religious knowledge.” Around the same time, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, an influential Saudi cleric whom bin Laden once lionised, wrote an “open letter” condemning bin Laden. “Brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocents among children, elderly, the weak, and women have been killed and made homeless in the name of al-Qaeda?” Sheikh Awdah wrote. “The ruin of an entire people, as is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . cannot make Muslims happy.”
Indeed. Abe Greenwald notes that there has been an "Iraqi sea change", not the least of which is marked by the fact that the NY Times is reporting the following story. And that story is about the de-radicalization of Iraqis:
This is, in its way, more important than political reconciliation and even more important than hunting down al Qaeda. This is the long war stuff, the hearts-and-minds stuff.Read both the Power Line and the Commentary articles. And, from the original Times article there are these fascinating quotes:
The goal was to offer freedom as an alternative to extremism; the criticism was that it was a dream; the reality is that it is happening. From the Times:
Such patterns, if lasting, could lead to a weakening of the political power of religious leaders in Iraq. In a nod to those changing tastes, political parties are dropping overt references to religion.
And the revelations don’t end there. Sabrina Tavernise, who wrote the piece, notes that the extent of Iraqis’ wholesale rejection of jihad is unique in the region
[...]young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.
“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.”
Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: “The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore.”
The shift in Iraq runs counter to trends of rising religious practice among young people across much of the Middle East, where religion has replaced nationalism as a unifying ideology.
Oh My God! Does this mean that George Bush actually got it right after all?? Contrary to liberal talking points, Iraq is turning people away from Al Qaeda and terrorism! How Astonishing. How Amazing.
How terribly sad for the left. For the second time in the last 20 years, all their dreams are going to be dashed.
Things just haven't been going their way lately. Let's look at just two other losing positions that their ideological idiocy has brought them to. The first I wrote about yesterday; and you should read through the comments to see the howling of the leftists sent from a Salon.com link. Their attitude seems to be, HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE DEAR HUGO--WHEN THE EVIL IMPERIALIST GEORGE W. BUSH STILL EXISTS! One commenter in particular keeps flogging dead (and discredited) horses and constantly retreats into blatant anti-American rhetoric. America MUST be to blame for all the evil in the world! That's what his socialist masters have decreed and he believes it. If he has any doubts about that "truth", then the entire ideological house of cards the left has built will collapse. These clueless morons will defend Hugo till the death because he is one of them--a tyrant and a fascist who will do whatever is necessary to implement their beloved marxist ideology.
That ideology has forced them to sleep with tyrants like Chavez, as well as to make common cause with terrorists.
Let's look at an article from Lebanon's Daily Star, which discusses the love between the far left and Hizbollah:
Recently, when the Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in Damascus, the collateral damage was felt in academic departments, newsrooms, think-tanks and cafes far and wide. That's because it quickly became apparent how wrong had been many of the alleged experts writing about the militant Shiite organization.
At Mughniyeh's funeral, Hizbullah leaders placed him in a trinity of party heroes "martyred" at Israeli hands. The secretary general of Hizbullah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, vowed "open war" against Israel in retaliation. Tens of thousands of people attended the ceremony, and for days Hizbullah received condolences. Iranian officials stepped over each other to condemn the assassination, many of them affirming that Israel's demise was inevitable. In the midst of all this one thing was plain: Mughniyeh was a highly significant figure in Hizbullah, and the party didn't hide it.
And yet over the years, an embarrassing number of writers and academics with some access to Hizbullah dutifully relayed what party cadres had told them about Mughniyeh: that he was unimportant and may even have been a figment of our imagination. It was understandable that Hizbullah would blur the trail of so vital an official. But not that those writing about the party should swallow this line without bothering to pursue the numerous sources of information that could have confirmed details of Mughniyeh's past. Their fault was laziness, and at times tendentiousness....
But there was more here than just manipulation. The Mughniyeh affair highlighted a deeper problem long obvious to those following Hizbullah: The party, though it is religious, autocratic, and armed to the teeth, often elicits approval from secular, liberal Westerners who otherwise share nothing of its values. This reaction, in its more extreme forms, has been reflected in the way many on the far left have embraced Hizbullah's militancy, but also that of other Islamist groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad - thoroughly undermining their own ideological principles in the process.
The primary emotion driving together the far left and militant Islamists, but also frequently prompting secular liberals to applaud armed Islamic groups as well, is hostility toward the United States, toward Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians and much else, and, more broadly, toward what is seen as Western-dominated, capitalist-driven globalization....
A bizarre offshoot of this trend has been the left's elevation of Islamist "resistance" to the level of a fetish. You know something has gone horribly wrong when the writer and academic Norman Finkelstein volunteers to interpret Hizbullah for you, before prefacing his comments with: "I don't care about Hizbullah as a political organization. I don't know much about their politics, and anyhow, it's irrelevant. I don't live in Lebanon."
Yes, the underlying principle that helps you understand all the irrational and self-defeating behavior of the political left is a hatred of America and its values.
That America won the cold war against the Soviet Union was a shock they are still trying to recover from. They awaited the worldwide imposition of socialism/communism with religious fervor and had no doubts that their ideology would triumph. Then, at their lowest point, along comes the Islamic fanatics who (contrary to the article quoted above) actually DO share the same fundamental value--which is to forcibly impose their ideology/religion on the rest of the world. And America stands in the way--just as it does for the current crop of neo-marxist fascists.
The only difference between the Islamists and the left is the level of self-delusion. The left really truly have convinced themselves that they stand for "peace", "social justice", "brotherhood" and the like--even as their behavior demonstrates quite the opposite. This delusion effectively disguises their lust for power over others.
The Islamists don't even pretend to disguise that lust. Cleverly, they stroke the collective ego of the left and --at least when they speak English--they mouth the words the left wants to hear. They enjoy playing the victim even as they plot to victimize and kill. What they say in their own language, to their own people, about their intent is far different. What they are teaching their children is a good measure of their real intent with regard to Israel, America, and the West in general.
The Islamists are able to cynically manipulate the West, precisely because so many leftists are so wrapped up in their own politically correct postmodern fantasies--where they are "champions of the oppressed" and will transform the world into a socialist utopia that they will benevolently rule for the "good" of everyone else.
That fundamental psychological pathology is the foundation of the alliance between the political left and the Islamic fanatics who want to make all of us submit or die.
As the young Iraqis quoted above are discovering, when you wake up from the nightmare of Islamic fanaticism you begin to finally appreciate reality. If the political left in this country--particularly those Democrats who don't buy the whole socialist enchilada and still have a modicum of love and appreciation for this country and the economic and political liberty it stands for--ever wake up (and by "wake up" I mean begin to have some self-awareness and insight into the actual consequences of the rhetoric and policies they have been blindly supporting for the last several decades) then the West can finally defeat Al Qaeda and all the Islamofascist groups around the world that threaten freedom and democracy.
But first, those of us who are dedicated to the proposition that our soldiers and marines shall not have died in vain and that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth-- must continue to expose the unholy alliance that our elite have made with an enemy that desires to enslave or kill us all.