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U.S. confronted Communism in Vietnam. It must now stand against Mediaeval Islam in Iraq

By Hamid Bahadori
February 21, 2003
The Iranian

As an Iran-Iraq war veteran still carrying an Iraqi bullet in my body, I can provide eyewitness testimony to Saddam Hussein's possession and use of weapons of mass destruction -- weapons that have remained in the Iraqi arsenal for more than 20 years. So why should we be concerned with them now?

Control of oil supplies is an important reason. But as much as 21st century Hippies want you to believe, it is not the main reason for going to war with Iraq. The U.S. can ensure the flow of oil by easier and more covert avenues -- as it has for decades. The war with Iraq, regardless of its outcome, will be one of those turning points in human history like the defeat of Persians at Marathon, the battle of Waterloo, the defeat of crusaders in the hands of Saladin, and the Mongol invasion.

Why such a high historical value on a relatively minor military campaign when for all practical purposes the Vietnam War was more complex and a lot costlier? This conflict is the biggest flash point between the modern Western civilization and the Islamic civilization that the West, and the U.S. in particular, has been hoping to avoid for a long time. But now, the time has come and we must act or face the consequences, as did the great empires before us.

We will either stop the Vandals before they sac Rome, suffocate the barbaric Arabs before they destroy the Persian Empire, take the sword out of Genghis Khan's hand before he kills millions of people, or we will be remembered as one of those nations who seemed invincible in their own times and failed to take action, when they could, to prevent their demise.

I am dramatizing, you may say, because there appears to be an imbalance of power between the parties. But is there really a significant imbalance? Not really! What has stopped modern Vandals and Mongols has been technology, fueled by oil, and Western civilization's supremacy maintained by nuclear weapons.

If you are a Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent, like myself, you might be furious as I compare the Iraqi regime to Vandals and Mongols, or that I refer to early Arab Muslims as barbarians. But, please, set aside your predisposition and let me explain.

Looking at history, Christians have not been any less barbaric than Muslims, but something happened in Europe that many Muslims still deny is needed in the Islamic World, and that's the Age of Enlightenment and the Renaissance. These resulted in at least the theoretical proposition of emancipation of politics from religion by some great thinkers such as Machiavelli, and the eventual establishment of secular governments based on secular doctrines such as the U.S. and its Constitution. Needless to say, it was also the Renaissance made the soil fertile for the Industrial Revolution and not the other way around.

The West, through its technological superiority, started the process of colonialization in Asia and Africa. Meanwhile the Middle East has been cursed by "Black Gold", although freedom-loving people of the region -- inspired by the secular ideas of the West and the Renaissance -- have been desperately trying to overcome age-old superstitions that have enslaved the Muslim masses for the centuries.

This question may give you a flavor of the complexity of this issue: Should freedom-loving Iranians have supported Ayatollah Khomeini with his Medieval philosophy against the corrupt, yet modern government of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979? We can debate this question for the rest of the century and still not reach an agreement. Nevertheless, with the 1979 Revolution, barbarians prevailed once again, and the U.S. made a huge historic mistake of accommodating them -- thanks to the wrong policies of Jimmy Carter who has now come out in opposition to stopping these barbarians.

Since 1979, there has been a clear shift against the West, culminating in the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- the straw that broke the camel's back. The U.S. must act now or it will not only lose the battle but an historical war as well.

Islamic fundamentalists -- modern-day barbarians and Vandals -- act on two distinct premises, that the U.S. is not invincible and that the Muslim masses can fight the "Great Satan". The whole purpose behind the 9/11 operations was to prove these two points. Young angry Muslims believe both.

And make no mistake. These zealots will never become friends of the U.S. -- no matter what the U.S. foreign policy might be towards Israel or any other country. It is only their degree of hatred that we must monitor and contain. We should keep them technologically inferior until Islam goes through its Renaissance -- just like the containment of Communism until it collapse under the weight of corruption, hypocrisy and immorality.

In Vietnam, the U.S. showed Communists that it means business. The cost was heavy, but the cost of inaction would have been far greater. In Iraq, the U.S. must again show Islamic fundamentalists that it means business. The cost, in my judgment, will be far less than Vietnam. But if the U.S. does not show resolve towards Iraq, the consequences would be far worse than if Communism had become the dominant power.

The battle line is clear, and I am glad that at this historic time adults are in control of the U.S. foreign policy.

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