Challenging the Theory That We Must Stay in Iraq So Terrorism Won’t Come to America
Republican diehard Bush supporters contend that if we pull out of Iraq, the insurgents we’re fighting’ll follow us home and attack us here. The theory being, it is better to battle them “over there” than in the streets of Astoria or Portland. Just once though, wouldn’t it be nice if people making such assertions looked at history, facts or even logic before mouthing such simplitudes?
For instance, can those who constantly parrot the Bush position point to a single example of that ever happening to us before? It doesn’t seem to have occurred after any of our other wars in the last century or so. Where are the newspaper and textbook accounts of any demolitions, arsons, ambushes or anything else conducted by defeated Nazis or Ninjas anywhere in North America. After we smashed their entire civilizations, they certainly had reason to seek revenge or punishment, not to mention the technical knowhow to do so. Castro? North Koreans? They still don’t like us after half a lifetime, but they didn’t “follow us home.” Castro is only 90 miles away.
Might it make a difference if we are the ones defeated or who give up? Look at Lebanon in the 70s. When a Lebanese suicide truck bomber blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut, Regan hastily tucked his tail between his legs and slunk out of town. Clinton did much the same in Somalia after Blackhawk down. When was the last time you heard of a followup by either Lebanese or Somali Muslims on this continent afterwards?
Those were relatively isolated incidents. We left quickly after just one major adverse confrontation. Does it make a difference if we leave after a long nasty conflict? Well, the Vietnam War was certainly comparable to what is happening in Iraq, more so all the time. We could look to it to see what might happen if we pulled out after essentially acknowledging either defeat or at least that it is not worth the cost. Almost everyone will admit the Viet Cong were tenacious, fierce insurgents who fought using terror tactics for literally decades. Name one example of where the victorious insurgents in that conflict followed us home.
Does that mean it is not possible? Of course not. The point is that the Iraqi insurgents could do so right now without having to wait. Thanks to an Administration that acts on wishes, a remarkably incompetent Homeland Security agency and a cheapskate Congress, an almost porous border exists. Pregnant women can walk across the border almost at will. What makes anyone think that’s a perfect defense against a stealthy terrorist? Worse, maybe one in ten thousand cargo containers docking in our ports are inspected. Put a nuke in any of them and a terrorist could touch off a bomb a few hundred feet from Wall Street. Hell, there is probably at least a one in ten chance that an uninspected weapon could be flown in on a FedEx plane if asked to pick up a package. Consequently, the terrorists don’t even need to come here.
Why haven’t they attacked so far? Good question, but it does not seem to have anything to do with inability to get here. Perhaps part of the answer lies in the statistics on violence in Iraq. They seem to be killing more of each other than us. If we leave Iraq, is that likely to diminish so that they could come after us alone? Is there any evidence of that in the past? Usually in similar situations, they seem to spend a long time fighting for power among themselves, then concentrating control once received and rebuilding after the consolidation. It typically takes years.
And, what happens after the rebuilding that’s distracting their attention and energy is finally successful? We could again look to our enemies in prior conflicts, whether Cold War or Brush Fire War. Look at our bitter foe Vietnam. Communist Vietnam has been now granted favored nation trading partner status with state visits by none other than Bush himself.
Should we be sanguine about the possibility of future terror attacks here? Never! At the same time, the next time a bellicose Republican starts spouting off about at least this particular justification for staying as an occupying belligerent in Iraq indefinitely, ask for an iota of proof. If not, let’s bury this bit of nonsense. Otherwise, we might end up getting more of our people killed than we might save.