Alexander's Column

Sounding the Retreat — Democrats cut and run...

Mark Alexander · Aug. 11, 2006

In 1972, the United States was embroiled in the remnants of a decade-old war in Vietnam – a war in which heroic determination was defeated not by an overwhelming enemy but by the erosion of national will. Leading the assault on America’s resolve were Democrat presidential candidate George McGovern and his cadre of Leftist war protestors such as John Kerry.

McGovern appeared to be a strong contender: He was a 6'4" sportsman and decorated Air Force veteran credited with 35 bomber missions over enemy territory in WWII, an intellectual with a PhD from Northwestern, a moralist who served with John and Robert Kennedy and a Democrat who had held seats in both the House and Senate. He was also the poster child for “peace,” one of the Democrats’ most outspoken critics of our effort to protect South Vietnam from its Communist invaders.

Despite McGovern’s pedigree, he was defeated by Richard M. Nixon 60 percent to 38 percent–a landslide victory for Nixon, who won 49 states. (McGovern lost in his home state of South Dakota but won Massachusetts – of course.)

Why such a categorical rejection? Not because of McGovern’s “cut and run” opposition on Vietnam (though his association with traitors such as Kerry and his hippie/yippie groupies did not play well with Middle America), but because he was a “retreat and hide” isolationist.

Despite America’s woes in Vietnam, it was clear to most Americans in 1972, Republican and Democrat, that our nation faced a formidable global threat – the Soviet Union – and that the USSR’s global objective was to defeat the United States militarily, economically and philosophically.

Some three decades hence, a new breed of uber-Leftist isolationists has emerged, cultivated by a vociferous cadre of traitorous Demo-gogues. So strident are these turncoats that not only are they targeting Republicans, who understand that Operation Iraqi Freedom is the front line with today’s global menace, Jihadistan, but they are targeting their own, as McGovern did in 1972. To wit, this week’s Demo Senate primary in Connecticut, where Senator Joe Lieberman, who supports OIF, was defeated by isolationist Ned Lamont. Lieberman’s defeat sent a loud shot across the bow of all Democrats who would dare cross the new breed of McGovernites.

Hillary Clinton, who also has supported U.S. policy in Iraq as a purely political calculation, has recalculated and now insists Iraq was a mistake.

It is no small irony that, just one day after Lieberman’s defeat and Clinton’s flip-flop, British authorities arrested 24 Jihadis of Pakistani origin, members of a terrorist cell who, in a matter of days, were prepared to execute a plan to bomb ten international flights inbound to the U.S. The attack mirrored a similar plan outlined by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his nephew, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, foiled back in 1995. (Al-Qa'ida member Ramzi, you recall, organized the first attack on the World Trade Center back in 1993, and evaded capture until his arrest in Pakistan in 1995.)

The intervention and arrests reflect an extensive international intelligence dragnet operation against Jihadi terrorists, including significant cooperation with Pakistan, where additional conspirators were arrested.

Such threats notwithstanding, the latest strain of isolationists are too intellectually challenged, or disingenuous, to grasp the fact that the U.S. and our Western allies are confronting a global enemy today that, in some significant respects, is more dangerous than the Soviet Union.

The nuclear threat posed by the USSR was symmetric, emanating from a distinct nation-state with unambiguous political, economic and geographical interests. When a symmetric adversary like the USSR possessed large quantities of WMD and a proven delivery capability, the principal method for preventing their use was deterrence. Throughout the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction stayed offensive strikes, and limited conflicts between communist and democratic nations to conventional warfare.

Unfortunately, there is no neat Cold War doctrine like MAD to stave off a nuclear attack from an asymmetric threat like Jihadistan, the objective of which is to kill all infidels and for which martyrdom is a prize.

Al-Qa'ida’s protagonist, Osama bin Laden, has called for an “American Hiroshima” in which al-Qa'ida cells detonate multiple nukes in U.S. urban centers. Al-Qa'ida has made it clear that they will use any means at hand to disrupt continuity of government and commerce in the U.S. in an effort to impede our influence in the Middle East. As Osama put it, “Why do you use an ax when you can use a bulldozer? … We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us.” Osama’s lieutenant Sulaiman Abu Ghaith says al-Qa'ida aspires “to kill four million Americans, including one million children.”

The only counter-proliferation doctrine capable of thwarting this enemy’s nuclear aspirations is pre-emption – initiating first strikes on their turf to keep them off our own. This global Jihad threat will not subside until the West has succeeded in eliminating this menace in all its manifestations – al-Qa'ida, Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Jamaat-Islamiyah, Muslim Brotherhood, et al.

Of course, these terrorist organizations will not be subdued unless their state sponsorship is cut off. Hizballah, for example, is little more than an Iranian surrogate, and it is worth noting that Iran’s theocratic dictator, Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, intimated last week that 22 August is the beginning of the end – doomsday for Israel.

Middle Eastern scholar Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton, notes that this date is associated with Muhammad’s flight to “the farthest mosque” – Jerusalem – before ascending into heaven. The Koran describes this flight as “lighting up the skies of Jerusalem.”

“This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary the world,” writes Lewis, who adds that Ahmadi-Nejad subscribes to an “apocalyptic worldview” based on the Shiite tradition of a 12th “Hidden” Imam Mahdi, kept alive by Allah since last seen in 874 A.D. Shiites expect Imam Mahdi to reappear in a time of global conflagration. “Ahmadi-Nejad,” says Lewis, “sees himself as Allah’s instrument to pave the way for Imam Mahdi, and they clearly believe that this time is now.”

As for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noted in congressional testimony this week, “The enemy has called Iraq the central front in the war on terrorism.”

Rumsfeld continued: “If we left Iraq prematurely – as the terrorists demand – the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they’d order us – and all those who don’t share their militant ideology – to leave what they call occupied Muslim lands, from Spain to the Philippines, and then we would face not only the evil ideology of these violent extremists, but an enemy that will have grown accustomed to succeeding in telling free people everywhere what to do. We can persevere in Iraq or we can withdraw prematurely, until they force us to make a stand nearer home. But make no mistake: They are not going to give up, whether we acquiesce in their immediate demands or not.”

In 1940, British PM Neville Chamberlain attempted to opt out of WWII by ignoring the Third Reich. The day after Germany invaded France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Chamberlain resigned and was replaced by Winston Churchill, who confronted Hitler head on, and preserved Great Britain’s charter.

The new incarnation of McGovernites want to opt out of the global war with Islamofascists by ignoring the catastrophic threat posed by Jihadistan. They do so at great peril to our Constitution.

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