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November 7, 2003

Prosecuting the war — and a warrior

President George W. Bush signed an $87.5 billion supplemental spending bill for troop support and infrastructure reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday, and not a moment too soon. This week proved one of the costliest since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. There have been 27 American service personnel killed in Iraq in recent days, including the deadliest single strike against American forces since the war began – a Chinook helicopter shot down, killing 16 and wounding 20. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said of the latest attack, “It was a terrible day. In war, there are going to be terrible days, and unfortunately, it’s necessary to work our way through these things. Ultimately, we’re going to prevail.”

Indeed, President Bush has said all along that our war with Jihadistan would be long and difficult. Fortunately, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of many of our service personnel and their families, the warfront with Jihadistan remains in Iraq and has not returned to our shores since 9/11. Keeping it there is our primary strategic objective, though all the war’s detractors seem intent on bringing it closer to home.

As for why the attacks on U.S. forces are on the increase – as previously noted, the conflict is drawing out Jihadis in the region, who are joining forces with Saddam’s Ba'athist loyalists under the doctrine that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” As such, they have formed a unified front endeavoring to stop the Iraqi Governing Council from establishing a democratic foothold in a Muslim nation. Most of the Jihadis are itinerant Islamist militants entering Iraq through Syria and Iran, while the conflict is also drawing Islamists from a few European nations, including Saddam’s apologist ally, France, which hosts a large population of Muslims.

Syrian dictator Bashar el-Assad, who, like Saddam, fully expected the French and Germans to keep the U.S. out of Iraq, was stunned at how fast Saddam’s regime fell. As a result, Bashar has suspended his nation’s decades-old policy of suppressing Islamic militants in a gambit to stir up enough Jihadi support for Iraq to keep the U.S. out of Syria.

The Federalist estimates a U.S. invasion of Syria is highly probable. As we noted again last week, “There is a substantial body of intelligence supporting our report last year that Iraq shipped some or all of its biological and nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction stores to Syria and Lebanon’s heavily fortified Bekaa Valley.” In addition to the Jihadi threat from Syria, discovery and eradication of Saddam’s WMD remains a critical objective, though these weapons are not likely to move into al-Qa'ida hands under current conditions.

On the subject of WMD and Syria, we also noted last week that Lt. Gen. James Clapper, director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, estimated on the basis of evidence from surveillance satellites that there is “no question” that people and WMD materiel were moved by truck convoys into Syria.

As for why Saddam didn’t use his WMD on invading allied troops: first, because it would have confirmed the stated rationale for the invasion (Saddam was a tyrant, not an idiot); second, because any order to use such weapons would have had to pass among several strata of his military hierarchy – and his command and control disintegrated very quickly once the invasion began; third, because bio-weapons tend to be minimally effective in that type of environment; and fourth, perhaps most important, is the same reason that Osama bin Laden didn’t use 767s against targets in the Iraqi desert – because we “infidels” live here in the continental U.S. Thus, if Saddam’s WMD emerge again, it will likely be much closer to home – which is precisely why we endeavor to keep the warfront with Jihadistan on their turf.

As for all the Democrat presidential candidates ranting against the war and bleating about the lack of WMD, they can only hope to be somewhere other than the next urban center targeted by al-Qa'ida and supplied by Saddam. Perhaps it would be instructive for the Thundering Herd of Jackasses to review their own ilk’s comments on Iraq’s WMD: https://patriotpost.us/reference/clintonistas-on-iraq/

Quote of the week…

“We’re waging this war in relentless pursuit of the al-Qa'ida network. We’re waging this war in Afghanistan against Taliban remnants and al-Qa'ida killers. We’re waging this war in Iraq against Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists who seek the return of tyranny and terror. We’re pursuing long-term victory in this war by promoting democracy in the Middle East so that the nations of that region no longer breed hatred and terror. Today, the United States is making a critical financial commitment to this global strategy to defeat terror. We’re supporting our servicemen and women in the field of battle. We’re supporting reconstruction and the emergence of democratic institutions in a vital area of the world.” –President George W. Bush, upon signing the $87.5-billion supplemental-spending bill for troop support and infrastructure reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan

Notably, President Bush added: “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. … The global wave of democracy has barely reached the Arab states. For too long, many people in that region have been victims and subjects. They deserve to be active citizens.”

On cross-examination…

“Iraqis are grateful for the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the United States is making on our behalf. Yet, ultimately, only Iraqis themselves can restore security, rebuild national institutions, enact a constitution and elect a democratic government. America must not rebuff Iraqis who are eager to have a stake in this intimate national process. Like any free people, we want to ensure that we are in control of our own destiny.” –Iyad Alawi, president of the Iraqi Governing Council for the month of October.

Open query…

“Under John Kerry’s ‘plan,’ Saddam would still be in power, the French would still be selling him the 68mm missiles used in the attack on Paul Wolfowitz’s Baghdad hotel last week, and there would still be Iraqis being fed feet-first into the industrial shredders. Or have I missed something?” –Mark Steyn

In other news…

Last week, Allen B. West, Lt. Col., U.S. Army, was indicted on criminal assault charges for the psychological intimidation tactic he used to acquire vital intelligence from a captured enemy combatant in Iraq. Col. West’s interrogation – which included, as a last resort, twice firing his sidearm away from the detainee – obtained information of an imminent attack against soldiers under his command, undoubtedly saving an untold number of American lives. Apart from his prosecution, Col. West’s so-called “criminal assault” produced other, more constructive results: “There were no further attacks from that town,” notes the colonel. “We further apprehended two other conspirators (a third fled town) and found out one of the conspirators was the father of a man we had detained for his Saddam Fedayeen affiliation.”

He now faces an Article 32 hearing scheduled for November 10 in Kirkuk, which could result in his court-martial. The 4th Infantry’s divisional judge advocate initially offered West the option to resign his commission and forfeit his retirement benefits (one week short of his 20-year retirement eligibility) or face a general court-martial and a sentence of eight years in prison. (Gee, thanks, Your Honor.)

Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice describes criminal assault in these terms: “Any person subject to this chapter who attempts or offers with unlawful force or violence to do bodily harm to another person, whether or not the attempt or offer is consummated, is guilty of assault and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” The Army’s judge advocate interprets West’s actions to be in violation of this restriction. This may be correct, but in both civilian and military courts, decisions are frequently made to decline prosecution based on extenuating circumstances – and this, clearly, should be one of those cases.

In his only statement since the incident, Col. West asks, “[The enemy detainee] and his accomplices were a threat to our soldiers and the method was not right, but why should I lose 20 years of service or be forced into prison for protecting my men?”

The Federalist asks the same question and calls on fellow Patriots to come to the aid of Col. West and all officers on the front line in our nation’s ongoing war against Islamic terrorism and its state sponsors. How can we expect our frontline officers to fight wars the Bush administration calls “preemptive” if they are not given the latitude to respond – preemptively – to the asymmetric threats of terrorist aggressors? Would the deaths of American soldiers in the ambush Col. West thwarted at Saba al Boor have constituted a more acceptable result for the Army’s judge advocate? While the military is successfully adapting its capabilities to meet the challenges of asymmetric, anti-terrorist warfare, a paradigm shift in how the military expects its officers to carry out such a war seems to be in order.

In the last two days, almost 70,000 Patriots have signed our petition to exonerate Col. West from this grossly misguided criminal prosecution. Please join us. Link to – https://patriotpost.us/petition/allen-west/

(If you don’t have Web access, please send a blank e-mail to: [email protected] Each e-mail sent to this address will be counted as one signature for the petition.)

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