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is the sage advice from Victor Davis Hanson in his latest article at his website. There's no permalink yet, so I'll update later. Here are some memorable excerpts:
For about a year now, a baby-faced grotesque thug, Sadr, dressed up in a cleric's robes and backed by two or three thousand gangsters has held world-wide televised press conferences as he pompously boasted about his promised imposition of Iranian-style theocracy upon 26 million other Iraqis.
Forget that in most municipal elections in the first year of the reconstruction Iraqis had shown not much interest in his crackpot Shiite paradise on earth. Forget that this criminal was not a holy-man at all, but a murderer who shortly after the liberation of Iraq, had systematically put out hits on various rivals. Forget that he was a coward who was a mouse under Saddam's fascist police, and roared as a lion only after the Americans, whom he daily slurred, at the cost of their lives and treasure had freed him and his Chicago-style Costa Nostra. And forget that he was hardly a nationalist, but an Iranian toady who did the bidding of Teheran and wished to ruin southern Iraq in the same manner that his kindred self-appointed mullahs had wrecked Iran.
But do not forget that for some strange reason the most powerful military in the history of civilization was not allowed to move on this latter-day Jugurtha before his venom infected thousands beyond his immediate Mafia. The moment there was good proof in the days following the toppling of Saddam that Sadr had ordered and killed various rival Shiites, he should have been arrested, tried, and, if found guilty, hangedÃ¢â‚¬â€at a time when the United States military was fresh from victory and still in a combat mode.
There is a lesson in the saga of Sadr here that we really must relearn about this entire war. The United States, because it is militarily powerful and humane in the way that it exercises that force, usually can pretty much do what it wishes in this war against terrorists. In every single engagement since October 2001 it has not merely defeated but obliterated jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only check on its power has been self induced: out of a misplaced sense of clemency it has often ceased prematurely the punishment it has inflicted on enemiesÃ¢â‚¬â€at Tora Bora, in the Sunni Triangle, during the looting of Baghdad, and now perhaps at FallujahÃ¢â‚¬â€and relented to enter into peace parleys, reconciliation, and reconstruction too early.
The Islamists are not the only ones who fool themselves into thinking that the American perchant for giving our enemies a chance to surrender is weakness. Many in the international scene puff themselves up and think themselves more powerful and influential than they really are, because they think we Americans are heeding their advice, rather than our own good lights, when we stop fighting to offer surrender terms. That is, when they're not wildly spinning the halt as a sign we're in trouble, rather than give us credit for being needlessly merciful.
Why worry about the constraints of religion? We should simply ignore most supposed Islamic restrictions on war-making since they are entirely one-sided, asymmetrical, and self-serving. All during the Afghanistan campaign we worried about Ramadan, and were warned by the impotent Arab Street about the repercussions to follow if we shot back at Taliban thugs who hid in mosques and sniped at us during their holy days. Did we remember that when Egypt invaded Israel during its sacred Yom Kippur holidays it bragged of the sneak attack as the "Ramadan War"Ã¢â‚¬â€and in pride, not shame? Did we hold back from attacking Nazi Germany on Hitler's Birthday? And was it really wise to impose what turned out to be a one-sided truce at the Tet holiday in Vietnam?
As I recall the radical Muslim world canonized armed Islamic criminals who desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without apology to its Christian clergy. A general rule then: once armed combatants enter mosques for sanctuary, the United States military must declare that such shrines are immediately no longer holy sites, and then allow 48 hours for Islamic clergy to remove such killers before it does it for them. A mass-murderer in a wheel chair, or a street tough wearing a turban really is not a holy manÃ¢â‚¬â€and the Islamic world needs to realize that when the fatwas of mullahs and imams invoke the name of "God" to murder, then they have sacrificed the sanctuary of religion.
There's other good advice, so go read the whole thing. The finish needs no commentary:
So let us marshal the troops and will to take Fallujah, clean up the Sunni Triangle, eliminate the militias of Mr. Sadr, demonstrate to the Iranians and Syrians that a number of their sites they don't want touched may soon go up in smoke, and begin to fight this war as if we wished to winÃ¢â‚¬â€or simply quit and unleash instead Mssrs Kerry, Kennedy, Clinton, Dean, Gore, and Carter to bring us home and apologize to the Middle East.
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