Republicans and Democrats shouted, hurled insults and in the end gave new and ferocious meaning to partisanship. A debate over withdrawal from Iraq has descended into rancorous accusations that exemplify a nation divided.
As some noted, this is a replay of Vietnam, a war decided in the corridors of Congress rather than the Southeast Asian battlefield. Surely, the lessons of the past are not lost on al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. They cannot defeat us in Iraq, but they can certainly test American fortitude.
Yet the ugly exchanges in the House of Representatives overlook critical dimensions of this war on terror, matters that have potentially catastrophic implications for the nation.
On November 5 the Global Islamic Media Front, a propaganda creation that disseminates al Zarqawi’s positions, announced a prize for the best proposed logo at its new website. The winner of the contest will be “privileged” to launch “three long range rockets against an American military base in Iraq (…the pressing of a button by a blessed hand.”
The announcement went on to note that Jaysh Al-Ta’ifa Al–Mansura, a radical Sunni Islamic organization composed of former military officers who served Saddam Hussein, has developed “a rocket, effective and precise, as we had promised you, using the highest level of technology …capable of launch from long range via remote control from anywhere in the world.” As these radicals note, they have the means – or claim to have the means – “to destroy the fortresses of polytheism and the infidels… .”
Whether this is merely an empty threat designed to appeal to adherents remains to be seen. However, it should be noted that this website has received more than 50,000 “hits.”
This website proposal is not unique. The Sunday Times of London reports that another al Qaeda website contains detailed instructions in Arabic on how to make nuclear, “dirty” and biological bombs. This site has 80 pages of instructions and pictures of kitchen bomb-making techniques.
Under the heading of the Nuclear Bomb of Jihad are instructions on ways to enrich uranium as a gift to the commander of jihad fighters, Osama bin Laden. Readers are encouraged to look for materials such as radium, which it claims is an “effective alternative to uranium and available on the market.”
Quoting the Koran, the anonymous architect of the site notes, “Fight them so that Allah will punish them at your hands and will put them to shame and will give you victory over them.”
John Hassard, a physicist at Imperial College London, maintains that this website offers “a proper instruction manual” for would-be terrorists. “It is a very real threat and one we can’t afford to ignore,” he said.
If this website is to be taken seriously, al Qaeda is striving to move directly from a stage where weapons of mass destruction are obtained to one in which they are deployed. Moreover, these threats serve as a propaganda vehicle and a recruitment device.
While the Congress dithers over whether we should leave Iraq precipitously or remain, our enemy is building or attempting to build weapons of mass destruction. There can be little doubt that if fissionsable material is obtained and converted into a weapon, it will be used.
This threat must be taken seriously. If it requires preemption, then preemption we must have. If it requires enhanced counter intelligence, then we must put that in place. If it means draining the Middle East swamp of fanatical jihadists, then we must be prepared to do so.
The websites that call for attacks against the United States and its allies cannot be dismissed as sheer hyperbole. We are at war and our survival is at stake. Those in the Congress who cannot recognize that do not deserve to represent the American people.
The appeasers in our midst believe that if we keep on feeding the carnivores red meat, they will become vegetarians. But history teaches a very different lesson. Those who refuse to fight are likely to die with their hands in the air. History can be merciless to those who won’t defend themselves. That is a point that must be shouted on the House of Representatives floor.