Monday, December 27, 2004

We're Fighting Syria and Iran, Not Iraqi "Insurgents"

From the Jerusalem Post via Powerline:

"The US is contemplating incursions into Syrian territory in an attempt to kill or capture Iraqi Ba'athists who, it believes, are directing at least part of the attacks against US targets in Iraq."

I concur with Brother Mirengoff that "this seems like good news." There's no persuasive reason why the Ba'athists, whether Iraqi or Syrian, should be given a safe haven from which to launch anti-Coalition attacks inside Iraq with impunity. This is just sheer common sense, and also applies to Iran's similar barely-clandestine war against us in the same theater.

The JP's "senior Administration official" insists that the U.S. isn't considering full scale hostilities against Syria. I'm hoping that's just spin designed to keep the proverbial "cat" from getting out of the bag before we're ready to unleash it. If, indeed, the Syrian regime is conducting its portion of this guerrilla war against us and the Iraqi people, that cannot be described as anything other than an active state of war warranting a full response on our part. And, once again, the same goes for Iran, for several huge additional reasons.

Micheal Ledeen reiterated this stubborn fact again last week:

Unless you think that Iraqi Defense Minister Shaalan is a drooling idiot, you must take seriously his primal screams against Iran and Syria ("terrorism in Iraq is orchestrated by Iranian intelligence, Syrian intelligence, and Saddam loyalists"). Indeed, there has been a flood of reports linking Syria to the terror war, including the recent news that the shattered remnants from Fallujah have found haven and succor across the Syrian border....

The terror war in Iraq was not improvised, but carefully planned by the four great terror masters (Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) during the infuriatingly long run-up to the liberation. They made no secret of it; you have only to go back to the public statements of the Iranian mullahs and the Syrian Baathists to see it, for top Iranian officials and Bashir Assad publicly announced it (the mullahs in their mosques, Bashir in a published interview). They had a simple and dramatic word for the strategy: Lebanon. Assad and the mullahs prepared to turn Iraq into a replay of the terror war they had jointly waged against us in Lebanon in the 1980s: suicide bombings, hostage-taking, and religious/political uprisings. It could not have been more explicit....

The clear strategic conclusion remains what it should have been long before Coalition troops entered Saddam's evil domain: No matter how strongly we wish it to be otherwise, we are engaged in a regional war, of which Iraq is but a single battlefield. The war cannot be won in Iraq alone, because the enemy is based throughout the region and his bases and headquarters are located beyond our current reach. His power is directly proportional to our unwillingness to see the true nature of the war, and our decision to limit the scope of our campaign.

I've said all along that Iraq couldn't be our last military campaign if the GWOT was to ultimately be won. One respondent on called that assertion "madness." But I tend to think of it in terms of the old Autolite car parts commercial: "You can pay me a little now, or a lot later, but one way or another, you're going to pay me."

"Faster," indeed.