- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 1, 2006

In a stunning performance on “60 Minutes,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi proved again why she cannot be trusted to keep America safe from the threat of global terrorism and Islamic extremists.

Mrs. Pelosi demonstrated that she does not understand the global nature of the threat when she stated flatly “the war on terror is the war in Afghanistan.” She may think the war is limited to Afghanistan, but where does al Qaeda believe the war is? Al Qaeda’s No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a letter to the leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, was clear about the location of the global jihad and the importance of victory in Iraq:

“Victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world … As for the battles that are going on in the far flung regions of the Islamic world, such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Bosnia, they are just the groundwork and the vanguard for the major battles which have begun in the heart of the Islamic world.”

Zawahiri reminds Iraqi terrorists, like Abu Musab Zarqawi, that God has blessed them “with the splendor of the spearhead of Jihad.” Translation: Islamic fascists led by al Qaeda are fighting a global jihad to establish a Muslim caliphate from Egypt to Iraq. They will attack anyone, anywhere, with any means, that will further their violent cause.

Tourists in Indonesia, embassy workers in Africa, commuters in Spain and London, schoolchildren in Russia, office workers in New York and Washington, and 40 Americans on a plane over Pennsylvania could all tell Nancy Pelosi where the war on terror is, if their voices had not been silenced.

For Mrs. Pelosi, Iraq is not even part of the war on Islamic terrorism, while for our terrorist enemies Iraq is “the spearhead of jihad.” Zawahiri’s letter details a four-part strategy for global jihad starting with Iraq; “the first stage: expel the Americans from Iraq.” In this first stage at least, Zawahiri seems to have found his “useful idiot” in Mrs. Pelosi.

She acknowledges that there are terrorists in Iraq, but naively submits that “they’ll stay as long as we’re there. They’re there because we’re there.” What Mrs. Pelosi doesn’t say is where she thinks the terrorists will go if we leave Iraq to fall into chaos. According to Mrs. Pelosi, our presence created the terrorists and when we leave they will put down their suicide belts and IEDs. She might want to read the rest of al Qaeda’s plan before she is so sure:

“The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority … over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq … in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans … The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq … The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel.”

Our actions to liberate Iraq from the butcher of Baghdad did not cause Islamic terrorists, but our premature departure will surely embolden them. Zawahiri’s letter exhorts his followers to learn the lessons of history as “things may develop faster than we imagine. The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy… we must take the initiative and impose a fait accompli upon our enemies.”

While we may not have entered Iraq to defeat al Qaeda, there is no doubt that al Qaeda has entered Iraq to defeat us and begin the defeat of all nations in the region who do not share their extreme view of an Islamic caliphate, under strict Sunni rule, stretching across the entire Middle East. Like Osama bin Laden’s fatwas declaring war on the United States and the civilized world, Zawahiri points to American retreat from Vietnam for inspiration. Maybe Mrs. Pelosi can answer how giving al Qaeda what they want in Iraq will keep Americans safe and secure from Islamic terrorism in the future.

Al Qaeda knows that they are in a war with many fronts. Zawahiri concludes that “more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media … we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our umma (people).” Part of the battle against terrorism is taking place in our media as well. Last week, Mrs. Pelosi lost one battle for our side. America cannot take the risk that she will lose the war.

Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, is vice chairman of of the House Republican Conference and a member of the Defense Appropriations Committee.

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