- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2003

Two fronts
The Bush White House suddenly finds itself fighting two wars in Iraq military and political and if the latter is lost, then the Evil Empire will continue unabated down its deadly path of producing weapons of mass destruction.
"Militarily, things are going well," International Relations Committee member Rep. Nick Smith, Michigan Republican, told Inside the Beltway in an interview yesterday.
"But if we lose the political end of the war, if [certain countries and so-called peace groups] continue to condemn the United States and the [allied] coalition, it reduces the likelihood we are going anywhere else. What happens to Iraq sets the course of our future dealing with North Korea and Iran."
Not that the risks to mankind would stop there, the six-term congressman added.
"There is greater likelihood that other tyrants, other rogue nations, might feel it to their advantage to develop a strong military with weapons of mass destruction that could very well be to their advantage," he says.
In addition, Mr. Smith, an Air Force veteran, called on the entire nation this week to pray not only for the military men and women fighting the war in Iraq, but for their families.
"When I was 21 years old, we got a phone call notifying us that my brother, Chan, who was 23, that his [military fighter] jet plane went down and that he was killed," he said. "That grief never left our family."
"My guess is that is true with most families," he told us yesterday.
Focus on unity
"What about the thousands of patriotic and loyal Muslim service people who have and continue to serve in the military?" asks retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. R. Ayesha Muhammad, responding to our item of yesterday headlined, "Dual loyalty?"
We had called attention to ProjectUSA figures showing that since September 11, 2001, more than 30,000 "non-U.S. citizens" have served in the U.S. military.
And the Bush administration, the immigration-watchdog group added, "has ensured that that number will continue to grow by changing the law recently to reward non-citizens in the military with U.S. citizenship at the completion of their tours of duty."
Such a trend "raises the knotty question of dual loyalty," said the group, adding "a titanic clash between Western and Islamic civilizations is at least possible."
That called attention to the motive of Army Sgt. Asan Akbar, the Muslim soldier suspected to have killed two and wounded 13 of his fellow 101st Airborne Division troops in a recent grenade attack in Kuwait.
Was Sgt. Akbar's motive "resentment" a belief shared by the Pentagon and the soldier's mother?
Or could it have been "anti-American sentiment" expressed by many in the Muslim world?
Several soldiers, we'd written, said they heard Sgt. Akbar declare: "You guys are coming into our countries, and you're going to rape our women and kill our children."
Regardless of the soldier's motive, Lt. Cmdr. Muhammad now tells us: "Allow judicial process to proceed and pray for the families affected by this tragedy. Far too often, some media hawks gravitate to what is sensational.
"The military is a microcosm of the entire American society, and unfortunate incidents such as this reflect that. But this is not representative of all Muslims. Yes, there are still inequalities, but this is clearly not the way to address them," he suggests.
"Focus on the unity that is engulfing America, and the diminishing American opposition to this very just war. The people of Iraq have lived under oppression far too long, and we should stay focused on removing the cancerous regime that has afflicted barbaric acts on these people for years."
It so happens that one of the first U.S. combat casualties in the war against Iraq was Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, 22, a Guatemalan immigrant who, according to one family member, "joined the Marines to pay back a little of what he'd gotten from the U.S."
Cpl. Gutierrez was killed in fighting Friday near Umm Qasr.
One whose fate remains unknown is Army Sgt. James Riley, 31, who wanted to be an American GI ever since he was a boy growing up in New Zealand. His family moved to New Jersey when he was 10, and as soon as he graduated high school, he enlisted.
Sgt. Riley was one of at least five members of the 507th Maintenance Company who were captured by the Iraqi forces that ambushed their supply convoy in Nasiriyah.
Peace porridge
Here's a lesson for beginners
Beguiled by pacifist spinners:
There are at least
Two kinds of peace,
The loser's and the winner's.
F.R. Duplantier

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