- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2005

President Bush is wrong when he says we will not run from Iraq. He is whistling past the graveyard, hoping something good turns up. Sadly, nothing will. Why? Well, we will be beaten in Iraq and elsewhere because we refuse to accept reality and act with the brains or military ruthlessness reality requires.

Consider the following: 1.) America’s bipartisan leaders fail to accept that we are at war with militant Islamists terrorists — if you prefer, because of our policies in the Muslim world — not because of what we think or believe. Willful blindness on this score ensures our defeat by the growing number of young Muslims rallying to al Qaedaism. The equation is immutable: Fail to know your enemy and you always lose.

2.) We have taken the separation of church and state to an absurd extreme. It amounts to active federal interference in the faith of the 80 percent of Americans who are Christians, and more importantly it has bred two American generations who do not understand that, historically, violence is the nominal reaction of a faith that perceives itself mortally threatened. We thus ignore the power of Islam-threatened to slowly mobilize Muslims and arm them with endurance, resolve and optimism that God has ensured victory.

3.) Elections are meaningless unless the losers put away their guns and peacefully await the next election. Two elections have occurred in Afghanistan; the Islamist insurgency’s pace has increased. Two elections have occurred in Iraq; the insurgency continues and its pace quickened after the constitutional vote.

4.) Our bipartisan leaders never meant to “win” the Afghan and Iraq wars; we did not send enough force to either; we let most of the enemy go home with their guns to fight again; and we closed no borders so our enemies are easily supplied with men, arms and money.

Domestic political requirements ruled the way the wars were fought; Republicans and Democrats made war plans with an eye toward staying in office. They seem to care nothing for soldiers and Marines killed in wars in which they lack the moral courage to use the force needed to win. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and their surrender-prone Democratic colleagues are ready to gift the enemy with a “timeline for withdrawal,” and many heroic Republicans will resist only if polls show it useful to do so. From here on, each dead U.S. serviceperson is part of the cost of political maneuvering; our leaders do not, and never did, intend to win.

5.) As a society, we have failed to teach children that war’s nature never changes, that wars are tremendously bloody and should not be entered lightly, and that when war is joined, annihilation of the foe is the only moral goal. The result is a lengthening list of lost or failing wars because we fight for issues unrelated to U.S. interests — Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans — or refuse to fully apply the power of the earth’s greatest military when our interests are at risk — Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Simply, our leaders do not know how to wage war, and the Pentagon’s uniformed bureaucrats lack the guts to tell them their wrong. In big wars, America’s goal is desolation of the enemy, not an exit strategy. The former yields victory, the latter yields quagmire.

6.) We have done virtually nothing to defend the homeland, unless our enemies are stupid enough to enter through official entry-points now flooded with billions of dollars worth of electronics. Our enemy is many things. So far he has not been stupid. Most U.S. land and sea borders are wide open.

7.) Our 535 federal representatives have done nothing to control immigration or determine who is in our country. The chameleon — Sen. John McCain — sure proof there is no necessary correlation between great personal bravery and patriotism and IQ — now champions systemic, politically correct immigration “reform,” while our law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed by the consequences of congressional inaction.

8.) Our 535 federal representatives — excepting Sen. Dick Lugar and the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II presidencies — have failed in the most important U.S. national-security task: They have not secured the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. We will be attacked at home by al Qaeda with a Soviet nuclear weapon(s). The U.S. military’s main task then will be cleanup and administering martial law in the region attacked, thereby cutting its ability to operate overseas.

These are serious, tangible realities for all Americans, not Republican or Democratic issues. There are no solutions on the horizon, however, as reality for our elected representatives goes no farther than keeping offices. Keep whistling Mr. Bush. It is a long shot that anything good will turn up, but right now that is our only hope.

Michael F. Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA, created and served as the chief of the agency’s Osama bin Laden unit at the Counterterrorist Center. He is also the author of “Imperial Hubris.”

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