President George W. Bush is right on Iraq

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2005

By By Tray Smith
Liberals often accuse conservatives of having an "oversimplified" or "black-and-white" viewpoint of the world.
There argument is that world matters are more complex than conservatives see them and that in order to make good (a.k.a. liberal) foreign policy decisions conservatives should begin looking at the complexities of foreign policy situations. When I look at the war in Iraq, however, I see just the opposite. It appears to be the liberals, not the conservatives, who are failing to see the "complexities" of the situation on the ground. Now, the liberal point of view also appears to be gaining ground among Americans, thus meaning the public in general does not understand the situation in Iraq, either. As a result, President Bush's approval ratings are exceptionally low.
The reason we cannot understand foreign policy, though, is not that we are
ignorant, but that the media as a whole is one sided and we cannot make educated decisions off of the propaganda they feed us. They would much rather cover bombings and bloodshed then report on how we are destroying terrorists.
The true stakes we face in Iraq are best laid out when you look beyond the media and into the thoughts of the terrorist. In a letter sent from Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 guy, to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda's commander in Iraq, that was recently made public, we find what the terrorist really think about Iraq. In the letter, Zawahiri's tone sounds pessimistic at best, but he clearly states his grand vision for Iraq. He speaks of four stages. First, drive out the American infidels. Second, establish and Islamic state over as much territory within Iraq as possible. Thirdly, expand this Islamic state to neighboring secular countries, (i.e. the U.S. allies of Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia).
And finally, the clash with Israel (i.e. push Israel off into the Mediterranean.) He also asked for $100,000 suggesting al-Qaeda is running out of money. (The same thing that happened to the Soviets.) Basically, this is just a four point plan to establish a radical Islamic state that covers the entire Middle East, destroys the state of Israel, and becomes a breeding ground for terrorist and organizations like al Qaeda. Such a state would be an expanded version of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, with the additional feature of controlling huge amounts of the world's oil reserves. As soon as a state this large is established, there is nothing to stop the radicals from expanding into Spain and Italy, and then into Greece, and before you know it all of Europe, which is possible considering Europe's rapidly growing Muslim population.
One of the advantageous Zawahiri sites is the American media, which he is hoping will create a Vietnam-like withdrawal from Iraq. That basically means that the terrorist are sitting in their caves and waiting for us to loose our resolve and run. The terrorist are remaining persistent though, because they, unlike the majority of Americans and the media, understand the stakes in this conflict. The terrorist know that if we win, Iraq will become a basin of freedom that will be a catalyst for change throughout the Middle East. They also know that once freedom and prosperity is spread throughout the Middle East, no one will have an incentive to become a terrorist anymore, so their organizations will die.
On the other side, the Americans do not realize that if we withdraw and allow them to form their state, the entire Middle East will become a breeding ground for violence and hate. It will export terror to all comers of the globe. It will challenge the existence of Israel. This is what President Bush has been saying all along. While the President has not done near enough to promote the war, when he does say something, he is usually right on target.
I am happy to report, though, that things are looking up for us. The tremendous success of the referendum last Saturday was a huge step forward for Iraq. They now have a permanent democratic Constitution (subject to amendment) and will go to the polls again in December to vote for a government under that Constitution.
Luckily for us, there is also one very important person who does understand the war in Iraq, and does understand the stakes. That person is President George W. Bush, and despite all of his faults and any disagreements one may have with him, he is right on Iraq. That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a freshman at Escambia Academy. He is a political columnist for the Atmore Advance. He can be e-mailed at

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