Two War Updates in One

Monday, March 20, 2006

At FrontPageMagazine is an interview with Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, who frequently appears on Fox News as a military analyst, about what we have learned since the invasion of Iraq about Saddam Hussein's dealings with al Qaeda and about whether Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The whole thing is worth reading not only for what it tells us about pre-invasion Iraq, but also for what it tells us about how some conservatives view this war. On al Qaeda and WMDs, it appears that the Bush administration is going to see vindication. Unfortunately, the Bush administration and some conservatives are foundering badly on the crucial intellectual front of this war.

First of all, it seems that Hussein did indeed have dealings with al Qaeda.

[McInerney:] It was a fascinating experience to see the transcripts of Saddam's conversations. He discussed hiding WMDs from the UN inspectors and knowing where the inspectors were going to go in advance. He discussed their efforts to develop Plasma Enrichment for nuclear weapons totally unknown to the UN inspectors.

But the most telling to me was the conversation between Tariq Aziz his foreign minister and Saddam in which they discussed having proxies implant nuclear and biological weapons in US cities.
And it also looks like Russia did more than just covertly supply military equipment to Iraqi forces before the invasion. Why this isn't being discussed -- because we "need" Russia (and China and France) now to "deal with" Iran -- is troubling.
FP: So the evidence appears to suggest the Russians moved the WMD's out of Iraq, correct?

McInerney: Yes -- to three locations in Syria and one in Lebanon (Beka Valley) in the Sept -- Dec 2002 time frame. This information was provided by Jack Shaw, the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for international technology security. He charged that Saddam's stockpiles of WMDs were moved by a Russian Spetznatz team headed by Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian Intelligence Chief, who came to Iraq in December 2002 to supervise the final cleanup.

Mr. Shaw found this out through a meeting in London with the head of MI--6 (UK CIA), the Ukrainian Intelligence Chief and others in the summer of 2003. The Ukrainians were very close and supportive of the Russians at that time.

FP: This information destroys the Left's main arguments and vindicates the Bush administration. Why do you think the administration is not talking about this?

McInerney: The President is being ill served by his Intelligence staff. In some cases the diplomats don't want the world to know this as the three primary violators were Russia, China and France -- all permanent members of the UN Security Council and whom they need to deal with Iran and future contingencies in the war on terror.
And if it isn't bad enough that we're still working through the United Nations, the following is an example of a very grave, fundamental error, of the type that can undermine our whole war effort by turning it into a fight for exactly the same end our enemies seek, namely, theocracy. Even if there might be some conceivable strategic benefit to some UN charade, this error is about the fundamental reason we're in this conflict.
FP: Is Islamic extremism an ideology just like Fascism and Communism?

McInerney: Exactly and it must be fought in much the same way. The West has not acknowledged this and consequently we have not educated our population that it is an ideology rather than a religion. This is confusing people because of our tolerance for the diversity of religion. [bold added]
(Although this follows a passage in which McInerney says that Islam needs a reformation, he contradicts himself here.)

From, for those who do not know what an "ideology" is:
1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.
And how, exactly, is a religion not an "ideology"? And what automatically makes an "ideology" -- but not (any?) religion -- evil as such? I would have to guess from the limited context available that McInerney means that an "ideology" is man-made, but that religion comes from God, and that Islamism is a human perversion of Islam. (A later entry would seem to serve this contrived distinction better ("1: an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation [syn: political orientation, political theory] ") until one remembers that many religious conservatives see Christianity as the basis for American civilization.

This is not merely incorrect. It risks, if not deliberately attempts, to get the war, incredibly, exactly backwards, changing it from a conflict between religious Islam and the secular West to a conflict between followers of the God of Moses and secularists. (Note that the "secularists" are the bad guys in both cases.) How? By taking advantage of the famous tendency of Americans not to examine religion very critically. Islam is excused from any role it might play in motivating the aggressors in this war. Instead, it is implied that the religion has been, as George Bush has said countless times, "hijacked" by imperfect men, and turned into a "mere" "ideology". (And so much for McInerney's contention that "[W]e have not edcuated our population that [Islamism] is an ideology and not a religion.")

Thanks for the updates, guys. The lack of media coverage of the findings on terrorism and WMDs tells us of one major weakness we face, a normally incompetent and frequently disloyal press. The confusion over what constitutes an "ideology" is far worse, however. For even if we overcome the first weakness, we risk losing our precious freedom -- from ignorance of its intellectual foundation -- even in a military "victory" over the Islamists.

"A republic -- if you can keep it." That was no battle cry, but a warning to a civilian that the ultimate defense of liberty is intellectual in nature.

-- CAV

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