Physics Prof Offers Equal But Opposite Reaction

To the Editor,

I am appalled, not at the content, but the tone of Professor Parssinen’s letter to the editor in this week’s Minaret. I do not share my esteemed colleague’s opinions, but I would not call them ‘delusional’ or ‘foolish’.

To respond to his specific points, I must first state the obvious – the war in Iraq is not the war in Vietnam, and it should not be viewed as being the same! Both conflicts are/were unpopular, but that is hardly a basis for comparison. One very important comparison can be made: in the Vietnam War, the abrupt withdrawal of American troops precipitated the fall of South Vietnam, the creation of thousands of refugees, and indirectly led to the rise of genocide in Kampuchea. Only in recent years has Vietnam opened up to be a trading partner with the U.S. – how many had to die at the hands of Uncle Ho before that happened? How many died in Pol Pot’s killing fields? Southeast Asia was anything but unchanged after the war.

History teaches us that when the U.S. gives up, millions die.

The 2003 run-up to the Iraq war was mishandled by incompetence at all levels. Intelligence estimates from all Western countries bought into Saddam’s own propaganda, the Bush Administration should not have tried scare tactics, and instead focused on the many breaches of UN resolutions that Saddam had piled up in the decade of sanctions. Millions of Iraqis lived under terrible conditions because Oil-for-Food was a corrupt behemoth with no transparency or oversight. Saddam lived as a king while the Shi’ites in Iraq starved.Should there have been any wonder that the Shi’a would not want to be too kind to their former oppressors?

Blundering though an occupation government which should have been less politically correct and more forceful (a la post WW-II Japan) the U.S. ended up behind the 8-ball when the insurgency really started. Criminals released by Saddam before the invasion along with hardcore Baathists made up the bulk of the early insurgency, marked by attacks on U.S. convoys and troops. We are no longer fighting that insurgency. In 2005, the tell-tale signs of the jihadi movement appeared in Iraq – towns and cities in Anbar province were shook down by the religious mafia. Barbers were threatened, liquor shops destroyed, Christians killed, women forced inside out of fear. The insurgency changed slowly.

Who were the insurgents attacking? Schools. Shi’ite mosques. Innocent women and children. That’s who the jihadis attack. They want to spread fear, and through fear force compliance to their medieval Islamic dictates. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi stated his hatred for the Shi’ite ‘heretics’, and was working through his bombing campaign toward sectarian war. The U.S. is right now caught up in a war, although it’s hardly a ‘civil war’ and hardly an insurgency. It’s both, and the victims are Iraqi Muslims who are slaughtered by other Muslims without nary a peep from the ‘Arab Street’. Who will stand up for them? I will, as should any truly progressive-minded person.

Al Qaeda offers nothing but an Islamically-inspired hatred of life, love of death and mental, physical and ideological slavery. In Anbar, a plurality of tribes which once supported the Baathist insurgency and Sunni Al Qaeda have joined with American and Iraqi army brigades to fight against the jihadist militants. I wish them the best, because I don’t wish to see any peoples ruled by the religious hate-cult of Al Qaeda’s creed.

Fighting against the causes of the war is fighting battles long lost. Calling for Bush’s head can be cathartic, but solves nothing. Things are as they are, not as they were. The U.S. invasion broke Iraq. It is now ours to fix. To walk away from it would not only jeopardize the lives of innocent Iraqis, but the lives of millions of people across the Middle East and Asia (and likely Europe). Walking away will tell the jihadis that their beliefs are true, that Allah is with them, and that their deeds are righteous. Osama bin Laden proclaimed that the U.S. was weak, that we will run in fear of the holy muhajedeen. If the U.S. walks away Osama’s prediction would come true. That would embolden the jihadist cause; allow them to press their attacks against the ‘infidel’. You, me, non-Muslims, non-Salafi Muslims – anyone they don’t approve of, inshallah, will be struck in the necks and fingertips by the sword of the muhajedeen. ‘Infidelophobia’ runs deep in that lot, and the West’s failure to comprehend such reckless hate does not mean that it can be safely ignored. The North Vietnamese were fighting to control their nation. Al Qaeda fights to destroy our sinful civilization. There’s an enormous difference between the two philosophies.

Iraq is a major front in the war against the jihadists. Whether you care to believe that or not doesn’t make it any less true. The U.S. can only lose this war if it gives up – and then the real killing will begin. Judging by the muted worldwide outcry against Pol Pot or the Janjaweed,
I’d bet that the world will not care very much if and when that does happen: ‘It’s just Muslims killing Muslims,’ they’ll say, ‘Who’s ever cared about that? At least the USA got humiliated and learned its place. Stupid Fascist Bushitler.’


The background of the debate:
The origin of the debate — Iraq War Trudges on Without End
Professor Deneault’s initial response
Professor Parssinen’s rebuttal, with a debate in the comments section

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