Once again, the terrorists have given President Bush an opportunity to defeat them, but this could be the last time that happens for quite some time. The brutal torture-murders of Privates Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker in Iraq have angered Americans and put the country in a vengeful mood. On the heels of the demise of al-Zarqawi comes a call by many for the U.S. military to take the fight to the enemy.
But what does that mean?
There can be no victory in Iraq without security. Coalition forces are fighting a counter-insurgency campaign that requires a strict discipline to succeed. First, the chaos must be stopped and the only way to do that is by imposing martial law, where authorities have the right to intern anyone and impose shoot-on-sight curfews. The new Iraqi government should do this immediately in cities like Ramadi that harbor terrorists.
Now, critics of tough anti-insurgency methods will say that if they are implemented, then we are no different than Saddam. And those critics have a small point. For almost 25 years, Saddam managed to control insurgencies against him by using brutal totalitarian methods. So we know those work in Iraq. The difference is that Saddam used murder and torture, while the coalition would not. Martial law is a legitimate tool of social control in any dangerous situation; it is a short-term strategy to allow the new government to curtail violence.
Truthfully, there is no other solution in Iraq. The terrorists understand that if they are defeated in that country, the cause of Islamo-fascism will be greatly damaged. So they are going to continue to commit atrocities in the hope of breaking our will. Either the Bush administration okays tough methods to root those people out, or we should get out of Iraq altogether.
No American wants another Vietnam, where the military is exposed to death but cannot use its full force to protect itself. I mean, how ridiculous was it to allow the North Vietnamese sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia? How many Americans died because Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon would not confront the enemy using the full power of the US military?
The Sunni triangle in Iraq and certain parts of Baghdad are sanctuaries for terrorists. These places should be totally inundated with Iraqi and Coalition forces conducting house-to-house searches and imposing dusk-to-dawn curfews. No insurgency can exist without the cooperation of the civilian population. All Iraqis should get the message that cooperating with terrorists will no longer be tolerated.
Presently, there are more than 400,000 Iraqi and Coalition troops in Iraq. Most provinces are pacified. Everybody knows which areas are dangerous. This is not a jungle-covered country where the enemy is supported by Russia and China. These insurgents can be defeated, but only a fierce determination will do that.
I believe the Bush administration has been intimidated somewhat by the anti-war media and the lack of support from our allies abroad. Public opinion for the war has been falling steadily throughout the past two years. But now Americans are in a payback mood-now the public wants to see these savage terrorists in Iraq killed.
That feeling will not last long unless more victories like Zarqawi are forthcoming. Most Americans will walk away from a stalemate and simply will not tolerate an administration that allows its soldiers to be brutalized one by one.
So if we are truly in it to win it, this is the time to strike hard against an enemy that hacks our soldiers up with knives and blows up women and children. If not now, it could be never.