Wednesday, October 12, 2005

GWOT: Just a Reminder

The President gave a wonderful speech on Thursday (10/6). I didn'’t get to hear it live, but I found the transcript and read it with delight. He said things I'’ve waited years to hear, but much of the language I've heard many times over the last four years. He may say it in different ways just to keep the media interested, but when it comes to describing the enemy it all means the same thing. When people ask the "who" question, they'll always receive a response such as:
Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.
This is the strongest language he has used yet in describing the terrorists. Mr. Bush also took a swipe at his predecessor with: "They hit us, and expect us to run. They want us to repeat the sad history of Beirut in 1983, and Mogadishu in 1993 -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences." I've never heard him come close to criticizing a former President like this, though he did temper it with a reference to a Reagan era bombing. I'ts about time.

Bush reiterates this description of our enemies in nearly every speech he gives about the GWOT. He has been rock-solid and consistent since 9/11 in his identification of those who wish to do us harm. On September 20, 2001 he said:
Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere. The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.
In his famous "Axis of Evil" speech on Jan 29, 2002:
We have seen the depth of our enemies' hatred in videos, where they laugh about the loss of innocent life. And the depth of their hatred is equaled by the madness of the destruction they design.
...These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are.
And from a speech to the U.N. delivered Sept. 23, 2003:
By the victims they choose, and by the means they use, the terrorists have clarified the struggle we are in. Those who target relief workers for death have set themselves against all humanity. Those who incite murder and celebrate suicide reveal their contempt for life, itself. They have no place in any religious faith; they have no claim on the world's sympathy; and they should have no friend in this chamber.
The President and his Cabinet have also been consistent in the "how long" question. His new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine General Peter Pace, gave a speech at Mount Vernon, October 11th at a ceremony to present Purple Hearts to 8 soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Pace told the family and friends of those at the ceremony that there are similarities between George Washington's time and today. He said that when Washington left Mount Vernon to take command of the Continental Army in 1775, he did not know how long he would be gone or how long his task would take. "It lasted eight years," Pace said. "We don't know how long this struggle will last, but like General Washington and his soldiers, we will stay with it as long as it takes."
We've only been at it for four years and the enemy we face is evil incarnate rather than true soldiers of a foreign govermnent. SecDef Rumsfeld follows on with answers to the "why" and "how" questions in a TownHall type forum at MacDill AFB this morning:
"And you can tell them something else: that America is not what's wrong with this world," he added. "What's wrong with this world are the terrorists, the 'beheaders,' the hostage-takers, the assassins -- the people our forces are fighting every day in a number of locations -- they're what's wrong with the world. And our country's finest men and women are out there meeting them every day."

Rumsfeld said it is not the mission of the U.S. military to "cower behind illusory defenses" because "defenses don't work." The only defense, he said, is to go on the offensive, to stop terrorists before they attack America.

"Your mission is to be on the offense; it's to go on the attack," he said. "And that's what our forces are doing: they're engaging the enemy where they live so that they do not attack us where we live."

Rummy would have to come up as a pitbull in the dog quiz. The U.S. and Iraqi forces are on the offensive. A DefenseLINK article from Oct. 11th is astonishing in the numbers it reports. Over a three day period (Oct. 9 -11), just around Baghdad, coalition forces completed hundreds of missions that netted 98 terror suspects, killed at least two bad guys, collected thousands of rounds of ammo, bomb making materials, weapons, and certainly intel. "Iraqi soldiers and police conducted nearly 370 of the missions themselves and teamed with coalition forces on 50 others." How's that for getting the Iraqis up-to-speed? They really are taking on more and more responsibility.

We are making progress. We are winning.