A significant date in the war on terror

 Why does Surrender Harry Reid in particular and the Democrat leadership in general want to, well, surrender in Iraq?  Or to put it differently, why do they think we can surrender in Iraq without consequence?  I think that Tony Blankley had it right in a column  this week where he said that the big divide is not between Democrats and Republicans, nor between Europeans and Americans, nor even between those who are anti-Bush and those who are pro-Bush, but rather it is between those who think "the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization and those who believe it is a nuisance..."

In his short but essential and illuminating book The Crisis of Islam, which is really a primer for our time, Bernard Lewis gives us the narrative for Islam as an expansionary, proselytizing, conquering faith.  Mohammed died in 632 and by 732 one of the critical battles in world history - the Battle of Tours - was being fought in France where the Frankish leader Charles Martel turned back the Muslims under the governor-general of al-Andalus, the Muslim name for conquered Spain.  This was the high water mark of the Islamic assault on Europe from the West.

Fast forward to 1683.  Now the Turks are the leaders of the Islamic world and the Caliphate sits in Constantinople.  After several decades of expansion into various European lands in the Balkans and in Russia, the Turks besiege Vienna.  This siege is lifted by a Polish-Lithuanian army under the Polish king Jan Sobieski.  This is not only the high water mark of the Islamic assault on Europe from the East, it represents the end of Islamic expansion in modern times.  For the next 300 years, Islam either holds it own or retreats before European power.  In fact, until the mujahadeen throw the Red Army out of Afghanistan, Islam has no military victories during this period.  That is why, with its victory in Afghanistan in the 1980's, history in effect resumed for Islam under the leadership of radical Islam.

I promised you a date.  Where is it?  Before I give it to you, it is important to know that Islam is drenched in history and Islamic radicals like to pick historically apposite dates for their more spectacular actions. 

Now, about that date.  The USA was attacked on September 11, 2001.  On what day do you imagine that Jan Sobieski descended on Vienna, routed the Turks and ended the military expansion of Islam?  September 11, 1683. 

Why is this important?  It lends gravitas to the nature of the threat we are facing.  One still needs to make the leap that the Iraq War is part of the war on terror, a leap that I have no difficulty in making.  The Iraq War is a complicated tapestry and there are many threads in it, but one of those threads is the presence of al-Qaeda to prevent a modern Islamic society from emerging in Iraq.

If we retreat before this threat, if we recoil at what has strategically been a success for us - forcing radical Islam (a) to throw its resources into a battle it cannot afford to lose which is also far from our shores and (b) to demonstrate its utter disregard for the ummah in its lust for power and control - then where does Surrender Harry imagine we will fight?  Perhaps he prefers to fight this war in the streets of Las Vegas rather than the streets of Baghdad.  Those of us who take the threat from radical Islam seriously would most definitely not prefer to fight it that way.  If it is a matter of indifference to Surrender Harry if his family has their throats slit or are roasted alive by radical Islamists, it is not a matter of indifference to most of us regarding our families or even ourselves.  It is very dangerous to be in a fight with a defeatist because defeatism may reflect a lack of self-respect - a willingness to lose. 

Has the war been managed badly?  Yes.  Given that, is surrender an option?  No.  Fight them there or fight them here.  Let's not let Surrender Harry's lack of self-respect, or lack of respect for us, contaminate our resolve.
 Why does Surrender Harry Reid in particular and the Democrat leadership in general want to, well, surrender in Iraq?  Or to put it differently, why do they think we can surrender in Iraq without consequence?  I think that Tony Blankley had it right in a column  this week where he said that the big divide is not between Democrats and Republicans, nor between Europeans and Americans, nor even between those who are anti-Bush and those who are pro-Bush, but rather it is between those who think "the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization and those who believe it is a nuisance..."

In his short but essential and illuminating book The Crisis of Islam, which is really a primer for our time, Bernard Lewis gives us the narrative for Islam as an expansionary, proselytizing, conquering faith.  Mohammed died in 632 and by 732 one of the critical battles in world history - the Battle of Tours - was being fought in France where the Frankish leader Charles Martel turned back the Muslims under the governor-general of al-Andalus, the Muslim name for conquered Spain.  This was the high water mark of the Islamic assault on Europe from the West.

Fast forward to 1683.  Now the Turks are the leaders of the Islamic world and the Caliphate sits in Constantinople.  After several decades of expansion into various European lands in the Balkans and in Russia, the Turks besiege Vienna.  This siege is lifted by a Polish-Lithuanian army under the Polish king Jan Sobieski.  This is not only the high water mark of the Islamic assault on Europe from the East, it represents the end of Islamic expansion in modern times.  For the next 300 years, Islam either holds it own or retreats before European power.  In fact, until the mujahadeen throw the Red Army out of Afghanistan, Islam has no military victories during this period.  That is why, with its victory in Afghanistan in the 1980's, history in effect resumed for Islam under the leadership of radical Islam.

I promised you a date.  Where is it?  Before I give it to you, it is important to know that Islam is drenched in history and Islamic radicals like to pick historically apposite dates for their more spectacular actions. 

Now, about that date.  The USA was attacked on September 11, 2001.  On what day do you imagine that Jan Sobieski descended on Vienna, routed the Turks and ended the military expansion of Islam?  September 11, 1683. 

Why is this important?  It lends gravitas to the nature of the threat we are facing.  One still needs to make the leap that the Iraq War is part of the war on terror, a leap that I have no difficulty in making.  The Iraq War is a complicated tapestry and there are many threads in it, but one of those threads is the presence of al-Qaeda to prevent a modern Islamic society from emerging in Iraq.

If we retreat before this threat, if we recoil at what has strategically been a success for us - forcing radical Islam (a) to throw its resources into a battle it cannot afford to lose which is also far from our shores and (b) to demonstrate its utter disregard for the ummah in its lust for power and control - then where does Surrender Harry imagine we will fight?  Perhaps he prefers to fight this war in the streets of Las Vegas rather than the streets of Baghdad.  Those of us who take the threat from radical Islam seriously would most definitely not prefer to fight it that way.  If it is a matter of indifference to Surrender Harry if his family has their throats slit or are roasted alive by radical Islamists, it is not a matter of indifference to most of us regarding our families or even ourselves.  It is very dangerous to be in a fight with a defeatist because defeatism may reflect a lack of self-respect - a willingness to lose. 

Has the war been managed badly?  Yes.  Given that, is surrender an option?  No.  Fight them there or fight them here.  Let's not let Surrender Harry's lack of self-respect, or lack of respect for us, contaminate our resolve.