Loose Canons

Pausers and Poseurs

The level of desperation in Saddam's regime is best demonstrated by its admission that its pals, the terrorists from all over, are sending thousands of thugs to help ''defend'' Iraq.

By 3.31.03

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The level of desperation in Saddam's regime is best demonstrated by its admission that its pals, the terrorists from all over, are sending thousands of thugs to help "defend" Iraq. You can only find the same level of desperation among the press, and the President's critics at home. When some defense official casually said that some units advancing toward Baghdad had paused in the attack, this became the mantra of the opposition, even closet lefties in the Pentagon. We're pausing, so we must be in trouble, we're running out of ammo, food and even water. There aren't enough troops. The war plan was wrong, and we have to stop, we're in Vietnam, another quagmire. If you questioned one of these guys on what comprises the ruinous pause they bemoan, the best response they could give, in best Demo form, would be that it depends on what the meaning of "pause" is. Maybe we can help them by parsing it out.

I guess the ruinous "pause" was the fault of the Marines, who charged ahead in their tough fight around An Nasiriyah, and then blew through there on the road to Baghdad. They are now inside the "Red Zone" -- the outer defenses of the city itself. Hmm. Maybe not. How about the Army? They paused enough to land the 173rd Airborne in the north one night, and send the Apache attack helos in their longest night mission ever to destroy a whole bunch of tanks and vehicles belonging to one of the Republican Guard divisions encircling Baghdad. No? Okay, then it must be the Air Force, especially the B-52s out of RAF Fairford which are pausing. But only long enough to refuel, rearm, and ask the air control tower for permission to take off.

By process of elimination, it must be those Naval aviators who are pausing longer than most. It takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to debrief, take a leak, rearm, eat another protein bar, and get back into the cockpit. If that's the horrendous pause the press has been wailing about, it's just fine by me. The squids are doing a terrific job, particularly on close air support. The only one goofing off is one of the Navy's trained dolphins, reportedly AWOL Sunday. Pause? Ruinous delay? Only to those, such as Frog Foreign Minister de Villepin, who wants the other side to win.

Does anyone outside of Hollywood and the Democratic cloakroom still fail to understand that this is a war in which we must destroy terror and the governments that create it? Apparently some do, including those at the helms of the New York Times and what the CENTCOM boys are now calling the "Baghdad Broadcasting Company."

The only truth that has come out of the mouths of the Iraqis is that hundreds or thousands of Islamic terrorists are coming to Iraq. Iraq says they're coming to oppose us, but in truth Saddam has revealed what everyone outside of Terrible Tommy Daschle's small circle of pals already knew. Saddam is hip deep in terror, and has been for a long time. Islamic Jihad reportedly announced that yesterday's suicide bombing at an Israeli town of Natanya that wounded about thirty people was "Palestine's gift to the heroic people of Iraq." Another gift was the car bombing that killed four soldiers a couple of days ago. The perp was not an Iraqi officer, as the Saddamites claimed. He was a member of Hamas, the Saddam-funded Palestinian suicider group. The Israelis are still standing under the gun. Earlier reports that Saddam's Scuds have all been found are not -- repeat not -- correct. If one lands in Israel, we should give Mr. Sharon an engraved invitation to head northeast, not east, and go all the way to Damascus. If Israel does, it will be fighting our fight. Again.

Syria, Iran, Russia and of course Saudi Arabia are very busy trying to prop up Saddam, and maneuver us into the same sort of diplomatically-induced stalemate we ended 1991 in. They are also sending terrorists, military equipment and money into Iraq. Their goal is to fight against freedom, not against us. Saddam is a goner, and they probably recognize that. But they want the new Iraq to be unstable, and like another Iran. Since 9-11 -- no, long before that -- every warrior has dreamed of the chance to get terrorists together in one place and have them face us in a standup fight. We all know how that would come out. And Sunday morning it did, at least in a fair-sized way.

About 900 members of Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish Sunni terror group which is part of OBL's terror mafia family, tried to slip across the Iranian border into Iraq, where they ran into our guys. About 200 were killed, and the rest fled back into Iran. We've asked the Iranians to turn them over. Fat chance. Once we're done in Baghdad, we have other places to go, and quickly, in the war on terror. Damascus and Tehran are at the top of the list.

I continue to be deeply troubled by the fact that the press is almost totally ignoring the atrocities being committed by the Iraqis. Does no one care about the fact that they're torturing and murdering POWs? That's a question you should be asking the editors of your newspapers, and the call-in talk shows you may listen to. I know one show that's not ignoring it: Common Sense Radio with Oliver North. I sit at the mike while Ollie is with the troops. We'll raise hell about it long, hard and continuously. I wish others would.

One faithful reader -- whose initials, I believe, end with USMC -- asked what we should do if Saddam uses WMD on our guys. I have two answers. First, is that we are pretty well prepared for it, and if there are few if any casualties, we should drop a MOAB on Saddam's Tikrit palace and just keep chugging on. I'm not in favor of using nuclear weapons, but if we lose a great many people, we have to consider it, or every terror punk in the world will think he has permission to do the same to us. I don't think an American president will -- or should -- use nuclear weapons if we have a conventional alternative that will inflict decisive damage. Once you cross the nuclear threshold, it's hard to get back.

The tougher question is what do we do if Saddam's WMD are used on Israel, and cause hundreds or thousands of dead Israelis. We can't let the Israelis use a nuke on Baghdad. But the gloves will have to come off. Israel should be a full partner in the antiterror coalition, and engage in operations with us in Iraq and elsewhere. We can learn a lot from them about how to keep the peace in Iraq after Saddam, with all those imported terrorists there. Will the Arabs hate us for it? Of course. So how is that different from what we face right now?

Garry Wills is certain that conservatives don't know God's will. But does he know God's will? He must think so. Otherwise how could he say that conservatives don't know God's will? Don't you have to know it in order to say others don't know it?

In his recent New York Times Magazine piece, "With God on His Side," Wills joins the chorus of theologians, ethicists, and religion writers who are gravely worried that George Bush is religious and speaks of evil. You see, they don't want God or evil discussed unless they are doing the talking.

God must be on their side for them to know that he is not on Bush's. Wills says that the White House is "honeycombed with prayer groups and Bible study cells." Sounds pretty sinister (notice the use of the word "cells"). Wills implies that God and the Founding Fathers would not approve.

Wills's God is an ACLU liberal who hates it when the separation of church and state is "nibbled at." He wants Bush to ignore him, not talk about him.

In the writings and books of Garry Wills, you can always count on God ending up as liberal as Garry Wills. Wills's God supports, among other things, federal welfare programs, high tax rates, the removal of prayer from public schools, the teaching of evolution, the sexual revolution, the repeal of sodomy laws, a nuanced approach to abortion, and the United Nations. Given the chance, God would most certainly subscribe to the New York Review of Books.

The Founding Fathers also conveniently share Wills's liberalism. They, too, are ACLU liberals horrified at the thought that God and government would mix. Perhaps historian Wills can one day explain why such secular-minded men permitted the state governments to have their own religions. Or does Wills not know the history of the Constitution? Perhaps he just temporarily forgot that the states only agreed to the Constitution because the framers promised not to ban their state religions. If James Madison and Thomas Jefferson -- the heroes of Wills's New York Times piece -- wanted God out of government as badly as he does, why did they write the First Amendment to protect state religions? Wills is given to narcissistic interpretation. His subject becomes a clone of his thought and will -- whether it is James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, St. Augustine or Jesus Christ. When you read Wills' account of their minds, you are just reading an account of his.

Everything Wills accuses Bush of is on display in his own writing. As a willful polemicist and dogmatic liberal, Wills's concern about polemics and religious dogma is obviously fraudulent.

Wills says Bush is making "instrumental use of religion." All that means is that Wills wants conservatives to leave that instrument alone so he can make use of it.

Wills speaks of "the religious test on which our president is grading us." Which would that be? There isn't one, but Wills has to make one up to smear Bush.

When Jimmy Carter invokes religion to justify his pacifism, does Wills spill ink on the dangers of religious revivalism? Does Wills worry about the instrumental use of religion at death penalty protests? Did he worry about the instrumental use of religion at Civil Rights marches?

Liberals can bring their religion into the public square and he won't complain. But conservatives bring it into the public square and he starts talking about Jonathan Edwards. His Americans-have-always-been-so-weird-about-religion tone, honed in the pages of the fashionably agnostic New York Review of Books, never applies to the kooks to his left.

Bush's rhetoric puts him in mind of the puritan "jeremiads" of the past. Why doesn't it also put him in mind of the Founding Fathers' condemnation of tyrants? Against a tyrant far less ferocious than Saddam Hussein -- King George III -- they placed "God on their side." Does Wills object to that?

"Religion in America is much like Nature in the famous saying of Horace: 'Nature, pitchfork it out how you may, keeps tumbling back in on you, slyly overbears your shying from it.' In the same way, no matter how much Jefferson and Madison tried to pitchfork religion out of official governmental actions, it has kept sneaking back in, beating down attempts to contain it," he says.

Oh, those peculiar Americans. They insist on consulting God before consulting Garry Wills.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. You can follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin.