President Obama’s announcement that we have won the war on terror was not quite as dramatic as President Bush’s deckside declaration on the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003.
Under a huge banner reading “Mission Accomplished,” Bush asserted, “ In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
He took a lot of flack for that. Most of the casualties in Iraq occurred after that speech.
Obama and his minions are fond of saying, “Osama Ben Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is on the run.”
About as convincing as the Roman Emperor announcing, “We have executed that Hebrew fisherman, Peter, and the Christians are gone.”
The assassination of Ben Laden was a good sound bite, but whether it was good long range policy remains to be seen.
A dead martyr can be more trouble than a live financier.
Donald Rumsfeld was on Hannity the other day.
Smart fellow, he. Said the War on Terror is a lot like the Cold War. It will go on for a very long time.
In the last analysis, we are fighting for the minds and hearts of human beings.
Five years after the 9-11 attacks on the United States, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at the University in Regensburg. His subject: the connection between faith and reason.
Quite a scholar, that Pope. Harkening back to 1391, he quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel Palaiologos asking a Persian Islamic scholar why the Quran says in one place that faith cannot be forced on someone and in another place that infidels should be killed.
The Pope was teaching long standing Christian doctrine: Faith and reason are inseparable. God is rational.
Islamic teaching is different. Their view is that Allah is all powerful. He can do anything, even act irrationally. He could, for example, command humans to worship false gods.
Or commit sin. Kill unbelievers, for example.
Command us to ignore His commandments?
Logic 101. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time.
Benedict took a lot of heat from the intelligentsia who accused him of ratcheting up the war on terror.
In Mogadishu, Somalia, a nun was killed five days after his speech. The killers said nothing, but a ‘senior Somali Islamist’ speculated that the killers were angered by the Pope’s comments.
A month later, a priest was murdered in Mosul, Iraq.
Like the uproar over the Westergaard cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, there were lots of protesters, effectively chanting “Death to those who call us murderers.”
Less publicized were the many articles, treatises, symposiums and speeches from both sides of the religious divide which used Benedict’s lecture as a starting point for serious, reasonable dialog, discussion and debate.
Rumsfeld was right. This is going to take a very long time.
The battle for human hearts and minds is not a shooting war.
Maybe it’s time for the military to stand down.
And time for the rest of us to hike up our drawers and treat terrorists as criminals, not soldiers.