Ralph Bennett argues at Tech Central Station that our tacit assumptions about the fate of 3 American soldiers captured in Iraq reflect an intuitive understanding of the nature of our enemy. One which we must at all events never acknowledge explicitly.
Think about it. If three Islamic fighters had been captured by the Americans, would there be any apprehension about their fate? Of course not. Despite all the fervid Abu Ghraib and Gitmo propagandizing of assorted leftists, pseudo-peaceniks and Democrat apologists, the general presumption is they would be treated decently.
But as soon as the news of the disappearance of these three American soldiers was released, the presumption was for the worst. For in the twisted world of Al-Qaida and its spawn of Islamofascists cruelty is first and second nature.
Not everybody reasons in this way. Some commentators are able to argue, with a straight face, that this is payback for Abh Ghraib. In fact, al-Qaeda itself maintains they are only exacting revenge for a crime committed by US soldiers. Reuters reports:
"Remember what you have done in this place. You have violated our sister Abeer al-Janabi," it said, referring to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old and the killing of her family in Mahmudiya in March 2006. A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 100 years in a military prison after pleading guilty in a case that enraged Iraqis.
Prior to that, al-Qaeda was meek as a lamb, unless you exclude the aberration of September 11, 2001. Sarcasm aside, Bennett argues that it unlikely that al-Qaeda will lapse into quiescence if we try to disengage from combat against it.
The Palestinian Al-Qaida fighter quoted at the beginning of this piece boasted in the same April 27th interview that "the jihad that began in Muslim Afghanistan and then spread to Iraq shall not stop there and will not be limited by any border."
We are in a war against this cruelty. It is a war some think can be "ended." But it is a war, I think, that must be won or lost. And the consequences of losing are dire for mankind.
In some sense the argument over whether or not to withdraw in Iraq is equivalent to a wager on whether Islamic extremism is likely to be satisfied by a withdrawal and stop attacking the West or become emboldened by it and redouble their efforts. Maybe, as Bennett suggests, we already subconsciously know the answer from the nature of the enemy but can't bring ourselves to admit it.