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Elephants and Mice
by Daniel Sargis
29 April 2004Iraqi Flag

If the U.S. can’t act decisively, what level of security does that offer the silent majority of the Iraqi population?

So the insurgent plagued city of Fallujah is under siege.  For the past week, “a fragile and often violated cease-fire” has been buying time for what the Americans hope will be a “political solution” in lieu of an invasion.  Hasn’t Iraq already been invaded...or was that the Mr. Rogers version.

In all likelihood, this cease-fire will end with the same results as the 2001 Tora Bora cease-fire and this year’s cease-fire in the White Mountain Afghan border region of Pakistan.  The terrorists agree to these silly things and just never honor them.  Cease-fires are one-sided timeouts where the terrorists regroup and/or escape.  The Americans just sit around and either get shot or kidnapped.  The United States has become a squeaking elephant.  

In December of 2001, al-Qaeda representatives negotiated a cease-fire with commanders from the Northern Alliance in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan.  The hope was that, “...the al-Qaeda fighters will descend from the canyon to an alliance checkpoint where they will disarm and be searched.”  After endlessly negotiating the terms of surrender and an additional 48 hours added to the cease-fire deadline, “Talk of surrender...vanished in a hail of bombs, artillery and gunfire.”  Al-Qaeda used the cease-fire dodge as, ‘‘a trick, apparently designed to give senior leaders a chance to escape....”  And vanish they did.

In March of 2004, the Pakistan military thought it was hot on the trail of al-Qaeda number two...Ayman al-Zawahri.  Since the Afghanis had allowed al-Qaeda leadership to escape from Tora Bora in Pakistan in 2001, payback was in order.  The Pakistani army declared a cease-fire with the al-Qaeda fighters near the Afghan border.  The hope was that Pakistani tribal elders could negotiate the terrorists’ surrender.  Al-Qaeda fighters used the cease-fire opportunity to duck into their tunnels and escape back into Afghanistan.  Are we starting to see a pattern here?

A skeptical person might think that both our Muslim friends and enemies are playing games with the good intentions of the U.S.  In each of these cease-fire fiascos, Americans sat around reading rule books and returned fire only if threatened.  In each of these situations, the cease-fire was used as a vehicle to save terrorist lives at the expense of American lives.  We are an elephant clutching the Marquis of Queensberry Rules...afraid of angering a mouse.

The situations in Fallujah and Najaf are little different.  The U.S. is presently operating under what is euphemistically referred to as a cease-fire in both Iraqi cites.  The U.S. wants to pacify these two cities and avoid inflaming Iraqi public opinion.  Predictably, “Marine commanders said they had little doubt insurgents were likewise using the pause to dig in for combat.”  These folks play soccer with decapitated American heads and the U.S. fears “inflaming Iraqi public opinion?”  Let’s all retire to Bedlam.

Cutting to the quick...what kind of sick game is this?  America is afraid of bombing mosques that have been converted into armed fortresses.  The terrorists hide behind their religion like a bully hides behind his mommy’s apron.  If these mosques are such holy places and if Muslims are such peace-loving people...how can they, the Iraqi Muslims, allow insurgents to desecrate their holiest places?  If the Iraqis care so fervently about holy shrines...let them keep them holy. 

Once the word of God is replaced by the crack of an AK-47...a Mosque becomes just another building.  And...it isn’t worth the politically correct slaughter of American forces.  Did a little religion prevent predominantly Christian pilots from firebombing Dresden’s Frauenkirche (Our Lady's Church) in WWII?  Did a fear of angering civilians prevent the wholesale destruction of Berlin in the final days of Nazi Germany? 

The dirty little secret that nobody wishes to discuss is that America is not at war...this country is being sucked into another idiotic and politically orchestrated peace-keeping mission.  Every time the U.S. tries its hand at peace-keeping...the results are dead Americans and natives dancing on those dead bodies...Good morning Mogadishu. 

A military is meant to fight wars.  If the Iraqis fail (and they have) at capitalizing on the opportunity to put their own house in civilized order...then the U.S. is left with no choice.

Commencing with the barbaric slaughter of four Americans in Fallujah, the U.S. military should have been unleashed to decisively quell the insurrection with swift soldierly action.  Putting U.S. troops in the murky quicksand of imaginary peace-keeping will only cost more lives on both sides of the equation.

It is fairly straight-forward.  Fortify a mosque and the mosque becomes a fortress.  Political correctness in war always seems to be practiced by those who are not doing the dying.  Bullies are to be slapped silly...not enabled.  Or has America become an elephant living in fear of a mouse.

And speaking of mice....  What business does the U.S. have in Iraq if its game plan can be frustrated by the bulbous little Moqtada Sadr?  Sadr, the warrior cleric in Najaf, seems mesmerized by his egocentricity.  Or, in his own fantasy, “The Americans should know that the people will unleash the fires of hell against them if anything happens to me.”  Perhaps Sadr is begging for a lesson in the true “fires of hell”...those that come from the belly of an AC-130.

The future of Iraq and U.S. credibility will be decided in the next several days.  If the U.S. can’t act decisively, what level of security does that offer the silent majority of the Iraqi population?  Ever wonder what might have happened if the Soviets had stalled their advance on Berlin while Hitler threatened the “fires of hell” from his Bunker?  If you’re going to fight a war...you better have the guts to win it!

Daniel Sargis, a freelance writer, is a principal in a private investment development company.  His website is dansargis.org

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