Is there a comparison of the violence in Iraq and Gaza on a population basis? This civil war is not Sunni-Shia, but Islamist v. secularist, and its savagery underscores why the idea of withdrawing from Iraq or the region is such a phantom. The radicals, both Sunni and Shia, are not interested in an agenda of co-existence with Israel, secular neighbors, or each other.
The MSM’s reluctance to call the Gaza civil war a civil war –the New York Times this morning refers to “what is beginning to look increasingly like a civil war”– is because the Gaza meltdown doesn’t fit the tired media narrative that sees America as “breeding terrorists” in Iraq and the conflict in the Palestinian territories as the result of Israeli oppression. (Instapundit is posting “non civil war updates”.) The idea that virulent Islamist fundamentalism is spawning crisis after crisis across the globe, crises which cannot be ignored or retreated from, is alien to folks whose agenda journalism is driven by BDS.
HH: In your speech today, when you made the 12 Commitments to America, number one was “I will keep America on offense in the terrorist war on the U.S.” Do Americans fully grasp the extent of the problem with Islamist radicalism, Mayor?
RG: Some do, some don’t. Quite clearly, the Democrats don’t. If you listen to their three debates, or two debates, I guess, they haven’t mentioned the threat, they haven’t talked about it in those terms. They haven’t talked about Islamic terrorism or Islamic extremism, or however you’re going to describe it. It almost seems as if they either think it’s politically incorrect to say it, or they’re in denial of it, like they were in the 1990’s.
HH: When you were the mayor of New York, I know you were regularly briefed after ’93 on Islamic radicalism around the city. Do you think the Fort Dix six and the Kennedy Airport four are aberrations, or are they the tip of the iceberg?
RG: Oh, no, they’re not aberrations at all. They fit very well into a pattern that I…I mean, I started investigating Islamic terrorism in the 1970’s, when I was in the Justice Department in the Ford administration. So for me, this is something that I’ve been briefed on, and knowledgeable about, investigated it, involved in it. The situations that were uncovered at Fort Dix and at Kennedy Airport, or related to Kennedy Airport, that’s the kind of thing that American law enforcement internationally is dealing with every day.
HH: What kind of a scale are we talking about, because I think that’s what’s missing in the puzzle. We see these arrests, we see the fellow released by the 4th Circuit yesterday, ordered released, and Americans wonder is it three, is it ten, is it three hundred? How many plots, do you think?
RG: Yeah, I think that’s real hard…first of all, I don’t have the intelligence at my command nowadays. I had it much more back when I was mayor, to give you a real number on that. And I’m not sure they do. I think the best way to put it is, it is significant, it’s pretty close to worldwide, meaning in many, in just about every continent you’re dealing with it. And unfortunately, I think this home grown part, because I talked to the U.S. attorney in New Jersey about this the day after the case came down, the Fort Dix case, I think the home grown part is something we’re just getting a fix on. And I think it’s really concerning us, that the way Chris Christie described it was this was not directed by al Qaeda, but it was inspired by al Qaeda. Sometimes, those connections are harder to find, because they’re not taking place over a telephone call, or some kind of communication.
The establishment of consensual government in Iraq, with the concomitant defeat of jihadists, will have positive ripples that will undermine Islamism and help to cleanse the miasma in which al Qaeda thrives. But again, unless explained, most Americans will not see a connection between the ideology of the head-drillers and head-loppers we are fighting in Iraq and those who try to do even worse at Fort Dix and the Kennedy airport. The war to remove Saddam was won and is over; the subsequent and very different war in Iraq that followed is for nothing less than the future of the Middle East – and now involves everything from global terrorism and nuclear proliferation to the world’s oil supply and the future of Islam in the modern world.
A great deal of Campaign 2008 will be fought over this ground, with the GOP’s nominee arguing that Afghanistan and Iraq are connected to Iranian nukes, Gaza and Fort Dix and terrorism in London, Madrid, Beslan and across the globe, and Democrats arguing that the world’s problems come from a 140,000 Americans waging a campaign against Islamists in Iraq.
The ballot in November, 2008 will present a much clearer choice than in 2004, because the gulf between the realists and the dreamers has grown so very vast.