During his recent testimony1 to and questioning by Congress, General Petraeus was asked a question that really bothered me. The line of thinking embedded in this question has been bothering me for some time. Howard L. Berman, a Democrat from California’s 28th District, asked the following question about the Iraq war: “Are We Creating More Terrorists than We’re Killing?”
To promote the idea that the United States is “creating terrorists” is absurd and irresponsible. I can hardly tell you how angry it makes me that people think that by standing up against evil, you create more evil. I completely disagree with the premise of Representative Berman’s question, but even if it was true, what would the Democrats have us do? Apologize to the terrorists for making them mad and beg them to not terrorize us anymore?
As crazy as this Democrat line of thinking is, it is given ample attention throughout the media. Here are a few examples:
-“You don’t know if you are actually capturing and killing more terrorists than are being recruited” Nick Childs of the BBC
-“Democrats argue that staying in Iraq increases the threat to the United States, because it generates resentment, and it helps recruit more terrorists.” CNN’s Bill Schneider
-“Are we creating more terrorists than we’re killing?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper
Not once did any of the “objective” reporters above explore the absurdity of this line of thinking. Now I will admit, like the White House, that “the ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry.” But no doubt the US’s entrance into WWII served as a rallying cry in German to recruit more Nazi’s. That in no way means we shouldn’t have entered WWII and this fact certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fighting the terrorists in Iraq and around the world.
I’d like to ask Representative Berman and the rest of the anti-war Democrats…
-By fighting the Nazis in WWII, were we creating more Nazis?
-By fighting the Japanese Empire, were we creating more Kamikazes?
-By resisting communists around the globe during the cold war, were we creating more communists?
-By arresting and jailing murderers in our cities, are we creating more murderers?
-By prosecuting rapists in our communities, are we creating more rapists?
-By standing up to a schoolyard bully, are you creating more schoolyard bullies?
A the heart of this Creating More Terrorists than We’re Killing thinking is a policy of appeasement. The world, in vain, tried to appease Nazi Germany, thinking Hitler would be satisfied with gaining control of parts of Central Europe and then leave the rest of Europe alone. That was a foolish policy then and it is a foolish policy today. The terrorists will not just go away if we leave them alone and retreat from Iraq. The terrorists organizations we are battling have carried out countless unprovoked and unwarranted acts of death and violence against innocent people, and they must be defeated.
Yes, there is a cost to standing up to a bully. But that cost is far less than the cost of letting that bully go unchecked.2
1. Highlights from General Petraeus’ Testimony to Congress:
“the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.”
“the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks”
“We have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups”
“Coalition and Iraqi operations have helped reduce ethno-sectarian violence, as well, bringing down the number of ethno-sectarian deaths substantially”
“The number of overall civilian deaths has also declined during this period (the surge)”
2. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “You know, when you grow up in a neighborhood, if there’s a bully, people do one of two things: Some people turn their head, when the bully is beating up on somebody and pretend it isn’t happening and say, “Gee, if I don’t notice it, if I don’t get involved, I’ll be safe.” And of course, you aren’t safe because, ultimately, the bully finishes with that person and comes after you. And it seems to me that that history is replete with instances where believing that you can feed the alligator, hoping it eats you last, doesn’t work…It should not be a surprise today that there’s still remnants of that (Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi) regime that would like to take it back. They had a very good thing. They could go around killing tens of thousands of people and piling them in mass graves. They could torture people and have rape rooms and the world would turn their head from that and let it happen. But they can’t do that anymore. The 25 million people in Iraq are free and they just developed a new constitution and they’re now fashioning a way forward for a democracy of some sort. It’ll be an Iraqi democracy, not an American or a French or a German or a British democracy, but it’ll be something that will give rights to the women for the first time in a long time. It’ll give rights to the ethnic minorities and religious minorities and that’s a good thing.”