Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Peace For Our Time," or Peace?

The unclassified part of the National Intelligence Estimate released today is coming out in bits and pieces in the news.

The Jerusalem Post concentrated mostly on what the report had to say about Iran, in "US reports bleak political situation in Iran" (August 23, 2007).

The Associated Press article says that:
  • Iran will keep developing its nuclear program, which may or may not be producing nuclear weapons
  • Iran will continue to "cause problems" in Iraq
  • Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim extremist group, will still be backed by Iranian money and weapons
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will continue to be Iran's Supreme Leader
I haven't been keeping score, but at least four Iranian-Americans have been arrested by Iran for alleged espionage. The U.S. government has warned American citizens against traveling in Iran.

"Intelligence Assessment Suggests Now Is Not Time to Change Mission in Iraq," on, paid more attention to what the report had to say about Iraq.

It's not all bad news, but it's not all good, either:
  • Iraqi military forces are okay, but they still need coalition support for major operations
  • Political and security troubles in Iraq are driven by
    • Shia insecurity about keeping the political power they have
    • A general Sunni unwillingness to accept the post-Saddam Iraq where they aren't the top power
    • Fighting between groups within sectarian communities
    • Extremists trying to make the fighting worse
  • Civilians are still getting hurt
  • Sunni Arab groups and individuals are getting fed up with al Qaeda in Iraq, and are resisting or working against AQI
There's more, of course. Fox News put a .pdf copy of the report online.

The report's authors say that stopping Coalition forces from focusing on fighting terrorists and stabilizing Iraq, and making them a combat support service for the Iraqi forces, "would erode security gains achieved thus far."

I would love to have "peace for our time." The violence in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and everywhere else that al Qaeda and other Islamic fanatics are at work, is terrible. I wish that it would stop.

But wishing doesn't make it so.

Like it or not, there are people who earnestly believe that their god is telling them to conduct a jihad against the people their leaders don't approve of.

And, it's been going on for at least 30 years. The Ayatollahs who run Iran are the same bunch that took over the U.S. Embassy, back in the seventies.

There's no reason to believe that Abu Sayyaf, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jemaah Islamiyah, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, or any of the other people who think they're on a sacred mission, will stop because America and other coalition troops stop trying so hard in Iraq.

"We make war that we may live in peace."

To people who grew up in the sixties, or who are still living then, that sounds crazy. But Aristotle was no lunatic, and leaders who don't let terrorists do what they will may not be, either.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.