January 25, 2006
Waging a War to Protect Our Values

By Ed Koch

In a recent audiotaped message, Osama bin Laden threatened the U.S. and Western civilization with monumental acts of terror, already planned and soon to be executed. He also offered a truce to the U.S. if we evacuate our troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Both of those countries have democratically elected governments formed after UN-monitored elections that were declared essentially free from fraud and intimidation. Indeed, whatever intimidation was present was from the Taliban in Afghanistan and the insurrectionists in Iraq.

If they wish, Iraq and Afghanistan can order U.S. and all foreign forces out of their countries at any time under the UN resolutions authorizing the U.S. presence in both of those countries. The U.S. and coalition forces have agreed to comply with such resolutions. However, both countries have urged the U.S. and the coalition forces to remain and provide the security they desperately need and want.

Osama bin Laden knows this, of course. But he's hoping to obtain through intimidation what he could not obtain politically or on the battlefield. The big question is this: why is bin Laden offering a truce? Throughout the history of warfare, those who seek a truce are generally losing. They either want to minimize their losses or want a chance to regroup and strengthen their forces.

Here in the U.S., some who oppose our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will demand that we agree to the truce. We may soon see banners in street demonstrations demanding that we accept bin Laden’s offer. At the height of the Cold War, there were defeatists in the U.S. and Europe who demanded that the democratic governments submit to the demands of the U.S.S.R. Their cry for NATO’s compliance with Soviet demands was summed up in the statement, “better red than dead.”

Bin Laden’s number one operative, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has chillingly summed up the ultimate objective of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists leading the war on Western civilization. He recently inveighed, “I vow by the One who raised the seven layers to Heaven (i.e. Allah) and who has beheaded tyrants that the leader of America has been thoroughly humiliated. Our heroes have defended this place. They have entered legend. Killing the infidels [Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc.] is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute.”

Most of us prefer Western civilization and democracy to Islamic dictatorship. We do not wish either to convert to Islam or pay tribute to Islamofascists. One observer, Andrew McCarthy, former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the blind sheikh terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman, told The New York Sun, “There is, regrettably a fifth column in this country.” McCarthy, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies was, I believe, implicitly referring to those who would accept the truce in lieu of continuing to wage a lengthy war entailing deaths and injuries in order to protect our values.

Those so-called fifth columnists seek to sap our military and economic strength to make us unable to continue the fight against terrorists and insurrectionists in Iraq and Afghanistan. They seek to demean and weaken the President, not simply to oppose him politically. Now, the government of Iran, a major sponsor of terrorists worldwide, is threatening the Western world with its nuclear arms program. Both Senator John McCain and French President Jacques Chirac have said that in defense of their respective countries from state-sponsored major terrorist attacks, they will consider responding with nuclear weapons.

President Chirac recently said, “The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using in one way or another weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part…this response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.” Senator John McCain said on "Face the Nation, "There is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran."

Fortunately, the democratic forces in Europe, as for example, Germany under new Chancellor Angela Merkel, France and Great Britain, seem to be waking up as they coordinate efforts to deal with the threats by Iran. The United Kingdom, to its credit, was already standing side by side with the U.S. Karl Rove, White House Republican operative, whom I do not support because of his domestic agenda, is presciently correct in urging the Republicans to make this war of civilizations the issue in the Congressional elections of 2006.

Democrats can win control of Congress by actively opposing the Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors. They can win by basing their campaigns on national issues, e.g., tax reform, national health insurance, protection of Social Security, financing education, protecting the environment and a host of other issues. However, if the Democrats follow leaders such as Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Howard Dean, Richard Durbin and other pied pipers, they will go down to another defeat.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.

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