mideast victory - happy bastille day

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    Mideast Victory

    By Ralph Peters
    The New York Post
    July 14, 2003

    LOOKING for a little peace and quiet this summer? Check out the notorious "Arab Street."

    Remember how, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, every strategic genius with a word processor or a microphone warned us that our efforts to depose Saddam would lead to an eruption of violent rage in Arab cities that would forever destroy American influence, peace and the corporate future of Coca-Cola?

    Didn't happen. On the contrary, our intervention in Iraq has been a regional triumph. The media's ambulance-chasing focus on micro events in Iraq obscures the stunning progress we have made at the macro level.

    During the war, unseasoned journalists reported every minor exchange of fire as if it were the Little Big Horn, Part Two. Now, the obsession of reporters with every sprained ankle in our occupation force ignores the tremendous good we have done, the strategic advantages we have gained - and the potential, at last, for a measure of meaningful progress in the world's most politically, culturally and morally backward region.

    If we took the criteria for instant failure that the media and our most self-interested politicians apply to Iraq and applied them here at home, the U.S. government would be obliged to evacuate California and abandon Mississippi, since two shooting incidents in those states last week killed more Americans than did the low-level violence in Iraq.

    Clearly, our 150-year-old annexation of California has been a failure - likewise, the reintegration of Mississippi in the years since our Civil War. Let's just pack up and go home.

    Seriously, stand back from the silliness of the Deanie-weenies and consider the remarkable regional developments since Uncle Sam flipped off the Euro-trash and did what needed doing in Iraq:

    * First, the vast majority of Iraqis are far better off than they were under Saddam - and they know it. Our remaining problems are with a cluster of sore losers who don't have permission to torture their neighbors anymore.

    * Second, that "dangerous" Arab street is suddenly on its best behavior. Since the fall of Baghdad, the number of anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East has also fallen - to its lowest level in decades . Guess Saddam wasn't such a hero, after all.

    * Third, there's genuine movement toward a better life for the Israelis and Palestinians - not a final peace, but a reduction in violence, improved economic opportunity and meaningful dialog. In our imperfect world, that's real progress. And it would not have happened if G.I. Joe's presence nearby had not jump-started the process.

    * Fourth, bad-boy Syria has been scrambling to prove it's an upright citizen of the world community, committed to peace, hostile to terror, and unreceptive to Brother Saddam & Co.'s stragglers.

    Doubtless, Syria's still got dirty fingers in some nasty pies - you can't jettison a full generation of support for terrorism overnight - but President Bashar Assad has waking nightmares about G.I.s cruising the boulevards of Damascus in M-1 tanks.

    * Fifth, Iran , while hoping to influence the hearts and minds of Shiites in the south of Iraq, is going about things far more cautiously than usual.

    With young Iranians encouraged by regime changes in Kabul and Baghdad, and the corrupt, old mullahs doing double-takes at the American troops positioned to their east and west, Teheran is suddenly more open to the possibility of inspections of its nuclear facilities - while the United Nations (remember those guys?) has now gotten religion about weapons of mass destruction.

    Convinced that Uncle Sam is serious about keeping nukes, bugs and gas out of the hands of rogue regimes, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Commission, just popped over to Iran to read the mullahs their rights.

    * Sixth, the Saudis are suddenly far more cooperative in the War on Terror and anxious to assure us that they're our best buds in the whole, wide world. Yeah, tell that to the people of New York City, after your pervert princes funded the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center towers. It's beginning to dawn on Saudi Arabia's bloodstained bigots that they need the support of the U.S., not the other way around. No more veils for our female Air Force officers, Bandar baby. We're pulling up stakes and heading for cold-beer country.

    * Seventh, if Turkey doesn't come to its senses and begin behaving responsibly, we'll evacuate those airbases - Turkey's last card in the game of strategic poker - and ask the people of formerly Iraqi Kurdistan if they'd accept a U.S. military presence, U.S. protection and all the jobs and economic benefits that go with our bases. By the way, once the mullahs are gone, bases in Free Iran just may be an option, as well.

    * Eighth, contrary to the whining of Demoralized Dems for Defeat in '04, Operation Iraqi Freedom did push global terrorism deeper onto the defensive. President Bush's strategic lariat has been working wonders. Just keep on roundin' 'em up, then brand 'em and put 'em in the Gitmo corral.

    * Ninth, even though our own defeatists have assured them that our efforts in Iraq are bound to fail, the Euro-trash are fully cognizant of the failure of their policies to protect Saddam, their oil contracts and their favorite Jew-killers.

    The love affair between Schroeder and Chirac isn't looking especially orgasmic these days. And Frere Jacques is regretting all those threats he made against the dictator-hating states of Eastern Europe, who'll soon have votes on E.U. policy.

    Happy Bastille Day, Jackie-boy.

    * Tenth, the world is a safer place, and the threat from Iraqi WMD programs has been vanquished. Whether active, inactive or somewhere in between, the threat was real and the only valid question concerns its immediacy.

    Dr. Ralph's independent research indicates that there are two kinds of human beings who never can be reformed: child molesters and dictators who have acquired a taste for WMD use. Even if he's still alive, Saddam can't even collect his pension. Do the critics of our every move in post-Saddam Iraq really want him back?

    Once again, G.I. Joe went off to foreign shores and made the world a better, safer place. It's time to recognize the dimensions of our accomplishment and stop declaring failure in the face of triumph.

    Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."

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