Iraq - A Small Part of a Generational War

I'm always hesitant to agree with things I find in the Washington Times, but this article is useful. While I don't agree with all the points made by Gen. Schissler, his premise, that we will be fighting violent Islamist extremists for the rest of my lifetime, is useful. From the Washington Times:

The American people need to prepare for a long-duration war against radical Muslims who are set to fight for 50 to 100 years to create an Islamist state in the region, a top Pentagon strategist in the war on terror says.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark O. Schissler said in an interview that the current strategy for fighting Islamists includes both military and ideological components that make it similar to the 40-year Cold War against communism.

"We're in a generational war. You can try and fight the enemy where they are and where they're attacking you, or prevent them and defend your own homeland," said Gen. Schissler, deputy director for the war on terrorism within the strategic plans office of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"But that's not enough to stop it. We've got to break the chain, and that's ... the ideology. We really need to show the errors in Islamist extremist thinking."

Gen. Schissler said he is concerned that Washington politics is weakening the will of the nation.

"I don't care about the politics. I care about people understanding the facts of what's our enemy is thinking about, what's our strategy to defeat them, and for [Americans] to understand that it will take a long fight, mostly because our enemy is committed to the long fight," he said. "They're absolutely committed to the 50-, 100-year plan."
And that is precisely the reason that we need to get out of Iraq now - even if it leaves something less than a moderate, pro-America, secular, democratic government.

If we're going to offer the Muslim World a better vision of the future, not being seen as the foreign occupier of a Muslim Nation would go a long way to making our case.

If we extricate ourselves from Iraq now, any negatives outweigh the positives of staying when viewed through a 50-100 year lens. If America were to exit Iraq by the end of 2008, by 2010 our military would be a far more effective deterrent, our standing with our allies would vastly improve, and we would have more 'room to maneuver' in the middle east.

If this is a War of Ideas, why are we fighting it with boots and rifles? If Gen. Schissler is going to compare the War against Islamic Fundamentalism (which he didn't call the "War on Terror") to the Cold War let's take it to the logical conclusion: Containment.

Invading countries is going to make more extremists, not less.

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