Cal  Thomas

There is no photograph of Satan, so we must improvise with what we have: Osama bin Laden.

Looking like a Middle East version of a bad "Just for Men" beard dye commercial, OBL has resurfaced to deliver another rambling address to America. Conversion to Islam, he said, would mean no taxes, just a low single digit "alms" requirement. Maybe he's trying to appeal to the Republican base. The downside to his vision of no taxes and its accompanying fundamentalist baggage would mean a transformation in our way of life; from prosperity and individuality, to living in dirt and serfdom. No thanks. Our nation was born fighting and defeating tyranny and only fighting and defeating this latest tyranny will sustain it.

The gist of the opposition to the war and to the reports by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker is that they are either not telling the truth about Iraq, or they are not telling the entire truth. Facts and figures are in dispute about the number of sectarian killings and the general level of violence in various Iraqi provinces. Some areas appear less violent than others, but a political settlement remains elusive.

Opponents of the war and of continued American involvement cannot forecast what will happen if the United States were to pullout before some stability is established. Neither will they accept responsibility should a pullout produce a bloodbath, followed by a huge terrorist base that would surely spawn new and more devastating attacks on the United States.

We can't suddenly say, "never mind" and pretend what we've been engaged in these six years is no longer of any consequence. While we debate timetables and withdrawal, Osama and his legions are taking the long view. They want to penetrate America with their twisted ideology until there are sufficient fanatics prepared to reign-down massive death and destruction on us. They've proved they are serious, they continue to advertise their future plans and they are even now building a religious and educational infrastructure inside the United States from which terrorist attacks could be carried out.

Many mistakes - political and military - were made at the start of this war, including repeated claims that islamofascism was not a threat. While those mistakes were costly, it would be a colossal mistake with catastrophic consequences to abandon this war until it ends on terms favorable to the United States and Iraqis who have repeatedly braved death to vote for a new government.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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