The massacres and mutilations in Fallujah and the coordinated Shiite rebellion in other Iraqi cities should strengthen, rather than weaken American resolve to stay the course in Iraq.
For those opposing the war at home and abroad, these tragic events, along with the 9-11 investigative panel's impending report that the attacks were preventable, should be sweet music. But the antiwar types are incorrigibly tone-deaf.
Oh, yes, the virtuosos of hindsight can sit around now with 20-20 omniscience and tell us we could have prevented the 9-11 attacks. In theory, anything is preventable. But short of helping us to fill holes in our intelligence gathering and sharing, the conclusion that we could have prevented the attacks is largely useless.
If these people want to be useful, they should employ the benefit of hindsight to assist us on important matters, not moot, academic questions like whether we could have prevented the attacks.
What recent history in our dealings (and refusal to deal) with terrorists tells us is that if we had responded swiftly and decisively to previous terrorist attacks, perhaps we would have deterred future attacks, or at least not invited them through our weakness and lack of resolve.
Instead of demanding retrospective perfection from President Bush or our emasculated intelligence services prior to 9-11, we should look at Mogadishu as an example of how not to respond to terrorist attacks.
The lessons we should apply in response to Fallujah and the radical Shiite uprisings are that:
-- Terrorists, like other thugs, only understand firm resolve and the use of force; we mustn't cut and run at the first sign of serious opposition. The way to deal with insurgencies is through swift and sure counterviolence.
-- The establishment of democracy and ordered liberty doesn't happen overnight, especially when antidemocratic forces are affirmatively trying to prevent democracy from gaining a foothold in the formerly terror-friendly Iraq;
-- War is almost never casualty-free;
-- It will take a while to fully train self-sufficient Iraqi security forces;
-- The Shiite uprisings were fueled in part by mob-energy from the Fallujah massacres, which further justifies a retaliatory response to those massacres;
-- Handwringing by liberals serves the cause of weakening America's resolve. It is this naysaying, not our justifiable attack against Iraq, that sets back our cause in the War on Terror.