Monday, October 30, 2006

Vote for Irey

In Case You Missed It: RedState Guest Column by Diana Irey: We Must Fight. We Must Win.
The world as we knew it ended 27 years ago next Saturday, when hundreds of radical Muslim students overran and occupied the American embassy in Teheran. For 444 days, the world watched and waited, as a radical Islamic regime held hostage not just 52 diplomats in a fortified bunker, but, in fact, an entire nation thousands of miles away.

For the first time, we Americans -- a proud people, with an altruistic history of sacrificing blood and treasure to free or defend millions of people around the globe from the depredations of dictators and tyrants -- heard our county described savagely as the "Great Satan."

The seizure of the American embassy in Iran on November 4, 1979 by Muslim extremist students was the first shot fired in what is now, clearly, a war with a radical Islam determined to destroy the West and reestablish the Muslim Caliphate along a crescent that stretches from Spain to the Middle East.

This war is unlike any our nation has ever faced -- in fact, it is unlike any war ANY nation has ever faced -- because it is not a war that pits one nation-state against another; it is a war that pits one entire civilization against another.

To make matters worse, we face this war not because of territorial ambitions, or imperial over-reach, or commercial or economic interests; we face this war because we choose to exist.

For more than three decades, they waged war against America and her principal ally in the Middle East -- Israel -- and we chose not to see it for what it was. Rather than recognizing what was going on, we chose, like the ostrich, to bury our heads in the sand. And as a result, we buried American bodies in the desert.

The seizure of the American embassy in Teheran in 1979 was followed by the suicide truck bombing against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983, which cost us the lives of 241 young soldiers -- the deadliest single-day death toll for the Marine Corps since the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

That attack was carried out by the same Hezbollah terrorists who rain destruction on northern Israel. They were funded, trained, and equipped by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
And what did we do? Ronald Reagan chose to listen to the counsel of men who advised withdrawal -- men like my opponent, Jack Murtha.

Five weeks after Bill Clinton was inaugurated as our 42nd President, a Ryder rental van packed with 1300 pounds of explosives detonated in the underground parking garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Islamo-fascist terrorists linked to what later became known as "al Qaeda" had brought spectacular terrorism on a grand scale home to America for the first time.

Just a few months earlier, American soldiers had been dispatched to Somalia in a humanitarian mission to ensure the safe delivery of foodstuffs to end starvation that had already killed 300,000 Somalis. On October 3rd and 4th, 1993, in what became known as the Battle of Mogadishu -- popularized by the book and movie "Black Hawk Down" -- 19 Americans died at the hands of Somali militias, and Americans watched on CNN as the body of a dead American Marine was dragged through the streets.

What we did not know at the time -- and only learned years later, thanks to the capture and interrogation of al Qaeda operatives -- was that the assault on the American forces was conducted by forces trained, equipped, and funded by the then-virtually-unknown al Qaeda.

And what did we do at the time? Bill Clinton chose to listen to the counsel of men who advised withdrawal -- men like my opponent, Jack Murtha.

After that, the attacks against Americans overseas began coming faster and faster:

# The June 1996 truck bomb attack on a U.S. Air Force barracks in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. 19 American servicemen died.

# The August 7, 1998 coordinated attacks against the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. 257 people died, and another 4,000 were injured.

# The October 12, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer in the Gulf of Aden. 17 Americans did in al Qaeda attack.

And then, less than a year later, the war came back home to America on 9/11.

Islamo-fascist terrorists are determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can, and destroy our nation -- not because of anything we've done, but simply because of who we are and what we believe.

This is the great challenge facing America in the early years of the 21st century, and we need leaders who understand this threat and are committed not just to defending against it, but to defeating it.

When Osama bin Laden -- the world's most dangerous Islamo-fascist terrorist -- issued his famous call to arms in August 1996, he "praised the 1983 suicide bombing in Beirut … and especially the 1993 firefight in Somalia after which the United States 'left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you,'" according to the 9/11 Commission report.

The American embassy in Teheran. Beirut. World Trade Center One. Mogadishu. The Khobar Towers. American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The U.S.S. Cole.

Each time, our response was muted. Each time, terrorists learned a simple lesson: they could kill Americans with impunity.

This war will not be over until one side or the other is vanquished. And I, for one, do not want to have to explain to my children why America lacked the will to defend itself.

When a bully confronts you in the schoolyard, you have two choices -- you can run and hide, or you can stand your ground and fight back. If you run and hide, he will come after you. Again and again and again. But if you stand your ground and fight back, you can beat him.

For too long, America has acted like a frightened child. But the stakes in this conflict are too large for us to continue to act that way.

For the sake of our children, and our children's children, we must defeat this enemy NOW.

The war in Iraq is difficult. I have spent time visiting with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. I have seen their courage, their resolve, and their commitment. I am very humbled by their sacrifice.

Withdrawing from Iraq now, before the mission is complete, would be just one more time that America raises the white flag of surrender. It would ensure that the sacrifices made by our fighting men and women -- and their families -- would be in vain. It would merely send the message to the terrorists one more time that America does not have the will to prevail -- and it would, therefore, embolden the terrorists and lead to even further attacks. It would send a message to other governments as well, that America is an undependable ally -- and that it is safer to cut a deal with the terrorists than to count on us.

The Islamo-fascist terrorists who threaten us may be the first to engage in a clash of civilizations, but they are not the first to threaten America. Their fate will be the same as the fate of others before them who threatened us.

America, as the sage said, will be the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.

God bless our troops.

-- Diana Irey, October 30, 2006


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