Lessons from So­ma­lia for Iraq

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Joseph Farah

The peo­ple of So­ma­lia, who were on the verge of hav­ing Is­lamic law en­forced upon them, are re­joic­ing in the streets fol­low­ing an in­va­sion by neigh­bor­ing Ethiopia that has put the coun­try back in the hands of its right­ful gov­ern­ment.

There’s a les­son for Amer­i­cans and other free peo­ple through­out the world in this vic­tory of righ­teous force.

The Ethiopi­ans at­tempted to deal with cross-border at­tacks by Is­lamists through diplo­matic means. That process failed.

The Ethiopian gov­ern­ment re­al­ized it could only se­cure its own se­cu­rity by de­feat­ing the en­emy in So­ma­lia and, in the process, free­ing their neigh­bors from op­pres­sion. That process worked.

His­tory shows this is not the ex­cep­tion, but the rule. Yet, many Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing our lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton, have not ac­cepted the sim­ple no­tion that mil­i­tary force is of­ten the only way to se­cure free­dom, peace and se­cu­rity when they are threat­ened by en­e­mies who seek to im­pose their rule on oth­ers.

That is still the sit­u­a­tion we face in Iraq, for ex­am­ple.

We will never free the peo­ple of Iraq or gain our own se­cu­rity from the en­e­mies by talk­ing to in­tran­si­gent foes who only seek our de­struc­tion.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the United Na­tions ob­jected to the Ethiopian in­va­sion of So­ma­lia and sought to halt its vic­tory. Thank God the Ethiopi­ans did not lis­ten to the in­ter­na­tional busy­bod­ies in New York. In­stead, they guarded their own na­tional self-in­ter­est, which, in this case, co­in­cided with the na­tional self-in­ter­est of So­ma­lia and peo­ple ev­ery­where who seek free­dom from the curse of Is­lamism.

Make no mis­take about this: The vic­tory of Ethiopia in So­ma­lia was a vic­tory for free­domlov­ing peo­ple the world over.

Think back to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s at­tempt to bring civil rule to So­ma­lia dur­ing the 1990s. The United States dis­patched a lim­ited mil­i­tary force with lim­ited ob­jec­tives. The re­sult was the slaugh­ter of Army Rangers in the fa­mous “Black Hawk Down” in­ci­dent. Mr. Clin­ton called a hasty re­treat and So­ma­lia con­tin­ued to crum­ble to Is­lamist con­trol to the point it be­came a threat to its neigh­bors.

The United States was hu­mil­i­ated by this de­feat — a vic­tory or­ches­trated by none other than Osama bin Laden, who was so en­cour­aged by Amer­ica’s will­ing­ness to quit that he stepped up plans for a mega-at­tack on our coun­try.

That’s right. Sept. 11, 2001, was made al­most in­evitable by Amer­ica’s cut-and-run de­ci­sion in So­ma­lia.

Now, al-Qaida is call­ing on its ter­ror­ist fight­ers to travel to So­ma­lia to take up arms against Ethiopia and the So­ma­lia gov­ern­ment forces. There may, in- deed, be a pro­tracted guer­rilla war as Is­lamists go un­der­ground, much as they have in Iraq.

But to­tal vic­tory sel­dom comes eas­ily. It sel­dom comes with­out sac­ri­fice. Amer­i­cans, in par­tic­u­lar, seem to have forgotten the tremen­dous sac­ri­fices our fore­fa­thers made to se­cure our free­dom. Yet, free­dom, real peace and se­cu­rity are worth the ef­fort, worth the fight and worth the sac­ri­fice. What’s the les­son for us? We can still win the war in Iraq. But it will re­quire a re­turn to the tac­tics that led to the over­throw of Sad­dam Hus­sein’s gov­ern­ment and the U.S.-led oc­cu­pa­tion. We must un­shackle our mil­i­tary and de­stroy the en­emy. It’s just that sim­ple. Any­thing short of that vic­tory will spell de­feat for the United States and free­dom-lov­ing peo­ple re­sist­ing the world­wide Is­lamist ter­ror cam­paign.

If the army of Ethiopia can de­feat the same kind of Is­lamist ter­ror­ists we fight in Iraq, is there any doubt U.S. mil­i­tary forces can still ac­com­plish the mis­sion?

All it takes is de­ter­mi­na­tion and the will­ing­ness to al­low the mil­i­tary to do what it is trained to do — kill the en­emy, de­feat the en­emy and de­stroy the en­emy.

Joseph Farah is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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