His­tory shows with­drawal a bad idea

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

When the Democrats de­mand early with­drawal from Iraq, they never of­fer to pre­dict what will hap­pen next. His­tory, how­ever, pro­vides some guide about what to ex­pect. Within half a cen­tury af­ter break­ing out of Ara­bia in the sev­enth cen­tury A.D., the Mus­lims con­quered all of Asia Mi­nor and North Africa by force of arms. In 711 A.D., a probe crossed the Strait of Gi­bral­tar, fol­lowed by the army that over­ran the Ibe­rian Penin­sula in 712. The in­vaders crossed the Pyre­nees into present day France, over­run­ning the countr yside with their cav­alr y un­til Charles "The Ham­mer" Mar­tel met them with an army of in­fantr y that split heads, first of the horses, then of the rid­ers, with bat­tle axes. South of the Pyre­nees, the Spa­niards fought for 780 years be­fore fi­nally driv­ing the in­vaders out of their coun­try in 1492.

Mean­while Is­lam re­cov­ered from the Cru­sades. By 1500 the Ot­toman Turks dom­i­nated the east­ern Mediter­ranean and the Near East. They cap­tured Con­stantino­ple in 1453 and won Bel­grade in 1521. In 1529 they be­sieged Vi­enna and came near to tak­ing the city. Frus­trated there, the Ot­tomans con­tin­ued their ad­vance at sea. They at­tacked Cyprus in 1570, tak­ing it in 1571. A dis­as­trous de­feat in the Strait of Lepanto later that year tem­po­rar­ily stemmed the Mus­lim ad­vance, when a fleet of Chris­tian gal­leys de­stroyed the Ot­toman fleet.

A new Ot­toman siege of Vi­enna in 1683 ended when Jan So­bieski marched down from Poland with an army of 30,000 men. A cavalry charge into the Ot­toman camp lifted the siege. The west­ern coun­tries gained in strength with the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy. The Ot­toman Em­pire fi­nally col­lapsed com­pletely af­ter World War I. The Mus­lim threat was sub­merged un­til the dis­cov­ery of huge pe­tro­leum de­posits in the mid­dle of the 20th Cen­tury. The tech­nol­ogy that lifted the west ahead on the Is­lamic world is now its weak­ness; it func­tions largely on en­ergy con­trolled by an en­emy that has sworn to con­quer and sub­ju­gate us.

Can any­one se­ri­ously claim that the Is­lamists are kid­ding, that they don't mean what they say? Given the his­tor y of Is­lam, any ra­tio­nal an­a­lyst must con­clude that we face an en­emy de­ter­mined to de­stroy us by any means, fair or foul. A re­treat now from Iraq would enor­mously in­ten­sify the threat. We have a choice: Stay and fight, or re­treat, learn Ara­bic and ac­cept dhim­mi­tude. Leon Bil­lig Burnet, Texas

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