Now, I certainly don't want anyone to think that our action in Iraq was a planned application of the bug zapper analogy to the fight on terrorism but it seems to me that it is turning out that way. The terrorists from all over Islam are converging on Iraq because it looks to them like a great opportunity to not just kill Americans but to destabilize the whole area and rid the Middle East of all non-Islamic influence. The evidence is clear.
In the last few weeks both the tactics of the terrorists and the targets have changed. Iraqi remnants of the Saddam regime normally did not use car bombs as a means of attacking non-Iraqi assets. This is a tactic more characteristic of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Israeli/ Palestine conflict. Most experts do not believe that the attacks on the Jordanian embassy, the U.N. complex in Baghdad and the attack on the Shiite mosque in Najaj are logical events intended to bring back the old regime. They actually killed large numbers of innocent Iraqi civilians, not Americans. In fact, Saddam himself recently disavowed any involvement in the mosque bombing.
What is the purpose of these terrorist attacks? Here is the analogy I see. The swamp of a destabilized Iraq is beckoning terrorists from all over the Islamic world to come and feast on the blood of the infidels. But as they congregate in large numbers they are unmindful of the powerful zapper in the form of the military forces of the coalition now on the ground and soon to be augmented by others.
They have committed fatal errors in two major instances. First they have attacked the very core of the United Nations primary role in Iraq, thus assuring that the U.N. must respond not by talk but by forceful actions including authorizing a lot of additional military forces.
Second, they have attacked the Iraqi people randomly and viciously without any strategy other than pure destruction of innocent lives.
The fact that most of the terrorists are not native Iraqis is not lost on the general Iraqi population. Unlike in Vietnam where the people generally supported the guerillas who lived among them, the foreign fighters are neither welcome nor supported by the majority of Iraqis.
We were not well prepared militarily and politically to deal with the unexpected post- war violence from three sources: Saddam loyalists, local criminals released from jail by Saddam and the influx of foreign fighters. But we have learned many lessons, and to prove it, just look at the reduction in the death toll among our forces.
We are now better able to deal with terrorist attack and we are getting much better intelligence and support from Iraqis. We are getting Iraqis into the act in defense of their own people. The zapper is turning up the power and we are now killing or capturing scores of terrorists daily.
Maybe George Bush knew what he was saying when he said "Bring 'em on." In my book it's better to get lots of these Islamic terrorists gathered in Iraq where we can really get at them with all of our military power and produce a massive defeat for terrorism right in the midst of Islamic culture.
Donald Currier is a Smithsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.