NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

June 17, 2013

We can't give up fight against terrorism

As I See It
Richard Astukewicz

---- — President Obama in the last week of May announced his “Mission Accomplished” message to the nation with these words: “This war like all wars must end.” I’d like to inform Mr. President that it takes two sides to end a war and the answer from the other side is “you have the watch, but we have the time.”

This nation has to remember that Osama bin Laden declared war against the United States twice, once in 1993 and again in 1996. He created a radical Islamist movement with the help of an imam who interpreted the Koran to favor Osama’s ideas and his movement.

Osama’s jihad movement has infiltrated the governments of Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Deriving the span of the years of his life, bin Laden laid out a strong terror group that will not be defeated simply by continuing to destroy its present leaders. As leaders are lost, others take their place and the movement spreads and grows. It may now be in splintered groups across the Middle East, but it is there and it will grow again. It’s not dead yet.

We call them terrorists for their actions, but to them they are soldiers in a jihad against the Great Satan, the Infidel, the United States. The bin Laden movement carried on by al-Qaida and the many off-set groups around the globe are not defeated and it would be nothing but folly to believe we have defeated them.

Osama bin Laden once said on an interview on national television, “I am not afraid of death. Rather martyrdom is my passion because martyrdom would lead to the birth of thousands of Obamas.”

His body lies in the depths of one of the world’s oceans, but his idealogy remains and to the followers he created, he is the martyr, he will not be forgotten and he will live on in the thousands of Osamas that he created. The terror war is not over. We may have won a battle, but we have not yet won the war.

“Victory over America becomes possible at the point when the American public becomes so demoralized and alienated that it insists the war be abandoned.” Words from Osama bin Laden. Just look what he did to us because of 9/11. He sat in caves as we hunted him. He finally found asylum in Pakistan as we spend billions for our security and safety.

We need to pay attention to the words coming from these terrorists. Ayman al Zawahiri said, “The Americans are facing a delicate situation in both countries. If they withdraw, they will lose everything and if they stay, will continue to bleed to death.”

We left Iraq and look, every day, terror strikes Iraqi citizens, many led by al-Qaida factions striving to create a civil war, take over the nation and its oil and have the revenue and the base to carry out terror attacks. When we leave Afghanistan in 2014 the Taliban will rule that nation and once again al-Qaida will have another protected training base. Remember they told us, “You have the watch, we have the time.”

Al-Qaida may be splintered, it maybe wounded, but it is not dead yet, it is not been defeated yet and we have to face that reality. With all the tension in Middle East nations we cannot fall asleep.

I am not for war but as General Douglas MacArthur said, “War is an evil of man and it must be abolished, but it must be faced with all the force a nation can muster when necessary.”

I fear for us as a nation that we will be able to defend our security needs with the cuts planned to the Pentagon and our defense budget. The planned $1.5 trillion in cuts to our military over the next 10 years seems highly problematic.

We got our butt kicked in Vietnam. We have a “truce” with North Korea. In Iraq and Afghanistan we have no victory. While the threats to our nation are increasing daily we are cutting back on our military and security budgets. It makes no sense, no sense at all. More threats, less military, how does that protect security?

I give to you this question: What would we as a nation look like if we were to actually lose the next armed conflict, the next war? It’s a possibility, it could happen especially under current government plans and actions.

Today more than any other time in the history of this nation, we need a strong Pentagon, a strong military. We cannot allow the likes of North Korea, of Iran, of terrorists to shape our destiny and that of a free world that should live in peace, prosperity and freedom, not in terror, mayhem and wars.

---

Richard A. Astukewicz of Salisbury is a retired business manager.