FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Beware: Lines are signs of WWII
You can tell from the long lines of cars outside Little Rock Air Force Base that the nation is at war. Security is extremely tight, as it is throughout the country and at all U.S. military installations around the world.
The war on terror starts right here as transport planes fly to the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere, fighting off crazies armed with Soviet and Iranian-made rockets and roadside bombs and suicide belts strapped around their guts.
The Air Force calls it global reach. We’ll call it World War III.
This fight, like the other world wars before it, involves much of the world — from New York to Kandahar, from London to Beirut, from Baghdad to Haifa, from Chechnya to Jerusalem, from Pyongyang to Bali, from Tehran to Madrid — but most of the battles will take place not in Europe or the Pacific, as in previous world wars, but in the Moslem world, where fanatics have declared a jihad on civilization.
They will, of course, bring this war to us, the way they did on 9/11 and the way the Japanese sneaked up on us at Pearl Harbor. But just as the Cold War was fought on the fringes of the old Soviet empire, from Berlin to eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, this global conflict will be fought mostly in southwest and southeast Asia, from the Sinai to North Korea, with occasional blowouts in Europe and the U.S. That, too, mirrors the Soviets, who fought us at a distance, except when they recklessly sneaked their missiles into Cuba.
They blinked, and that was the beginning of the end of their empire.
Here’s a scary thought: The communists were more rational than today’s jihadists. The Soviets had hoped to rule the world, but they weren’t crazy enough to attack us on our soil. They did not wish to die as martyrs, but they were far more powerful than al-Qaida or Hezbollah, and the Kremlin still lost the Cold War.
The terrorists cannot fight a war on the battlefield: Hezbollah taunted the Israelis to fight a conventional war, and the Islamic militants have taken a terrible beating.
Civilian losses are high because Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who heads Hezbollah, and his followers hide out among civilians and fire missiles indiscriminately at Israel.
But the sheik’s military adventure ranks up there with Hitler’s decision to attack Russia and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: Their blunders hastened their end.
Iran and Syria supplied Hezbollah with most of their weapons, which explains why the Bush administration designated those countries, along with North Korea, as the axis of evil.
Iraq under Saddam Hussein seemed almost tranquil in comparison.
The global war on terror will move into a new phase as the civilized world aims at bringing down the rulers in Iran, Syria and North Korea.
They’ll stay in power for a while and encourage terrorism around the globe, but the latest conflict in the Middle East suggests they cannot menace the world for very long. Like the despots in the Kremlin and the tyrants in Nazi Germany, these reckless rulers know they cannot hold on to power too much longer, especially if we show them out the door.