FROM THE PUBLISHER >>War on terror begins right here at home
Little Rock Air Force Base will once again send several hundred men and women overseas for the war on terror.
The next rotation starts in a few months, according to Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander at the air base, who reminded a luncheon crowd last week, “We’re never off the hook….We’re heading out the door in January.”
They’ll head out the door with some 150 Army National Guard soldiers from the 77th Aviation Brigade at Camp Robinson not far behind them. The Guard will go to the Middle East in February.
These rotations will continue for a long time, considering the state of affairs in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Iran plays cat-and-mouse with UN inspectors, barring them from nuclear facilities that could make an atomic bomb in a couple of years.
The mullahs have not only armed Hezbollah with thousands of rockets and missiles, as we have seen in the recent war between Hezbollah and Israel, but what the religious fanatics inTehran and their allies are praying they’ll make a nuclear weapon that would drive the infidels out of Jerusalem, even if that means killing fellow Moslems.
The Iranians made their announcement about their nuclear ambitions on Tuesday for a good reason: Although they promised they would keep the dialogue going with the UN, they also made it clear they would not end their nuclear program, and picked Aug. 22 for the announcement because it’s an important date in Islam.
Moslems believe Tuesday was the anniversary of Mohammad’s flight from Jerusalem, and many of them expected his return yesterday.
The date has apparently been postponed, but the fight for Jerusalem, as the Iranian regime and other Moslems see it, could involve the use of nuclear weapons.
Although President Bush has trouble articulating the true character of this conflict — calling our enemies Islamic fascists doesn’t begin to describe their fanaticism — he was right to point to an axis of evil based in Iran, Syria and North Korea, although Pyongyang belongs to a special universe of crypto-communists who must be dealt with separately from the war on terror.
Besides al-Qaida, whose ability to inflict damage is severely limited because its leaders are constantly on the run, Islamic fanaticism is centered in Iran and Syria, with satellite groups taking orders from their masters in Tehran and Damascus.
The two nations follow different brands of Islam and look down at a relatively moderate Sunni majority in the Middle East. One day they will have a falling out, but for now, they’re sending arms to their Shiite Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.
The fighting we saw between Israel and Lebanon may be the future of warfare: Today it’s Hezbollah, the heavily armed terrorist militia that rained rockets across the border into Israel, but without much success: Hezbollah fired off some 3,000 rockets, but killed only about 100 Israelis, many of them Arabs.
But in the not too distant future, terrorists could fire off long-range rockets aimed at civilian targets in Europe and elsewhere.
One almost longs for the day when we fought old-fashioned battles that involved troops conquering territory and moving on to the next front, while press photographers like Joe Rosenthal took pictures of heroic Americans saving the world from tyranny. (Rosen-thal, who took the famous photo of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima, died Sunday at the age of 94.)
As we’ve seen in Iraq and elsewhere, insurgent groups want to fight on their own terms, and they will not be easily defeated.
That’s why the men and women from Little Rock Air Force Base and Camp Robinson and from all across America will keep fighting in our behalf for a long time, and yet civilized people know they’ll defeat the enemy sooner or later with the same determination that took the Marines to the top of Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima.