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The Values Our Nations Hold So Dear

In Iraq General Petraeus has assumed command of  the American troops. He has with him a much-publicized  group of anti-insurgency advisers. These advisers have studied past insurgencies. These advisers believe that, "on average, insurgencies last ten years." These advisers believe that in order to defeat insurgents, one must win hearts and minds.

These advisers appear not to realize that in the case of the belief-system of Islam, there can be a brief renting of feigned goodwill but that, unless that belief-system itself is constrained, there can be no winning of hearts and minds for Infidels. And furthermore, the "insurgency" is not one "insurgency" but several. The chief insurgency is based on one thing: the refusal of Sunni Arabs to acquiesce in the transfer of power from them to the Shi'a Arabs, and the refusal of the Shi'a Arabs to accept the minimal demands of those Sunni Arabs, given that the Shi'a are keenly aware that they outnumber the Sunni Arabs three to one, and that the oil of Iraq is either in the Kurdish-controlled north or in the Shi'a-controlled south (and that recent talk about "future oil production" in Anbar Province will not change any of the current calculations and refusals to compromise).

Eventually -- but when? -- those advisers on Insurgencies may come to realize that the mission has been wrongly defined, and stubbornly adhered to beyond all reason. The goal should be to weaken the Camp of Islam, inside and outside Iraq. The way to do it is to avoid all sentimentality, withdraw, and let the Sunnis and Shi'a go at it, however they choose to, and not to worry about "chaos" and "confusion" or a "takeover by Al Qaeda"  (Al Qaeda will be engaged in staying alive and helping stave off attacks by both Kurds and Shi'a Arabs, the latter helped by Iranian agents). Let co-religionists outside Iraq pour in volunteers, money, and matériel -- this is the only way to get a return on the $750 billion dollar investment. Instead of shrill invocation of such words as "massive instability" or "catastrophe" analyze clearly whose "instability": it would be, and for whom something like a renewed Iran-Iraq War, but this one playing out in many countries, and not in one place, would be a "catastrophe." It would not be a catastrophe for Infidels. It would, in fact, give them a breathing space, and offer, like the much smaller internecine warfare in Gaza, a useful Demonstration Project of Islam, and the kinds of things -- the refusal to compromise, the aggression, the violence that needs to be held in check by despots, themselves awful -- that Islam encourages, that are part of its atmospherics, and reflect its victor-vanquished mentality.

Below is the speech he addressed to those under him when he assumed command:

"Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:

We serve in iraq at a critical time. The war here will soon enter its fifth year. A decisive moment approaches. Shoulder-to-shoulder with our Iraqi comrades, we will conduct a pivotal campaign to improve security for the Iraqi people. The stakes could not be higher.

Our task is crucial. Security is essential for Iraq to build its future. Only with security can the Iraqi government come to grips with the tough issues it confronts and develop the capacity to serve its citizens. The hopes of the Iraqi people and the coalition countries are with us.

The enemies of Iraq will shrink at no act, however barbaric. They will do all that they can to shake the confidence of the people and to convince the world that this effort is doomed. We must not underestimate them.

Together with our Iraqi partners, we must defeat those who oppose the new Iraq. We cannot allow mass murderers to hold the initiative. We must strike them relentlessly. We and our Iraqi partners must set the terms of the struggle, not our enemies. And together we must prevail.

The way ahead will not be easy. There will be difficult times in the months to come. But hard is not hopeless, and we must remain steadfast in our effort to help improve security for the Iraqi people. I am confident that each of you will fight with skill and courage, and that you will remain loyal to your comrades-in-arms and to the values our nations hold so dear.

In the end, Iraqis will decide the outcome of this struggle. Our task is to help them gain the time they need to save their country. To do that, many of us will live and fight alongside them. Together we will face down the terrorists, insurgents, and criminals who slaughter the innocent. Success will require discipline, fortitude, and initiative — qualities that you have in abundance.

I appreciate your sacrifices and those of your families. Now, more than ever, your commitment to service and your skill can make the difference between victory and defeat in a very tough mission.

It is an honor to soldier again with the members of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. I know that wherever you serve in this undertaking you will give your all. In turn, I pledge my commitment to our mission and every effort to achieve success as we help the Iraqis chart a course to a brighter future.

Godspeed to each of you and to our Iraqi comrades in this crucial endeavor."

David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army

There is much to note in this speech, including the repeated mention of "Iraqi comrades" and all the blah-blah about the "mission" and "every effort to achieve success" and helping "the Iraqis" (who are these "Iraqis"? How does General Petraeus define them?) "chart a course to a brighter future."

But one thing, not a paragraph, not a sentence, not even a word, but merely a single pluralizing "s" at the end of a word, stands out above all the others.

Here it is:

"that you will remain loyal to your comrades-in-arms and to the values our nations hold so dear."

Not "nation." "Nations."

The American Nation, and the Iraqi Nation. The values our two countries "hold so dear."

No comment necessary.

No further questions, m'lud.