Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

An Unseen Factor in Iraq

President Bush’s proposal to add tens of thousands of American troops in Iraq as a way to handle the calamitous chaos over there may well provoke a hidden counter movement that will strengthen the anti-American forces in Iraq. Throughout world history, there have been many occasions when a war dedicated to a noble purpose drew significant support from people of other countries. The American Revolution of 1776 was a striking case.

From France came Lafayette to offer his military talents. From Germany came de Kalb and von Steuben. From Poland came Pulaski and Kosciusko. To these foreigners, the American Revolution was “a shot heard ’round the world.” And they responded.

When, in more recent times, there was a civil war in Spain, American boys enrolled in the Lincoln Brigade and in the Debs Brigade, and in unnamed outfits pitched into the combat. There was even an organization of Israelis.

To millions of Muslims, the war in Iraq is a holy war against the heathen of the West. Just what the number of these “freedom fighters” is nobody knows. But to them, America’s “pre-emptive” war against Iraq is the return of pre-World War II imperialism.

For these true believers, death in combat with the devil will be rewarded with a speedy entry into a heaven dripping with earthly delights. Hence, the great number of suicide bombers.

Their numbers can well match or even surpass the number of added troops Bush is moving into Iraq.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.