June 30, 2005
Why are Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and Tojo still heroes, and what that has to do with the war on terrorism. The fighting in Iraq is demonstrated again that bloody tyrants never lose their fan clubs, even when they lose their power, and their lives. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and Tojo were all murderous tyrants that killed people in the tens of millions, and terrified billions. Yet today, there are still many people who still admire these thugs. After the Cold War ended, neo-nazis began to appear, especially in eastern Europe and Russia. General Tojo, the dictator of Japan during World War II, never lost his popularity in Japan. And to this day, Japanese leaders go to Tojos tomb to pay their respects.
And Iraq? Same thing. Saddam Hussein may have terrorized 80 percent of the population, but among the Sunni Arabs, Saddam was, and will always be, a hero. Saddam, like his other tyrant buddies, knew how to spin lies, promises, threats and disinformation to capture the popular imagination. While the denazification program forced Hitlers admirers to go underground, Allied counter-intelligence knew there were still a lot of them out there after 1945. So did the communists on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Unlike Hitlers nazis, Saddams fans continue to fight. Saddam spun a web of lies that were popular throughout the Sunni Arab (and Sunni Moslem) world. It was the usual stab in the back (by the West, and infidels in general, including Shia Moslems, and some non-Arab Moslems, like Kurds) argument that is being used by many other Islamic demagogues. Its a favorite pitch among dictators of all kinds. The clerics who run Iran have used it for decades, and North Korea has made xenophobia into a state religion.
Many conservative Islamic religious leaders have painted themselves into a corner by playing the hate card. Unlike Hitler, Stalin and Tojo, who were able to call on world class armed forces to do their dirty work, the Islamic radicals only have terrorists. Iraq is their battleground, and all the faithful are being called on to come there to kill foreigners, and any Iraqis who backs the foreigners. Since about 80 percent of Iraqis do back the American presence there, the Islamic call to jihad has been killing more Iraqis than Americans. Not surprising. Both Stalin and Mao killed far more of their own people (over 50 million Russians and Chinese), than they did foreigners. The Islamic radicals are not all that efficient as killing machines, but they are trying. And dont let them get their hands on a nuke. If they can figure out the on switch, theyll use it.
How do you deal with fanaticism like this? Theres plenty of historical evidence that the only cure is to keep killing the crazies until they stop coming after you. After a while, the fanatics lose their following, more from disillusionment than from death. This is not the first time theres been a bout of Islamic fanaticism and mass murder. The Islamic community will have to figure out how to purge themselves of this nasty habit. In the meantime, it is Moslems who suffer most from it.
Its fashionable in the West, especially Europe, to let the Islamic radicals off as victims of Western imperialism and colonialism. This was similar to the European attempts to appease Hitler in the 1930s and Stalin into the 1950s (and the Soviets right up until the communist collapse.) In the 1980s, Europeans were up in arms at Ronald Reagans efforts to bring down the Soviet Union. The latest victims are Islamic terrorists. Misunderstood, and not really at fault for their atrocities, these thugs are a real challenge for the appeasers. Islamic radicals want nothing less than total surrender, and a return to the 8th century. The victims here dont see a pattern, only another opportunity to seek an easy, and dangerous, way out.