I have seen a lot of reactions to any news coming out of Iraq, especially concerning the growing unrest there, that are dismissive at best.  “I don’t care what these people do to each other.”  “As long as no Americans were killed, so what?”  Inevitably, those who believe that Iraq was a horrible misstep at best, somehow a malicious adventurism for no good reason by George Bush at worst, have to throw in the same tired talking points from the war’s most bitter opponents, many of which can be easily refuted or shown to be blatant hypocrisy with a few keystrokes.  One such commenter referred to Iraq as an “infantile war.”  (Go tell the families and friends of the men who died there that they died in an “infantile” war.  I dare you.)

I have touched on why the talking points are wrong elsewhere.  I see no reason to do so again, especially seeing as how many of these people believe in their narrative with a burning faith that would put some of the jihadis to shame.  Was the Battle of Iraq mismanaged?  Yes, I believe it was.  It became another on the list of failures tacked on to the doctrine of “nation building” instead of war.  We tried to fight to get the Iraqi people to like us, instead of fighting to kill the Islamist insurgency.  We also refused to acknowledge that the Battle of Iraq wasn’t just about Iraq.

And that is where the present unpleasantness and why we should still watch what’s happening there comes in.  Because notice I haven’t called it the Iraq War.  I called it the Battle of Iraq.

Like it or not, Salafist Islam is at war with the West.  They take seriously the division of the world between Dar al Islam, the House of Submission, and Dar al Harb, the House of War.  This ideology is widespread, decentralized and while they often squabble amongst themselves, they have shown many times that they are willing to put aside some of their differences in order to fight the infidels.

Abu Musab al Zarqawi, as I’ve described before, was a Jordanian who ran operations with al Tawhid in Germany and Italy, working out of Tehran, before he went to Iraq to head Al Qaeda in Iraq, where he was finally killed.  And he is only one example.  Salafist Islam is a global movement, rather than an organization, and more than one jihadist has moved from organization to organization, theater to theater.  There are Chechens now fighting in Syria, alongside Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, Afghans, Saudis, Palestinians…the list goes on.  In spite of their recent squabbling, the Al Nusra Front was in fact started by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

So how does ignoring events in Iraq, purely over distaste for the politics surrounding our 9-year involvement, make any sense whatsoever?  All the wishful thinking and snide dismissal won’t make a single salient fact go away: the fact that, like it or not, we are in a state of war with a global, totalitarian ideology that recognizes no borders and no laws outside its own.

And refusing to acknowledge that state of war doesn’t change anything either, any more than simply not wanting to play.  It takes two sides to agree to end a war, but it only takes one to pursue it.