Chasing American forces out of Somalia in 1993 was held up as one of the first, great victories for the new wave of radical Islam. In the myth-making of the Middle East, it allowed the West to be portrayed as weak and irresolute.
To that extent, President Bill Clinton made the same strategic error as Ronald Reagan a decade earlier when American forces were pulled out of Lebanon after a massive Hezbollah suicide attack on US barracks in Beirut. It reinforced the idea that democratic societies didn't have the stomach to counter this vicious style of asymmetrical warfare.
For the same reason, Iraq today represents a critical test of will.
A mindset that can target innocent tube travellers in London is the same mindset that can dispatch a suicide bomber to kill 24 Iraqi children as they accept sweets from US forces in a Baghdad neighbourhood . . . or, indeed, force a Kuwaiti woman to eat her own flesh.
Conceding strategic victories to this mindset will not protect a single innocent life, in Iraq, the West or elsewhere. More likely, it will embolden those behind these acts of savagery.
I have never heard anything from the anti-war side that comes anywhere near responding to this.