Ramadan is a month-long Islamic holiday similar to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in that both represent a period of atonement. Involving fasting and prayer, Ramadan is considered the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Because of this, America’s Islamic allies are asking that the military campaign in Afghanistan be suspended during the holiday. This suggestion, while well intentioned, is ridiculous.
If one believes the United States is at war with terrorists and those who harbor them – in this case the Taliban government ruling Afghanistan – one must accept that modern war waits for no holiday. The Iran-Iraq War dragged on for eight years and did not once stop for Ramadan. The 1973 Yom Kippur War fought between a coalition of Arab states and Israel was launched during Ramadan and is known as the Ramadan War in some Arab countries. Even the North Vietnamese launched their famous Tet Offensive during religious New Year celebrations. And there are plenty of accounts of fighting on Christmas, Easter and other holidays.
In a perfect world, war would not be a necessary instrument of diplomacy. But this is not a perfect world. Any attempts to stop the military campaign in Afghanistan for Ramadan are naive. America is right to continue to protect its national interests – alone and without allies if necessary – whenever we are threatened.