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Beaten to the punch

Sometimes timing is everything...

Last night, I had a post almost all written out in my head. I was comparing the "insurgents" in Iraq to the Democrats in Washington, and it was not overly kind. The key element is that neither group seems to have any goals or plans or vision of its own, preferring to simply oppose whatever George W. Bush wants or says. Further, since both have failed when confronting him directly, they've turned their wrath on those who support him (Iraqi civilians, presidential nominees). It was quite a good piece, if I dare say so myself, rather biting, yet never crossing the line into calling the Democrats terrorists.

Then, before I got around to actually finishing and posting it, I read this piece by John over at Power Line.

John had read a New York Times piece discussing pretty much what I was going to say -- there seems to be a lack of what the previous President Bush called "the vision thing" among Zarqawi and his ilk. They don't appear to have an overall plan or goal set (like the Soviet Union's Socialist World Revolution, Hitler's Fortress Europa for the Master Race, and Imperial Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, just to name three such from the previous century), and the Times is troubled -- how can we defeat the enemy if we don't know their goals, so we can properly deny them from achieving them?

John has his own explanation just what is behind their actions, and it while I'm not quite ready to endorse it, it does meet the basic tests -- it matches the available evidence without being overly complicated. And it passes Occam's Razor -- when presented with a multitude of solutions to a problem, the simplest is often the correct one.

While I'm a little annoyed at John for ruining my piece, I'm also a bit grateful to him. I was on the verge of drawing a comparison between the Democrats in Washington and the terrorists in Iraq, and that was a smidgen extreme, even for me. While I think they are myopic, obstructionist, contrarians, deluded, and wrong-headed, (and in a few cases, loathsome and despicable), to compare duly elected American officials with those who torture and behead innocents for no other real reason than to simply get their sick jollies is crossing a line I'd rather not.

But I reserve the right to change my mind the next time Teddy Kennedy staggers to the microphone and starts blathering in that particularly idiotic way of his, just to cite one example.


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Comments (18)

I'd encourage you to post t... (Below threshold)
Clive Tolson:

I'd encourage you to post that Dem=Insurgent post Jay, so I can link to how pissed off and desperate you guys really are!

Because, it will show how the violence has pushed it back on your radar, forcing you to deal with it! Which means, demagoguing and blaming the Dems!

Because, you'll never cop to the incompetence and failures of the Bush administration, which will only further add to the distrust an increasing number of Americans have.

Would it be unecessarily pe... (Below threshold)
Beck:

Would it be unecessarily pedantic of me to point out that Occam's razor relates to explanations for observed phenomenon, not to potential solutions to a problem?

Yeah, figured it would be.

I think John is correct but... (Below threshold)

I think John is correct but stops right before the logical conclusion.

well, I see Clive has had h... (Below threshold)

well, I see Clive has had his Sunday morning breakfast of Wheaties sprinkled with saltpeter again.

<a href="http://reelcobra.b... (Below threshold)
PostingYourArticle++... (Below threshold)

PostingYourArticle++

Don't feel bad, Jay. On Ma... (Below threshold)
Carroll Lam:

Don't feel bad, Jay. On May 4th I sent Powerline the following email:

"I'm a daily reader of Power Line (and several other blogs) but this is my first message.

I was reading this commentary today and suddenly had a thought: why hasn't someone written a piece about the similarities between the Baathist leftovers' campaign of terror in Iraq and the current Democrats in congress? The similarities are startling. They were both in absolute power for several decades. They cannot tolerate majority rule. They are reduced to self-immolation methods of obstructionism. They understand that true democracy is anathema to their goals. They use ad hominem attacks as their primary method of debate.

Amazing.

Carroll Lam
Tucson, AZ"

From John's post: ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

From John's post:

"we are fighting modern-day Aztec priests who want to kill their victims for no reason other than to cut their hearts out and offer their bleeding, still beating hearts to Huitzilopochtli... so let us set our strategy accordingly.

I think we have, actually."

And what is that strategy exactly? If it involves taking that which we don't understand and explaining away our lack of understanding by suggesting that the object of our inquiry is actually incomprehensible then, good job guys. We're well on our way to winning. The insurgents are maniacs and savages. Now I'm convinced we've got the situation under control.

Sheesh.

And BTW guys, the Democrats are the opposition party now. That means they're going to do a lot of opposing. But what is their plan? How about repealing tax cuts for the rich to shore up social security, protecting the environment, universal health care, working with our friends and allies to shore up the system of international law and non-proliferation. All of which the Republicans oppossed during the Clinton years and still oppose.

As for Iraq, well, there you got me because not even Bush and his brilliant advisors have a plan for solving the mess they've created there. I believe John's post is evidence of this. Here's a better guess at what the insurgents want: The US out of Iraq so they can engage in a full scale civil war. Is that simple enough for you guys to understand?

At the moment, there's is not a political movement, but a guerrilla war of attrition. And since many of the able bodied here seem unwilling to join the army to support Bush's war guess how sustainable our "strategy" is since the insurgents seem to be doing okay finding thrill killers in the Middle East?

BUt then again this is what happens when you only oppose dictators like Sadaam but don't actually have a plan to deal with anything once they're gone.


The insurgents are mania... (Below threshold)

The insurgents are maniacs and savages.

I'm open to any substansive argument to the contrary. Got any?

How about repealing tax cuts for the rich to shore up social security

First, define rich. Second, why "shore up" an institution built on quicksand? Doesn't it make more sense to rebuild on a firm foundation? Clue stick... government employees (including public school teachers) don't pay into SocSec, so if their retirement program is good enough for them, why not everyone?

shore up the system of international law and non-proliferation.

"de plane, boss...de plane!"

...not even Bush and his brilliant advisors have a plan for solving the mess they've created there.

Ah... the old "at least Mussolini made the trains run on time" argument ... yes, Bring Back Saddam!

..Bush's war ..

Civil War = "Lincoln's War", WWII="Roosevelt's War" Nice rhetoric to be dismissive of the issues involved.
.
.
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Geez... that was fun! Thank you for playing, frameone. Step over there for your parting gifts...

What would be extreme about... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

What would be extreme about making that comparison? Judging from what some that vote democrat comment on Wizbang and other blogs have to say about most issues and the way the democratsd in D.C. are acting not only are they comparable in many ways on domestic issues they are allied with the terrorists against the US. Both are driven by hate and envy. Both clearly hate America. Both feel threatened by democracy. Both constantly resort to dishonesty to validate their corrupt ideologies. They have so much in common it's not only justified to make that comparison, it's nearly obligatory. If it walks like a duck....

Darleen --No one's... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Darleen --

No one's denying that the insurgents may indeed be "modern-day Aztecs" or "spree killers" but how do such colorful descriptions do anything to further understand what the hell is happening over there? Does Jay Tea or John Hinderaker really believe that we're up against people who kill for "sick jollies"? Really? And even if we are, good lord, what does it say that for more than two years we haven't been able to suppress or stop a band of disorganized, spree killers out to get their jollies? Air dropping some Playstations and copies of Grand Theft Auto into Fallujah could have done more to pacify these kinds of nuts than what we've been doing.

And I hate to break it to you, but this is Bush's war. We are rapidly approaching the point were it's going to be us and the British shoring up a few undertrained, underequipped Iraqis and then we'll see how long Tony Blair will be able to hold fast.

As for your comments on SS, how on earth do private accounts constitute a firm foundation? Repealing Bush's tax cuts for the top 2 percent would go a long way toward returning SS to solvency than pulling 2 trillion dollars out of the system AND radically cutting benefits for everyone earning over $20,000 a year which is what Bush just proposed ala the Pozen plan. Good luck with that.

But again let's return to the original post. The insurgents aren't insurgents they are pre-modern savages trying to slake their dark and unknowable bloodlust. So what? What possible plan has the US executed to meet this kind of threat? If these people are so irrational and beyond the pale of civilized society elections won't pacify them, torturing them won't pacify them (indeed it seems to make them madder) and killing them in droves, well, we're two years in to this thing now. They must have a lot of droves. Please. You guys live in fantasy land.

"Both are driven by hate an... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Both are driven by hate and envy. Both clearly hate America. Both feel threatened by democracy. Both constantly resort to dishonesty to validate their corrupt ideologies. They have so much in common it's not only justified to make that comparison, it's nearly obligatory."

Spoken like a true Aztec.

And let me just suggest tha... (Below threshold)
frameone:

And let me just suggest that the similarities Bullwinkle so clearly sees may have nothing to do with any inherent traits of Democrats or terrorists but rather resides in the distortions and limitations of his own rhetoric. To paraphrase:

"All those who oppose us in any manner or on any issue, whether the pre-modern hordes or the intellectual elite, they are enemies driven by lust for power, irrational hatred and unrestrained envy while we, ourselves, act for the greater enoblement of mankind out of rational understanding and greatest humility."

Have I got that right? Does this description fit just about every group or individual who has ever dared opposse Bush and his policies or Conservatism, in general? Now if you all are so rational, does such a radical conflation of all opposition into one single phrase make any sense at all? Does it?

Now I'm sure you'll write back spluttering about MoveOn.org and they said Bush is Hitler blah, blah, blah. But in the interest of reason and modernity let's skip that part and go right to the rare point where we all of us take a moment to ponder the rhetoric we use to describe those with differing viewpoints and see what it reveals about ourselves. Can we try that for a moment?

Here is a slightly differen... (Below threshold)
Ken:

Here is a slightly different explanation:

The "insurgents" wanted to defeat the U.S. effort to remove Saddam and allow the citizens to create a representative government. The "insurgents" wanted to be the next Baathist party to oppress the people of Iraq. However, they have failed miserably and continue to lose ground.

Having no hope for their original goal, they revert to their hatred of the "evil" U.S. because of its interference with the "insurgents" plans. (If it weren't for those imperialists, we could be the next dictators!) Other "insurgents" from all over the middle east pour in to help harrass the U.S. hoping for a Vietnam type meltdown at home in the U.S.

Why did the U.S. not cut off the borders very early on in this conflict? Because not cutting them off was a conscious decision as part of the strategy. The U.S. knew that there was a certain amount of terrorist energy spread through the middle east; why not drain off much of that energy before closing the books (successfully) on Iraq?

If we had closed the borders, that terrorist energy could have been organized for some other form of attack on the U.S. Instead, we allowed them to dissipate that energy into ineffectual attacks on an Army in place and prepared to fight.

Note that we didn't slam the door on them in a quick convincing defeat. We allowed them to expend their energy in a drawn out effort that NEVER produced any victory for the "insurgents". That has to have drained the "insurgents" and created lots of bad psychology that will wreck recruitment efforts. It also has produced coverage of attacks on civilians that has to have destroyed the credibility of the "insurgents" in EVERY country, not just Iraq.

Kind of reminiscent of "Cool Hand Luke" when he pretended to doubt he could eat all the eggs, asking "have we got it all yet (all money available for bets)" When all the money was down, he then finished the eggs. When the U.S. thinks it has taken out enough of the "insurgents" from all over the middle east, the borders will be sealed, and the war will be done.

Now the "insurgents" are down to no justification other than spite, which isn't even as "good" as the motivation of the Aztecs. The comparison is unfair to the Aztecs.

And so the family of an "insurgent" gets notification: we inform you that your son has achieved martyrdom: he successfully blew up 42 Iraqi citizens in the marketplace with a suicide bomb.

Or the 100's of families that get this one: we inform you that your son has achieved martyrdom: while training to blow up Iraq citizens at the marketplace, he along with 50 other recruits were killed by a pre-emptive strike of the U.S. Army or Marines.

I may be "culturally illiterate" thinking that every parent has an intense love for their kids, but this kind of waste of the youth is going to (or has already) turn around attitudes on "the Arab Street".

This war will be studied for decades as a brilliant effort by the U.S., from initial attack, to destruction of the "insurgents", to handover to the representative Iraq government.

Uh, what Ken (^^) said. I h... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Uh, what Ken (^^) said. I hope.

Hmm, I thought the insurgen... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Hmm, I thought the insurgents' goals in Iraq were fairly simple: steal stuff and kill as many innocent people as possible. Just like the IRA in Ireland, Shining Path in Peru, and dozens more of their ilk around the world. Why? Well, it beast working for a living, I guess.

BTW, frameone, if you're wo... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

BTW, frameone, if you're wondering why no one bothers to respond to your rambling: Well, if your are so ignorant of government that you don't know the difference between income taxes and FICA taxes, then there's no point in trying to have a debate with you.

"If your are so ignorant of... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"If your are so ignorant of government that you don't know the difference between income taxes and FICA taxes"

Apparently Bush doesn't know the difference either since he raided the Social Security trust fund to pay for his tax cuts. When he goes around the country talking all those IOUs in those filing cabinets (known the rest of us living in the real world as US Treasury Bonds) guess who put a lot of them there? How blind do you have to be?




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