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Terrorists' Excuse Du Jour

Jim Addison pointed me to Jonah Goldberg's Townhall column "Terrorists' Excuse Du Jour." Jim called the piece one of Jonah's best and I agree. Here's a portion:

Iraq is the excuse du jour for jihadists. But the important factor is that these are young men looking for an excuse. If you live your life calculating that it's a mistake to do anything that might prompt murderers and savages to act like murderers and savages, you've basically decided to live under their thumb and surrender your civilization in the process.


For me, the truly dismaying news this week didn't come from the NIE but from the German media. A German opera house announced that it would cancel its staging of Mozart's "Idomeneo" because Berlin police concluded that staging the opera - which includes a scene in which Jesus, Buddha, Poseidon and Muhammad are beheaded - would pose an "incalculable security risk" from jihadists. Germany, recall, proudly opposed the Iraq war - but still narrowly missed a Spain-style terrorist attack on its rail system this summer.

A leading Muslim spokesman in Germany explained that he was all for free speech, as long as it didn't offend Muslims. The Germans' all-too-typical appeasement of terrorism no doubt makes them "safer" and "creates" fewer terrorists.

Even if the entire world were to convert to Islam en mass, jihadists still wouldn't be satisfied. They would manage to find something that would offend their Muslim sensibilities -- somewhere in the world someone won't be devout enough to their liking. Those on the left have not yet learned that it is impossible to appease our way to safety and security. Jihadists are jihadists because they cannot be appeased.


Comments (19)

Those on the left have n... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Those on the left have not yet learned that it is impossible to appease our way to safety and security. Jihadists are jihadists because they cannot be appeased.

Opposing the Iraq War was not appeasing terrorists. However occupying Iraq gave them a nice chaotic battleground to a) kill some Americans and b) give fighters and future leaders battle experience, first-hand knowledge of urban warfare they can take back to the countries they came from in the ME, Africa, and Europe. By invading Afghanistan we took away some terrorists' training ground, by invading Iraq we gave them a new one, in addition to releasing all of the ethnic and sectarian conflict and in the process giving Iran a huge gift. So let's sum up:

Afghanistan war = Afghanistan has less terrorists and a troubled, but much less authoritarian government
Iraq war = Iraq has more terrorists, possible civil war, and a powerful new influence from Iran

So supporting the Afghanistan war but opposing the Iraq war is appeasing terrorists how?

Maybe the terrorists who came to Iraq to fight Americans were just looking for an excuse, and if it wasn't there it would have been somewhere else. Maybe some of them were militarized as a response and would have stayed in their own countries (a non-fighting jihadist is better than a fighting one, no?). But much, if not most, of the fighting in Iraq is by Iraqis against us and between different Iraqi groups. Those people were not terrorists looking for a fight which we gave them, they were Iraqis who have taken up arms against their occupiers and amongst themselves.

All of this to my mind makes Iraq a strategic mistake in the war on terror. I want nothing more than for the free world to win that war, but this was not the way to go about it. I know many will claim that Iraq was not a mistake because once it becomes a shiny new democracy that all the various opposing groups in Iraq are happy with and once all the jihadists are dead, it will help turn the tide toward liberal democracy in the Middle East. That's true, but it just ain't gonna happen. I truly wish it would, but it won't. Call me a defeatist if you like, but I believe I'm being realistic.

And btw, here's a taste of the new Iraqi Democracy:

Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein's penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

Currently, three journalists for a small newspaper in southeastern Iraq are being tried here for articles last year that accused a provincial governor, local judges and police officials of corruption. The journalists are accused of violating Paragraph 226 of the penal code, which makes anyone who "publicly insults" the government or public officials subject to up to seven years in prison.

On Sept. 7, the police sealed the offices of Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite news channel, for what the government said was inflammatory reporting. And the Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least three Iraqi journalists have served time in prison for writing articles deemed criminally offensive.

The office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has lately refused to speak with news organizations that report on sectarian violence in ways that the government considers inflammatory; some outlets have been shut down.

Jefferson and Madison would be proud, I'm sure.

"Even if the entire worl... (Below threshold)
eric:

"Even if the entire world were to convert to Islam en mass, jihadists still wouldn't be satisfied. They would manage to find something that would offend their Muslim sensibilities -- somewhere in the world someone wasn't devout enough to their liking. Those on the left have not yet learned that it is impossible to appease our way to safety and security. Jihadists are jihadists because they cannot be appeased. "

Bingo! Look at the sectarian violence in Iraq. Sunni vs. Shiite. Both sects are Muslim but that isn't stopping one from killing the other.

There was a story on CNN this morning about how a Shiite grandmother was assasinated by Sunni's in front of her family. She was even given a death warrant by the killers.

mantis said:<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Mike:

mantis said:

On Sept. 7, the police sealed the offices of Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite news channel, for what the government said was inflammatory reporting. And the Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least three Iraqi journalists have served time in prison for writing articles deemed criminally offensive.

The office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has lately refused to speak with news organizations that report on sectarian violence in ways that the government considers inflammatory; some outlets have been shut down.

Jefferson and Madison would be proud, I'm sure.

Madison ? You're referring to the President who signed the Alien and Sedition Acts ? I suggest your re-read your history.

And more to the point re: y... (Below threshold)
Mike:

And more to the point re: your point, the aspect of the "new Iraqi democracy" you're highlighting is not so disimilar to the U.S. laws circa 1800.

Steady improvement, not instant perfection, is the goal.

Madison ? You're referri... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Madison ? You're referring to the President who signed the Alien and Sedition Acts ?

No, John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. Madison argued against their constitutionality, albeit on 10th Amendment grounds and not 1st (re: the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions).

I suggest your re-read your history.

Back atcha, sport.

It is becoming apparent tha... (Below threshold)
Lee:

It is becoming apparent that the current chaos in Iraq is intentional on the part of the Bush administration.

(emphasis added)

Former British foreign secretary blames US for 'dire' Iraq situation"
(London-AP) September 29, 2006 - The man who was Britain's foreign secretary when the war in Iraq began says the situation there now is "dire," and he blames the current US administration.

Jack Straw tells the BBC that Washington made "many" mistakes in Iraq, particularly after the 2003 invasion.

He says the administration "failed to follow the lead" of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who he says put in a "huge amount of effort" to ensure there was a proper civilian administration in Iraq.

Straw was a firm supporter of Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to join the US-led invasion. He was foreign secretary until earlier this year, when he was demoted in a Cabinet reshuffle.

Rumsfeld went to great lengths to insure that there would be chaos...

(emphasis added)

Army official: Rumsfeld forbade talk of postwar
By Stephanie Heinatz
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
Published Sept. 09, 2006

FORT EUSTIS, Va. - Long before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists to develop plans for securing a postwar Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday.

In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a postwar plan.

Re-electing Republicans guarantees more of the same intentional failures in Iraq. "Steady improvement" is just a cover for "we have no intention of solving this problem."

Yes. Chaos definitely helps... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Yes. Chaos definitely helps the coalition's interests in Iraq. It also definitely helps the republicans who shoulder the blame for any chaos.

Wrong. Your conjecture, and certainly based on what you linked, is off.

I said it was intentional -... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I said it was intentional - I didn't say it was a good idea. You don't seem me accusing the administration of being smart, now do you?

Lying to the American public about the reasons for going into Iraq was perhaps the dumbest political move of the decade, but I firmly believe it was intentional.

mantis:Bu... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

mantis:

But much, if not most, of the fighting in Iraq is by Iraqis against us and between different Iraqi groups. Those people were not terrorists looking for a fight which we gave them, they were Iraqis who have taken up arms against their occupiers and amongst themselves.

Many of the groups, like perhaps Sadr's al-Mahdi Army and the Khoeis were at odds with one another before we invaded. It's now that there was some amount of chaos before the interim government took over that they have stepped forward in a vie for power. This might prompt some to say "Saddam was brutal, but at least he was efficient"...which can be argued about most dictators. Naturally their thousands upon thousands of victims tend to disagree with this assessment.

Warlords and power-hungry would-be Saddams are not healthy for any fledgling, or even well-established democracy. The fact that they exist is not the fault of the coalition, but their failure to contain them is.
You can argue that they are not terrorists, and I think by the definition, perhaps they escape that classification...but if the Somali warlords are of any example of how good a warlord in power is for the people than I would say that they deserve to be fought with force by our forces.

The other Iraqis you mention, the citizens that have stood up to the occupation, in a country of 26 million it's hard to say how plentiful they are. Blowing up market places, kidnappings and the murder of innocent civilians does not take alot of people to do.

This particular soldier on the ground will give you a good look into the twisted politics of the many groups and sects in Iraq.

Something we're getting confused with is sectarian violence, terrorism and good ol'fashioned crime.

No, I don't believe some who are resisting the occupation were terrorists looking for a fight. But either way, they've made the wrong decision and are aiding in the deaths of their people, further exacerbating an already difficult process and delaying peace. Those people will either be handled by the coalition, or by the Iraqi army or the police.
Regardless of what finally makes a post office worker snap and bring an AK-47 to work, he did the wrong thing is to be held responsible.

Lee,Intentionally ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lee,

Intentionally formenting chaos (as you said in the first post) would most definitely, and clearly backfire on everyone involved, the government, the republicans, the amry, the Iraqi people, and the average American. Not to mention what it could do to the region and therefore the world.

Now why would we expend the lives, money and political backlash for absolutely no reason? A destroyed, destitute Iraq doesn't help anyone.

That's my point. Further, I mentioned the articles you linked didn't back your conjecture of deliberately manufactured chaos as you had hoped. Extaordinary accusations would require extaordinary evidence.

So you're suggesting, Heral... (Below threshold)
Lee:

So you're suggesting, Heralder, that although Rumsfeld did not want an exit plan for Iraq, and apparently threatened those who mentioned it, this was not a deliberate act? Just a stupid, moronic one?

I see your point, but still disagree. This all fits nicely in to the goals of the Project for the New American Century. Rumsfeld is still, imho, running with that plan.

The chaos in Iraq is intentional and deliberate. There still isn't an exit plan that has been articulated by the administration. Republicans appear content to let this drag on for decades. We still don't have enough troops on the ground in Iraq to secure the country, and Civil War is the result.

That's their intent - their motive is beyond me.

Lee, you start off with a l... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Lee, you start off with a lie, and expand on it. What's up with you? I know facts escape you, but if you can figure out how, look up the Iraq Freedom Resolution that passed Congress and was signed by W.J. Clinton in 1998. Read the damn thing and tell me that it was Bush's idea to depose Saddam. I wonder if your memory is as short as your intellect. Mantis, so you think the Taliban was less authoritarian then Saddam. In Iraq under Saddam, women could get an education, were not required to wear a burka and could walk freely about. Against the wishes of the whole world, the Taliban destroyed the giant Budda that had existed for at least 1000 years. Mantis, you are a fool. Please go into hiding.

Mantis, so you think th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis, so you think the Taliban was less authoritarian then Saddam.

No you twit, I said that the government in Afghanistan is now less authoritarian than it was under the Taliban, and thus an improvement. I made no comparison to Saddam, and further I'm well aware that the Taliban was moreso.

If you can't find anything to argue with me about, you don't have to make shit up, you could just stay quiet or, horrors, agree with me.

Mantis, you are a fool. Please go into hiding.

You first.

Lee,What I think, ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lee,

What I think, (and this cannot be verified obviously) that establishing an exit strategy before even going would end up giving the coalition a set time and date that objectives had to be accomplished...which may have been impossible.

An exit strategy when one is entirely uncertain what will happen when we're there is useless anyway. How could one plan before the invasion what the situation would have been like today?

The military objectives change day to day, but the overall objective; to have a stable governement, army and police force to take the reins from the coalition and keep the country under control, from both inner insurgency and outer (Iran) influence...remains the same.

As far as the republicans apparent contentedness to let this drag on an on for decades...I disagree. The idea is to get the above objectives accomplished before leaving. Some may think them impossible, I don't think so. Al-Qaeda in Iraq's latest tape was a call for help.

I agree with you that we should put more troops on the ground...I disagree there is a civil war. I think a civil war would be a country split regionally between Sunni, Shia and Kurd, each with separate governments, fighting for control over all of Iraq.

I'm using the American civil war as a basis for my definition as it was a war between the northern Union states and the southern Confederate states. Remember, the Confederate states formed their own mini-country called The Confederate States of America with it's own president and constition. I don't see these conditions in Iraq...but perhaps my comparison is erroneous...that's up to interpretation.

In the end, I don't think an exit strategy going in was necessarily important and that lack of one is proof that Rumsfeld wanted chaos.

Madison ? You're referri... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Madison ? You're referring to the President who signed the Alien and Sedition Acts ?

-

No, John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. Madison argued against their constitutionality, albeit on 10th Amendment grounds and not 1st (re: the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions).

You're correct. I was seeing Adams and typing Madison.

My point still stands on the similarity between your highlight and the U.S.'s history.

Mantis, now you reveal your... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Mantis, now you reveal yourself as a liar (go figure) as well as a fool. Where in your post at the beginning of this did you refer to the current Government? You, in your simpleton fashion, claim Iraq has more terrorists than Afghanistan. Then you claim to know how many terrorists exist in each state. Please supply our intelligence agencies this information, as they do not seem to know, nor does anyone else. Mantis, you are so full of sh*t you stink.

Aw, Zel - you know he saw i... (Below threshold)

Aw, Zel - you know he saw it on the internet someplace. They wouldn't put it on the "World Wide Web" if it wasn't true, would they?

;-)

Mike, that's a good point, ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mike, that's a good point, and I do hope such laws are repealed in Iraq and the press is allowed to accurately report on the government there. I don't think that's likely though, do you?

Zel,

Too dumb to respond to. I'm done with you.

Jim,

So, by your comment I can only assume that you believe there are not less terrorists in Afghanistan as a result of our actions there, and that there are not more terrorists in Iraq now. I get my info from our intelligence agencies; maybe you have different sources you would like to share.

Since we do not run Iraq (t... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Since we do not run Iraq (the Iraqis do), I don't CARE if they don't allow the press to report a damned thing.
-=Mike
...no reporting is preferrable to blatant propaganda




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