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Compared to this, Heracles had it easy with the Hydra

This morning, I forgot it was Sunday and turned on my radio. It was tuned to a talk station, and the show on was one of those typical Sunday early morning shows -- a priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar discuss matters theological and temporal, but from a religious perspective. As a good agnostic, I started to turn it off, but something one of them said triggered a thought.

She was discussing the elevation of a woman to the head of the Episcopal Church, and compared it to Islam. Islam, she pointed out, has no hierarchical structure. There is no Muslim Pope or Archbishop or other formal leader. In fact, there is very little formal organization in Islam, with no recognized authorities or councils.

It's similar to the structure of terrorist groups, especially in Iraq. There is no single enemy, no leader, no overarching governing body to confront. And in a situation like the ongoing fighting in Iraq, it is a decided strength for them -- it deprives us of a clearly-defined victory point, when that leader or leadership dies or surrenders. It also prevents a negotiated settlement, as there is no single individual or body who can make a peace and guarantee it will be kept.

It also has its weaknesses. It is a strategy aimed not at winning, but not losing. Its very strengths that let it prevail tend to leave it incapable of properly enjoying and implementing victory. Suppose the United States does pull out of Iraq -- what next? Who will rush in and fill the power vacuum our departure would create? And how long would it survive?

Nearly the whole Middle East suffers from this attitude. Almost without exception, the countries are made up of thugocracies. Some veil it in religion, some in monarchy, some take on some of the trappings of democracy, but they are all variations on the same tune -- the "strong man" school of government. Nowhere else in the world is Mao's observation that "all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" more true than in the Middle East.

The big question is HOW do we change that. How can we possibly change such an ingrained attitude and belief?

But before we consider that one, there is one even more important that must be addressed: SHOULD we try to change it?

I think we have no choice. For good or ill, the Middle East is essential to the world's survival. It is the center of three major faiths, the crossroads of three continents, and holds the lion's share of the lifeblood of modern civilization, readily-accessible oil. We simply can not afford to ignore that region.

But that leaves us the question of how. And so far, we've made great progress in that, in the sense of finding numerous ways that don't work. (Thomas Edison, after inventing the light bulb, said he had not had 999 failures -- he had discovered 999 ways to NOT make a light bulb.) We've tried accomodation, we've tried backing our own strongmen, we've tried quiet pressure. Right now we're trying the select application of force in Iraq, and despite what others might say, it is still unclear if it will work or not.

But I have to give President Bush for trying, and trying something new.


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Comments (70)

It also prevents ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
It also prevents a negotiated settlement, as there is no single individual or body who can make a peace and guarantee it will be kept

Jay, my gut says we are going to be tit-for tatting for a decade or so until we are at a point where major cities in the Middle East and their civilian populations will have to be eradicated.

Utter destruction is the only way to stop some ideological movements. WW2's Germany and Japan come directly to mind. Chamberlain at some point had to concede he was wrong for his country to ever survive against such ideology.

So my gut also says there will be a turning point when those that want appeasement will realize their approach is a lost cause and it's time to fight or die.

I know we are talking about a non-central government movement, but when many support that movement then we are going to have to lump many geographical areas up for mass destruction to finally quell this whole "Jihad, in the name of Allah" Bullshit.


Before all the bleeding hea... (Below threshold)
epador:

Before all the bleeding hearter kick in here, please also cite more than one example in history where a Chamberlain approach worked and did not risk if not lead to the destruction of a society.

There is no Muslim... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:
There is no Muslim Pope or Archbishop or other formal leader. In fact, there is very little formal organization in Islam, with no recognized authorities or councils.

I wonder if this was a response to the Christian church's highly centralized (at the time of Mohammad, anyway) authorative councils, popes, etc.

Come to think of it, was the Christian church the world's first transnational corporation, so to speak?

"There is no single enemy, ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"There is no single enemy, no leader, no overarching governing body to confront."

An unstable Iraq is a prime staging area for terrorism to "practice" its strategy at this point. The ill-defined, low-level leadership of these terrorist groups is a benefit to them - I would think it gives them some resilience. But there are national governments funneling money, arms and "leadership" to them. I think on a day to day basis, the bar of success for these small terrorist groups is lower than the higher bar for success we set for our warriors and leaders in this conflict. The terrorists are content to ever so gradually chip away at our resolve. But I do not think this is occurring without the sanction of a national government somewhere (read: Syria, Iran).

Epador, containment and coe... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Epador, containment and coexistence, not appeasement with the Soviets and Chinese Communists seemed to work fairly well from 1949 to 1989, at least much better than direct perhaps nuclear conflict between the two superpowers, would have? don't you agree?

As of last Tuesday, Jumpinj... (Below threshold)
Lee:

As of last Tuesday, Jumpinjoe, you lost the prerogative to use the term "we" in suggesting actions such as the mass destruction of communities and states -- all done in an attempt to quiet the demons in your sad, sick little mind. Thank God for that. Thank God the citizens of the United States spoke loudly on election day, and said "no more" to this particular brand of insanity.

Plans such as yours spring from the minds of seriously disturbed victims of terrorism. I am saddened by your condition, but you terrorized Americans have had your say, and you've had years to try your ways. The result you've obtained speak for themselves. It' s been a complete and utter failure.

We're going to change tactics now, and we will not do as you suggest.

America is a safer nation because of this change, and I hope that someday your illness allows you to see how wrong you were, and how many lives were needlessly lost as a result of ill-advised plans such as yours for fighting terrorism.

The Republicans in power in Washington used victims such as yourself to further their agenda, wasting thousands and thousands of innocent lives and billions of dollars in the process. Those images of bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri mixed with fighting and destruction employed by Republicans in political ads, all in an attempt to terrorize the American populace into re-electing their sorry, failed asses, must have scared the crap out of you. You've been victimized by both sides of this war. Sadly, your damage prevents you from seeing this now, but hopefully... someday...

It's time for a change, and the people have spoken. Your way is not Our way any longer.

We will do better.

As of last Tuesda... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
As of last Tuesday, Jumpinjoe, you lost the prerogative to use the term "we" in suggesting actions such as the mass destruction of communities and states -- all done in an attempt to quiet the demons in your sad, sick little mind

Lee, please correct me if I'm wrong, but did you or did you not advocate the use of tactical nuclear weapons to get OBL?

If you did then we can move forward with me pointing out the hypocrisy.

If not, then we can move on to the explanation on your bumper sticker debate of "We will do better".

That's in advance.

There is no Muslim... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:
There is no Muslim Pope or Archbishop or other formal leader. In fact, there is very little formal organization in Islam, with no recognized authorities or councils.

I wonder if this was a response to the Christian church's highly centralized (at the time of Mohammad, anyway) authorative councils, popes, etc.

Come to think of it, was the Christian church the world's first transnational corporation, so to speak?

Jay: "Right now we're tryin... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

Jay: "Right now we're trying the select application of force in Iraq, and despite what others might say, it is still unclear if it will work or not."

From the broadest perspective, this strategy appears to be working, or have a chance of working... except that the consensus seems to think it is not.

But then, thats a fatal flaw, if that consensus drives a policy change.

Lee, this is a serious ques... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Lee, this is a serious question. 9/11: WTC destroyed by commercial airliners piloted by Saudi terrorists; plane crashes into Pentagon; another plane intended perhaps for the White House/ US Capitol crashes in PA. These are just another in a series of anti-terrorist activities against the US over the recent years. Al Gore is the sitting President, what is his appropriate course of action in the long term to prevent further terrorist actions against US interests domestic and foreign??? You might not have to go into Iraq and I accept that, but please tell me how the intelligence community will play what has to be an obvious and important roll. I am clearly NOT interested in what you would NOT do that Bush did; I am interested in what you DO.

she pointed out, h... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
she pointed out, has no hierarchical structure. There is no Muslim Pope or Archbishop or other formal leader.

Islam has some form hierarchical structure in titles like Grand Ayatollah, Ayatollah, Hojjat-ol-Eslám, and Cleric. While elevation in rank is informal in Islam, the titles nevertheless form a hierarchical structure.

Islam is designed specifically to spread and overthrow all other religions including those who think they have no religion. For example, once you are Muslim you are subject to death should you try to leave Islam. Once a land is Muslim it must always remain Muslim. In particularly, Spain is an example and it's the duty of Muslims to retake Spain. Being Muslim is more about outward appearance rather than inner beliefs, and thus, it can be imposed by force and threats of force. It's not that followers don't have inner beliefs, but if all that mattered were inner beliefs and a life lived according to those beliefs, then there would be no way to impose Islam by threat of death.

Islam can be contained, but not by western powers. Tuesday demonstrated that stark reality vividly.

Oh, and BTW Lee, I am not t... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

Oh, and BTW Lee, I am not talking about just dropping nukes now or conventional bombs.

I was referring to retaliations after receiving more attacks here, especially those of the size and magnitude of 9-11 or greater.

Jay Tea:President ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Jay Tea:

President Bush did, indeed, try to offer a positive alternative. It didn't work. The West has better ideas, but the Islamic radicals will prevail because they are stronger. We have the better economy and military, but they have the force of will.

How can you really say: "Right now we're trying the select application of force in Iraq, and despite what others might say, it is still unclear if it will work or not." It's over: the experiment failed.

The only way that this isn't a failure is if the Democratic leadership tells the far-left anti-war core of their party that they really didn't mean it when they said that they were going to get out of Iraq, and we really can't leave right now. I don't think that's going to happen. If you think it does, please explain where that's coming from. And even if the leadership does that, the enemy has their own interpretation of events: they're going to continue the fight because they believe that the US blinked. After this election the enemy will celibrate an American withdraw as a major victory no matter what happens to Iraq in the long run.

Acceptance is the key word here.
The American people are tired, and they want this to just go away.
Welcome to Vietnam Part 2: where the American military won every battle, but the American people lost the war.

It's time for a ch... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:
It's time for a change, and the people have spoken. Your way is not Our way any longer.

Ha ha, this is great. You're already overplaying your hand, Lee. But if you think you've got a straight flush, don't let me stop you. Go ahead and try to implement the Democrat foreign policy of appeasing the Al-Qaedists. Go ahead and try to turn the whole War on Terror into a law-enforcement issue. Go ahead and deploy Howard Dean and John Kerry to the Mideast and issue a bunch of subpeonas. And while you're at it, go ahead and have John Conyers and Charlie Rangel draw up articles of impeachment against President Bush. And tie up Congress in endless hearings and inquisitions and finger-pointing. Yeah, that's what America wants. You go, girl.

If atheism is a religion, '... (Below threshold)
reality:

If atheism is a religion, 'off' is a TV channel.

Stop killing people over superstition.

Yours is wrong too.

Yea! for Steve, at least fo... (Below threshold)
epador:

Yea! for Steve, at least for coming up with some example to argue about rather than character assassinations or quibbling.

I really can't say that containment or "co-existence" worked - I don't think the victims in The Gulag, Hungary, Czechloslovakia, Baltic States, Yugoslavia, Tibet, Vietnam or Korea [to name but a few] were great examples of the success of this policy.

Oh yes, and we did have a few casualties in the last two that we acknowledge.

Lee,Ameri... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Lee,

America is a safer nation because of this change, and I hope that someday your illness allows you to see how wrong you were, and how many lives were needlessly lost as a result of ill-advised plans such as yours for fighting terrorism.

The illness is called human nature. Communism is a brilliant plan that works good on paper until that pesky human nature pops up, then it collapses. China and Vietnam have learned that one aspect of human nature requires "reward for work" and they are delaying the downfall of Communism in their counties by embracing small scale capitalism.

Another aspect of human nature is to think that most other people feel and think the same way. That gives someone a sense of what they feel and think is what most other people feel and think. That's an illusion particularly when dealing with groups like Muslims. Most Americans live in domestic peace, freedom, relative luxury, and in a marketplace of ideas. That's simply not the case for most Muslims, who see our lifestyle as evil. Yes, you could win peace for a while by giving Muslims what they want, such as withdrawing completely for the middle east and abandoning Israel. But then what do we do when they ask for Spain back, as they already have indicated is one of their goals? Will you stand your ground against a nuclear armed middle east or betray the people of Spain? Where will you draw the line or are you blind to the lessons of history?

Lee fails to realize that p... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Lee fails to realize that people like him, along with the antique MSM outlets, have pushed and pushed their rants of hate until half of the U.S. population now has an ingrained hate for everything normal and the lefts hate exceeds the hate of the Islamofascists for everyone that is free or wants to be free.

The U.S. will be fifty years (if ever) returning to the Democratic (rights for all) state it was in 1991. Nothing but hate has been heard from the left wingers for over 12 years and it has taken hold. Think the dim's are going to rule in peace, no way, their own hate filled left will take them down. Haven't you been watching KOS, DU and Huff and Puff the past few days. They declare war on anyone, including dim's, that disagree with them. The hate has simply spread from hate of the republicans to hate for half to the dim's.

I'm still smiling and laughing at the election results. If a few people (dim's) with common sense don't wake up and take control of the lefties they're hate will destroy the country. I think i'll just stand by and watch the fall.

reality,I... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

reality,

If atheism is a religion, 'off' is a TV channel.

Unlike TV sets, every human has beliefs. There's no such thing as no beliefs unless you're brain dead. Whatever your beliefs are about what's going to happen at death, they are irrelevant to conquering Muslims. They simply require you to outwardly follow their religion or be put to death. It's actually easy for atheists, just follow the instructions religiously like it was some new diet plan and keep your mouth shut about your true beliefs.

Yours is wrong too.

I'm glad you realize you beliefs are wrong. It's the first step toward salvation.

Nowhere else in the worl... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Nowhere else in the world is Mao's observation that "all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" more true than in the Middle East" and
The big question is HOW do we change that. How can we possibly change such an ingrained attitude and belief?
(presumably there, and not on this site) and the prima facie answer we have learned is not Bush's and the Neo-Con's 19th century response of a preemptive war, and an occupation run by the Pentagon, in a very foreign land where mosques and their militias have the undivided loyalty of the population. What's the solution? It will be a political solution and not a military solution presented tomorrow to Bush by the blue ribbon Iraq task force. Jay, and Scrapiron think we should give the full military option alot more time, but I can't see what it would accomplish. Surely it is time to try something else...If the(Sunni) terrorists are so awful (which they are) the Shiite militias are just as deadly?.

"Lee, please correct me ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, please correct me if I'm wrong, but did you or did you not advocate the use of tactical nuclear weapons to get OBL?"

I did. We had every right to pursue OBL to the ends of the earth, and to use whatever tactical means necessary to take him out.

It should have been a 3-6 month operation -- tops. Sadly, the Republicans in power decided their political interests were better served by leaving OBL out there to terrorize Americans further, and to pursue instead a war of questionable merits and doubtful benefits -- and we see the result of that insanity now. The best minds on earth are having difficulty determining how we should extricate ourselves from this "quagmire" -- an overused but highly applicable description of just how awful the situation is today.

So here we are, a whole five days after election day, and after five years of failing to execute in the war on terrorism conservatives are up in arms demanding to know how the Democrats are going to solve this problem.

Good question, with no easy, obvious answer. God help us in our quest, and I hope we can count on the help of rational conservatives to ratchet down the hate talk and ratchet down the fear tactics that are still being employed by Republicans who seem dead-set and determined to help the terrorists terrorize our country.

The election is over, and it is no longer a question of what we should do or would have done -- it's time to decide what we will do to win the war on terror. You being a little less terrorized is a good start, Joe. Clam down, work together with your fellow Americans, despite the political power shift underway that has made you understandably unhappy, and we'll get through this.

Jay, any small degree of pa... (Below threshold)
cat:

Jay, any small degree of patience I might have had with your uninformed pontifications is gone. You have displayed your mind-boggling ignorance about the world outside America just one time too many. The fact that Americans know less about the world than any other developed nation on Earth would not matter if you didn't have the arrogance to go rampaging around the globe trying to impose your misguided beliefs on others at gunpoint. You could be as unaware of global events as pygmies in the rainforest and no one would mind - if you just minded your own business.

But you just can't do that, can you? Your nation's ignorant interference has turned a bad situation in Iraq into a catastrophe. There is nothing you can do that will ever undo the unspeakable damage you have already done. There is nothing you can do that will ever make it better, except LEAVE. NOW!!!

Jay, I'm sure you're a very good sales clerk. I'm sure you know a lot about your own country's politics. If you stuck to what you knew about, that would be fine. But you and your government have the unbelievable arrogance to tell the rest of the world, that you know virtually nothing about and understand even less, what to do.

How is it that the richest, most powerful nation on Earth knows so little? Why is it that so few of you have ever been to any other country to actually find out what it's like out here? It's as if it's just a game to you people. You seem to enjoy scaring each other with ghost stories and urban legends. That would be fine if you just stuck to your stupid gossip. But you're not a nation of teenagers and you're destroying any hope for the future for all of us.

You can't even learn from your own mistakes. You've already turned Iraq into the most dangerous place on Earth and the biggest recruiter of terrorists the world has ever seen. Now you want to bomb Iran, based on exactly the same lies. You people haven't got a clue about Iran. Time and time again you show how little you know. Just one example - how many of you know that Ahmadinejad is not the leader of Iran? I would bet not a single one. How many of you know that the real leader of Iran has declared nuclear weapons to be forbidden by Islam? How many of you know that Iran has offered to sign a peace treaty with both Israel and the United States? Knowing such basic facts wouldn't show any real knowledge of Iran, but failure to know them is shocking.

But, maybe more important, how many of you give a damn? You all seem perfectly happy to let us all burn.

We hated the people that murdered 3,000 innocent people on September 11 2001. But unlike you, in your infinite ignorance, we knew why they had committed that appalling crime - because you continually refuse to see the effects of your imperial dreams. And then we watched you commit far greater crimes than the 9/11 terrorists and leaned to hate you.

It will take generations for the world to recover from what you have done. There may be nothing you can do to undo that damage. But at least learn one thing - that you screwed up.

If you will just admit that and leave us all alone, maybe we'll have a chance to recover - eventually. Then, and only then, will you be safe. We would quite like to be safe too. Do you care?

cat, I will grant you one t... (Below threshold)

cat, I will grant you one thing: when I have been a sales clerk, in my younger days, I was a damned good one. And now that I have moved on from that, I would rather not do it again. But if circumstances compelled it, I would -- and I'd be even BETTER.

If I've exhausted your patience, feel free to go elsewhere. You are under no obligation to stick around. In fact, I would urge you to go somewhere else -- I think you'd fit in quite well with the gibbering sycophants that infest Kos, Oliver Willis, or even the barking moonbats of Democratic Underground. I suspect you'll find them much more to your liking.

J.

Lee, do you feel that killi... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Lee, do you feel that killing/capturing OBL would have shut down the terrorist threat to the world fro at least a generation - let's say?

kevino said: The West ha... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

kevino said: The West has better ideas, but the Islamic radicals will prevail because they are stronger. We have the better economy and military, but they have the force of will.

Talk about defeatism! Some of you are in need of some serious anti-depressants.

America will defeat radical Islam for the same reason that we defeated fascism and communism: our system and way of life is superior. It is certainly vastly superior to anything radical Islam has to offer.

Right now we're trying the select application of force in Iraq, and despite what others might say, it is still unclear if it will work or not.

Jay Tea, the lesson from Iraq is that occupying Arab lands and trying to instill our values in them is just plain foolish and is NOT the way to fight the war on radical Islam. This enemy is too diffuse and far-flung and hides among civilian populations so the traditional military approach of conquering and nationbuilding simply won't work. The American people won't support carpet-bombing the Arab world for a generation to achieve our goals. We will have to come up with something else, but, I believe, time is on OUR side because our system is far superior.


How many of you kn... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
How many of you know that the real leader of Iran has declared nuclear weapons to be forbidden by Islam? How many of you know that Iran has offered to sign a peace treaty with both Israel and the United States? Knowing such basic facts wouldn't show any real knowledge of Iran, but failure to know them is shocking.

And did you know the real leader of Iran is a liar? Did you know Islam teaches this form of deception? Actions is how we judge Iran and what we see is a nation seeking to destroy Israel and spread Islam by the sword. To do that they need useful idiots, week willed leaders and complacent people in the west. Are you Muslim cat, or just a useful idiot?

Correction:<blockquot... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Correction:

How many of you know that the real leader of Iran has declared nuclear weapons to be forbidden by Islam? How many of you know that Iran has offered to sign a peace treaty with both Israel and the United States? Knowing such basic facts wouldn't show any real knowledge of Iran, but failure to know them is shocking.

And did you know the real leader of Iran is a liar? Did you know Islam teaches this form of deception? Actions is how we judge Iran and what we see is a nation seeking to destroy Israel and spread Islam by the sword. To do that they need useful idiots, week willed leaders and complacent people in the west. Are you Muslim cat, or just a useful idiot?

No, Jay, I don't find them ... (Below threshold)
cat:

No, Jay, I don't find them to my liking and I can't understand why anyone who actually thinks would. You're all the same - partisans who are prepared to ignore all facts just to score points against the other's party. One side calls the other "moonbats." The other yells "wingnuts." How enlightening!

Both sides use the terms "gibbering" and "sycophant" and a thousand more words like them. But in reality, all of you carry out the same ignorant and dangerous foreign policies - and almost all of you refuse to do anything about your ignorance.

None of this would matter to the rest of us, if you didn't force yourselves on us - and if you're interference didn't have such disastrous consequences for us. But you do. And it does.

All of this might sound very insulting, and it is. There are so many things about America that we respect and like. If only you would have just a little respect for us. But you can't even be bothered to learn any of our languages, let alone our cultures. And yet, despite this refusal, you (Democrats and Republicans alike) have the nerve to tell us how we should run our countries.

999 ways not to invent a light bulb? How many people were killed for the sake of Edison's learning process? The fact that you think this is a suitable simile shows just how much contempt you have for non-Americans.

Cat, you dhimmi bastard,</p... (Below threshold)
yo:

Cat, you dhimmi bastard,


how many of you know that Ahmadinejad is not the leader of Iran?

... how many people in the world actually know that Iran is run by the mullahs, and Almondjoy is simply a mouthpiece/distraction? You're right, but you've failed to recognize the rest of the world's peoples who also are ignorant of that particular fact.


How many of you know that the real leader of Iran has declared nuclear weapons to be forbidden by Islam?

... Yeah. And according to a lot of muslims, the taking of innocent lives are forbidden, too. What's your point?


How many of you know that Iran has offered to sign a peace treaty with both Israel and the United States?

... you don't say? Ever heard of the word "hudna?" Go look it up, and look up how these "peace treaties" have been used throughout history. When you've done your homework, c'mon back and I'll paddle your opinions, some more.


Knowing such basic facts wouldn't show any real knowledge of Iran, but failure to know them is shocking.

... 1) the amount of knowledge you don't have regarding the history of islam is astounding, 2) your ability to call the posters here ignorant of fact while you aren't able to demonstrate any mastery of fact, either, is fascinating, 3) your ability to turn a blind eye to a rather immense threat, and then asking the only country on the planet willing and able to do anything about to stop protecting the world, is suicidal.

Oh, and the insult that you directed towards Jay Tea is ... well, childish.

But, no ... g'won with your castings of dispersions from atop your ideological ivory tower, if that's what makes you feel good.

Tell us how all how wonderful it is to drop bowel movements bereft of odor.

I'll leave you with this thought, as disgusting to you as it may be: Without the strength and caring of the United States over the past century, you most certainly wouldn't be in a position to be as much of an asshole as you are.

Americans are proud because we've earned the right to be. We're not Iraq because we want to be, we're there because someone had to do it, and no one else had the balls.

I apologize if that upsets your delicate sensibilities, but, I'll be happy to send you a few tubes of vagisil if it'll help with some of the chafing.

Lee,it's ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Lee,

it's time to decide what we will do to win the war on terror.

Your honesty is refreshing. How many other liberals would admit the left has no plan for winning the war on terror.

I did. We had eve... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
I did. We had every right to pursue OBL to the ends of the earth, and to use whatever tactical means necessary to take him out

I thought so; therefore here is the part where I call you a hypocrite. You know, how did you say it, to quiet the demons in your sad, sick little mind?

Two huge flaws here with your reasoning.

Number one, OBL is one person, and killing him is not going to stop the Jihad. Yes it would be great to get him but the jihad movement is still bigger than him.

Number two; using nukes in retaliation for 9-11 and 9-11 alone would have left us nowhere near the moral high ground from keeping rogue states from obtaining them. My long-range analysis, (my gut feeling) is after consecutive major terror attacks here in the U.S., we will have no choice but to retaliate with massive firepower somewhere down the line. That is a much more realistic scenario than your idea. But we'll let the readers of the comment section decide.

You think Iraq is a recruiting ground for terrorists? I'm sure nuking Afghanistan would have had the entire "billion" Muslims up in arms.

And not using my gut feeling, but steep in reality is the fact our military has won every engagement and the enemy's will to fight is found in the mouths from the words of Democrats. They know they are losing militarily. But they would definitely know they were truly losing if there was a united front here. But the left keeps egging them on and giving them hope.

YoThank you for th... (Below threshold)
cat:

Yo

Thank you for the expletives. I'm sure you use the same language in 2002 to anyone who said Iraq had already destroyed all its chemical weapons.

999 ways not to invent a li... (Below threshold)
yo:

999 ways not to invent a light bulb? How many people were killed for the sake of Edison's learning process? The fact that you think this is a suitable simile shows just how much contempt you have for non-Americans.

Posted by: cat


There's no contempt for non-Americans, at all. We may all not travel as much as we should, granted, but I find more people have contempt for us out of sheer JEALOUSLY, than anything else.

In short, don't hate us because we're beautiful.


Oh, and how many people were injured or died because of darkness? How any people were saved by the light bulb?

Besides, that's an "analogy," not a simile, you twerp.

Thank you for the expletive... (Below threshold)
yo:

Thank you for the expletives. I'm sure you use the same language in 2002 to anyone who said Iraq had already destroyed all its chemical weapons.

Posted by: cat


In 2002 ..., let's see ..., the English, the French, the Germans, the Russians ... they all said that chemical weapons existed in Iraq.

Dude, seriously, your logic is flawed; you grasp of history is weak, and your attitude is befitting of a 5 year old.

When you go back to your madrassa, tomorrow, feel free to tell everyone that once again, an American kicked your ass.

"Lee, do you feel that k... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, do you feel that killing/capturing OBL would have shut down the terrorist threat to the world for at least a generation - let's say?"

No. However it would have shown the terrorists that their tactics don't work -- that they cannot terrorize our nation in rash acts that result in the deaths of a hundred thousand innocent Iraqis, thousands of American soldiers, and the expenditure of billions upon billions of US taxpayer dollars, for example.

Roll back the clock, DaveD, and imagine an outcome where OBL was been obliterated four months after 9/11, and we've found a way other than the invasion of Iraq to deal with the dangers present there in 2003.

If you don't recognize that outcome as a safer, more secure situation for Americans then where we are today you are still blinded by partisan politics, and your recovery will take more time. It's only been five days. Be patient.

YoSimile. Analogy.... (Below threshold)
cat:

Yo

Simile. Analogy. Got me there. Now write that in Arabic, Chinese, Russian - hell, pick a language that should be easy for you...Spanish. But now I'm descending to your level

Getting back to facts, no the Germans did not think Iraq had chemical weapons. Neither did the Russians. In fact, they said the opposite and said it loudly. They did say that it was essential to complete the inspections process to prove this once and for all. As for the "English," the *British government* said Iraq had the weapons, but British intelligence agencies said the opposite.

Larkin:Denial does... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Larkin:

Denial doesn't help. This is a clash of cultures and a test of wills: we are losing. I have documented in this and other forums that Islamic radicals are winning. Wake up. If we cannot beat them now, beating them later is just going to get harder.

Two examples: In the Sudan and Somalia, Islamic fundamentalists are openly challenging the US, and we cannot respond because the US President has no political capital left to fight them. Iran has been very careful about it's nuclear program, but they read the President's approval numbers and are openly doing what they want. The US has no answer.

RE: "America will defeat radical Islam for the same reason that we defeated fascism and communism: our system and way of life is superior."
(Yawn) I have repeated documented in this forum and others that this is learning the wrong lessons of history. As Jay Tea correctly points out, this is not an enemy like fascism or communism: this enemy has no one nation and no one head. You idea that our way of life is superior is a very parochial one: many Muslims consider us morally and spiritually weak. On that basis, our way of life is vastly inferior. Islamic fundamentalists are saying that for the good of the planet, the West must be and can be destroyed. We are proving to be very weak indeed.

RE: Trying to instill our values and nation building won't work
As has been repeatedly stated in this forum, we are not instilling values. We were attempting to allow people to choose what they wanted because we had faith that the majority would choose a positive vision for the future. They did, and they voted for it.

Unfortunately, we also have a violent minority that seeks to destroy that process, to grab power, to avenge previous wrongs, just pure homicidal mayhem. This becomes a test of will. Actions speak louder than words, and the lesson being taught to the Arab Street is the Americans don't have the force of will to put boots on the ground. You send enough US troops home in body bags, and they cut and run. The worst that they can do is drop a few bombs or fire a few missiles. If you stick it out, you can outlast them.

OK, I'm sick of these silly generalities and hand waving.

Let's here it. I want to here you plan for combating Islamic fundamentalism. Let's play a game, silly infidel. I'm the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I'm a state sponsor of terrorism; I'm a huge supporter of Islamic fundamentalism, if Iraq is consumed by civil war, I stand to pick up a big piece of it; and I'm building atomic weapons.

What are you going to do to stop me?

Here's a hint or two: I'm the largest supplier of oil to China. That means I have powerful friends. Even worse, I'm not doing anything that is a violation of international law. The only thing I'm really afraid of is being invaded from without or a revolution from within. I've do very well in suppressing problems from within, and now that the neocons are gone, I have no fear of invasion.

It's only been fi... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
It's only been five days. Be patient

Try five years waiting for that plan to emerge. After waiting this long it probably deserves a big unveiling parade with marching bands.

But (again my gut feeling) is there will be one guy playing a Kazoo with the big plan of "Bush needs another plan that we can criticize".

Even with my gut feeling, I'm pretty confident that is what we can expect. I'm afraid you are in for a big let down too.

The Russians, eh?<... (Below threshold)
yo:

The Russians, eh?

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20041028-122637-6257r.htm


The Germans, eh?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EB05Ak02.html


British Intelligence, you say?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EB05Ak02.html


Honestly, do you have anything concrete, or do you find comfort in your ability to regurgitate Liberal crap-trap?

BTW - it's not possible for you to descend to my level when you aren't above me.

KevinoYou say "We ... (Below threshold)
cat:

Kevino

You say "We were attempting to allow people to choose what they wanted..."

Yes, they chose. And 70% of Iraqis said they wanted the Americans and British to leave their country. You didn't. That was in 2004. So you really didn't care what they wanted, did you.

They still say they want you to go. And you still won't let them choose what they want.

Yes, there's a violent minority that wants to impose its will on the world. The world doesn't want them. You want to impose your will on the world too. We don't want you either.

If you'd just mind your own business, the minority that people like Yo believe represents a majority would never get very far. But everything you do just makes them more popular. You're creating your own self-fulfilling prophecy.

"How many other liberals... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"How many other liberals would admit the left has no plan for winning the war on terror. "

"Winning" is not a plan either, ML -- it's a goal, not a plan for achieving the goal. Today, Bush has no plan whatsoever other than to try something new.

It's going to take while to sort out the truth from the BS we've been fed from the White House. A week before the election we were "on course full speed ahead" and standing firmly behind Don Rumsfeld as the man who will be leading the effort for the next two years.

That was all just more lies. Sorting out the truth amidst the Republican propensity for constant lying may take a few weeks. Hang in there -- the Generals will be able to speak freely now. There will be a plan, and don't worry -- we will bring in Republicans to help make that plan.

"Staying the course" and "not cutting and running" were just words designed to placate the ignorant into believing there actually was a plan somewhere in that pile of horse shit that passed for the administration's war on terror agenda -- if we just keep digging long enough and let thousands more die needlessly.

Have faith -- re-elect a few more crooked Republican congressmen -- it'll work out. Yuk! Yuk! America isn't falling for it anymore, but there are suckers born every minute, and I'm confident there will still be enough of you knuckleheads around to give the White House over to the Democrats in '08. Don't let us down Mac Lorry -- the Democrats are counting on your support in winning the WH in '08.

Cat, Cat, Cat ..., <p... (Below threshold)
yo:

Cat, Cat, Cat ...,

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061102/ts_nm/iraq_france_talabani_dc


It's not that you're making things up, but you're selectively ignoring some very important items.

The only thing worse than an illogical argument, is an incomplete one.

Yo, that's just sad. What d... (Below threshold)
cat:

Yo, that's just sad. What do your links say? The Bush administration said... everyone knows what the Bush administration *said*. The Germans played a big role in Iraq's chemical weapons program during the 1980's... everyone knows that.

But what everyone should also know is that Iraq destroyed those weapons after the 1991 Gulf War. It really is too late at night where I am to look up the links for you. Use Google, and find out what the Russians and Germans said in the run-up to the 2003 invasion. It really isn't that hard.

"Roll back the clock, DaveD... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"Roll back the clock, DaveD, and imagine an outcome where OBL was been obliterated four months after 9/11, and we've found a way other than the invasion of Iraq to deal with the dangers present there in 2003."

I cannot dispute this Lee. But then why couldn't others (and I will not name names) have eliminated the OBL threat earlier and simply avoided 9/11 altogether?

Does anyone here know which... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Does anyone here know which country cat is a citizen of?

Cat,You got any pr... (Below threshold)
yo:

Cat,

You got any proof of those destroyed WMDs? Any?

Have you provided any information to back up your statements?

Have you done anything other than spew forth anti-american crap?

No.

By the way, it's beholden upon you to provide your information. I don't need to do your homework for you.

But, yes ..., go get some rest. Like I said, you don't want to be late for madrassa, in the morning.

We wouldn't want you dozing off during your imam's anti-western brainwashing session.

Yo, Yo, Yo!Yes, we... (Below threshold)
cat:

Yo, Yo, Yo!

Yes, we know what Talabani says - he depends on the Americans to keep his job. What do the vast majority of the Iraqi people want? They want you to go! How would you like it if the Iraqis were occupying your country and the puppet they'd installed as your president kept saying the Iraqi military had to stay? Is it that hard to understand?

cat:Show me where ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

cat:

Show me where you 70% comes from.

I've seen numerous polls of the Iraqi people that say that the invasion was worth it, they support the new government, and while they want the Armeicans to leave -- eventually -- they don't want it immediately.

If the majority of the Iraqi people we against what we are doing, then they would not have voted in two elections and there would be much more fighting against US troops.

"Is it that hard to underst... (Below threshold)
yo:

"Is it that hard to understand?"

As a matter of fact, it is. You're speaking for the entire Iraqi population but haven't provided anything more than your own hearsay.

A handful of the Iraqis that I've actually spoken with, and a goodly number of muslims I've had long conversations with aren't happy with the American presence, and they'd like the troops gone, but they also realize the chaos that would follow if they did.

I highly doubt you're convincing anyone, here, champ. I'll give you a "C" for effort.

cat, what country are you f... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

cat, what country are you from???

How inspiring your last com... (Below threshold)
cat:

How inspiring your last comments are Yo. And how typical. As I said earlier, you all treat this as a game. I not trying to score points. This is real and you are the ones who are invading our countries and threatening to invade more. You are the ones who should be doing what you call "homework."

There's chaos in Iraq now. Every month you've stayed has created more chaos. Every month more will create more. But it's not just chaos we're talking about. It's real lives and real people who are dying because of you.

All we want is for Americans to stop interfering, stop bullying, stop bombing. Go home. But *you* already are home.

Great comment DaveD.... (Below threshold)
cat:

Great comment DaveD.

Dave -- suggesting we could... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Dave -- suggesting we could have pursued OBL as aggressively pre 9/11 as we could (should) have pursued him post-9/11 is disingenuous. Post-9/11 the White House had a mandate and the full support of the nation and the free world to take OBL down. That mandate didn't exist pre-9/11.

Bush proceeded to piss away the opportunity to bring OBL to justice, and to send a message to terrorists everywhere, choosing instead to further the conservative right-wing agenda by dragging things out through the '04 and '06 elections..

Justice would have to wait. Political gain and the re-election of corrupt Congressmen was of far more importance to Republicans. The Republican use if imagery of OBL and al-Zawahiri in the recent election campaign ads shows precisely how important a free OBL was to the Republican election efforts. T hey were counting on OBL to continue to terrorize Americans into supporting Republicans in power.

American voters being terrorized by the US political party in power. It's a shameful chapter in American history.

Cat,feel free to c... (Below threshold)
yo:

Cat,

feel free to cry me a river.

As for the interference, how 'bout you guys stay out of Israel's hair, for a bit?

How 'bout ya' stop playing with the price of oil when it suits your needs?

How 'bout abiding by international law and accords?

How 'bout playing fair?

How 'bout some human rights, for everyone?

How a-bout, the cessation of anti-American/Western teachings in your schools, or why not over-thrown these repressive governments which aren't doing anyone any favors?

How 'bout working against terrorists rather than turning a blind eye?

You've inferred that we reap what we sow, but so do you. Don't come around playing the victim card when we've buried 3,000+ of our own because some nutjob perverters of islam want to control the world and use America as an excuse for all of the world's ills, and some of you (not all, but some) are either too stupid or too lazy to see them for what they are?

how 'bout some of that?

Staying the cours... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Staying the course" and "not cutting and running" were just words designed to placate the ignorant

Everything I've heard and read coming from the left is "cut and run". And we know full well what it means, which is, leave a power vacuum and let the chips fall where they may.

That is fully understood and there is no spin from that.

The question remains then, "how do Democrat's interpret their gains?"

Will factions within the Democratic Party force their hand and decide "cut is run" is what this election was really about? We are getting our first little taste of what's coming with the Carville-Kos thing. More to come, bets are on.

It was the ignorant that were fed the lie that "stay the course" meant staying the course of losing.

Maybe you should tell the Generals they are free to change tactics to counter terrorist's tactics now that you have power. But opps....they already had that free hand.

If the left wants us out, and that is the plan, it needs to happen NOW. Not one soldier should be sitting there with Democrats knowing they are pulling the plug.

If they care about the troops like they claim, then that's the right thing to do. Shit or get off the pot.

Lee, I'm going to ask your ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Lee, I'm going to ask your patience with me here. I am not going to use this post to defend Bush and his policies in general. But the one thing I ask you to consider is the concept which has arisen because of the Bush administration is that of pre-emption. 9/11 was the culmination of a series of terrorist activities against the United States of increasing severity. I am not sure how severe a terrorist event has to be before someone (Clinton or Bush) decides he has the "mandate" to eliminate a publically espoused enemy of the United States. For me, the first WTC bombing would have been a good one, but, whatever. Perhaps the events as they have now transpired will certainly turn people away from the policy of "pre-emption". But many folks seem to look at terrorist activity as the so-called "law enforcement" problem. Well, law enforcement many times leaves a few dead bodies lying around locally before the "crime" is solved. I am probably not articulating this very well, but if the US is threatened, the elected executive as Commander-in-Chief always has the mandate to protect the security of American citizens. I believe it has nothing to do with a predetermined threshold of property damage or loss of life. Bush's interpretation to the dismay of many including the Realpolitik folks was "pre-emption" and in the minds of many it was poorly executed. Also, I do not think that the capture/murder of OBL was as easy after 9/11 as before as many folks want to believe. Perhaps I am being naive, but I doubt that Bush has any specific executive order out there stating that OBL should remain free. I will accept that the recent Kelo decision allowing the local government to seize private property for other private development which will enhance tax revenue is kind of an act of terrorism insulting to our type of government.

Hang in there -- t... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Hang in there -- the Generals will be able to speak freely now. There will be a plan, and don't worry -- we will bring in Republicans to help make that plan.

That would be refreshing, but I believe that the only thing the Generals will be asked is how fast can we leave Iraq. Given their 08 aspirations and their own words, Democrats can only cut and run. Once that becomes obvious to the Iraqis they must decide to swim or sink. We can only hope they are able to swim.

Yuk! Yuk! America isn't falling for it anymore, but there are suckers born every minute, and I'm confident there will still be enough of you knuckleheads around to give the White House over to the Democrats in '08.

Well your entire plan depends on doing something different in Iraq besides cut and running and on improving conditions in the middle east. If the Muslims were playing it smart, they would bide their time, but that doesn't seem likely. If the Democrats force a retreat in Iraq and there's an attack on the U.S. then reality will snap the electorate back to the right.

Cat: Your insults to our i... (Below threshold)

Cat: Your insults to our intelligence is tiresome. While you're busy telling us we don't know anything about other cultures or people, your ignorance of the one you claim to be such an expert on, Americans, is astounding. Speaking in generic terms about the ignorance of others and repeating in paragraph after paragraph the same thing - Americans are stupid. Mind your own business. - is just so mind-boggingly ridiculous I cannot begin to describe it.

It's easy to hide behind a cloud of mystery to shield yourself from reprisal and shout insults. In fact, it's much the same manner that terrorists use hiding in the shadow of a civilian while he lobs grenades into the crowd. How's THAT for a simile?

I have not traveled far and wide myself because I never had the means or ability, but I am well read and if traveleing and living elsewhere were the only criteria for formulating an opinion then most of the world would have to sit down and shut up so you could lord it over everyone without ever having to prove your own credentials.

I'm tired of you, cat. I won't spend another minute boxing shadows with you.

The Jewish man comes to see... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The Jewish man comes to see the rabbi. He is really frantic, he wails, "Rabbi! Rabbi! I don't know what my son is going to become. He doesn't seem to be interested in anything!"

The rabbi listens to the man's tale of woe. Finally, he says, "When you go home tonight, put a Torah, a hundred dollar bill, and a bottle of whiskey on the table. Observe what your son does. If your son picks up the Torah, he will become a noted rabbi. If your son picks up the hundred dollar bill, he will become a successful financier. If he picks up the bottle of whiskey, your son will become a drunken bum."

The Jewish man is very happy, because he now has a way to determine what his son will do with his life.

However, a week later, he returns to see the rabbi again. This time, he is even more frantic than before. He wails, "Rabbi! Rabbi! I don't know what I am going to do, I still don't know what my son will become. He came home. He picked up the Torah, he picked up the hundred dollar bill, and he picked up the bottle of whiskey. What does that mean?"

The rabbi gets a very sad look and his face, and sadly tells the Jewish man, "I am deeply sorry, but your son will become a television evangelist."

This whole comment thread i... (Below threshold)

This whole comment thread is a fine example of why you don't feed the trolls. What people like cat in particular are trying to do is not to engage you in a reasoned debate, but to tie you up in accusation and insinuation charge and counter-charge, to prevent the debate Jay was trying to start, which is "what now"?

Given that we have tried many things, and they have failed, what do we do if our current policies fail? I don't happen to think that they have failed yet, though they are on the verge of doing so, not through any inherent fault (in fact, they seem to be doing almost exactly what they were intended to do), but because they have not been well explained, and are not well understood. The people want a conventional up or down war, despite what the President was saying after 9/11, that this wouldn't be a war like we're used to fighting, but long and largely silent even in victory.

Like it or not, the vast majority of people need bumper-sticker explanations of the vast majority of topics that they do not have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. We already know that ignoring the problem won't solve it: 9/11 taught us that, because it was our strategy up until that point. So what now?

I suspect that the answer is that the next group of people who get a serious try, after a few years of dithering and another big attack on the scale of 9/11 or greater, will be the "nuke 'em all" crowd. And because Iran will by then be a nuclear power (unless Israel destroys Iran first), and because we will have by then presumably discarded our current strategy, they will have a very good case. The chance for democratization to work is now or never. The chance for total occupation and subjugation to work is now to the point that Iran gets a nuclear weapon. After that the only options are nuke 'em all or surrender, because history and culture tells us that the odds of the enemy just giving up are about zero.

Maybe I missed a play on wo... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Maybe I missed a play on words but dont you mean Hercules?

Call me a purist or a snob,... (Below threshold)

Call me a purist or a snob, rm, but I prefer to use the Greek names over the Roman ones -- who basically plagiarized the entire Greek mythology. "Heracles" was the original Greek name for Hercules.

J.

cat:Show me where... (Below threshold)
Brian:

cat:
Show me where you 70% comes from.
I've seen numerous polls of the Iraqi people that say that the invasion was worth it, they support the new government, and while they want the Armeicans to leave -- eventually -- they don't want it immediately.

In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post.
You make an interesting ob... (Below threshold)

You make an interesting observation but we msut remeber that although most beleive Islam is more of a political power in the modern Middle east than it is a religion, it is a weapon that many leaders use in the Middle East to control the people, this takes away from the true religious aspect of the religion.
Raymond B
www.voteswagon.com

Just FYI, if any Americans ... (Below threshold)

Just FYI, if any Americans are wondering why people from other countries tend to think you are stupid, there are two simple reasons:

* Those people are ignorant, and simply find Americans a convenient target for hate.

* The media, especially YOUR media, as well as Hollywood, portray Americans as being stupid.

Here's a little story: my father was watching a documentary about World War 2 on TV. And out of nowhere he said to me, "those Americans are so stupid". I didn't say anything, I just thought, "if they're so stupid, how come their side won?"

If you ask me, success is an indicator of true intelligence, and since the USA as a country is quite successful, and its citizens tend to be successful too, they must be doing SOMETHING right. To call such people stupid is simply an insult to your own intelligence, IMO.

Kevino,You have so... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

Kevino,

You have some good points there. I would counter by saying the reason I believe we will win is that I have unqualified faith in our ability to persevere in the long run over enemies who have nothing to offer their people but a rigid and extremist ideology that seeks to deny basic human desires and motivations. If their ideology is so great then why do many of their people want to escape it and come to America to live?

We were attempting to allow people to choose what they wanted because we had faith that the majority would choose a positive vision for the future. They did, and they voted for it.

What the people in the Muslim world are going to choose if we continue to persist in supporting democracy is groups like Hamas, Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shiite fundamentalist parties who have taken control of the government in Iraq. The very last thing we want is to facilitate the takeover of Islamic countries by radical Islam under the guise of democracy.

Don't be fooled by what's happened in Iraq. Elections don't equal democracy. Plenty of countries have elections and have no democracy (Cuba, Russia, etc.). A properly functioning democracy is based on a whole set of institutions such as an independent judiciary, a free media (e.g. Wizbang, Kos, CNN), checks and balances between competing groups, special interest groups that exist outside of government (e.g. labor unions, business organizations), a strong constitution and legal framework, and protection of minority rights. None of these exist in Iraq.

I don't claim to have the answer of how to defeat radical Islam. I do believe that occupying Muslim lands is a colossal mistake that only works to the benefit of our enemies.

I do think it might be instructive to look at the example of how the threat of world-wide communism was finally defeated during the Reagan Administration. His approach was to strengthen the homeland (both economically and militarily) while explaining the inherently evil nature of the Communist system. In the end, Communism collapsed of its own weight without Reagan having fired a single shot (excluding Grenada).


Me thinks old "cat"(shit) i... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Me thinks old "cat"(shit) is a moose-lum--you know the people that treat their women like cattle and just use them as breeding stock. You know the people are the ROP. You know the people that still live in the dark ages. You know the people that still have one foot in the jungle. Now I could be wrong but you know that I was not wrong on old "pucker puss (lee lee) as being one that had shit for brains.

Larkin:RE: "I would ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Larkin:
RE: "I would counter by saying the reason I believe we will win ..."
You are countering logic and history with optimism.

RE: "Unqualified faith in our ability to persevere in the long run over enemies who have nothing to offer their people but a rigid and extremist ideology that seeks to deny basic human desires and motivations."
We are not persevering at all: we are running. Consider something very simple: the cartoon wars. You would think that Western countries would defend the fundamental concept of free speech. They didn't. I remember an interview with the chief editor of the Chicago Times. He wouldn't print the cartoons. When asked why, he tap danced, but anyone who saw it could see the fear in his eyes: he didn't want extremists showing up at his house. The Cartoon Wars are over: we lost.

You also are approaching the "rigid and extremist ideology" from a parochial, West point-of-view. They do have something to offer: salvation. Within their religion, these extremist are offering an alternative to the decay of the West. Consider the words of radical Muslims in western countries. They experience all of the good things that the West has to offer, and many of them reject it - totally. (Google search the words of those in Canada and England who reject Western ideas.)

RE: "If their ideology is so great then why do many of their people want to escape it and come to America to live?"
(See above.) Additionally, many are coming to the West not to escape but to expand Islam. That is part of their global strategy (esp. Muslim Brotherhood).

RE: Support for democracy.
You act as though people will be free to choose. They will not.

I remember the pro-democracy demonstrations in Lebanon, back in the days when the Middle East started too have hope and to move toward positive change. I remember people telling the journalists: "Tell America not to forget us." That hope is gone. US diplomatic support for democracy is no match for Hezbollah's guns.

RE: Iraqi (and Afghan) elections
The elections were an important step because they were open: people could choose. And if people didn't want democracy or couldn't see past the US troops standing behind the process, they would have simply stayed home. Many Sunnis did - the first time. Even they joined in.

I really don't care if it is democracy in the Western sense. It is a positive step, and any system that ackownledges the rights of people will be better than the alternative. Surely you believe that the system is better than what Saddam offered or what Hezbollah is offering.

When people are being oppressed or murdered on the massive scale, we just let it happen? We just let the status quo continue, no matter how many people are killed or enslaved? We just let it go on and on? And in the chaos - in the climate of hate - where people don't see a future for themselves or their children, then become suicide bombers or worse. Oh, I get it, in the words of Senator Kerry we "go straight to the UN".

RE: The defeat of communism
Communism did not collapse on its own. As has been stated here many times, it was defeated three ways: (1) containment, (2) confrontation, and (3) presenting a positive alternative. Radical Islamic fundamentalism is a philosophy that does not have a leader or a country. It cannot be "contained" in the classic sense because a Western belief that religion should be allowed the freedom to express itself allows it to infiltrate all countries. Confrontation is also difficult for the same reason, but it is possible to confront the violent nature of radical Islam be insisting on universal justice or international law (e.g. laws against supporting terrorism, piracy, and genocide). The other method is provoke radical elements to fight us in the Middle East. But the best is to provide a positive alternative. The neocon agenda was to make Iraq a bit like the West Germany of the Cold War. What brought communism down was the fact that people living in communist countries could look at Western countries and say, "We want that". Radical Islamic leaders can reject western democracies, but a successful Iraq was putting the seeds of an idea in people's heads, "Why can't we do that? Why can't we have that?" We had despots in Lybia, Syria, and Iran afraid of us, and we had reforms taking place in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. All of those reforms are stalled, now.

I think that both parties m... (Below threshold)
LenS:

I think that both parties may be misjudging why people are turning against the war. It's not that they object to bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East. It's that more Americans are starting to realize that Islam itself is incompatible with those ideas. After 9/11, a large majority of Americans were willing to accept the idea that it was the fanatic Muslims of Al Qaeda and the Taliban that was the problem. Which is why we didn't see any real backlash against American Muslims.

But the MSM's constant efforts to undermine the war effort so that they can hurt the President and the GOP is also encouraging more Americans to accept that Islam is the problem, not terrorism or oil. Every day the MSM shows the futility of helping the Muslims. Obviously, the soldiers in Iraq see a different story, so they are more optimistic. But the average American just sees a pointless war to bring "civilization" to those who don't want it. Strangely enough, the MSM's relentless campaign against the war may speed up the day the US retaliates against future Islamic attacks with the utter destruction of Islamic societies -- that means unfettered bombing, both nukes and more conventional WMD's.

From the post of Brian, who... (Below threshold)
Not A L:

From the post of Brian, who noted that 75% polled want a US pullout:

The poll was taken in BAGHDAD, and I cant help but notice that this is not a national figure of any sorts.

I wonder if any of the militant terrorists were polled, and laughed with their response.

Just wondering.




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