Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Josh Manchester, proprietor of the Adventures of Chester, has broken into the "big time" with an excellent column on OpinionJournal.com. Josh's subject is one that troubles any supporter of the war who lives in a university town (as I do), the obvious satisfaction with which so many academic liberals (and their hangers-on) contemplate American defeat.
MORE: This is a good idea in the abstract:
It is difficult not to conclude that there is a class of well-intentioned individuals in the United States like him who don't merely feel as they do upon witnessing a defeat, but instead think this way all the time. Like it or not, this mentality of permanent defeat plays a large part in the Democratic Party. It is now up to President Bush and the new Democratic congressional leadership to see that it does not become dominant.
How to do so? A charm offensive is not quite what is necessary. Instead, perhaps a combination of sobering events that will impress upon Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid the gravity of our current situation would do the trick. Why not invite both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the White House every morning until the new Congress is sworn in--and ask them to listen with the president to his Presidential Daily Brief, describing what al Qaeda has cooked up of late? Or, why not invite them along with the president to one of his private sessions with the families of those who have paid the ultimate price overseas? Speaking of those overseas whose lives hang upon American policy, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid could be participants in the next conference call that President Bush has with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.
I admit, I am not fond of the precedent this degree of access would establish -- once begun, how does the President turn it off? And, of course, the White House has to wonder whether it can trust Pelosi and Reid not to cherry-pick what they learn into political leverage against the President or fodder for John Conyer's inevitable pre-impeachment hearings. Still, we cannot win the Long War so long as only the Republicans think it worth fighting. If more access would bring the Democrats into the fold, then these other risks are worth taking.
"Why not invite both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the White House every morning until the new Congress is sworn in--and ask them to listen with the president to his Presidential Daily Brief, describing what al Qaeda has cooked up of late?"
These arguments are based upon several false premises. One is that Pelosi et al are unaware of the violence. We are all well aware of the enemy we're fighting. That is why we're opposed to Bush's policies - they're just the wrong way to deal with the problem. Plan Bush is exacerbating the problem, giving aid and comfort to the enemy rather than isolating and marginalizing them.
Don't mistake opposition to Bush as support for terrorism. That's a ridiculous premise. Rather, we (and I'd say the American people increasingly) see Bush's plan as exactly the wrong way to oppose terrorism, which all sane people will oppose.
"Or, why not invite them along with the president to one of his private sessions with the families of those who have paid the ultimate price overseas?"
This is assuming that Bush listens to any of the grieving, I don't believe this to be true, and certainly not very true of the grieving who are opposed to his policies.
Actually, Dan, the President has spent a huge amount of time with both wounded soldiers and their families, and there are endless accounts of his genuine grief in these encounters. There has been a rather deliberate effort by the White House not to politicize these emotional encounters, even in response to Cindy Sheehan's absurd and disingenuous claims to the contrary. When non-political histories of this war are written, the accusation that George Bush does not care about the wounded, has not met with their families, or the other claims of the left (like the ridiculous attacks about funeral attendance during the 2004 campaign) will be recognized as some of the ugliest politics of the era.
Yes, Dan, do tell us the magic method that you have for resolving this conflict. We're all ears.
and mindles, if its treason I'll say so. And in many cases, it's treason.
you don't like? Stop committing treason. Attacking my country while its at war isn't patriotism, not by a long stretch.
So, it's okay to question "liberals'" patriotism but wrong to question "conservatives'"? For the record, I questioned no one's patriotism nor accused anyone of treason. I, and the voting public are questioning this administration's policy. We're saying it's a failed approach to deal with the problem of terrorism.
It gives aid and comfort to the enemy inasmuch as it supports their cause. As I've said repeatedly, on 9/12, the world - including a vast majority of the Muslim world - was on our side. The terrorists were horrid, despicable, cowardly criminals who needed to be brought to justice.
By invading Iraq - an action that was taken by the world as an unprovoked attack on a troubled but sovereign nation - and by taking actions that have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents, we have become the enemy. We have validated the terrorists' position that we are the Great Satan. A rogue nation that places itself above the law and that is a threat to the world.
You don't have to believe that this is the case (that we're a threat to the world), but it's important that you realize that this is the perception of the Bush Doctrine. By validating the terrorists' position, we have made their horrible actions seem more palpable.
There's no mystery method that I'm talking about. Just plain common sense. We go after those responsible for terrorism without waging war on a desperate nation's innocent civilians. Terrorism is a criminal problem - a different and more complex and difficult one - but a criminal problem nonetheless. We need to treat it more as a police approach than within a war context.
The people have spoken, may our leaders hear.
While I'm sympathetic to Manchester's notion that there are some in intellectuals circles who root for permanent defeat, something else is troubling- it's the discordance between Americans and The Long War concept, a phrase used in TH's post. Americans are notoriously impatient, and a "long war" is antithetical to our collective core. We don't tolerate murky, stalemated results. Vietnam was our first experience with a long war (10 years). It didn't sit well. Americans will never offer up 10 years again, absent extraorindary circumstances- which don't exist in Iraq. The Powell Doctrine reflects this reality.
Although the Bush Administration hedged its bets rhetorically, it didn't Iraq as a Long War. Quite the contrary, everyone's expectation was that it would be over quickly; ergo, no real need for post-war planning. Is it fair fair to chide Dems for not endorsing a long war concept when most Americans didn't either? I don't think so. GWB bet on a short, decisive victory. He got it in 3 weeks, but didn't anticipate the insurgency.
Tiger, this idea that if you let other people into George Bush's bubble they'd start thinking like him...I don't think that would be the case.
Skip, way to set up realistic expectations. Why don't you tell us how to perform workable cold-fusion. Try to be concrete.
Dan already said he views terrorism as a criminal problem. You don't "end the terror threat" any more than you "end crime". Terrorism as a method is here to stay because it works. Terrorism as an ideology (specifically Islamic terrorism) is best fought by subverting or replacing that ideology...just as we did with Russian Communism.
The reason intellectuals are against this war is because it's motivations and rationalizations are stupid. This war isn't stopping terrorism, it's spawning more.
Oh and now we have Lanky Bastard, whose definition of "bi partisan" is: forgo your constitutional perrogatives in the face of the Democrat's congressional control.
I really admire how you've so cleverly defined things to suit yourself LB.
this is really, just too cool:
You don't "end the terror threat" any more than you "end crime". Terrorism as a method is here to stay because it works
So terror is here to stay? We have to be ok with random attacks on our loved ones because well that's just terror and it's here to stay?
Let's live with crime too, because after all, its here to stay too, right? And it works, right Lanky Bastard? People hold up convenience stores because that's where the money is right?
This is what you're saying LB and it makes no sense: On the one hand you say that terror is here to stay then you use as an example the defeat of the soviets. I seriously doubt that even you know what you're talking about now.
Well, if you can't be concrete lanky bastard then you've got nothing. It all comes down to getting it done, right? How you gonna do that? Who are you trying to kid? If you're saying that you cannot be concrete then why would anyone do anything but laugh at you?
But I understand how you lofty thinkers don't like to come down from the ivory tower and actually, you know, do something, so I'll ask a question.
If fighting terror is police work, are you going to ask oh say the NYPD serve a subpoena on Zawahiri? Think he'll make bail LB? Dan? Oh wait, maybe because of habeus corpus or some such he'll be RoR and simply show up for his trial, right?
What I find amazing is how you guys can even say these things and expect to be taken seriously.
"What I find amazing is how you guys can even say these things and expect to be taken seriously."
Get used to it. It's the new direction of US policy, God willing and the people's voice being heard.
Seems We the people had a hard time taking you seriously.
Terrorism is a tactic. You won't be defeating a tactic anytime soon. Crime is a behavior that will also persist. Our government's job is to minimize the threat of both.
Our government has not minimized the threat of terrorism. The National Intelligence Estimate reported that Bush's excursion into Iraq coupled with rising anti-American sentiment has created more terrorists and more terrorism.
This is why many right-thinking people oppose Bush's strategery.
We will 'win' this 'war' by, as Tigerhawk likes to say, having a ideology of individual freedom and democracy win over an ideology of repression and totalitarianism. However, when many of us look at the Bush White House and its Republican enablers, we see a repressive group seeking more dictatorial powers.
This is antithetical to victory. Bush's approach is the opposite of what we need.
That's all. We're not treasonous, just sensible and disdainful of increased terrorism.
Well I see I'm here at a practice session of the American team, as it gets ready for the vacuous platitude olympics.
How nice that you can all spout such meaningless drivel while the muslims plot our destruction.
Let's see what Screwy hoolie has to say:
Terrorism is a tactic. You won't be defeating a tactic anytime soon. Crime is a behavior that will also persist. Our government's job is to minimize the threat of both.
I wonder, is it the fact that you called it a "tactic" that makes it invincible or is it your readiness to surrender to it?
Let's see, Dan says its a police matter, but can't tell me what that means. Lanky bastard says noboby can tell me what "terror is a police matter" means because we can't figure out cold fusion.
Now screwy says it's a police matter and we should accept a certain level of terror, just like crime.
Am I getting this right? You oh so intelligent guys are demanding that we use a "tactic" that you can't even describe and that you freely admit won't eliminate the problem and you're proud of yourselves?
here's another approach, see how you like this:
Another way to see how our anxious apologies and intolerance of suffering encourages the terrorist is to consider the case of Russia. For over a century Russia and then the USSR dominated and oppressed Central Asian Muslims. The Soviets then brutalized Afghanistan in an attempt to retain control over its government, and failed only because of the support of the West for the jihadists battling the Soviet army. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the attempt by Muslims in Chechnya to gain their independence has been brutally suppressed at the cost of perhaps 50,000 dead and the near destruction of it major city Grozny.
So is Russia, its hands red with Muslim blood, the “Great Satan” of the jihadists and their state sponsor, Iran? Of course not. The United States is: a country that never colonized or ruled a Muslim nation, a country that helped Muslims in Afghanistan, a country that liberated Muslim Kuwait, a country that bombed and killed Christian Serbs to protect Balkan Muslims, a country that has spent its blood and treasure getting rid of Iran’s most bitter enemy and the Shia Muslims’ worst oppressor, Saddam Hussein, a country that even now is fighting to empower Iran’s fellow Shiites. We are the Great Satan, while the Iranian mullocracy happily does business with the Russians and seldom says a word of condemnation against them.
Why is this so? Obviously, Russia serves Iran’s interests by helping with their nuclear development and protecting its interests on the Security Council. But there’s another important reason Russia’s much more extensive crimes against Islam are given a pass: the jihadists know the Russians are not susceptible to the therapeutic blackmail used against a self-loathing West. Russia uses brutal force to promote and defend its interests and doesn’t give a damn what the rest of the world thinks. Indeed, according to the latest report on the May 2005 Beslan massacre of school children by Chechnyan terrorists, the Russians initiated the fire-fight, callously sacrificing their own citizens in order to destroy the terrorists and perhaps send a message that hostage-taking isn’t going to work.
Note the critical term in this: therapeutic blackmail. You pompous gasbags want to feel all good inside about yourselves while not recognizing the nature of the threat.
Want to read the rest? http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/thornton111206.html
So here we have it: three guys who want to engage in therapeutic surrender to a "tactic" they believe the cannot defeat as opposed to the Russians who have killed enough jihadi shitheads to cow the rest.
I believe I have this right. here's the choice you oh so righteous prigs are offering: go the therapy route and learn to live with the random attacks. Rely on your faith to console you if someone you love is killed. After all, we deserve this as atonement for our sins and there's nothing we can do to stop it, so let's all join together and sing a comforting song, then ovaltine for the bunch!
Kill enough of these murderous madmen to disuade the rest. don't concern yourself with replacing one ideology with another until you've gotten their attention and you get their attention by acting in a manner they understand: kill or be killed.
What is it that the Russian know that you guys don't? It seems to me they know the minds of the jihadists, and you guys have no clue.
"We go after those responsible for terrorism without waging war on a desperate nation's innocent civilians."
Saddam was responsible for terrorism. In addition to funding and training Palestian terrorists he was the charitable host for a number of terrorist masterminds, some of whom were twisted even by terrorist standards (ref: Abu Nidal), and others who were wanted by the US. And don't forget the attempted assassination of a US president. Or the hundreds of times that the Iraqis fired at our aircraft conducting Operations Northern and Southern Watch.
There's this irritating trend of late to revise history and pretend that Saddam was a noisy mean little bastard child trapped in a sand box; annoying, but ultimately harmless. Hmph.
And if we were actually waging war on the innocent civilians of Iraq, there wouldn't be any of them left. I know that this is the kind of rhetoric that gets you folks all fired up and emotional, but it's wrong. We waged war on the *nation* of Iraq (for about 6 weeks) and its Army and security forces, but that's about it. Everything since has been reaction to hostile activity. If people would stop setting bombs and taking pot shots, we wouldn't have to shoot back would we?
"This war isn't stopping terrorism, it's spawning more."
In the same way that launching into the Pacific War wrought more violence, rather than less, right? There is an enemy, a global enemy that identifies itself as our global enemy, that needs to be defeated. And they are trumpeting as loudly as they can that our presumedly impending withdrawal from Iraq will be a huge victory for them and embolden a new generation of 'resistance fighters.' It's televised, it's in print, and it isn't being passed around the MSM media. Go to MEMRI TV and look around, or some assorted Arab blogs.
Like here: http://www.bigpharaoh.com/2006/11/10/al-qaeda-welcome-democrats-victory/
If you really want to create more terrorists, run away. If we up and leave Iraq, they have won. They have defeated another Superpower, and Islam is the way of the future and your children and grandchildren will bleed for it.
If we just sit there status quo, (like now) nothing is really accomplished and our fate is left in the hands of the Iraqi government. I don't know about you, but I don't really trust their competence.
If we kill them, (that is, kill enough of them to break the organizations' cohesiveness) we win by default.
One more thing, on Iran this time. (my favored enemy, though unfortunately I don't speak Farsi)
"We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization... we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them."
"The Americans are not ready to send a million men (to defeat the Islamic Republic)," Abbasi said. "Even economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic will fail thanks to opposition from the Western public opinion and the refusal of most countries to implement (them)."
"But it is not only the US that Abbasi wants to take on and humiliate. He has described Britain as "the mother of all evils". In his lecture he claimed that the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and the Gulf states were all "children of the same mother: the British Empire." As for France and Germany, they are "countries in terminal decline", according to Abbasi. "Once we have defeated the Anglo-Saxons the rest will run for cover," he told his audience."
In case you were wondering, these are the words of the Iranian President at a conference last year in Iran called World Without Zionism.
So in sum, Iran has already prepared terrorist strikes against 29+ Western targets and is actually counting on the weakness and soft heartedness of the Western powers when making his political calculations.
To the clueless Dems:
Iran has stated TODAY that it is a nuclear power. Like it or not. It has missiles that can reach most of Europe, soon it will have them that can reach ALL of Europe and the US.
It already has used Hezbollah to attack Argentinian Jews and Airmen in Saudi (Khobar Towers).
In reaction to Iran and North Korea getting nukes with no consequences, Egypt, Saudi, Morocco, and Algeria have formally announced nuke programs. UAE and Tunisia have started them with no announcement. Turkey, Yemen are also starting their programs according to the NYT.
I make that TEN current nuclear powers with an additional EIGHT in the next five-ten years at the most.
To what do offer in the way of preventing NYC, LA, DC from being nuked Dems? Iraq, the Crusades, Danish Cartoons, Israel, the Pope, Spain (Muslims want it back); Greece and the Balkans (ditto); Sicily and Southern Italy and Southern France (ditto); whatever ...
Anything and everything produces "Muslim Rage" because Muslims see that Islam has failed in EVERYTHING. Globalization hammers that home (quick name ONE world-class Muslim company). They are world-class failures about to be washed away by Chinese and American productivity as soon as their oil runs out. Hence the rage.
If Pelosi and Company announced a Dem platform of "nuke em first" on Iran; and a policy of strategic level (read they are all dead) retaliation on any nation even suspected of being involved in a nuke attack they'd get my vote. For decades.
Why do you think Osama didn't fly planes into Shanghai skyscrapers? China has a huge Muslim separatist problem?
BEcause China would rock and roll at the drop of a hat, to quote Pacino in Heat. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi alone would have gone up in a nuclear slag heap within a day.
Yeah this is ugly. Welcome to the Party Pal. To Quote Willis in Die Hard. This life in the post-Cold War era and people warned you of it since 1991.
Pelosi and Reid know full well what the situation is. They simply don't care and would rather have the domestic win instead.
Democrats are like small children in this regard. They crave instant gratification over long term goals.
See, here we are again with the idea that there's enormous mandate for doing things a radically different way, that the People's voice wasn't being heard before, but now it's going to be put into place.
2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 - all close elections. Nothing happened since 2000 that didn't have at least some Democrats on board. They were heard; you were heard, Dan. That we didn't do things exactly as you wished, and you regard that as not being heard, is the mark of a narcissist. Not necessarily you personally, you understand. But the perception of having to give any ground as being shut out altogether is common to the Democrats, particularly the more liberal wing. It is also common in personality disorders.
Your flip side is of the same pattern: With a 50-49 bare majority, you and your guys are sure that The People are behind you, and you're going to make it go your way. And anyone who tries to slow that up - with debate, with compromise, with filibuster, with veto - is clearly thwarting the Will of the People. This is all sounding very Trotskyite - you should be more careful where you draw your rhetoric.
Where to go next? Screwy (I think) mentions the NIE report that suggests we might possibly be increasing the number of terrorists, but leaves out the recommendations resulting from that tentative conclusion. People are sure that George Bush is doing exactly the wrong thing and making it worse, but have cliches for counterproposals.
Look. Too many of the arguments are stated in such extreme form that they couldn't possibly be true. The whole world doesn't think we were wrong to free Iraq and Afghanistan. We didn't have everyone on our side on 9/12. The American people have not spoken with any unified voice about our Iraq policy. There is a vague consensus that it may be costing us more than we'd like. That's all.
Observation: When people claim that something is just common sense, or what everyone knows, I find that they are often describing a thought that everyone in their tribe knows, and asserting that their tribe's views should be paramount. That is very dangerous and undemocratic thinking.
TH, thanks for linking my article, and to all for discussing it.
Cakrez, I think that the worst outcome of the Vietnam war was the development of the Powell Doctrine, which is a series of excuses never to go to war. The only thing an enemy has to do to succeed is to make his conflict NOT resemble one of the few in which the Powell Doctrine would allow the US to intervene. Then they're golden.
Your point is well taken. Not long ago, I heard Michael Scheuer say that when the Bush administration began to call this thing the Long War, that Zawahri must have been dancing in his cave, because a long war is something that they CAN win, whereas we have no attention span for it.
Say what you want about Scheuer (I for one, have no idea what would please him) but he has a point.
Really K Pablo? I was actually astounded by SkipSailing's inability to grasp what people were saying. Not too mention the not-so-subtle anger in his writing. I'd try to word it differently for him, but I don't think he's serious about actually thinking outside his little box. I see a fundamental difference on how conservatives view terrorism (if skip's philosophy sums up their beliefs). I disagree with your philosophy Skip and I think you will be proven wrong. That doesn't make me cut-and-run, terrorist-loving or unAmerican. I'm not against war because killing is mean. I think, tactically, conventional war is a bad move. Especially when there isn't any movement to understand, win over or eliminate the elements in muslim society that breeds terrorists. Bombing and invading is just one of many fronts in this war, and I think it should be used sparingly.
And now we have a fourth member of the American team that's getting ready for the vacuous platitude olympics.
Let's see, should we grade this like the figure skating competition? You know: Technical and artistic merit?
If it's artistic, gotta go for Lanky Bastard's contention that no one can actually reduce "its a police action" to a set of concrete steps because its everybit as complicated cold fusion.
yeah, let's base our response to mulsim terror on an approach that its proponents cannot even describe. there's a winner.
Now that's artistic. Of course the art is sophistry, but I quibble.
Technical merit has got to go to Catchy. Why? Clearly he used to most words to convey the least meaning of anyone on the team.
Hey, catchy, maybe they'll let you carry the flag at the opening ceremony!!!!
I must extend my congratulations to you guys though. You beat something with nothing. Lucky for you, too because nothing is all you've got.
You like that phrase don't you "vacuous platitude". I guess you think it makes you sound clever. It doesn't by the way. As far as meaning, your last post was devoid of it. Or was it your bloviated pretentious way of saying you disagree.
"I see a fundamental difference on how conservatives view terrorism"-- is that not clear enough for you?
"I disagree with your philosophy Skip and I think you will be proven wrong." -- hmmm try to tease meaning out of that.
"I think, tactically, conventional war is a bad move." -- what could I possible mean by that.
Skip, you don't want to discuss anything. You want jump up and down on your soapbox and sound like a dick when you do it. And, I guess, write cheesy crap like your olympics metaphor.
I look forward to your banal spew.
Chester, our point on Powell is well taken: it usually defaults against the use of force. But I believe it realistically gauges our inability to engage in a long war, a critical failing. It gives a decided and predictable advantage to a patient counterinsurgent opponent. And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
...the worst outcome of the Vietnam war was the development of the Powell Doctrine, which is a series of excuses never to go to war.
Oh dear God. I just fell in love with Chester :)
I say that all the time.