In all seriousness though Linz, one question you've never answered despite myself and others asking you several times: If those who opposed the invasion of Iraq are Saddamites, how does that logic apply to Rand's opposition to an invasion of Soviet Russia? (or Nazi Germany/Korea/Vietnam etc). Shall we try and imagine how Stalin or Khruschev would have felt reading her comments?Matthew,
Though I am not Linz, let me take a stab at answering the first question. In short, because the context in the Nazi and Soviet cases was completely different from the current Islamist one. (The Vietnam case is largely subsumed under the Soviet one.)
A.) The Nazis sank the Reuben James off the coast of Iceland in peacetime, but did not murder 3,000 civilians and military personnel in sneak attacks on Tribeca and the Pentagon. The USSR, whatever atrocities it committed against our allies and innocent third parties, did not pose a serious military threat to the United States itself until the last 30 years of Soviet history, and by then the US had an adequate deterrent force in place to forestall any attack.
B.) Any such Soviet nuclear attack would have come from an indisputable, unique source, and would have triggered massive retaliation. Islam, by contrast, practices asymmetrical warfare using, instead of soldiers, terrorists disguised as civilians. Various Islamic governments, both secular and religious, have been pursuing nuclear weapons programs with varying degrees of success. Our European allies are oblivious to the danger this represents to civilization and continue to sell them industrial equipment having nuclear potential. Terrorist groups are moving almost inexorably towards being able to wage nuclear asymmetrical warfare. Nuclear weapons have proliferated enormously in the intervening decades and it would be impossible for us to tell from what nation's clandestine program a particular suitcase bomb that exploded on our shores had come. This make the deterrent effect of possible retaliation problematic.
C.) Outside of a few elite circles and a few circles of inbred troglodytes, the American people were largely immune to the contagion of socialist ideology in both its National and International strains. Today, with the political, the mass media, and especially the academic elites of our country practically soaking in politically correct multiculturalism, as in a kind of embalming fluid, the situation is very different. Some of the most prestigious law firms and public relations firms in Washington are in the pay of the Saudi royal family and other Islamist governments and radical groups. They bribe, er, lobby, our legislators and bureaucrats to enact policies favorable to them. This affects everything from our foreign policy to our educational curriculum.
Schoolchildren from locales as widely scattered as California and Arkansas are taught to dress and pray as Muslims in government school rooms that have however been purged of all Judeo-Christian religious symbolism as a matter of Constitutional law. The Saudis have brought about a Wahhabi revival among America's (previously) predominantly secular Muslim population by building the vast majority of mosques in the United States and staffing them with an exclusively Wahhabi and anti-American clergy. Scarcely a voice is heard raised against any of this among the public policy makers.
Wahhabi missionary activity, funded by oil money, has also been making inroads in sub-Saharan Africa and many other areas of the world, with frighteningly rapid success. Among animist Africans, for example, Christian missionary activity has been almost wholly displaced in recent decades by Wahhabi activity financed by the Saudis and others religious Arab nations.
D.) Germany was a growing country in demographic terms in 1930. Its relatively high birthrate had plunged by the post-war era, leaving it of no lasting demographic threat to the West in general or to America in particular. At any rate, there was no large number of belligerent Germans seeking to immigrate to the United States before or during the war. The Soviet Union had anemic, if any, total demographic growth throughout its history. During the last decades of Soviet rule, the population of European Soviets was in marked decline, with only the Islamic regions of Soviet Central Asia increasing in population. Occupying a vast, sparsely populated land from which the effects of Communism were slowly killing off the peoples of European descent, the USSR represented no demographic threat to civilization. This is in contrast to Islam which is currently growing quite rapidly by both natural increase and by the missionary activity cited above. The Palestinian Arabs, for example, have the highest birthrate of any ethnic group in the world.
So the Islamist movement, absent change, will be a bigger problem in the future than it is now. And the Islamists are not staying put but are immigrating (or, at least, as in the case of the 9/11 hijackers, moving,) to Western Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Canada. If current demographic trends continue, France might well become the first Islamic power in Western Europe. During the last rounds of Cold War disarmament talks, France was credited with the independent nuclear capability to destroy 200 population centers in the western Soviet Union. Imagine that kind of power in the hands of a Muslim ruler.
Unless these ideological trends are changed, and changed decisively, the future will be very grim indeed. Western nations allow Muslims to publish, broadcast, and seek converts freely on their territory. Muslim nations do not allow Westerners to do anything of the kind. Currently there is almost no mechanism by which the typical subject of Arab (or many other Islamic) nations can become aware of the extent to which his worldview is based on false propaganda spread by his government and/or religious sect. Military force is the only thing that can break this information embargo in the time available.
E.) America faced a formidable conventional military foe in the Third Reich, whose army was much larger than ours in the years leading up to the war. The Wehrmacht has been almost universally rated by military experts as being the finest army to engage in that war, in terms of its overall fighting quality. The Red Army, by contrast, was not equal to the United States Army in overall quality. But it was substantially larger. Both Germany and the Soviet Union were distant from North America, creating a severe logistics problem for a military planner contemplating an amphibious or land operation to be launched in either direction. The Soviet Union had the additional advantage in defending itself of having an enormous area that would have to be conquered, with vast distances creating logistics problems for any attacker, as, in the event, they did for Kleist and his colleagues. With these considerations in mind, it makes sense that Ayn Rand would not wish America to fight a powerful enemy conventional force on the other side of the Atlantic.
The current situation with respect to Islam is entirely different. The Islamic nations (except, unfortunately, Pakistan) and especially the Arab nations are militarily puny. With their revenue from their theft of the petroleum industry that had been developed by Western corporations, with our easy transportation and communications, with our liberal immigration policies, with our endemic multiculturalism, with our rule of law, with our treasonous left-wing defense attorneys, with our criminally negligent and chronically unprepared intelligence agencies, and with the insane fanaticism of the Islamists' cult, the enemy forces enjoy an overwhelming advantage in asymmetric (terror) warfare. And the potential penalties to us for losing this asymmetric war, as I will note below, are enormous.
Distances have shrunk from the 1940s. The jet engine, container ships, fiber optics, satellite communications, and a much larger American economy have combined to shrink the military significance of the Atlantic. Now, our enemies can strike our shores more easily, making war against our civilians in their homes. Conversely, our forces can carry the war to the enemy more easily than in 1942.
Faced with a conflict we did not choose, in a context where we enjoy the advantage in conventional war, but suffer from a crushing disadvantage in fighting terrorism, with the stakes as dire as they are, it makes sense for us to think strategically and fight the war under circumstances that favor our side.
F.) Red China sold nuclear technology to Pakistan, and Pakistan now has the bomb. North Korea has an advanced nuclear program. Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program. There have been persistent rumors of nuclear materials and technology missing from the vast arsenals of the former Soviet Union. With modern computing power and materials technology, it is becoming easier and easier to build a nuclear device. New technologies for enriching uranium are inherently more concealable than the those used by the United States in the infancy of the nuclear age. New bomb designs require much less fuel to create a chain reaction than those used by Fat Man or Little Boy. These new designs are increasingly available to any interested government with scientists, engineers, and personal computers at its disposal. Western estimates of the number of bombs available to Pakistan, India, and North Korea, based on the estimated quantities of fissionable material at their disposal, assume crude designs very wasteful of fuel by modern American standards. If these countries have in fact the technology to make more advanced bombs, it implies that they might have much smaller but far more numerous bombs in their respective arsenals than normally believed.
If several nuclear bombs, or possibly if only one nuclear bomb, explode in American cities (or possibly just one city) the President, or whoever is left alive as acting President, will declare a state of national emergency and the Bill of Rights will be suspended. At that point the entire territory of the United States will in effect be under martial law. This is not merely a matter of conjecture on my part. I have read summaries of legislation and executive orders passed during the Cold War and never rescinded. Observe how on 9/11 Air Force One evacuated the President to the American heartland in echo of plans that were made during the Cold War in anticipation of a hypothetical Soviet strike.
With the well-known devotion to the Constitutional order evinced by any of our recent administrations to serve as a guide, would anyone care to wager on how long it would then take to restore the regular civilian rule of law? Observe further that we do not have _habeas corpus_ for certain terror suspects such as Citizen Padilla _now_, in the absence of Islamic mushroom clouds. Detainees have been denied the right of counsel. At least initially, this applied even to some US citizens. If the President of that future time is a power luster, as most recent presidents have been, I would not put the chance of normal representative rule in under 2 years at better than 50%. It is quite possible that we would never get it back.
The possibility that Islamic terrorists (or agents acting on behalf of North Korea) will attempt to smuggle a nuclear bomb into this country is very real. Our coastlines and land borders are long and notoriously porous. Large shipments of illegal narcotics and guns are already smuggled across the Mexican border and the Gulf coast regularly. Canada has refused to assist us by adopting uniform rules for entry at international airports and seaports. Regular drug smugglers and "coyotes" are known to have performed services for al-Queda operatives prior to 9/11. The consequences of even one such nuclear bomb exploding in an urban area will be grave not only for us but for all of Western civilization.
In this circumstance, the only deterrent that we have is a recognition on the part of our enemies that we are a dangerous and unpredictable foe, and that they goad us at their peril. We have rested complacent in the face of their atrocities for decades, and therefore they have been emboldened. In the dawn of modern state-sponsored terrorism, targeted strikes would have been sufficient to warn the Muslim leaders away from cooperating with (the then Soviet trained and supplied) terrorists. But now it is too late for mere targeted strikes to be effective. Our enemies have grown too insolent and too contemptuous of our will. It is necessary for as many of the offending regimes to fall as possible. I do not advocate nation building. While I recognize Rand's radical legacy, our current circumstance is a rare one in which the unleashing of more rather than less military force is the only safe and prudent course for those who love liberty.