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Post 20

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 8:39amSanction this postReply
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Jonathan Rick: “History suggests not.” Jonathan, since we are talking about WMD that can destroy New York City and since we are considering Saddam, given his character and history ... one would hope you could do better than “suggests!” It really does sound like you give Saddam the benefit of the doubt as Linz charges. I still believe that the evidence at the time tips the scale towards military action.

It’s not completely clear but it seems to me that the "anti-war" fraction is not branding coalition actions as “unjust” or “evil” as one would do if we invaded Spain, for example. For those who are “anti-war,” is it just a question of prudence – the costs being greater then the gain? If so, this seems far more an argument of fact than of principle. But given how tempers start to flare, is there a more profound disagreement - one on principle?

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 9:36am)

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 9:36am)




Post 21

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 9:43amSanction this postReply
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Jason: "Suggests" is a polite, or scholarly, way to say "no." Please quibble all you want with semantics--phraseology is supremely important--but I think the evidence I amass substantiates the verb.

>we are talking about WMD that can destroy New York City
No. As Hitchens points out in A Long Short War, the only real W.M.D. is the thermonuclear type, and Saddam never had any.

>Saddam, given his character and history
I suggest you read my thesis for insight into character and history.

>those who are “anti-war” is it just a question of prudence -- the costs being greater then the gain?
In my view, Saddam's deterability--as Tom Friedman has explained, unlike Al Qaeda members, he loved life more than he loved death--made the war unnecessary.




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Post 22

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 9:54amSanction this postReply
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Jason, I can only speak for myself.  There are those who would decry as unjust any involvement of the US overseas.  And, quite frankly, in an ideal world, I too would like to see Americans involved in far more "transformative" cultural engagement (rather than political and military engagement) with Islamic countries, given that this is a cultural and philosophical war against "radical fundamentalist Islam."  And given the remarkable capacity of technology to transmit ideas to people behind Iron Curtains---or Muslim Veils---the victory of rational values is something that I still believe possible.

That doesn't mean the US must stand by waiting for a cultural transformation at home and abroad in order to defend American life, liberty, and property.  I have never argued that the internal contradictions of US politics or that what Rand called the "New Fascism" of the American political system required inaction.  I would never have advocated an invasion of Afghanistan if I believed that. 

From my very first article on the subject of Iraq, I never argued that it was "unjust" to topple Saddam Hussein.  But I do believe it was/is a real question of prudence and strategy.  There are no questions in politics that can be divorced from costs and benefits.  This is not the same as philosophic pragmatism.  It was, after all, "pragmatist" policymaking that led the US to get involved in all sorts of interventionist schemes overseas that nourished anti-American sentiment. 

The central guiding principle of US foreign policy must be to defend American freedom and only American freedom.   I never thought I'd be quoting Peter Schwartz, given my criticisms of him, but as I say here:

the freedom philosophy of the U.S. “does not mean we ought to declare war on every tyrant in the world. Before we decide to wage war,” Schwartz explains, “there must exist a serious threat to our freedom. Our government is not the world’s policeman. It is, however, America’s policeman” (15). This is why, Schwartz maintains, foreign policy cannot be “divorced from the moral principle of freedom. If freedom is the basic value being safeguarded, then our foreign policy can give us unambiguous guidelines: we use our power to preserve that value—and only to preserve that value” (65). For Schwartz, then, thankfully, “it is not our business to resolve some distant conflict centering on which sub-tribe should enslave the other.” Indeed, when the proper moral goal is left undefended or undefined, “everything [becomes] our business,” and what results is an unprincipled, “ad hoc foreign policy” (67).

Precisely because this is a war against "radical fundamentalist Islam," as Michael Dickey says above, I didn't see the prudence in going into Iraq, with very questionable intelligence, to topple a dictator who was a Pan-Arabist thorn in the side of fundamentalists within Iraq and theocrats within a hostile Iran.  Just as the US was able to exploit the differences between Communist China and Communist Russia because Communism was never a monolith, so too can the US exploit the differences within the Islamic world, because Islam is not a monolith either.  In fact, Iraq was among the more secular of the regimes in the Arab-Islamic Middle East, its ties to Al Qaeda were not demonstrated, the evidence for WMDs was very shaky at best, and it was being held in check by both a growing US presence post-9/11, and by a vigilant Israel in the west. 

Entering that arena, I warned, would unleash all the awful tribal, ethnic, and religious conflicts within Iraq, which would become a ward of the US.  At this point, I don't see how the US can quickly disengage, but by the same token, I don't see how a long-term occupation of that country is going to serve US security needs.

So, yes, I think most of us are agreed---or should agree---on principle.  But as I said in my critique of Schwartz, I think that the adherence to "principle," in disregard of historical context and real conditions, is a lethal rationalist error.

Perhaps if people focused more on the principles most of us hold in common, however, they would be less apt to brand their interlocutors as dishonest.  Yes, there are dishonest interlocutors out there.  But I don't presume that everyone who disagrees with me is dishonest. 




Post 23

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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Actually, I knew your answer Chris and I was going to add “except for Chris” to spare you the umpteenth restatement. However, seeing you quote Schwartz for support is priceless. Class – pure class ... and from Brooklyn, too! In any case, hopefully others will enjoy and put your comments in proportion.

Regards, Jason (born Queens, NY)




Post 24

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:22amSanction this postReply
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Sorry, Jonathan, I see nothing new in what you present in your lengthy article. My position is that it was prudent given what we knew and would not have been prudent if we had better intelligence. However, if one is on the line, as I was, it would take an article longer than yours to explain. I find your completely unequivocal conclusion absurd. Given the whole picture and not just cherry-picking data or given credence to preferred reports, Saddam was a gathering threat making military action a responsible option. By the way, I was against nation-building.

My arguments are based on prudence, not the overwhelming veto power of general moral principles simply applied. I have the utmost respect for the motivations of coalition supporters and the men and women of the military. But I can respect opponents who say they were just not convinced that the military option should have been undertaken at that moment. That’s why I asked point blank: is it a prudential analysis that leads you to conclude that we should invest military/intelligence resources elsewhere? Or do you think it is obvious and morally wrong? It’s a simple question.

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 11:23am)




Post 25

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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Jason: Whatever weapons Saddam had or didn’t have is irrelevant to the principle of deterrence. A year before she became National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice explained how the United States should react if Iraq acquired a nuclear weapon: “[T]he first line of defense should be a clear and classical statement of deterrence—if they do acquire W.M.D., their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.”

 

> I find your completely unequivocal conclusion absurd.

I think you mean equivocal; unequivocal means perfectly clear. Nonetheless, the conclusion of my thesis is clear: while others may argue for the primacy of democratization or liberation, I’ve addressed what I believe are the most compelling casus belli, which I find lacking. For me, this means the war was unnecessary (not unjust).

 

But, again, to make a judgment on the war’s justification in toto, I’d need to assess the other justifications. It may well turn out that I find the "Obsolescence of Deterrence" thesis even more compelling.

 

> Saddam was a gathering threat making military action a responsible option.

Yes, this is why the war was preventive, not preemptive. See http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/data/p/04141.html and http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/data/p/04141.html.

 

> is it a prudential analysis that leads you to conclude that we should invest military/intelligence resources elsewhere? Or do you think it is . . . morally wrong? It’s a simple question.

Simple answer: Yes. No.

 

BTW, the reason my "article" is lengthy is because it's a thesis.

(Edited by Jonathan Rick on 1/11, 12:16pm)




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Post 26

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:48pmSanction this postReply
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Chris says:
At this point, I don't see how the US can quickly disengage, but by the same token, I don't see how a long-term occupation of that country is going to serve US security needs.
Why would so many Al Qaedas and surrounding fundamentalist trash -- who, even if not officially on the the AQ payroll, are certainly enemies -- be fighting for their lives in Iraq if a stable, democratic future didn't threaten them severely?

I do not mean in any way to undermine troop casualties, but 1,350 deceased soldiers doesn't come close to having the impact that one bomb going off in a US mall would have, killing 20. Can you imagine the hysteria that would cause, the damage to our economy? There must be a reason Al Qaeda and the terrorists are so concerned about Iraq to see fit to spend their resources on trying to discourage an American presence (or influence) in that region.

Alec




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Post 27

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:49pmSanction this postReply
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Jonathan,

"Saddam received great utility, at negligible cost, from publicly awarding those checks. It was a creative way to swashbuckle onto the world stage, to present himself as spitting in the face of the invincible “Zionists,” thereby gaining him prestige on the Arab street and moving himself closer to realizing his dream as uniter and overload of the Arab world. His goal was symbolic, not strategic."

As if symbology doesn't matter?  What is objectivism's emphasis on romantic art and literature if not a recognition of the importance of symbols?  Think about it for a second, the world trade center goes down, people all over the Arab world are jumping up and down in the streets cheering.  Like some sports team had just won a world title.  That is pure blood lust.  Whatever drives that emotional reaction is the true weapon of mass destruction.  I think it was right for the US to react very strongly to 9/11 and Saddam was a deserving target.  It was appropriate to target a Stalin-like dictatorship, like Saddam's regime, with lots of blood on it's hands as an example.  A weak reaction by the US would guarantee more 9/11's, and more cheering in Arab streets.





Post 28

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 1:12pmSanction this postReply
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Alec: “Why would so many Al Qaedas and surrounding fundamentalist trash -- who, even if not officially on the the AQ payroll, are certainly enemies -- be fighting for their lives in Iraq if a stable, democratic future didn't threaten them severely?”

Excellent question. You and I know the answer: Our success in Iraq is the beginning of the end for the long-range goals of Islamists.

Jon




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Post 29

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 1:35pmSanction this postReply
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Michael Dickey writes:
...the enemy is not merely Al Qaida, but it is all of fundamentalist statist ideology.
Bad and/or false ideas can be fought only with better/true ideas, not force.



Post 30

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 2:08pmSanction this postReply
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Mike: Symbolic gestures matter, but symbols aren't a casus belli, especially when they aren't directed at the U.S.

 

> Whatever drives that emotional reaction is the true weapon of mass destruction.

 

I agree. Tom Friedman calls this weapon "People of Mass Destruction": “[W]hat threatens us most from the Arab-Muslim world were the ‘people of mass destruction’—the P.M.D.s—produced by failing Arab states. These P.M.D.s are undeterrable because they hate us more than they love life. These are young Muslim men and women ready to commit suicide, spurred by their own humiliation at how far behind the rest of the world their civilization has fallen and by bad ideas—ideas of intolerance, anti-pluralism, and anti-modernism, produced in a cauldron of misgovernance and religious obscurantism.”

 

> I think it was right for the U.S. to react very strongly to 9/11 and Saddam was a deserving target.

Yes, 9/11 demanded the most vigorous response. And, yes, Saddam deserved to die. Very few dispute that. But Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

 

> It was appropriate to target a Stalin-like dictatorship, like Saddam's regime, with lots of blood on it's [sic] hands.
With very little U.S. blood, war was unnecessary.

 

> A weak reaction by the U.S. would guarantee more 9/11's, and more cheering in Arab streets

A weak reaction to 9/11, i.e., Al Qaeda.




Post 31

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 2:11pmSanction this postReply
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Rick,

Islamism is not just an idea. You fight bad ideas “only” with better ones if your opponent is a professor. If you are Churchill and followers/implementers of that idea are murdering thousands of your citizens—then you produce and deploy lots of bombers, not publish a lot of books.

Jon




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Post 32

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 2:46pmSanction this postReply
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C’mon Jonathan, your article is better than your one-liners. Shall we become reduced to a one-liner Rodney Dangerfield style of analysis?

But Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

Mussolini had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor.

With very little U.S. blood, war [with Iraq] was unnecessary.

You would have said that about Afghanistan on 9/10.

 

Yes, I can play the same silly game.

 

The point is there is a conceptual link to 9/11 – we have allied enemies, who share similar goals and methods (with variations on the theme), and we must not wait until we are struck. After 9/11 we realized that our old way of proceeding had to be questioned. It’s not a criminal prosecution of individuals responsible for an act – i.e. Al Qaeda. There many more who will come after Al Qaeda. 

 

It is a war and a war consists of many battles. Not every battle will be wise in retrospect or fought wisely. Perhaps the battle of Iraq is one of them; we shall see. The enemy is not formally organized nor does he stand in the open and amassed at our border. We need to review longstanding policies in light of the new reality and the above one-liners – either yours or mine – just won’t get us there.

 

What’s lacking from the war is a propaganda war. We use military force while praising the enemy’s ideology! We expect them to change without any criticism – for fear of being insensitive. We’d like them to adopt our ways – but it’s just an alternative culture/lifestyle. We want to liberate them – but we won’t tell them what liberty is and why it is better than Islamic servitude. We aren't using our most potent weapon. We are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. Or perhaps I should say without our minds!




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Post 33

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 3:19pmSanction this postReply
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Alec asks:  "Why would so many Al Qaedas and surrounding fundamentalist trash -- who, even if not officially on the the AQ payroll, are certainly enemies -- be fighting for their lives in Iraq if a stable, democratic future didn't threaten them severely?"  He adds:  "I do not mean in any way to undermine troop casualties, but 1,350 deceased soldiers doesn't come close to having the impact that one bomb going off in a US mall would have, killing 20. Can you imagine the hysteria that would cause, the damage to our economy? There must be a reason Al Qaeda and the terrorists are so concerned about Iraq to see fit to spend their resources on trying to discourage an American presence (or influence) in that region."

Alec, the answer is apparent.  There are Al Qaeda and fundamentalist forces fighting in Iraq---I have not denied that.  And those forces increased in their number in Iraq because of the US invasion, because such forces wish to target Americans wherever they are.  That's what many have dubbed the "magnet theory"---that US presence would simply attract the fundamentalists like, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor, moths to a flame.  But Al Qaeda was not a genuine presence in Iraq prior to the US invasion.  And it is still not the dominant insurgency in Iraq, which is most likely Ba'athist in nature, since it is their central concern to fight the establishment of a majoritarian Shi'ite government.  That's a conflict that is quite apart from the US war with Al Qaeda. 

In any event, why should the US have targeted the relatively secular Iraq, with its lethal Sunni-Shi'ite-Kurdish inter-squabbles, as a way of testing this "magnet" theory?  It could just as well have put 150,000 troops into one of the fundamentalist heartlands of Al Qaeda:  right in Afghanistan.  Instead, troop strength was diluted as the US prepared for an Iraq war that was on the radar from the beginning.  Instead, too much responsibility was put in the hands of Afghan warlords who owe allegiance to no one but themselves.  Instead, Bin Laden is still at large.

Now, it would be nice if the "magnet" theory were literally true:  That Iraq was suddenly attracting all this "fundamentalist trash," and that other areas were being spared.  But other areas are not being spared.  And if an Al Qaeda attack comes to US soil, as almost every intelligence agency predicts, what will this "magnet" theory have proved?  We can't even say that the "magnet" strategy would have delayed an Al Qaeda attack on domestic soil---because Al Qaeda is known to take its time between attacks, and most of their attacks have a certain well-planned, "spectacular" quality about them. 

Now, I agree with you:  a bomb going off in the US would have a much more intense effect than the killing of Americans abroad.  (And I can't imagine what another attack might do to the state of civil liberties at home.)  My central fear is not a bomb going off in a US mall.  It's a coordinated attack on the New York City subway system.  They could take out tens of thousands of people if they simply strap themselves up with dynamite and get onto subways in the outer boroughs, during rush hour, detonating themselves as trains enter tunnels or Manhattan destinations like Times Square, Penn Station, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, etc.  And think of the added effect if some of these characters are carrying chemical or biological agents with them.

Precisely why I believe that Al Qaeda, the agency responsible for the 9/11 attack should be targeted, marginalized, and obliterated.  This is a nonstate criminal fundamentalist insurgency with global reach that needs to be attacked in ways that upset its financial networks, expose its terrorist cells, destroy its terrorist camps and root out its state-sponsored supporters everywhere (including especially the supporters that can be found among US "allies" in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia). 

Speaking of the "propaganda war," btw:  Muslim groups were actually objecting to the fact that the hot television series, "24," is featuring a domestic Islamic terrorist cell as part of its fourth season of storytelling.  What nonsense.  As co-creator of the show, Joel Surnow, has explained:  Enough is enough:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, meanwhile, has already protested this season's portrayal of Muslims. Though Mr. Surnow says that later episodes will include positive Muslim characters, he makes no apologies for focusing on the bad guys (and one very bad woman, played by the Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, of "The House of Sand and Fog"). He regrets that he "pulled punches" a couple of seasons back by using generic terrorists of murky provenance with indefinable accents. "This year we deal with it," he says. "This is what we fear - Islamic terrorism. This is what we are fighting."

Bravo, Joel Surnow!

As a tangential point:  If I were such an "antiwar" pacifist, I can't imagine why my favorite TV show running for the 4th straight season would remain this superb series.  I just finished watching the first four hours broadcast over two days, Sunday and Monday of this week, and I'm hooked all over again.  :)




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Post 34

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 3:24pmSanction this postReply
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Alec,

 

The final irony in this type of discussion is the fact that there is indeed a tremendous amount of proper criticism that should be leveled against American policy, both past and present, in regards to the Middle East.

Criticism such as why did we proceed so timidly, why did we wait far to long to strike, when we will stop apologizing for our actions, why did we humiliate ourselves in front of the UN, why do we continue to show such deference to the other threats that loom even larger (Iran), why is George Bush so soft and slow to act decisively…. all of these questions are buried beneath the mud swamp of having to defend our liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq along with the elimination of tens of thousands of our most fanatical enemies.

 

All this endless drivel and parlor-game analysis has but one result: a paralyzing effect on the moral certainty of our nations people and leaders. Those self-flagellating Moslem fanatics have nothing over the self-flagellating intellectuals of the West. Our stupendously ignorant enemy succeeds only to the degree that we allow him to.

 

My greatest fear is that we are witnessing a tragedy in the making: defeat by means of self-doubt, inertia, and in some cases - outright betrayal.

 

George




Post 35

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 3:51pmSanction this postReply
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Jon: Nobody said that Islamism is just an idea! Rather, Friedman's point is that the war on "teror," like WW2, is ultimately a war of ideas. (See my essay in the Free Radical titled "Ideas Matters.") In the present, of course, it's a physical war.

Jason: Thanks for the laugh, but I responded with one-liners because elaboration was unnecessary.

Regarding your point that Al Qaeda and Iraq are ideological allies (I think this is what you meant), as I wrote in http://students.hamilton.edu/2005/jrick/911.htm:

"Alas, such views are all-too familiar, and evoke the alleged communist monolith of the Cold War. As Jeffrey Record observes in a 2003 monograph published by the U.S. Army War College, American policymakers in the 1950s held that a commie anywhere was a commie everywhere, and that all posed an equal threat to the U.S. Such conceptions, however, blinded us to key differences within the “bloc.” Ineluctably, the Vietcong—like the Baath today—became little more than an extension of Kremlin—or Qaeda—designs, thus leading Americans needlessly into our cataclysm in Southeast Asia, as in Iraq today."

But "rather than exploit our national tragedy to lump all threats together, strategic discrimination should supersede moral clarity. We must distinguish between Al Qaeda, a highly adaptable, decentralized, clandestine network of cells dispersed throughout the world, whose assets after Operation Enduring Freedom are essentially mobile, and rogue states, which comprise institutions of overt, bordered governments with capitals to bomb, ambassadors to recall, and economies to sanction.

"Whereas fanatical fundamentalists hate “infidels” more than they love their own lives, secular nationalists love their lives more than they hate us. Whereas suicide bombers are bent on martyrdom as a means to copulate with 72 virgins, Baathists focus on their fortunes here and now. Whereas Osama’s ilk is simply undeterrable, thus justifying the aforesaid shift, Saddam was always eminently deterrable, and failed to warrant such change.

(Edited by Jonathan Rick on 1/11, 3:56pm)




Post 36

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 5:38pmSanction this postReply
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George, you are so right. The important constructive criticism is totally lost in the loud cacophony of anti-American propaganda; it becomes useless to even try. The vast majority of attacks are what I call rhetorical spam – just about anything is thrown out hoping something will stick. The whole Kerry campaign had this kind of crap – like (in a deep resonant voice of moral scorn) “we went it alone” just because France wasn’t helping us.

 

The honest criticism that I can respectfully disagree with is too rare but still deserves to be addressed. However, as I’ve said to my many friends who are for a tough defense, believe we are moral and great but have differences about the current policy: no one can hear you! In the vast hate-American barrage, your voice won’t be notice or worse, it will be distorted.

 

Jonathan, my man, you’re tearing down a straw man. I’ve viewed the choice to remove Saddam as a strategic action – not the main goal of fighting Islamism. The monolith is just a fictional concept that doesn’t exist – you’re swinging at windmills. Who actually advocates the complete identity of all Arab and Muslims countries? Who would say invading Syria, Morocco, or Indonesia is equally worthwhile as invading Iraq? Look, you and I are surely repeating arguments we’ve had 100 times before on other boards and locales. And it requires reams of paper (or megabytes of hard disk) to just get us to the same places we’ve been to before. Pardon me if I let you have the last word in your next post.

 

Good point, Chris. The prohibition against referring to the identity of the enemy is bizarre. I'm more interested in our cultural handicaps that don’t even allow for a rational debate about whom we are fighting. Oh, that's right, we are fighting terrorism just like 60 years ago we were fighting Blitzkreig - actions but no entities!

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 5:44pm)

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 5:47pm)

(Edited by Jason Pappas on 1/11, 6:06pm)




Post 37

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 6:00pmSanction this postReply
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Guys,

This thread basically rehashes the same tired old arguments we've had a million times over. And I have to say that at times it seems to me that as time goes on, this argument grows increasingly pointless. Like it or not, western troops are now in Iraq fighting insurgents, and the first priority has to be defining and advocating the best possible "exit strategy" (which will almost certainly involve the ruthless elimination of aforementioned insurgents), and then formulating strategies for winnign the wider war against terrorism and the "cultural war" against Islamic fundamentalism. In that, the troops deserve our fullest support. For the record though, let me make clear that I stand by my earlier position on the invasion itself, essentially that in the wider context of the fight against al Quaeda, the invasion was most likely a huge tactical error. I don't see this as "succouring Saddam" or even giving him the benefit of the doubt - the (relatively) free countries of the west "have a right but not a duty" to liberate dictatorships and should do so if and when (and only if and when) it suits the western state's wider purposes. (Unlike some other opponents of the Iraq invasion, I accept that President Bush probably thought the invasion was the right thing to do, and expressed support for him last November on that basis, but that's as may be.)

My point is, I haven't changed my position, Chris hasn't changed his position, Lindsay hasn't changed his position, George, Tibor, anyone else on this thread (except Cameron and possibly Jonathan) haven't changed their positions...but so what? Without wishing to denigrate Jonathan's thesis, which I consider to be a courageous and important piece of work, the primary emphasis right now should be formulating a strategy for the immediate future - specifically debating the best strategy for resolving the Iraq situation and combating fundamentalism. Instead, the primary emphasis still seems to be on what is now a basically irrelevant argument.

Exasperated,
MH

Edited to add stuff I should've said the first time - apologies, had several shots of vodka this evening.

(Edited by Matthew Humphreys on 1/11, 6:13pm)




Post 38

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 7:17pmSanction this postReply
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Jonathan,

Sorry for the misidentification. My “not just an idea” comments were directed at Rick Pasotto.

Jon




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Post 39

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 7:29pmSanction this postReply
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Jon Letendre wrote:
Islamism is not just an idea.
Who said it was? I was responding to the statement that "the enemy is not merely Al Qaida, but it is all of fundamentalist statist ideology." The fundamental enemy is the statist ideology. We also have to deal with the results of that ideology, but long term we will win only when we discredit the ideas of Islamism.
You fight bad ideas “only” with better ones if your opponent is a professor.
I disagree most vehemently. Ideas, both good and bad, are not parlour games nor should they be reserved to the classroom. Ideas have consequences. The man in the street acts based on his ideas so we need to change his ideas to get him to change his actions.
If you are Churchill and followers/implementers of that idea are murdering thousands of your citizens—then you produce and deploy lots of bombers, not publish a lot of books.
Killing the person who holds an idea does not destroy the idea. It may very well simply make him a martyr in the eyes of someone else who also holds that idea.



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