With A Clearer Head

Well, the comments to my two posts below confirm that one shouldn’t blog under the influence of dextromethorphan – cold tablets and la grippe make for fuzzy thinking in my case, it appears.

So let me clarify a few things.

First, I do think we’re at war. But it’s not the traditional ‘mobilize the nation’ kind of war, it’s a war that will, sadly, be long-lasting, relatively low-intensity, and messy. Because it’s that kind of a war, many of the historic responses to a more intensely focused, limited in time war – like those to World War II – aren’t appropriate.

They aren’t appropriate for two reasons; because they won’t do much good, and because by themselves, they won’t help us win.We don’t need to sacrifice our economic well-being at the levels we did in WW II in order to produce at the level required, and because the boundary between war and peace is fluid we can’t treat everyone from, say, Saudi Arabia as an enemy combatant. In fact, a big part of this war will, like wars against street gangs, consist of trying to peel away the less-committed supporters from the core, and to do that will require some form of positive engagement, of ‘selling’.

As a consequence, this war will look much more like the ‘war’ between the Italian government and the Mafia in Sicily, and it’s conclusion will be equally undramatic.

Things will simply get better.

Now, having said that I find myself in the uncomfortable position of being in direct opposition to Michael Ledeen, whose column in today’s NRO (hat tip, Instapundit) says:

…many scholars at the time insisted that Nazism was first and foremost an ideology, not a state. Indeed, Hitler was at pains to proclaim that he was fighting for an Aryan Reich, not a German state. And if you read some of the literature on Nazism or for that matter the broader work on totalitarianism produced by the “greatest generation,” you’ll find a profound preoccupation with “winning the war of ideas” against fascism. Indeed, a good deal of money and energy was expended by our armed forces, during and after the war, to de-Nazify and de-fascify the Old World.

But the important thing is that when we smashed Hitler, Nazi ideology died along with him, and fell into the same bunker.

The same debate over “whom or what are we fighting” raged during the Cold War, when we endlessly pondered whether we were fighting Communist ideology or Russian imperialism. Some … mostly intellectuals, many of them in the CIA … saw the Cold War primarily in ideological terms, and thought we would win if and only if we wooed the world’s masses from the Communist dream. Others warned that this was an illusion, and that we’d better tend to “containment” else the Red Army would bring us and our allies to our knees.

In the end, when the Soviet Empire fell, the appeal of Communism was mortally wounded, at least for a generation.

You see where I’m going, surely. The debate is a trap, because it diverts our attention and our energies from the main thing, which is winning the war. It’s an intellectual amusement, and it gets in our way. As that great Machiavellian Vince Lombardi reminds us, winning is the only thing.

I think that Ledeen misreads history here, and in a way that is potentially very dangerous.

Nazism, by it’s nature, wasn’t a contagious meme. You were Aryan, or you weren’t. They made alliances with other ‘blut und volk’ nationalist movements in Japan and Italy, but the reality is that by it’s nature, it couldn’t spread except through conquest. Britain was in no danger of a Nazi takeover from within; Oswald Mosely was an isolated figure.

This limited the ‘infected’ areas to the core nations – Germany, Italy, Japan – and the areas they had conquered, which did not produce new energy to spread the infection, but instead demanded resources to control.

In the case of the Society Union and Cold War, the reality is that we did both. We contained the Soviet Union’s attempts to control territory through overt military means by using our own overt military actions; and we contained their efforts to grow in influence through covert and ideological means by countering their covert moves and working hard to spread our own ideological roots.

I can’t believe that Ledeen thinks that the collapse of Communist Poland – unanswered, as opposed to Hungary and Czechoslovakia – would have happened without the Pole’s ideological infection from the West? Without rock music and Catholicism?

We will win this war by changing people’s minds and making Islamist terror an unattractive option. We’ll make it unattractive by raising its cost and lowering its effectiveness (which are military and civil defense issues), as well as by giving people the option of taking on other, less destructive belief structures.

I believe that we’re seeing the beginnings of a set of waves of terrorism, caused in some part by philosophical and ideological fractures here in the West. The Islamist wave is the first, and potentially the most dangerous, because the scale of action of the terrorists is amplified because they have states that will sponsor and succor them. Conventional and unconventional military action that has the goal of changing the minds of those states is a good thing, in my view, and is the major reason why I continue to support the decision to invade Iraq.

But military victory alone is hollow and ineffective in the kind of environment we’re in now, and for that, I’ll point to another example from history – Vietnam.

UPDATE: Even by Winds’ high standards, the reader comments are excellent.

87 thoughts on “With A Clearer Head”

  1. But the kind of anti-Semitism — hardly distinguishable from anti-Americanism nowadays — that we find in Middle Eastern gutters has a Western trademark. It started in France in the 19th century, got a pseudoscientific gloss from the Austrians and Germans a generation later, and spread like topsy.

    The European antisemitism Ledeen is referring to was racial. Islamic antisemitism is religious. How can two entirely different hatred – similar only in their symptomns – have been implanted, apprently without even trying, in to an insular culture assured of its own religious superiorty?

    Machiavelli, Chapter Two: If you are victorious, people will always judge the means you used to have been appropriate.

    Ask the Israelis about that.

    A.L. is right to point out Vietnam, and that Ledeen quotes LBJ (“When you have them by the balls, the hearts and minds generally follow.”) is quite worrying.

  2. A. L., you’ve given us a lot to think about. I’m not sure whether I agree or not. For example, during World War II significant numbers of Waffen SS were recruited from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Finland, Lithuania, etc. Opportunists? Just going along for the ride? Or committed? What does this do to your nation vs. ideology argument?

    My principle misgiving about this approach is my conviction that it’s the surest path to Arab genocide. Five years of world war followed by forty years of Cold War promoted changes in this country that made it nearly unrecognizeable from the pre-WWII U. S. A couple of generations worth of mass terrorism attacks and reducing the Middle East to slag may not look nearly as bad.

    I also wonder if we’re not over-complicating the issue. What are the critical success factors for a terrorist attack with mass casualties in this country? I’ve been mulling this over. At this point they would seem to include open borders, lax security, (modest) financing, and planning, and motivation. Can such attacks be prevented without eliminating one or more of these critical success factors? I doubt it.

  3. I also wonder if it’s not the traditional kind of war because of some kind of intrinsic changes in the world or our society or because we just don’t like the implications of it becoming a traditional kind of war.

    Hoping it’s not a traditional kind of war doesn’t change whether it is or not one bit.

    I’m not meaning to imply that I have the answers to any of these questions or that I’ve made up my mind. But I do wonder.

  4. While the Japanese and German threats to the USA proper were significant, the average American native was unlikely to be a war victim. Even if the European and Pacific campaigns turned disastrous, there was no legitimate near term threat of invasion of the American homeland.

    Against that backdrop, we mobilized our economy and population into a nearly TOTAL war effort.

    That said, we are facing a real enemy that has already “invaded” and taken arguably more American civilan lives then any war in recent memory (perhaps even considering the Revolution, Civil War, and the various Indian campaigns).

    9/11 proved to the world (mor maybe just me), nothing is off the table. No tactic too outrageous. No target too innocent.

    Throw in WMD, mass poisioning, infrastructure attack, economic collapse scenarios and I assert the stakes have never been higher.

    The current “war” footing of this country is laughable and woefully inadequate for the task at hand.

    I’m afraid we need to be woken (again) from our slumber. Obviously, the Spanish train bombing wasn’t enough. Will the Olympics suffice? Or does it need to be a nuke in Boston harbor?

  5. Response to Colt on Machiavelli, saying “ask the Israelis” …

    (1) The Israelis did not ‘win’ in a grand-strategy sense. I think it was Luttwak who presented an analysis of the levels of war, showing that at the top level, Sadat achieved his goals while Israel did not. Thus, he won, even though he did not win at the operational or tactical levels.

    Machiavelli was writing at a time in which the winner would routinely smash the loser. Today, it is common for neither side to lose, because the local conflict is a just a proxy for larger one. In 1973, America backed Israel, the USSR backed Egypt, and when the Egyptian Army was cut off and facing utter destruction in the Sinai, the USSR stepped in to prevent an old-fashioned defeat of their client. When the gorillas squared off, the chimps slunk off the stage, eclipsed.

    Today, the same applies. The ‘palestinians’ are just the front-line in proxy war, with their patrons being the rest of the Muslim world. That is why, in my opinion, the Israelis stand little chance of winning: no matter how effectively they defeat the local enemy, the main enemy is still over the horizon. Besides, the local enemy can always retreat into sanctuary, making it very hard to inflict a decisive defeat.

    Until you take away that sanctuary, it is hard to even moderate the conflict, let alone win. So there is the fundamental problem: under what circumstances would the rest of the Arab world stop aiding and abetting the Palestinians (and their like-minded friends)?

    And, as with the Soviet Union, we would have to help those circumstances appear, w/o invading and conquering.

    (2) There is an excellent analysis called “The Albatross of Decisive Victory” by Gawrych on this very topic. It was a freely-available article, but it appears to have been pulled off the web and converted to book form. Anyway, it points out that the essentially tactical goals of “decisive victory” are not very helpful to acheiving strategic goals, citing the Israeli/Arab wars as an example.

    It should be a *strong* warning to those folks who think that transformational slogans like “see first, shoot first, finish decisively” will be a helpful approach to winning future wars – especially against an *intelligent* enemy who knows that that is our approach.

    (3) In the cases where one group did inflict a traditionally total defeat on their enemies, the world has in fact endorsed the result. Given that we live in a world which is inter-connected beyond our ancestor’s dreams, you do have to be a little careful looking for examples. That is, totally defeating one part of the enemy may leave another part still functioning on another continent – thus failing to be a ‘traditionally total’ defeat.

    In today’s propaganda-driven situation, wiping out all one’s enemies so that only one’s own propaganda is heard will create ‘propaganda superiority’, analogous to ‘air superiority’. With that, endorsement by propaganda-driven ‘international opinion’ will inevitably follow. No one hears the loser’s side, and no one wants to be seen as part of a truly humiliating failure.

    The key to this kind of victory is to understand that the propaganda organization, not the army, is the center of gravity. The strategy and tactics that follow from this approach are pretty clear, but thinking through something so contrary to the traditional rules of war is anathema to many. Perhaps another day.

  6. Dave Schuler:

    You said:

    For example, during World War II significant numbers of Waffen SS were recruited from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Finland, Lithuania, etc. Opportunists? Just going along for the ride? Or committed? What does this do to your nation vs. ideology argument?

    Nazi Germany was a racial-cultural creation that allowed for other “Aryans” to join.

    Beyond that, there were Slavic and even Muslim units in the Wehrmacht and SS. Nazi ideology was, to some degree, pragmatic.

  7. laocoon:

    Good point.

    It’s obviously impossible to know, but I can’t imagine the world community being too supportive of Israel if they had driven the Arabs out of Israel, annexed Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Sinai, levelled Cairo, Damascus and Amman, etc.

  8. I agree that Ledeen has tortured his analogy a bit – Naziism did not die in Hitler’s bunker, it was some time afterward with the surrender of Nazi Germany and the de-Nazification that occurred during occupation.

    But his broader point is dead on, as I wrote at my house.

    The problem with Islamo-fascism isn’t so much the Islam part as the fascism part. WWII was a war against radical ideologies married to state power. So was the Cold War. And so is this war, really.

    That means that the solution is really the same, too – destroy the state that supports the ideology. In this case, its a lot of states. And we can destroy them frontally, as in Afghanistan and Iraq; or through isolation that allows them to tear themselves apart, as in “Palestine;” or through diplomacy and muscle, as in Pakistan and Libya.

    The fascist states themselves will be able to determine which course we must take in order to confront them and destroy their fascism. Had Hussein taken the Khadafy route, we wouldn’t have had to invade. He didn’t, we did. Iran and Syria should be next to make that decision.

  9. blaster –

    I think we only disagree a little. The fascism component is what creates the state sponsors that enable terrorists to mount large and frequent attacks. Take that away, and we’re looking at the Weather Underground…actually, probably something worse than that, but something manageable nontheless.

    But the level of ‘ad hoc’ terrorism can also be unacceptably high, and can – as was the case in Afghanistan – help bring about the fascist state that in turn enables more ad hoc terror.

    How’s that?

    A.L.

  10. Well put, laocoon.

    I would add that Sadat was quite aware of what he was doing. His military plan was predicated on making sure the Egyptian military didn’t get beyond the range of his fancy new SAMs. Any attempt to take the Mitla pass and beyond, he knew, would result in the Israeli Air Force systematically destroying every tank in his army.

    His objective was to gain the canal, win back Egypt’s honor, and set a political process for regaining the Sinai in place. He knew he couldn’t gain back Sinai by force alone, and he knew he couldn’t negotiate with Israel without compensating for the humiliation of 1967.

    Kissinger obtained his objective of flipping the Egyptians and reducing Soviet influence in the region. Israel got a peace accord and recognition.

  11. Colt …

    You are absolutely right: Israel can not inflict a traditionally total defeat on the Arabs or the Muslims, so the premise of Machiavelli’s dictum can’t be acheived, hence the conclusion never applies. Israel can not ‘win big’ enough to gain acceptance.

    If you think of it as a game tree of moves and counter-moves, it is hard to see how the Israelis can hang on forever in the face of determined Muslim opposition. And both sides know this.

  12. A.L. –

    I think you have cause and effect wrong on the Afghanistan – it was only with the Taliban in firm control that AQ could move there.

    With transnational terror groups – not with domestic groups like Weather Underground – there is always a state actor involved.

  13. A.L.

    I disagree that there is a misread of history by Ledeen. You are making a fundamental mistake by making the claim that Nazism, in it’s nature, is not contagious – that it was limited only to Aryan’s. Joining the SS was limited to Aryans, but not National Socialism or Fascism. As you note, Mosely headed the British Nazi Party, but it failed to attract significant support – and there was an American Nazi Party that also failed to attracy significant following. These may be more related to the lack of similar gestation conditions in those (and other) nations than what was taking place in Weimar Germany or Italy.

    Nazism was a political party, but also quite a bit more – more similar to a religious cult in terms of the fervor that it promoted in its members. It had its rituals and elevated its leader to deity levels. Ideological means would not have defeated the ideals of nazism / fascism. When in a cult, unless you are de-programmed, you aren’t paying attention to logic, debate, or having your mind changed by words. The only thing that defeated nazism was the military defeat and humiliation of the cult.

    Communism was very similar – it replaced (or tried very hard to) religion – but gained its power in the USSR, China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe on the basis of military conquest and military force – not by popular election.

    The ideology of communism was not defeated by rock music, or consumerism, or the legacy of the Catholic Church entirely. Some influences from the West did play a role in defeating communism – the freedom, the economics, the rights of the individual all fought against Communism – but there was a major difference between Poland in the 1980’s and Czechoslovakia of 1968 and Hungary of 1956 – the Red Army was not what it was and the USSR had neither the will or ability to overrun Poland without risking action from the West.

    How do you propose to change the minds of the islamofascist terrorists? With more money and aid? They don’t need that.

    Vietnam is only really a partial model – because too many people do not understand the issue with Vietnam – or why it ended they way it did. Much of it had to do with the will to win and does transcend pure military victory. Pure military victory doesn’t exist unless the enemy is decisively defeated – as was Nazism in WW2.

    The will, the effort for the WoT, doesn’t have the will to defeat the terrorists, jihadists, islamofascists completely and utterly. That is what we are missing. We didn’t have the will or focus to confront the Soviet Union and deal with them directly until the Reagan Administration. When that will became apparent, and produced in terms of military expenditures rather than troops in fighting – the inherent weakness of the Communist system – it’s economic model – collapsed.

    We need to have the will of old – but unfortunately, the political divide of the US will prevent us from pulling that will together.

  14. Reply to blaster … (first version posted on blaster’s site)

    You said that “the problem with Islamo-fascism isn’t really the Islamic part, but the fascist part ”

    I remember some of my Afghan friends telling a senior US general to his face in late 2001 that the problem was not the Taliban’s religion or support for terrorism but their ideology. They emphasized that the war would not be won until the ideology was extirpated He agreed! I think there is a lot more understanding at high levels than generally filters out into the public. The question is *how* to extirpate the ideology: smash the supporting state(s), or intellectually discredit the concepts?

    My suspicion is that it will take a lot of both, unless you think you can do a WW II style war. The question is whether you combine force and persuasion in a US-Soviet style Cold War, or in a European style Thirty Years’ War. My bet is more on the Thirty Years’ War as a model, which is the spectre that haunts the world today.

    Second, you might consider what Islam without the fascist elements would be. After all, Islam is a total system that encompasses everything that Westerners tend to separate into religion, civil law, military strategy, personal hygiene, race relations, commerical law, and much more.

    If you remove the obsession with controlling other people’s behavior, remove the military strategy, remove the sharia laws and punishments, and leave only what Westerners consider to be spiritual and religous, what do you have?

    My guess would be Sufism, whose devotees consider it the spiritual essence of Islam.

    A lot of Muslims accept Sufis as brother Muslims. A lot of Muslims condem Sufis precisely because they strip away everything but what Westerners call “spirituality”.

    And I think it would be a very telling question to ask your Muslim friends what they think of Sufis.

  15. I disagree, in part… and agree in greater part.

    Nazism, by it’s nature, wasn’t a contagious meme. You were Aryan, or you weren’t. They made alliances with other ‘blut und volk’ nationalist movements in Japan and Italy, but the reality is that by it’s nature, it couldn’t spread except through conquest. Britain was in no danger of a Nazi takeover from within; Oswald Mosely was an isolated figure.

    This limited the ‘infected’ areas to the core nations – Germany, Italy, Japan – and the areas they had conquered, which did not produce new energy to spread the infection, but instead demanded resources to control.

    It is the case that fascism was quite popular, in various forms, in the US of the 1930s. Lipset even wrote a book about it, called The Politics of Unreason, and also investigated the dimensionality of the thing. It just so happened that the “blood cult” aspect of it appealed specifically to the Germans, but it was (and is) a general meme, and had a number of powerful followings here. And Paul Lazarsfeld, in his seminal study of a small Austrian town called Marienthal, demonstrates the method by which the meme progressively grabbed people by the heart, and at least one major reason why the same tactic did not work to the same degree in the US. We had some critical resistance to the virus, but we also had a responsive policy in Roosevelt’s “workfare” programs.

    What is a “war of ideas” exactly? Is it a virtual roomful of Philosophy Doctors getting together to debate the finer points of ideology, in the model of Habermas’ “unconstrained discourse?” Well, yes… in part. But it is also, in part, demonstration projects that pit the protagonists against one another and that are contested on the basis of outright performance. And part, or even the critical, aspect of that performance is success in war and governance (politics and politics by “other means”).

    One of the things that intrigues me is the transformation that overtook the Protestant Reformation after the defeat of “Oliver Protector.” A group called the “Fifth Monarchists” were about as radical in their ideology as any modern Islamists, and essentially saw things in the same terms as the “providence of history.” But at some point (and I’m not yet certain why) Calvinism became less about providence, or the manifestation of the fruits of the faithful in human history, and more about the rationalization of the Protestant Ethic, that fit industrialization like a key in a lock. In fact, Max Weber discusses, at length, this fundamental difference between the interpretation of predestination in Christianity, and in Islam… and why it resulted in capitalistic enterprise in the former and warrior cults in the latter.

    The belief, itself, is nearly identical in both religions, but with profoundly different resultants. The difference is that the Calvinists accepted the notion, at least in part, that the primary consequences of predestination were in the afterlife. And the pragmatic irony is, of course, that they had a profound effect on history, while the Muslim world, which had the mirror-image belief, waxed impotent. In fact Cromwell’s downfall, and the transition to the mechanism that Weber identifies, happens at about the same time that the Muslim Ottoman Empire was finally repulsed from Europe at the Siege of Vienna, and entered its long decline. Prior to that point Islam was ascendant, and Christianity backward and even repressive.

    So, I’d surmise that there’s a kind of catalytic reaction that involves the military defeat of the advocates of the meme as well as their “rational” defeat, in the larger sense. That is, incapable of rationalization of their belief systems through the arc of the lives of their followers, they die out like the Fifth Monarchists and the Thuggees. They end up under the thumb of history, instead of leading the charge.

    But here’s where I agree with you. Nazism isn’t really dead, it’s endemic. Nor is Stalinism dead. Those two manifestations of Totalitarianism 2.x continue to exist in enclaves, and they exist in part because we’ve never finalized the war in the realm of ideas. Liberalism is a work in progress, and it has yet some major flaws. In fact, the flaws are much easier to see than their solutions… so we have this peculiar conflict that Den Beste identifies as a three-way war, and that I’ve called “small democracy.” It appears to be a diversion, but it’s really the heart of the matter. The fact is that these memes have appeal, not because they’re such brilliant solutions to the human condition, but because liberalism is a less than adequate solution for much of the planet.

    Ideas have weight and consequence, because they touch people and have both subtle and profound impact on the arc of their lives. Totalitarianism is a generic “solution” to this class of problem, as was chattel slavery in the past. Slavery had both ideological and military defenders, but in that instance it was really the moral defeat in the realm of ideas (the leading edge of which was the Scottish enlightenment) that ultimately led to its military defeat. But it was Cromwell’s defeat that set the stage for the Scottish enlightenment. The two are inseparable.

    One of the greatest truths about the universe is that unity isn’t singular, it’s plural. And I have to believe that it’s this fact that will ultimately pulverize totalitarianism on the rocks. It insists, with the knife at our guts, that there is one way, one truth, and one and only one consideration. We need but one loyalty, and need see only one side of an argument. We are engaged in a military and an ideological war, but ultimately the outcome will be determined within the rational realm which is neither entirely a matter of ideas or of conflict. That is, in the Weberian sense it’s how we turn manage these ideas into opportunities and life projects that inspire or demoralize. I think Al Qaeda knows this. In fact this is how they choose their targets.

    In the end what makes rational (logical) sense, is what enables us to see one, two, three or more steps ahead in our lives… and gives us the facility to plan and live a successful, secure, and rewarding personal history. It’s really no great mystery.

  16. athos –

    I think we’re pretty far apart on these issues. Yes, there were Nazis in the US and England (and Australia as far as I know) but there was never a serious chance that they would become a factor in domestic politics. I’m sure there are some Zionist Palestinians as well, they’re just hard to find and not very prominent.

    And if you think that the reason for the collapse of Poland was a difference in the military balance of power between the US and the USSR, you’re just out in left field as far as mainstream history is concerned. I’ll go dig up some cites, but there isn’t one history of those events that I’ve read that doesn’t lay the root of the collapse at the collapse of the legitimacy of the Communist government (in Poland and the rest of eastern Europe – the Soviets couldn’t intervene in Poland without triggering the collapse of the rest of the Eastern Bloc).

    A.L.

  17. “Yes, there were Nazis in the US and England (and Australia as far as I know) …”

    (Nit-picking alert. Those only interested in the main argument need not read.)

    Our main enemy was Japan, which was conducting an aggressive racist war to beat the White Man in Asia. That started with the Americans and the British, and it most definitely included us. From the perspective of an Australian racist, of which there were plenty, Hitler had backed the yellow peril against the White race: us. It was a position that had no appeal whatever. Bill Halsey’s idea to “kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs” made much more sense. There were Fascists, in tiny numbers, mostly Italian immigrants, but Mussolini, from early on, was a figure of contempt. So, all up, the way the war was defined then drove us together and consolidated us.

    Whereas this new war is levering us apart. The audience I saw _Fahrenheit 9/11_ was lapping it up, evidently believing it all.

    It would have been unimaginable to have a popular film like that slandering Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, deriding our allies, and showing Tojo as a harmless victim of some blood-for-oil conspiracy. But that was then, and this is now.

  18. A.L.

    I’m trying to understand your analogy of Poland a little better. A lot of Poles probably never wanted to be communists to begin with and weren’t “really” communists at all, but went along with the program out of fear. Take away that fear (Soviet army gets weaker) and collapse is possible. Catholicism wasn’t some radical import from the west. The Poles were already Catholic, so a lot of that was an “inside” job, a la John Paul II & Co. Some ideas from the west made it to Poland, such as the west was rich. Yes, rock music would be a western import, but I wouldn’t give it a lot of credit (nor would I laugh it off either).

    It seems that many of the Islamofascists hate the west because of the very ideas we export to the world, not despite them. This is what makes the battle of ideas so complicated, though I fully agree with you that it needs to happen. Osama explicitly states that the infidels must be destroyed, and the suicide jihadists believe they are going to a better place. The Soviet Union came to desire “peaceful coexistence” when faced with MAD. How worried would the Islamofascists be about a MAD doctrine? The Soviets seemed much more “rational” in the western sense of the word than the Islamofascists.

    Now that I’ve questioned your point a bit, I’ll suggest something which might make your analogy more workable: is there the equivalent of a Lech Welesa & Solidarity in Iran today and how can that be assisted from the outside? If yes, that would make your Poland analogy more powerful.

    I would disagree about using something like the weather underground as an analogy. I don’t think that the weather underground ever enjoyed the sympathy and support of anything as massive as the “Arab street.” Now I don’t like the phrase ‘Arab street” but it concisely captures something useful to discussing these issues.

    It seems that we don’t yet grasp how massive the appeal of Islamofascist belief system is. Is it limited to a small group in the tens of thousands or could this be tens and potentially hundreds of millions? The answer to that question helps answer what kind of war this is.

    You offered a provocative post well worth considering.

  19. laocoon –

    I wrote in the comments of the Warren thread over there that our models for smashing the state are WWII and the Cold War, and that it appears we have chosen a middle way between those two. I wrote above that we have frontal assault, isolation, and strongarming/persuasion in our arsenal.

    I don’t think we can rely on simply a war of ideas – takes too long, they aren’t warring with ideas, and they are trying to do it here. So we have to have a war war (like WWII), and a war of ideas (like most of the Cold War).

    We have to demonstrate to the Arab world that living in a democracy is a huge leap forward from the excremental tyrannies they live in. Some of that promotion of democracy comes through the airwaves, some at the tip of the spear.

  20. (Sorry to hijack the thread for another one (1) post, but I’m boggled.

    For the first time, the “war on bad philosophy” made sense to me. The Michael Moore world-view, popularly accepted and combined with the culture of death – mass abortion, family disintegration and suicidal demographics in general – only needs the right tool, some hard cutting edge – and we can be just gone.

    The Muslims are the perfect enemy, like the perfect storm. They have terrorism and victory cries to exploit our irresolution, booming demographics to pit against our infertility, and fanatical faith to beat our lack of faith and our anti-Christian (_Piss Christ_) official bias. They’ve beaten us before, historically they do generally beat us, and they can do it again, and they are determined to do so.

    But if there was no perfect enemy, the Michael Moore mind-set would just work with any enemies available, wearing us down till they could find one that will finish us. If Saddam Hussein is was an acceptable person to be protected by them, there’s nobody who wouldn’t be.

    We have to fight Islam first and most. But the war on bad philosophy is very real. And that is not a state versus state war.

  21. It may be only slightly on topic, but I got a kick out of this section of Bill O’Reilly’s interview of Michael Moore:

    O: Alright, you would not have removed the Taliban. You would not have removed that government?

    M: No, unless it is a threat to us.

    O: Any government? Hitler, in Germany, not a threat to us in the beginning but over there executing people all day long—you would have let him go?

    M: That’s not true. Hitler with Japan, attacked the United States.

    O: Before—from 33-until 41 he wasn’t an imminent threat to the United States.

    M: There’s a lot of things we should have done.

    O: You wouldn’t have removed him.

    M: I wouldn’t have even allowed him to come to power.

    O: That was a preemption from Michael Moore—you would have invaded.

    [emphasis added]

    So in his own words Moore would have had the forsight to preempt Hitler and Tojo, yet wouldn’t have ruffled the feathers of the Taliban or Saddam Hussein. There must be a french curseword that covers it, but my education is inadequate.

  22. It IS a “mobilize the nation” sort of war. Not because we need the industrial output, or anything like that. Our industry has advanced well beyond the stage where massive mobilization of labor is necessary to produce enough tanks and whatnot. We are rich enough to fund the bits of this war that need funding without hurting our pocket books much. But we need to mobilize regardless, because everyone needs to understand this war and come to take it seriously. It doesn’t matter how little effort this war might take to win, if we as a people are unwilling to expend that effort then we can and will lose. The Romans, for example, were defeated by forces much weaker than those they had successfully defended against many times before. But Rome had decayed internally and was no longer as vigorous as it once was, it simply lost the will, and later the ability, to make the effort.

    As others have pointed out, this war is as much about our own convictions and our own confidence as it is about any external enemy. A great many people, seemingly, do not consider the west or any attributes of the west worth defending. And we must come to grips with that rot and defeat it simultaneously with coming to grips with and defeating our external foes. This is, as they say, no small thing.

  23. Robin –

    ON that kind of mobilization, I completely agree. But it will involve two fronts, in my view. First a domestic security front that empowers the average citizen and connects them in a meaningful way to peers and authorities. Second, an ideological effort to rediscover what it is about Western society that we value, other than air conditioning, dentistry, and the Playboy Channel.

    A.L.

  24. David Blue,

    Abortion has been with us for a minimum of 2,500 years. We can last another century or two.

    Abortion allows women who do not wish to reproduce to avoid adding to the gene pool. Seems like self selection will solve the problem over time. Unless of course they recruit for it like they do for gay sex. (and that is a send up)

    =============================================

    David,

    It is attitudes like yours that will drive the RINOs out of the party. Without the RINOs you can’t enact your program. Well when peole feel real strong yet threatened the purges begin. The purges sow the seeds of the party’s downfall. Too much strength and hubris (we are winning) leads to defeat.

    =============================================

    On 16 May 2003 here in a guest blog I predicted the impending realignment of the parties. Your tirade, David, is another indication that my prediction is still on track.

    We have a problem with bad philosophy. Jerry Fallwell is not the answer.

    Surprisinly enough the views on liberation now held by the Republicans were once held by the Democrats so it can’t be the secular/religious divide that is the problem. i.e. a return to a purer form of Christianity (Islam?) will not save us.

    Forget about the culture war shit – it is just going to alienate people who other wise might like to be your ally. In this fight to the death a dope smoking, pro gay, pro abortion fighter might be an asset. If she will fight.

    If the Tantric Buddhists want to f***k and fight they are welcome on my team. If the Wiccans and Satinists will fight they are welcome along side me. And I promise no post war purge is coming from my position.

    Any one who is civil and pisses off the Islamics is welcome on my team. The fornicators, the gays, the abortion providers, the dope users, the Sex,Drugs, Rock people etc. They can all be taught aiming at the target and how to shoot straight.

    David it is essential not to confuse the ephemera of your enemies with their essence. Your enemies are those who would use physical violence to achieve their ends. In the matter of abortion as long as government isn’t forcing them I see individual choice as unfortunate but not a threat to the body politic.

    Inspecting women weekly to make syre they are not having abortions would be a threat to the emacipation of women. Bad idea. Especially as having the women willingly on our side is a big plus.

  25. Well, I like A.L.’s original post a lot, but I’m not sure I’m aligned with his subsequent comments, much less most of the others.

    What exactly is a war? Whatever it is we’re engaged in, it doesn’t seem to be susceptible to military resolution. You don’t hear any plan to destroy the armies of 20 more Arab states (in fact, you don’t hear any more about Ledeen Iran/Syria invasion wet dream). The truth is, we didn’t need to provide a better political philosophy to smash the Nazis and the Japanese, any more than they would have needed to supply a better political philosophy to win, if (say) the Russian Winter 1940/41 had been unusually warm and not unusually chilly. But we fought the Cold War for a generation with a military that in some sense was superior to the Soviets’ (we could have made the rubble bounce higher), and we used it only on the periphery. I think A.L. is quite right, that the Pope and the Beatles and the Helsinki Accords were some of the most powerful weapons we had in the Cold War. (Don’t take my word for it: Vaclav Havel, whose Nobel Peace Prize is long overdue.)

    Unfortunately for the “it’s a war” proponents, they seem to be arguing for military action over against the derided “law enforcement approach”, whereas we seem with the Iraquagmire to be reaching a limit to the value of traditional military assaults in Arab countries. Raising another score of divisions to invade Syria strikes me as less likely to secure the American homeland against terrorists than infiltration, financial investigation, and hardening of domestic targets. The trouble is that this progam is less flashy, offers very few opportunities to prance on aircraft carriers, and doesn’t allow for the same primitive exhortations to rally around the flag and the incumbent Administration.

    For David Blue:

    Whereas this new war is levering us apart. The audience I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 was lapping it up, evidently believing it all. It would have been unimaginable to have a popular film like that slandering Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, deriding our allies, and showing Tojo as a harmless victim of some blood-for-oil conspiracy. But that was then, and this is now.

    If those WMD had turned up in Iraq, Fahrenheit 9/11 wouldn’t have made it to video, much less a $100MM-plus theatrical release. What was Bush’s approval rating on 9/12, about 90%? Not to mention that Roosevelt and Churchill didn’t fight a preventive-preemptive war (indeed, that was the doctrine, or excuse, of the enemy), nor their insistence on shared sacrifice, nor their domestic political inclusiveness—you show us a leader like Roosevelt or Churchill, and then we’ll talk. Bush isn’t fit to lay flowers at their graves.

    (BTW: you should see what the Chicago Tribune was saying about FDR during his entire Administration, including the war. They had nothing on Michael Moore.)

  26. You don’t hear any plan to destroy the armies of 20 more Arab states (in fact, you don’t hear any more about Ledeen Iran/Syria invasion wet dream).

    Classy. Really classy.

    Did Ledeen ever want an invasion of Iran? If so, prove it or shut up.

    Unfortunately for the “it’s a war” proponents, they seem to be arguing for military action over against the derided “law enforcement approach”

    Speaking as an “it’s a war” proponent, I think law enforcement has a role to play, not least hunting terrorists in the United States. What’s unfortunate is that the “it’s not a war” proponents think law enforcement is the limit of what we should use to defend the country – despite ample evidence that it isn’t enough.

    What was Bush’s approval rating on 9/12, about 90%?

    President Nader would have 90% if he promised to fight back (though I doubt he would).

  27. Andrew L., we have not reached the limits of military intervention in Iraq by any means —

    we have reached the limits of what we are willing to DO with our military intervention. A key difference.

    Does anyone here doubt that Fallujah could easily have been destroyed by the US – in totality, every building and human being there – in a 15 minute strike if there was a determination to do so?

    It’s our identity (our sense of who we are and how Americans act) and our will that matter here. And of course, one of the biggest problems is how to win while essentially on the defensive, both ideologically and with regard to security. And above all, to win while retaining our sense of self-respect.

    In my Neocons ?? and Me series, I am slowly circling in on some underlying questions in this debate … is there, for instance, a secular foundation for opposing the opponents of civilization that we can agree on, across religious and other differences? We need one, for two reasons:

    First, because not all the good guys will agree with the conservative Christians. I don’t, and I tend to consider myself a good guy in this fight. Moreover, some of my very devout ancestors first came to this country before the Revolution, and fought, precisely not to have someone else’s version of religion imposed on them.

    The second reason we need such a philosophical basis is that the Islamacists are probably only the first of several waves of destruction we will face. The reality is that many societies in the world today are overwhelmed by modernity, unable to compete and unable to ignore it. As the most visible proponent of that modernity, the US is the obvious target for the resulting humilation and rage.

    Unless technologies like nanotech and artificial intelligence mature and propagate overnight, transforming the world’s hopeless societies and valuting them right past the industrial stage to a post-industrial prosperity, we are in for decades of conflict that stops short of traditional war.

    Moreover, even if such prosperity were to happen instantaneously, it would rip apart traditional roles, governing structures and identities.

    Which means, the conflicts are here for a generation or more. That is our challenge.

  28. Minor point to Andrew J. Lazarus (7:41am), off the track of the major thread here:

    > “If those WMD had turned up in Iraq”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25666

    Those massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons didn’t turn up. I can find one or a dozen citations explaining the compelling reasons why the intelligence services of most countries, pro- and anti- war both, were convinced that those stockpiles would indeed turn up. Alas–at times it seems that one fabulous story in support of the “Bush Lied!” meme is as good as the next.

    If those missing WMDs is considered in the context of the programs and activities that were proscribed by the Armistice of 1991 and were the subject of UNSCOM and UNMOVIC inspection regimes, the picture is quite different. Enough has come to light on: active missile and UAV programs, uranium acquisition, dormant (not dismantled) nuclear and biological programs, retained chemical weapons, the falsified and incomplete Ba’athist declarations from 1992 through 2003.

    Some of us forget that the objective of the inspection regimes was to verify Iraqi adherence to the Armistice terms rather than to discover hidden WMDs. For all their flaws, UNSCOM and UNMOVIC did affirmatively prove noncompliance.

    Best not to move the goalposts in either direction.

  29. Robin

    _First, because not all the good guys will agree with the conservative Christians. I don’t, and I tend to consider myself a good guy in this fight. Moreover, some of my very devout ancestors first came to this country before the Revolution, and fought, precisely not to have someone else’s version of religion imposed on them._

    You like many others are finally coming to the conclusion that within US citizenry this in fact is not a matter of secular beliefs. US citizens have a strong foundation for believing in any religion they so choose. What was once tolerance and hands off *_laissez-faire_* has now evolved into forced acceptance by the very laws we pass. It is this mind set that people can’t seem to understand. For some reason putting survival above the mind set and above the law is unjust regardless of credo.

    The issues we face are not in any sense of the matter defined by religious conviction although some will argue their religious convictions prohibit activities that require adverse actions in matters of survival. To those I say be thankful some one else will save your ass. To those that argue this is a partisan issue I disagree. As you so aptly point out the issues we face are not cornered by any political affiliation.

    M. Simon says it best _’In this fight to the death a dope smoking, pro gay, pro abortion fighter might be an asset. If she will fight._’

    The question about what is it that *_requires a unity_* to fight the issue on all fronts is reasonable. I’ll share some of my thoughts of what I perceived to be the bigger issue after 9/11.

    *Pretentious Patriotism*
    Given the gravity of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 I have recently realized and begun to notice a trend in today’s society that disturbs me. It seems to me as though the American public is gathering around what appears to be a false sense of patriotism and what is worse is our news media is promoting it.

    Of most recent is the Flag that flew over the World Trade Center. It has become a center for debate and a symbol for patriotism. There are several things concerning the Flag of our nation that seem to be neglected. First and foremost the Code of Etiquette for Display and Use of the U.S. Flag. Of particular interest is the section How to Dispose of Worn Flags – The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting image for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. United States Code Title 36 Chapter 10 also known as the Flag Code outlines proper flag etiquette.

    Now you might think that given that rule I would want to burn that flag. On the contrary I too like many Americans believe it is a symbol of a great nation that has deep felt heart wrenching impact because of that particular flags history. The question that remains, is it fit to fly? In my opinion the answer is emphatically no. Does it deserve to be burned or destroyed? Again I answer with an emphatic no! It deserves to be preserved and displayed in a fitting manner that all Americans can reflect on the tragic events it portrays. It has a place in the Smithsonian Museum and should be toured like all artifacts of this great nation for all to see.

    The reasons behind my conclusion are much deeper that one might think. It is not simply because of a rule or a law. Having voluntarily served our government in the Marine Corps for 9 1/2 years as well as being raised in a military family my sense of country and duty stem far beyond that. Upholding and defending our way of life, principles, and belief in a democratic society are the very roots of my loyalty and patriotism. Over the years I watched our flag be burned in effigy, worn as diapers, be defecated on and displayed as works of art in the name of freedom of speech. While all of this has happened I have taken it all in stride understanding that although the flag is a symbol of our nation it
    inevitably was the property of an individual who chose to display or desecrate it in such a manner. I do not condone such activity and would never disgrace my country in a such a manner but I can not deny those the right to do as they please with their personal property. That after all is freedom. Freedom and liberty are why I served this great nation. Protecting those beliefs for myself, my children, and now what seems to be a nation without direction.

    You might ask what makes this flag any different and what makes me feel differently about it. In a nut shell it is the owner of this particular flag. Who owns the flag? If it is individual ownership than by all means let the individual do as they please with it. However events would seem to dictate that this particular flag is not owned by an individual. Media exposure as well as public sentiment indicate that this particular flag is owned by a nation. Flags that fly over government and public buildings belong to the public and as such are regulated by public policy determined by democratic means. Each and every citizen of this nation has a right to expect that public policy be followed and adhered to. After all it is the majority which helps determine that policy. What concerns me here is that the American public, as in so many instances sees this as a ridiculous non-issue and are unwilling to change policy by enacting laws that favor what is perceived to be the majority point of view. Maybe they are afraid to put it to a vote or maybe they harbor the thought that as individuals this doesn’t apply to me. In any case neglecting policy; be it intentional or not; without due process leads to a state of anarchy.

    I have watched and listened to the media and my peers concerning the prior, current, and unfolding events that this great nation will have to deal with. The media has an obligation to inform the public of the facts. I have yet to see the media explain proper flag etiquette when it seems to be needed most. Maybe it is public ignorance after all the media does an exceptional job of pointing out how many people don’t even know the Pledge of Allegiance. I for one can honestly say that my children do and they understand proper respect for our nations flag. I don’t fault our government, educational facilities, or political factions for public ignorance. I place the blame on the mothers and fathers who have neglected to teach their children a sense of respect, responsibility and honor.

    Like it or not what we are missing or seem to have misplaced Robin is our nationality.

    If you want more I can even present an argument on why I believe our government should not have paid victims of 9/11 and the people of the US should have stood in unity to aid the victims without political intervention. The very fact they did get paid by the US government icreases the sense of individuality and decreases the need for unity.

  30. A. L.:

    First a domestic security front that empowers the average citizen and connects them in a meaningful way to peers and authorities. Second, an ideological effort to rediscover what it is about Western society that we value, other than air conditioning, dentistry, and the Playboy Channel.

    I completely agree with both of these points. Whether Mr. Bush is re-elected or Mr. Kerry is elected, IMO there is absolutely no likelihood of either of these actions being taken. Look at the conclusions of the 9/11 commissioners: centralize. That’s the choice of professional bureacrats everywhere.

    I posted on this subject recently on my own blog. Like it or not we are the militia. But we’re not well-regulated. And it’s completely up to us. Fortunately, we don’t have to ask permission. But we’re not going to get a great deal of help from government, either.

    Aren’t these two action items part of what we’re doing here right now? We’ve got the greatest organizational tool in the history of the human species—the Internet—and we need to use it and start getting organized.

  31. Hi.

    M. Simon: “Abortion has been with us for a minimum of 2,500 years. We can last another century or two.”

    (shrug) I was referring to one practical factor in a big demographic movement: a hook for the imagination, since demographics can seem so abstract. But I’m not interested to debate abortion at any time, least of all in this thread, and so it was a mistake of me to mention it. Sorry.

    As to the demographics as whole, and including Europe as “us” (which is increasingly dubious), no we can’t go on like this for another couple of centuries.

    But never mind. I mentioned only three of the four horsemen before, and the fourth is weapons of mass destruction, above all: nukes. We have a crisis that will reach some sort of resolution before Europe stops circling the drain.

    There are features of the grand strategic environment that are obviously going to give belligerent Muslims free victories and the feeling that they are surfing a tidal wave of history and should press on, regardless of short-term discouragements. And that stands for morale, and that’s a negative for us.

    M. Simon: “Without the RINOs you can’t enact your program.”

    What program? I accept that there are factors we can’t affect. Nobody is going to make me fertility czar of anywhere, least of all Europe. Some things are going to happen, whether we like them or not. These facts and obviously unavoidable prospects cannot strengthen us and may weaken our morale even in the short run, while strengthening the already crazed belligerence of our enemies. We should take this into account. “Accept what must be, and take account of it” is not a program.

    M. Simon: “Your tirade, David, is another indication that my prediction is still on track.

    I have my predictions, and you have yours. Maybe this is the fashion this year?

    M. Simon: “David it is essential not to confuse the ephemera of your enemies with their essence. Your enemies are those who would use physical violence to achieve their ends.”

    I think my enemies are those who strive to subjugate and ultimately to eradicate my civilisation.

    In the first place this means violence, with terrorism using weapons of mass destruction as the key practical threat in the here and now. But our enemies don’t confuse their imperative of belligerence with a set program restricted to physical violence alone, and neither do I. Killing is jihad, propaganda to crack our morale is jihad, all sorts of things can be jihad.

  32. Colt: I believe Ledeen has actually called for war with Iran in the comments section of this blog, but I couldn’t find it. You should Google for Ledeen and “Faster, please”, which is his cute call for more bloodshed.

    So they are coming to kill us, which means that there is no more time for diplomatic “solutions.” We will have to deal with the terror masters, here and now. Iran, at least, offers us the possibility of a memorable victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle. One may legitimately ask if the Iraqi people are fully prepared for the burdens of democracy after the mind-numbing years of Saddam (I think they are, mind you, but the question is fair), but there is no doubt that the Iranians are up to it. And Syria cannot stand alone against a successful democratic revolution that topples tyrannical regimes in Kabul, Tehran, and Iraq.
     
    This is the path — the correct path — that the president has charted, despite the opposition of so many of his diplomats, and despite the near-total indifference of the Western press to the plight of the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian people. It is the path that most fully expresses our own revolutionary tradition, and gives the peoples of the Middle East the chance to recapture their dignity by empowering them to govern their own lands.

    Example Two.

    You’d have thought this president, who has spoken so often and so well about his support for freedom in Iran, would have long since insisted that his administration develop a coherent policy to support the Iranian people’s desire to rid themselves of these murderous mullahs. It hasn’t happened. Moreover, President Bush eloquently and spontaneously condemns the mullahs in private conversations as well as in public speeches, yet he seems oddly detached from his State Department’s slow mating dance with the black widows in Tehran.
     
    Sooner or later we will be forced to fight back against the mullahs, because their war against us is driven by fanatical hatred of everything we stand for and the knowledge that their regime is doomed if we succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no escape from this war, whatever the appeasers in Foggy Bottom may think. We can win or lose, but we can’t get out of it.
     
    Faster, please.

    Also,

    Ledeen concluded his remarks by declaring, “the time for diplomacy is at the end; it is time for a free Iran, free Syria and free Lebanon.”

    Don’t miss, BTW, Ledeen’s warm relationship with convicted grifter and accused Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi—Ledeen seems to have a real soft spot for crooked, corrupt renegades.

    Robin:You’re right, we could nuke the whole world to death if we wanted. But we’ve nearly reached the limits of conventional military victory in Bush’s version of the War on Terror (have we sufficient troops to dispatch to Darfur, or just rhetoric?).

    AMac: I think the American people are voting with their movie tickets that the WMD-substitutes that have latterly been proffered are just not adequate justification for war. Rather than admit that, Bush went off on “weapons of mass destruction related ideas of plans of activities of possiblities of programs, so what’s the difference”—well, not a direct quote, but a pretty noticeable climb-down. And sold literally millions of tickets to F9/11 to Americans far less politically active and far less “liberal” than I am, who wanted any credible understanding of why hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of our children had to be sacrificed in Iraq. And even the incorrect conspiracy-theory parts of F9/11 are more complelling than the legalistic dances of Bush after the WMD failed to materialize (which may be why the Administration makes the most bizarre and untrue claims about how the weapons inspections came to end). Incidentally, if you follow that link, Rumsfeld is reiterating in there (in June 2003) that our intelligence is good and that all the charges Colin Powell made at the UN will be proved accurate. Powell himself doesn’t believe that any more. Is it a wonder that the American people sought out other sources of information in the face of such continued deception?

  33. Says praktike on July 27, 2004 07:25 PM

    “It’s also worth noting that we didn’t, er, invade and conquer the Soviet Union.”

    And think of how much shorter their misery would have been (not to mention Eastern Europe) and the number of lives saved had we had the ability and the will to do so in say 1923. (The West intervened in 1920 or so without the will to victory. How sad for all concerned)

    Thank you for making the case for Iraq. Well done.

  34. Laocoon, same Guest Blog offer goes for your comments, especially “this one”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25612 They make a valuable contribution – so please try to “stay away from beaches while composing your Guest Blog”:http://www.bartleby.com/59/2/laocoon.html

    Scott, may I suggest turning “your comment”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25631 into a full post on your blog – the Trackback will display here and send people there, and it’s a good enough piece of writing that I think you’ll want to keep a copy.

    This thread is spawning some very good, thoughtful posts. It’s also pushing to a tipping point in my head about the direction of our blog for the next little while.

    A.L., Robin and myself all seem to be heading toward the same nexus from different points: the fracture in Western ideology, the concept of al-Qaeda as just one of a set of waves headed our way (vid: “The SPECTRE of Terror, Inc.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/002423.php a while back), the connections, and the prospect of a way forward founded on a common foundation that can step beyond today’s right-left debates.

    It’s a way forward that understands and does not flinch before the necessity of force or resolute action to deny “Bad Philosophy” its sanctuaries, is able to deal with other cultures on their own level in a healthy way, and meanwhile harnesses the siren power of deeper truth, beauty, et. al. as a parallel track to help collapse the forces of “bad Philosophy” in all its variants.

    Some pieces are moving together in my head, and I think this future is possible. More to the point, I think I see some of its outlines via these posts, concepts like “Spiral Dynamics,” etc. I may have some free time in Santa Cruz next month, and if so I’ll try to lay some foundations and explain what that future might look like. In partnership, as always, with my able team-mates, readers, and nay-sayers.

  35. Andrew J. Lazarus:

    What I read Mr. Ledeen as arguing for both in the citation you linked to and in the quotations you extracted, were adoption of regime change as the official policy of the United States government as Mr. Clinton’s administration did with respect to Iraq and active support of anti-regime forces in Iran. I also read him as saying the longer we delay both of these measures the greater the likelihood of the need for military confrontation between Iran and the United States.

    Where does he make a specific call to war?

    Perhaps Dan Darling can speak more authoritatively on this since he’s worked for Mr. Ledeen this summer.

    Don’t miss, BTW, Ledeen’s warm relationship with convicted grifter and accused Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi—Ledeen seems to have a real soft spot for crooked, corrupt renegades.

    How is this relevant to the validity of Mr. Ledeen’s ideas whatever they may be? Guilt by association, anyone?

    I think the American people are voting with their movie tickets that the WMD-substitutes that have latterly been proffered are just not adequate justification for war.

    Let’s see. Fahrenheit 9/11 has grossed about $100M. The Passion of the Christ has grossed more than $362M. Presumeably using this reasoning we should conclude that the American people have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior?

    There are a lot of reasons for going to a movie and I don’t think we should draw too many conclusions from box office receipts. There’s only one poll that means anything: the one on November 2.

  36. Andrew J. Lazarus:

    Ledeen has called for the overthrow of the Iranian regime. If you think that is a call for invasion, you lack imagination. Calling it a wet dream is just childish.

  37. As a polite nod to the actual topical of the thread and its author –

    Armed Liberal: “… it’s a war that will, sadly, be long-lasting, relatively low-intensity, and messy.” […] “As a consequence, this war will look much more like the ‘war’ between the Italian government and the Mafia in Sicily, and it’s conclusion will be equally undramatic.”

    How do we know that terrorism with weapons of mass destruction will remain out of the picture?

    The Mafia, however obnoxious, doesn’t represent a completely alien civilisation which can subjugate and ultimately crush and replace Sicily. It is a diseased part of a society, not a completely different thing with radically different religious, cultural and historical roots and a core, scripturally driven, ambition to conquer.

    Doesn’t the nature, scale and potential intensity of the threat (at maximum, a flash, brighter than a thousand suns, with no obvious objection to eventual and indefinite repetition) impose on any responsible friendly government an outward-looking urgency quite unlike the Italian state’s necessary struggle against criminality?

    Aren’t we still driven by an imperative of pre-emption, racing against a hidden clock to beat a foe that simply does not desire to live with us?

    And if so, hasn’t Michael Ledeen got a point, and not just about what good can come of victories but potentially about the sort of results we may be obliged to look for (likely or not) in order to do enough quickly enough to beat the clock?

  38. Thanks for “responding”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25689, Andrew J. Lazarus, to “my objection to your seemingly-careless mention of ‘those WMDs.'”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25681

    Alas, the arguments you put forth are based on movie-ticket votes for “Farenheit 9/11,”:http://www.davekopel.com/Terror/Fiftysix-Deceits-in-Fahrenheit-911.htm and the “BBC of Andrew Gillligan fame fawning over the perspicacity of Hans Blix.”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2967598.stm

    I’m happy for interested readers to check “my original point”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25681, “your follow-up”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25689, and the other links we have provided. Each can make his or her own judgement on the merits of our respective cases.

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  40. “But military victory alone is hollow and ineffective in the kind of environment we’re in now”

    Very, very true. However ideas alone are hollow and ineffective as well (how many uprisings did Saddam put down over the years? How many lives?). Victory decides a lot of things in most mens minds. As long as we are seen as strong and progressive, we will be emulated. When we are seen as weak and appeasing, we will be scorned. It wasnt just rock’n’roll and catholicism that turned Poland, it was hundreds of thousands of US GIs holding the Fulda Gap and Ronald Reagan calling down the Evil Empire. Hard and soft working together. If we hadnt helped give the Soviets a massive bloody nose in Afghanistan, there is every reason to believe those divisions would have rolled through Warsaw like they did Prague 30 years earlier.
    Arabs are masters of self-dellusion, i dont care if its not PC, that’s a self-apparent fact. Part of our job is to shatter those illusions. Part of defeating the Japanese and Germans and making them allies and good world citizens was squashing their race-mastery illusions. It was painful for them but ultimately healthy. Treating Arabs with kid-gloves and constant hand-wringing about the ultimately irrelevant ‘arab street’ doesnt do the Arabs or ourselves any favors. Crushing Hussein was a good step in that. Introducing democracy to the ME would have been impossible (obviously in Iraq) without first reminding the Arab populace how hopelessly backwards, ignorant, and unjust their nations and societies are. In this case military force was necessary to shatter that illusion.

  41. You seem to be unaware that we are engaged in a “traditional” war over in a country called Iraq, and that a significant number of American families are mobilized by the “mere” fact that their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and grown-up children are there fighting for something which will never be.

    It is Vietnam Redux.

    As for the war against Islamist terrorism, we have handed them victory after victory since 9/11 — perhaps even that latter was given up on a silver platter. Our government continues to be ineffective and disorganized from the top down. This war has always been ours for the losing. It’s time to have a leader who is connected to reality and therefore more likely to wield our strengths to our advantage.

    Please vote for Kerry who will lead us down the path to American victory.

  42. “fighting for something which will never be.”

    Democracy is Iraq? How sad of an outlook, and how historically ridiculous. Of course it begs the question of whether you believe democracy can never happen in Iraq and we should therefore vote out Bush, or that we should vote out Bush and therefore democracy can never happen in Iraq. Heck, its only 25 million people.

    “It is Vietnam Redux.”
    Spoken like someone that knows nothing about Vietnam besides what they pick up in Oliver Stone movies.

    “It’s time to have a leader who is connected to reality and therefore more likely to wield our strengths to our advantage.”

    Bailing out of Iraq is supposed to convey strength?

    I might take Kerry seriously if he ever bothered to tell us specifics about what he intends to do to win this war, aside from glad-handing Jaques Chirac of course.

  43. War requires a culture of death. For those not repulsed by the thought of war — mass, organized violence — there is a natural fascination with death… Death for a cause particularly.

    There is not much difference between the two sides in a war. First and foremost, both are warriors, and for psychological purposes, both are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, and of the glory that awaits them when it is realized. One wins, one loses, so what? War is continuous…. Those who have lowered their own standards of humanity to support one war will not be loathe to object wholeheartedly to it again. Inevitably another righteous war will erupt and more death and destruction will mar a human consciousness capable of much beauty, but still betrothed to an animal instinct that says “me above others”.

    I wish women ruled the world.

  44. Consti says, “There is not much difference between the two sides in a war.” Based on whatever experience and moral reasoning, she sounds sure of the rightness of her beliefs.

    “Others may disagree.”:http://massgraves.info/

  45. Political Observer:

    As for the war against Islamist terrorism, we have handed them victory after victory since 9/11 — perhaps even that latter was given up on a silver platter.

    Specifically which victories? Iraq is (or, rather, isn’t – but that’s by the by) one. Which others? Afghanistan? Racial profiling? “With us or with the terrorists”?

    Consti:

    First and foremost, both are warriors, and for psychological purposes, both are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, and of the glory that awaits them when it is realized.

    Look at the two sides, and pick the one you prefer to win. Can you do that?

    Hint: women’s rights would be taken back to 7th century Arabia if the Islamists win.

  46. Those who have lowered their own standards of humanity to support one war will not be loathe to object wholeheartedly to it again.

    Anyone else read that and think, “yeah, so”?

  47. Erm, I guess we lowered our moral standards by entering into WWII. Oh, wait, entering WWII actually meant we stood up for our moral values as does the invasion of Iraq. How bout that!

  48. lindenen:

    You miss the point! The truly moral person has no morals, lest those morals clash with someone else’s, which might create conflict.

    Ain’t post-modernism grand?

  49. I think the most interesting thing that has come out of this thread is the focus on our potential for soft power.

    From the seed post: ” We will win this war by changing people’s minds and making Islamist terror an unattractive option. We’ll make it unattractive by raising its cost and lowering its effectiveness (which are military and civil defense issues), as well as by giving people the option of taking on other, less destructive belief structures.”

    That raises two questions.

    One, obviously, is what happens to people who choose a less destructive belief structure that isn’t Islam, and if the answer isn’t “punishments up to and including death, as the faithful may determine in each case,” who prevents that, with what force, and with what consequences, since this is war against Islam?

    The other is: “less destructive beliefs such as what?” And wouldn’t it be more persuasive if these less destructive belief structures were demonstrated by people who weren’t attacking each other over them?

    So if Joe Katzman is interested in “the prospect of a way forward founded on a common foundation that can step beyond today’s right-left debates,” great! I could stand to see a lot of discussion at Winds of Change about common ground, and/or a revamped idea of the West that would unite and inspire us to the extent that that is practically possible.

    One of the problems I think is that we have no agreement on what the term “secular” means or what it’s for, particularly in the context of a secular/religious divide with winners and losers. (And perhaps more to the point, with many on both sides fiercely fearful of becoming losers, or of losing worse than they feel they already are.)

    But anyway, Robin Burke and others may define this and other terms when they discuss “a secular foundation for opposing the opponents of civilization that we can agree on, across religious and other differences.” And this is fodder for another day’s discussions.

  50. conasti wrote: “I wish women ruled the world.”…

    A.L.: …you mean like Margaret Thatcher?

    He probably means like Agrippina the Younger (Roman Empress (49-54 CE), wife of Claudius, mother of Nero).

  51. We agree, Ledeen calls publically for “regime change” in Iran. Well, we all know that the policy of regime change in Iraq ended in war, so I don’t see any reason to dispute you over employment of euphemisms.

    Why the Blix inspections stopped, viz., that they had to get out of the way of our invasion, and that these inspections were refuting all the “intelligence” about WMD we bought from the INC are matters of record. If you don’t like one source, I can Google for a dozen others.

    I do think the sale of tickets for “Passion of the Christ” says not that America is a Christian country, but that the average American has tremendous interest in the story of Jesus. And the unprecedented popularity of F9/11 says the average American has a tremendous, and largely ignored, interest in what happened to get us into Iraq. While you cobble up second-best explanations of missing weapons, you’ve lost sight of the successful PR campaign to sell this war on bases that turned out in retrospect to be junk. It’s as if (this line is not original) the North had won the Civil War only to find out there wasn’t any Southern slavery. Perhaps your affinity with the underlying geopolitical principles of the Bush Administration led you to ignore the fact that millions of Americans have awoken to discover that their Government’s statements (e.g., “We know where they are.”) were false and they don’t like having been snow-jobbed.

  52. A.L.

    I will cite “a study on the Evolution of Soviet Military Doctrine”:http://www.sovietarmy.com/documents/evolution.html for part of my position that one of the main differences between 1956, 1968 and Poland was the unwillingness of the Soviets to repeat their military interventions – “The critical question then becomes the nature of Soviet behavior in crisis. The record in the nearly forty years since the end of World War II has shown that Soviet political leaders (with the exception of Khrushchev) have been cautious and conservative in crises. They have shown a marked aversion to the high degree of risk-taking manifest in Soviet military doctrine. These leaders also have placed high priority on the maintenance of their empire, intervening in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) and pressuring General Vojtech Jaruzelski into imposing martial law in Poland in 1981. But these actions represented little risk of confrontation with the West. Only once in thirty-eight years did the Soviet Union use force outside the Warsaw Pact––in Afghanistan in 1979––where and when there was no chance of Western military intervention. And in other crises––China in 1969, the Middle East in 1973, and Poland in 1980––the Soviet Union clearly contemplated military intervention but did not proceed to carry it out. Even in Cuba in 1962, under the volatile Khrushchev, the Soviet Union backed away from confrontation. Thus, the overall record of the Soviets is far more conservative and cautious than the tone of their doctrinal pronouncements.”

    As I stated in my post – “The ideology of communism was not defeated by rock music, or consumerism, or the legacy of the Catholic Church entirely. Some influences from the West did play a role in defeating communism – the freedom, the economics, the rights of the individual all fought against Communism…” But, while these were evident to an extent in 1956 and 1968, the Soviets did use military force to stop those nations from leaving its empire. So why was Poland different from Hungary and Czechoslovakia?

    I don’t claim that non military intervention was root – but your premise is that the Soviet Union and it’s empire collapsed based entirely on it’s economic and political failings. The Red Army and politics were massively intertwined. In 1956 and 1968, the Soviets used force to preserve it’s empire. 10 years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it declined to use force to stop Poland. Why?

  53. A.L.

    To address the other side of the discussion, that of Nazism, and if it were contagious – which you do not accept, “I provide this link and quote”:http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-08/tgmwc-08-70-06.shtml

    This is a transcript from the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal – and specifically I reference 28 Feb 1946- comments by M. Champetier De Ribes – a French prosecutor – ” shall merely mention Article 265 of the French Penal Code which lays down the general principle of the association of criminals by enacting that:-

    “Any organised association, whatever its structure or the number of its members, any understanding made with the object of preparing or committing crimes against persons or against property, constitutes a crime against public peace.”
    But I should like to draw the attention of the Tribunal to this fact, that in the course of the last few years France has had occasion to apply this general principle to organizations which greatly resemble those which we are asking you to declare criminal.
    It is known indeed, gentlemen, that Nazism is a contagious disease, the ravages of which threaten to go beyond the borders of the countries which it has definitely contaminated. Thus, during the years 1934 to 1936, diverse groups had been formed in France, which, following the example of their German and Italian models, were organized with the intention of substituting themselves for the legal government in order to impose on the country what they called “order,” but which was in reality only disorder.
    The French Republic in 1936 did what the Weimar Republic ought to have done. The law of 10th January, 1936, promulgated on 12th January in the Official Gazette, which I submit to the Tribunal, and a translation of which was given to the defence, decreed the dissolution of these groups and enacted severe penalties against their members.”

    In the days around WW2, and it’s aftermath – Nazism was seen to a contagious disease. The fact that none of these other movements were likely to obtain the same level of power as Hitler did is immaterial. It is similar to the threat of islamofascism has today – it’s contagious – and there are those in the US, UK, Australia, and other nations that are trying to bring their belief to power.

    Nazism was such that, a contagious disease, that it would not have been defeated without military force. Being nice to them, providing aid and assistance to alleviate their demands, would not have brought about the fall of nazism. Being nice to the Soviets, and providing them aid / assistance, did not bring on the fall of the Soviet Union or it’s empire.

    There is nothing wrong with providing aid and assistance, but ultimately, the only way to eliminate a strategic threat is to defeat it economically, militarily, and in such a complete manner, that it is clearly shown to be the flawed ideology that it is.

  54. Mark Buehner, historically ridiculous?

    I suppose it’s sad if your expectations are unrealistic. Sober up and vote for Kerry, who’s stated Iraq policy is not that different from President Bush’s but whose ability to carry it out will be better — much, much better. Bush is a drag on America’s hopes, dreams, abilities and beliefs. You don’t really want to be on the side of King George do you?

    Colt: “Specifically which victories?”

    No offense, but does the concept of a Muslim “failed state” with ties to terrorism ring any alarm bells for you? Instead of one, we now have two! And not for lack of trying either! We’ve won two battles, and lost the war. Need a new leader, and fast!

  55. I wrote: Andrew L., we have not reached the limits of military intervention in Iraq by any means — we have reached the limits of what we are willing to DO with our military intervention. A key difference.

    and Andrew Lazarus replied: Robin:You’re right, we could nuke the whole world to death if we wanted. But we’ve nearly reached the limits of conventional military victory in Bush’s version of the War on Terror

    No, nuclear weapons would not be needed to flatten Fallujah, nor would more troops – just a choice to do what, say, the Romans did when faced with similar uprisings: put them down ruthlessly.

    I’m not arguing we should decimate the population into submission, but I’m rather sure we could if we chose … it is our values, not our ability, that holds us back. And the reason that is worth keeping in mind is that those values could shift over time if we come under seemingly endless attack.

    Moreover, I suspect that the resentment we encounter around the world, including in Europe, is based first and foremost on a recognition that we have capabilities they do not. Military systems are the most obvious, but after working with Europeans on and off for a number of years in a high-tech, entrepreneurial market it was obvious to me that they resented our inventiveness, nimbleness and willingness to work hard … if only because of the competitive pressure it put on them, but also because (and this is the dark secret) in many ways when they’ve tried to emulate them, they have not succeeded.

    As a result, we do not get credit for the forebearance we show with regard to the use of military or any other power – we are resented for its very existence. Any foreign policy that does not acknowledge that is doomed to ineffectiveness.

    And as an even more important result, nothing we do short of deliberately hobbling ourselves into second-class status will end the resentment and hate.

  56. Andrew J. Lazarus (8:56 pm):

    > “While you cobble up second-best explanations of missing weapons…”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25716

    The extent to which you can imagine decent motives for “someone with the presumption to disagree with you”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25696 is… notable.

    As far as the Blix-led inspections, there were good reasons to doubt his “competence”:http://slate.msn.com/?id=2074629 and his “motives”:http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR31503.html, though never his self-esteem.

    Otherwise, this has been a great and thought-provoking thread. I hope the USMC’s and Laocoon’s guest-blogs come to fruition. Thanks A.L. and Joe.

  57. Andrew J. Lazarus:

    Well, we all know that the policy of regime change in Iraq ended in war, so I don’t see any reason to dispute you over employment of euphemisms.

    Check out Ledeen’s book, or browse his articles over the last year. He doesn’t want an invasion, and has argued against it.

    Political Observer:

    No offense, but does the concept of a Muslim “failed state” with ties to terrorism ring any alarm bells for you? Instead of one, we now have two!

    Both were failed states with ties to terrorism before the invasions. If you have information about Allawi or Kharzai having ties to terrorists, I’m all ears.

    We’ve won two battles, and lost the war.

    Neither battle is over, nor is the war.

    What will Kerry do differently? And more importantly, why will refraining from removing terrorist-sponsoring regimes be a better tactic than removing them?

  58. _Moreover, I suspect that the resentment we encounter around the world, including in Europe, is based first and foremost on a recognition that we have capabilities they do not. Military systems are the most obvious, but after working with Europeans on and off for a number of years in a high-tech, entrepreneurial market it was obvious to me that they resented our inventiveness, nimbleness and willingness to work hard … if only because of the competitive pressure it put on them, but also because (and this is the dark secret) in many ways when they’ve tried to emulate them, they have not succeeded._

    Here’s where I have an argument with the entire thread. What seems to be argued here is that there are no winners, no losers. The arguments are IMO fallacy due to the matter of degree. If the world or a society can not tolerate winners and losers then we are certainly on the path to “Communism”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

    Feudalism -> Capitalism -> Socialism -> Communism

    If I understand Robin’s comment resentment leads to destructive practices. In order to alleviate the destructive practice we must remove resentment. To remove resentment all must be equal. Either lower the standards or increase the short falls to an even keel.

    It could be argued that this is the mind set of the issue we are dealing with if it were true. However this is not the case in as much as the terrorists are more closely related to Nazism / Racism perspectives. One superior race period. The terrorist difference is one superior race without inferior race slaves.

  59. Another article for Mr. Buehner, and other interested parties, for historical edification purposes, naturally.

    And a little something for Colt.

    Oh, and Iraq’s ties to terrorism were not meaningful prior to the war; now we hear of semi-daily suicide bombings, even though the press can’t even access most of the country we’re “securing.”

    “And more importantly, why will refraining from removing terrorist-sponsoring regimes be a better tactic than removing them?”

    Good question — let’s ask Bush. Yup, sometimes a realistic approach to foreign policy actually makes good sense. Too bad it wasn’t applied to Iraq under the Bush Administration.

    Bush lied, people died. And the moral high ground is lost. And our military is tired, used, and demoralized. We need someone who doesn’t have a proven record of intellectual incuriosity, ideological blindness, and frankly un-American priorities.

    Kerry/Edwards 2004

  60. Wow! What a kewl thread! :-)

    A.L.: you say: “Nazism, by it’s nature, wasn’t a contagious meme. ” Not so, memes are by their very nature, contaigious. And you forget the ‘biology of belonging’. Athos is correct.

    conasti wrote: “I wish women ruled the world.”…
    Be patient. Sykes sez in Adam’s Curse the Y chromosome will go blank in 50,000 generations (approx 250,000 years). However, he is using poulation genetics equations– my own multivariate regression on null loci puts it at approx 8,000 years. :-)

    Andrew J. Lazerus: You said: “You should Google for Ledeen and “Faster, please”, which is his cute call for more bloodshed. ” Do you not understand this is not a “cute call for more bloodshed”, but an honest and singular solution? I am absolutely convinced there can be a successful Iraq Model– if you look in open source, you can see Islam gradually yielding to the osmotic pressure of western civilization. Women reporters in make-up staff the arab language tv stations, Al-Sistani cracks open the door to capitalism and the movie industry, there are fewer attacks and more days of peace. My deep concern is that things don’t happen fast enough, and we’ll wind up with Wretchard’s Third Conjecture. “Faster, please” to me is the only meaningful statement that can be made.
    As for Dr. Ledeen’s relationship with Chalabi, how is Chalabi impaired as a data source? We would all be better off if the Toricelli doctrine hadn’t struck our unsavoury intel sources off the payroll prior to 911.

  61. I think Ledeen is overestimating the taste for revolution in the country. The kids are keeping their heads down for now.

    Steady and vocal pressure for reform, on the other hand, could be quite effective. “Regime change” can be an end, not a means.

  62. USMC, you misunderstand me.

    The fact that I believe the resentment and rage against the US is tied to competitive and other structural differences does most certainly not imply we should cripple ourselves or stop being either competitive or innovative.

    Quite the contrary …. in the long run, those characteristics have the potential to bring prosperity to many of the poorest on the earth.

    But the path won’t be smooth and the resentment goes deep … and it won’t go away any time soon. Just worth noting that ….

  63. *Robin*
    Sorry I didn’t mean to misconstrue your meaning. It was my writing that made it seem that way to get my point across. I am guilty of a case in which I find in so many of our media outlets. That case being stripping what you want to imply some one’s tenets as other than that portrayed. I know you are not advocating communism and I believe everyone here knows that as well. If they believe otherwise I will certainly set them straight. Again please accept my apology for not clarifying your statement.

  64. USMC, no prob’, bro.

    Unfortunately, I often blog the way I write otherwise, with lots of commas and dependent clauses …. it’s easy to get lost in the thickets of my grammnar some times LOL. Just wanted to make my meaning clear.

  65. AMac: I repeat, cobbled up. If there had been one-tenth of the nuclear, CW, and BW arsenal in Iraq that was suggested in the run-up to the war, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Even Michael Moore would probably be a reluctant supporter of the war, and Bush would be contemplating a 50-state sweep. D.C. might still be out of range.

    The trouble is, you roll the dice, and sometimes you crap out.

    Since then, an industry has grown up to find retroactive reasons for the war with the virtue of grounding in reality. For example, the (potential) improvement in the human rights situation in Iraq. Some of these reasons aren’t per se bad, but they lack the visceral punch of “Saddam can already deliver WMD to the Atlantic coast“. And without that salience, they just don’t impress the American people much. Indeed, they probably suffer by comparison to the dramatic (but ungrounded and no longer supportable) original reasons why immediate war was needed.

    jinnderella: “[T]here are fewer attacks and more days of peace.” Wednesday wasn’t one of them, was it? Is “Faster, please” an adjuration of some Deity, or a suggestion that we intervene with force? I read it as the latter. We already know how regime change was accomplished in Iraq. As to Chalabi, he’s a liar, he’s under investigation as a spy, he acknowledges his informants were “heroes in error”, and not one article of intelligence he delivered to us before the war has been verified (some of his post-invasion intel at the tactical military level was true).

  66. Lurker:

    “Sorry. Your links are muy out of date” ranks up there with all the whoppers I linked to here. I won’t even bother with debunking the links you listed if you can’t be bothered to argue in complete sentences. Besides a quick check shows that they barely counter the information contained in the articles I linked to above, and well, opinion pieces? Are you serious? They’re so full of unsupported assertions, strawmen, and innuendo that, well, if that’s the best you can do, then I rather pity you.

    Good night, folks.

    By the way, that web exclusive report from Foreign Policy linked to above is really the best source of information on fisking, line by line, the case made for war. If only we knew then.

  67. Andrew:
    “Wednesday wasn’t one of them, was it?” Nope. Has it occurred to you that the timing of that attack was intended to influence the DNC? Sorry, outlier, not a trend.

    “Faster, please” is an expression applying to the whole process, IMHO. The first place I read Dr. Ledeen was at LGF in March, and he was one of the first to advocate sponsoring radio/tv influence. Not just force of arms. Deity? LOL, Andrew, you know what I believe– the god is in the genes.
    As for Chalabi– “some of his post-invasion intel at the tactical military level was true”, better than nothing. Intel is a dicey business. A lot of intel sources are spies and unsavoury individuals. Granted, you have always been suspicious of Chalabi, and you turned out to be right– but if intel he gave saved one life, I maintain he was worth every penny.

    In mathematical modelling, one always is forced to cost out inaction vs. action– are you willing to foot the bill for us not going to Iraq? We weren’t rolling dice– you better believe we figured the Bayesian probablity that the armament was there, based on what we knew at the time. Threat estimation is conservative, by its nature. Show me you are more than an armchair quarterback– hindsight is always 20/20.

  68. Andrew J. Lazarus (2:58am):

    Just to be clear, “you wrote,”:http://windsofchange.net/archives/005278.php#25716” “While you cobble up second-best explanations of missing weapons…” (emphasis mine), and went on disparaging what you suppose of my beliefs and agenda. AFAIK, we haven’t met except via keyboard and monitor.

    Presuming knowledge of the motives of one’s presumed Enemies was a defining characteristic of a prominent American politician of the mid-20th century, no hero of mine or of yours either, I expect.

    You have broad and deep knowledge of many of the subjects discussed at WoC, though I don’t usually agree with your interpretations. I appreciate your insights more when you are the master of your invective, rather than when you serve it.

  69. AMac: Lacking a dialect with you-all, I didn’t intend to single you-AMac out. I meant, y’all-the-pro-war-party. There may be exceptions; there were certainly people for whom the humanitarian question was paramount before the war. There were probably people for whom the domestic political repercussions were the most important reason, although I don’t expect any to admit it for a long time. None of this detracts from the fact that most of the American public that favored the war—certainly the casual voter not found blogging—did so on the basis of WMD claims that haven’t stood up, and so must be replaced with claims that were persuasive to only a minority before.

    Jinnderella: No, frankly, I didn’t consider the possibility that the bombings in Iraq today were a message to or from the DNC. I can’t disprove that, but frankly I think it overestimates jihadists’ interest and involvement in the American political process.

    As to the claim that it’s an outlier, have you any statistical basis for it? I mean, yes, it’s an outlier in the sense that the butcher’s bill was extremely high, but on what basis do you claim that frequency of terror attacks in Iraq is abating? Why couldn’t I argue that whatever brief lull you refer to is the outlier? (I have a good knowledge of statistics, if you want to give a technical answer.)

  70. Andrew J. Lazarus (8:18am):

    You make an interesting point that’s well worth discussing–None of this detracts from the fact that most of the American public that favored the war…did so on the basis of WMD claims that haven’t stood up. In my opinion, the strength of your proposition will be the determining factor in this November’s election.

    Alas, you only manage to withdraw the invective only halfway–I didn’t intend to single you-AMac out. I meant, y’all-the-pro-war-party.

    Perhaps it’s been noticed that neither I nor the other posters here from your “the-pro-war-party” have similarly demanded that you–AJL–answer for the odious “positions”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A25043-2003Jan21?language=printer and “ideologies”:http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/003163.html of A.N.S.W.E.R., the leader of y’all’s-pro-appeasement-party.

    This is because starting discussions with the presumption that other participants are speaking (posting) in good faith leads to more insightful dialogue and more productive, even civil, debate.

    Capisce?

  71. PO,

    I won’t even bother with debunking the links you listed if you can’t be bothered to argue in complete sentences.

    I only used fewer transitional phrases than you, as you also presented links without any elaboration. My way is a more efficient form of link pong. Make an argument if you wish.

  72. Andrew J Lazerus: I can do that! I think I’ll use a non-parametrics test to damp down the outliers, ‘kay? It mebbe will take me a day or two to assemble data, but I’ll email you my results! :-)

    You did not respond to my points on Dr. Ledeen’s “Faster, please” and the value of Chalabi as an informant– do you agree or disagree?

  73. “Another article for Mr. Buehner, and other interested parties, for historical edification purposes, naturally”

    Strange choice using the Philippines to support why democracy cant work in Iraq. Ya know, considering _they are a democracy_ .

    Political Observer, I suggest you consult “this”:http://http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DP.CLOCK.HTM/ site if you wish to educate yourself on how democracy has spread in the last hundred years. It also explores why democracy is desireable which you might find a useful reminder judging by the snark I see in your writing.

    You may also find interesting the latest “poll”:http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/28160.htm/ out of Afghanistan that WOC links to on the main page

    “* 81 percent say that they plan to vote in the October election.
    * 77 percent say they believe the elections will “make a difference.”

  74. “Nazism, by it’s nature, wasn’t a contagious meme. You were Aryan, or you weren’t.” – AL

    ???

    A nitpick, but Britian by historical nature was more “Aryan” than either of the volks movements or national ethnic groups of Italy and Japan. Saxon, Jutes, Norman… all of those hearken back to the Aryan Ideal that Hitler cited.

    Not that that would have made Britian more prone to contagion by the meme, but it doesn’t precisely support the premise that the meme was only distributable by conquest, either.

    Athos seems to have the right of it: memes are by inherent definition contagious. If it’s not contagious, it’s not a “meme”, it’s something else.

  75. Some people, many of the left persuasion, seem to think Iraq was not a threat, that it could not raise a force that would threaten America. I’m reminded of the opening lines from a movie, that went something like this: “Who said they had to be little green men…” (this as pores floated down from the sky beginning an invasion of body snatchers and ultimately the end of humankind).

    Throughout human history, armies have been raised, and wars fought by these armed forces. It seems that radical islam cannot raise an army to invade America, but life and liberty can be taken away and severly curtailed through terrorism. “Who said the next war would be waged by an army…”

    Is the west at war? I think it most definetly is – its just a different type of war.

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