Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Get a Grip

The naysayers are out in force. For example, James Fallows argues the Iraq war was a terrible distraction:

Among the opportunities lost, Fallows argues, were a chance to reassess our "inglorious bargain" with Saudi Arabia, a chance to wage a comprehensive war on terror, and a chance to improve the situation in Afghanistan—all amid a climate of international solidarity that followed September 11.

Perhaps the most worrisome development, Fallows suggests, concerns the threat posed by the other members of the "axis of evil"—the ones that we know have or are developing weapons of mass destruction. With our standing in the international community diminished, our military considerably weakened, and the trustworthiness of our intelligence in doubt, he explains, Iran and North Korea have much less to fear from America than they did before Iraq: "the United States now has no good options for dealing with either country."

Get a Grip!

I don't find it convincing. Assume there was no Iraq war. Then what? All sorts of magic seems to happen. Let's even assume Afghanistan, because of that, somehow vaulted to a modern, rebuilt, thriving Eden. How does that really help us? What extra measures could be taken against NK and Iran? It doesn't lay out how we'd stop those programs -- would the rest of the world just like us more and so do our bidding?

Not likely.

NK already has the bomb, we'd still have no direct easy military option regardless of the Iraq war! We can't go back in time to the Clinton administration and change that! In fact, NK is stalling further talks until AFTER the U.S. election -- obviously hoping to hold out for a Kerry Presidency!

You got that? The Evil Dwarf of Pyongyang is hoping for Kerry win so he can keep forcing his people to resort to cannibalism and eating grass to avoid starvation.

Actions have consequences. Think very hard about who around the world will benefit and rejoice from a Kerry win, and who will will be crushed and dispirited.

With millions of oppressed souls hoping for a Bush win, to vote for Kerry under these circumstances just to feel better about yourself at the coffee house with all your pseudointellectual friends -- when the man doesn't even have any coherent policy anyone can articulate -- is sinful self-indulgence worthy of nothing but scorn.

Sure, Bush has made mistakes. He's not all we might want. But does anyone honestly believe Kerry will be more aggressive in waging the WWIV?

Or will he cut and run under some sort of "peace with honor" rhetoric?

With respect to Iran, we're working hard -- very hard -- to get Europe to support security council sanctions, and they're refusing. Not going into Iraq wouldn't change that. There's nothing to stop us from bombing Iran, and being in Iraq makes it SO much easier to do so!

Also, the draining air patrols of the no-fly zones over Iraq we had been maintaining for 12 years are over, which has really freed up the air force. We couldn't be BETTER positioned to launch sustained punitive strikes into Iran!

In fact, one might argue that if Bush lost a year, then heck, we need to give him 4 more to finish up! Not following through on regime change everywhere in the Middle East WOULD turn this into a lost, wasted cause.

So how would more "attention" to those problems make them go away, as if thinking about them equates to solving them? There are no purely diplomatic solutions to Iran or NK.

Would Arabs stop using terrorism because a completely different ethnic group is being successful in Afghanistan? Would inspectors still be in Iraq, or would they have long departed, allowing him to start up his nuclear weapons programs that everyone agrees he had waiting in the wings?

The basic problem with their analysis is its fundamental view of the source of terrorism. It believes it comes down to our "policies", meaning support of Israel; they seem to imply more Arab-friendly policies would get them off our back, which is a recipe for appeasement.

Instead, the real root cause has to be addressed, and the only way to do that is what we're trying to do: inject the virus of liberty and capitalism and modernism directly into the heart of the Arab world. And we've positioned ourselves strategically to strangle Iran and pressure Syria, the last 2 big bastions of terror-supporting regimes in the Middle East.

The critics don't provide any alternate concrete plan, other than to imply things would magically be better without the mistakes they can easily point to in hindsight. Attacks have increased? That's not the measure of success! Of course they will increase, because we've ratcheted up the war and turned it hot. That's like complaining that battles with Germans increased in 1943 and 1944, ignoring that the battleline was moving closer and closer to Berlin. The real question is WHERE the terror attacks are happening -- and they're not happening here, they've been confined to the Muslim world and the underside of Europe, which is pushing back the battleline.

I can't understand the metrics these critics are using. They lack all sense of scale with history.

Quagmire? In the last 6 months, since the "uprising" started, our casualty rate has been under 3/day. By comparison, in 1968, it was 41/day over that worst year. In ww2, is was 205/day. Civil War, 480/day. The Germans were losing 2,500/day in ww2, and the Soviets 10,000/day -- and that's what winning looked like!

Then these complaints that we're "using up" the reserves? That's what they're for! Rather than being "stretched", the army is getting stronger, as everyone is turning into an experienced veteran.

We can strike them wherever they are. It's a big country, having more troops doesn't really help with that. The question is, are there missions not being performed because of too few troops?The answer is no, from what I'm hearing, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're not there to patrol like cops, there could never even in principle ever be enough to do that, that's for local forces.

The true "root cause" of Islamic terrorism is a combination of a lack of modernity, capitalism, and liberty, ignited by a literalist Islamic ideology, and evangelized by Saudi and Iranian money and clerics. If Saudi is going to come down, Iraq's oil had to be freed from an unfriendly tyrant first as a strategic move for the sake of the world's economy: China and Japan need foreign oil even more than we do. If Iran is going to come down without driving the friendly population to support the mullahs by invading, it could be done easily by a blockade of its one-dimensional export-dependent economy, which requires sealing its borders, which means having troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and free use of the Gulf without interference of Hussein's missiles and provocations, which all required as a first-step strategic move the invasion of Iraq.

While many of the armchair strategists, including myself, are enormously frustrated by lack of decisive retaliation in Fallujah, and of sparing the mosque at Najaf -- the Jacksonian impulse is to level the places -- there could be a good reason.

Either the Bushies are all micromanaging dopes who suddenly got squeamish, or they're (including the generals) incredibly level-headed professionals making shrewd game-theory decisions. The whole plan of the terror masters was specifically to create "events" in Fallujah and Najaf, to provoke an overwhelming response, for which they had set up many women and children to be casualties for propaganda purposes, all captured on al-Jazeera cameras. Iran was hoping we'd bomb the mosque!

The major strategies of our opponents in Iraq -- to try to ignite a civil war and/or a general uprising against us -- is failing miserably! In a country of over 20 million people, at most 0.1% are mobilized against us, and many of those are foreign imports.

By not giving them what they want, their staged events become apparent tactical victories for them but actual strategic defeats. We keep Sadr around because he's so inept - the risk is someone better might replace him!

Syria and Iran and even the Saudis realize they cannot survive long if Iraq is transformed. They're pulling out all the stops. Terror and the states that support it are not distinct -- Iraq is indeed the central theatre in the GWOT, as it focuses all our enemy's efforts there.

It's really al-Qaeda that's the sideshow. The critics are complaining we're not going after the mosquitoes, when the real solution is to drain the swamp of the states that support them. That requires changing all those societies by dragging them out of the middle ages. Don't miss the forest for the trees!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a Grip.

The real solution, is to drain the swamp of the states
that support them.
Spot on Scholar, but I would venture further and suggest
that there is a growing need for another kind of swamp
How about cleaning out the swamps containing the
Socialists/Liberals who give succour and support to the
self same terrorists.


8:14 AM, September 29, 2004  

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