Saturday, February 04, 2006

Re-reading William Manchester's "Alone"

In popular memory there was no interval between the end of the British policy of Appeasement towards Hitler and the new resolution ushered in by Winston Churchill. But in fact there was a phase known as the Phoney War during which Britain was technically at war with Nazi Germany without engaging in major operations against it. The Phoney War spanned the period from September 1939 to May 1940 -- the Fall of France -- and marked a time when though Appeasement had died its ghost had not yet been laid to rest. In addition to the natural fear of incurring mass casualties by confronting the Wehrmacht, some in Britain like Lord Halifax and perhaps Chamberlain himself, still Prime Minister, hoped that Hitler would not attempt the Maginot Line and turn his energies East.

Although today it is fashionable to think of Appeasement as the political embodiment of cowardice it was coldly calculated to bring the Dictators into conflict and -- so Chamberlain hoped -- into annihilating each other. By selling out Austria in the Anchluss, the Czechs in the Sudetendland and nearly betraying Poland over the Danzig corridor Chamberlain was tempting Hitler ever further east into what he hoped would be an eventual clash with the other monster, Joseph Stalin. He did not reckon that evil, while coarse, is surpassingly cunning. The announcement of the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonagression pact on August 23, 1939, just a week before Poland was finally invaded by both Hitler and Stalin, made plain to Chamberlain that he had been outwitted. If Britain intended to drive Hitler East, Stalin had instead turned Hitler West. Nothing remained to Chamberlain and Britain's enervated armed forces but to gather up the tatters of their strategy and huddle behind the army of France. Having staked everything on diplomatically containing Hitler while neglecting Britain's defense -- not provoking Hitler was a deemed essential for diplomacy to succeed -- Chamberlain had no Plan B. He had wagered all and lost. Churchill assumed the Prime Ministership the day Hitler raced his armies across France. Every catastrophe he had warned against had come to pass. And he was finally handed the reins in haste by the very men who had taken Britain to the edge of precipice, its armies trapped on the continent, its allies smashed, its air force outnumbered; desperate and alone.

It is an old and familiar story which bears repeating because it illustrates how far leaders can be trapped by webs of their own making. Like the politicians of the 1930s the leaders of the West after September 11 each made their own calculation. In America's case it took the shape of thinking that it could make common cause with the most enlightened elements of Islamic civilization against fundamentalist extremists who were vying for Islam's soul. The strategy for achieving this goal, though reviled as simplistic, was anything but: America would not pick a fight with Islam itself. Rather it would make itself Islam's friend, ally with its most moderate elements, overthrow its worst oppressors and enlist the aid of the Muslim everyman against the Osama Bin Ladens of the world. In practice it would build a web of relationships with intelligence services, soldiers, intellectuals and politicians in Islamic countries who would provide the information and in cases the manpower to hunt down fundamentalist villains. The War on Terror would be to wars what Smart Bombs were to bombs. It would destroy the miscreants while leaving the surrounding structure untouched. It may be that Europe's calculation was more cynical. But it was equally sophisticated. It would pursue a policy of Appeasement which  like Chamberlain's was calculated to drive one nuisance against another, pitting America against Islamic fundamentalism in the hopes that one would wear the other out. And the key to Europe's establishing its bona fides with Islamic countries was to make nice at every opportunity; avoid giving offense; be lavish with aid; open to immigration and obstructive to America at every turn. Like the appeasers of the 1930s it paid for its diplomatic strategy by systematically weakening itself.

The crisis over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed has ironically struck the weakest point of both strategies. At present the crisis is not a danger to the grand strategies of either. But as the days pass the danger grows that it may get out of hand; that some Islamic cell may detonate a bomb in Europe or some skinhead burn a mosque. And then the consequences may incalculable. For America an open antipathy between the West and Islam would destroy its carefully crafted attempt to ally itself with the Muslim street. It would place Washington in the intolerable position of having to choose between its old European allies and its newfound friends in the Middle East and Central Asia. For Europe the consequences would be no less disastrous because in following the policy of Appeasement its leaders have risked falling so far behind their publics that they now find themselves unable to steer the course of popular events. Europe is angry and Chirac, like Chamberlain after the Sudeten crisis, is too far behind the curve of popular opinion to seize its leadership. Chamberlain understood it and brought Churchill into his cabinet to bolster his credentials when he himself had none.

The Dutch blog Zacht Ei shows how far things have come in the space of a few days.

In a move which is both courageous and stupid, Dutch blogger 'Reet' (a Dutch colloquialism for 'ass') of the blog 'Retecool' (a Dutch colloquialism for, er, "really" cool) has started a Photoshop contest in which participants create parodies of Mohammed. The contest can be viewed here (a mirror can be found here).

A contest to humiliate Mohammed has been launched not in Texas, not in Israel but in the Netherlands. The Netherlands. Almost inconceivable. A smoldering match in a continent riddled with unassimilated Muslim enclaves. Now the European leaders who staked their careers on political correctness and oleagenous kowtowing to radical Islam find themselves unable to assert themselves. It's a moment when Nicolas Sarkozy or Hirsi Ali may count for more in dampening the anti-Mohammed wave than Chirac or Dominique de Villepin. The key challenge for the leaders of Europe is how to get out in front of their publics; hard because they are so far behind.

Yet the cartoon crisis has been cruelest to radical Islam because it has upset the timetable for the slow demographic conquest of Europe. It forced the crisis before the time was ripe to win an outright trial of strength. And it has deranged the carefully crafted plan to hold Europe politically neutral while the Islamists concentrated their force on their most dangerous enemy, the United States. Unless the Islamists can reverse or at least pause the process of confrontation it will find itself engaged on two fronts, against Europe and the United States simultaneously.

Like all historical comparisons this one is inexact. The world of the late 1930s can never be compared to the opening decade of the 21st century. Nazism is not Islam nor is Hitler Osama Bin Laden. But I think some valid correspondences still remain between the Phoney War and the period between September 11 to the present. Both are marked by an attempt to maintain a disintegrating status quo long after it became imperative to exchange it for a new model of relationships. Both are marked by miscalculation as political leaders find themselves struggling to overtake the tide of events. Both mark the end of the last boundaries between the familiar and the dark, unknown future. What did Churchill feel, one wonders, in those desperate days when he did not know the end yet went on?

‘I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?’  said Sam. ‘I wonder,’ said Frodo.
‘But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale… The people in it don’t know…’
‘The old stories! Why, to think of it, we’re in the same tale still! It’s going on. Don’t the great tales never end?’
‘No, they never end as tales,’ said Frodo. ‘But the people in them come, and go when their part’s ended.’
‘You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story,
and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: “Shut the book now, dad; we don’t want to read any more.”’

149 Comments:

Blogger Dymphna said...

Excellent analysis, per usual. Or rather "synthesis."

What I wonder, though, is to what extent this brouhaha is not driven in part by a desire to divert attention from the looming Iran crisis.

In about 3 weeks, Iran will not be dealing in petrodollars anymore, only petroEuros. A few countries do this already, but this one could cause a call on our debt and quite destabilize thins economically.

President Bush's SOU speech had some bizarre parts -- i.e, his Green sounding solution to our oil dependency. We have so much oil ourselves and yet our use of it is held firmly in check by environmental concerns which seem almost irresponsibly mandarin in their focus.

Making so much of our land public and unavailable for oil or other resources are the acts of a privileged, out-of-touch-with-reality class...you know, the media, extreme left, and the academics.

At this point, Bush should have led the charge for building more refineries in this country and opening up shale deposits from the Rockies to Canada -- the Canadians certainly have done so.

This doesn't even begin to address our off-shore deposits, or what I am given to understnd is an amount of oil reserves that surpasses what we had for decades.

The cartoon crisis seems contrived and silly.Just the kind of free speech issue to rally the West while Iran continues hardening its nuclear sites.

If true, this is creepy.

2/04/2006 03:17:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Superlative, W.

So much opened to my eyes.

America would not pick a fight with Islam itself. Rather it would make itself Islam's friend, ally with its most moderate elements, overthrow its worst oppressors and enlist the aid of the Muslim everyman against the Osama Bin Ladens of the world.

Did America know that Europe would, in the end, have to pick the fight? Europe the Russia? Let's hope so.

For America an open antipathy between the West and Islam would destroy its carefully crafted attempt to ally itself with the Muslim street. But then America came to realise their is no Muslim street. (Rent a mob does not count). Hard to believe, the Arab street likes us (Not so hard really - you like antibiotics?).

For Europe the consequences would be no less disastrous because in following the policy of Appeasement its leaders have risked falling so far behind their publics that they now find themselves unable to steer...

The Clash of Civilisations was always going to be fought in Europe. If America has adopted a Chamberlain policy (to get Russia V Germany), it has been spectacularly succesful in getting a Europe V Islam war going.

The only way you can make sense of Iran, Hamas, Cartoon Rage is in this context.

Over to Quai D'Orsey.

PS - If you think Quai D'Orsey doesn't know what is going on, have another Carlsberg.

dymphna, just picked up your comments. The only way to make sense of Iran/Hamas/Cartoon Rage is in France.

ADE

2/04/2006 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Making so much of our land public and unavailable for oil or other resources are the acts of a privileged, out-of-touch-with-reality class...you know, the media, extreme left, and the academics."
---
Can't leave George and Jeb Bush out of that crowd, as one of his early tricks in office was to eliminate access to our vast offshore resources.
...and then expect the Dems to do their part and make up for it in AK.
They play (politics), we pay.

2/04/2006 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rich Lowry: President Bush is the James Frey of energy policy.

2/04/2006 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

doug, doug, doug,

Cette poste est d'Europe.

You're in Quai D'Orsey. Un club. Un club de gentilhommes. Les Philosophes. Comprenez-vous ?

Alors, un pesant dit "L'Armagnac, c'est harram."

On pensee "WTF"?

And there you have it. If you think the French don't know where they are, ...

ADE

2/04/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

An intriguing analogy indeed – Phony War versus now. But I don’t think it was simply military weakness that was the democracies problem in 1940. The forces arrayed against the Nazis – as well as the Japanese the following year – were quantitatively superior. Admittedly, the Axis had a qualitative edge in some equipment, and had troops that were much better trained – but the Fascists had a “qualitative” edge in attitude as well, and that was decisive. They had not been telling themselves that they did not want to fight and hoping that they would not – their attitudes and exhortations had been quite the opposite.

The first warning of the attack on Pearl Harbor came not from the USS Ward’s attacking a Japanese sub, nor from the radar, but from the puzzling radio messages from U.S. aircraft attacked enroute to Pearl Harbor. “Don’t shoot! We’re Americans!” was the typical desperate cry. That reaction from a military aircraft over the open ocean in a time when a third of the world was already at war says it all.

2/04/2006 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Dare said...

Interesting. Because if Hitler had left the West alone and followed his Drang Nach Osten and concentrated on the East, there is at least a possibility that he would have won the war. The nightmare scenario would have been if Hitler had persuaded Japan to attack USSR from the East instead of the USA. Then the two of them might have defeated the USSR and, in time, possibly gone on to defeat the world.
Would any Western country have intervened to protect Bolshevism?

2/04/2006 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Barry Dauphin said...

I've wondered about the timing issue and the sense of urgency that some of the Islamists seem to have. The demographic analysis seems to indicate that within a few decades, Europe could very well nearly be under Islam. And that many of the religious extremists seem to think in very long terms. Yet the push by Iran is now. I don't think the cartoon has disrupted the time table but has revealed that the time table is sooner, not later. The radicals are not looking coolly at the demographics and saying, "OK we'll wait 20 years." Something else is going on.

To wit, there is an interesting piece about the Iranian president from the Telegraph of January 14, 2006. This guy appears to believe that he must act now. Whether or not that is ultimately better for the west remains to be seen. But unless he dies a premature death or the Iranian citizens overthrow the government, the west and major segments of Islam are headed for violent confrontation sooner rather than later.

'Divine mission' driving Iran's new leader

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president's belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

2/04/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

There's a reason why Europe no longer condones anti-Semitism. It's because they killed 6 million Jews first. Indeed, there's not a single country in Europe that hasn't massacred Jews at some point in its history. Not even merrie olde Englande which had a pogrom in York I believe.

Now everyone's ultra-sensitive though. No one dreams of cracking an anti-Semitic joke. A European paper today would shut itself down first before printing a cartoon that would depict a Jew, for example, as a money-grubbing Shylock with a Star of David collar. Or some such imagery from Europe's glorious past. They just wouldn't do it.

But they needed to murder 6 million humans first to get to this point. And not all that long ago either. Just a few decades back.

Indeed the history of European anti-Semitism is so extensive and vivid that Muslims have had it quite cushy by comparison. During the Black Death, Jews were accused of poisoning wells and starting the bubonic plague. From Modernism to the Bolshevik Revolution, from the Great Depression to the Chernobyl disaster, every single one of these have been blamed on the Jews at some point.

Perhaps what's really needed is a new round of pogroms for Muslims living in Europe. Since they are the new hated Other in the heart of the great continent. A few massacres in Muslim neighbourhoods. Who knows, even a mini-Holocaust to tame the rabid beasts? I'm pretty sure the love will start flowing soon after.

2/04/2006 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Are there any gifted cartoonists out there? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have your work seen by millions!

Not loved, necessarily, but seen. A quick trip to fame. Are you up for it?

2/04/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

The fellows at IraqTheModel are silent on this issue so far. Would we expect them to comment? I don't get over there as often as I should.

The State Dept's comments were ham-handed (absolutely no pun intended). A better way to try to keep the moderate Muslims listening would've been to take a wry "Yeah, us too, welcome to the club" tone, noting the offense but also the competing civil liberty and how, in secular governments, the latter trumps the former (probably little of which would've needed to be explicit - these people aren't blind), rather than a "Oh my goodness, what a terrible thing!"

2/04/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Oh man, Wretchard. Just when I think you've plumbed the depths of an issue...

Regarding "the carefully crafted plan..." London today is confronted by "a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow governments in the Muslim world, establish a caliphate and then wage jihad on other nations." The linked-to essay is instructive on the enemy's method, which is to burrow from within and use the West's own strengths--respect for freedom of speech, for one--as a weapon against it.

It all started so innocently, and "it all seemed harmless enough: talks on student debt, poverty and drugs. There were no fire-and-brimstone speeches, no condemnation to eternal damnation; merely tempered debate about issues facing Muslim students."

But by now we should all know things as they appear on the surface are not necessarily what they really are underneath.

2/04/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Wretchard,Very profound big picture Analysis.I have read many things lately that compare our world to 1914 or the 1930's.The story unfolding is huge and ominous and yet so many of our people are entranced with meaningless entertainment stories and latest cheap techno gizmo bones thrown us from China.Wake up America.

I don't know but I've been told
Its hard to run with the weight of gold
I don't know but I've heard it said
Its just as hard with the weight of lead
I don't know but I've been told
If the horse don't pull you gotta carry the load
I don't know whose back's that strong
Maybe find out before too long

-Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia "New Speedway Boogie"

2/04/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Wretchard rarely disappoints. And this bit of analysis is a cut above his usual fare. Before 911 the West was largely unaware of the designs of Islam. Those few who did understand were mere voices in the wilderness that had no effect whatsoever on the common consciousness. But 911 combined with the multiplier effect of the internet brought into increasingly sharp focus the pernicious ambitions of the hate cult called Islam.

That focus continues to sharpen today in spite of the multicultural PC mist that has clouded our collective consciousness. I must admit that Europe's reaction to the cartoon crisis has surprised me. I expected them to capitulate. And of course efforts in that direction were well on their way orchestrated by the traditional sources of authority. But that authority has increasingly lost its credibility and ability to control events. Things are spiraling out of control in Europe. And not a second too soon. The Islamics have overplayed their hands and the internet is full of Islamic apologists who are attempting to calm the rising passions.

For Islam cannot win a direct confrontation today. But then neither can the West. For our will to destroy Islam, as we must, has not yet been sufficiently developed. We will stop short of total victory until and unless we are forced into total war with the Islamic savages. Were the media honestly informing us of the excesses of Islam that will could easily be forged, but since that is not going to happen only an Islamic atrocity will give us sufficient will to destroy the enemy of civilization.

A war delayed is one which when it inevitably occurs will be more savage and sanguinary than is necessary. The inevitable war with Islam will be devastating. The good news is that it should be conclusive.

I just finished watching "Grizzly Man" about Timothy Treadwell. Mr. Treadwell was the man who got himself and his girlfriend killed while "communing" with the grizzlies in Alaska. A more naive nincompoop would be hard to imagine. That is until I realized that we have our own real life Timothy Treadwell right here in the United States - George Bush! George Bush is the naif that believes he can democratize the wild untamable beast called Islam. Just as Treadwell misunderstood the true essential nature of a grizzly bear Bush cannot fathom the dark depths of Islam that make democratization, in any meaningful sense, impossible. His wooly experiment will fail as it must, since it is predicated upon a flimsy and unrealistic understanding of the predicates for successful self-government.

2/04/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

If there was a plan to it, the planner was Ariel Sharon. I've been watching the cartoon things since November 05, so the 'new' crisis is hardly new.

The cartoon crisis is a morphed version of the 'Hamas election' story. Last weekend, we were puzzling over a Hamas government. Early in the week, some gunmen (new representatives of the Hamas government?) made a point about the Danish cartoons. In a sense, it has been taken as the first public announcement of the Hamas government in Gaza.

Who gave made this possible?

Ariel Sharon.

2/04/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Exquisite analysis Wretchard, as usual.

But I have no such faith that the long-term plan to restore the Caliphate matches any kind of recognizable, long-term strategy that could be called reasonable.

Having said that, I'd bet the thinking is further along in its understanding of the potential for an explosion of racism and nationalism in Europe than you'd find in most Americans you'd talk to. If things get ugly - and I'm terrified they will - watch for signs of bemusement in the general American reaction.

Most progressives in the US still haven't caught up with the disconnect between European leadership and the failure of an EU constitution, let alone that European leaders were already out of touch with their publics in the immediate post 9/11 period. (During the invasion of Afghanistan, one could witness in Europe large public displays of solidarity with Islamic 'victims' of American aggression, displays which were not lost on the Chiracs and Schroeders).

2/04/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

As you have observed many times, the media are central to this whole conflict, and they have tended to array themsleves for all sorts of reasons on the side of the Islamists.

The central point about what is happening now is that the Islamists are making it clear that they are coming after the people in the media as well as all the 'little people', the ordinary people the media doesn't give a sh*t about who have to live in areas terrorized by gangs of Muslim 'youths'.

We will now see towards which side the media people, with their necks now quite literally on the line, are going to 'reach out' for protection.

2/04/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Brilliant dot connecting Wretchard! After reading your analysis inherent in the piece is that the Jihadies are organized. If that is the case viewed in the context of the Iranian madman strutting about the world stage perhaps this is being organized out of Qom and not Bin Hiden's brain.

It may or may not come out that the terror masters have always been in Teheran and Qom. Now if the US of A persues a strategy along these lines I can see an attempt to seperate Saudi money from the Mullahs, a further isolation of Syria to stop the cash flows into Lebannon and former PA country. Getting Mubarakh to crack down on the Brotherhood could show a dramatic calming effect.

Watching what the old Euros do to either calm or escalate the natives vs. the Jihadies should give a direction to the next triangulation.

2/04/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

A little off topic, but it's worth remembering that it's not just the Islamists who seek to use our institutions against us. Hugh Hewitt writes that it was Senator Rockefeller who illegally leaked the NSA story to the NYTimes.

2/04/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger xofezura said...

People who think the US is sitting on vast undeveloped oil resources need to do a little more research.

The offshore potential is a drop in the bucket.

While oil shale is a massive potential resource, it is currently uneconomical. The Canadians are developing oil sands, a totally different story.

2/04/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Until recently, I had never been able to understand the reasons for World War One.

Things are beginning to crystallise now. The Great War brought not only the frustrated Germans but also the end of the Ottoman Empire with its little recognized implications and its frustrated peoples.

Developing Story.

2/04/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Well done, Wretchard.

Regardless of what one thinks of those at the various helms of leadership throughout the world, appreciate at least the complexity and enormity of the challenges they face and the consequences of their actions, as they play the most difficult game in the world.

2/04/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff M said...

There is a good deal more fuel being flung on the fire over at the Jawa Report. See this post and others.

2/04/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

The threatening choice that the cartoon crises in Europe poses to the USA in Europe imho more properly analogizes to that posed by suez crises of 1956 in which the Eisenhower forced the french and the british to back off.

US actions pissed off the English conservatives for a generation and the french right of the time and the gaulists of today whose memories go back to that time when their interests were embarrassed in the middle east by the US.

Of course everything today is reversed from the way it was in 1956.

2/04/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Christian Adams said...

Meme Chose,

Excellent point! The necks of the yurp media are now on the line.

2/04/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...

As usual, as is ever always the case, more is happening beneath the surface than what most of us can see. I take the very long view of history, which is why the analogies I draw upon go back much, much earlier than the 1930s. Our enemy, usually, also takes the long view, which is to say that its template for "how it's done" is taken from its earliest jihad history. In its earliest conquests, the numerically smaller Arabian forces first would soften up the targets with raids (razzias), which served the purpose of terrorizing and enervating their Byzantine enemies. Another tactic involved prying at the fissures of Christianity itself. The earliest caliphs right after Muhammed would take note of who was at odds with who and then play on those divisions. Divide and conquer, then take your enemy piecemeal.

It is interesting to note how some of the same trends and strategies are at work today. This time, both sides are trying to use divisions within the respective camps in order to maneuver to victory. We seem to have forgotten that our enemy is far more capable of overcoming its internal squabbles than we seem capable of. Witness the recent diplomatic overtures being made by the other Arab states vis-a-vis the Iran crisis. They are proposing, and some European states are seconding that motion, a "nuclear free" Middle East, calling for the unilateral disarmament of Israel. I say "unilateral" because the participants know full well that Iran would never give it up, but that peacenicks and the Hard Left in Israel would indeed demand unilateral disarmament. Anyone with half a brain knows that other Muslim countries would never give up whatever weapons they have or hope to have. So, in a slight of hand we see traces of the enemy's ability to unify against a common enemy and within our own ranks an opposite tendency to be divided against each other.

So, on whose side is time?

2/04/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

If it's as meme chose writes, that "the Islamists are making it clear that they are coming after the people in the media as well as all the 'little people'", then how does that square with a supposed long-term jihadist strategy? How does it square with Iran's current actions? What's the plan I'm missing here?

2/04/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Iranians really are our friends. Only they can't say so. Not in that neighborhood. Taqiyya is more a Persian tradition, and it's greatest practitioners were and are of Persian ancestry. Persians might be muslims, but they're not.

Iran is forcing the issue because for Iran the issue is better resolved now than when the Jackals and Hyenas can really effect a majority in Europe. It's also worthy of note that AQ is a Pakistani Iranian construction.

The Iranian Peacock flaunting its radicalism is trying very hard to incense the American elephant to a stampede. The plan is to have the American Elephant trample to death the Arab Snakes Jackals and Hyenas that are constantly on the prowl for the Peacock.

2/04/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Well Fred, if "how it's done" is merely to soften us up with raids then I'm not too worried. It would be an exaggeration to compare the enervation of contemporary Europe with Byzantium towards its end. Today's attack in Damascus of Denmark's, Chile's and Sweden's embassies may illicit something quite ugly in Europe - something that could make their mere divisions thus far look quaint by comparison.

Still thinking about mika's point.

2/04/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Melissus said...

W is right on with the his observation of the similarity between then and now. I see another similarity: one between Old Spain, circa 750 (?): it had been invaded by Mohammedan armies, its Christian kingdoms overun and overthrown, its peoples subjected to domination under Islam, its fate apparently sealed to follow the pattern of North Africa, that of gradual reduction to Sharia (Islamic law)and clerical totalitarianism.

Then something happened: the Mohammedan overplayed his hand. The sultan or caliph or whatever he was executed a good Christian man for blaspheming Islam. The peoples of Spain took note, and were outraged. Historians recognize in this apparent non-event the seed of the seven-hundred year war that ultimately ended with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel's casting out the Moors from their last citadel in Spain, Grenada, in 1492.

The history, which I barely sketch out, is well known and documented, and the parallels are clear. Islam imposes itself by hook and crook, that is, by armed invasion and by deception. In Spain, it had been principally by the former, in Europe so far, it is by the latter. Yet it overplays its hand. The hypocritical islamists want to see "provocation" in the Dutch cartoons, disregarding so much much provocations and inhuman outrages of their own (the countless terrorist attacks worldwide, especially September 11, 2001, then Breslan, Madrid, London,etc). The people of Europe have taken note, and are belatedly outraged; but they have taken note and so the real "dialogue" between Islam and the rest of the world can begin in earnest.

There is no dialogue without truth, and now, finally, we can start to speak to each other. This is a positive development.

2/04/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

I echo others in praising Wretchard. Clear writing, clear thoughts, clear lessons, value for now and the future, all while respecting the complexity of the situation. The underlying issue for all this is human nature. Burke Churchill's comment compares Bush to the Grizzly Man, except he asserts that Islam has such depths that these nations cannot change. Mike asserts that the Persians have their own agenda, an inscrutable double-blind of some sort. I believe that all people are alike, that "pure" Islam cannot reconcile with the West but perhaps a majority in many Middle Eastern countries are cultural muslims -- that is, pragmatists -- not fundamentalists. As Wretchard notes, both sides are looking to exploit divisions within the others' camp. I believe Bush is correct in slamming a wedge right into the middle of the Middle East by giving the pragmatists the upper hand over the gun-toting fundamentalists. Democratic government does have a cleansing effect, Hamas now is out in the open and has to answer for its policies. Same in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democracy does not mean that we will have clones of American politics within the "box" of the democratic framework, but it does mean that there is a box and that compromise and accountability will be more common than coercion at gunpoint and unlimited crimes by the gun-toters. Europe will have to fight its culture war on its own ground, the U.S. will win if we can continue to foster democracy in the Middle East.

2/04/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dan tdaxp said...

The problem with assuming that appeasement was a cynical move to force the Soviet Union and NSDAP Germany to attack each other is it leaves out why Britain entered the war to defend Poland.

Poland is a natural barrier between Russia and Germany. Her fall would have been central to any strategy that seeks to increase friction between Hitler and Stalin.

Indeed, a true offshare-balancer strategy by the United Kingdom would have been to wait until a German-Soviet War was almost over, and then intervene favoring the weaker side.

(That is, a repeat of US strategy in WWI.)

Dan tdaxp

2/04/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

The fellows at IraqTheModel are silent on this issue so far. Would we expect them to comment? I

Jamie, that's actually a very important observation. Neither in this cartoon episode nor the Koran-desecration flap have Iraqis joined the canned outrage on display in other Muslim societies. That is because, against some obvious difficulties, they are trying to build a new society. They don't have time for all this nonsense.

Almost everywhere else in the Muslim world, there are corrupt autocrats who can use these episodes to distract the ignorant masses from what really afflicts them (much as they do with the Palestinians), and there are also bona fide jihadis who for now have common cause in fueling this anger. In Iraq, bigger things are afoot.

2/04/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

opotho,
If I am correct, Fred knows that "raids" are an insignificant factor when compared to their other methods to weaken the enemy.
Maybe it should be "their" methods, since all they have to do is prod or pay their willing agents in the West to do it for them.
...and an enemy that has an enemy is a-priori more unified than the Gumbys that claim not to know what an enemy is.

2/04/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The offshore potential is a drop in the bucket."
---
BS
Vast or not, it is not a drop in the bucket, and it's availability as a ready reserve in time of war is something that can be done NOW, not in some distant Hydrogen Fueled Pipedream.

2/04/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Wretchard,
You raise an interesting point when you mention; “some skinhead burns a mosque”. Perhaps this is why the FBI can be more diligent in profiling Caucasian dissidents then they seem to care about the large populations of second generation Muslim youth that have embedded themselves in American society.

If the near tipping point of the United States is destroying two of its’ most powerful symbols and damaging another, a cartoon from an obscure publication in a small, often overlooked western European country, becomes the near tipping point for Islam. Indeed, more radical elements have already declared their form of all out war on the United States, however meticulous, methodical, and plodding that war may be. The Islamists seek to activate the very tipping points of a sluggish, slow to react giant. If we were to take a home grown western terrorist where-ever we might find them, be they skinheads, militia men, or impatient end-timers, how hard would they have to strike to stir the ire of the whole of Islam? One shudders think. I long to ‘shut the book now’ but as participant of these times must watch with horror the inevitable confrontation.

2/04/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Doug, I think that Melissus has it right, barring the scenario of a scary response from certain Europeans (what Wretchard and annoy mouse are getting at).

"The people of Europe have taken note, and are belatedly outraged; but they have taken note and so the real 'dialogue' between Islam and the rest of the world can begin in earnest."

If that's the case then this is a positive development, and not like the fall of Byzantium at all. If it wasn't enough to have Madrid and London bombed, this may finally do it. The 5th column may even follow (yeah, right).

2/04/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dan, Britain had a treaty with Poland, an especially clearly-written, no-escape clause, high-profile, right-in-front-of-everybody's-nose almost automatic decalarstion of war against Germany in the event of invasion. That the 'sitzkrieg' (contemporary gallows-humor for the Phony War) incongruously followed that declaration is precisely Wretchard's point--it shouldn't have, had the condition of war been more organic and less contrived.

2/04/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Chamberlain wasn't trying to send Germany east, he was trying to avoid war altogether. The first theory was born in Stalin's paranoia and the USSR's apologists.

Appeasement was meant to satisfy Germany without a war.

2/04/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"decalarstion": the sound made while coughing up a woogie during the saying of the word "declaration".

2/04/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

I wouldn't try too hard to figure out minute details of strategy on either side. Remember that conspiracy theories preassume competence, which is in rather short supply everywhere.

This mess is beyond anyone's control.

The imams in the west (and back at home) are fighting a constant battle against the allures of western freedom. A friend in Manchester converted to Christianity from Islam and had to close his shop, move and change his name to keep safe. He knows better than anyone that death threats from the muslim community are serious. Steyn has made the point that France has sacrificed their Jewish community to the muslims, similar to feeding your slower footed friend to the lions. We have this mass of people, disenfranchised with no future potential within the hidebound european economy and society, with religious leaders fomenting nastiness and imaginary threats to keep the flock cowering to them for safety. The imams are acting out of fear of losing influence and position. Their people are in fear of the greater society. Europeans are fearful of these roiling masses in their midst. The ruling classes in the various cess pools in the Middle East are fearful for their lives, that all the abuse they meted out will come back on them. The most radical are fearful of the Americans knocking over their governments and societies. The Americans are fearful of further attacks.

To suggest that anyone is in control in this mess is too far fetched. All anyone can do is try to deflect the conflict elsewhere. That has been the stated goal of the Iraq war, moving the war somewhere else (as opposed to hoping someone else fights somewhere else).

Someone somewhere is going to realize that whacking the imams will get rid of 50% of the problem right away. And for the sake of fairness (see Ontario, Canada dealing with Sharia within family law; other long standing religious community privilege was removed at the same time) a bunch of Christian, Bhuddist, Hindu and Animist leaders get whacked at the same time.

Derek

2/04/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's in truth very Lincolnian, Derek.

FoxNews is reporting a great victory for the good guys in the IAEA referral, 27 yea (including Russia, China, India), 5 abstentions (who I dunno), 3 nay (Venezuela, Cuba, Syria). the 30 day clock is now running, after which the security council can act against Iran with full international legality (whatever that is, it is something). Mullahs react immediately, "no more inspections, we're speeding up the program, and screw the Russian proposal". Jeez, the chess players are getting 'force correalated' into a corner.

2/04/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I sometimes wonder how those who talk of the "whole of Islam" would define them.
Once something scary happens, the aroused billions all lay down their laptops, turn off their TVs, quit their professional (family bill paying) jobs, pick up the sword and start the jumping up and down while ululating routine, or what?

Seems to me many of the Muslim leaders are simply using the age-old tactic of maintaing power by keeping the populace distracted with the evil satan.

When a goodly percentage of the world spends a great deal of time and money with Satan's toys and luxuries, one wonders if there are not parallels with the newly soft "hard left" whose commitment stops short of becoming short of breath with any undo exertion.

2/04/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're busy looking through the list of pop-culture items not already outlawed which they can ban to further endear themselves with the young "Muslim Masses," Buddy.

2/04/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

" if Hitler had persuaded Japan to attack USSR from the East instead of the USA."

Japan did attack the USSR in 1939 on the Khalkin river and lost. This loss convinced the Japanese they had to look to Indonesia and the Pacific.

In parallel with Stalin rebuffing Hitler and getting him to look West, Stalin rebuffed Japan and made them look East - eventually dragging the USA into the War.

2/04/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mearcstapa said...

Europe and the US must stand up for Freedom of Speech, but, as Wretchard is indicating, this may very well play havoc with our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In which case, we're starting all over again with this thing.

2/04/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Doug,
The ‘whole of Islam’ is something less than the 1.2 billion adherents that we are constantly reminded of. I am afraid, that those of whom you speak are merely the uncommitted, loosely affiliated that seem to fill the pews of most churches. I am afraid that the Islamic mind, the heroes of it’s modern warriors, the likes of Mohammad Atta, are fascinated with Western culture, immerse themselves in it, with a self-loathing attraction, then move on to complete the dastardly deed in the name of the god of whom they seek to please, and appease for their misdeeds. We have seen self-flagellation and acts of martyrdom in the early Christian sects as well.

If ‘Piss-Christ’ doesn’t offend the ‘whole of Christendom’, it certainly offends most but the more loathsome of secularists.

2/04/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

History is accelerating. I'm afraid we are headed once more into the breach.

I will readily admit that our 9/11 policy, whatever was said in the highest offices, was less than war--though more than retributive police action. It was imaginative, and hopeful: optimistic about the world, complimentary to mankind, etc.

But it was not obvious, still is not obvious, that we are at war with Islam.

Of course, theoretically we weren't at war with Germans qua Germans, either. We were at war with the Nazi party, the Nazi ideology. In practice, however, distinction was impossible; we had no way of fighting the latter without fully engaging the former. Perhaps we will find our situation with Islam to be similar.

I still hold out hope that our Smart War will work, but it is fading. We cannot avoid escalation if Muslims remain committed enemies or silent sympathizers; we need pro-active pro-life Muslims, but they are so few as to be statistically negligible. If we cannot force an inner evolution of Islam to change its outward posture, a strategy that necessitates the very pro-active Muslims that have been heretofore in absentia, then we will be forced to engage Islam as a singular entity, at war with the West.

If (when?) that happens, everything changes. We will no longer recognize the world we inhabit, nor, perhaps, ourselves.

We are on the edge of a knife. Islam is not unitary, but it is close enough to lead to war. Likewise, there are many shades in the West, but how discernible are they to Islam? To Muslims we are all the same color: anti-Muslim.

Europe only lacked will, which has now been supplied. Urgency, panic, fear: European man is now at the brink. Precipitous action will beget more action, and we will have to make our choice.

A rising Islam, or a dying Europe.

2/04/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Five others — Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa — abstained..." AP

2/04/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"... as Wretchard is indicating, this may very well play havoc with our efforts ... In which case, we're starting all over again with this thing."

I think Wretchard was also saying that due to the outrage expressed over the cartoons, the enemy is starting all over again too.

I have doubts that their planning is so advanced.

2/04/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Brilliant post Wretchard. The best analysis I have ever read at this site - or any other for that matter.

I think your analysis is dead on. Although, I question whether the Europeans aren't going to appease their way out of this one. They know they are in no position to fight - nor have the Muslims upped the ante enough to force the Europeans to decide whther to fight or appease (no one has been killed yet - though the embassy torching in Syria wil put real pressure on the Europeans to break one way or the other).

Regardless of what happens in this round though your point still stands that the Europeans (and the other parties) are in a very precarious situation where they know the challenges will keep coming and they will have no control over what form they take, where they occur or when they occur. Yet, they have invested a lot of effort in a policy over which they no longer exercise singificant control.

Exciting times indeed.

2/04/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard,

The Dutch are brilliant at goading others into doing dumb things.

William of Orange incited the pamphleteers into demonizing Charles and incited a near-rebellion that brought William to power.

William later goaded France and Louis XIV into pulling the trigger early on France's many plans to take over Spain and England's empire.

Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, and England are where European democracy and capitalism were born while France and Spain groaned under the yoke of despotism.

Freedom runs very deep in Northern Europe!!

2/04/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mearcstapa,
As Jamie Irons points out above, human language and conciousness allows for much more than the ham-handed all or nothing approach to the world.
...even to folks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in Iraq maybe even more in these matters than in the USA.
Starting over is certainly not the only option other than self-abasement and denial, imo.

2/04/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

red river,
And I for one am impressed by the high level computer art on display at Retecool as compared to the pathetic scratchings of Rawls, Toles, and etc.

2/04/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Just wait. The name "Mohammed" will soon enough be that which causes eye-rolling in the cafes of the urbane in the metropoli which happen to be located with the boundaries of what a sprinkling of silly-ass Imams have deemed "Islam". This IAEA vote is huge.

The IAEA has been the darling of the hard-left worldwide. It has been the fog machine behind which the mullahs have been building their doomsday weapon. Now it has awakened to the notion of world peace, and the left's rhetoric has come home to roost.

You could say that the IAEA vote has revealed the deep huge boom in interconnected transnational capitalism, transcending national boundaries and filling the needs of populations, has finally responded to the left-lunacy that, dominating headlines, always seems to've co-opted reality.

Meantime, the Iranian mullah--the modern 'old man of the mountain' whose Assassins terrorized Europe and the Mideast in the middle ages until one of the Khans sent some troops and smashed his hidey-hole in the mountains near the Caspian--with an IAEA/UN Security Council perception shift, may've just switched places with the UN, from mountain to mouse and vice-versa, as it dawns that despite Europe's wishy-washy governments, the people's economies are the largest in the world yet.

In fact, another of the manichean lines drawn sub-surface in all this is just that, privatism vs governmentism. Russia and China voted in the interests of their people, in the interests of their people from their people's point-of-view.

2/04/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

From something I wrote a half year ago in response to another very good Belmont Club post:

"The chief error of British and French policy in the 1930s was that they assumed, in spite of Mein Kampf and other signs, that Hitler could be placated. Churchill’s genius was recognizing the enemy for what he was, one with insatiable desires, and ultimately one with which the Western democracies could not co-exist.

With this in mind, Churchill's quote that "appeasement is feeding a crocodile so that he'll eat you last" is misleading. From their point of view the appeasers don't think they'll actually be eaten; they aren't suicidal - they're just selfish.

The appeasers then made the same mistake that appeasers do now. They assumed that the opposition was somewhat reasonable, had a limit to his demands, and would become responsible when those demands were at least partially met. In reality, Hitler had and militant Islam has ultimate goals that are unreasonable and cannot ever be made right. We fundamentally cannot coexist with either of them, therefore they must be destroyed.

You can look at European relations towards the Islamic world and the US and Israel in the same light as 1930s appeasers. Modern day Europe doesn't actually think they'll ultimately be eaten; they think once we're gone or de-fanged, the Islamists will be happy and will merely terrorize Muslims. From this point of view, it is reasonable, although really idiotic and ignorant. The fact that they get rid of the arrogant, materialistic, and too powerful Americans in the deal is just a gift.

...

The ideological leadership of the Left looks at our enemies demands and says they are negotiable, if not already reasonable. The most ominous development of the War on Terror has been the fusion of these people with the more innocent minded and honest members of our political opposition, worldwide and domestically. This latter group is the type who ignores militant Islam's true nature, instead transmuting their own guilt on our enemy [and insisting that everyone must be as fundamentally "reasonable" as they]."

A few weeks ago I ran across a passage in a book on the Finno-Russian Winter War that seemed pessimistically relevant to our own times:

"Tanner probably expressed the opinion among the Social Democrats [in August of 1939]: I do not believe there will be a war; the world cannot be so senseless.'

But Paasikivi, who was then the Finnish envoy in Stockholm wrote back: "How can you say this, you who have been involved since the beginning of the century? Where have you seen sense prevailing during the last forty years? ... You and I have grown up among the liberal ideas of the world, under which it was thought that sense would decide, which is why it is so difficult to comprehend the present way of the world. The only thing I understand is that things have gone differently from the way we expected."

2/04/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And, we just barely got John Bolton in there--with a recess appointment, had to go around the American left. Which--as Wretchard and others have observed--is the great destabilizer of the natural aspirations of all the people astride this globe.

2/04/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ah, with Rhetoric Like that, you could be RR Returned, Buddy!
Too Bad Your Ugly.

2/04/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

"IAEA vote is huge"

Yes it is, even more so since it is coincident with this cartoon mess. I imagine the Europeans are thinking long and hard what the world would look like if Islamic intimidation was backed up by Iranian nuclear missiles.

Where are the armies? I think I just answered your question.

2/04/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

Ok. Firstly "Europe" doesn't have a common "appeasement" policy. Secondly why on earth do all of you keep harking back to Hitler? The Germans had an ARMY. Where is the fundamnental islamists army? Where are they invading? What on earth are you talking about?

If a blogger from Holland has a drawing contest it doesn't reflect on Hollands foriegn policy either.

2/04/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I preempted Mr. Bones and his question, it seems.

2/04/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Cutler said...

"Chamberlain wasn't trying to send Germany east, he was trying to avoid war altogether. The first theory was born in Stalin's paranoia and the USSR's apologists."

Cutler is entirely correct. However in 1939, Britan and France would have been quite pleased to see Hitler and Stalin exhausting themselves in a local war rather than forming the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonagression pact.

Superficially, Chamberlain's appeasement policy did appear like cowardice but was actually a consequence of the trauma resulting from World War I where nearly an entire generation of young men were killed off in an almost pointless war that could have been prevented (read John Keegan's history of World War I).

2/04/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

Oh I get it now! You're calling the war on terr-r a phoney war!

Shut the book Frodo! Its boring.

2/04/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Larsen writes: Meantime, the Iranian mullah--the modern 'old man of the mountain' whose Assassins terrorized Europe and the Mideast in the middle ages until one of the Khans sent some troops and smashed his hidey-hole in the mountains near the Caspian



Of Note:

"Within Hulegu’s (Khan) army were Christians and Shi’a Muslim, and they are said to have been the most fervent participants in attacking Baghdad’s Sunni Muslim inhabitants. In 1258, Baghdad was destroyed and many Sunni inhabitants butchered, while Christians and Shi’a Muslims were spared. The conquest of Baghdad ended the Abbasid caliphate there and Baghdad as an Islamic spiritual capital."

2/04/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's 'you're' ugly, not 'your' ugly, illiterate pineapple-san.

Bones, here is their army. Their army is what very nearly decapitated the world financial system, and the civilian and military HQs of their sworn enemy, on 911. and would have, and will, do more and more of as long as it takes, if not stopped.

2/04/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

It's almost funny in a tragic sort of way that enraged moslems torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria. Picking a fight with Denmark and Norway is only a little more dangerous than slugging it out with Andorra and Liechtenstein.

2/04/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Something's boring, alright, Bones.

2/04/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

the more I read the more confused.

"Europe massacred 6 million Jews."

Why do you all hark back to the past?

Have you been to any of the countries in Europe? Guess what? They are different countries with their own languages and cultures.

When did the US ally itself with moderate Muslims? The US lost all of that with "Shock and Awe". Did you not notice? Which Muslims speak up for US foreign policy?

Hamid Karzai- who else?

2/04/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yep--everybody's confused. It's all pretty confusing.

2/04/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

Buddy thats not an army. That is a group of terrorists smaller than the IRA. The only thing which makes it bigger is US media and US foreign policy, because a Military/Industrial machine cannot accept 19 people bringing down 2 towers with box cutters. What a suprise, go back to World War 2, or "Europes" pogroms.

2/04/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger khr128 said...

Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis on 28th April 1918. Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand before losing consciousness pleaded "Sophie dear! Sophie dear! Don't die! Stay alive for our children!"

These people were not the reason for WWI, but they started a chain of events that eventually brought us here in 21st century.

If Gavrilo didn't fire, or FF didn't die, something else would have happened to release world tension.

It looks like the world is waiting for a Gavrilo now. It will be really stupid if this cartoon affair would start the next WW. Cheap and stupid.

2/04/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

Its like me explaining GWOT with stories of Gettysburg. Or with stories of Bolivar. What? Its all "America" isn't it?

2/04/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Against reverence and awe the best argument is sometimes not logic, but mockery. Structures of oppression that may not be susceptible to rational debate may in the end yield to derision. When people see that a priest, rabbi, imam or uniformed official may be giggled at without lightning striking the impertinent, arguments may be won on a deeper level than logic.

We should never, therefore, relinquish, nor lightly value, our right not to argue in the face of other people’s gods — but to fart.


Good article here.

2/04/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

dave,
Maybe we can boil it down to an equation with an outcome delivered, at a time and date certain.

2/04/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Also of Note:

The impregnable fortress of Alamut was surrendered to Hulegu’s (Khan) army without a fight.

2/04/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Its like me explaining GWOT with stories of Gettysburg.

Or like Shakespeare using metaphor! Stoopid!

2/04/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Bones, here's what I wrote just above:

Their army is what very nearly decapitated the world financial system, and the civilian and military HQs of their sworn enemy, on 911. and would have, and will, do more and more of as long as it takes, if not stopped.

I don't understand how you can downplay that, unless you know for a fact it was a 'one-off' and would never be repeated.

2/04/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Why do you keep bringing up the past, Buddy?

2/04/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Red River: Do you mean the William of Orange who later became William III? Because the English rebellion was against Charles's brother, James II. Charles managed to stay afloat pretty well - he was the one with brains in the family. Poor James was like these Muslims; had no sense of the optics of anything, and no idea of when to stop pushing. William was a pretty bright guy - as you say, he had a nice way of getting other people to do what as necessary to make himself indispensable.

2/04/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"unless you know for a fact it was a 'one-off' and would never be repeated"
---
Buddy,
Why Bother?
(If you have a Nuke, dirty or otherwise, that is.)

2/04/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Flight 93, Bones, the one that the passengers crashed in a meadow in Pennsylvania, was headed for the White House.

How many of those shenanigans can the free-world laugh off?

2/04/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're *your* looks, Bud.

2/04/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Aristides, someone told me once that the future is a 'present' from the past. Could be just a rumor, tho.

2/04/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug--now your gotting it!

2/04/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Could be just a rumor, tho.

I'm skeptical. Google will know.

2/04/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ah, Google is useless--it's all just junk that already happened.

2/04/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

I'm not downplaying anything. Its not an army. FACT. It wuz 19 people with box cutters. The analogy with Hitler, appeasement, "European" pogroms (stated as if Europe was one unified place) is stupid.

The IRA had a bombing campain for years. The UK neither blew holes in Northern Ireland, Sothern Ireland or New York where most of the finnace came from.

Terrorism is totally different to war. Bin Laden is not in charge of an army. Someone tell your president.

2/04/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Saturday he's busy, will have to wait (nintendo).

2/04/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

I'm not "laughing off" terrorism either. Just saying terrorism is terrorism and war is war. If a war machine can't adjust to going after terrorists and needs a war for dubious economic reasons and justifies it with rubbish, you can all shout all you want but it wont make you safe from a tiny group of people with box cutters.

2/04/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"I'm not "laughing off" terrorism either."

You're not advancing a third way either. Other than ankle biting you're not doing much of anything.

2/04/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...

Time Out for
A brief meditation on "Piss Christ"

As an artist and as a Christian I kind of like Piss Christ or I have gotten to like it. I’m always suspicious of the initial Bourgeois reaction to anything artistic; they don’t give a damn about Jesus but they do care about propriety. I think Jesus would be intrigued by Piss Christ. It is emblematic of what God did – if you are a Christian believer. God became man and took on all that man is including piss and shit. Then he was betrayed and murdered and forsaken by his Father given up to death. But he conquered death and rose again. Post resurection, man is not the same. Piss is not piss anymore. Death is not death anymore: O Death where is thy sting? Piss where is thy brine? In this sense sacred relics and imagery are beside the point in Christianity. Everything having to do with man has been touched by God, now.

Islam on the other hand is fragile. The whole world has got to walk on eggshells around it or one of Muhammed's throat specialists will deal with you. Tdhe illusion of the secular left is that after 200 years of shells crunching underfoot - that they are specialists at walking on unbroken eggshells - whooboy!

2/04/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

If a war machine can't adjust to going after terrorists and needs a war for dubious economic reasons and justifies it with rubbish.

Trying to be generous, here, but what you just said can only be labeled provincial (as in you sound like a rube).

I think your media might be lying to you. Until you read more accurate sources, you might want to abstain from commenting on this subject.

2/04/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Buddy,

He's going to be very surprised when the April/May forecast of "hard rain, followed by sunshine in basements" for Tehran comes true.

It's going to have a different "feel" this time with, at minimum, polite applause from countries whose "public sentiment" appears to be changing rather significantly.

2/04/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

Mika, if a third way of dealing with terrorists like terrorists as opposed to starting wars against non terrorists, more than likely creating new terrorists in the process is not blindingly obvious...

2/04/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

aristides what is a "rube" I am from the UK and the nearest we have here is a "ruby" as in "Do you want to go for a ruby murray?" which means curry.

2/04/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Dealing with terrorists like terrorists."

Elaborate.

2/04/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Christian Adams said...

Some points here:

(1) Has anyone read about Iran allegedly planning to cease all economic contracts with countries that published the Mohammed cartoons? And how much will THAT lower Iran's GDP? When was the last time a leader acted psychotically so much against his nation's own economic self-interest?

(2) I like the GWOT parallels to 1914 and the Phoney War. Somewhat superficially, I would also compare nowadays to the American Revolutionary War. We might then compare the Danish cartoon printings to the Boston Tea Party. Both acts were superficial, even silly, yet also so symbolic.

(3) Lastly, here's something which has ominously been discussed many times on this blog. It is the cultural aspects of the War on Terror. We speak of the irreconcilable differences between the West and the Islamists, even ominously with the whole of Islam. And we also speak of irreconcilable differences of cultural camps within the West, between the Left, the appeasers, and the secularists in one camp, and the Right or the conservatives (more or less) in the other camp. This isn't just a war of terror - it's a War of Culture. Who's to say the Global War of Culture won't have not one but two Armageddons? One would be between the West and Islam, the other between Left and Right. Whether you see a messianic solution or not (the Mahid or Christian Messiah), this should turn out to be a fascinating century.

2/04/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Bones, you're right, 'Europe' is shorthand and generic terms are to be discarded when necessary to move the discussion along. But nobody is confusing England with France, don't worry. England is the one on the left side of the channel, and France is the one on the other--where they speak "French".

Now. Re GWOT, please tell us what it is you know.

We will try to tell the president after his Nintendo and naptime.

We've got it, he's fighting "terrorism"--such as it is--all wrong.

But, he will want a suggestion as to how better to proceed.

Please provide same, with some specificity, asap, as we all have KKK meetings to attend on Saturday nights.

2/04/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

From Dictionary.com:

Rube -- An unsophisticated country person.

As I said, I usually avoid pejoratives, but your statements betray a serious ignorance of America 1990-2003, and the Bush Administration in particular. In fact, they sound like the words of a foreigner who consumes prepackaged, biased, and incomplete information from an agenda-driven media. In other words, a rube.

Read the Iraq War Resolution, and you will find that not one reason to go to war was rubbish.

Read this, and you will see that the recession had ended well before the war: The 2001 recession thus lasted eight months, which is somewhat less than the average duration of recessions since World War II.

Go here, and you will see that so far the Iraq war has cost $238 billion.

Go here to see the sharp increase in gas prices since the war. Went from $1.40 in 2002 to $2.25 in 2006. Set to go up even higher.

So you see, our economic position would have been much better served by buying oil from a freed-up Saddam, using the Iraq war budget to combat the deficit while cutting taxes to grow revenue (called the Laffer Curve).

As I said, your position betrays a serious misunderstanding of the facts.

2/04/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

This uproar is going to fizzle out, because the leftist media hates the west more than it hates the Islamists, and thus it will avoid accurately/completely reporting on this situation.

2/04/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

A "rube" is a "stooge" sort of. Someone who isn't aware of it when their grasp of the circumstances is not up to speed.

2/04/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

In WWII the European War was led by the Germans, one group. Radical Islam is not monolithic. AQ is busy with its form of attacks. Iran with its, and the Saudis are busy spreading their Wahabbi cult throughout the world. These groups, and others, may have the same goal of a regional or world-wide caliphate but each group imagines its own ruler as the Caliph.

Each of these groups has its own aims, methods and schedule, and they all hate each other probably as much as they hate us.

To a certain extent the radical Islamic groups are like cellular automata. Each follows its own internal program resulting in a phenomenon greater than the sum of its parts, like this cartoon flap.

At any rate, I think the West's strategy requires focusing on each one separately unless or until a major provocation arises.

2/04/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

A rube is also, I suppose, someone who mixes metaphors, and doesn't catch it until he's already posted.

But, seriously, the war is by all accounts holding economic growth down, hurting the currency, costing real wealth, creating deficits and sacrifice in other programs as well as all walks of American life.

If a cabal of profiteers was making this war for personal gain,Bones, believe you me, we'd know it by now.

The oppo party does little else BUT search vigorously for a fact to back that up--but can't find one.

You're "parroting" the oppo party's propaganda line--and that's a fact.

Regardless of how much fun it is be a parrot, you're still a parrot.

2/04/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

That's right, and if you accept the fact that this war was not launched for dubious economic gains, or because of hidden reasons and agendas, you must then at least consider the notion that America went to war for the very reasons she said she did--all of which were honorable, lucid, and supported by facts.

2/04/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Indeed, I think some comparisions can be made between Germany in the 20s and 30s, and Iran today. True, not the exact same situations, but my concern is we are merely hoping Iran really isn't as aggressive as they seem.

2/04/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Right. You say you're not a blob called 'Europe', well, we're not a blob called 'USA'. Just a collection of individuals--just like you. USA gets the sneer because USA is a superpower, which it is because someone had to hold off a big strong USSR bear that wanted to eat us all. Believe me, there's not a soul over here--including most especially those wearing uniforms--that would not LOVE to hand all this sh*t over to someone else to worry about.

2/04/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Especially Belgium. They did such a good job in the Congo.

Or maybe we should hand it to Clare Short, personally. She is so brave in her dissensions.

2/04/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

As for Iran, what to make of this?

2/04/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

"What need of so much news from abroad, when all that concerns either life or death is all transacting and at work within us?"--William Law

2/04/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

"What need of so much news from abroad, when all that concerns either life or death is all transacting and at work within us?"--Willam Law

2/04/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good link--arming to parley?

2/04/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Did anyone notice Das left out number two the second time around?
Some things are not redeemed.

2/04/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Garnering w/Parsely

2/04/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

You can be partially sage, Pineapple, but not Rosemary in time.

2/04/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perhaps Dave is refering to the Stanley/Microsoft Strategy.
Outlaw Microsoft Flight Simulator and Stanley Razor Knives, and the Battle will have been won.
Course then only outlaws will...

2/04/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What he's really saying is:
"No Mas"

2/04/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Truce"

2/04/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Close the book, daddy, don't read anymore."

2/04/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...she still is a true love of mine.

2/04/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

I have often thought how Bin Laden and Hussein must look at the west in a similar way as did Hitler and Stalin. They see the affluent society where people do not want war. There are too many better alternatives. That reluctance is reflected in western leaders, and perhaps triggers the germ of an idea in their minds – “Just with ferocity, I can conquer this society and plunder its wealth.”

Great, great post Wretchard. Thanks so much for your blog.

2/04/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yup, just don't let 'em have boxcutters, and the war is over--Simple!

"tell your president"

2/04/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

See, how it worked was, there were these 17 Saudis sitting around having one of those "game-ins"
(or whatever the youths call them computer parties)
with Microsoft Flight Simulator,
...and in walks this Stupid Egyptian.
The rest is History.
Forgetaboutit.

2/04/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

exhelo 1:07 PM,
Definitely true for the USA imo.

2/04/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Buddy,
Why didn't you think of that before auction the WoT on eBay.

ONE SLIGHTLY USED WOT,GENUINE REASON FOR SALE,ENGAGEMENT BROKEN OFF.
Also full set of Tupperware,two weeks in Hawaii for two and a deposit on a bungalow,two cats and half a CD collection

2/04/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What about the Transpacific Kayak???

2/04/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

You can keep that you heel,you know i always hated it!

2/04/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Crazy Brit's already forgotten Sonia!

2/04/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

llamas is right. Sensible. Unhysterical. The British media have respect for Muslims in this country and they aren't "liberal" in the same way Danish or most Northern European media are. Its nothing to do with fear or why would they support invading Iraq?

Those banners were all written by the same person. Its all hotheaded behaviour by very pious londoners.

Posted by dave bones at February 4, 2006 07:56 PM

2/04/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger StargazerA5 said...

I have long suspected that Europe would eventually get pushed into fighting the GWOT. Suspected and feared it. This. Will. Get. UGLY.

This won't be the Europe many of us have grown up knowing. This will be the Europe of our grandparents. Of WWII. Of WWI's trench warfare. Of the Hundred Years War.

Once roused, they will not draw a distinction between moderate and militant Islam. They will look at the Muslims in their midst and see enemies. They have waited too long and invested too much in peace at all costs to feel other then betrayed when finally pushed over the edge. And the militants have proven they won't stop pushing until it happens.

Do not feel the US is immune either. I have supported the GWOT precisely because I want this situation dealt with before the same flames of hate can be ignited in US hearts.

Now two sparks have landed in the tinderbox that is Europe in the last six months. The first, the French riots, sputtered; but I suspect it still smolders. Will this second ignite the flame?

Time will tell.

StargazerA5

2/04/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Is this Cartoon War the start of the migration from making a distinction between "moderate Muslims" and "terrorist Islamists" to just defining ALL Muslims as terrorists? Which personally strikes me as being more accurate.

2/04/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Stargazer.

CNN and the DoS have thrown a cold wet blanket on this. Others will follow. Mahmud is going to have to do better if he hopes to spark a reaction.

2/04/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Stargazer:
"This. Will. Get. UGLY."

2/04/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Interesting. Seems our friends in Iraq are of the opinion the life of the American soldier protecting them is highly expendable.

2/04/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

World Public Opinion polling organization also finds that Afghans LOVE us. Hmmm.

2/04/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

That's because 95% of all statistics are completely made up. :)

2/04/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I've told you a million times not to exaggerate!

2/04/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I'm 95% certain.

2/04/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Al Hamad said that he himself has often been unfairly stereotyped. "Any time I enter a crowded temple with fully loaded AK-47s in both hands, people just assume I'm going to open fire," he said. "That really hurts."

"Yes, I sometimes do gun people down in the name of the One True God," he noted. "But there is so much more to me."

2/04/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Not to worry Hamad.
The Media And The Boy In The Bubble. (Me)

2/04/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger StargazerA5 said...

Mika,

A wet blanket for now, perhaps. But there are hints it's not been totally effective. I also doubt that this will be the last flash point.

I think we're in a race against time to reform Islam or watch this erupt. The clock started ticking in the late 70s and has only sped up since then.

Buddy,

I do not fear facing the militant Islamists, but I truely fear that we will have more anniversaries like that before this is over. While I hadn't considered that particular event, it fits the pattern.

StargazerA5

2/04/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger LizK said...

Why Denmark? Why now? Why are the demonstrations so well organized? Where did all the Danish flags appear from in the Palestinian Authority areas?
http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/ notes:
"when the UN Security Council gets round to considering what form of sanctions to impose on Iran, guess to whom chairmanship of the Council will have passed. You’ve got it... plucky little Denmark.
Suddenly, the pieces fall into shape. The rumpus suddenly escalated, complete with fabricated offensive cartoons, to so enflame Muslim opinion that Denmark could be intimidated directly through a threatened Muslim boycott of its goods, or indirectly by the EU fearful of a wider boycott, into voting in favour of Iran."

2/05/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Sorry I'm late, I've missed a lot of EXCELLENT posting...

The multi-edged sword released with the Dread Cartoons of Thought-Mockery is cleaving west and Islamic east, but I see this hurting the Islamo-thug clergy MUCH MORE than the west.

The clergy are clinging, terrified, to a tenuous hold on the minds of their terrorised, cowed ummah. Any deviation MUST BE TREATED as extremely BAD, cannot be shrugged off and cannot be ignored!

There is no question about the Muslims of this world (900 million?) learning of the Glory of God. The only question is WHEN?

Because when they DO break past the imams and mullahs, they will hear The Master's voice and turn in adoration to Him! Jesus promised this.

This will echo westward, however, when all the CHRISTIAN clergy, long uncomfortable with their habitual 'scoffing and denial' of Christ's return and the aspect of 'damnable heresy' that Saint Peter WARNED US against (II Peter 2:1) will be faced with public discussions of WHY Muslims are recognizing the Lord of Hosts while Christians are falling behind, not being allowed to ask in church, "Who is Baha'u'llah and for what purpose did He submit to the apalling cruelties and indignities heaped upon Him?"

The CLERGY of our world continue being as lukewarm as they can be, in order to keep us from getting positively HOT or negatively COLD about Christ's return!

2/05/2006 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

LizK,

Good catch! That would explain the violence against the Danish embassy in Syria(?!), and also the action by some Shiia supporters in Iraq. (Shiites have a long tradition of depicting the image of Mahmud).

I hope the different agencies responsible got hold of these people's photos and identity in London and elsewhere. They are Iranian agents, and they and their contacts will likely be used to stir trouble on further dates.

2/05/2006 03:12:00 AM  
Blogger Heroic Dreamer said...

Wretchard - Brilliant analysis. My 85 year old Dad just last night said these times, especially with Iran, remind him of the time of appeasement before WW II.

You analize the European strategy and the US. Care to spell out what you think the Radical Islamic strategy is?
I see the slow cultural encroachment in Europe, but what is their strategy (if any) in the Middle East?

2/05/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Bub said...

After this anyone who takes Islam seriously as a religion is a fool. Why anyone thinks Europeans and Americans should defer to mobs of screaming illiterate camel f***ers is beyond understanding.

Let's face it. Mohammed was a liar, a con-man and all round scoundrel. He deserves the contempt of civlized people everywhere.

2/06/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Khalif of Ojai said...

^^^ "Care to spell out what you think the Radical Islamic strategy is?"

They don't need a strategy. Nihilism works just fine.
Are you familiar with the concept of Jihad ?? It trumps mere strategy every time.

2/06/2006 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger tom in Green Bay said...

I agree with all that you have written about Manchester's portrayal of Churchill; indeed, your insight is, as always, successful. However, one small correction: Appeasement. Appeasement was based on a two planks: 1) War, as illustrated by the causualties on the Western Front 1914-1918, was far too costly to ever contemplate again. Indeed, because of technological advances (gas, the tank, the airplane)civilian deaths and destruction of major urban areas was predictable. 2) The Germans were actually victims. By 1921, Historical Revisionism had taken History Departments in a new direction that perhaps it was not the Kaiser but other-perhaps unseen factors-that caused the great war. One sees this crystalized by the Nye Committee in this country (l925-l928) claiming it was munition makers (Du Pont and Remmington)which was the reason for conflict. Furthermore, the Versailles Treaty itself was advanced as the "diktate" as grounds for legitimate German goals.

Thus, respectfully, I don't believe appeasement was designed to pit Hitler against Stalin.

Please note: Appeasement was wrong in l936 and it is wrong in 2006

2/08/2006 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Speakeze said...

Wait, can we back up a minute, here? Where DID all those flags come from? What a great question.

2/13/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger sarnac said...

Why the US is pushing for democracy in the middle-east:

It is SO much easier to go into all-out war against a country with a popularly-voted-in tyrant than against an enslaved population under a dictator.

Might we have second thoughts about nuking the enslaved population after a smuggled-nuke flattens NYC? ... yes.

Would we have the same reservations about nuking Tehran if a smuggled Iranian nuke flattens NYC ... no ... the Iranians elected Amadinijad, even if not exactly fairly.

2/15/2006 05:45:00 AM  

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