Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Black Turban Hat Versus White Turban Hat

In a prophetic article, Stephen Schwartz describes Wahabi efforts to dominate Islam and the Balkans and their struggle against the Bektashis and Rumi Sufi Muslim traditions. Samizdata says

"these are forms of Islam antithetical to the Wahhabis, and they are in the majority in places like Bosnia-Herzegovina ... Supporting them ... is surely a strategic move."
Meanwhile, Ali Eteraz wonders whether the home for Islamic reform isn't on the Left, as some may think, but in a point of view that can call crime by its name.


I am dropping my left-partisan approach to Islamic Reform (and to some extent politics in general). This is not because I’ve found “the left” unwilling to have the discussion about reform, quite the contrary. ...

Fact is, it was not the politics of the “right” that pushed me away. I don’t agree with many of the right’s policies, that’s true, and probably never will, but that didn’t bother me, because everyone disagrees about politics. Rather, I simply got tired of the overwhelming amount of willful ignorance about Islam and Muslims on right websites and in right commentary, much of which descended to Islamophobia or soft bigotry. ... I cannot in clean conscience engage against religious supremacism and exclusion if I engage in ideological supremacism and exclusion.

I believe in human solidarity. In the elimination of cruelty and humiliation. I believe in living beyond labels and identity markers. My motto is, and was, the following: "Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear."

What frustrated Ali Eteraz about the Left apparently was that it was unable to criticize even the most heinous crimes because of a moral "duplicity".

Western liberals generally shy away from calling Muslim states out on their human rights duplicity. There are many reasons for this. Some of us come from post-colonial theory and believe that the real cause of repression in the Muslim world is the history of Western colonialism. Others among us take the position that we are not in a position to extol human rights norms upon Muslim states given our own violations. Yet others simply abstain from speaking out against violence and repression in Muslim states because we do not wish to provide the right wing hawks with more justification for creating war. This reluctance is reasonable. However, the reluctance degenerates to silence, which then allows our right wing peers to appropriate (and hijack) the entire human rights project. Once appropriated, the right wing then determines which "solutions" to apply. Most of their solutions rely upon force.

There is a deal of truth to Eteraz's criticism. The failure by the Left to meet Islamic extremism intellectually; and indeed to encourage, inevitably means giving up the "Golden Hour" and makes a violent solution not only more likely but possibly inevitable. By appeasing and retreating before the worst elements of Islam, they weaken its best; by abandoning anyone who will stand with us to a brutal retribution we hasten the day when terrorism, they push the fence-sitters onto the side of Osama Bin Laden. Lured on by this show of weakness, Islamic extremism will one day pose an existential threat to the West. And only then will the Left find its voice, but only to demand the absolute extermination of all those who manifestly threaten their treasured social agendas. If there exists a nonviolent road to averting this terrible confrontation; if there exists a way to reform Islam then the effort must be made sooner, rather than later. Later may be too late.

33 Comments:

Blogger 3Case said...

"Lured on by this show of weakness, Islamic extremism will one day pose an existential threat to the West."

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more.

"And only then will the Left find its voice,..."

I am not so sure of that.


"...but only to demand the absolute extermination of all those who manifestly threaten their treasured social agendas."...and their cellphones, lattes and Audis...oh...and their coveted positions on their corpo-governmental retirement matrices.

5/08/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I read his descriptions of the left's "reasonable" positions on jihadism (which he now in the eleventh hour rejects), and am near overcome by the lack of perspective.

It's "reasonable" to conserve water, but not when the house is on fire.

This "reason" is an idol.

5/08/2007 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

Thanks for the H/T at Maggie's for La Marseillaise. While most Americans have never seen the lyrics, which are Romantic and therefore passé, some of the élan still resonates the patriotic heart strings. The dedication to Habu was given in that spirit.

Whether poetry can have the same impact on non-Wahabbist Muslims remains to be seen. When I see "reason", "nonviolence" and "Kalashnikov" in the same thread, my confidence is not bolstered.

5/08/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Very good post.

There is definitely a strain of Leftist thought that basically says that it is not OK to criticize “brown” or black people no matter what they do. I was recently reading a thread about a rapper who basically “dty-raped” a 14 year-old girl on stage. The comments were split roughly fifty-fifty but it was amazing how many idiots basically said that it was racist to sit in judgement over a person of color. If in fact the Left were to adopt such a position then they would indeed forfeit to moral high road to the Right.

The Stephen Schwartz article was excellent; he only missed one really important point. He points out how during the Cold War US intelligence services very wisely and successfully made alliances with liberals and social democrats as a bulwark against communism. What he doesn’t state is that we also propped up Wahhabism, with the enthusiastic assistance of Saudi Arabia, through out the Muslim world to combat the Soviets. While it is great to highlight where Wahabbism is preading on a retail level, the answer will need to be wholesale, and it starts in Saudi Arabia.

It is clear to all that attacking Iraq was a disastrous mistake. The enemy has and always will be Wahhabism, not Baathism. The attack in 2003 should have been against the Saudis, not Iraq. The tap of Wahhbism is still spurting its evil through the Islamic world.

Who will turn it off?

5/09/2007 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

Kevin said...

It is clear to all that attacking Iraq was a disastrous mistake. The enemy has and always will be Wahhabism, not Baathism. The attack in 2003 should have been against the Saudis, not Iraq. The tap of Wahhbism is still spurting its evil through the Islamic world.

Who will turn it off?


Great question. My answer is the one that makes the left cringe the most, but I don't see a better solution.

Seize Ras Tunura and Gahwar from the Saudis. Seize the oil fields in Iraq. Knock out the refineries in Iran and sink the Iranian navy. Take over Kharg Island.

Starve the Wahhabists and Persians of the funds they need to export and support jihad. You only do this by denying them their lifeblood - oil revenue.

The Kingdom will never reform itself to a degree that will satisfy the West. It will always be a kleptocracy bent on exporting Arab tribalism with a monotheist slant.

I don't care what they do on that peninsula, but I do care what leaks outside of its boundaries.

I take this view because I believe in two things.

1. We don't need to Kill Them All (now). There are good people in Iran, Iraq and even Arabia that can be given the chance to step forward and bring their countries into the 21st century.

2. The West is the Best. Ultimately, we will ensure the flow of oil from the middle east to the globe. We will ensure that the revenue from that oil is socked away for the people of Arabia, Iraq and Iran. When the criminal gangs, jihadis and politicos are cut off from the black gold, they will lack weapons, food and funds to conduct their savagery. The West is ultimately the moral force in the world and will do what's right.

There's a reason that the Allies in WWII targeted Ploesti so heavily. There's a reason the Brits held the Suez like they did. There's a reason why the Wermacht was gassifying coal at the end of the war.

Starve your enemy of petroleum and petro dollars and he quits.

No War for Oil? Sorry, the equation is all wrong. No Oil for War. Or maybe No Oil for Jihad.

There are no good answers right now, but there are answers that will get results.

The course I wish we would take would be difficult, bloody and intense. It would be WWIV.

I'd rather wage it now before more states in the ME are nuclear than after.

5/09/2007 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Kevin, re "disastrous mistake", you must be privy to how the world would be right now with Saddam still running Iraq.

How about a few sentences to bring the rest of us up to date?

5/09/2007 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Whether black or white, reportedly, the "veil" is now officially out of fashion in Somalia.

Now, with the unhindered flow of oxygen to the "little grey cells", Somali women may see their men in a different light. Hirsi Ali, a Somali by the way, could certainly use the reinforcement of her sisters.

Somali forces ban, burn Muslim women's veils

***

5/09/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

More on the unveiling of Mogadishu:

"The government has to undertake it very carefully.”

No, not really. But the government does have to have the kind of muscle used by Ataturk. At the moment, the government is showing no great reluctance in confronting (insensitively) its Islamic foes.

Link

***

5/09/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Although the tactic has been commonly practiced across the globe, using schools as armories is “against [their] religion.”

"‘For children to be taught in a house [Koranic school] with all these weapons buried underneath it, is against our religion,’"
Link
***

5/09/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Heartening to note that the American boys of Mogadishu ("Black Hawk Down") are part of this slow-but-sure advance of liberty.

Allen, re' "Marseille" --yeh, I'm a sucker for that music. The Battle Hymn of the Rebublic, God save the Queen, Waltzing Matilda, anything on bagpipes, gimme da chills.

5/09/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/09/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

5/09/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Rather, I simply got tired of the overwhelming amount of willful ignorance about Islam and Muslims on right websites and in right commentary, much of which descended to Islamophobia or soft bigotry

And there is the real issue facing America irrespective of the party in the White House.

We can't make effective foreign policies if we don't understand the cultures we must interact with. And the American public will never be able to assess the danger's (or lack thereof).

We've already seen how an ignorant and intellectually lazy American public was duped into empowering Congressional loons. How? Al-Qeda fed our mindless MSM a steady diet of violence designed to make Americans believe that all is bad. And of course Al-Qeda's #2 man warned the Democrats two months later that just as Al-Qeda got them elected, A-Q could get them thrown out. And of course there are posters here echoing the "all is bad" mantra broadcast by the MSM.

It took many years for the American public to realize the dangers of communism and the necessity of confronting it worldwide. It is sad today to see so many people oblivious of the harm in sub-saharan Africa caused by America's isolationism following Vietnam.

GWB is right in taking on the nutcases now. And it is just possible that he will manage to start a turn in Islam away from Wahhabbism. And it is clearly evident that America is the lone super-power today and the only nation capable of advancing Western civilization and pushing back the last remnant of Tyranny bred in the era that gave us communism.

5/09/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Buddy,

(I actually tried to do a few sentences, but you know me!)

We have to look at the Saddam question within the broader Middle East context just after 9/11.

In any strategic situation one has to both rank priorities while always keeping the larger picture in mind. After Al Qaida attack in 2001 the priority was to destroy the immediate threats from Al Qaida in Afghanistan and then to root out the source of the cancer which emanated primarily from Saudi Arabia in the form of Madrassas and secondarily from Pakistan. These were category one threats needing immediate action

Iran was not an immediate issue, and may even have been an ally against Al Qaida but they were obviously a potential threat and should be kept in mind in making any moves against Al Qaida and would be considered category two.

The dysfunctional Sunni states, including Iraq, would be category three, mid-to-long term threats that need.

However in dealing with Saudi Arabia, our flanks needed to be protected. Given that Al Qaida is a 4GW non-state threat, the antidote is strong state actors who are ideologically opposed to militant Islam. Not only that the US is second to none in dealing with hostile states in conventional warfare. Baathist Iraq was just what we needed in Iraq at the time.

So the first move after 9/11, against Afghanistan, was necessary and correctly executed; the key being keeping the US footprint as small as possible and minimizing any potential occupation. The 90% approval ratings at the time for our President were richly deserved.

Move two should have been directed towards KSA with the goal of closing down all Wahhabi madrassas – everywhere. Pakistan is more difficult and I don’t have an answer for that one.

Which means that we needed a stable state apparatus in Iraq to be able to resist any leakage of Al Qaida during any incursions into KSA? Saddam had in fact more or less complied with all UN resolutions at the time so sanctions should have been lifted after a few concessions about not harbouring Al Qaida were agreed. And yeah the Shia there would still be screwed but I have somewhat different priorities than expending lives and money so the Sadr and Co. can go wilding throughout Baghdad and southern Iraq.

If the Saudis didn’t agree to close down the madrassas then any range of military options, from seizing oil fields to wholesale invasion, should have been considered. Starting in mid-2002 it should not have taken more than two years to accomplish this. Our current President would have won re-election in a landslide with the breeding grounds for Al Qaida more or less wiped out.

In his second term he could have dealt with category two – Iran – from a position of strength and started dealing with the difficult and longer term problem of forcing the corrupt Sunni states (including Saddam’s Iraq) to democratize.

Instead we invaded Iraq and the madrassas are still churning out terrorists nearly six years after 9/11 and Iraq is a hellhole and Iran is laughing.

5/09/2007 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good job on the alternate-history exercise, Kevin. Granted, many truthy elements in your post, and even though each element opens up new alternate-history portals, it never hurts to speculate for future reference.

Your "Move two should have been directed towards KSA with the goal of closing down all Wahhabi madrassas – everywhere" is a pretty big mouthful.

Remember at the time, the "Arab street" was a--perhaps 'the'--major concern of the AQ root-out. The fact that the 'Arab street' has been so well-neutralized, and that we have kept and added on so many arab allies, gives some credence to the decision to challenge AQ where and when and how (in a 'measured' fashion) we in fact did so.

That and 'no more 911s' --which if you recall, was the actual critical job #1 (since the global financial system wouldn't well stand a #2, with its promise of #3 and more).

If your bright line cutting AQ off from Saddam was true, your position is much stronger.

If KSA could have been 'cleansed' without an eruption all over Islam, plus another 1973-style oil embargo, that also would make your position much stronger.

Lastly, all your presidential candidates save Obama are on record strongly recommending and approving every action we took, going back into the 90s, and right up to the primary battle before the 2004 presidential election. Approvals now withdrawn--after the fact, note--on the basis that "the president lied" --which you know as well as I know is itself the lie. In fact, the lie of the century, so far.

5/09/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

My point is not that you are necessarily so wrong, nor that the president has necessarily been so right, but that the more time & energy we all spend groping through the forests of lies (from the WMD agitprop to the Plame Affair on down through Abu Grabe and Gitmo, and the manifold et ceteras), the better it is for the Jihad.

5/09/2007 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

In WWII, the entire Italian Campaign, and the North African Campaign, too, could probably have been skipped. All the loss and heartbreak of Kasserine Pass, Monte Cassino, Anzio, a thousand other bloody battles, all just skipped, while we built up for the invasion of NW Europe. But we weren't ready for NW Europe, and we had to fight somwewhere, somehow, or just slowly cede the new 1940 status quo for perhaps too long.

5/09/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

More alternate history: why didn't we just skip WWII combat altogether, and concentrate on the Manhattan Project alone?

We could've found a way to sneak a few A-bombs onto Berlin and Tokyo, and have won the war without the horrific naval & island campaign across the Pacific, and without having sent a single GI against the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe.

5/09/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Point is, the future is always unknowable--that's why it's called 'the future'.

Everything is always a mess, could always have been done better, and often someone somewhere had had a better idea that was ignored before a worse idea was implemented.

What's the solution to all this flux?

How about, have an election, elect a leader, then try to stick with him awhile.

At least until he screws up beyond just finding no way on Earth to make his political opponents act like the traditional wartime loyal opposition that has enabled us to win our past wars.

5/09/2007 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

After Al Qaida attack in 2001 the priority was to destroy the immediate threats from Al Qaida in Afghanistan and then to root out the source of the cancer which emanated primarily from Saudi Arabia in the form of Madrassas and secondarily from Pakistan.

Oh geez yea Al Qaeda and Saddam had nothing to do with each other and the only threat in the world is Wahabbis. And Sunis and Shias would never ally with each other. Any other CIA talking points you might like to point out?

This is so typical its starting to get annoying. Its almost as if Islam never conquered anyone before those evil Wahabbis came around.

Stephen Schwartz is full of wishful thinking. Are there moderate Muslims absolutely no doubt. But point to the Balkans as the center of it is hilarious just a few days after we break up a conspiracy involving those "pitiful" oppressed Muslims from the ...wait for it Balkans. Whats next pointing to Indonesia as another hot spot of moderation? A place where in 2003 over 56% honored Bin Laden! Thank goodness they have moderated so that in 2005 only 36% of them think Bin Laden is the bomb. Oops pardon the pun.

Probably my best take down of the idiocy of "moderate" Islam.
Hugh Hewitt takes the Norquist definition of Islam hook line and sinker…

5/09/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

P Legrand,

You always use sarcasm as a cover for not thinking things through?

Oh geez yea Al Qaeda and Saddam had nothing to do with each other and the only threat in the world is Wahabbis. And Sunis and Shias would never ally with each other. Any other CIA talking points you might like to point out?

If one follows your logic through - all Islam being of the same basic threat level, what then? How does the West go about defeating such a threat?

Traditionally wars are won by attacking the critical points of enemy power. These are prioritised on their importance, strategic usefulness and vulnerability. Now look around the Muslim world for the richest, most symbollic and poorest defended of targets. Do you see where this is going?

Steven Schwartz and Kevin have arrived at the same target you logically should (eventually, maybe someday soon) get to by a different route. Thus your sarcastic dismissal of them is self-defeating, because they are phrasing a moral argument that is useful.

5/09/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

No

You always use sarcasm as a cover for not thinking things through?

Only when I hear the CIA's talking points regurgitated as if they are original thoughts.

Saddam was a priority so when someone still to this day insists that he was not I am sorry but sarcasm is all there is left. Ridicule even...

Traditionally wars are won by attacking the critical points of enemy power. These are prioritised on their importance, strategic usefulness and vulnerability. Now look around the Muslim world for the richest, most symbollic and poorest defended of targets. Do you see where this is going?

Yea yea but when folks start talking like that what they really mean is its all so complicated lets move slowly or not at all.

Islam itself is dangerous. Admit that and then lets move forward to attempt to deal with it. Islam prospered in history when folks fooled themselves into believing that it was not a threat. Islam is not Christianity in a more immoderate form...not even close.

Reducing the threat to Wahabbis ignores the threat from the Shia's who up until 9/11 had the record for killing Americans. Indeed they killed more Marines in one day than had been killed since Iwo Jima. Then to add insult to considerable injury we get the same fools (harsh but my patience with them is at an end) telling us that Shia and Sunni are mortal enemies who would never ally themselves. Bullshit...pure unadulterated bullshit. Same kind of bullshit that was being sold by the CIA when they declared rather piously that Saddam was secular and would never partner with Al Qaeda. We poured trillions of dollars down the freaking rabbit hole of our Government and were rewarded with 19 Arabs from a failed Culture dropping two of our tallest buildings on Live World Wide Television. If there was justice in this world those responsible inside of the CIA, DIA and the rest of the idiot Alphabet Agencies would have been stood up against a wall and shot. That would have concentrated the minds of those left behind after we fired the rest of the incompetents and rehired them into a serious ass kicking agency.

We are at war. We kick ass, kill lots of people and move on. I don't want to be loved, I want to be feared...I want people to tremble when they discover that a countrymen of theirs has committed an act of terror against the US. Tis better to be feared than loved and I am all for feared.

Its almost as if those same people who worry so tremendously much about childrens "self esteem" are responsible for fighting my wars.

In response to the inevitable query on whether I want to kill all of the muslims. Here is my response to Hugh Hewitt.

Baloney no one has even suggested that we destroy Islam. We have begged, though, for some rational voices to rise up and gain control of Islam even though so far every attempt at a reformation over the past 1,400 years has met with failure. Besides if Muslims are as peaceful and horrified by the actions taken in their name they will understand that we cannot sit by idly while millions are murdered in our country. And Hugh you seem to think that we must ask nicely or it won’t happen, how odd. Why must we ask nicely for something you say is natural to Islam?

No I am not upset...not yet. But I am getting there. I demand competency from my Government. I demand that we do not slide back into the dark ages because we are afraid of offending a group of people, moderate Islam, that so far has proven to be nonexistent.

5/09/2007 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Islam itself is dangerous. Admit that and then lets move forward to attempt to deal with it.

No. Iran is dangerous & Saudi is dangerous & Libya is dangerous, but the mosque in Suva, Fiji not really dangerous. Ali Eteraz - nice enough guy.

Yea yea but when folks start talking like that what they really mean is its all so complicated lets move slowly or not at all.

Really, cause I'm pretty sure I just listed a set of criteria that spelt out Saudi as the next step in confrontation - weak, symbollic & crazy. Perhaps they could be treated to something other than the all in lovefest we have today.

we get the same fools (harsh but my patience with them is at an end) telling us that Shia and Sunni are mortal enemies who would never ally themselves. Bullshit...pure unadulterated bullshit. Same kind of bullshit that was being sold by the CIA when they declared rather piously that Saddam was secular and would never partner with Al Qaeda. We poured trillions of dollars down the freaking rabbit hole of our Government

Agree, but...

and were rewarded with 19 Arabs from a failed Culture dropping two of our tallest buildings

Do not muddy the water by saying that Saddam or Iran had a whole lot to do with that. It is not complicated - 15 terrorists from Saudi, from an organisation led by a Saudi, of a religious sect very similar to Saudi and funded from Saudi - see, not complicated. It is a matter of prioritising and Saudi deserves top billing for this alone.

And after that...Iran looks good.

5/09/2007 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Buddy,

Re: the Democrats, I was not trying to suggest that their hands are clean or that they would have done better. The most one can say is that Republicans tend to be confident and assertive on foreign policy while Democrats tend to be cautious and risk-averse so Republicans will either react proactivly to a crisis or launch a disastrous military adventure while the Dems will fail to react in time or avoid a disaster by doing nothing. I think we can agree that Afghanistan would have been executed similarly with a President Gore but whether he would have been strong enough to both resist the political forces pushing for an invasion of Iraq and instead overcome the difficulities in going after Saudi Arabia is anybody's guess.

Re: the Italian campaign, while not necessary on strictly military terms, it was vital on the larger politico-strategic level in terms of making us equal partners with the Soviets in the fight against Nazi Germany and in eventually dividing Europe more or less 50/50 between us at the conclusion of the war (with us getting the good half). The campaigns in North Africa and the lend lease program, while important, were not enough for us to justify equality with the Soviets. We needed to get in their and start sharing the burden of destroying German armour. The Italian campaign not only just contributed to the political cohesion of the Allies but in the end allowed us to achieved the real goal of war, control over territory. I don't see an analogy to Iraq here.

5/10/2007 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Kevin, we're not in disagreement on the Italian campaign. It was for morale, for the sake of allies, and to attrit the enemy. When Rome finally fell, it was around the time of D-Day--and as such hardly made the papers. Very little strategic value, in concete--as opposed to moral--terms.

In fact, the Nazi propaganda portrayed the whole campaign as *their* victory in that the allies spent so much for so little (The Germans had fought it always from excellent natural defenses, and throughout--after Sicily--traded losses favorably to themselves cost-wise).

The analogy is, if the USA had operated then as it does now, FDR's loyal oppo would've hounded him unmercifully (possibly to the point of seriously interfering in the war effort) over the campaign, would've accused him of being Churchill's patsy, of wasting the army on a pointless effort, of strengthening the enemy both absolutely and relatively (and morally), of going off half-cocked for no real purpose, et cetera.

5/10/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That FDR's domestic oppo did no such thing (save a few outliers which amount to zero compared to what GWB endures continually), is probably attributable to its not wanting to second the opinions of the Nazi propaganda ministry.

5/10/2007 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Buddy,

Some other differing factors were, firstly, in Italy we were undeniably fighting the main enemy (the Nazis) while in Iraq that is highly debatable (we almost need Al Qaida's presence their to justify our staying.

Secondly was the time factor; it was only a year after invading Italy that we invaded Normandy, if we had bogged down for more than four years in Italy things may have been different.

Thirdly, given what the Soviets were doing in the East, the flow of war was clearly going in the Allies way. Today in Iraq, I suppose it depends on how the war is defined, but it is hard to see any clear justification that it is going our way.

Lastly WW2 was mostly a conventional war which is easier for the general public to understand. Iraq is a 4G war which is much more confusing and frustrating to follow for people unfamilar with its tenets.

5/10/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Kevin, good points, but (by paragraph):

1) Whether we 'need' AQ to justify OIF is immaterial. AQ is there (and not somewhere else, at least in that part).

2) Whether a high pressure short campaign, or a low-pressure long campaign is at least in part a function of the nature of the enemy. If only the Jihad *would* appear in uniformed battle formations! The jihad is hard to fight American style--does this mean we shouldn't fight it? And remember, the Italian campaign cost 125,000 allied KIA, and lord knows how much damage and death to Italians, and the dollars in 2007 terms.

3) If your point is, we should only fight where and when we are certain of victory, I'd call that a great idea--if only our enemies would cooperate!

4) I agree, this war is difficult for people to understand, but that point works far more to my argument than it does to yours. Some part of the confusion is deliberately sown disinformation, done for political reasons. And this is where you and I part company. You apparently accept fatalistically that horrible new ground rule; I OTOH think it is a monstrous disgrace on the part of a Democratic party leadership that has to know exactly what it is doing.

5/10/2007 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I failed to adequately address your point re the need in 1943 to shoulder into Europe *somewhere* in order to prevent USSR from over-grasping.

That's a good point--a BIG point, and very similar to a major tenet of the 'theory' of OIF.

So again, you and I agree.

Just substitute "The Jihad" for "USSR" and you have my entire reasoning re an Italian Campaign analogy. Territory. The oil is attached to the territory. We don't want the territory, but we DO want to not be excluded from it by an enemy. And we're acting in the interests of the people of the entire planet in the doing.

Which makes the excoriation all the more difficult to endure, which in turn makes the old "politics stops at the water's edge" tradition of American power, all the greater a loss, and all the more needful of repair. And now, if not sooner.

5/10/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Buddy,

I am sympathetic to your calls for a loyal opposition, and I travel to England often and am always impressed by the way the Tories handle themselves in that position, but the war was politicized in the States early and often. Look at Max Cleland; the guy voted for the war and then he’s seeing his picture on TV morphed into Saddam’s and Osama’s. I’m sure both sides are equally guilty but unfortunately the whole thing got politicized in an ugly way that we didn’t see at all in Britain.

What’s going on now in Washington is a little Kabuki theatre as the political establishment try to maintain some sort of legitimacy in face of the worsening public mood concerning the Iraq War. The democratic form of government has many advantages but one clear limitation is the intolerance of long and frustrating wars. But not to worry, the Democrats will cave and authorize more money. Then in a few months it will be Act II and they will cave again, and so on until 2008.

I was thinking about your comments on the Italian campaign and it is true that one advantage of OIF is that the substantial oil reserves of Iraq are not in enemy hands. On the other hand, perhaps to take the WWII analogy to its breaking point, another way to read the war is to see Iran as the equivalent of the Soviet Union in the sense that we share a common enemy in Al Qaida, but more importantly, due to the fact that they are most likely the next enemy as the war progresses. So in that sense the invasion of Iraq, in direct contrast to Italy and the Soviet Union, actually gave territory to the next enemy. And with Tehran’s poodle’s in the SCIRI so far controlling the oil, that could pose us some problems down the road. Then again the Sunni insurgency could probably make short work of the Shia after a US withdrawal.

In any case I always thought the only way OIF would work was if we could get Iran and Al Qaida to fight each other the way the Soviets and Nazis did. So far that isn’t happening.

5/10/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kafir said...

Once appropriated, the right wing then determines which "solutions" to apply. Most of their solutions rely upon force.

I have a sneaking suspicion the left does not always count the costs properly. Twelve years of sanctions against Iraq created a humanitarian crisis and required billions to rebuild infrastructure nearly destroyed by neglect. Perhaps, sometimes, force is the cheaper option both in dollars and lives.

5/10/2007 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good comment--I do wish you wouldn't minimize the international effect (not to mention the domestic) of DC's 'Kabuki show', though. The enemy plays the long game, and we could do without such handwriting all over the wall, even if it is, for now, just for fun.

Also, I don't understand how you can equivocate the politicization of OIF, either--it has been programmatic on the part of the Dem leadership, while the Pubs have merely been reacting--and none too effectively at that.

As far as the Mullahs & the Imams being enemies, The Soviet/Iran analogy is pretty good. "Uncle Joe" aside, the two systems were in existential conflict all along, except for the little '41-45 longueur when both had a common near enemy.

Makes one wonder what could be done against the Jihad with a western-oriented (or merely jihad-neutral) regime in Tehran.

5/10/2007 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

kafir --true, and 'oil-for-food' was well on its way to turning a good part of the globe into an ongoing criminal enterprise.

5/10/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Muslims Against Sharia said...

People talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

With the help of our readers we went through the Koran and removed every verse that we believe did not come from Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. We would like to publish Reform Koran in as many languages as possible. If you could help with translation, editing, or distribution of the Reform Koran, please email us at koran-AT-reformislam.org. If you could provide financial support, please visit our support page.

In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.

http://www.reformislam.org/reform.php

12/23/2007 02:51:00 PM  

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