Saturday, November 19, 2005

Defeatism by any Other Name

It’s not Rep. Murtha’s opposition to the President’s policy that bothers me but his reasons. He claims that we are the prime targets of the “insurgency.” Has he been living on a desert island? Yesterday, 82 Iraqis died after being targeted by jiahdist terrorists. It’s been obvious to anyone with an eye half opened that it’s been Iraqis who’ve been targeted and deliberately killed for some time now. And after the Islamist uprising in France and killings in every country where the “religion of peace” is practiced, to regurgitate the old leftist lie that they are merely responding to our foreign policy, only makes one wonder if Rep. Murtha has another agenda.

What does Murtha suggest? We’ve abandoned the Shiites in 1991 only to be slaughtered by Saddam; we’ve worked hard in the last two years convincing them to step up to the plate. Now, on the eve of electing their first government, Rep. Murtha is suggesting that we close our eyes and run out of there as fast as we can. There are certainly honorable options and we may disagree with aspects of the current course but this doesn’t sound like a man with a solution – or even an attempt at a solution given the gravity of the situation. Defeatism and surrender is the only word that comes to mind.

I recommend McQ’s comments on this matter. Also, read Rancher’s thoughts on what’s going right over there. Update: Victor Davis Hanson.

18 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

I think it's a good idea to just stay in Iraq and make sure we do some more killing. We haven't killed enough yet..we have to stay till we complete the mission.

We attract violence and we cause violence. There is no apparent way out of that prolem except pave the place or leave. Leaving is a better choice.

I'm touched by Jason's apparent love for the Shi'a. while he goes off about the "religion for peace" he has a warm spot for some.

Islamists rioting in France? Islamists? Every muslim an islamist? Not to put too fine a point on this one , Jason but here's a flashlight. It might help you find a clue. Meanwhile sit back a be a good little weekend general and watch the killing.

We are a sorry fucking people.

11/19/05, 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

the recent bombing in jordan shows the new trend: arabs are just now starting to realize that terrorism effects them, too. in jordan they're calling it their 9/11... and it's happening elsewhere too. people are coming to see in true hues the perverted version of islam that those fascists have to offer.

11/19/05, 5:48 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Pardon me for saying so Ducky, but that was a pretty nasty post.

"I think it's a good idea to just stay in Iraq and make sure we do some more killing. We haven't killed enough yet..we have to stay till we complete the mission."

We aren't the ones doing most of the killing. (In fact, our killing would have ceased altogether on 4/9/03 if the noble "resistance" hadn't commenced within a few days, with suicide bombings at checkpoints). If we were killing people indiscriminately, you can bet the MSM would be broadcasting it loudly all over the world. Hell, they made a big huge deal about one of our soldiers killing an "insurgent" the day after he saw one of his buddies blown up by someone pretending to surrender. What a cynical statement in any case, to suggest that our troops are over there to kill as many people as they can. Your hatred of America and Americans and our military is obvious. Also, if you totally object to killing and are a complete moral relativist vis a vis Iraq, then I can assume that you would not object to someone coming to intentionally kill your wife and children and march you off to a "reeducation" camp. Better to take the moral high ground and never kill anyone, huh?.


"We attract violence and we cause violence."

What does that mean? Americans are the main cause of violence in the world? ("We are a sorry fucking people"). If we disappeared there would be no violence? No, actually most of the world would look like what we saw unfolding in Sudan the past few years. The genocide has apparently stopped because they ran out of people to kill. You're obviously the one who needs the flashlight.

"I'm touched by Jason's apparent love for the Shi'a. while he goes off about the "religion for peace" he has a warm spot for some."

Most people who despise Islam as an ideology that is wreaking havoc in the world, recognize that Muslims are it's biggest victims (and even that has nothing to do with what Saddam did to the Shia over the years). You obviously don't understand the difference between ideologies and human beings. In fact, you sound like you just have a big huge bitter chip on your shoulder because the world isn't as simple a place morally and practically as you wish it were. (I bet your picture is a decade old but if not, I still picture you drowning your sorrow in whiskey, like some misunderstood Irish poet:-). Yeah, that was mean. Bad me.)

"Islamists rioting in France? Islamists? Every muslim an islamist? "

When did Jason ever claim that "Islamists" were rioting in France? Noone has claimed that. But folks with a "flashlight" in hand recognize that that those riots are indicative of a worldwide, historical pattern - namely robust Muslim self-assertion whenever and wherever their population reaches a critical mass. That tipping point is usually 10% and it is amazingly ironic that these riots are taking place now and in France of all places (given France's opposition to American foreign policy) when it just so happens that the Muslim population in France has now reached 10%. Quite a coincidence if you ask me. It's way too simple to suggest that this represents an Islamic uprising. But it's equally naive to dismiss that the rioters are Muslim. When you look back at the history of Muslim expansion, no doubt there would be numerous "root causes" readily explained by local "grievances". But step back and the total picture is always the same. Only a fool would dismiss such an obvious pattern.

11/19/05, 5:49 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Jason, I'm surprised that someone who understands Islamic ideology as well as you do seems to buy the neocon democratization project. I don't doubt the neocon Wilsonian idealism, but do you really think that the Iraqis, soaked in centuries of Islam and tribalism, want a real democracy? Just holding a purple finger up doesn't mean much. I suspect the Shiites were simply voting for Shiites. Perhaps I'm too cynical.

11/19/05, 6:26 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I knew nothing about Islam when we went into Iraq. But when I paid close attention to the facts about Iraq - namely Saddam's horrible human rights record, plus his flouting of 17 prior UN resolutions demanding he come clean about his WMD programs, plus the horrible human rights consequences of the sanctions, which leftists at the time were shouting loudly about, plus our inability to lift those sanctions, given Saddam's obvious intentions to develop WMD programs at the drop of a hat once the sanctions were lifted (amply confirmed by the Duelfer report), plus Saddam's connections to al Queda (admittedly shakier), - in all - it made a great deal of sense to go in there. And obviously even the Democrats and the worldwide intelligence agencies at the time believed that Saddam had WMD and furthermore regime change in Iraq was American policy dating back to Clinton. So all the partisan bitching about WHY we went in there strikes me as totally disingenuous at this point in time. Its obviously related to the fact that a Republican actually went in there. Gore could have made the same decision and we wouldn't be witnessing this freak out.

Now, certainly we could have gone in there and gotten rid of Saddam and confirmed that there were no WMD and then just got the hell out of there - leaving the Iraqis to a certain bloodbath, as some have suggested. But hopefully those arguments are not coming from the same folks who loudly claimed that we left the Shias high and dry after Bush 1 quite casually (yes- I mean that- quite casually if you check out the historical facts) - suggested that folks in Iraq take matters into their own hands.

So, forget the WMD argument at this point ( those who for partisan reasons want to focus on it are simply going to lose this argument in the long run).

There was also the optimistic idea that Iraq would be the perfect place to introduce democracy that would spread to the rest of the ME. (and anyone who denies that this constituted much of the rationale for going into Iraq in the first place is either ignorant or in denial or incapable of reading between the lines). Part of the rationale was obviously the notion that we needed to bust a hole into the backward culture of the ME in order to bring it into the modern era as a long term strategy for defeating Islamic terrorism- and that Iraq had many features (e.g. a large educated, secular middle class) that would make it an excellent place to start in terms of busting a modern hole into the ME.

Of course that part of the equation was a gamble. Many folks claimed that the ME was hopelessly backward and would be incapable of democracy. Bush disagreed. Obviously Bush is a liberal. He believes that people are ultimately everywhere the same and want the same things.

Now what we see is that the "racist" detractors, who claimed that democracy was impossible in the Muslim world, had a big point and should not have been so easily dismissed. They said that democracy in the Muslim world could well lead to a different form of tyranny. Namely, Islamic tyranny. And now we see that in Iraq with their Islamist influenced constitution, we see it in the Palestinian elections, and we see it in the Egyptian elections, which appear to have gained approximately 20% of the seats for the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

We see this pattern. But maybe it is actually important for us to SEE this pattern. Speaking for myself, now I understand why it is that the US has supported governments in the ME that Osama bin Laden has decried. (our support for relatively secular dictatorships in the region is one of UBL's major "grievances") and as much as it pains me to say it, I even now understand how it is that someone like Saddam came along in Iraq in the first place.

In short, Houston, we have a MAJOR problem. Certainly there are a large number of liberals in the ME who are ready to bust out of the contraints of the 7th century. But obviously they are outnumbered. This presents a major moral dilemma. The fact that that Americans as a whole don't quite know what to do with iraq indicates to me that the vast number of Americans actually understand this dilemma, on a moral level. I consider that a good sign. Frankly, I do not know the answer.

But I do know that it is absurd for anyone to point to 2,000 American deaths in the past 2 and a half years and cry that we need to bring the troops home because we have suffered 2,000 deaths. People who claim that obviously DO NOT understand what we are up against and the sheer scope of this problem. The problem is not rooted in how many people WE have killed in Iraq. Anyone who doesn't understand that the number of innocents killed in this impending global war is most likely to number in the millions just doesn't grasp the scope of what we are involved in. 2,000 dead soldiers in Iraq is going to look look tiny and insignificant by the time this global war is over. The war is already coming to Europe.

Obviously, anyone who imagines that this will all simply go away if we leave Iraq is deluded. If these same people who make that claim would also agree to put up a massive wall between the East and the West and acknowledge that Islam is a major problem that we will simply seal off so that it will implode from within and never touch us - then yes, I would agree that we might withdraw from iraq. But that isn't the reality. The same people who want us to withdraw from iraq (cause it's mean that we kill people) are the same people who would never endorse a wall between the East and West.

If we insist on keeping an open flow between the east and west, then we have no choice but to try to transform the east. If we don't, they will keep flowing here anyway. The bottom line is that if we are going to preserve this open conduit between east and west (note that it always flows from east to west and not vica versa) then we have no choice but to try to transform the East, as we are doing in Iraq - so that they will STAY THERE!! and stop coming HERE!!

Comprende??

11/19/05, 8:14 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, Caroline. Ducky is known for his nasty posts and I’ve seen many over at AOW’s and Beak’s blog. But his attitude towards our country is particularly appalling. By the way, there are many good points in your response – more than in my original post! Thanks.

Benjamin raised interesting points that I didn’t really address in my post. My first complaint with Murtha is less his conclusions than “his reasons” (as I put it.) Murtha didn’t say he believed we were being too generous to a people who aren’t capable, at present, of modernization and civility. He says that we are the cause of the problem. Murtha is basically in Ducky’s camp.

I also noted that there are “honorable options and we may disagree with aspects of the current course.” I noted that Murtha doesn’t fall into that category. As a matter of fact, I’ve avoided discussing the “battle plan.” But I lean towards a less ambitious policy in terms of cultural engineering.

After I wrote the above, I see Caroline has responded to Benjamin. And again raises many good points. Let’s me just say that Murtha and most in the administration just don’t understand the depth of the problem. That hinders our ability to respond effectively and wisely. But that's a long cry from Murtha's defeatism.

11/19/05, 8:28 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

"It's not Rep. Murtha's opposition to the President's policy that bothers me..."

Right on. There used to be something called "the loyal opposition," where people respected the same philosophical principles, but were of a different mind about how they could be supported and implemented.

People no longer respect the same philosophic principles; we have people with different philosophies trying to support and implement opposing principles. The day of the "loyal opposition" is gone.

Rep. Murtha once wore the uniform of a Marine, but unfortunately, despite the protestations of Sen. Kerry to the contrary, the wearing of the uniform offers no protection against faulty premises from the beginning, as he did, or from acquiring them somewhere along the way, as Rep. Murtha has.

Islam has a demonstrably invalid philosophy, but is making rather remarkable progress in its goal of establishing a world-wide caliphate despite it.

How come?

Well, one need not have a valid philosophy in order to win in the short run. As Ayn Rand said, "the most consistent side wins."

And Islam is nothing, if it is not consistent.

Our own philosophical uncertainty (and hence our lack of intransigence) comes thanks to our tax-supported compulsory school system, which was correctly regarded by the Postmodernists as fertile ground in which to sow its malignant ideas. They have so much in common with Islam that it's no wonder that the Postmodernists and Islam are soulmates.

11/19/05, 8:41 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Jason: "I’ve avoided discussing the “battle plan.” But I lean towards a less ambitious policy in terms of cultural engineering."

Jason - I would appreciate it if you would clarify the "less ambitious policy", however inchoate, that you have been contemplating.

11/19/05, 9:01 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Geez Cubed - your post was depressing. If as Ayn Rand said, the most consistent side wins, than obviously we're screwed. What a bloody insane situation we're in. If folks like Ducky any my radical lefty sister would simply understand what we're up against, then maybe they wouldn't spend so much of their intellectual energy fighting the system they obviously take for granted and would never literally want to see overthrown. Folks like Chomsky and Fisk always live in the west and never in those places like Saudi Arabia and Iran and China and Cuba that they implicitly argue are no better nor worse than the U.S. I have no problem with indulging that sort of abstract intellectual argument when it's all completely theoretical. But it's not theoretical anymore. And obviously many of these folks simply cannot grasp that fact.

11/19/05, 9:39 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Let's review, Caroline. We cause violence and we bring violence. WE INVADED THEM and we are surprised that it went in the fan?

If we were invaded, what would you do? What would Jason do? I have no idea but I suspect you'd do what you're told. I have a .50 caliber in Maine and I would resist, just as the Iraqis are resisting.

Pave it or leave. Come on, crap or get off the pot. WE AREN"T KILLING? A bunch of mercenaries go off to start crap in Falluja against all standard procedure (they weren't even all Americans, two were South African). They ride into the jungle and the jungle burns them to a crisp. Logical event but we get upset and use white phosphorous on civilians. Don't cop a holier than thou attitude. You support this and your a killer. There's no middle ground here. Can the weasel words.

The Islamists in Paris. Bore me the freak later. They are no different than American blacks in Watts or Detroit who just got fed up. Study some history about the pro French muslims in Algeria during the civil war and how they were left to be slaughtered (the west runs out on muslims a lot... see Bush I) and how the ones who left for France were treated.

The were pissed on and used as cheap labor...hmmmm who does that describe in America.

Since you folks are Islamic scholars maybe you can describe the secular muslim experience in France and why the kids rioting are Islamists.

Look, fact is when it comes to that history you can find your collective arse with both hands, admit it.

11/19/05, 9:46 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

If we were invaded, what would you do? What would Jason do? - Ducky

It depends on my country. Iraq isn’t America. I’d equate Iraq with Nazi Germany and if I were a German in Nazi Germany when the USA & UK invaded I would have helped the underground working with the Allies. You obviously sympathize with Nazis and Baathists. It figures.

11/19/05, 10:04 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Jason - I would appreciate it if you would clarify the "less ambitious policy", however inchoate, that you have been contemplating.

That’s a fair request. I agree Saddam was a threat that had to be removed but I don’t believe that obligates us to transform the country into a liberal democracy. Culture, like character, has to be cultivated over a far longer time period than most people realize. I respect the goal--what we are doing is honorable. And there’s much to gain even if it falls far short of the dream. My respect for our efforts doesn’t mean there aren’t other respectable courses of action.

I agree with Cubed, there could have been a respectable “loyal opposition.” But the Left and paleo-Right isn’t such an opposition. The vilification of our honorable actions is something I have no sympathy with. It doesn’t distinguish between morally allowable courses of action and prudential recommendations. Today’s opposition isn’t saying “hey, that’s good but I’ve got a better idea.” Nor are they saying “we’ve been honorable but gone beyond the call of duty.” Instead, today’s critics sound more like Mr. Ducky (thanks, Ducky for giving us a good example!)

When the opposition consists of those who are trying to undermine the war effort by viciously vilifying our country and troops, I don’t want to inadvertently aid that effort by even raising the question of a more effective battle plan. My motivations will be lost in the fray and anything I say will be twisted to demoralize our whole effort. Thus, I stick with the general truism: if we understand Islam and Arab culture, we can make more effective decisions. The first step in this war in which I can help is education. I’ll leave the details of the battle plan to others.

11/19/05, 10:31 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Oh my, Ducky - I realize in retrospect that I was far too polite with you.

"Let's review, Caroline."

Pompous ass.

"WE INVADED THEM and we are surprised that it went in the fan?"

Like it wasn't already "in the fan" as you so eloquently put it, for the vast majority of Iraqi's living under minority rule in one of the world's most brutal dictatorships. But then lefties don't actually care about brutal dictatorships do they? Provided their leaders oppose the US.

"If we were invaded, what would you do?"

What a stupid question. We live in the best place on the planet that everyone is literally dying to come to. Of course I would resist. But if I lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and the Americans were coming to overthrow a 30-year brutal dictatorship that had no end in sight, I would rejoice and wave at the soldiers coming in, just as most Iraqi's did.

"Don't cop a holier than thou attitude. You support this and your a killer. There's no middle ground here. Can the weasel words."

And if you opposed it then you're a de facto supporter of Saddam's killing regime. The world sucks. Your logic leads to the conclusion that killers should run free cause the cops who try to stop them just might kill someone in the process and if I support the cops who sometimes have to resort to violence to stop the killers, then I'm a killer too. What perfect world do you live in anyway? You're right. There's no middle ground here. Everyone is implicated and guilty, even when they do nothing, as we did nothing in Rwanda and Sudan.

Re France - "Bore me the freak later."? and all the rest of your diatribe?

Time will tell what's really going on there and in the rest of Europe.

"Look, fact is when it comes to that history you can find your collective arse with both hands, admit it."

Did I mention already that you're a pompous ass?

11/19/05, 10:35 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Caroline, Your analysis is thoughtful and informed. I don't know the answer either. I just take the pessimistic view that you can't change people's hearts by force. I guess my solution would be containment (as in the cold War), combined with sharp curbs on immigration from the ME (very careful background checks, etc.). They say this could be a disaster for the Republicans, vis a vis the Hispanics, but not if the government makes it clear that it's about radical Islam and not darker skinned people. This requires an honest discussion of Islam. BTW, I have written extensively on my blog about how disingenuous the Dems are with their claims that Bush 'lied' about WMD. I've always thought he was sincere, even if he isn't skeptical enough of his own pre-conceived notions. I try to be about mine. That's why I, apparently like you, am not too sure what to do about this momentous situation. And let me add, even though it's trite, that I have met many fine Muslims at a personal level, but we still have to think in terms of statistics. Oh, and I really like your interesting and generous point that much of the American public DOES understand the complexities of the situation better than some highbrows are willing to concede.

11/20/05, 10:34 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Cubed, I like the way you raised the dirty word "Postmodernism". However much we may criticize Islam, I think that such nihiilistic and West-hating academic philosophies as Postmodernism have been the equivalent of unprotected sex with Islam playing the role of the AIDS virus. (Perhaps, I give it too much credit by calling it a "philosophy". A better term might be "ignorant fad".)

11/20/05, 10:41 AM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Benjamin,

LOVE THAT! Thanks--you've brightened my day with your analogy!

Unfortunately, you are one hundred percent correct in saying that Islam is a philosophy, and a complete one, at that, with all four branches (or five, depending on how you classify them).

It's a pity that every single branch of philosophy can be wrong, as is the case in Islam, and at the same time be complete, meaning that all the branches are well developed. Wrong and invalid, but nonetheless well developed.

Caroline,

I have my days too, and I'm in a bit of a blue funk right now.

I have every confidence that we will win in the end, but I am not confident that we will get serious until Mme. Reality gives us a sucker punch by hurting us worse than we were hurt on 9/11 (and in the tube) in order to get our attention.

Ayn Rand was right about the consistency thing. Way back when, the Greek philosophers talked about what would happen if an unmovable object met an unstoppable force. The question was a metaphysically invalid one, but it's still kind of interesting if you view it in the context of the problem we're facing today.

We have been prevented by our Postmodernist schools from studying philosophy. Since all actions are preceded by thoughts, it stands that faulty thinking produces faulty actions, so while we are simultaneously prevented from learning how to think well, we are inundated with Postmodernism; as a result, we have become poor thinkers and morally uncertain.

Our side in no way resembles the Greeks' hypothetical "unmovable object." We waver, we tremble, we shift our weight from one foot to the other trying to figure out whether what Islam is doing is right or wrong, should we be nice, is it right to bug mosques, can we secure our borders, etc. etc.

Islam, on the other hand, is assuming the role of the "unstoppable force" simply because its efforts, although being made in the interests of an invalid philosophy, are consistent.

It teaches its kids right from the get-go that Islam is "right." In order to prevent the best and the brightest kids from asking too many questions, Islam tells them that innovation--that is, anything like thinking that might cause change in Islam--is a sin, and that ghastly punishment will befall them should they deviate.

I truly think that when reality marches up to most people who still don't have a clue, and smacks them up the side of the head, most of them will suddenly "get it," and come around.

I am just very unhappy that what they will be smacked with will be something really unpleasant.

At the local level, here in the U.S., the Postmodernists have been the most consistent side. They have been hammering home their philosophical messages in our schools for many academic generations--about thirteen, now--and as a result, they have been making far more progress than we have. We have been put at terrible risk as a result.

We can turn that around by engaging in a sort of "Fabian" campaign. We can elect to office people from the small but significant pool of politicians, activists, retired military, scholars, and others who "get it."

That would be Step One, and would delay the ability of Islam to establish the caliphate here.

Step Two, while we are playing the delay game, is the one with long-term results. That would be to do an end run around the schools and launch a massive educational campaign to show kids (and their parents) just why it is that people like Aristotle, Ibn Rushd, Acquinas, Locke, and the Founders were on the right track, and why people like Plato, Augustine, Hegel-Kant-Marx (the Three Stooges of Philosphy!) and Islam were on the same old tired WRONG track!

What we have to rely on in the meantime, until both these steps are taken, is what Ayn Rand called "the great American subconscious." I'm confident that there is a British equivalent--they elected Churchill, after all, in a time of need.

What she meant by that was that remnants and fragments of the kind of thinking that the Founders used to create our country still shape many of our attitudes, even though it hasn't been taught in the schools for 150 years.

It's the "great American subconscious" that will save us in the end.

Re: Step One, we actually have one candidate for office in the person of border activist Jim Gilchrist, of Minuteman Project fame, who is running for Congress. You can go up to the Minuteman site to see what it's all about.

I know I keep nagging about Step Two, in that I wish we'd take a hint from the Sylvan Learning Centers, who now offer on-line tutorial courses for their students. That's how the "end-run manoeuver" can be carried out.

I'm currently writing a book for kids about the life of Mohammed, and I'm lacing it with mini-lessons in philosophy. Philosophy for kids is easy--don't forget Aesop's Fables! Most fairy tales have little lessons in philosophy embedded in them too.

Gilchrist for Congress! Ralph Peters for President! Spencer for State! Sperry for Homeland Security! Michelle Malkin for...

Well, you know.

Thanks for letting me blow off steam. I've got a lot of it to blow off these days!

11/21/05, 6:04 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Murtha says "we are uniting our enemies against us."

Oh, my.

Let's get right on making our enemies happy, shall we?

There are 2 types of people that want American forces out of Iraq:

1.) Terrorists
2.) Democrats

Why's that?

11/21/05, 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Bilwick said...

I thought Mark Steyn (as always) had a highly quotable remark in a recent column (Also as usual, his whole column on the subject deserves reading, if only for his Menckenesque flair for the all-too-deserved zinger.) He points out the Left's obsession with "than ancient jungle war" (Viet Nam) and points out that Al-Quaida isn't the Viet Cong, adding (in a line reminiscent of FIELD OF DREAMS) "If you withdraw, they will follow." By the way, what, pray tell, is the Ducky strategy for fighting the Jihadists? Or does he simply recommend a passive wait for the next 9/11? And after that, what?? Or is his position simply identical to the "Useful Idiot" party-line from Cold War days: "There is no threat; lay down your arms; make nice with tyrants [or would-be tyrants], and they'll be nice to you"? Just wondering.

11/22/05, 3:13 PM  

<< Home