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.


Anonymous Anonymous 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 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 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 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 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...


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.


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 (((Thought Criminal))) 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 Anonymous 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  

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