Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Serious question for our moonbat friends

The infamous Liberal Avenger and friends have been discussing the war in Iraq, whether or not we are winning, and what we should do. That leads me to turn his hypothetical question around, and ask the following:

Suppose just for a moment that we "wingnuts" are correct, and there really is a global radical-Islamist organization - absolutely ruthless, implacable, and dedicated - that has as its stated goal the destruction of the State of Israel, the elimination of all democratic governments, the establishment of a worldwide caliphate, and the imposition of the strictest Sharia law on every man, woman and child on the planet.

What should we do?

14 comments:

JCB said...

Well, let's say you're right. Even though, if I recall, you were unwilling to engage in LA's hypothetical because you felt it was not representative of reality.

The answer to your question (as to most questions) is, "It depends."

First, if you're properly turning it around, "What should we do?" means "what should we non-involved people watching at home do?" If some of those people considering joining the military instead of sitting at home complaining about the liberals, that might help.

Second, assuming a policy question, the answer is still indeterminate. How real of a threat are they? I know, I know, taking over the world is bad. People who want to do this in a violent way are not very nice. But lots of people want to take over the world. If they can't do it, the response is different than if they can. If their proposed victory is 35 years away, the response should again be different than if they were a serious, real, and immediate threat (such as the Axis Powers in World War II).

Your hypothetical scenario is not clear enough for the hypothetical question to be truly meaningful.

Corrie said...

Actually, I did answer LA's hypothetical, by making a few assumptions to narrow down the unspokens.

You certainly did a nice job of dodging my return question.

Let's try another tack - if you were to discover an odd mole on your scalp, would you have it removed as soon as possible, wait to see if it gets bigger and starts bleeding, or let it grow to Stage Four melanoma before treating it?

Radical Islamism is a cancer. The best way to treat it is to nip it in the bud. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'd rather fight them over there with Marines and Apaches than react to them over here with cops and fire trucks.

JCB said...

So is radical Christianity.

Your metaphor is making my head hurt. Are we fighting terrorism or a religion? I thought the threat was Saddam Hussein (and he was a SECULAR leader). And his nukes. Or, um, the fact that he hates Osama bin La... okay, that can't have been it. But we're spreading democracy! (Which makes us no safer, but I guess could make us feel better.) And "cancer?" "Radical Islamism" is a cancer on what? The world? Religion? Politics? Iraq? Your nose? Could it spread, like communism did? Was the whole world going to become "radical Islam?" Or was it going to kill the world? Nuclear winter? The end of civilized society?

And you know, we've lost as many men fighting them over there as we did when they attacked us here on 9/11... but we're still losing men over there. We're no safer here. Security isn't improved. I don't take your point.

Vermillion & Pico: Our Political Website said...

Corrie wrote:

Radical Islamism is a cancer. The best way to treat it is to nip it in the bud.

To which Joe responded:

So is radical Christianity.

Oddly enough, I cannot think of a place in which "radical Christianity" wants to prohibit the free exercise of other religions, nor punish people for believing in another faith, nor jail people for having no faith at all, nor imprison people for having a copy of the Quran.

It seems to me that those who would compare radical Islam with devout Christianity, and take no distinctions between the two, don't show much perceptiveness. It also seems to me that they choose to be unperceptive deliberately.

Because of the way this site is set up for comments, I had to use my old site as a sign-in, but my real site is Common Sense Political Thought, at http://commonsensepoliticalthought.com

Corrie said...

Thanks for the discussion, Joe and Vermillion. We are fighting an ideology that uses terrorism and religion as a tool. That ideology is committed to the destruction of Western-style democracy.

Saddam embraced part of that ideology, to the extent that it benefited him. He was clearly a threat, in that he had a history of producing and using WMDs and of supporting terrorists.

Joe, let me see if I can read between the lines and outline your position. You seem to believe that while these radical Islamists are nuts, and they want to take over the world, they're not likely to be able to really do it. Therefore, they are not really a threat. Besides, you can't really fight an ideology. So, we should just leave them alone and let them have their sick little fantasies.

If they manage to get hold of a suitcase nuke or a vial of smallpox or a jar of sarin and kill a few hundred thousand civilians, that's better than spending billions having volunteer troops in a foreign country.

Is that it?

JCB said...

Joe, let me see if I can read between the lines and outline your position. You seem to believe that while these radical Islamists are nuts, and they want to take over the world, they're not likely to be able to really do it. Therefore, they are not really a threat. Besides, you can't really fight an ideology. So, we should just leave them alone and let them have their sick little fantasies.

If they manage to get hold of a suitcase nuke or a vial of smallpox or a jar of sarin and kill a few hundred thousand civilians, that's better than spending billions having volunteer troops in a foreign country.

Is that it?


Close. I believe that they're nuts. I'm not sure they want to take over the world, but my point there was (or was supposed to be) that if that's what we're worried about, we can stop worrying.

If we're worried about terrorism, I don't think this war in Iraq is the way to go.

No matter what we accomplish in Iraq, we're not going to be able to prevent Terrorist X from getting hold of that vial of smallpox.

I believe we should have focused on improving homeland security, and don't think that point is debatable. I also believe (and this point is open to debate) that our continued presence in the middle east, while not increasing terrorism and possibly decreasing terrorism on a global scale, makes us more of a terrorist target. I know, you can point at 9/11 and say we were a terrorist target before, but that was the only case of foreign terrorism in the USA; the other stuff was all Americans terrorizing other Americans. And more to the point, we had already given Islamic terrorists an excuse to target us (not Bush's fault, see also Clinton, etc.: always siding with Israel, even when Israel was in the wrong; and more importantly, having a significant presence in the mid-east: if we hadn't been dicking around there, do you really think they would have attacked us on 9/11? They didn't attack us because they hate freedom, they attacked us because they hate the fact that we're messing around with their world).

Corrie said...

Joe, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I think you're sincere, and sincerely mistaken.

In their own words, Osama and his minions have stated that they want to force the world to submit to sharia law. al-Zarkawi laid out a 14-point plan for world domination that begins with kicking the US out of Iraq. The President of Iran has gone public with his desire to wipe Israel off the map - and he's pursuing nuclear weapons.

You're correct in that we're NOT going to stop one nutcase with a bomb or a vial - not and maintian a free society. But we (and I include our partners in Britain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) have been very successful so far at disrupting the networks needed to plan and carry out large coordinated attacks.

You're mistaken if you think that our presence in the ME is the cause of terrorist attacks. What military presence did the Spanish have there? How about the Balinese? Do they have a significant - ANY? - military presence there? AQ blew up a Jordanian wedding party. Those people were natives of the Middle East. Their crime was having a party at a hotel frequented by infidels.

The terrorists are committed to a radical vision of Islam that pits them against the world. In their eyes, there is no compromise, no tolerance, no multiculturism. Convert, submit, or die. It really is that simple. "Messing with their world" - yes - by the very fact of having a free society, we are messing with their narrow, twisted world. I think we need to continue to do so.

When a madman says he wants to destroy you or die trying, I think the prudent course of action is to take him at his word, and assist him in his goal.

JCB said...

I see. You're invoking a Hitler parallel. Time will show which of us is right, I suppose, about how dangerous this threat is/was (or hopefully it won't, I suppose).

Okay, I'll give you that Islamofascit terrorists are opposed to free society. I do still believe that if we had been acting under an isolationist policy, there would have been enough immediate targets (see: your Jordanian wedding example) that we would not have been targeted.

Explain this to me, though. Why was Iraq our military target? I know, I know, Saddam Hussein is evil, etc, etc... but he was also a powerful secular dictator who hated Osama bin Laden and all such movements. We need to stay in Iraq now because otherwise we create a vacuum that gets filled in a very harmful way (which is problematic because the longer we stay, the more we piss people off and create new terrorists). But at the time, Iran and Syria were greater threats than Iraq.

Even taking Saddam Hussein to be a madman who wanted to destroy us, he was pretty far down on the active, immediate threats list. Say what you want about him, but he wasn't unreasonable--maintaining his stranglehold on Iraq was one of his main priorities. Osama, on the other hand, qualified (incidentally I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, but am worried about the rebuilding process). If we wanted to chase down Islamofascists such as Osama bin Laden, it would have made more sense to leave Iraq the way it was; that was the least likely place in the region for them to hide out.

But we (and I include our partners in Britain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) have been very successful so far at disrupting the networks needed to plan and carry out large coordinated attacks.

That's really just speculation. There haven't been any attacks such as the one on Sept. 11 between then and now. BUT we don't know how many we prevented before, and how many we've prevented since. We don't know how equipped their networks would be were we and said partners not involved. I mean, at the end of the day they're terrorists and extremists and need recruits--did they have them, or would they have but for our actions? Or are they small fringe (dis)organizations (albeit well funded ones)? Because there hasn't been an attack lately doesn't mean our actions have been successful--that's like saying that our actions were successful in August 2001, because there was no attack (well, until the next month).

Corrie said...

Isloationism simply isn't an option w/r/t the ME, not as long as we buy their oil.

There is strong evidence (i.e., message traffic from OBL) that Osama and Saddam were collaborating despite their differences. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is an old saying in the Arab world. Saddam was known to be actively funding Palistinian suicide bombers. He was known to have possessed and used WMDs. He tried to assassinate the President.

In a post-9/11 world, assuming that he would not give or sell them to AQ for use against America is simply foolish.

While we won't know for years - if ever - how many 9/11-style attacks have been broken up, we do know that we have severely disrubpted AQs operations. We've dried up millions of dollars in funding sources. We've rolled up dozens of their top operators.

And we do know about several operations that have been thwarted - Stinger missiles in New Jersey, a bomb plot in London, the foiled chemical attack in Jordan.

Saying that none of this matters and AQ's operational tempo has not been affected is again, foolish.

Proof of the pudding is what's happening on the ground in Iraq. The arhabi are targeting innocent civilians because they cannot stand and fight against the US military. They can only take us - or even the IP and IA - in ambush attacks.

The attack on the Jordanian wedding party was a key indicator, I think, of their weakness. One of the bombers -n the husband of the woman who was captured - was one of al-Z'a top guys, and they screwed up the operation.

They're on the ropes and they know it. They best they can hope for is a victory in the American press a la Tet, or a civil war between Shi'a and Sunni, or both.

The MSM is trying to hand them the first, but I don't think the Iraqi people will get suckered into the second.

upyernoz said...

"There is strong evidence (i.e., message traffic from OBL) that Osama and Saddam were collaborating despite their differences"

actually that's not true at all. the 9/11 commission looked at the alleged traffic between the two and found "no operational relationship." OBL repeatedly called for saddam's death in his speeches. meanwhile saddam put to death anyone who advocated political islam

this thread is really exhibit A of what is wrong with bush supporters these days--they don't know much about the middle east and apparently can't tell different arabs apart.

Saddam was known to be actively funding Palistinian suicide bombers

not really. saddam was marginalized in the arab world after the gulf war. basically everyone shunned him and he kept trying to find a way to rally other arabs behind him. at one point in the late 1990s he started sending checks to the families of palestinian suicide bombers after they killed themselves, mostly to win the favor of the other arab countries who are strongly anti-israel.

but in the arab world saddam's efforts just demonstrated how out of the loop he was. he wasn't funding bombers before they happened--they were all after-the-fact payments. he didn't know anything about the bombers until he read the news reports the next day.

most palestinian groups wanted nothing to do with saddam because of what happened after the gulf war, when they backed saddam and then found their saudi and kuwaiti funding cut off. to fet back into the good graces of the gulf arabs (i.e. the rich arabs), all the major palestinian groups basically shunned saddam

"He was known to have possessed and used WMDs."

well, he did use WMDs (chemical weapons) in the 1980s. but they were supplied to him by the u.s. he also had a nuclear program in the late 1980s, but his nuclear facility was bombed by the israelis. after that, he was suspected of having WMDs, but now it's pretty clear that he gave it up after the 1998 airstrikes.

"He tried to assassinate the President."

in the early 1990s saddam did try to assassinate george bush the first. if i wanted to be technical, i could point out that bush wasn't president at the time--it was after he left office. also, it's worth noting that bush the first had tried to kill saddam during the gulf war.

"The arhabi are targeting innocent civilians because they cannot stand and fight against the US military."

this sentence is actually a little funny if you knew arabic. "arhabi" just means "terrorists" i.e. people who target civilians not the military. so by definition arhabi target civilians. that's what arhabi do.

but if you're trying to say that insurgents in iraq are not targeting u.s. forces, you are simply wrong. according to the pentagon there are over 70 attacks on u.s. forces a day and the average rises each month. the people fighting there are not switching targets, they are just getting bigger and targetting a larger and more diverse group of people

"They're on the ropes and they know it."

actually, if you read islamists sites you would probably conclude the opposite. for years they have been calling for the overthrow of baathist regimes, and we've done it for them. for years they've claimed that the u.s. had plans to occupy arab lands, and now we seem to be proving them right. if anything the salafis are gleeful these days. our actions are pretty effectively marginalizing the more moderate people in the arab world.

usual disclaimer: the above is just how i see it. a non-arab, who can speak arabic, has a lot of friends in the middle east and who occasionally gets to travel there. it's just that when i read what you write about the middle east, corrie, a lot of times i'm pretty confident that you don't know what you're talking about.

m'a salama

Corrie said...

uz,

I appreciate your viewpoint. As I've said before, all I know is what I read. A great deal of what I read is generated by people who read and speak Arabic, and who live or have traveld to the ME. But it's useful to have another perspective.

While Saddam and OBL had indeed been at odds over their sectarian differences, the evidence I've seen indicates that they had increasingly been looking for ways to cooperate against their common enemy. While that might not have reached the point of actual operational planning, it's clear that they were looking to work together.

Saddam NEVER came clean about his WMD programs, and never renounced them. He continued to play shell games until the eve of the invasion.

As far as marginalizing the moderates, I dunno. Partisans are going to crow victory regardless, as you well know. We'll see whether hard-line Islamists or moderates won the election in Iraq yesterday. Certainly Iran's rhetoric is worrisome (and yes, I know they're Persian, not Arab.)

The popular demonstrations in Lebanon are encouraging, as is Egypt's tentative move towards democracy. Hamas seems to be splintering, and it may be that the Palestinians are finally beginning to grow weary of hating Israel. Maybe they realize that if Iran nukes Tel Aviv, a lot of Palestinians will die?

Corrie said...

Sorry, retract part of that. It's Fatah that's splintering, and perhaps the Pals still hate the Jews more than they love their own children.

upyernoz said...

While Saddam and OBL had indeed been at odds over their sectarian differences, the evidence I've seen indicates that they had increasingly been looking for ways to cooperate against their common enemy

and what is that, exactly? are you referring to the 5 or 6 weekly standard articles that have come up over the course of the past 3 years, only to be debunked a week later? or are you referring to the al-libi "confession" that he worked with saddam, which later turned out to be a false confession obtained under torture? or are you referring to the disengenious way that various demogogues have turned saddam's attempts to infiltrate al qaeda wth his intelligence agents with cooperation between the who (by the same logic our country was in cahoots with both saddam and al qaeda!)

plenty of people have tried to make the connection. but there just doesn't seem to be one. the fact that you have read about it somewhere before, hardly means there is one. lot's of people have claimed it. nothing has held up

you realize that when the u.s. government claims or even implies there is some connection, it causes actual damage to various important u.s. policies in the middle east--including creating a stable iraq. because unlike the average american, the iraqis and other arabs know what saddam and bin laden stand for. they have heard their speeches and can actually tell different arabs apart (another problem that many americans have). when cheney or bush says saddam and bin laden are in cahoots, it's like telling an american that ronald reagan was in an alliance with fidel castro. like ronald and fidel, osama and saddam have been calling for each other's overthrow for years and each represent different and mutually incompatable political philosophies. to say they're working together, just sounds incredibly implausible on a common-sense level. the arabs i speak to cannot believe that any thinking person would believe something that ridiculous. often they are not aware of the depth of ignorance we have here. but even when i try to explain that to them that what seems llike common sense in the middle east is harder to see from a distant part of the world. they simply cannot believe that the president of the united states would be so stupid. so they don't believe it. and that fosters grand conspiracy theories. if the u.s.' stated reason for being in iraq is that ridiculous then obviously there is a real reason that they are not telling us. claiming a bin laden-hussein connection is not just unsupported by any evidence, it's actually counter-productive if we are serious about winning over arabs.

Saddam NEVER came clean about his WMD programs, and never renounced them. He continued to play shell games until the eve of the invasion.

that's simply false. saddam renounced weapons as a condition of the gulf war cease fire. before the 2003 invasion, the u.s. pushed through a new UN resolution requiring intense weapons inspection, for saddam to renounce all WMDs (again), and to disclose all WMD materians and programs in one long document. the bush administration expected that saddam would refuse, giving them a pretense for invasion, but he called their bluff. he allowed inspectors in, renounced weapons again and submitted the full accounting to the UN. so bush instead started insisting that saddam wasn't "cooperating", that inspectors weren't allowed to visit certain sites (the inspectors claimed they were being granted access) and that the written report was incomplete (all of the allege discrepancies that the bush administration pointed to have since been attributed to bad american intelligence). bush set up saddam to fail and wouldn't take yes for an answer.

that's not to say that saddam wasn't a horrible iraqi leader. but the case for war against him appears to be complete fiction. i have a friend who works as an arab translator for one of the u.s. intelligence agencies and he told me in early of 03 that we were invading iraq no matter what we do. everything he translated got spun in a way to make them look incooperative. "buy oil futures now" he counseled me.

perhaps the Pals still hate the Jews more than they love their own children

i must add that's a rather ignorant thing to say. how many palestinians do you know?

Corrie said...

Claiming a bin laden-hussein connection is not just unsupported by any evidence, it's actually counter-productive if we are serious about winning over arabs.

Interesting viewpoint. As I said, what I know is what I read, and what I've read is that there was some documented rapproachment. I didn't know about any "confession" or its later retraction.

SH's and OBL's interim political goal - get the US out of the Middle East - was compatible, though their long-term goals (global Caliphate vs New Babylon) may not have been. And they were certainly at odds w/r/t religion - OBL didn't buy Saddam's conversion after GWI.

So the old proverb does not apply in the "Arab Street?" Did any families of suicide bombers return the money Saddam sent them? I'd be interested to see the "debunking" you claim for the reports of rapproachment.


You may be right that Saddam was being set up to fail. But there was every indication that he did himself no favors - I'm sure I need not dig up the long list of 90's-era quotes from Democrats from Clinton on down talking about how dangerous Saddam was because of his WMD programs. He could have pulled a Qaddafi and come totally clean. He didn't. When a guy acts like he's hiding something, one suspects he has something to hide. He thumbed his nose at a dozen UNSC resolutions. If he'd fully complied with the first one, there would have been no follow-ons. Of course, the OFF money he was pumping into the pockets of ther Russians, French, and Germans bought him a lot of looking the other way.


I don't personally know any Palestinians. But Golda Mier, who's the origin of that quote, was quite familiar with them. Tell me, since your tone implies that you do know some Palestinians, why haven't they adopted peaceful civil disobedience as a tactic? It worked in India and America. Why do they think C-4 vests will get them what they want? (Assuming that what they want really is self-determination rather than just dead Jews.) Based on current events in the West Bank, it appears that they don't want peace.

Thanks for the conversation.