Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Our Enemy

After recent arguments with a leftist friend and a discussion with Bill O, I remembered this post. Though dated, it is the best articulation of the war that I have seen.

An edited exerpt:

Our enemy is a culture which is deeply diseased.
The problem with our enemy's culture is that in the 20th century it was revealed as being an abject failure. By any rational calculation, it could not compete, and not simply because the deck was stacked against it. The problem was more fundamental; the culture itself contained the elements of its own failure.
The diseased culture of our enemy suffers from all seven of the deep flaws Ralph Peters identifies as condemning nations to failure in the modern world. Peters makes a convincing case that there is a correlation approaching unity between the extent to which a nation or culture suffers from these flaws and its inability to succeed in the 21st century.

He lists them as follows:

* Restrictions on the free flow of information.
* The subjugation of women.
* Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
* The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
* Domination by a restrictive religion.
* A low valuation of education.
* Low prestige assigned to work.

They hate us. They hate us because our culture is everything theirs is not. Our culture is vibrant and fecund; our economies are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and science are advancing at breathtaking speed. Our people are fat and happy (relatively speaking). We are influential, we are powerful, we are wealthy. "We" are the western democracies, but in particular "we" are the United States, which is the most successful of the western democracies by a long margin. America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, economically and technologically and militarily and even culturally.
We're everything that they think they should be, everything they once were, and by our power and success we throw their modern failure into stark contrast, especially because we've gotten to where we are by doing everything their religion says is wrong. We've deeply sinned, and yet we've won......They have nothing whatever they can point to that can save face and preserve their egos. In every practical objective way we are better than they are, and they know it.
al Qaeda grew out of this deepening resentment and frustration within the failed Arab culture.......The original demand was for a complete cessation of contact between America and Arabia. Not just a pullout of our soldiers from holy Arab soil, but total isolation so that the people of greater Arabia would no longer be exposed in any way to us or our culture or our values. No television, no radio, no music, no magazines and books, no movies. No internet. And that isn't possible; you can't go backward that way.
We're facing a 14th century culture engaged in a 14th century war against us. The problem is that they are armed with 20th century weapons, which may eventually include nuclear weapons. And they embrace a culture which honors dying in a good cause, which means that deterrence can't be relied on if they get nuclear weapons.
And I claim that the US bears essentially no blame for the fundamental source of their anger towards us. They don't hate us because of our foreign policy. They don't ultimately hate us because of past mistakes. They don't hate what we do or what we have done. They hate what we are, and what we show them that they are not. They hate our accomplishments and our capabilities because we force them to see their own lack of accomplishments and their incompetence and impotence.
Afghanistan and Iraq are the two parts of the consolidation phase of this war. al Qaeda had to be crippled and Saddam has to be destroyed in order to gain us time and adequate safety to go onto the offensive, and to begin the process which will truly end this war: to destroy Wahhabism, to shatter Islamic fundamentalism, to completely break the will of the Arabs and to totally shame them.
After the consolidation phase of this war is complete, with the destruction of the Taliban and occupation and reform of Iraq, then we will go onto the offensive and begin to strike at the deeper core of the problem. Part of that will be to force reform on Saudi Arabia, through a combination of diplomacy, persuasion, subversion, propaganda and possibly even military force
I am forthrightly stating that no amount of aid to the poor will stop the aggression against us, which will anger liberals everywhere. It isn't our wealth they hate, it's our accomplishments. The only way we can appease them is to ourselves become failures, and that is a price I'm not willing to pay.
We (America) will be the primary target because we're the most successful. It's as simple as that. And that means that this ultimately will be a unilateral war by us; we're the ones with the most on the line.
They won't stop hating us until they become successful and begin to achieve on their own. We can't make them successful with material gifts, including aid to their poor. We can only make them successful with cultural changes, and they will resist that. Now that we've been attacked, we are ourselves compelled to force them to accept those cultural changes, because that is the only way short of actual genocide to remove the danger to ourselves. This war will end when they change, but not before.

Bill C:

I think Tony Blankley might be a little optimistic but this is a good sign that radical Islam is on Europe's radar screen. I don't know if you hightlighted "short of actual genocide" or if Den Beste did. It is a good point that the left has to acknowledge. What is our policy towards radical Islam going to be? They clearly will not settle for peaceful coexistence, so we are forced to respond in some way. The left seems to think that a policy of deterrence will work. (More likely, they are reflexively against military action which causes them to chose to do nothing) However, for deterrence to work we have to credibly and willingly decide to respond with overwhelming force. Clearly, the Islamists do not have any compunction about using nuclear weapons. Is the left ready to respond in kind? Are they ready to handle the change in public opinion if a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city? I think you would find the idea of genocide given a prominent place in the court of public opinion.

In this context, our current policy is bordering on hippie-like idealism.

John O:

The emphasis is mine


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