There's a food-fight at Rightviews between blogmeister OJ and others in various comments about the long-term economic and strategic fallout from the London bombing. Though an order of magnitude less murderous than 9/11, the 7/7 underground/bus attacks were more "successful" in proving in-expert 20-somethings can vaporize infrastructure already on high alert. Every Western nation is reviewing anti-terror strategies and reassessing minimizing terrorism's risks (frequency) and destructiveness (human and economic) without unnecessarily capping civil liberties, shaving open society freedoms or bankrupting citizens.
Resolving these questions and concerns will take time, giving both the war-is-not-the-answer and the America's-enemies-are-always-right zealots a window to influence or even reduce the chances for success, duration, and costs of the global war on terror, says OJ:
There are certain elements that will seek to use these events to further their own agenda. Beyond the obvious rejoicing among Jihadists, there are political factions that will point to the cowardice acts and exclaim that the death and carnage was brought to bear by the actions, opinions and believes of the British people and their government. Accusations will be levied that staunch support for America in the global war on terror and subsequent participation in military operations justifies the savage brutality experienced in London today. The anti-war crowd, in Britain, Continental Europe and here in the United States will proclaim that they were right all along. Although the acts will be condemned by most everyone, certain portions of the populace need confirmation that their ideologies have been right all along.One buyer is Rightviews commenter "Moo," who thinks the absence of WMDs in Iraq meant Saddam wasn't a significant threat, had minimal ties to Al Qaeda, terrorism and that the invasion increased, not lessened, terrorism. Moo both pessimistic and thrilled, seeing London as the beginning of the end of Bush's war. Along with America's increased and dispursed military deployments, Moo predicts Bush will be forced to choose between "1) Making the world safer by creating a democracy in Iraq . . . [or] 2) Addressing the source of ideological extremism (in the Pakistani/Afghanistan border region) and the funding (by the Saudis)." Moo concludes, "Could we have used our resources to combat terror in better ways than by nation-building Iraq? I believe so." Moo is wrong in myriad ways:
Like communist activists here in the US have capitalized on and high-jacked the anti-war movement, social progressives (or whatever they like to deem themselves these days) will also use this sad and tragic episode in an effort to swell their ranks. Undoubtedly there will be calls for Blair's resignation. Without question, politicos and pundits with ulterior motives will ask if the war in Iraq has been worth it and what costs we are willing to absorb. The question is if the general public in Britain and here in the US will buy their false bill of goods.
Initially, Moo dismisses Saddam's ties with Al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorists too quickly. Why, after all, did Saddam and fund and/or hide top terrorists Abdul Rahman Yasin and Abu Nidal?
Second, blaming guns for a butter shortage is a common, but usually unsound, syllogism. Sure, there are other bad guys, other countries. But because we both favor ousting all, why quibble about which Bush crowned as runner-up? Especially because the President reversed America's traditional "pro-stability" policy and is now disengaging from the Saudis. This Administration essentially abandoned Prince Sultan air base and removed nearly all U.S. forces from the Kingdom and closed 40 terrorist funding groups masquerading as Islamic charities, often in cooperation with the Saudi government. Moreover, we've quietly begun promoting non-violent interpretations of Islam as alternatives to Wahhabism. Moo himself favors challenging and changing Radical Islam's "apocalyptic worldview." That's exactly Bush's policy.
Third, Moo's root concern is a suspicion we're losing the GWOT. We're not--indeed, two years after swiftly and surgically toppling the Taliban and Saddam, Afghanistan and Iraq entered the short list of spots where Arab citizens vote in free and fair elections.1 It's not over but we're way ahead--far too soon to eject and repeat the panicked betrayal of friends and breaking of treaties that doomed over a million Vietnamese .
Extending his error, Moo insists America's more dangerous than Saddam. But where's the data? Is he forgetting who closed Saddam's mass graves and Juniors' (2x) rape hotels (Iraqi women can check in, but they can't check out), stopped brutalizing the Kurds and burning their houses. In particular, reversing causation to insist the invasion increased terrorism is an unsupported meme normally confined to amneasiatic Frenchmen and the blame America first crowd.
Fourth, Moo is suspicious of "nation building." I was too. But nation building worked in Japan after WWII and widely urged by Arabs today, as Salamah Nematt argues in Al-Hayat,
The mother of Arab derisions is that those who relentlessly call upon America to intervene in order to solve Palestinian-Israeli conflict, are the ones who demand the withdrawal from Iraq. As if America is capable of solving the Iraqi problem after failing to solve the Palestinian predicament! It is rather as if America is supposed to act as an employee serving their interests while disregarding its own. The Arab brethren, who are shot of providing any help to the elected Palestinian government to allow it to restrain organizations and gangs resisting the legitimacy of the authority, are asking America to withdraw from Iraq, without worrying about the criminal gangs overriding the elected Iraqi leaderships and legal institutions.Moreover, we're helping the ordinary Iraqis he calls hostile, including rebuilding the economy and infrastructure wrecked by Baathism and restoring the southern marsh (assist, Canada), and much more.
Fifth, neither Moo nor YM proffers a new and better plan. We've tried less aggressive options -- isolationism, human rights pressure, and "give peace a chance" -- for decades--with scant success.2 Neither twelve years of sanctions nor 60 years of toothless Turtle Bay talking forums restrained Radical Islam.
In particular, OJ's right that appeasement's no answer. will not solve the problem. José Aznar, Spanish Prime Minister until ejected by Al-Qaeda's March 11th military coup, agrees in Saturday's Il Messaggero, translated by an LGF reader:
[I]f our objective is total victory over terrorism, we must first understand what sort of people we have to deal with. The adversary who stands before us is an enemy who has declared war on us: very simply, he has declared it and he has acted on his declaration. Just like Adolph Hitler in his day, Bin Laden has written and repeated very clearly what his objectives are and what his vision is for the world: a theocracy capable of bringing about the restoration of the Caliphate and imposing Koranic law from Al-Andalus (the name the Arabs gave to the Iberian Peninsula in the long period of their dominance), all the way to the Philippine Islands. Bin Laden hates everything that is Western, not only for historical reasons but also for what he sees in the West: a civilization which promotes prosperity over poverty and equality over injustice; a civilization which, in the place of intolerance, advances the ideals of religious pluralism and the separation of Church and State. He hates us, in essence, because of what we are. It is irrelevant, therefore, to connect the London bombings with any other concrete action or event. Islamic terror operates on a very different set of motivations in determining when and how it will strike. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that Al Qaeda is at war with us. And in time of war, one must necessarily change one’s mindset.The same goes for the plan recommended by four out of five naive Panglossians: "huggy bear." But Heightened Sensitivity -- the official DSM term -- isn't Kryptonite. Capitulation can't mollify unhinged Islamics sworn to eradicate the ideas (civil and religious freedom, legal equality, representative democracy, capitalism, free markets) that make our proffered bribes (money, energy, economic growth, wealth accumulation, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure) valuable. "Guaranteeing" a border, won't satisfy a North Korean dictator threatening to violate it himself. As everyone but Red Ken knows, terrorists don't select victims for low sensitivity.
There are two main points to come out of the London bombings: the first is that although we are aware that we are at war, the vulnerability of all our Western societies remains extremely high, since they are, by nature, open societies. Stopping a suicide-bomber is practically an impossible task if it is attempted at the last minute — the usual time-frame in which police operations are carried out. Islamic terror is not exclusively a police problem: it reaches into areas well beyond the realm of policing on account of its roots, its resources, its strategies and its objectives. For this reason, it is entirely useless to think that it can be eliminated by the forces of civil order alone. On the contrary, the events of London, like those of Madrid and of New York before them, underscore the necessity of taking action long before the terrorists have decided on blowing themselves up and gotten themselves ready to do so. Moreover, action of this kind must be carried out in places thousands of miles from where we live. Terror knows no frontiers, so the fight against the terrorists must be carried out on a global scale and in a preventive manner.
Indeed, sensitivity overdose is part of the problem, says David Lloyd in the Christian Vision magazine:
Our people were once willing to fight, die and endure hardship because of who we were as a nation—our values, our traditions and our history. So much of this has been replaced by mediocrity and bland political correctness and multiculturalism—not the same by any means as social, religious and racial tolerance.I'm siding with OJ and Anzar. Since Madrid, appeasement's hit a half-century low; surrender's shown to generate diminishing returns; and the Brits are awaking to the "global" part of the GWOT, an atmosphere that could produce a paradigm shift: it's all one war.
There's already evidence the pacifists won't prevail, says SC&A, citing a BBC article. Surprisingly, France got the message:
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to deport any Muslim cleric preaching violence. . . Mr Sarkozy said he would seek the expulsion of imams in France "whose sermons are radical".The London bombing will bring Britain aboard.
Mr Sarkozy said France and Spain had agreed tougher joint measures against Islamic militancy. Two days ago, France reimposed border controls with its EU neighbours following the London bombings.
But Moo and others won't wait; they're PWADD: Policymaking While on Attention Deficit Disorder. Slow down. Four years after invading Poland, Nazis still ruled most of Europe--were opportunistic opposition politicos and anti-government media tormenting British Prime Minister Winston Churchill about "exit strategies?" Was WWII a loss until Karl Doenitz's May 8, 1945, surrender because, after all, how could Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman have let Hitler escape?3 (Answer: it was Karl Rove's fault.)
Conclusion: On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, in stunned shock and sadness, I pictured perpetual War of the Worlds. My sole certainty: "D.C.'s gonna be like London during the blitz; Muslim mass murder is the movie of the week, every week." I'm optimistic today, but imagine a time traveler materializing with a message that, through mid-2005, only a single terrorist managed to murder on U.S. soil.4 I would have said, "Wow, Bush was even better than I hoped--we've obviously won (or are winning) the war on terror! Tell me, did W's 2004 re-election margin top Reagan's 1984 49-state landslide?"
I'm not claiming foreign policy and military strategy are easy.5 Just that side-roads and setbacks are normal, but surrender premature. Liberal internationalism had three quarters of a century, but we're neo-Cons now. We can chat about it later, over lunch: have your girl call my girl to pencil-in, say, late 2070.
Andrew at NEOCONiderations:
To reiterate, trying to transform the Middle East is a risk. We can fail and plunge the region into chaos, severely discredit American leadership, and face greater threats than ever before. On the other hand, if we succeed we can put the Middle East on a path of political, economic, and social development that will reduce the threats that are a posed by the current circumstances of the region.______________
But not trying is not acceptable.
1 The first two are Israel and the UN General Assembly. Lebanon became number 5 this year.
2 Indeed, Jimmy Carter alone tried them all, yet still insists Israel and Palestine would be singing Kumbaya but for an old man and the "squeaker of '80." Ask grandpa; it had something to do with tying an onion to your belt, which was the style at the time.
3 "Hey, Fritz, how 'bout best two out of three?" I don't recall captured Germans getting free counsel. Did Rumpole insist, from magistrate to Law Lords, that the mere apprehension of his client in a gray Luftwaffe uniform, Luger at his waist, 50 feet from a Swastika-embossed, unfurled parachute and 50 yards from a wrecked Messerschmitt did not conclusively establish he was the enemy? After all, he could be a Prince at a costume party. And, did witches unlock POW camps claiming a treaty-codified do-over?
4 The July 4th attack at El Al's LAX counter in which three died.
5 America lucked into John von Neumann during Europe's mid-Century religious close-out sale, allowing him to resolve prisoner's dilemma and invent the binary sort algorithm in time to win the Cold War.