Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Left's Plan to Stop Terrorism?

In his book The West and the Rest (ISI Books) Roger Scruton contrasts the evolution of the European nation state, attributable to such historical developments as Roman Law, where "strangers are expressly included in the web of obligation", with tribal rule and theocracies. Scruton reminds us of the importance of public spirit to democracy.

One of the interesting questions that is facing America is whether it is capable of facing up to a realistic military threat, or whether the media and liberal establishment are committed enough to anti-Americanism and a chimerical belief in world citizenship that they will ultimately succeed in tearing apart the nation by crippling our sense of citizenship.

For instance, although there has been considerable criticism of the Iraqi War, I have not heard any suggestions from the left as to how to stop terrorism. Instead, there seems to be an implied argument that terrorism does not exist, or that radical Islam poses no threat. This is easily refutable, ignorant nonsense.

So if liberals argue that the Iraqi War is wrong strategically, the question must be what is the liberal plan to stop terrorism? Indeed, a failure of the Bush administration has been to soft-peddle this obviously important objective (of fighting terrorism via the Iraqi War) to the point of denying it.

I do not believe that we are worse off with regard to fighting terrorism because of the Iraqi War. It might be arguable that the loss of American life isn't worth the strategic accomplishments of the Iraqi War. However to prove this would require facts that do not appear in the New York Times or elsewhere.

Al Qaeda recently issued a statement that it has 12,000 fighters in Iraq. If we were not accomplishing important strategic goals there, why would al Qaeda be deploying so much of its resources to Iraq? It would be nice to know everything, like the folks at the Times, Seymour Hersh, Bill Maher, Michael Moore and the long list of left-biased journalists and academics. Unfortunately, they are unschooled buffoons with respect to this question, and their views are, well, dumb.

Many liberal and left-wing Americans delude themselves about the nature of the terrorist Islamic threat. This is not new for the left, as the Stalinist left aligned itself with Hitler in 1939-1941, and Walter Duranty of the New York Times promised us that all was well in Russia during the Stalinist 1930s. Similarly, Arthur Hayes Sulzberger recommended to his Jewish relative that he remain in Germany in 1938. The Ochs-Sulzbergers have a long history of making idealistic recommendations that harm others. Now this crew assures us that Bernard Lewis is wrong, and there is not a thing to be concerned about. So what that Christians are lynched in Palestine; that Christians are lynched in Turkey; that Christians are murdered in Nigeria; that there is an ongoing Islamic-Christian conflict in the Phillipines; that there is a five-decade-old Islamic-Hindu conflict in India; that there is an Islamic-Russian conflict in Chechnya; that the Arab-Israeli conflict is six decades old; that we have been repeatedly bloodied by Islamic attacks? So what? Islam is a peaceful religion and anyone who disagrees is biased.

It may not be that liberal factionalism has prevailed. The most interesting race in the recent election was in Connecticut, where the anti-war Ned Lamont lost to a pro-war former Democrat, Joe Lieberman. Yet, the ceaseless anti-American propaganda coming from the left-dominated media is bound to take a toll.

The liberal-left's factional anti-Americanism can be seen in its attacks on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The media demonized Rumsfeld, but the liberal borg's arguments lacked grounding in fact or theory and contradicted parallel arguments that it had made about Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the 1960s.

For the past 25 years I have taught my students David Halberstam's version of the management errors that Robert McNamara made during the Vietnam War that appear in Halberstam's book The Best and the Brightest. Halberstam argued that McNamara had allowed the military to manipulate him into sending excessive numbers of troops given the nature of the Vietnamese insurgency. In other words, Halberstam argued that McNamara was too willing to be manipulated by the military. This is a valid argument if fourth generation warfare necessitates a complex of propaganda, political and surgically targeted actions for which the military is unprepared.

Now, the media's criticism of Rumsfeld is that Rumsfeld did not listen to the military and so failed to send more troops.

In short, I don't think the criticisms can be correct because they are equally ungrounded, contradictory criticisms. If McNamara has been criticized for being gullible (and establishing statistical decision systems that did not screen for accurate inputs and so listened to a biased military too much), then why would Rumsfeld be criticized for not listening to an unbiased military? What theory or body of knowledge do the Times, New Yorker, and television networks rely on to make such criticisms? What delusions lead them to imagine that they know what they are talking about?

The other criticism of Rumsfeld that also strikes me as nonsensical is that he encouraged torture at Abu Gharaib and Guantanimo Bay. In the January 2005 issue of City Journal Heather McDonald published an analysis of the left media's torture accusations and thoroughly debunked them. Yet, the media has not addressed McDonald's facts.

The main vision of the Iraqi War ought to be that to stop terrorism a conflict in a Sunni nation was necessary and that democracy might be installed that will institutionalize resistance to terrorism. However, the main point is to stop terrorism. It might be that the Iraqi War can be criticized, but it does seem to me that, if al Qaeda has sent 12,000 troops to Iraq and is attempting to base an insurgency in Anbar (opposed by Sunni tribes), the United States has pursued an intelligent strategy and needs to grapple with the insurgency using fourth generation warfare, not traditional military warfare.

Perhaps the left and the media disagree. Then it is up to the left and the media to inform us as to what their plan to stop terrorism is. Do nothing and let them explode dirty bombs? Please tell us, Seymour Hersh and Thomas Friedman. What is your plan to stop al Qaeda? If the left, the Democrats, Seymour Hersh or Thomas Friedman don't have a plan, then the question becomes: why are they so unhappy with the Bush administration?

One possible reason, which is probably true of the far left, is that there is hope that America will be harmed. Many on the far left are outright anti-American and aim to sabotage legitimate attempts to stop terrorism because they, far left Democrats, dislike America.

Because of the danger of faction; and because of the threat that the extreme left potentially poses, conservatives must insist that the left explain: What is the left's plan to stop Islamic terrorism?

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