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August 04, 2005

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Ron

I'm not sure Brooks' theory makes democratization worthless. You'll notice that the Britain bombers were British, Timothy McVeigh was American. Every society is going to have cranks.

We, the British, and others, try to handle our own cranks, we don't export them. If the ME is democratized, the terrorists' fight is changed. And if the ME democracies cooperate in controlling terrorism, that greatly limits the possibilities of terrorists.

Lots of "ifs", and I'd be willing to listen to other viable alternatives. Right now though, dominoing democracies, far fetched though it might be, seems to me to be the best viable alternative to doing nothing.

TexasToast

However, if bringing democracy to the Middle East is going to be a waste of time... ahhhh!

Britain brought democracy to Rhodesia - for one election. Zimbabwe - that paragon of democratic values - seems to be the near term result.

The most likely near term result of "democracy" in Iraq, IMHO, is a shia dominated government that will have ties to the biggest, baddest Shia dominated country in the world - which just happens to be next door. No wonder the Sunnis are fighting so hard - they have run things for centuries - and we are condemming them to an "inferior" power position vis a vis two groups they have dominated and oppressed. I'd be scairt if I were sunni.

“Democracy” would be a more believable argument as a fall back to no WMD’s - if it were possible without a very long-term commitment of troops, money and focus. But its not – so it isn’t.

Martin

This is all too mindboggling. I'm off to a five week vacation.

Tommy V

"However, if bringing democracy to the Middle East is going to be a waste of time... ahhhh!"

No. I don't see that.

Terrorist will always be around to some extent. But without institutional or national support terorists damage is unlikely to grind civilization to a halt.

TexasToast assumes failure. And I guess I would agree that if we fail, it will not be worth the effort.

POUNCER

The rebellious and disaffected individuals Brooks describes are exactly the sort of people John Kerry was/is correct about: people who must be profiled, tracked, arrested and incarcerated as CRIMINALS. Not all that different from Tim McVeigh.
I don't think Shrub & co. ever backed away from that effort as a component of the solution.

But the near-term problem is cutting WMD off at the source -- keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of McVeigh-like lunatics. In this, I support Shrub's efforts to reform "axis of evil" nations like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, (Syria, Libya, Pakistan ...) Also to bring on board rival modern nuclear states like India and France in the recognition of our mutual self-interest in non-proliferation.

The long-term problem is that technology can't help but making isotopic enrichment, bomb design, and manufacture of WMD all cheaper and easier for anybody. Sooner than we like, it won't take the resources of a nation like Iraq to have a bomb program.

Remember Woody Allen's _Sleeper_? Our civilization ended when Albert Shanker built his own atomic bomb ... (oh well, it was funny when Shanker was still alive.)

That, however, is a challenge for another decade. OUR challenge is to capture rouge individuals and reform rouge nations. Both. ASAP.

Please.

jerkweed

Nukes and Osama bin Laden are both in Pakistan right NOW -and U.S. forces are fighting and dying in Northwest Iraq right NOW.

If we avoid disaster, it won't be through planning.

Etienne

The idea that democracy innoculates against terrorism was always an asinine bit of neocon fantasy. How on earth did they explain IRA terrorism, which was until recently a great scourge? When you couple that silly fantasy with the herculean effort that would be required to magically reform a region of the world that despises America using an American military prescence...well, it's really amazing that such embarassingly foolish ideas were ever peddled by the American right, which once touted itself as the toughminded, hardnosed wing of political thought.

During the election, it was still an overwhelmingly popular notion on this site. Lately I notice it is beginning to drop off into the no man's land of Abandoned Rationales for the Iraq Debacle.

One other thing I noticed about Brooks' op ed: He mentions that Islamists oppose the same things left wing extremists opposed - capitalism & imperialism. Did I miss something? Has opposition to imperialism become a left wing extremist position now? Have to ask, because I find myself amazed at how topsy turvy the political landscape has become these days. I mean, who would have ever thought that it would be American conservatives pushing the idea of spending billions of US taxpayer dollars on interventionist nation building?

Syl

There's another element here that people don't like to talk about, but a major part of this war is within the muslim world itself. The utopia that these renegades turn to to fulfill their fantasies needs to be discredited and only the muslim world can actually do that.

This fantasy isn't just a localized phenomenon, it is networked world wide...a far greater danger to far more people than for example the IRA or tamil tigers.

And what would make the muslim world wish to reform and marginalize the jihadis? The real hope of democracy and a better life, and their slowly becoming aware that the jihadis are killing more of them than killing us. Add to that the shame the jihadis are bringing to Islam itself, and the fact the West is watching and listening, and you have a strong motivation for change.

Bush calls Islam a Religion of Peace, which isn't really true, but his saying that it is exhorts them to prove it.

We can't even wish for a quick end to this, we have to accept that it will be a long long struggle.

TakingSides

*THEY* dehumanize everyone on earth who isn't like *THEM*. But we discuss *THEIR* psychology.

Etienne

Bush calls Islam a Religion of Peace, which isn't really true, but his saying that it is exhorts them to prove it.

Do you really think there is a single person in the Muslim world who will be motivated by a desire to prove themselves to...George Bush? American exceptionalism is a plague on our ability to understand the outside world.

The situation has always been far more complex than we wanted to accept. The concept of Democracy Dominoes appealed to the quick fix mentality. When Kerry gave that NYTimes interview during the election, saying that terrorists needed to be pursued with methods similar to those used to prosecute drug smugglers and gangsters, he was roundly ridiculed by the right. Most recently, we had the spectacle of chickenhawk Rove praising the rightwing for its warmaking and damning the left for its indictment issuing. It's disgusting that we are facing this danger, yet are hamstrung from evaluating the best responses because of incessant politicization. I'm not saying criminal prosecution is the best, or should be the only, response, but the British response to their recent terror attack certainly strikes me as a lot more rational than throwing billions of dollars and thousands of American kids into a flaming quagmire we haven't even begun to understand from a political, cultural or military standpoint. Here in America, we really don't have the option of rational responses anymore. We just have to make sure it sounds good on Fox News.

TexasToast

I must say that Mr.Brooks has put together some interesting facts which, IMHO, really seem to knock some rather large holes in the argument that the Iraq War is a “front” of the “Global War on Terror”, er, sorry, the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism”.

Points Worth Considering.

a) Democratization will not address the beefs of the sophisticated, westernized, educated terrorist because they are not generated from the Arab society we wish to “democratize”, but are instead the creations of the friction of contact between our education system and their religious and cultural background. They are a byproduct of the westernization of Islamic society – the very goal of democratization.
b) Democratization may, in the short term, make the problem worse by broadening the friction.
c) If Jihadism is not a mass Islamic movement, but is instead a small group of educated radicals, the war metaphor becomes inapplicable and the law enforcement metaphor becomes more appropriate
d) The friction may be an inevitable byproduct of globalization and the huge force of American culture (or “soft power”) which invades all societies on the planet because of our domination of communication


It’s an interesting parallel that a Serbian nationalist/terrorist murdered the Austrian archduke that, arguably, ended the nineteenth century. (1815-1914) This act lead to a chain of calculations and miscalculations resulting in "war the war to end all wars."

Some Islamic nationalists/terrorists murdered three thousand people that, arguably, ended the twentieth century (1914 - 9/11). It seems this also led to a chain of events leading to a war for reasons having as little to do with the act of terrorism as in 1914.

Are we sure we are not repeating the mistake of responding to terrorism with war? Why or why not?

spongeworthy

Etienne, you're ignoring the fact that Britain already participates in GWOT or whatever we're calling it. Acting as if the roundup of Islamo-loonies the Brits are undertaking is their only response ignores their efforts already well underway. That's a little convenient, isn't it?

With democracy comes accountability. If Saddam gives a nuclear device to terrorists who use it to blast Galveston into grain dust, what are we going to do to the Iraqis except undertake expensive extraction of the Iraqi leadership? Why can't we use deterrence on dictatorships?

Because it isn't civilized, irradiating innocent people under the bootheel of lunatics. But a democracy must answer for the misdeeds of their leaders. What's more, they know it. In a sense, the mullahs are precipitating their own demise by threatening to develop nuclear weapons. Do you think the Iranian people really want their mullahs tinkering with nukes while they consort with terrorists?

Spreading democracy spreads accountability. If a rogue democratic nation sponsors terror, we are well within bounds to respond in kind, or even disproportionally. It's cheaper, it saves American lives and it is effective as hell.

Tommy V

"Has opposition to imperialism become a left wing extremist position now?"

Yes, because the extreme left tends to think that the opening of a McDonalds is the same as Mussolini invading Ethiopia.

"The idea that democracy innoculates against terrorism was always an asinine bit of neocon fantasy. How on earth did they explain IRA terrorism, which was until recently a great scourge?"

No one said anything about "innoculating", you are misrepresenting the argument.

Also, while the IRA were terrorist, they never set out to destroy western civilization and there was never the sense that they would kill as many people as they could and take glee in it. It's a poor comparison.

Etienne

I don't even know how to respond to your post, spongeworthy, because it doesn't correspond to any reality we're dealing with. "Effective as hell"???? Can you please give me an example where an actual ROGUE NATION sponsored terrorism and we were able to hold them accountable?

One example of a nation that appears to, if not sponsor, at least gestate, a GREAT deal of terrorism is Saudi Arabia. When that mess hall blew up in Iraq last year, it turns out the suicide bomber was a kitchen worker carrying a Saudi visa. Just like when the 15 out of 19 bombers on 9/11 turned out to be Saudis, our response to Saudi Arabia was...I dunno. Kisses from Bush and holding hands through garden walks?

This theory about rogue nations sounded good on paper. In practice, it's proven to be nonsense. These terrorists obtain support in many Arab (and non Arab) countries, sometimes from prominent figures, sometimes not. Does that make the country a state sponsor of terrorism? If so, why are we so cozy with the Saudis, who have financed more terrorism than any nation, who treat their citizens -especially the women - abysmally, and who do not even make pretense to democracy.

The rogue nation theory at least gives us a target, which I guess is where its popularity came from. Problem is, the target, like Iraq, is an illusion that ends up being expensive, destructive of American lives and completely INeffective.

boris

Can you please give me an example where an actual ROGUE NATION sponsored terrorism and we were able to hold them accountable?

Completely missed his point ... woooosh ... right over ...

Consider the (unlikely) existence of a democracy that engages in state terrorism.

Since it's a democracy, the people would bear more responsibility for the action of the state than in a dictatorship.

Therefore raining destruction down upon them would be less unfair.

Etienne

boris, unlike Iraq, where we rained destruction on people who didn't have a stake in the government and where there was flimsy evidence at best that the state was exporting terrorism?

You keep falling back on your old standby - that terrorism requires state support to exist, or that state support is an optimal situation for terrorism to flourish. All recent evidence is showing us otherwise. In Iraq today we are seeing that the most destructive forms of terrorism can flourish, grow, develop and evolve even when the state is desperately opposed to it. And even with the full power and technology of the US military fighting it.

We need to start thinking outside of the box. The insane thinking that got us here isn't going to be the kind of thinking that gets us out.

Tommy V

"The rogue nation theory at least gives us a target, which I guess is where its popularity came from. Problem is, the target, like Iraq, is an illusion that ends up being expensive, destructive of American lives and completely INeffective."

A war gets more bloody before it ends.

This war will last a long time, and we won't know the real results for even longer. It took generations to remove institutional racism from the south. You can't just change these things overnight.

I believe the results of the previous status quo would likely have been an unacceptable catastrophe to the west and to the world.

Not everyone is going to agree with that and that's fine. But I think those who don't fall into two categories...

1. Those who do not think Westernm Culture is worth defending
2. Those who think the islamic Jihad is more akin to a crime, and was a manageable and acceptable threat the way it was.

I don't agree with either of those.

Tommy V

"You keep falling back on your old standby - that terrorism requires state support to exist, or that state support is an optimal situation for terrorism to flourish"

It'not terrorism in any form that requires state support, it is the kind of terrrorism that can put a halt to civilization that requires state support.

What happend in London is indicative of the problem, but it is not what we are really afraid of.

Geek, Esq.

Maybe he should have written this column a couple of years ago.

Seven Machos

I. Don't listen to political propaganda. Observe political action. The reasons our army is in Iraq are:

(A) to set up a peaceful, Western-oriented government as we did in Japan, South Korea, and Germany previously, and

(B) because Iraq borders Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

II. To the invade-Pakistan-invade-Saudi Arabia crowd:

(A) I'm sure you and people who share your politics were all for invading the USSR evey day between 1945 and 1989. Right? Right?

(B) In World War II, the Allies started by invading Germany and Japan straightaway, right? Right? I suppose you would have complained about the fact that we started in North Africa and a bunch of basically uninhabited Pacific islands.

(C) Similarly, during the Cold War, we started by invading Moscow directly, right? Right? I suppose you would have complained about the proxy wars fought over four decades.

(D) The fact is, you don't want to indvade any country. You don't want to use our military to effect political change and to crush the people who would have us crushed. That's fine, but you need to understand that you are squarely in the minority in this country. I bet you could find a nice little apartment in Madrid, though.

Don't quit your day job, Etienne.

spongeworthy

Etienne, we do what we can, not what we wish we could do. We can dissuade states from sponsoring terror--we cannot go rummaging around in the homes of Pakistanis searching for lunatics.

And on one hand, you claim SA is a state sponsor of terrorism and on the other claim there's no such thing. I suspect you are grasping at whatever straw is handy to support your position, which is weak but expected.

The difference between the response we might have to a dictatorship like Iraq and a democracy gone awry is massive.

In a dictatorship like Iraq, we almost owe the people the minimum effective response because they would be victims as much as we are. A democracy gets a flash and a loud boom, theoretically. This is a powerful deterrent, as Japan illustrates. While hardly a democracy, they lost their will to fight, just as the people of a democracy might second-guess their sympathy for terrorists.

Etienne

I don't think treating terrorism as crime is a comprehensive solution, but it is absolutely one tool that must be used.

If we are trying to prevent a potential catastrophe, how is the Iraq quagmire helping us? Is it keeping weapons out of the hands of the evildoers? Specifically, is it securing nuclear material that could end up in terrorist hands (something the Bush admin seems to be entirely neglecting)? Is it keeping our armed forces limber and agile and able to respond to any threat at any time? Is it using our financial resources wisely - resources needed for intelligence, homeland security, border protection, etc? Is it hurting terrorist recruitment? Is it improving the image of Western civilization in the eyes of those we seek to help?

Guy

In a sense, the mullahs are precipitating their own demise by threatening to develop nuclear weapons. Do you think the Iranian people really want their mullahs tinkering with nukes while they consort with terrorists?

Actually, nuclear weapons seem to have broad popular support in Iran -- it's a national pride thing.

Etienne

Don't listen to political propaganda. The reasons our army is in Iraq are:

(A) to set up a peaceful, Western-oriented government as we did in Japan, South Korea, and Germany previously, and

(B) because Iraq borders Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Gee, 7M, why didn't Bush say that then when he asked our elected representatives to vote in our name for this war? Isn't that how things are supposed to work in the democracy our soldiers are being asked to die for?

The Marshall Plan analogy is ridiculous. Those were already defeated, devastated nations with prior democratic traditions.

Don't quit your day job either.

Sponge, I wasn't saying SA was a state sponsor, just that it comes a lot closer to that concept than Iraq ever did. There is simply no coherence in the theory or in how it is being applied.

Steven J.

Great! Brooks catches on to this almost 4 years after the fact. How much does this bozo get paid?

Steven J.

The first implication, clearly, is that democratizing the Middle East, while worthy in itself, may not stem terrorism.

Brooks never heard of Algeria? Why does Bobo still have a job? No room at FAUX news?

spongeworthy

Guy: Yes, I suppose it is a pride issue. And I don't think for a minute the Iranian people want us marching around blasting up their country no matter how much they hate the mullahs.

But it would take a hell of a lot to convince me they really want to slip some kooks a weapon to be used against the West. That's suicide and they have to know it.

If I'm wrong, and deterrence isn't a good fallback for us re: Iran, then we're truly screwed.

Seven Machos

Etienne --

1. I'm sorry Bush did not follow in the long tradition of American politicians cooly laying out the realpolitik rationale for why some of our young men will be killed. If he could only be like Wilson, or either Roosevelt in that way.

2. I'm sorry you think that Iraq is full of sand people who cannot benefit from democracy or be helped by aid similar to the Marshall Plan. I'm also sorry that you apparently think that the Marshall Plan extended until 1989. I'm also sorry that you apparently think that Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, and a host of other non-European nations which received U.S. financial and military support during the Cold War had prior Democratic traditions.

3. People who have no grasp of history shouldn't make historical arguments to people who do have a grasp of history.

Steven J.

Surely a key goal for U.S. policy should be to isolate the nationalists from the jihadists.

Yeah, I'd think so to but unfortunately we have morons in charge, e.g.,


We have no idea what kind of ethnic strife might appear in the future, although
as I have noted, it has not been the history of Iraq's past.
WOLFOWITZ, FEBRUARY 27, 2003
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_house_hearings&docid=f:85421.wais

Seven Machos

Steve: a lot more than you.

spongeworthy

Etienne, the coherence is a couple of levels above our pay grade. I think it has something to do with abandoning the shieks to cope with the mess they made and developing other oil-soaked allies in the region.

At least on some level, whether overarching strategy or side-benefit, there is some value in this course of action. We can debate the morality of it, but not of freeing the Iraqis from fascism. Sometimes you have to hop around to justify a course of action, but it may still be a smart action.

Steven J.

SPONGE - "Do you think the Iranian people really want their mullahs tinkering with nukes while they consort with terrorists?

They certainly do. This is the one issue I know of that unites the liberals, the moderates and the mullahs in Iran. It is a question of nationalism.

Appalled Moderate

TM:

I think you have two groups of disaffected here. The first group -- the over-funded, under-employed elites of the middle east would probabbly be less inclined to Jihad in states where one's energies brought rewards rather than jail time. (Of course, using that theory, Iraq was probably the wrong place -- but, never mind). So, yes, the democracy domino isn't a bad theory. It's just not going to breed terribly quick results.

The second group is something Europe should do something about. Maybe they can learn from the American experience. The average American city use to be an unsafe hellhole. This is now far less true. Here in much of the older neghborhodds of Atlanta, you are as likely to bump into a Target as a liquor store for the homeless. Paging Mickey Kaus -- how about a book-length study of how welfare reform in Europe might quench the fires of Jihad there.

A third point. Terrorism is complex. No one solution is going to solve everything. It doesn't take a John Kerry to see that nuance and complexity exists in the situation

spongeworthy

I call bullshit, Steve. Source me.

What nationalism has to do with mucking around with terrorists defeats me. A link?

Etienne

7M, I like this rightwing blog because most of the posters, while I disagree with them, are intelligent and well mannered. You are the exception, in that you bloviate like a Limbaugh clone, preferring insult to argument. You keep comparing apples to oranges. First you talk about "installing" governments, then you switch to financial aid. I don't think any people are sand people who don't deserve democracy. But I also don't confuse the USA with God, and I realize that a complex world is not going to be brought to paradise through the bloviations of American Exceptionalism.

Sponge, I'd like to think we are making some kind of useful progress against terrorism in Iraq. But I'm sure glad it isn't my son over there getting blown to bits for a longshot possibility.

Steven J.

ETIENNE - "If so, why are we so cozy with the Saudis"

Oh goody, an easy one!

O-I-L

Steven J.

SPONGE -

I'm talking about developing nuclear weapons, NOT giving them to terrorists.

Seven Machos

1. I'm not the American exceptionalist here, Edy. I'm not the one suggesting that Americans are capable of democracy while others are not, as you suggested above with the bit about "prior democratic traditions."

2. Luckily, the United States has no military draft, so your son is not required to serve in the military. As for me, I cannot think of a more courageous or honorable thing for any son to do.

3. I have argued that we should have done a better job at defeating and devestating Iraq. Of course, Edy and the Left would be appalled at such a thing.

Seven Machos

Stevie: Remember that argument about O-I-L this week when you drive to the grocery store, and to work, and back from work, and when you cook food or use electricity, or if you go to a restaurant to eat, or ride a bus, or fly in an airplane, or if you should have to be carted away in an ambulance to a huge hospital roaring with power 24 hours a day, or if firefighters should race to your home to put out a fire.

Shall I go on? Or are you the one guy in America not utterly dependent on cheap energy?

Steven J.

SEVEN - "3. I have argued that we should have done a better job at defeating and devestating Iraq."

Central Command originally proposed a force of 380,000 to attack and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld's opening bid was about 40,000, "a division-plus," said three senior military officials who participated in the discussions. Bush and his top advisers finally approved the 250,000 troops the commanders requested to launch the invasion. But the additional troops that the military wanted to secure Iraq after Saddam's regime fell were either delayed or never sent.

Post-war planning non-existent
by WARREN P. STROBEL and JOHN WALCOTT

Knight Ridder Newspapers
Posted on Sun, Oct. 17, 2004
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9927782.htm

Seven Machos

Stevie: You are right to criticize. I have been highly critical of the way in which the invasion and the post-invasion era have been handled.

Any Democrat could have been elected president easily by saying: "Invading Iraq was right and the War on Terror is right. The war in Iraq has been a disaster. We should have brought awesome and devestating force to bear on Iraq. This is what I will do in Iraq right now if I am elected and in the future when we attack the next terror-supporting country. And by the way, I have these anti-business domestic agenda items and a plan to raise taxes and increase public dependency."

Etienne

So your sons are over there, 7M? For that matter, why aren't you?

It would seem the vast majority of Bush supporters do not agree with you about the nobility of service, at least not when it comes to them and theirs.

Nice twist on the meaning of American exceptionalism.That's a new trick the right has mastered lately. Yes, we respect the right of the Iraqis to have democracy so much that we are using them as cannon fodder to keep our own cities safe, i.e. fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. You may have managed to convince yourself in your own head that this war is about humanitarianism, but it's rather evident no one outside of Bushco is buying it.

Also, Mr. History Professor, can you please give me an example where a flourishing democracy was ever imposed on a nation by an invading power from an alien culture?

Forbes

Nothing much has changed--except the **media's** definition of the enemy. What Brooks describes is the same enemy (middle class, foreign educated) as was known on 9/12, except that the left wing media had to run through their endless tripe regarding poverty and "Why do they hate us?" memes and story frames. Somehow, now that terror has hit London the frame changes? What about Madrid? Does that fit the old meme, or the new meme? Or does it matter? (It doesn't. It's about media navel gazing, with Brooks providing the commentary. Silly.)

And, today, he has the effrontery to say the storyline doesn't fit the facts. That's at least 4 years behind on the learning curve--assuming he spent a minute looking into bin Laden, his fatwas, the African embassy and USS Cole bombings. Forget bin Laden's number two man Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician, and the former #3 and 9/11 organizer KSM--and his apparent relation to Ramzi Yousef (cousins), the '93 organizer of the first WTC terroist attack, were Western college educated. (Last time I checked, the impoverished from third world countries aren't attending western universities--unless I missed Brooks last book: PooBooBoos, Poor Bougeois Bohemians.)

Brooks column is filled with all kinds of convenient facts and selective memory loss, topped off with illogic, it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Take this, for example:

"The jihadists are modern psychologically as well as demographically because they are self-made men (in traditional societies there are no self-made men). Rather than deferring to custom, many of them have rebelled against local authority figures, rejecting their parents' bourgeois striving and moderate versions of Islam, and their comfortable lives."

What absolute garbage! Only in the "post-modern" West could the psychology of a jihadist--a 7th century religious warrior mentality--be described as "modern" based on the notion that they are self-made men. These jihadists are no more self-made than any middle class Westerner who goes away to college on their parents dime; this turns the definition of self-made on its' head.

That traditional (tribal) cultures rely upon a paternalist seniority system in no way obviates the fact that these same cultures have been sending their (male) children abroad for higher education, for generations. Rather than conforming, it is the parents that have rebelled against tribal customs in their bourgeois striving for improved living standards. This is not some new phenomenon of the '90s.

In fact, the jihadist strives so as to revert to the tribal customs of seniority, political authortarianism and sharia law, enroute to global elimination of all infidels. This is what they preach. Why should I take them at less than their word.

Why is this so hard for Brooks to figure out?

If liberal, pluralistic democracy isn't the answer to the jihadist's Islamofacsism, it's gonna require a better argument than Brook's "I just woke up to the facts on the ground, half a decade late" analysis.

boris

unlike Iraq, where we rained destruction on people who didn't have a stake in the government and where there was flimsy evidence at best that the state was exporting terrorism?

Salman Pak - airliner hulk, bus hulk, train cars, ring any bells?

I claim we did not rain destruction on Iraq, in fact the invasion was so clean it allowed most of the enemy to survive as the insurgency.

For that matter, why aren't you?

Those of us who serve or have served would not grant greater freedom of speech to war critics than to supporters.

If anything we would slant the double standard in favor of supporters.

while I disagree with them, are intelligent and well mannered.

Let's keep it that way then.

Etienne

Those of us who serve or have served would not grant greater freedom of speech to war critics than to supporters.

If anything we would slant the double standard in favor of supporters.

How nice of you. Last I looked though, those of us who have served (which would include myself) aren't given any such powers to bestow rights on anyone.

I don't believe I was implying his freedom of speech was impeded by his chickenhawkishness. It just would do wonders for our flailing military recruitment if even a small fraction of the bellicose conservatives would forego feeding their bank accounts for a few years and actually fight the war they worship so much.

Steven J.

BORIS - "Salman Pak - airliner hulk, bus hulk, train cars, ring any bells?"

Once again, I need to refer the 9-11 Commission report: There is NO evidence that Saddam was collaborating with Al-Queda.


Steven J.

FORBES - "If liberal, pluralistic democracy isn't the answer to the jihadist's Islamofacsism"

Try to pay attention: THEY DIDN'T HAVE AN ENLIGHTENMENT. That's what made a liberal, pluralistic democracy possible in the West.

Forbes

Etienne: Try Japan. Of course, by definition democracy cannot be imposed--you can only set the conditions for the people to take up the mantle of democracy and they uphold it themselves.

So you're really making a straw man argument.

And as to serving in the military--you should take your comments a shove them where the sun don't shine. They're underserving and uncalled for. All the age eligible males in my family have already served in Iraq. They served there at the pleasure of the United States of America--that is their duty. My niece will shortly begin training as a orthopedic surgeon with the US Army, where she will serve 6 years when she's completed training. So that means she's got 11 years to go. Some of us call that noble service, I defy you with your opinions to prove otherwise.

If you have a superior course of action or strategy regarding Iraq, we'd all love to hear it, but so far all you do is complain and criticize--all the while offering up no alternatives. As is said: lead, follow, or get out of the way. Thanks.

boris

I don't believe I was implying his freedom of speech was impeded by his chickenhawkishness

Thanks for the well mannered display.
I don't care what you believe you implied, your messasge disgraces your service.


Syl

Actually, David Brooks makes a big mistake in this piece. He is addressing only the recruits and not the leaders nor the support the movement gets from muslim organizations who, though not necessarily violent themselves, fully support the end goals of the jihadis.

If we only deal with individual recruits (through law enforcement or whatever) we are left playing a game of whack-o-terrorist with no end in sight. For every 100 jihadis we arrest, we might be lucky enough to put 20 in jail and for every one we put in jail there are tens, hundreds, of thousands to take their place.

We have to get the recruiters and ideologues too.

And how would one address his root causes of these recruits turning to terror? Shut down the world? The cat is out of the bag, the horse is out of the barn, and the toothpaste out of the tube. Nobody is isolated anymore from everyone else and we can't go back.

This utopian cause that the young men turn towards isn't some local territorial dispute, it is a worldwide phenomenon. It's not Kashmir. It's Kashmir AND Chechnya AND Indonesia AND Sudan AND Malaysia AND the Phillippines AND East Timor AND Afghanistan AND Iraq AND Europe AND America AND my god there are too many places where they're fighting for 'the cause' to even keep track anymore.

The main longterm goal is to fully discredit the ideology and make it shameful for alienated young men to take up the cause. But the West cannot do it alone, if at all, it has to come from within the muslim world itself. I hate to sound like a broken record but it just doesn't seem to sink in.

In the meantime we have to use every tool at our disposal and that includes military, dealing with state sponsors, individual sponsors, support groups, yada yada, and spreading the seeds and hope of democracy wherever we can.

Anyone saying it 'won't work' has given up already.

Our goal in Iraq wasn't to make the Arabs like us. We don't CARE if the Arabs like us. The Egyptians may hate us, but they seem to hate the jihadis even more and that's what counts!

Interesting that zawahiri on a tape played by al jazeera today is threatening more attacks on the West. There seemed to have been a bit of a difference between him and bin laden for a while. Bin laden wanted the West attacked and zawahiri wanted more attacks in the muslim world. The attacks in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have had consequences for al qaeda that are not good as far as hearts and minds go. So I guess bin laden has won the bet for now.

(I predict the threatened big attack against our troops is going to occur in North Africa, not Iraq.)

Anyway, does anyone really believe that if we hadn't liberated Iraq everything would be hunky dory today? I certainly don't. The jihadis would be blowing up things demanding everyone get out of Afghanistan, demanding our removal from Saudi soil (we were there at the Kingdom's request to protect them from Saddam), and as reprisal for what the sanctions 'did to the Iraqi people'. pfeh.

Sorry this got so long.


Tommy V

"It just would do wonders for our flailing military recruitment if even a small fraction of the bellicose conservatives would forego feeding their bank accounts for a few years and actually fight the war they worship so much."

This is a child's argument.

Forbes

Steve J.

Well, you'll just have to deny Japan and South Korea the democracies that they operate under. Or Singapore, or Turkey, or should I even bother to go on. Your logic fails. And when precisely did Poland or the rest of Eastern Europe have a reformation as the proximate cause of democracy? Seems to me the removal of the iron boot of autocracy made freedom and liberty possible. No?

And yet, what explains a Castro or a Chavez? Were they not a part of the Western experience of the reformation? Seems the iron boot of autocracy is more relevent.

I think you need to be more open-minded about your fellow man, inasmuch as one's political hatred can be as blinding to the possibilities as one's political admiration. Cheers.

Syl

"It just would do wonders for our flailing military recruitment if even a small fraction of the bellicose conservatives would forego feeding their bank accounts for a few years and actually fight the war they worship so much."

And it would do wonders for recruitment for the anti-war folks to go to Iraq and act as human shields to protect our soldiers.

spongeworthy

Well, Steve, here's what you said:

SPONGE - "Do you think the Iranian people really want their mullahs tinkering with nukes while they consort with terrorists?

They certainly do. This is the one issue I know of that unites the liberals, the moderates and the mullahs in Iran. It is a question of nationalism.

If you think the Persians like the idea of the mullahs consorting with terrorists while developing nuclear weapons you ought to back it up. I have already said I am aware the Iranian people may very well want to develop nuclear weapons, but there's no way to convince me they want them in the hands of terrorists.

Without a link, that is.

Steven J.

SPONGE -

My bad! I was imprecise.

boris

Gorelick commision - joke.

Salman Pak - airliner hulk, bus hulk, train cars ...

You decide ...

Steven J.

FORBES - "Well, you'll just have to deny Japan and South Korea the democracies that they operate under. Or Singapore, or Turkey, or should I even bother to go on. Your logic fails."

No it doesn't fail. The IDEAS of the Enlightenment spread readily to those countries. They did not spread readily among the Muslims.

Etienne

Chickenhawk is a rude name, I agree, but the behavior behind it is worse. I contend if we had not had an administration of chickenhawks (and millionaires), we would not be in this tragic mess to begin with. The US Army exists to protect the national security of the United States, not as a tool for geopolitical tinkering.

I admire your family's commitment to service, Forbes, but it is hardly the Republican norm. I don't see any Bushes in uniform, and none of us ever will. If every politician who voted for this war had to pay for that vote with the enlistment of a child, I can guarantee you we would not be involved in this misadventure. It is precisely the LACK of American sacrifice, not even to the point of paying taxes for it, that allows this war to continue.

I wish I did have a positive course of action to propose. I wish even more that one of our leaders did. The problem is once you set out on such a wrong course,it may not be possible to correct it. It does seem the administration is hatching a plan though. Lots of rumblings about a withdrawal in time for midterm elections. Not that this administration would ever politicize something as sacred as our national security.

I admire the sincerity of some posters here, like Sponge, who seem to truly believe we are doing something noble in Iraq. If only it were not given in service to such a cynical and incompetent leadership.

Steven J.

BORIS - "Salman Pak - airliner hulk, bus hulk, train cars ... "

The plane fuselage was built in the late 70s. It was used to train anti-hijacking teams. You may recall that the Palestinians were hijacking Arab commercial planes.

Steven J.

SYL - "And it would do wonders for recruitment for the anti-war folks to go to Iraq and act as human shields to protect our soldiers."

Why should we die in an immoral war we are against?

Syl

"If only it were not given in service to such a cynical and incompetent leadership."

Aha. You give the game away here. You're simply bigoted against Republicans. If Clinton, a chickenhawk, were in charge you wouldn't be so apoplectic.

Syl

StevenJ

"Why should we die in an immoral war we are against?"

To support the troops.

Steven J.

SYL - "StevenJ

"Why should we die in an immoral war we are against?"

To support the troops."

I think Jenna and not-Jenna should sign up, then Bill Bennett's son.


Appalled Moderate

Y'know, this is an interesting blog posting on an interesting article that tries to rethink an issue where the thinking has got stale.

In the comments, we have reducio ad chickenhawkium. And trust me, the thinking on that issue has gotten even more stale.

Hm, I wonder if those who scream chickenhawk, chickenhawk, chickenhawk are willing to help the military to get ROTC back on the campuses at the elite schools. (You know, the one that are brimming over with those swarms of Young Republicans). Why do I think these folks find the stand that the professors take on this issue pricipled and appropriate?

Forbes

Steve J:

I guess I'm not quite ready to accept your say so that the IDEAS of the enlightenment spread readily to those countries.

When, in your view, did the ideas of the enlightenment spread to those countries such that they developed democratic government and institutions?

Japan in the 1950s?
South Korea in the 1970s?

And this occurred readily? In comparison the the "enlightenment" of the 18th century, some 200 years prior?

There is a wealth of Japanese and Korean history that I'm not familiar with, but the relevent time frame regarding democracy in these two countries is not the 18th century.

(I did misspeak by using the term reformation, when you said enlightenment, in my earlier post.)

Steven J.

Why do I think these folks find the stand that the professors take on this issue pricipled and appropriate?

The law schools do have a principled stand - they oppose the discrimination against gays.

Steven J.

FORBES - "When, in your view, did the ideas of the enlightenment spread to those countries such that they developed democratic government and institutions?"

When? When the Japanese and Koreans sent their sons and daughters to be educated at Oxford and Harvard.


TexasToast

Japan, Korea, Germany, et al are typically monoethnic - making democratization easier. There were not full blown insurgencies in any of those countries as the dispossessed elite was not an ethnic or religious minority - but a social class. Can anyone cite a multi ethnic success that isnt bred of very long tradition?

I cant.

Isn't it interesting that in Eastern Europe the end of communist rule has led to monoethnic states - Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia are the prime examples. Interestingly, even the democracies in western Europe are having to deal with ethnic tension of a new sort.

Iraq is anything but monoethnic - there are three distinct main groups in competition for power. Democracy as rule by 51% is a problem in such a society - because there is no tradition for minority rights. Zimbabwe is a more appropriate example
.

boris

It was used to train anti-hijacking teams

... and nothing else ...

sure

The thing is to train anti-hijacking teams there needs to be (pretend?) hijackers to train against ... thus any anti-hijack training necessarily includes hijack training as a side benefit.

I wonder if any of the 911 terrorists received anti-hijack training ...

There are reports that an administrator of the camp recalls training some ...

Gorelick commision - joke

Salman Pak - airliner hulk, bus hulk, train cars ...

You decide ...


Forbes

Etienne:
I don't know what the Republican norm is regarding enlistments, perhaps you enlighten us all on the matter.

The fact that you assume my family is Republican due to my belief that military service is noble is astoundly naive. My niece is a Democrat--if that should matter. Others that served in Iraq began service during the Clinton Administration. By your rendering on the subject, it seems military service should be by political party affiliation. What you don't know about the historical traditions of this country freightens me.

Should I assume you're French--and all that goes with it, just as you've stereotyped me--by the spelling of your name?

Should I assume you're a Democrat because you dislike the war in Iraq and the President? But don't Democrats believe in the right of choice that a woman has over her own body? But you think the Bush girls should be in uniform? Is this the kind of thinking that comes from opponents of the war? Simple minded and childish is really to kind for this type of thinking.

Don't feel any need to respond to those rhetorical question.

My apologies to Appalled Moderate, as I've responded to trolls and thread hijackers. I will ban myself for a week as penance. It was a good thread, as my first comment was directed at TM's post. Sorry 'bout the rest.

Seven Machos

Edy: Countries that the United States or Great Britain has invaded that now have flourishing democracies as a direct result:

1. Germany
2. Japan
3. South Korea
4. India
5. Italy

TexasToast

Couuntries that the Anglo-Saxon Dynamic Duo have invaded/controlled at one point that have not created florishing democracies as a direct result:

1. Pakistan
2. Liberia
3. Zimbabwe
4. Kenya
5. Egypt
6. Myanmar/Burma
7. Singapore
8. Jamaica
9. South Africa until recently (arguable)
10. Nigeria
11. Bangladesh
12. Afganistan
13 Iraq (British occupation)
14 Jordan


Your only good counter/example is India but only after Pakistan was partitioned away

jerkweed

Don't forget Mexico!

Sure it's democracy of sorts-but we invaded in 1846. Look what shape it's in 150 years later.

SteveMG

This is pretty good by Brooks, who's at his best when he transcends ideology. I'd wish the others on the op-ed page would follow; as to the op op-ed page, abandon hope all ye who enter there.

Brook's (apparent) contradiction can be stated thusly: If the terrorists are at war with what we may call modernity, how will more modernity turn them away from future acts of terrorism? Bernard Lewis pointed out that they hate us not because of our sins (support for repressive regimes, et cetera), but because of our virtues (pluralism, religious freedom, et cetera).

So, how will more pluralism, freedom succeed?

Two quickies:

One: At the risk of committing sociology (among other sins), it does seem to me, as the poster way up there noted, that we need to distinguish between domestic or home-grown terrorism committed by deracinated and disaffected Muslims not acculturated into Western society and those militants originating from repressive societies abroad. How we address the former (looks to me like we've done a good job here in the US) is quite different than what needs to be done overseas.

But it's important to remember that we don't have (yet) legions of home-grown Islamists blowing themselves up. Most of the countries in Europe have large Muslim populations; most are pretty normal citizens. So it seems to me that we can say, perhaps being a little cute along the way, that the failure to "modernize" the domestic Muslims is the problem and not modernity itself. "Better" modernity, perhaps?

Adherents of radical Islam not properly socialized will always be at war with those who do not follow it's precepts just as followers of nearly any radical ideology do. I was re-reading Kennan and remembered these two great lines:

"Frustrated, discontented, hopeless of finding self-expression. . . yet lacking wide popular support or their choice of bloody revolution as a means of social betterment, these revolutionists found . . . a highly convenient rationalization for their own instinctive desires.

That rationalization was Marxism (the above quote was from Kennan's Mr. X article).

Or better yet this:

"It is an undeniable privilege of every man to prove himself right in the thesis that the world is his enemy; for if he reiterates it frequently enough and makes it the background of his conduct he is bound eventually to be right."

So, we'll have our McVeigh's or Eric Rudolph's or assorted other cranks and misfits. Can't avoid that.

(2) I always thought though that the idea of promoting democracy in the Islamic world was as much in helping create more moderate Muslims to fight off the radical elements. That this war within Islam would only be won by Muslims themselves rescuing their religion from the militant elements. And that modern pluralistic Muslims societies would create more "good" Muslims to defeat the "bad" Muslims.

Seems to me that everyone - right, left and center - has argued that we need to promote more open societies in the Middle East and Islamic world. Root causes and all that. The differences is how to implement those policies. So the cheap shots from some quarters on this issue merit little credibility.

SMG

Seven Machos

I believe the challenge was to name one country that had democracy and Western government foisted upon it. I did.

Now you want to talk about Kenya and Afghanistan (which was never defeated or colonized, ever). This is a cross-country moving of the goal posts.

Note that many of the countries you named were not primarily colonized by the Anglosphere. I never claimed that Dutch colonization was a good thing, or that colonization was a good thing. In Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, we came, we kicked ass, we installed a government, and we retreated to local military bases. This is what will happen in Iraq. Before 2008.

Syl

Great post, SteveMG, and I agree. I didn't bring up the two elements (domestic vs foreign) simply because both have their own alienation issues to work out though the proximal causes may be different.

TexasToast

I agree with Syl. That was a great post SMG.

Steven J.

TEXAS - "Iraq is anything but monoethnic - there are three distinct main groups in competition for power."

Add to that about 150 tribes and maybe 2,000 clans and we have a society more typical of 2000 BC than 2000 AD. It will be difficult to create a centralized democratic state out of such disparate elements.

kim

I wondered a year and a half ago why we didn't split Iraq into 3 states. I asked a man who had once been a sophisticated international political analyst and his answer was that Israel didn't want 3 states there instead of one.

I still think it might have been the best thing to do. The three groups overlap a lot on their borders, and particularly in Baghdad, but it might have been worked out. The Turks would oppose an independent Kurdistan, but there is an autonomous one there now.

I believe the main reason that there is hope for a single nation is the wisdom and vision of ali-Sistani. He tamed Sadr at a key moment, and earned the trust of the Kurds. I consider it the single most pertinent illustration of his saintliness that he was able to forgive us for our betrayal post Gulf 1. The Sunni religiious leaders can recognize in him a holiness to rival theirs.

There is great hope in Iraq, Land of Purple Fingered Majesty.
===============================================

narciso

You may recall, that Iraq was a sponsor of most of those Palestinian groups; ie; the
Abu Nidal Organization, Abul Abbas, et al;
there was some change when the Daawa came
on the scene in the 1980s, affecting one of
the Kuwaiti airlines, and the American embassy there. but I don't think that
justifies that change of attitude. the ties
of Saddam's regime to the GIA and even some
of the Islamist Palestinian groups, made them a key target. One could say, why not
target; Syria, after all we still owe them
for their role in Beirut bombings; from Turkey; or Iran, for many similar reasons,?
Iraq is clearly the easier case; it also happens to be in the center of the Syrian/
Iraqi/Saudi axis, which explains our problems there

iraqi

Lurking Observer

For those who argue that democratizing or preserving multiethnic societies is a fool's game, I have to inquire:

When the Clinton Administration intervened in Kosovo (without benefit of UN approval, btw), and said it wanted to keep Kosovo part of Serbia (which it has been for centuries), did you folks scoff?

For that matter, when it came to intervening in Bosnia, which was even more of a multi-ethnic society, did you folks argue that this was a fool's game as well?

Somehow, the despairing hand-wringing might be a little more credible if it were consistently applied to administrations' activities, whatever their political stripe.

jerkweed

Actually I did scoff LO-but it was too hard to be heard over the roar of the anti-Clinton Republicans.

I could dreg up some choice Tom Delay quotes if you want.

TexasToast

Note that many of the countries you named were not primarily colonized by the Anglosphere.

They all were colonies of England or the US in the 19th or early part of the 20th century. There are more examples. Democracy is a product of western thought that can be grafted onto other societies – but it is difficult in the face of ethnic tension, in particular.

I never claimed that Dutch colonization was a good thing, or that colonization was a good thing.

This is simply bizarre. What do the Dutch have to do with it?

In Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, we came, we kicked ass, we installed a government, and we retreated to local military bases.

Yes – and that seems to be what we are after – local military bases. We could really care less about “democracy” in Iraq – as long as we get the bases and the oil flows. So criticism of our “Democracy” plank is not hand wringing, it’s recognition that “Democratisization” is the pretty cover for our real national interests – bases and control of the oil supply.

Lurking Observer

TT:

So, we sent troops to South Korea in order to defend extant military bases, or in order to install military bases?

And the reason we have bases in Japan is for oil? Or simply b/c we want to have bases?

And in either case, why push for democracy? Or are you going to claim that we did not push for democracy in Japan, nor in South Korea?

And, by your "logic," I'm curious why we care about Taiwan. There are no US military bases there, and we pushed for democracy for quite a while. Is it their oil?

You seem to have this idea that we wanted bases in places like Germany and Italy simply b/c we want bases overseas. The small issue of, oh, the USSR, I take it in your view was something to be lightly dismissed, is that it?

Sorta like keeping troops in Berlin. A Democrat once said, "For those who cannot, or say they cannot, tell the difference between Communism and democracy, lasst sie nach Berlin kommen."

To which a modern liberal, like TT, responds, "Let the Soviets have 'em, after all, we're only there for bases and oil."

TexasToast

LO
Wow. Strawmen on parade!

So, we sent troops to South Korea in order to defend extant military bases, or in order to install military bases? And the reason we have bases in Japan is for oil? Or simply b/c we want to have bases?

Get real – those strawmen are totally different set of facts in totally different historical contexts than Iraq. First, we didn’t invade Korea or attack Japan – we responded to attack or invasion. We wouldn’t be there at all if that had not happened. Second, the only reason we still have troops in Korea is not our national interest – but Japan’s and Korea’s.

And in either case, why push for democracy? Or are you going to claim that we did not push for democracy in Japan, nor in South Korea?

Since we are there, we need to make the best of it. We should push for democracy because it is the right thing to do – that doesn’t mean it won’t be very difficult and take longer than I suspect we have the patience for.

Lurking Observer

TT:

So, quoting you is creating a straw man?

This is what you wrote at 0801 this AM, including what you chose to quote:

In Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, we came, we kicked ass, we installed a government, and we retreated to local military bases.

Yes – and that seems to be what we are after – local military bases. We could really care less about “democracy” in Iraq – as long as we get the bases and the oil flows. So criticism of our “Democracy” plank is not hand wringing, it’s recognition that “Democratisization” is the pretty cover for our real national interests – bases and control of the oil supply.

Now, called on it, the goal posts shift, and it would appear that we're NOT in countries for national interest, i.e., "bases and control of the oil supply."

(Which is actually pretty incoherent. Have we been in Germany for 60 years because of national interest or not? How about Japan? Have we been in Korea for 55 years becuase of national interest or not?)

Like the claim that democracy has never been imposed upon foreign countries, when the Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese examples are raised, the Left goes a-scurryin'.

BTW, I think many of your compatriots, especially in the 1960s but even recently, have argued that our presence on the Korean peninsula is unwanted and a de facto occupation. That democracy was hardly a foregone conclusion. Take a look at the rivers of crocodile tears cried back in the day over Chiang Kai-shek, Chun Doo Hwan, Park Chung Hee, and whether we shouldn't really be getting out of the way of the "popular support" offered by the other side instead of those nasty dictators, whom we supported for reasons of markets and bases. Sound familiar?

But I'll agree w/ you on two things, TT. First, that while we're in Iraq , we should be promoting democracy (and no, I don't think we went in to promote democracy, per se).

Second, that there are plenty of folks who don't have the patience for it. Most of whom seem to reside on your side of the political fence.

TexasToast

Now, called on it, the goal posts shift, and it would appear that we're NOT in countries for national interest, i.e., "bases and control of the oil supply. (Which is actually pretty incoherent. Have we been in Germany for 60 years because of national interest or not? How about Japan? Have we been in Korea for 55 years becuase of national interest or not?)"

We are in those countries as part of collective security agreements - which are in our national interests. When the Philippines asked us to leave, for example, we did. Iraq is an entirely different case as we weren’t invited in - they didn’t attack us. We needed to get out of Saudi and voila! – Saddam is a verrry bad man!.

Like the claim that democracy has never been imposed upon foreign countries, when the Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese examples are raised, the Left goes a-scurryin'.

Who’s a-scurryin’? Those are monoethnic societies – as I pointed out above. Iraq is not.

BTW, I think many of your compatriots, especially in the 1960s but even recently, have argued that our presence on the Korean peninsula is unwanted and a de facto occupation. That democracy was hardly a foregone conclusion. Take a look at the rivers of crocodile tears cried back in the day over Chiang Kai-shek, Chun Doo Hwan, Park Chung Hee, and whether we shouldn't really be getting out of the way of the "popular support" offered by the other side instead of those nasty dictators, whom we supported for reasons of markets and bases. Sound familiar?

Back to the strawman parade – with flags! We have a long history of supporting thugs like Pinochet in Chile - as long as they remember who “owns” them.

But I'll agree w/ you on two things, TT. First, that while we're in Iraq , we should be promoting democracy (and no, I don't think we went in to promote democracy, per se).

Progress!

Second, that there are plenty of folks who don't have the patience for it. Most of whom seem to reside on your side of the political fence.

Actually, I don’t think many on your side of the fence give a tinker’s damn – it is merely the fall back after we didn’t find any smokin’ WMDs.

Seven Machos

"Iraq is an entirely different case as we weren’t invited in - they didn’t attack us." Tex.

Ergo, Tex thinks that GERMANY and ITALY and SOUTH KOREA have ATTACKED the United States.

Tex: you don't much about history, do you?

TexasToast

7M

That is so incredibly stupid I'll have to sic Patrick Sullivan on you for a suitable abusive putdown.

Seven Machos

I know, Tex. I know. I'm dumber than a box of hair. You are the super-duper smart lefty. But here is what you said:

"We are in those countries as part of collective security agreements - which are in our national interests. When the Philippines asked us to leave, for example, we did. Iraq is an entirely different case as we weren’t invited in - they didn’t attack us."

Since you are so smart, I won't bother to mention that Germany, Italy, and South Korea have never invaded the United States. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in Germany for 60 years and that we, in fact, invaded Germany. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in Italy for 60 years and that we, in fact, invaded Italy. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in South Korea for 50 years and that we, in fact, sent thousands of troops into Korea and are responsible for its 50-year division.

I also won't bother to mention that the sovereign Iraqi government has not asked the United States to leave.

You are a prodigal genius, so you know all this.

I feel compelled to point out, however, that your argument, such as it is, that the United States was wrong to invade Iraq because Iraq did not invade the United States in entirely unsupported anywhere in American military history. You'll have to do better if even a retard such as myself can see the flaws in your argument.

I believe in you, Tex. I believe in your intellect. I wish you luck with your arguments in the future. May they be remotely compelling.

TexasToast

Since you are so smart, I won't bother to mention that Germany, Italy, and South Korea have never invaded the United States. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in Germany for 60 years and that we, in fact, invaded Germany. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in Italy for 60 years and that we, in fact, invaded Italy. I won't bother to mention that we have had military bases in South Korea for 50 years and that we, in fact, sent thousands of troops into Korea and are responsible for its 50-year division.
You are correct – you shouldn’t have bothered. Germany and Italy were fascist aggressor states intent on world domination. They were clear and distinct threats to the United States and its interests. I don’t think you will find anyone who disagrees with that at this late date (although there was a significant anti-war isolationist movement centered on the Republican Party prior to Pearl Harbor). Roosevelt was bending over backwards to assist Britain before Pearl – and the vote to declare war on Germany and Italy after the attack by Japan on these two countries was overwhelming.
Korea was our response to a collective security agreement with the South. Our geopolitical interest was to protect Japan, but we honored an alliance and defended an ally in Korea.
We did obtain post war basing rights in all three cases as part of the NATO alliance structure in Europe and as a “trip wire” after the war on the Korean peninsula. I’m fairly sure that all three host countries want our presence to continue at present, although this may change.
The circumstances in Iraq are entirely different. We attacked a sovereign nation based upon a new theory of “preemptive defense” – i.e., we don’t have to wait until the threat is present as long as we can assert its “…a growing threat.” This theory is how we manage, by sophistry, to avoid taking the responsibility for starting a blatant war of aggression on a sovereign state.
This theory requires that Iraq be classified as a threat to US security – which is why we intentionally oversold the faulty intelligence on WMDs, why it matters about the “16 words”, and why we needed the GWOT slogan so that the Iraq invasion could be seen as simply a part of a larger war.
Unfortunately for our team, the only WMDs we found were some old rusting artillery rounds, there is still no proof that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from anywhere, and now we fill the need to change the slogan from GWOT to “G-SAFE” in order to lower the expectations for a purely military solution
I also won't bother to mention that the sovereign Iraqi government has not asked the United States to leave.
Yep – they got a real choice, don’t they?
You are a prodigal genius, so you know all this.
Is this necessary?
I feel compelled to point out, however, that your argument, such as it is, that the United States was wrong to invade Iraq because Iraq did not invade the United States in entirely unsupported anywhere in American military history. You'll have to do better if even a retard such as myself can see the flaws in your argument.
Yep – most of our early wars have been aggressive.
Revolution – defensive
1812 – aggression (Canada)
Mexico – aggressive land grab
Civil War – ever heard of the various attempts by filibusters to add Cuba as a slave state?
Spanish-American War – aggressive land grab
WWI - collective security
WW2 – response to attack
Korea – collective security
Viet Nam – collective security (debatable)
Iraq – “preemptive” security

I believe in you, Tex. I believe in your intellect. I wish you luck with your arguments in the future. May they be remotely compelling.
Thanks – but the ad hom is just noise.

Seven Machos

Tex: What's your point? We have vital national interests related to the Middle East. Most of the time we have been an agressor in war.

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