Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Michael Totten Wrote... excellent essay entitled Terror and Victory. It's a keeper.

The following is what I posted on his thread:

I'm a starry-eyed idealist on a few narrow, specific, subjects.

One of them is the conduct of citizens of a republic in time of war. I believe that once the vote is cast, a reasonable period of time needs to pass before a faction declares defeat. Or that fascism rules the land. Or that anyone lied. Or that countries that ally with us are dupes, bought, or worse.

"Most of us who criticize America do so out of love, not hate."

I read this in your original post. Then your clarification. I still don't buy that line. Not at all. I think that people who get a stiffy criticizing America because they disagree with the policy they are not in support of have a fundamental blind spot in how things work in the real world. There is a duty attached to citizenship, and that duty is to suit up when a decsion is made to act. That's not fascism. That's called unity, or common purpose arising from compromise.

People like me want to see portions of the Islamic world invaded yesterday, specifically Iran and Saudi Arabia, with the employment of whatever force is necessary to accomplish that end. I'd like to see armed intervention wherever we can locate a terrorist organization. That means if we call Syria on Monday and inform them we would like the following individuals now living under surveillance at this address in Damascus delivered to our custody, they have until Tuesday to do it. Or we'll come get them. I cannot speak for you, but I gather your solution to the problem before us is somewhere on the opposite side of the Bush Doctrine from me. That's great. It is our right to have differing opinions.

This isn't George Bush's war. Sorry to bust any balloons, but that label is incorrect. Lazy, too, but for the sake of brevity I'll let that part go. The actions taken against Afghanistan and Iraq, as national policy, were debated in congress and authorized by bipartisan majorities.
The same is true of Patriot, the establishment of the DHS, and all the other changes wrought on our security and diplomatic posture in response to the war on terror. All the money spent on this so far has come from legislatively approved budgets. Yes, Bush has lead us here - but we (collectively, using our mechanism of decision) have followed. This is our war.

We have hundreds of thousands of uniformed troops, civilian contractors, government employees, and just plain citizens scattered around the world. Some are actively engaged in offensive operations. The vast majority of them - /US - are just trying to live out our lives and make our futures the best they can be. Each and every one of us is subject to death at the hands of Islamofascists; it's a question of probability, not of philosophy, diplomacy, or guilt. We are all targets. The primary function of our government is defense. Now that we are finally defending ourselves, a minority has resolved that we aren't defending ourselves CORRECTLY...and so they don't acknowledge a responsibility to support the effort.

This is sort of like the "wrong kind of jobs" argument vis a vis the economic growth we've enjoyed, except that people aren't dying over the economy every day.

The enemy rejects our right to live in freedom. They reject our right to live, period. That's why we are engaged in the war we are in, and that's why we are in Iraq right now. We, via our elected representatives, chose a response and have been attempting to successfully implement it for the last three years.

The antiwar minority may not hate America. They may not even hate George Bush. What they do hate is not being in power. The emotion runs so deep it adversely affects their actions and thought processes. They compound their problems by scaring the hell out of citizens who otherwise might welcome some alternative suggestions.

I'd buy the contention they don't hate the terrorists, though. In a heartbeat. They don't have enough hate left over. Equating Bush to Hitler or spelling America with a K or blaming thirty years of political decline on not being as good at dirty tricks as the Republicans all smack of a profound lack of faith in or respect for the democratic process. I tend to believe what people tell me. The message I get from icons like Jimmy Carter, Terry McAullife, Kerry, and a boatload of other parasites (Moore, Kos, Streisand, et al.) of that stripe is that despite their party's patent failure to solve any domestic issue they ever embraced, a long standing tradition of disastrous foreign policy/defense agendas, and willingness to incite class or race envy at the drop of a hat, I'm a moron for questioning their fitness or worthiness for my trust or my vote.

We have put our troops in harm's way in order to counter a threat. We. Us. The People (yes, capitalized) spoke, and in a perfect world we'd put aside our personal conflicts and work hard to show our enemy that they were not long for this world, and more importantly, show our troops that they had our faith and confidence as they undertook the most unpleasant duty any person can be asked to do. That would be in a perfect world.

Bush isn't perfect. Not even close. There have been setbacks and mistakes and lost opportunities. When is life EVER perfect?

I have yet to see the presentation of a coherent, believable alternative to the current strategy to defeat terrorism on the part of the democrat minority. Kerry and his surrogates are all over the map on this. As the campaign progresses the positions and talking points shift so fast I don't have a clue what Kerry would or would not do...but I get the impression that he wants me to believe WHATEVER happens, he'll be more effective than Bush because he is liked by unnamed foreign leaders. Or because he's not Bush. I have no way to know. He says that diplomacy will work with Iran, while at the same time that Bush is criminal for letting North Korea become a nuclear power...which we all know was enabled by the last administration's...diplomacy.

Yah. Right. Whatever.

The enemy has been trained to embrace our lack of will to fight as a gospel truth. They are wrong; they have been learning just how wrong for three years and are frankly terrified (ha) of what four more years of the same will mean to them. The viciousness and scale of their attacks (worldwide) in these last two or three months tells me how they regard the current administration. They are investing much, much more than they can afford to lose...unless we choose leadership that will allow them grace to reorganize and recover. They hate us...but this operational pace is driven by desperation, not strategy.

I don't doubt that the first few years of a Kerry presidency might be largely least where it effected Americans. The enemy does know enough about our political alignments to know that given half a chance the left side of our political spectrum disarms, retracts, and refuses to confront. They desperately seek that succor now; were it not for our election cycle they wouldn't even be contesting Iraq in spite of the fact that allowing a popularly elected government to rise makes it that much harder for them to eventually bring it down.

Make no mistake about it: the war on terror will be won or lost in Baghdad. Won or lost in a way that will determine if Islam will continue to exist, I should say.

We can do the ambitious, tedious, liberal thing and kill only those who are actively trying to kill us while bringing light to the darkness. We have the wealth and the technology to do it. Or we can vacillate, temporize, and deny right up until we lose a few thousand more people, or a city, or entire populations in one shot.

Then the enemy will find out what terror is really about. I wonder if the look-away-in-shame left will feel badly about that?

They'll have meant well, of course Too bad for them that meme no longer survives in the market place. Too bad for the lives of our citizens spent avoiding the confrontation. Too bad for the Arabs, too...too late.


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