Wednesday, December 15, 2004

If the Bastille was stormed and CNN didn't cover it...

...would it have made the history books?

Col. Austin Bay has posted "The Coming Arab Revolt" over on the Strategy Page. It's important; read his bio on the first link, then read his essay.

A major component of the fog of this war has been selective media coverage. We get literally days of punditry on any unsourced criticism of the administration, video and photo avalanches whenever the horrors of war happen, and a total absence of substantive establishment media commentary framed in terms of the published threats and actions of Islamofascists.

America's reaction to 9-11 -- specifically, its strategic offensive reaction -- is taking the gun out of hands of tyrants and terrorists. Removing Saddam Hussein began the reconfiguration of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East -- a dangerous, expensive process, but one that gives Middle Eastern moderates the chance to build states where the consent of the governed creates legitimacy and where terrorists are prosecuted, not promoted.

America's Liberal/Leftist demographic has chosen sides. No, they don't look forward to a golden age of sharia rule and the end of Western civilization. They don't look that far down the road. What is left of the Democrat party and their kindred spirits in media, academia, and pop intelligentsia have instead judged the world on their "how things should be" scale and decided that the global Islamofascist threat doesn't impact them nearly as immediately as does George W. Bush's presidency and the looming potential of the ownership society to drive a stake through what is left of contemporary elitist liberalism.

You can't have plantations without slaves.

Col. Bay cites several critical events that have occurred over the course of campaign against Islamist terror. He goes on to predict a coming wave of popular rejection of despotism across the Muslim world. When was the last time any high-profile correspondent laid down in a list what has been accomplished in this war?

Was there a first time?

The explosion of debate, critique, and commentary by individuals via the web has had an undeniable influence on the ability of MSM to define issues, yet institutional media still enjoys a wide cachet of credibility and more importantly remains the sole source of information for a substantial, if dwindling, client base.

We are fighting a world war. The stakes are every bit as high as in the three we had a hand in winning the last century. The nature of the battlefield has changed the moments of decision by which victory can be measured from climactic battles or territorial gains instead to a much more subtle standard. Today we must remove the cancers of the middle eastern body politic and then wait for the patient to recover and become a functional member of society.

Americans hate to wait for anything. See the problem, fix the problem, move on. Conservatives are especially susceptible to the reflex; liberals had half a century to deliver on their agendas and ended being rejected because they never got around to solving the problems they embraced in their platforms. Our predilection for demanding elegant solutions is a serious asset for our enemy. Media living inside its news cycles and politicians who mark epochs from one election to the next also recognise opportunities for themselves, too, arising from this reality. The job to be done is before us, but it will take time to change the inertia of literally thousands of years of tribalism, despotism, and hatred.

Blacks were lynched in our own south for a century following the Civil War. We still have troops stationed in Germany. We wrote Japan's constitution. Kosovo has been a U.N. protectorate for coming on eight years with no hope of local elections in sight...yet the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the surrender of Libya's WMD programs, the absence of any reprise of 9/11 on our shores, and the recent elections in Afghanistan and the coming elections in Iraq are never reported as victories in their own rights but as mere timestamps in a presumptively failed strategy.

I believe that when we win this war it will come as a surprise to a huge number of people. Victories have occurred - victories every bit as momentous as Midway or the race across France - and the enemy is brutally aware of where the initiative lies. We will not win this war by killing the last terrorist with our last bullet. This war will be won when the freed populations of middle eastern nations are strong enough to pursue their own futures. Islamofascists were enraged by our influences on their barbaric regimes from a hemisphere away. Think of the effect of successful, free Muslim nations next door and their brutal tactics of suicide bombings and beheadings fail to surprise.

Those that limit themselves to what corporate media tells them or by their own blinkered political prejudices are incapable of understanding the changes our world is undergoing. They are opting out of participating in solutions and are instead embracing an almost clinical state of insularity that cannot help but make them more angry, depressed, and paranoid than they already are.

Update: h/t to Instapundit, LGF, Protein Wisdom, and Wichita Boy.

Update: Fixed the link to Col. Bay's article. *sigh*


Ghost Dansing said...

Well.. interesting hypothesis. Just ensure that Col.Austin Bay is around to eat crow when none of what he predicts actually happens.

The slogan for Republicans should be: "Seldom in Doubt, Frequently Wrong."

Maybe if I saw one thing predicted within the context of NEOCON/Republican foreign policy that actually came to pass, this nonsense might be more compelling. Instead it looks like wishful thinking.

After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent civilians brought us an unprecedented level of cooperation and understanding around the world. But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.

So far, by any measurable metric, Dubya' legacy is one of incompetence... but hey! Col. Austin Bay says the whole thing will be vindicated.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

TmjUtah said...

I guess that's still going to be the meme, isn't it?
It didn't work for Kerry, but I'll grant he was a weak candidate. It hasn't worked very well for Democrats in general, either, when measured objectively by state houses/federal seats, either. It sure as hell hasn't worked out very well for the enemy. They're down to three and a half state sponsors now...and watching the clock run down.

I am not as optomistic as Col. Bay - I just commented on his post. I do agree with the Bush Doctrine and its objectives, though. Our only other option to achieve stability and security in the region and by extension most of the world would involve imperialist entanglements and that's just not the way we're wired. Attempting to inject democratic structures into harsh cultural conditions isn't without successful precedent. Germany, Italy, and Japan have all worked out to varying degrees of success.

At any rate, they aren't exporting terror and the three of them together are just about incapable of conducting wars of aggression. If we can achieve the same in the Muslim arc, well and good. If this approach doesn't work, we'll have to try something else. Something else in our interest, just like the french, Germans, Russians, and spain do when crafting their policies. Removing the Taliban inconvenienced Europe because they tiptoe around their much more volatile Muslim immigrant population than we do. It is in our interest to carve democracy from despotism to protect ourselves. The french see the inconvenience of losing a profitable market. The Germans worry about what's in the files in Baghdad.

I don't see any need to add to the misery of the vast bulk of the population of the Arab/Muslim world. They've been victims for longer than America has been a nation, longer by several orders of magnitude. Our interests coincide - America's and the captives of despotism and fundamentalist Islam - and as a citizen I'm willing to support our efforts to hunt down and eliminate the hard core terrorists, their leaders, and most of all the state sponsors that make the whole barbaric situation possible - while simultaneously Marshall Planning the battlefield. I hope that the newly freed can sieze the ring and run with it.

For what its worth, I believe that the internet will have a huge part in making it happen. Tyranny most often rises from apathy but it is sustained by ignorance every time.

That's why western Liberalism is in decline, too. Media can't define the argument anymore...but bless 'em, they can keep right on trying until they all have their own Rather moments if they want.

Check back here in six months. We can talk about the nascent government in at least Syria by then. Unless that moron Bush has something in mind for Iran first.

I appreciate your comment, but respectfully disagree with your conclusions. We've never faced a situation like the last four years and as far as accomplishments go I believe that the filter of time is going to generate a bit of a different judgement than the one you've arrived at. But that is down the road.

I look forward to Jimmy Carter complaining about Iraq's second presidential elections should he last that long. There's just no pleasing some people.