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Friday, August 18. 2006
From the NY Times to the left fringes of the blogosphere, denial of the danger of the world-wide Jihad reigns.
In the hawkish side of the world (and I see no reason, other than partisan politics,?why these divisions should correspond to liberal vs. conservative), from my beloved Laura Ingraham to the hawkier blogs, I hear Jihad elevated to the diabolical menace in terms which were once applied to the world-wide Commie menace.
Don't get me wrong: there was a world-wide Commie menace which was a threat to freedom, offering utopian, fascist pie in the sky at the point of a gun and a nuke warhead, and accompanied by many American Stalin-loving fellow-travelers. But my point is the extremes to which the current discussion?has gone.
For example, we saw the once-rational Andrew Sullivan trying to deny the seriousness of the English bombers this week. He essentially was saying "No biggie." Why would he say that? Was the WTC "no biggie?" If they had succeeded, you already know what they would be saying: "Bush/Blair didn't do enough." Or "Iraq caused it," or ...
It is a sport. Anyone can play.
And I heard Ned Lamont the other day say something like "We should worry more about the quality of the kindergartens in Bridgeport." Huh? Hello??I should care about what Bridgeport teachers unions want? (Like most people, they probably want more of something - probably my money.)?I am aware that many on the Left have had a knee-jerk anti-American reflex since the 1930s, which is unfortunate and which also contaminates reasonable dialog.
Our good?friends over in the shrink blogosphere - Shrinkwrapped, Dr. Sanity, SC&A, for good examples (links on blogroll), often attempt to understand such views psychoanalytically, but not only am I not qualified to do that, as a lawyer I find it to be a bit of a generic?"ad hominem." Furthermore, I think the psychological approach may miss the point of how politically-motivated, and disingenuously applied, many of the arguments are: you can never believe that politically-motivated speakers really believe what they say (witness Obama and Gore with their SUVs - they just talk to cover their Greenie flank. All politicians took Boob Bait 101 - it's an easy course to get an A in.).
I do not believe, for one minute, that John Kerry really believes that we can chat Ahmadinejad into sanity. (Ned Lamont might believe it, though - he is politeness personified, and has spent his fortunate life insulated among the Christian gentry: polite, honest, and considerate people in pea-green pants in country clubs where the after-golf single-malt scotch and chardonnay is served on silver trays by brownish-skinned persons, immigrants mostly, under the green-striped awnings. Everything very nice, civilized, and honorable. Darn pleasant places, too - wonderful, but also an expensive escape from everyday reality. Too much ease can soften a fellow.)
I wear green pants, too, to summer cocktail parties in CT. Everyone does, around here, with yellow blazers, or vice-versa.?
On the other side, we see the hawkier bloggers and commentators, which for no reason I can determine tend to be the more conservative, elevating the Islamic Jihadis, or Islamao-fascists, or whatever, to a level of threat which is no doubt flattering to them, but which, I think, exaggerates their dangerousness. And again, do not get me wrong - their threat is obviously real - I am talking about the level of hysteria that I hear.
Iraq is just a political football, at this point. The real issue is how to deal with stateless, but generally state- (including the Saudis) sponsored, Islamic Jihadists whose only tool - thus far - is terror and bombing civilians. Neither hysteria nor denial advance any discussion of the subject.
And the political polarization further reduces the quality of discussion. And that is my point here: political emotions and?tactics?have contaminated rational discussion.
The Left hates Bush because he (at least to some degree)?rejects their political agenda. Yet Bush makes fighting Jihad central to his presidential career. Thus, they must oppose or diminish that. Conversely, Repub and conservative types, while disappointed in Bush's big-government approaches to things, still would prefer his sort to the alternatives. So getting shrill about things supports their "side," and their guys (and gals).
Oftentimes, this polarization boils down to a question of whether Jihad is a trivial criminal?threat, worthy only of police work, or whether it demands maximum effort, risk, and sacrifice. But that debate, too, is a consequence of the political polarization, not a beginning of a rational discussion.
The White House has had their discussions, but they have not communicated them very well. There has been no summons to the nation, and there has been no inspiring demand for sacrifice for freedom. However, their solution?has been?a rational, if debatable, combination of intelligence, police-type work with international cooperation (FBI, CIA, plus French, Brit, German, Pakistani, etc), and undermining the sponsors of Jihad with diplomacy first, (as with Iraq) followed by war when that fails. What else could anyone do? If you buy?the Jihad?off, they will just come back for more, like any rational but dishonorable?person would who views you as sub-human. Give me some better ideas, dear readers: I am open to them.
My tendency is to think that Dems, had they been in office, would do roughly the same thing, since protection of the nation from threat is their primary function and the reason we give them the power to do it. But I am not sure: Clinton only would lob a couple of cruise missiles somewhere, and be done with it, but that was pre-9/11, when the Jihadists seemed more?like feckless?pests.
It breaks my heart to see people put party above country, but I am naive, because it seems to be the way the thing works - and probably always has done.?As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun.
The nukes are what bother me - far more than the leftists. I can handle Lefty-statists, but I cannot handle nuclear-armed loonies.
A final comment, about my senator Joe Lieberman (for whom I have never voted, but will vote for in November). He is a lefty, and he comes across as unpleasantly sanctimonious, but he does try to address these questions in a non-partisan, rational manner, whether he turns out to be right or wrong. He does try to decide what is best for the country during a time of danger - and that is why he ran into trouble. He wasn't partisan enough.
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These days everything has become political, I think the Dems would be perfectly happy to lose the war if it would gain them majority in congress.
The political polarization has increased enormously in the last few years, just as political blogs have grown, coincidence?
Regarding Joe, he's got principles. When push comes to shove he'll put country over party. Ned "lighter than air" Lamont is clueless. It'll be fun watching him campaign over the next couple of months.
No. There have been times when our elected representatives have put counrty above party.
Though I do think that, given the results we see in Iraq today, things just aren't going well.
Human nature is the same as ever, but the new technologies amplify our species' potential for both good and evil.
Do you know that 'jihad' means struggle in arabic and usually refers to the struggle within or conscience? (as explained to me by a muslim friend)
Some extremists (both western and islamic) have made it into something else.
The great bulk of muslims would like to be left alone to live in peace. That is a bit hard when we are bombing and killing them at a great rate of knots, and where we are not doing that, we are supporting local tyrants and crony capitalist hucksters who are doing nothing for the welfare of the majority.
The need of Bush and Blair to ratchet up the fear factor is patent. I'll be surprised if anyone is charged with a crime let alone convicted.
Sorry to disagree but none of it makes sense as a credible plot. Maybe there was some low level criminal related hijinks going on, but a major terrorist threat warranting the hysterical headlines? Nope. It really doesn't stand up to serious scrutiny. And I'm not a conspiracy threorist.
Blair needs to go gracefully if its not too late. he isn't going to get the UN gig that he covets anyway.
"Some extremists (both western and islamic) have made it (jihad) into something else.
Well you know justa, if the islamic extremists did not raise the definition of jihad as a holy war against the infidel, western extremists, (I guess that means only those individuals not deluded by moral relativist multiculturalism), would have been just as happy to leave them be.
Hmmm, once again you seem to choose violence perpetrated by others on your chosen targets as the instrument of your policy.
Bush has made the worst series of decisions of any president since Buchanan. His attack of Iraq is pointless and wasteful, having no impact on his chosen enemy. And his chosen enemy is no fair target because of thier selected strategy of informal war and sporacid terrorist acts. Bush has had no impact at all on this behavior. And you like the violence but don't understand the issues or potential strategies. Cheney exemplifies your approach and it has been a disaster.
think, think! Deploying explosives is not policitical strategy.
"would have been just as happy to leave them be"
Go and get Bin Laden by all means. Killing unrelated and unsympathetic (to Bin Laden and other wahabbist extremists) muslims and christians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and soon Iran is hardly a) good policy in isolating extremists or b) moral.
What the hell is "moral relatavist multiculturalism"? This is a neonazi strawman surely.
Goodness me. We'll have "dhimmitude" being used as "argument" shortly.
"Goodness me. We'll have "dhimmitude" being used as "argument" shortly.
We very well may. And when it is used, you can be sure it would be apt.