Monday, August 06, 2007

"Catastrophe ?" part II

Yesterday I challenged someone rational to provide reasons why the Iraq war has been a "catastrophe" for the United States. No one was able to provide any rational reasons why Iraq is a disaster for the US so I thought that I would help out by suggesting some of what would be rational reasons for regarding Iraq as catastrophic.

1. It enraged Islamic militants so much that they ignored all other targets and concentrated their efforts on staging a wave of terrorist attacks all across America which have resulted (so far) in over 35,000 deaths of American civilians.

2. Arab/Muslim oil producing nations were so enraged by US aggression that they refused to sell their oil resulting in oil rising to $300.00 per barrel on the world market and collapsing the economies of the developed world. This threw the world into an economic depression far greater than the one which began in 1929 and has so far resulted in over 800,000,000 deaths world wide from lack of food, lack of heat, lack of electricity, lack of medicine and all the other things which cheap energy causes us to take for granted.

3. Al Qaeda has proven far more effective on the battlefield than anyone could have imagined. So much so that America has suffered more than 50,000 combat deaths and the US military and its few Iraqi allies have been driven back to Baghdad where they are managing to hold a tenuous perimeter while awaiting evacuation.

But you see none of those things has happened. Yes, America has made its share of mistakes, just like all nations in all wars make mistakes (Operation Market Garden, Gallipoli ) but not getting everything right from day one does not doom a war effort. Overall the US invasion of Iraq has made Americans safer by moving the battlefield from US cities to a Middle Eastern nation.

While no one has suggested any rational reason to think of Iraq as a failure for the US some of what has been left in the comments approaches the surreal. For example:

. . .we would have a better outgome for U.S. with muscular inspections continuing and more of a UN based police action there. Less death and less of a target on our backs...

Same in Afghanistan and Pakistan, A police and military action treating Al Qaeda as we would the mafia, like Britain does, in cooperation with the governments in place, would have allowed us to get Bin Laden

Where to start? How were the inspections supposed to become "muscular"? The UN was conducting them and we now know that the highest levels of UN leadership were on Saddam's payroll. As were the governments of France and Germany. And as for operating in cooperation with the government in place to get bin Laden - we all do remember that the Taliban government of Afghanistan was asked to hand over bin Laden but refused, instead stating their determination to go to war to protect him.

Mullah Omar's belief that the United States would not actually invade his country to topple his Islamofascist regime and try to find bin Laden surely rested on the same foundation which bin Laden's belief that he could stage 9/11 and get away with it. The fact that America had cut and run from Vietnam and Lebanon and that the Clinton administration had treated the first WTC bombing and the bombing of the USS Cole as law enforcement matters (treating al Qaeda like the Mafia) rather than acts of war.
"There are lots of people in the areas we are bombing who want to be friends with America but if you bomb someone's family and kill their kids and then say you did it to give them Democracy, you are not working for the good of our country by winning over hearts and minds."

This must explain what West Germany and Italy and Japan were all such bitter opponents to the US all through the Cold War and hate us to this day.
"The real power of America is as a sort of thought virus of egalitarianism and materialism which caused the collapse of communism and is irresistible in most of the world."

Communism collapsed because it was not sustainable and Ronald Reagan brought it down by pushing it with SDI, not egalitarianism. If our ideals are so "irresistible" then why are they the exception rather than the rule in the world today?
"Ike, JFK, Carter, GHWB and Clinton all represented this good idea of America to the rest of the world and they helped us."

Ike played a lot of golf. JFK got us into the Vietnam war and created the US Army Special Forces to go into communist countries and recruit, train and equip indigenous peoples to bring down their totalitarian governments. Carter was the worst president in US history. His gutting of our intelligence capacity and his abject craven weakness in response to the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis is what in a very large measure invited 9/11. George H.W. Bush now admits that his greatest mistake in office was not sending the Army on into Baghdad to remove Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War.
"Remember the GOP saying Clinton was "wagging the dog" when he tried to bomb Bib Laden."

Does anyone honestly believe that Clinton was doing anything else? He only responded to terrorism when he needed to move Monica Lewinsky's grand jury testimony off the front page. Clinton's real legacy with regard to any truly difficult problem like terrorism was to kick the can down the road and let the next administration deal with it. Slimy dick Morris set the pattern for the Clinton presidency. Come out every week with some inane bit of drivel to make the Soccer Moms coo with pleasure like school uniforms, keeping guns out of schools or midnight basketball and stay away from anything of substance. After seeing Hillary's Stalinist health care "reform" go down in flames he never again strayed from that formula.
"But what I wish you would address is the nature of American influence and whether that can be forced on people around the world or whether other people have the right to pick and choose whom they respect."

If America is perceived as a dying power it will receive no respect. Arabs have a proverb, "a falling camel attracts many knives". When the video of the World Trade Center falling was broadcast around the world Muslims danced in the streets and for about a year after Osama was the most popular name given to newborn baby boys in the Muslim world, even in the Muslim communities of Europe.

That is no longer the case. America showed strength and strength attracts respect as the falling camel attracts knives. American strength is why Qaddafi gave up Lybia's quest for WMDs and why there is now a pro-American conservative (by French standards) president in France. American strength is why the UK's new Prime Minister made a statement of the importance of the UK's "special relationship" with the US and his determination to continue the fight against terrorism almost his first act in office. American strength is why American teenagers can go out for pizza and a movie on Saturday night in any town in America without fear of being blown up by a suicide bomber. American strength is why the oil producing Arab states did not see 9/11 as the "handwriting on the wall" warning of a coming Islamist caliphate that they had better start aligning themselves with.

Like it or not the world is, always has been and always will be ruled by force (even when Jesus comes back he will rule the earth with a rod of iron). When the US proves itself ready and able to use force to protect itself, its allies and its interests it will be respected.