The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I had an opportunity to see “United 93” last night. More than anything else, this gut-wrenching history of the morning of September 11, 2001 is a reminder. On that morning, Islamofascists repeated their declaration of war against everything that is liberal and good in Western civilization -- against freedom of religion, against secular government, against freedom of the press, against feminism, against diversity, against a justice system that acts with deliberation rather than revenge, against the democratic process, against modernity.

But understand clearly, their declaration of war had been made before – many times before. In a comment posted at the Belmont Club, “Bohgie” notes that the Islamists keep telling us they are at war:

Iranian Hostage Taking
Beruit Hostage Taking
Beruit Embassy Bombing
Beruit Barracks Bombing
Achille Lauro
Pan Am Flight 103
Palestinian Intifada – I and II
Black September
Jordanian Uprisings
African Embassy Bombings
Cole Bombing
Innumerable suicide bombing against civilian targets
1st World Trade Center Bombing - 1993
2nd World Trade Center Destruction - 2001
Pentagon Bombing
Flight 93

Each of these acts was a declaration of war, and yet, a significant number of Americans refuse to believe that these acts are anything but criminal behavior. Better policing, better intelligence, better protections, and it will all go away, they think. “Give peace a chance,” they argue.

The most compelling part of United 93 is the silence that follows the movie’s conclusion – a silence so deep, so painful that it feels as if you’re drowning. Maybe during that silence, the screen black, the audience stunned, those who want to “give peace a chance" will have time to think – about the futility of appeasement, about the inability to negotiate with a irrational party, about the fact – plain and simple – that if we turn away, our enemy will not.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Save Darfur

A “Save Darfur” rally, attended by many of the usual suspects and a few name celebrities, was held in Washington over the weekend. Speaker after speaker emphasized that a genocide is in progress—that Arab Moslem militias, supported by the Islamic government of Sudan, are committing genocidal atrocities against black Africans in Darfur.

The crowd was unquestionably “progressive” and undeniably concerned with the plight of those being raped and slaughtered. And yet, many just couldn’t bring themselves to admit that ultimately, the violence and the heinous atrocities will stop only when force is applied.

In a wonderful post entitled “Love Beams Won’t Do It”, Mark Reynolds discusses the rally:
The strange thing, listening to the speeches, and in reading the infrequent signs, was how little idea anyone had about what precisely should be done about Darfur. One speaker would exclude any sense that we should actually do anything other than perhaps pray and beam love rays at people. Then would come someone who’d talk about expeditionary forces. I even heard the word “Marines” spoken favorably from the podium.

In that context the references to the Holocaust were just frustrating. What do people imagine we could have done to stop the Nazis in 1940 or 1942? Would just a little more love have changed Hitler’s mind? I don’t think many of the Jews in the audience are under any illusions on that score. A few choruses of kumbaya weren’t going to do the trick. Stopping the uber-genocide would have meant connecting some high velocity lead to some aryan brain matter.

If we’re seriously opposed to genocide it seems to me we have to be ready to think very seriously about having the means, and the will, to send troops to shoot some of these evil bastards in the head. As it happens, we’re in the middle of just such a head-shooting venture. However muddled the thinking, however disastrous the planning, however dishonest the sales job, Iraq is in part about taking out a murderous thug who was, without question, the moral equal of any Janjaweed rapist or child killer.

People who oppose the Iraq venture often do so on grounds that we have no right to “impose” our world view. Some oppose the war in Iraq on grounds that we failed to build international consensus. Well, what’s needed in Darfur is for us to impose our world view — the one that says, “don’t throw babies onto bonfires, don’t gang-rape women.” And international consensus is hard to achieve when major world players like China and Russia have no moral objection to genocide, and when the French and Germans are so compulsively anti-American in their policies that they would welcome, to steal a Simpsons line, “our new insect overlords,” if it meant poking Uncle Sam in the eye.

Part of the reason I seethe at the Bush administration’s incompetence, is that the underlying notion that the United States has the right to pre-emptively defend itself, and the moral obligation to use its power to get between people like the Janjaweed and their victims, is correct. We have the right to defend ourselves, even if it means striking first, and we have the moral obligation, where possible, to shoot the man who would murder a child. Those ideas have both been damaged almost beyond repair by the arrogant, reckless, swaggering stupidity of this administration.

Eventually, Mr. Bush will go away and take his clown college with him. But we’ll still have questions of pre-emption, and questions of whether we really mean, “Never Again,” or we’re just mouthing off to make ourselves feel good. The fact is and will remain that if we genuinely intend to stop genocide everywhere it rears its nasty head, then yes we’re going to need international law, and yes we’ll want diplomacy, but yes we’ll need bullets, too.

I have to wonder what the position of the ‘give peace a chance” crowd is in all of this. If Iraq is such a horrific blunder, how can “intervention” in Darfur be anything other than another horrific blunder. And yet, the genocide must stop and if we don’t intervene, it’s likely to continue, regardless of the agreements that are now being signed.

I guess there are many situations in the real world where the only way to give peace a chance is to kill the bad guys who won’t give peace a chance.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What Matters

In a brief commentary at the blog, “Callimachus” comments on the differing world view between those who believe that the WoT is real and justified, and those who believe that it's an overreaction by the current administration.

We all do see the enemy [Islamofascists] for who he is and we read his own words and take them at their face value. Some of us recognize this as a Long War for Civilization, and think the obvious disparity in firepower and national economies masks a vulnerability in the West. The people we are fighting say certain things very clearly: we are infidels who have offended their religion, they are at war with us, and they want us to die. They may not have an air force, but they have other weapons, more intangible, perhaps more powerful. And we have weak spots. We could be brought down hard by a combination of lack of will and a few hard, well-timed terrorist strikes with the right volume.

To some of us, on the other hand, the Islamists are simply not a long-term threat worth the name of "enemy" or worth a serious reordering of American rights and priorities. They talk nasty and hurt when they can, but they should be taken no more seriously than a 5-year-old in a temper tantrum. 9/11 was something of a one-off, a combination of a few extraordinary individuals and good luck based on our lack of vigilance. A little more vigilance on our part will be sufficient to prevent a repeat performance. To involve American resources and lives in a major Middle Eastern "war" against this, with the inevitable bungles and unforeseen consequences, is doing more harm than good.

I am not trying to parody that view, but I perhaps don't capture it very well. I'm leaving out the figure of Bush, on both sides, because ultimately he doesn't matter. People who put him at the center of everything lose sight of the long-term picture.

The main difference among Americans today is that some of us believe the United States is at war, a dangerous war against a desperate enemy.

And other people don't believe that's true at all.

To the non-believers, the people who are waging war look insanely violent, paranoid, and unstable. To the people at war, it takes great mental effort to look at those who don't believe it and not see appeasers and useful idiots, if not outright traitors.

Callimachus makes an interesting point when he notes “I'm leaving out the figure of Bush, on both sides, because ultimately he doesn't matter.” I sometimes get the feeling that those who view the current President with visceral hatred do so (unconsciously) to change the subject. It’s easy to characterize the President as a warmonger and/or a buffoon and lose sight of the fact the we face a very real enemy.

To this point, Todd Beamer’s father comments on the movie Flight 93 in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal: (subscription only)
There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war. Can't we just live and let live and pretend every thing is OK? Let's discuss, negotiate, reason together. The film [Flight 93] accurately shows an enemy who will stop at nothing in a quest for control. This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life.

Maybe it’s time for those who are obsessed with George W. Bush to step back for just a moment and think about the enemy we face. Think about how any President would deal with another major terrorist attack; think about what life would be like if we appease the Islamofascists and slide slowly into Dhimmitude (2/13/06 post). Sobering thoughts that have nothing to do with the current President. Because in the final analysis, it’s the enemy and how we face him that really matters.