October 10, 2003

The Unbearable Clarity of Victor Hanson

I tried to say it here but Victor Davis Hanson, as always, says it much better (and more concisely) inLegends of the Fall: More myths about the current war.

"The war is against 'terror'." As a number of astute observers have reminded us, terror is a method, not an enemy. And we are no more in a war against it than we were once fighting the scourge of Zeros or the plague of Soviet MiGs.

Such vague, loose nomenclature is reassuring, of course, in our therapeutic society. It ensures that we are not really angry at any one person or nation, but rather at an abstraction as if somewhere there were soldiers with caps embroidered, " Republic of Terror," or crowds chanting "Up with Terror, Down with the USA," or perhaps thuggish leaders in sunglasses and khaki who beat their shoes at the U.N. and warn, "Terrorism will bury you."

In fact, those who employ terror of the type that culminated (rather than began) on September 11 are real people with real government backing. They cannot operate without money, havens, and at least passive complicity. Who are they? Aside from the deposed Taliban, al Qaeda, of course; but also Hezbollah and its sponsors in Iran as well as Islamofascist groups funded and abetted by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. After 9/11, any autocratic country in the Middle East that had recently gone to war with the United States and cumulatively required 350,000 American air sorties, twelve years, $20 billion of policing, and occupation of two-thirds of its airspace to prevent genocide was an enemy, both de facto and given Iraq's violation of the armistice accords of 1991 de jure. That Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal were in Baghdad before the war, and al Qaeda afterward, is the expected calculus of the Hussein regime and its noxious fumes.

While we may be in various stages of bellicosity with differing states, the fact is that after September 11 we will either accept defeat and stay within our borders to fight a defensive war of hosing down fires, bulldozing rubble, arresting terrorist cells, and hoping to appease or buy off our enemies abroad or we will eventually have to confront Syria, Lebanon's Bekka Valley, Saudi Arabia, and Iran with a clear request to change and come over to civilization, or join the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

The remainder of Hanson's insights are in the National Review Online

Alert via the ever-watchful LGF ]

Posted by Vanderleun at October 10, 2003 10:25 AM
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