December 8, 2004

The Costs of Capitualation

For those that need a brilliant and condensed version of why Al-Qaeda remains very much alive, I commend them to Dan Darling's Al-Qaeda: The Scope of the Threat at Winds of Change. Those that believe the road of the Terror War is either already too long or will soon be ended need this sobering assessment of the reach and the depth of our enemy.

So if you want to make the argument popular among both paleocons and liberal isolationists alike that if we just pull out of the Middle East and stopped supporting the region's governments that the whole problem of terrorism would go away. My answer to such a charge would be that's fine, just understand that in doing so you're not only basically saying

"We don't give a shit if tens of millions of innocent Arabs, Turks, Kurds, and Pakistanis are enslaved under a theocratic dictatorship" and you understand that while you're putting an end to the war on terrorism so much as pushing the inevitable bloodbath with bin Laden or his successors that much further down the line. This is one of the reasons why al-Qaeda is so keen to end Western and in particular US, British, and French presence in the Middle East - as soon as Western support for the local governments are out of the way, who's going to stop them? Even most of Europe, who would presumably be the first to encounter any theocracies that emerge in the Middle East, does not possess the power to project its military might into the Middle East in enough appreciable force to stop them. And for those of you who don't think that al-Qaeda in of itself has the power to bring down an Arab government need to take a good long look at what almost happened in Jordan (largely unnoticed by the Western media) back in April.

If we are to take the Jordanian government at its word, Zarqawi tried to murder between 20,000 to 80,000 people, the overwhelming majority of them Muslim civilians, in an act of calculated mass murder. Preventing the people who conceive of that as an acceptable means of expressing a political opinion from gaining any kind of real power is more than worth the sacrifice in blood, money, and goodwill.

And for those who would argue that we can still do business with Middle East nations even if they do become the Greater Caliphate or that even an al-Qaeda theocracy would eventually lose enough of its revolutionary fervor to be less threatening, I would keep in mind that one of the key conflicts of the last century was precisely because a totalitarian regime (the U.S.S.R.) kept more than enough revolutionary fervor into the 1980s to murder tens of millions of innocent people.

You want to argue that bin Laden or his heirs are going to be less doctrinaire in tempering their fanaticism?

Darling's essay is long, impassioned, detailed, convincing and sobering. Take the time. Link it. Email it.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 8, 2004 12:04 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"...and you understand that while you're putting an end to the war on terrorism so much as pushing the inevitable bloodbath with bin Laden or his successors that much further down the line" and most certainly far more bloody.

Coming from the right side of the political spectrum, I find much of the Paleo rhetoric very embarrassing. Unlike my left of center friends who refuse to criticize the left wing nuts on their side, I'm very quick to expose the nuts on the right.

Posted by: phil at December 9, 2004 11:12 AM