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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Moving forward in reverse

Just as Pirx and I were having a little dustup about how to deal with Islamic terrorism, Andrew Sullivan was calling out liberals for not providing any rational plans for dealing with the problem:
But, for all Cheney's and Rumsfeld's flaws, they are at least proposing something serious, however ineptly carried out. I have yet to hear anti-war voices on the left propose a positive strategy for defeating Islamist terror at its roots, or call for democratization of the Arab Muslim world. Indeed, I heard little but scorn or silence when Bush announced this vision in London. Do the Democrats stand for democracy in Iraq? Or in Iran? Do they favor Beinart-style containment of Islamism? Nuclear deterrence against Tehran? Certainly, the Kossites seem utterly uninterested in any of these subjects. That's their prerogative; and it's equally my prerogative not to take them seriously until they do.

The same goes for the Dems as a whole. Until the opposition party presents a progressive, democratic agenda to reform the Middle East — as Blair has done in Britain, for example — there's no reason to take them seriously on national security. Maybe their presidential candidate will articulate such a vision. So far, however: so not so much.
I like Sullivan a lot of the time. But occasionally he goes back to being the douche who questioned the patriotism of anyone opposing the war in Iraq and the tactics of the Bush administration. I'm not exactly sure how admitting you don't know what the solution is and trying to work with other countries to come up with one is worse than Bush's "Fuck it, let's invade Iraq and see if that works! No? Crap. OK, let's try Iran!"

Anonymous Liberal says the Cold War, rather than World War II, is a much more appropriate comparison to the fight against Islamic Terrorism:
Fighting terrorism effectively will involve working closely with other countries, even the ones we don't particularly like, to identify and cripple terrorist networks. Occasionally there will be ways to effectively use military force, like in Afghanistan, but these will be the exception not the rule. The most effective way to address the root causes of terrorism is to pursue policies that will hasten the spread of modernity, not just democracy, throughout the Middle East. When people have jobs and lives and hope, the ideology of jihadism will be far less appealing. But this process will take a long time, and we can't make it happen by brute force. We must be vigilant and patient. Very patient. The Cold War wasn't won overnight. But there were many points along the way where reckless ill-considered action could have been disastrous.

Over the last four years, our leaders have engaged in a counterproductive strategy, and they show no signs of understanding that. Under those circumstances, the burden isn't on the administration's critics to present some grand alternative strategy. The only "unserious" option at the moment is allowing these clowns to continue making a mess of things.
Meanwhile, here's an abbreviated version of The Editors' genius plan:
1. First, find an empty beer bottle.

2. Next, I want all Republicans and Republican media mouthpieces like yourself, Sully, to start telling everybody that this empty beer bottle is actually full of terror!

3. Having identified where terror is, there is only one thing to do. Andrew Sullivan, I want you to eat that glass bottle.

4. Chew it up, real, real good.

5. Eventually, of course, people are going to realize that chewing on broken glass really isn't particularly effective either as an anti-terror policy, or as a way of promoting democracy abroad. Actually, you'd have to be kind of a retard to think otherwise. So maybe you should stop now. But! you can point out To stop chewing this glass bottle would show weakness to the terrorists! It would send a signal that all the terrorists would have to do is stab our mouths with glass fragments and we would give into their demands! No, regardless of whether or not there was ever any terror in that bottle — and hindsight, I feel compelled to remind you, should not be mistaken for wisdom — it is now vitally important that you keep chewing until al-Qaeda disbands and every country in the world is peaceful and free. We must stay the course.


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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.