Thursday, August 10, 2006


Count on Roger Simon to post one of the more inane commentaries on Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut.
No one looks dopier today than the collection of self-righteous fuddy-duddies who voted for Ned Lamont in Tuesday's Democratic Primary in Connecticut. In the darkness of his soul Lamont himself must be wondering how to react to the news that another ten jets filled with innocent human beings were about to explode over the Atlantic. Not good for his campaign. It reminds me of the old LA Weekly cartoon: "Nuclear War? There goes my career!"
Since Lamont's big issue was Lieberman's continued support of the failed war in Iraq, I don't see how the terror plot in England. Fortunately, one of the comments points out Simon's logical failing:
The events in Britain do nothing to make that war seem a better idea. If anything, the foiled plot demonstrates that good policework is quite effective in stopping terrorism. It points out the futility of killing Iraqis when plots are being hatched in Britain, and more generally, the silliness of the "fighting them over there" idea.

1 comment:

T J Olson said...


YOU are utterly wrong.

As a former isolationist libertarian mugged by 9/11, I understand the wish that Simon be seen as wrong and inane. But after several years of dialog and debate with my life-long buddy and fellow libertarian David Beito (see Liberty and Power blog), I have concluded that Simon is correct.

In turning the problem of Islamic Jihadism from the issue of pacification it is, into a problem of US imperialism, we escalate the image of ourselves as flawed but powerful - ie, narcissistic, flawed but redemable.

In reality, we are hugely weak in influencing the course of Islamic evolution in the face of endemic modernization. The problem with this weak position we find ourselves in is that the collateral damage threatens to collapse ongoing globalization itself.

The usual anolgies of Jihadism to WWIII or IV, or to Nazism, or even Islamofascism attempts to graft the challenges facing us today with those of recent vintage. In other words, struggles we remember. But they fail.

The better historical analogy is to the Indian Wars, a 400 years struggle that climaxed in the US West in the last half of the 19th century. Back then the strategic alterntives were assimilation (tried), extermination (immoral), and pacification. By default, the latter strategy often prevailed, despite forays into both others.

Why is this a better analogy? Because with 9/11, a policing strategy in dealing with Islamic terrorism - which relies on after the fact prosecution - failed. Why? Because the worst-case attack - a nuclear one, which could result in a nuclear tit-for-tat - would be far worse for the world! Unless isolationists are willing to argue that a nuclear 9/11 is an acceptable future loss for the US, we have to accept pro-active strategies.)But which one? And here, today's 'debate' utterly fails to come to grips with our security challenge.)

One prong in the multi-level Bush strategy against Jihadism is to make popular rule one governmental possibilitt for Arabs to debate. This, the war in Iraq, has already achieved that. (Now, the likelihood of success of ME-Arab democray in Iraq is another matter - I've always held it had long-odds against it. Nevertheless, the systematic evidence tells me that it is working as intended, ie, progress is violent and hard, but also real and measurable. Remember: even US democracy evenuated in our bloodiest war, the Civil War.)

"Al Arabiya news network...survey [in 2005] sought to see what Arabs thought about the relative lack of economic progress in the Arab world. In answer to the question
- 'What is stalling development in the Arab world?,' 81 percent chose 'Governments are unwilling to implement change and reform'....
-"'What is the fastest way to achieve development in the Arab world?', had 67 percent choosing 'Ensuring the rule of law through justice and law enforcement.'"
Democratic possibilities are popular among Arabs.

In short, with a demographic explosion in the ME, and without any alternatives to theocracy or police states, the young males who make up Jihadist recruits in societies who suddenly find themselves literate and therefore seduced ideology, constitute a time-bomb no leading nation on this planet can fail to address. At this juncture, only debate about democracy can leverage peaceful intergenerational change. And if a peaceful alternative like democracy does not emerge in the ME, a later conflict will be more complex, much bloodier, and result in civilizational war.

Considering the developed world's dependency on oil in the ME for the energy to propel our economies for the next three decades, that's why Iraq is still a sensible investment of blood and treasure. Reform and change is not always bloodless. But Bush's "military adventurism" bears the great benefit of changing an externalized conflict into the internal civil war it has to be - because only Muslims can square their medieval religion with the demands of modernity. We cannot.

-T J "Orson" Olson
libertarian neo-realist