Sunday, October 24, 2004

It's Not What You'll Do To Us, It's What We Might Have To Do To You

Found this item via InstaPundit. It is a comment by someone name Will Allen which says:
I'm not the one to convince you of anything, since I may still sit this one out (the virulent ugliness of the anti-Bush crowd drives me to cast a vote more than anything), but I think you are off base in a couple of areas. First, everything is hard, very hard, in war, including determining what the current state of affairs is. What if it had been fully understood in the summer of 1968 that the Viet Cong had in fact been completely decimated? True enough, there are more than a few members of the Bush Administration that likely have failed to grasp how difficult every single thing is in the conduct of war, but since I think this war needed to be fought, I still prefer those who were willing to wage it to those who likely would have refrained.

Why do I think it needed to be waged? I agree with you that the Islamic world does not pose an existential threat to the U.S.. However, if the Islamic world does not rapidly change, we pose an existential threat to them, and although being among a few hundred million slaughtered is about as bad as things get, being among those who do the slaughtering of a few hundred million is pretty damned awful as well, and it is worth taking great, great, risks to avoid such action.

In fact, this prospect is so grim, and in my view, so likely, absent rapid revolutionary change in the Persian Gulf , I see no way that Kerry, who is essentially a reactionary, can be worthy of a vote. A politically, militarily, and economically, and technologically backward people who sit atop of the natural resource greatly desired by far more militarily, economically, and economically powerful people, are going to meet an extraordinarily violent end if they exhibit any proficiency for hostile action against the more powerful people. Obtaining and using the technology of the more powerful people for hostile action merely seals their doom. Neither Bush or Kerry is likely to be the 21st century Andrew Jackson or Phil Sheridan, but he will be found in short order absent the people of the Persian Gulf modernizing rapidly.

It is true that the Islamic world does not pose an existential threat to us. That is, they do not have the power to destroy us. However, they do have the power to end our open society as we have known it. If any American city is nuked (say by a ship carrying a bomb, or maybe a truck bomb coming across the border), then we can (and will) certainly close the ports, close the border, round up everyone with an Arabic surname and deport or jail them, require stringent documentation and identification of all citizens, etc. This would be economically devastating and a huge blow to our freedoms, but it would not be an existential threat.


What the peaceniks utterly fail to understand, is that if we do not take care of turning the Islamic and Arab world around through the relatively peaceful means of pacifying and democratizing Iraq, and using it as our Middle East beachead for transforming the other terrorist-breeding countries and cultures that threaten us, and if we sustain further attacks on our own soil, then we will be faced with having to make a vastly more devastating response, compared to which the clean and gentle war we have been fighting so far will seem like a [child's birthday party/picnic/stroll in the park/fraternity prank/your cliche here].

If 9/11 changed everything, what would a mushroom cloud on U.S. soil do? The Arab/Islamic world really, really shouldn't want to find out, nor should we. Hence our need to thread the needle and try to get the Middle East fixed the relatively painless way. There is no peaceful kumbaya solution to all of this. It seems the height of foolishness to sabotage and thwart the efforts we are now making. The U.S. really has been nice guys about all this so far, and it is galling to be hated, despised, and mocked by the world (and half the country) for what we are trying to accomplish. The alternatives are much, much worse.

No comments: