There is a war on terror going on

Apart from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, there is an actual war on Islamic terrorism being waged by the United States, though we’ve heard very little about it. It involves the U.S. Special Forces Command, which, a year ago, as part of a radical policy change orchestrated by Secretary Rumsfeld, was given unprecedented freedom to act on its own intiative to pursue and kill terrorists.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 26, 2004 08:15 AM | Send
    
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In the above item posted two weeks ago, I tried to find some assurance in the fact that our forces are at least going after Al Qaeda in the countries where they have their bases and leaders, even though we still failing to exert serious immigration controls to protect ourselves in our own country. But the monstrous attack on Madrid only brings home the point Iíve repeatedly made, that there can be no real security for Western and other non-Moslem countries as long as they have large Moslem populations among which terrorists can hide. It seems to me that the only way Western countries can be safe from domestic Islamist terrorism is not to have large domestic Moslem populations, not to have large-scale Moslem immigration, and not to permit the free entry of Moslem travelers.

Some will say that this is just an extremist response that would unfairly target all Moslems while failing to get at the source of the problem. But how else can we be truly and permanently safe from this scourge? Which is easier, to take over every Moslem country and cleanse it of extremists, or to prevent any Moslem extremists from entering or living in _our_ country? Obviously it is the latter. But, since we lack the ability to distinguish the extremist Moslems among us from the non-extremists, doesn’t that require us to exclude Moslems as such?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 12, 2004 6:30 AM

It appears the attack may have been waged by the “ETA”. I hadn’t heard of the ETA until this morning but it looks like it might be a domestic problem? I beg Mr. Auster’s analysis.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/03/12/eta.backgrounder/index.html


Posted by: David on March 12, 2004 8:44 AM

This CNN story is ignoring all the counter-indications that have been published since shortly after the news broke yesterday and the Spanish government initially blamed the ETA. First, the ETA always claims responsibility for its attacks. They have not claimed responsibility for this attack and in fact have denied responsibility. Second, the size of the attack is on a scale far beyond anything ETA has done before. Third, the ETA tends to go after officials and leaders, not ordinary civilians.

Meanwhile, the attack bears the signs of Al Qaeda. It is a series of closely co-ordinated attacks designed to create maximum destruction and confusion. It seeks maximum death of civilians. An Al Qaeda-related group claimed Al Qaeda responsibility. Spain was one of only two European allies of the U.S. in the Iraq war. Finally, the Christian re-conquest of Spain and expulsion of Moslems from Spain in the 15th century is one of Osama bin Laden’s major gripes.

Also, American and British leaders have been repeatedly warning that Al Qaeda was planning spectacular attacks in the West.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 12, 2004 8:55 AM

Only time will tell, but it seems that the ETA has been losing support and growing increasingly desperate. An ETA truck full of explosives was intercepted on its way to Madrid recently, which bodes ill for innocent civilians. See http://www.nationalreview.com/europress/boyles200403120833.asp for some more analysis.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 12, 2004 9:34 AM

It seems so obvious: No Moslems, no Moslem terrorism. Yet it’s clearly impossible for our endlessly astonishing (and endlessly astonished) ruling and media classes to grasp even this simplest of formulae. So at incalculabe expense in blood and treasure we send vast armies around the world rather than turn back a single Saudi from JFK.

The historians of futurity will be so baffled by this that in a desperate search for some explanation, any explanation, they may resort to the most inane of of our contemporary conspiracy theories.

But what is the explanation? Why do we do it? Are we stupid? Are we crazy? Are there some irresistible social dynamics that we don’t even define which so constrict our responses that we are left incapable even of intelligent self-defense?

Posted by: Shrewsbury on March 12, 2004 11:19 AM

Despite the fact that there has not been any serious repudiation of the sort of murderous acts we witnessed yesterday from Mohammedans, the thought of closing the borders or - worse - expelling those that have settled in the West is completely out of the universe for the liberals running things.

The only hope for Spain is that enough of the general populace would stop swilling the Kool-Aid proferred by the elites and throw them out of power. It hasn’t happened here despite the apalling spectacle of 9/11/01. Unless there is a reserve of national pride in Spain that hasn’t yet been neutralized by liberalism’s endless propaganda machine, we’ll hear more of the same platitudes (Islam is a religion of peace). Liberalism is merely a step to utter nihilism, and the popular culture and media hand out the Kool-Aid day and night.

Posted by: Carl on March 12, 2004 3:18 PM

>>The historians of futurity will be so baffled by this that in a desperate search for some explanation, any explanation, they may resort to the most inane of of our contemporary conspiracy theories.<<

Not, of course, if all those historians are themselves Muslims, which more and more seems to be the likelihood.

Posted by: Paul C. on March 12, 2004 3:43 PM

I am in thorough agreement with Shrewsbury’s sentiments. An additional point: people are now so poorly educated that, quite aside from the brainwashing administered by the mass media, they have no basic knowledge or reference points left. This was brought forcibly to me while teaching a “western civ” course at a local (NYC) college. Virtually none of my students had been exposed to ANY aspect of what I was teaching. Some had not encountered history at or only in junior high school. Interestingly, none had ever been taught ANYTHING about the Vietnam War. Curiously, thanks to the liberals’s destruction of our educational system, we may be reaching the point that even liberal propaganda no longer has much effect — just because people are no longer able even to understand that!

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 12, 2004 5:22 PM

Mr. Levine wrote:

“Curiously, thanks to the liberalsís destruction of our educational system, we may be reaching the point that even liberal propaganda no longer has much effect ó just because people are no longer able even to understand that!”

We’ve discussed various ways in which liberalism, which is a form of nihilism, destroys itself. Mr. Levine has come up with a new one. In its denial of the importance of knowledge (because people who know things are less easily propagandized), liberalism downgrades the intellect and education to such an extent that people can’t even take in the liberal propaganda any more. And so liberalism, having destroyed the civilization, finishes by destroying itself.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 12, 2004 6:59 PM

The deportation of Muslims would not be some awful crime but would be justifiable. Believers in a religious text such as the Koran, which contains a declaration that nonbelievers must be put to the sword, will sometimes act on this belief. The Koran, the Muslim “Bible” seems clear on the declaration. Nonbelievers, therefore, can conclude there is a substantial risk believers will put them to the sword if given the chance.

In addition, Christians are a species of nonbeliever and have the right to defend themselves in a manner consistent with Judeo-Christian law; repatriation is consistent with the Bible, which declares that a person shall not murder or fail to treat another as one would treat himself. I pray I would not emigrate to a country that is my salvation and support the murder of my fellow countrymen.

Yeah I hear the objection. I am not supporting extermination or concentration. Moreover, Jewish people did not declare war on Germany, nor did they murder or excuse the murder of Germans. Jewish people in Germany believed they were Germans. American Muslims believe themselves to be part of a conquering Islamic religion, or so it appears to me. Not that many more Americans don’t believe themselves to be part of a nonreligious universe.

There are wonderful anecdotal stories about righteous Muslims (and nonreligious people). One is the gripping movie Not Without My Daughter. There are righteous Muslims guided by the same God that guides Christians. Catholics believe one can be saved without being Catholic or another kind of Christian or a non-Christian. This belief is most satisfying.

Posted by: P Murgos on March 13, 2004 12:47 AM

Whhere is the horror in mass deportation? What is so unspeakably dreadful about requiring people to return to their own homes and cultures? We only wish someone would do that to us!

Posted by: Shrewsbury on March 13, 2004 1:52 AM

Meanwhile the war on terror abroad continues: U.S. Special Forces are operating in southern Algeria, seeking to destroy an Al Qaeda recruting network there. Algeria supplies the third highest number of Al Qaeda members, after Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/03/11/us_search_for_qaeda_turns_to_algeria/

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 13, 2004 11:19 AM

“It seems to me that the only way Western countries can be safe from domestic Islamist terrorism is not to have large domestic Moslem populations, not to have large-scale Moslem immigration, and not to permit the free entry of Moslem travelers. “— LA

We’ve had a legal means of dealing with this since 1952— the McCarran Walter Act. Does Islam get a waiver from this because their nuts believe in God while the Commies didn’t?

McC-W has been liposuctioned by recent court decisions and no doubt by subsequent acts of Congress. But a shrewd politician (from Colorado, perhaps?) might be wise to dust it off.

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on March 13, 2004 1:46 PM

If the correspondent who posted at 12:58PM were interested in having a conversation or desirous of sharing his views he would not begin by insulting Mr. Auster and the other posters on this thread, nor would he blasphemously call himself “God.”

Posted by: Joshua on March 13, 2004 1:59 PM

Oh, I expect he did share his views, to the full extent of his capacity.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on March 13, 2004 2:48 PM

The British newspaper The Guardian editorialized about the terrorist attacks in Madrid: “We need to take the fight against terror out of America’s hands. We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response. Europe should seize the moment that America failed to grasp.”

What better reminder of the liberal view of human nature and how it colors all policy judgments. Man is inherently perfectible; all we need is to avoid corrupting him via society; education and dialogue will remove all impediments to the development of our utopian man of the future.

Hence, in foreign policy, what really irritates the liberal more than anything else is the implication that there are good guys and bad guys. There might be misunderstood guys, who have been provoked by our ignorant actions, but there cannot be bad guys, right? Just as domestic criminals are victims of society and not really bad guys.

Given that there are no bad guys, I wonder what war on terror The Guardian editors would advocate?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 15, 2004 3:43 PM

“Given that there are no bad guys, I wonder what war on terror The Guardian editors would advocate?”

*******

Negotiations, of course. That’s what they always come up with. Every little cannibal in the Congo, or mad Jihadi wrapped in his belt of dynamite, is, at heart, just another misunderstood Guardian reader. A little herbal tea or a warm beer and every little savage on the planet will see reason, light, and beauty.

Posted by: Paul C. on March 15, 2004 10:25 PM

The Guardian said:

“We need to take the fight against terror out of America’s hands. We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response. Europe should seize the moment that America failed to grasp.”

There are two distinct things being proposed here which are strangely combined. The first is that the International Community/Europe/the EU/the UN should take over the war on terror from America, and pursue a genuinely collective response. The second is that the International Community go beyond “them and us,” “the good guys and the bad guys.” But if the Moslem terrorists aren’t _bad_, if they aren’t _enemies_, then obviously the International Community is not going to fight them. So the Guardian’s proposal does not actually mean a war _against_ terrorists, but some kind of accommodation _with_ terrorists.

In sum, whereas the present war on terror consists of America and its allies fighting against Arab and Moslem terrorists, the new and improved war on terror would consist of the International Community negotiating with Arab and Moslem terrorists.

As Big Brother might have said, “War is Peace Process.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,3604,1168548,00.html

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 15, 2004 10:55 PM

The American Conservative has finally published a piece on the Iraq war that is thoughtful, mature, and not obsessed with personal animosity towards neocons. You can see it at http://www.amconmag.com/2004_03_15/feature.html

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 16, 2004 10:22 AM

A poem by Frederick Turner:

On Hearing that Spain Has Capitulated to the Terrorists

http://www.techcentralstation.com/031604G.html

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 16, 2004 2:03 PM

The problem with most thinking on Spain is that people have ignored why the attacks in Spain worked.
The Spanish peole were overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq. They thought it was wrong, and that it would not help matters but would provoke more terrorist attacks. Therefore, when an attack occurred, it strengthened the resolve of those who did not want to go to war in Iraq.
I doubt that the attack actually caused a significant number of people who were for the war to change their minds. In fact, I would not be surprised if the attack caused an ioncrease in the number of Spanish people who supported the war, or in people who wanted to attack Muslim countries generally.
However, even if the attacks made more Spanish people support the war, its greater effect was to strenghten the resolve of those who opposed it, and to take a lot of people who didn’t like the war but were voting on other issues to suddenly make the war the top issue to vote on.
I doubt such a strategy would work in countries where the majority of the populace supported the initial war in Iraq or where they support the continued occupation of Iraq, or even where those who support the war are a large enough minority (>40%, maybe?)

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 16, 2004 2:42 PM

The same point had occurred to me just as Mr. Jose posted his comment.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 16, 2004 2:47 PM

It seems to me that Italy is likely to be next on the terrorists’ hit list, as their circumstances are similar to Spain’s. (Assuming that Spain withdrawing from Iraq was the terrorists’ goal).

Maybe Poland next, depending on how popular the war is in Poland.

If the terrorists attack the US or Britain, I think that the effect will be to strenghten the resolve to go to war. So if they are thinking strategically, they won’t attack either one right now.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 16, 2004 8:51 PM

My initial reaction to Michael Jose’s argument was that it made sense. However, it does seem that the Popular party was expected to win before the attack, and that enough voters changed their minds so that it made a real difference in the outcome. Moreover, even if it didn’t make a real difference, the enemy will suppose it did, and be emboldened to attack other allies that appear to be shaky.

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 17, 2004 2:36 PM

I think Mr. Levine misunderstands my comment.
I do believe that a lot of voters changed their mind about who to vote for because of the attacks. I do think that the attacks affected the vote. I just don’t think they changed the Spanish people’s collective mind about whether the Iraq war was good or not.
Rather, it affected whether or not someone who was antiwar would vote PP anyway because of other issues.
If >85% of the voting public was against the war, then mathematically, a majority of those who voted for the Popular Party would have to be against the war (they received 35.7% of the vote, so if every pro-war vote was PP, then 20.7% of the PP vote would still be from anti-warriors). The point is, that lots of people who were opposed to the war voted Popular anyway.
In the US, on the other hand, a terrorist attack would probably get pro-war fence-straddlers like Andrew Sullivan to unequivocally endorse Bush (Sullivan is having trouble with Bush’s stance against gay “marriage”).

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 18, 2004 7:28 PM

Some thoughts on treating war as a law enforcement activity. David Horowitz wrote at his blog:

“They didn’t hold him [the terror suspect] because they couldn’t prove he had committed a crime (yet). Unfortunately, the Europeans are following the Clinton-Kerry strategy for dealing with terror: Ignore that this is a war and any soldier on their side is a terrorist act waiting to happen. Treat it instead as a ‘crime,’ avoid ‘racial profiling’, etc. etc.”

It’s interesting to speculate how our troops would have conducted themselves if the U.S. armed forces had followed today’s “treat enemies as criminals” policy during the Normandy invasion. First, our men would only be allowed to shoot at a German soldier if they had determined (through a proper criminal investigation, conducted by a JAG assigned to each platoon, and, in heavy combat areas to each squad, thus requiring tens of thousands of lawyers to accompany the Normandy invasion) that that particular German soldier had actually fired a weapon in anger at our troops. Then, if it was in fact determined that he had fired at our troops, they would have to try to arrest him, not kill him. While arresting him, they would have to read him his rights under the Geneva Convention, and invite him to lodge any protest over their treatment of him with the League of Nations representative who also accompanied every platoon. Only if the enemy soldier violently resisted arrest, and only to the point of immediately threatening our soldiers’ lives, and only if our soldiers unsuccessfully tried to subdue him with Mace, could our soldiers use deadly force against him. Any violations of these strictures by our men would result in court marshall procedings for “army brutality.”

The total bureaucratic managerialism I’ve just described is a liberal’s idea of a properly conducted war. Anything else would be “brutal” and “primitive,” appealing to our “darkest instincts,” which we must at all costs suppress.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 19, 2004 3:07 AM

An article by me, “Buchanan’s White Whale,” has been published at Front Page:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12650

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 19, 2004 5:19 AM

Excellent article. One of its many good qualities is the way it avoids calling Mr. Buchanan an anti-Semite. It lets its readers draw their own conclusions about Mr. Buchanan’s views on Israel, which could vary: bizarre, irrational, foolish, clinically obsessed, blind, resentful, or even hateful. It therefore cannot be written off as just another effort to silence people critical of Israel. If there is a chance at making some Buchanan sympathizers (of which I am one) think more critically about Mr. Buchanan’s views on Israel, another article could not have increased the chance more.

I might even send Mr. Buchanan the link. I donít want to poke him in the eye, but the article might help to open his eyes. I’ll have to be very careful about how to present the link.

Posted by: P Murgos on March 19, 2004 9:52 AM

Although I do not agree with all of your charges, some of the points you make are correct. I usually find myself much more in agreement with Ilana Mercer or Alan Bock.
Personally, my problem with the neocons is their messianic democratism rather than their support of Israel. To be fair, sometimes some of the pro-warriors do explicitly look at the war in terms of Israeli interest (in particular, Joseph Farah has implied that part of the reason to conquer Iraq was to force them to accept the Palestinians, and has used Syria’s support for Hezbollah as a reason why we should conquer it to effect regime change).
As a larger issue, though, most neocons are driven mainly by universalist democratism, that is, the idea that all races and cultures are equally capable of producing democracy and that everybody wants to be an American. As I recall, Wolfowitz is a strong supporter of a Palestinian state, and according to someone whom Steve Sailer mentioned, his support of the war in Iraq probably derives from guilt over allowing the 1991 massacre of Shia and Kurds rather than from Israeli strategic interest.
Side note: The comparison of Isral to South Africa may prove more apt than most people realize, but in the opposite direction from which Buchanan intended. If a report I heard in WorldNetDaily is accurate, there may be rumblings toward white genocide in the near future, in which case Israel will be able to point to South Africa’s end of apartheid as a policy NOT to follow.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 19, 2004 3:27 PM

A commenter at Front Page says that Buchanan is not completely fixated on Israel. I reply to him by summarizing Buchanan’s extraordinarily revealing appearance on the Sean Hannity show today. Hannity had read my Front Page article and brought Buchanan on to ask him about some of my quotes of him belittling the terrorist danger to America. Before long, as if to prove my point about his Israel fixation, Buchanan was talking about the 1948 war and the Deir Yassin massacre.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/GoPostal/commentdetail.asp?ID=12650&commentID=281831

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 19, 2004 6:50 PM

UNBELIEVABLE!! That Pat Buchanan would make such statements as these. Truly this man has crossed the threshold of sanity. ‘Warped’ is not an adequate word to describe the contortion of reasoning that must prevail in this man’s mind.

And bringing up incidents in the ‘48 War — I’ll return to my parallel of the white conquest of the Indian nations. The one brush-off that’s always guaranteed when that topic is broached is: But that was soooo long ago…

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on March 19, 2004 9:48 PM

Buchanan is a media personality, like WFB, who doesn’t matter very much anymore. He has always had a rather unserious side. Buchanan will be on a talk show discussing the National Question, and spend much of it laughing at his own funny remarks. He has long had a tendency of picking fights that were unnecessary.

Posted by: David on March 20, 2004 12:29 AM

To Joel,

Yes, it would be as if, in the middle of some discussion about America and the war on Islamic terror, some European who was against America’s side in the war suddenly began ranting about the Trail of Tears or the massacre at Wounded Knee, and saying, “There were injustices done, there were injustices done.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 20, 2004 3:20 AM

Here’s an e-mail I received about my article on Buchanan:

“An interesting thing I have noticed is that Pat Buchanan always writes with supporting facts backed up by historical evidence where those who attack him can not refute his claims and always resort to either outright or subtle personal attacks on him. Even those who he once called his friends.

“The fact is, as Buchanan writes, there is a cabal in the white house and you have to be either lying or stupid to not know that. In your case it is obvious you are lying since you have your master to serve.

“The reason why Pat writes about these people and their agenda is because it is a reality and they have in fact lied to further that agenda. And you know it. Pat Buchanan has the integrity to tell the story while others cower and remain silent for being branded and blacklisted. Obviously you chose to attack Pat and that is your perogative, but there are alot of people who are watching closely to see how it all pans out. We know who is in the White House and who is influencing who for what reasons. It is very clear. And we can see what sides people are taking. And you are on the wrong side.

“Your attack on Pat is cowardly and transparent.”

Here is my reply:

“I’m assuming that your e-mail is a satire on anti-Semitic conspiracy thinking. It’s impossible to think that a person would write the collection of mindless clichťs that you’ve sent me and actually mean them. It would mean that you had no brain at all. And I am compassionate enough to believe that there is not such a thing as a human being with no brain at all.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 20, 2004 12:50 PM

I’m just reading over your site, Lawrence, and wow! by absolute coincidence I happened to hear that Buchanan-Hannity exchange yesterday as I was driving home from dropping off my daughter at her job. Now, to be absolutely fair, you should have noted that Hannity WAS taking the position that Israel was completely and always blameless. And it was Hannity who brought up “history.”

I’ve been reading through some Buchanan columns today and noted a mention of Deir Yassin. Never heard him mention it before but this was a column before the Hannity program. ????

Posted by: Karen on March 20, 2004 1:36 PM

Mr. Auster’s analysis of Buchanan seems to be right on target. Interesting sidelight: Buchanan, at least once, and, I believe, more than once, on John McLaughlin’s NBC show, has implied that American involvement in the Middle East consists SOLELY of its alliance with Israel, as though our relationship to the area had nothing to do with involvement in Saudi Arabian oil and protecting Iran from Soviet encroachments — both of which issues predated the existence of Israel. An actual examination of our policy toward Israel would show that A) an outright alliance with Israel developed only after the 1967 war when everything else we had tried failed B) Has never precluded an alliance with at least some Arab states.

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 20, 2004 3:52 PM

It has been my impression that Pat Buchanan’s falling out with Israel occurred about the time of the first Gulf War, which he opposed, and which he believed was fought mainly for Israeli security interests.
Until that point he was relatively pro-Israel.
I’ll elaborate when I have more time, but I do agree that his distrust of Israel is more than is warranted.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 20, 2004 5:13 PM

Actually, I remember seeing Buchanan on TV saying that when he was in the Nixon WH and something came up about a particular weapons system, his colleague, William Safire, argued for supplying that weapon to Israel rather than to American forces. (Wish I had some idea how to research that and whether Buchanan meant that the weapon would have been of use in Vietnam.) I believe that Safire won the day and the weapon went to Israel.

Posted by: Karen on March 21, 2004 9:03 AM

In the cause of righteousness, who is blameless?Israel is a nation guided by Providence and divine purpose. Its direction is in the culmination of prophetic destiny. From whence do we blame the violence? Who has cast the first stone in the breach for abiding peace? These are the People of the Book and in that perspective they cling to the hope of redemption. This is the key word when debating the causes of chaos in the Middle East. It is the age-old argument: Who will enter the Golden Gate? The Meshiach or Mohammed?
The ‘Iago’ of terrorism is none other than that wily Serpent who continues to breed hate and strife against the Jewish people. He is to blame. Our weapons for Israel are a blessing to us for the Psalmist declared in truth: I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee!

Posted by: Edwin Vogt on March 21, 2004 10:45 PM

I finally took the time to read Mr. Auster’s brilliant “take down” (I say that with great respect, and not a whit of sarcasm) of Mr. Looney Tunes, Pat Buchanan, the man I (now regrettedly) voted for in two presidential elections.

I think too much attention is being given this man, this loser of two presidential elections. Shouldn’ he (Buchanan) go the way of another habitual presidential loser, John Anderson? Does anyone remember that idiot who seemed to kind and gentle and sensible and then disappeared into the trashcan of unimportance? I agree completely with Messenger David with his cogent comment about Buchanan “…laughing at his funny remarks”. He is, after all, a tv personality, in the spotlight and needs to get his jabs—and supposed funny comments—in for ratings to keep his job as commentator.

I believe Pat Buchanan ceased to be an important American political figure when he raised the pitchfork in Arizona in ‘92, bringing Sen. McCain (certainly no friend to the right) down on him and effectively ending his presidential run. His “glory days” I suppose were aspresidential speech writer. The best thing to do with his ilk—and I have no qualms about painting those who support him with the same looney brush—is to ignore him/them. Like John Anderson, they will wither and fade away,

Posted by: David Levin on March 22, 2004 5:58 AM

I don’t agree with Mr. Levin that Buchanan is so unimportant that he should be ignored. Buchanan edits a magazine, The American Conservative, he appears on tv regularly, and he has a significant following on the right. Since 9/11, the “Blame Israel First”/”understand the root causes of terrorism” mentality typified by Buchanan has metastasized like a cancer. There is an ongoing need to expose the false thinking of that school to the light of day. While many conservatives who used to like Buchanan have turned away from him, many others are still loyal to “good old Pat” and don’t grasp how poisonous he has become.

Also, let me say that it’s not a matter of “taking him down.” I certainly don’t think Buchanan is going to be “brought down” by any article written by me. Rather, it’s a matter of getting Buchanan and others to realize that this particular line of ideas is wrong and is getting them nowhere, and that they should drop it. Buchanan has good things to say on other subjects.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 9:47 AM

I just read Mr. Auster’s article and I don’t see where it does anything to refute the “Israel First” doctrine. Mr. Auster only takes cheap shots at Buchanan himself trying to discredit PJB insisting he suffers from a certain pathology. The article does nothing to contest the notion that the United States is in fact bogged down in the Middle East as a result of the continuing “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel. Nor does the article dispute the idea that the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 because of its complicity with Israel. Mr. Auster merely attempts to paint Buchanan as a “bad guy” who does not display correct sympathy for “poor Israel”.

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 12:40 PM

The issue Bryan raises has been dealt with ad infinitum elsewhere and was not the subject of my article.

The absolute proof of Buchanan’s sinful animus against Israel is this: If Buchanan sincerely believed that U.S. involvement with Israel was harmful to the U.S., then that would be a legitimate position (though I would disagree strongly with it) and he could make that argument. But he doesn’t merely make such an argument. He doesn’t stop at saying, “Our involvement in the Mideast is harmful to us, we should end our political connection with Israel and other Mideast countries.” No, he actively demonizes Israel for defending itself from terrorists.

If Bryan is open to argument and truth, and is not merely an Israel hater, then I ask him to go back and read my article “An Open Letter to Patrick Buchanan” which is linked in my current article. I wrote that article two years ago, when I realized Buchanan was an Israel hater. It was at the time of the Israeli incursion into the West Bank after the Passover terrorist attack on the hotel in Netanya. After absorbing these terrorist attacks for over a year, Israel was finally taking serious action to root out the terrorist network, something it should have done long before. And what was Buchanan’s response? To describe the Israeli government (which was a coalition supported by the overwhelming majority of the Israeli nation) as animalistic aggressors, and to say that the Israelis were the “mirror image of Hamas and Hezbolah.”

Buchanan was not merely saying, “This fight is none of our business.” Rather, he was saying that the Israelis were evil for defending themselves from the worst terrorist attacks in history. This proved beyond a doubt that Buchanan is not merely an American patriot concerned about the well being of our country, but that he is a hater of Israel who supports those who seek that country’s destruction.

It also follows that any arguments Buchanan makes about Israel’s supposed responsibility for the terrorist problem must be seen through the fact that Buchanan is a person with a total bias against Isreal.

Let me add that anyone who still defends Buchanan on this point is also most likely an Israel hater as well.

The Buchananites and anti-war paleocons constantly complain, “If you dissent at all from America’s pro-Israel position, you’re called an anti-Semite.” This is a pathetic lie. People are not called anti-Semites for merely dissenting from America’s pro-Israel policy. They are called anti-Semites for actively taking the side of murderous terrorists against Israel, for saying Israel has no right to defend itself, for saying Israel has no right to exist.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 1:04 PM

I appreciate the response but Mr. auster is only skirting the issue. Perhaps he’d be kind enough to prove up, succinctly, and on the merits that the U.S. was not attacked on 9/11 due to its support of Israel.

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 1:19 PM

Bryan has made it clear he is not a serious person. This issue has been discussed fully, from every possible angle, for the last 2 1/2 years, in every kind of forum including this web site. The facts of bin Laden’s various fatwas stating his various grievances ranging from the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia to the Christian re-conquest of Spain are well known to all. What planet has Brian living been on? Someone who still holds to the position that the reason for the 9/11 attack was simply U.S. support for Israel, and who actually expects me to spend time discussing that issue, is either hopelessly ignorant or a hopeless anti-Israel bigot looking for an an opportunity to keep scratching his itch.

So I’m not going to favor Bryan with the “succinct” answer he wants, because his question is not a sincere one.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 1:35 PM

Perhaps Bryan could read the previous response and comprehend it before asking another irrelevant question. Mr. Auster’s column at FrontPage advanced the thesis that Buchanan is so motivated by anti-Israel animus that it colors all of his Mideast/terrorism/foreign policy opinions to the point of irrationality. For example, one might expect that a patriotic conservative Catholic like Buchanan would not make statements sympathetic to Muslim terrorists, especially post-9/11, but in fact he has done so. Why? Because they are the enemy of his enemy, namely Israel.

Many other things could be discussed about Israel and the Middle East. Mr. Auster’s column was about Pat Buchanan and need not address any other issues. This is not “skirting the issue”. It is called “refusing to change the subject”. Even if I were 100% convinced that we were attacked because of our support of Israel, it would not follow that I would make statements sympathetic to Muslim terrorists, or Palestinian bombers, or Hamas or Hezbollah, nor that I would have to be critical of Israel.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 22, 2004 1:37 PM

I thank Mr. Coleman for his excellent comment, especially his succinct summing up of the issue in his last sentence.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 1:48 PM

I’m surprised how quickly Mr. Auster is to resort to personal attacks against myself and PJB. If the issue is “so well settled” I’m sure it’d be simple enought to sum up the main arguments. I heard PJB on Hanity the other night and apparently PJB has read Bin Laden himself. This is to say that he has the “why” of the 9/11 attacks “straight from the horse’s mouth”. PJB noted three reasons Bin Laden said he attacked the U.S. And yes, if memory serves, one of them was U.S. support for Israel.

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 1:53 PM

Yeah, prove that 9-11 was not caused by support of Israel. And while you are at it, prove that electricity is not caused by little gremlins playing submicroscopic baseball on fields smaller than a Planck-length. And that there wasn’t a shooter on the grassy knoll. And that there were no aliens at Roswell. And that pink unicorns don’t exist.

After you’ve done that you can publish a logic paper on how to prove a negative. You’ll be world-famous.

Posted by: Matt on March 22, 2004 1:55 PM

“PJB noted three reasons Bin Laden said he attacked the U.S.”

Ah Hah! That settles it then! The reason the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide is because there WERE aliens riding on the comet to pick them up! After all, that is what they stated as the reason. Therefore it must be the case that that was, in fact, the reason. It couldn’t possibly be that they actually committed suicide because they were psychotic nutcases; we have the REAL reason right from the horse’s mouth.

Posted by: Matt on March 22, 2004 2:03 PM

Matt:

Are you saying it’s not true that Bin Laden has himself listed the reasons he urged the 9/11 attacks and that one of the reasons is U.S. support for Israel?

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 2:08 PM

A concise response to this nonsense: (1) bin Laden was critical of American (a.k.a. “infidel”) presence on Saudi soil starting in 1990. He did not mention Israel in his early calls for jihad against the US, so his later mention of Israel would seem to be a transparent effort to broaden his support in the Muslim world. Many Muslims simply did not get as stirred up about US troops on “holy ground” as bin Laden did, because they recognized that these troops were there at the request of the Saudi government because of the threat of Iraqi invasion. After the invasion of Kuwait, those Muslims who lived in other countries that were militarily weaker than Iraq tended to sympathize more with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia than with Hussein and Iraq, and bin Laden’s rhetoric was only attracting a small following. (Also, bin Laden’s hatred of the Saudi ruling family was not a burning issue for Muslims outside of Saudi Arabia.) Thus, it is hard to say how much bin Laden was motivated by US support of Israel. His public statements have multiple purposes; communicating the gospel truth about his motivations is not necessarily even one of them. Persuading Muslims to join him, and duping gullible Westerners, would be more likely motivations for his statements.

(2) Perhaps Bryan can address the point I have already made, as he is so insistent on everyone answering his questions. I will rephrase it as an analogy. Suppose the IRA committed a terrorist car bombing in the USA and publicly announced that it was because of our historic support for, and alliance with, Great Britain. Would it logically follow that any American public figure would (A) call for an end to our historic alliance with England, (B) denounce the government of England in its efforts to fight the IRA, (C) call for England to compromise with the IRA, and (D) make statements sympathetic to the IRA? If not, then why does a concern on the part of Patrick Buchanan that Muslims hate us because of our support of Israel translate into the analogous positions towards Israel in his writings?

As a corollary, if one of your friends becomes unpopular, do you abandon your friendship immediately in order to lessen your own troubles?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 22, 2004 2:09 PM

At a certain point in a debate going on for years, when a certain amount of data about a given issue has been accumulated, and certain things are understood, from long experience, about people who persist in holding to certain views, then, yes, personal characterizations become justified.

Of course, personal characterizations are not allowed when people are engaged in discussion with each other. But that rule only holds as long as a discussion is actually taking place and is seen as actually possible.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 2:11 PM

Matt wrote: “Ah Hah! That settles it then! The reason the Heavenís Gate cult committed mass suicide is because there WERE aliens riding on the comet to pick them up!”

I made an analogous argument in the months after 9/11. I said, suppose bin Laden announced that he was seeking to destroy America because he opposes people wearing neckties. Would we all then say that we should stop wearing neckties, since, after all, our wearing neckties is the “real” reason for the Islamists’ hatred of us?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 2:22 PM

At this point I will assume Mr. Auster has no argument, as he refuses to respond on the merits. Mr. Coleman apparantly concedes that Bin Laden has himself noted U.S. support for Israel as a reason for the 9/11 attacks? I reference Mr. Colemans post: “…his later mention of Israel would seem to be an effort..”

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 2:22 PM

“Are you saying itís not true that Bin Laden has himself listed the reasons he urged the 9/11 attacks and that one of the reasons is U.S. support for Israel?”

I am saying that what is said by an idiot or a megalomaniac has little relevance to determining objective cause. If radical Islam did not have one excuse for murdering infidels it would make up another, as it has done for 1600 years. If the Heaven’s Gate kooks hadn’t invented space aliens that whispered instructions to them psychically then they would have invented some other reason to behave… abnormally.

Bryan’s entire set of demands are (literally) irrational. He wants Mr. Auster to prove a negative, and he wants us to accept the (partial) word of a murdering fruitcake about the objective causes of his murderous fruitcake behavior (which, even if we did, would leave many other explicit reasons on the table). Even if bin Laden had said outright “If the U.S. did not support Israel I would have left it alone” — which he has not said, by the way - that still would not be credible information, as it rests on the credibility of a murdering fruitcake.

Tell the two million Christians murdered in Africa by Moslems that if only they would stop supporting Israel then the Moslems would leave them alone.

Posted by: Matt on March 22, 2004 2:24 PM

Matt:

You don’t think Bin Laden is sane enough to know why he attacked us?

Posted by: Bryan on March 22, 2004 2:31 PM

Bryan: Are you saying that if a mass murderer issues a statement about why he committed his mass murder that that constitutes a complete, objective statement about the causes of the mass murder? Because that sure seems to be what you are insisting upon.

So, under that reasoning, we can get a complete objective understanding of why the Unabomber murdered those people just by reading his Manifesto and taking it at face value. And it is really our fault that the Unabomber committed those crimes, because of our support of industrial capitalism.

Posted by: Matt on March 22, 2004 2:40 PM

Bryan keeps pursuing the quixotic goal of getting me to “admit” that bin Laden has said, in at least one of his many fatwas, that U.S. support for Israel was one of his reasons for attacking the U.S., as though, if I only admitted that, then all of Bryan’s conclusions would fall into place But I’ve never denied that. Everyone knows about bin Laden’s statements. And Mr. Coleman has already replied very well to the question of what would logically follow if we believed, not just that Israel was one of many possible grievances on bin Laden’s part, but his sole grievance.

As a further illustration that the Buchananites’ position is a product of animus and not of reason, suppose that some black group began systematically murdering whites in this country, and saying that their grievance was the white system of oppression that results in blacks having lower average personal wealth than whites. If Buchanan and Bryan were to apply their own logic to the problem, they would favor the immediate institution of a mass transfer of wealth from whites to blacks, while they would continue to justify the ongoing systematic murders of whites by blacks until the black demands were met. Somehow I don’t think Buchanan or Bryan would go along with such a logic. No, they only go along with such a logic when it comes to Israel.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 2:41 PM

Mohammed Atta and Ayman Al-Zawahiri were/are both Egyptians. Why center on bin Laden and bin Laden’s statements? Al Qaeda is “the base” (per Robin Wright the other night) and the operations are decided and carried out by individuals. I’m pretty sure that it was an Egyptian professor that Friedman said told him of a student who said he couldn’t wait for the time when a small nuclear bomb would be transported into Israel.

If the problem is that the American people will decide that supporting Israel is not worth the cost, well, the American people have to be allowed to decide that. The Spanish people were 90% against the Iraq war, probably because they feared terrorist attacks. They paid a terrible price for their government’s arrogance.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 4:04 PM

Osama bin Laden provides a great deal of the money and he started the whole network. While he eludes capture, he is a hero to Muslims because of their inferiority complex; he is foremost in defying the successful West. When he is killed, it will be a reality check for many young Muslims.

Otherwise, I cannot decipher your question or figure out why it is so significant that some of his chief allies are from Egypt or other countries. Many are Saudis, some are Yemenis, etc. So what?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 22, 2004 4:27 PM

Clark,
Egyptians have an animus against Israel that pre-dates Osama bin Laden’s rise to fame. This is not something new that Egyptians and other Arabs opposed the creation of Israel, strongly opposed it, went to war over it more than once.

Is there a reason to believe that Osama bin Laden is directing ANYTHING, operationally planning ANYTHING? According to that videotape our government found in Afghanistan, bin Laden didn’t know of the 9/11/2001 plans until 4 days before it happened.

There is a smorgasbord of Arab grievances going back to World War I (or even to the Crusades — Christians always trying to possess Jerusalem).

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 4:44 PM

I am unaware of the claim that bin Laden knew nothing of the 9/11 attack until 4 days before. Where are references to this?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 22, 2004 4:51 PM

Karen wrote: “[The Spanish people] paid a terrible price for their governmentís arrogance.”

Well, they’re likely to pay an even bigger price for their new government’s appeasing cowardice, for which they will have only their own to blame. This is the long-term view of course.

Karen, and too many others, evince a disturbing willingess to accede to pure and simple blackmail — of entire nations! A lesson from history: blackmailers are never satisfied with their first demand being met, or their 2nd, or their 3rd, or their …

A review of Mohammedan aggression against Europe in centuries past, the unrenounced goal of utopian world domination, and the waves of Mohammedan immigrants already swarming to the West yield a clue where these demands will ultimately lead. Do we act now or blink with the assumption that we’ll still be able to act later if needed?

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on March 22, 2004 4:56 PM

“[The Spanish people] paid a terrible price for their governmentís arrogance.”

Beautiful. It is the Spanish government’s fault that Moslem Jihadis murdered hundreds of Spanish citizens. Nonsense. Of course we all know that the Jews are really behind the Tragedy of Andalusia.

[Irony alert].

Posted by: Matt on March 22, 2004 5:20 PM

Karen wrote: “The Spanish people … paid a terrible price for their governmentís arrogance.”

Let’s see. The Spanish government supported the U.S. in the invasion of Iraq, something the whole Security Council had explicitly supported in September 2002, before they changed directions and stabbed the U.S. in the back. But because Spain supported the U.S., it deserved having terrorists blow up a couple of thousand innocent Spaniards.

Of course, if Karen were called “anti-American,” she would deny that. Yet her words speak for themselves.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 5:34 PM

Clark,
Don’t you remember the video with the little crippled sheikh doing most of the talking? Bin Laden says he learned of the 9/11 plans 4 days before they occurred.

Lawrence, Matt and Joel,
Your argument is with the Spanish people. They decided that they will be safer if their soldiers are withdrawn from Iraq.

Do you remember the end of the Vietnam war and our Vietnamese allies hanging off the helicopters? The American public decided it wasn’t worth the cost, whatever our government’s intentions were in being there, and Vietnam has not attacked us yet. I don’t believe for a minute that Al Qaeda wants to convert us to Islam.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 6:24 PM

I should add that as for being “anti-american,” is anyone contending that our government never makes mistakes? Our government makes plenty of mistakes, at home and abroad.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 6:28 PM

Karen is shifting her terms, as anti-Americans always do when they’re called out. She’s wasn’t merely saying our government had “made mistakes.” She was saying that the Spanish government by the very act of aligning with the United States, brought on the due penalty of a terrorist attack.

Furthermore, Al Qaeda didn’t limit its reasons for attacking Spain and threatening other countries to the Iraq war. It also said that any countries that helped us in Afghanistan also have it coming. That would include France. So, if there is next a terrorist attack in France, will Karen say that the French are “paying the price for their arrogance”?

In other words, does Karen believe the U.S. action in Afghanistan was also blameworthy, and that any country helping us there deserves whatever violence Al Qaeda may visit upon it?

I eagerly await Karen’s revelation of where she is really coming from.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 6:35 PM

Lawrence,
Is the US always in the right? Certainly not in Iraq where our stated reasons for invading Iraq proved to be unfounded.

The Spanish government’s arrogance was in disregarding the wisdom of the Spanish people. The Spanish people paid a terrible price for their government’s support of an illegitimate war.

Our government understands very well that policies will provoke terrorist attacks on American civilians. The entire US foreign policy establishment of the Truman administration opposed Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948, Gen. Marshall saying publicly that Truman was doing it for the presidential election.

I don’t know what the logic was for our actions in Afghanistan other than some kind of revenge, killing more completely innocent people than died on 9/11 in the US. Wheres the proof that bin Laden directed the Afghanistan attacks rather than cells of people outside, coming up with their own ideas and plans and not depending on bin Laden at all? It seems to be turning out badly and there, again, I don’t think the American people will continue to support whatever it is our government is doing. We won’t be willing to pay what it costs to make Iraq and Afghanistan modern nations.

Unlike the Israelis, we don’t need to hold onto disputed land.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 6:53 PM

Karen writes:

“I donít know what the logic was for our actions in Afghanistan other than some kind of revenge …”

Not only does Karen not support the U.S. attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, she professes not to know of any rational reasons that the U.S. may have had for that attack.

Thanks for the honesty, Karen. It seems that anti-Americans cannot help but reveal where they’re really coming from. They at first make statements that may seem half-reasonable, and so one gets into a discussion with them. But on probing them a little further, one invariably finds out that they’re in some antinomian realm beyond the world of normal discourse. Think of it. Karen, who I presume is an American, can think of NO REASON for America’s attack on Afghanistan other than the base motive of revenge.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 22, 2004 7:05 PM

Sometimes even the most muddled of things become clearer in the end. Engage or disengage, that is the question. Would things be different had we not enterd Iraq? Or would the situation be the worst in the present situation. In the latter, the game is not finished. We are short-changing the President. Let events play themselves out. The facts are that no matter how this government operates in the Middle East, there will always be adverse criticism.

Posted by: Edwin Vogt on March 22, 2004 7:57 PM

Karen’s comments notwithstanding, I don’t see why everyone should be so upset at Spain.
The Spanish people were overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq, yet the government signed up anyway.
The usual portrayal of the Spanish decision in the conservative media is that the Spanish chose to help the US fight terror, and then chicekened out when they paid a price for it, and decided to let terrorism be in order to not be a target.
Bull. The Spanish people voted against the war in Iraq because:
(a) They decided that the terrorist attack showed that the war in Iraq had not weakened terrorism. It is not that they are giving in to terrorism and letting the terrorists win, they just don’t feel that the conquering Arab countries part of our current strategy is effective at getting rid of terrorists.
(b) They did not believe that there was any strategic benefit to being in Iraq, and so decided that if it antagonized Muslim extremists to be there, it was making them more of a target without gaining them anything. This would not necessarily apply in Afghanistan, because the benefits of ousting the Taliban and scattering the Al Qaeda leadership would more than offset the potential costs of antagonizing radical Muslims.
(c) They believed that being in Iraq caused all Muslims to become, on average, more radical, and so would help terrorist groups to recruit more members and become more powerful. In other words, they were less concerend with appeasing bin Laden than with preventing the bell curve of Muslim radicalism from shifting to the right so that the radicals would gain more members.
This only qualifies as appeasement if:
(a) You must automatically do whatever bin Laden doesn’t want just to prove that he doesn’t control you. In that case, you are saying that even if you do not feel that being in Iraq is helpful in any tactical or strategic way, you should do it just to irritate the radical Muslims.
(b) You believe that there is no value in trying to triangulate in order to keep those Muslims who have not joined bin Laden on your side or at least not on his side.
(c) You believe that Spain has no alternate strategy for fighting against terrorism.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 22, 2004 8:09 PM

The problem with a lot of American commentators is that they assume that the Spanish agree with us that attacking Iraq was helpful to the war on terrorism and thus see Spain’s decision to pull out as cowardly surrender. Unlike most Americans, though, the Spanish view the war in Iraq differently and so will react differently.
Now true, it is likely that many Muslim extremists will see this as a victory and as proof that the West is weak and can be made to surrender through terrorism. This, of course, is not a good thing.
But the Bush administration bears at least as much blame for this as the Spanish voter, by pushing Spain to join the coalition when the vast majority of its people were against it.
The American people supported this war for the most part, and the British, as I recall, were not so nearly opposed as the continental Europeans (anyone have stats on that?), so it is unlikely that either the US or the UK will pull out if a terrorist attack happens (even if Kerry is elected). But to cajole or bribe countries like Italy and Spain (I don’t know about Poland) into a war against the wishes of the vast majority of their population and then to be upset when the people vote against it is highly arrogant.
Side note 1: If we were to go in, we would have done much better to have gone in unilaterally or with a much smaller coalition than with the support of a large number of countries when the people of those countries were so vehemently against the war (particularly when the troop contribution of all non-US, non-UK forces was so negligible). In my opinion, the correctness/incorrectness of the Iraq war hinges on the war itself, not on whether it was multi- or unilateral.
Side note 2: I believe I read that Mr. Prodi of Italy did not say that “force is not the way to fight terrorism” but that it is “not the only way,” so the reports that he doesn’t believe in the use of force are mistaken.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 22, 2004 8:10 PM

I remember the end of the Vietnam war. We had objectives, among them humanitarian and anti-terrorism, for going in there in the first place. We left with our allies hanging off the helicopters. Thats historical fact; you can’t dispute it, Lawrence.

If the American people believe that support for Israel is bringing us terrorist attacks like 9/11 or what happened in Spain, our support for Israel will cease. It won’t need an election or a revolution just as it didn’t need an election or a revolution for us to get out of Vietnam.

How is that anti-american? Thats what America is all about, “We the People,” that we get to decide and our government represents us. It would be hideous for the American people to be in the same predicament as the Israelis, where the majority opposes the settlements in the occupied territories because they know it provokes terrorism but they are unable to work their will on their government.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 8:15 PM

Karen is correct that my argument is with the Spaniards. But I recognize that they have the right to cringe before the enemy and appease themselves into irrelevance. Karen however completely ignored the questions I raised, but I’m not surprised having read her subsequent statements.

Invoking Vietnam brings parellels some of which are appropriate and others not. There was a larger war going on, between the free world and the communist-enslaved world. The Vietnam war was one battle we lost, in a war where we ultimately prevailed. To be sure, it was conducted incompetently by President Johnson and the McNamaras of the day, but it also proved enormously taxing on the resources of the Soviets and the others backing the North, which was not a trivial factor in the ongoing Cold War.

Karen complains about our Vietnamese allies hanging off helicopters at the end of the war. Well, over 2 million such former allies were slaughtered by the North and her cohorts in the wake of our exit. Which does Karen think is worse? Karen also notes that “it didnít need an election or a revolution for us to get out of Vietnam.” Indeed, what it needed was a few well-organized socialist fronts staging rallies and shows, a few Jane Fondas to boost the publicity (and demoralize our troops as a side effort,) and an eagerly compliant leftist media to blast it everywhere, everyday, with slanted coverage that would have been treasonable during WWII. Even North Vietnamese officers have acknowledged that they knew America could never be defeated toe-to-toe; they were counting on public opinion in our country being swayed by the leftist agitators. They were correct — we left even though we controlled most all of the key strategic positions in the South!

Truman’s decision to recognize Israel was motivated at least partly to jockey for advantage against the USSR, as Stalin was set to beat us to the punch in an effort to gain influence in the region. (Karen cites Gen. Marshall, a great military figure in WWII, and a TERRIBLE secretary of state whose failures in strategically facing up to the the communist advances were legion. Not a good authority to cite in facing the kind of enemy we do today.) The problem isn’t Israel. The problem is a three-letter-word that has given the Arab world an extreme wealth that has enabled their ancient designs against the West to be resumed.

Too many Americans were mislead into downplaying the danger of the communist threat — people even today ridicule the notion. Now many are making the same mistake underestimating not only the threat of militant Mohammedanism, but its very nature. Karen is apparently among them. She seems to really believe that if we just kowtow to their demands they’ll leave us alone.

Reminds me of the Fuhrer’s promise that the Sudetenland would be Germany’s “last territorial claim in Europe.” Karen would likely have been among the cheering crowds who welcomed Prime Minister Chamberlain to his assurance of “Pease In Our Time” while ridiculing Sir Winston as an alarmist.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on March 22, 2004 9:06 PM

Joel,
I’m not complaining about our Vietnamese allies hanging from our helicopters taking off from the American embassy in Saigon in ‘75; I’m just stating the historical fact: I saw it on the news. In my lifetime, it happened. The USA bugged out of there after investing over 50,000 Americans dead and more thousands American wounded and billions of dollars (and Vietnamese dead in the millions). If we could drop our commitment to Vietnam, we can drop our commitment to Israel. Its not a point you can argue.

In my opinion, the protests prolonged the Vietnamese war. I thought the Iraq war was a mistake but I would never go to a protest march. The Vietnam War protests allowed the US government to deflect public anxiety about the war onto the protestors. I could see that happening again last year with media commentators asking protestors whether they didn’t understand that they were doing what Saddam Hussein wanted or they were helping Saddam Hussein or some kind of drivel like that. Not even Aznar paid any attention to the protestors and his polls were saying 90% of the country agreed with the protestors.

What are the “demands” anyway? As I said before, I don’t believe for a minute that they want to convert us to Islam.

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 11:06 PM

Truman’s motivation for recognizing Israel was to beat the USSR recognizing Israel????? The USSR would have gained influence in the region by recognizing Israel before the US did????

Posted by: Karen on March 22, 2004 11:12 PM

Karen asked, “Trumanís motivation for recognizing Israel was to beat the USSR recognizing Israel?[x5]” Well, I had thought I said he was motivated only “at least partly”, but no matter — we’ve touched on the background of this here before:
http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001808.html

That the United States were deeply concerned over the USSR’s designs in the Middle East (and in regard to the Three-Letter-Word) and the relation this had to our policy in regard to how we handled the rebirth of Israel is so well established that I can’t remember its not being mentioned in any of the histories I’ve read on the subject.

Some of the concerns leading up to 1948 are outlined here:
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/israel/palestin.htm
Indeed, the United States were very concerned about preventing the USSR from gaining a strategic foothold in the Middle East. Israel was, and remains, an important linchpin. President Truman waited a whole 10 mins or so after the announcement of independence to recognize Israel. Of course election concerns played a role; they always do. But there were strategic concerns too, really. And they were hotly debated on both sides. And the Soviet Union was part of that discussion, really.


Whether we _can_ abandon an ally is not in question; whether we _should_ is the concern as touching Israel.

There’s nothing more to add about Karen’s utter blindness to the reality of the Mohammedan threat to the West. History is littered with examples of such naÔvetť, and the unfortunate consequences. The biggest problem is the failure to know history and discern its lessons. It’s an old problem.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on March 23, 2004 2:09 AM

Joel -
What IS the “Mohammedan threat to the West?” What do they want from us, in your opinion? I keep asking. I don’t believe for a minute they want to convert us, with or without force, or invade us and take over our government.

The article in the citation is no longer available. The article says the Soviet interest was in dismantling the British empire.

Here’s my point, its BASED ON HISTORY, and its not arguable, really, unless you want the US to become a brutal dictatorship: If the American people believe that support for Israel brings us terrorist attacks like 9/11 and what happened in Madrid, our government’s support for Israel will cease. It’ll be in the polling and other measurements of public opinion, not marching in the streets.

Posted by: Karen on March 23, 2004 7:49 AM

What is the Muslim threat to the United States? Well, there is what they WANT to do, and what they are ABLE to do. In order to understand them, first deal with the former, then decide how likely it is that they will accomplish what they want.

It is a stated goal of Islam to turn the whole world into a realm governed by Islamic law, with no infidels, i.e. no competing religions. This has been discussed at length on various threads on this board and elsewhere. This goal cannot be immediately achieved, but those who cannot conquer can terrorize. It seems to most of us that the IRA will never achieve their goals in Ireland; the Protestants and British will never leave Northern Ireland, and most citizens of the Republic of Ireland no longer even want political unity with Northern Ireland, anyway. Yet the IRA keeps going. You have to understand these kinds of phenomena in order to understand apparently hopeless and pointless Islamist terrorist activities.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 23, 2004 9:25 AM

Getting back to the terror war thread, the accusations of Richard Clarke are examined in an interesting way at http://www.nationalreview.com/geraghty/geraghty200403230839.asp

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 23, 2004 9:27 AM

Anti-Americans and other dishonest Americans need to be pinned down and required to account for their statements of mere belief very early on. When they change the subject, stop talking to them. Mr. Auster and Matt seem to have done this. I agree with their strategy. Moreover, it is a waste of time arguing with someone that argues based on beliefs and objective, low probability premises. There is a believer in anti-Americanism here; it is useless trying to convince believers to give up their beliefs. They have to find their own way.

Posted by: P Murgos on March 23, 2004 9:45 AM

The question of the involvement of al Qaeda in the Madrid bombings, among other terrorist activities, is explored well in http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/lerner200403230838.asp

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 23, 2004 9:47 AM

Regarding Clarke, it is incredible that a man who worked under President Bush in the National Security Council would publish a book denouncing Bush in such extreme terms. Given the obviously partisan and self-interested nature of Clarke’s attack, how could anyone profess to take it seriously?

The other night the BBC covered this story with total glee and venom. First the “social X ray” anchor female (see Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” to know the type I’m talking about) says (I’m paraphrasing), “A new book by terrorism expert Clarke is _very_ damaging to Bush.” Then she goes to a correspondent and asks him: “How serious are these charges?” And he says, “Oh they’re _extremely_ serious,” and he expands on that for a while, giving no facts. Then she goes to another commentator, who repeats how very grave indeed are these charges, and it goes on and on like this for about five minutes, with no facts given, but just this artificially heightened emotion about how damaged Bush is.

How could any normal human being stand being a part of or watching such news broadcasts, which are so evidently based on nothing but negative emotions and always directed toward the same hated object?

Part of the answer goes to the nature of liberalism. The reign of liberalism sustains itself through the mind-control method known as the “One-Week Hate.” In Orwell’s 1984, there was a “Five-Minute Hate” every day, when employees of the state would gather in rooms at their places of work and watch a propaganda film designed to make them start screaming in hatred at Goldstein, the traitor to Big Brother and the number one enemy of the regime. In today’s liberal society, we have, at regular intervals (approximately once a month) a nation-wide “One-Week Hate” aimed at Bush or Republicans or whites or America. Remember Joseph Wilson? Remember Paul O’Neil? Remember the “Bush was AWOL” charge? Remember the “black church burnings”? Each one of these “Hates” is eventually exposed as a fraud and is almost instantly forgotten. But in the meantime, it keeps stirring up feeling against whoever the liberals see as their enemy, namely Bush, and the gross falsity of the charges and the obvious bad faith of those making them doesn’t stop people from leaping gleefully onto the next “Hate” as soon as it occurs.

The “hate-Bush” syndrome today is a particularly virulent form of this disease, rendering people indifferent to how they themselves are acting and to whether their charges would be plausible for a single second to a fair-minded person. It’s worse when we remember that several of these Bush attackers have actually worked for Bush: Wilson in his intelligence mission to Niger, O’Neil as Treasure Secretary, and now Clarke as Counter-terrorism expert within the NSC. And then there were all those retired generals and colonels who functioned as media commentators during the Iraq war and simply pushed their own selfish agendas which meant tearing down the war effort even as our troops were engaged in combat. Then remember the retired four-star general Wesley Clark who only a few months earlier had highly praised Bush for his performance in the Iraq war but as a presidential candidate virtually called Bush a traitor for having prosecuted the Iraq war. There has been such a breakdown in the moral framework of society that people engage in this kind of instantly discreditable activity on a regular basis, with no apparent consciousness of how discreditable it is.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 23, 2004 1:14 PM

I’m 48; within my lifetime the area called Israel and West Bank/Gaza will revert to Arab control, as eventually happened with all the Crusader conquests. Like Nixon’s thumbs down when Buchanan’s wife asked him about the long term prospects for Israel. Its scary for the people there. We have wide open spaces in this country. Americans will not be willing to die for an ethnic group holding onto a piece of land the size of New Jersey. Its crazy.

Posted by: Karen on March 23, 2004 2:31 PM

I tire of the talk-radio whines about the “biased liberal news media”, because I think that we need to accept it as a given, expect it, and learn to win despite it. However, I have to admit that it is a central problem in many of our other problems, such as the issues that Mr. Auster has raised.

Perhaps people can make irresponsible charges because there are no lasting negative consequences for doing so, at least on the political left. If Bush predicts that we will find WMDs in Iraq, and we don’t, the news media don’t exactly just let it die quietly as an issue. On the other hand, if someone predicts 10,000 American casualties in the “siege” of Baghdad, and is proven to be absurdly wrong, he shows up again on CNN a few days later as a “military expert”, same as always. He serves his appointed role in the leftist media, so all is forgiven.

Wasn’t Daniel Schorr fired in Boston for plagiarism 20 years ago, and he has made a good living ever since as a serious journalist on NPR, among other places? Isn’t Jayson Blair writing a book about his poor victimized self? When Janet Reno appeared before Congress and said that she took “full responsibility” for the Branch Davidian massacre, what did that mean? Did she have to resign? When George Tenet of the CIA and Robert Mueller of the FBI take “full responsibility” for the failures of their agencies with respect to 9/11, what does that mean? Is there such a thing as personal accountability in America?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on March 23, 2004 2:40 PM

It is surprising that the people named above took responsibility for anything, even though it meant nothing ultimately. Their “leader”, Bill Clinton, certainly didn’t take any responsibility when he lied, saying, “I didn’t have sex with that woman…..” Today he would most likely ask “What is responsibility?”

Posted by: Barbara on March 23, 2004 5:00 PM

When were Paul O’Neill and Joseph Wilson exposed as frauds?
As for Wesley Clark, I lost any respect I might have had for him when it was revealed that he nearly got us into a conflict with Russia during our grand adventure in the Balkans.
As for Richard Clarke, I don’t know much about him, but what I hear doesn’t impress me too much.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 23, 2004 5:54 PM

Dear Karen:
Put your fears to rest. Israel is a possession of G-d. The Arabs tried to conquer the land with five armies and failed. It was eqivalent to 47 states attacking Rhode Island (in comparative per capita land size). What magical power aided the Israeli’s? How came they to such a victorious outcome? Such a tiny State outwitting the enormous poiwers of the Middle East antagonists . It is providence, Karen, and the unfailing Word of the Living G-d that both protects and preserves His own Covenant People.

Posted by: Edwin Vogt on March 23, 2004 7:33 PM

“Karen” wouldn’t be Karen Armstrong, would she?

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on March 24, 2004 4:43 AM

I guess by “Israelis,” you mean “Jews?” There are, what 5 or 6 million Israelis and less than 15 million Jews worldwide. Millions died horribly in the last century. Sure hard to make the case that “God” is protecting the Jews. The US has been protecting Jewish control of “Israel” but if the American people think it risks our lives to attacks like 9/11 and the Madrid bombings, that will cease.

I often hear that Israel is the size of New Jersey but theres enough empty land in New Jersey to resettle all the Israelis. But it couldn’t become a “Jewish state!” Our Constitution and values don’t allow for an official Jewish street in the US.

Posted by: Karen on March 24, 2004 8:19 AM

Karen: Space here doe not allow a full explanation of how God has protected the Jews through the centuries. By all standards, they should have been eliminated entirely when we consider the impositions, restrictions, and inhumane attacks on all their settlements of those countries who ostracised them and persecuted them at will. Even Hitler’s hate machine failed. The Jew survives. Can you account for this? After 1948, we have seen literal miracles as prophesied by the prophets of old. No disputation here. By protection it does not mean that every time a brother raises his hand against another, that God will intervene. If that were true, there would be no redemption. We are living on God’s time-table. And the Jew is still under His care!

Posted by: Edwin Vogt on March 24, 2004 10:40 AM

Clarke’s attack on the Bush Administration MAY be true, even if self-interested — no matter how much it pleases the left. One simply should not jump to conclusions at this stage- we just don’t know enough. I must say that I think that Mr. Auster, in his disgust at the hate-Bush hysteria on the left, is forgetting the frequent and manifest incompetence of the current Administration. For that matter, it seems to me that WE have better reason to hate Bush than the left has!

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 24, 2004 3:43 PM

I have rejoined this thread at a late stage, but offer the following comments: It is foolish to pretend that Arab/Muslim extremist hatred of the US is not inspired partly by anger at American support for Israel. That said, it is utterly insane, and completely contrary to the evidence, to claim that it is the sole, or even the main, issue involved. These people have a wide variety of hatreds which encompasses far more than the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Muslim extremists have it in for the black Sudanese and Hindu Indians (the latter have been pro-Arab in the Arab-Israeli conflict, by the way) just as much as for the West. They believe in a “Christian-Jewish_Hindu world conspiracy” not just a Zionist one. I might note that the target dummies in Al-Qaeda training films bear crosses — not Stars of David. If, as Karen appears to suppose, they are only teed off at the modern West because of the Crusades — a mere 700 years ago — they are arguably even crazier than they are usually pictured. Her picture of the Israelis as neo-Crusaders is equally far off the mark. The Crusaders consisted of a few Frankish settlers in a land overwhelmingly inhabited by Arabs (not necessarily Muslims) they did not form a solid population base. She might also have bothered to learn that half Israel’s population derives from Jews expelled from Arab countries….

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 24, 2004 3:53 PM

Mr. Levine should read some of the stories on Clarke (some are linked at Lucianne.com), for example, an interview he gave in 2002 in which he said the opposite of what he’s saying now, namely, he said that the Clinton administration had no anti-terrorism plan that it passed off to the Bush administration. Clarke’s attack on the administraton is NOT true, but is a grossly obvious partisan and personal attack.

That doesn’t mean the Bush administration and the intelligence agencies are not seriously at fault for 9/11, as we all know. The government had the evidence that these people were here and were seeking to do something against us, but there was no particular security at airports, and the nineteen killers just pranced on board. We know that Bush, in order to win the support of U.S. Moslems, eliminated a key law enforcement tool to be used against terrorist suspects, and that he invited Moslem extremist groups to the White House repeatedly both before and after 9/11.

However, Mr. Levine should realize that these truly damaging things about Bush are NOT what Clarke and his fellow Clintonite partisans are going to bring out, since the Clintonites were part of the same stroking of Moslems.

Always remember the basic difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats will drive us over the cliff at 80 miles an hour. Republicans will stay within the speed limit, but they’ll still take us over the cliff. However, that difference between lawfulness and lawlessness (and the lawlessness includes the systematic practice of massive leftist lies), while in the long run it leads to the same result, is still significant in the interim.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 24, 2004 3:54 PM

I have read some of those items. My point was not that Clarke is a brilliant man of high character, but simply that it is premature to judge the truth of his book and testimony before the 9/11 Commission, just as it would have been premature to leap to conclusions about the Pearl Harbor attack partway through the 1945-1946 Congressional investigation. Clarke may be a liar or the reverse, or perhaps is uttering a slick self-serving mixture of truths and untruths — as one would expect from a Clinto supporter!

Posted by: Alan Levine on March 24, 2004 4:12 PM

Tony Blankley makes a profoundly important point concerning the war on militant Islam:

“For us, today, the hearings and frantic finger pointing about September 11 are as silly and pointless as they are inevitable. The emergence of Islamist terrorism has been a good half century in the making—from the theoretical writings by Egyptian intellectuals at the middle of the last century to September 11 and beyond. The clash between our civilization and that force was probably inevitable. If the events of September 11 had failed for any reason, there would have been another day and another disaster.”

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/tb20040324.shtml

Expanding on the above, it strikes me that the difference of views within America and the West regarding the war comes down to whether or not people believe that there are larger entities, or categories, that have objectively knowable qualities. Thus Blankley points out that there is this entity called Islamic militancy, and this other entity called Western civilization, and that a conflict between the two seemed inevitable, regardless of the specific details of how the conflict actually broke out. But liberals (and the anti-war right) reject that assumption. For them, there are only separate phenomena, to be treated as separate phenomena. And so any conflict that arises seems to be purely contingent on what individual actors happened to be doing, rather than on larger forces that would have been in play despite what individual actors did.

For the same reason, the left (and the anti-war right) believe that attacking Moslem terrorists makes it MORE likely that they will attack us. Why is this? Because they don’t think we’re in a war. They think we’re dealing with discrete criminal (or merely desperate) acts by _individuals_. They don’t believe there is an enemy—an entity who seeks to harm us and whom we must defeat or otherwise disable. There are only separate individuals performing separate unconnected acts, which we should not “stir up” by attacking anyone.

The “treat terrorism as a criminal activity” assumption has deep roots in liberalism, and in the philosophical root of liberalism, which is nominalism, the denial that there are objectively knowable larger categories.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 24, 2004 4:33 PM

Mr. Auster writes:
“The ďtreat terrorism as a criminal activityĒ assumption has deep roots in liberalism, and in the philosophical root of liberalism, which is nominalism, the denial that there are objectively knowable larger categories.”

YES! Because if there are knowable larger categories they would represent objective limits on the liberal free and equal ubermensch, self-created through reason and will. That is why liberalism HAS to cut its own throat rather than admit a real, genuine conflict of actual objectively real civilizations. Even when a liberal admits to a conflict between civilizations what he really means is a conflict between the non-civilization of liberalism/nominalism and some oppressor-Other; and that Other is more often Western Christendom than anything else. To a liberal there really is no difference between the Caliphate and the Holy Roman Empire; and the only acceptable civilization is no civilization.

Moslems don’t have the ability to -oppress- anyone outside of their immediate sphere of influence. They only have the ability to kill a whole bunch of people, which is a far lesser sin in the eyes of liberalism.

Posted by: Matt on March 24, 2004 5:16 PM

Switching from large matters (truth and nominalism and the clash of civilizations) back to small (Clarke), I saw this exchange between Lehman and Clarke in the hearings. Lehman says: “Why was your private testimony to us factual and balanced in looking at the mistakes of both administrations, while your book just attacks the Bush administration?”

Clark answers: “In the private testimony, you didn’t ask me about Iraq. Iraq was a disaster, it distracted us from the war on terror, and that’s what I brought out in the book.”

But this is a complete non sequitur. Clarke’s most publicized attacks on the Bush administration have to do with its alleged inadequate response to Al Qaeda between January and September 2001, not with its decision to make war on Iraq, which wasn’t even preliminarily made until January 2002. So Clarke is an obvious liar.

If his purpose in attacking the adminisration like this is, as Lehman suggested, to sex up his book in order to sell more copies, he is truly a despicable man.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 24, 2004 8:08 PM

Pat Buchanan’s been taking a mostly well-deserved bashing here on the weaknesses of his position regarding the state of Israel, but let’s not rush to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Today he has come out with an excellent summation of the ongoing demographic transformation of America, a column nobody else of his stature—popularity-wise—would dare write.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37720

Posted by: Dan R. on March 24, 2004 8:53 PM

PJB is right on target in that piece, except for the part about our becoming “a giant Brazil of the North”. We should be so lucky!

How many large countries are more monolingual than Brazil? Only Japan, Korea and Italy. (No, not China.) Also, they’ve always kept the number of immigrants at a sane level, and from sane sources. If you can handle the Portugee, you can see their preferences here:
http://www.terrabrasileira.net/folclore/influenc/outros.html

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on March 25, 2004 3:37 AM

Thanks to Dan for the reference. For many years, Pat has been the most prominent immigration reformer, which is why I voted for him. Lou Dobbs and Oreilly also speak out often on the issue. We still need someone without a lot of baggage to step forth and actually run against Bush or against the next liberal nominated by the Republicans. In the meantime, this person could lead people into an existing third party with the objective of taking it over. Perhaps our strategy should involve seeking out such a person and persuading him or her to run, since it appears no one is ever going to step forth. Maybe we should write Lou Dobbs and radio personalities who are correct on the immigration reform issue. (Oreilly is too abrasive and opinionated to be a viable national candidate. Pat is too wishy-washy and obsessed about Israel. Rush is a Bush adorer and anti-immigration reformer.) Why does everyone that runs have heavy character problems or abrasive personalities?

Posted by: P Murgos on March 25, 2004 8:58 AM

I think that Mr. Auster’s interpretation of the difference between the antiwar side and the prowar side has some flaws, if he is saying what I think he is saying.
The antiwar right does not, as a general rule, deny that Islamic militancy exists. They do not see things as individual, unrelated phenomena. Rather, the major difference between them and the pro-war right is that the anti-warriors believe that activist foreign policy helps to promote Islamic militancy, and some believe that it may have been a major factor causing the movement in the first place (i.e. militancy is a reaction to the heavy western manipulation of the Middle East in the twenthieth century, e.g. the overthrow of Mossadeq in Iran); whereas the pro-warriors see it either as a phenomenon unrelated to the actions of the west (the view of traditionalist conservatives) or as a result of the west not taking actions (the view of the neocons, some of whom (Mark Steyn) lament the fact that Britain did not maintain the Arabian peninsula, and nearly all of whom feel that we should have forced the Shah back on the Iranians in 1979, that we should have stayed in Lebanon despite the cost in 1983, and presumably that we should have taken over other countries in order to prevent them from interfering).
In this respect, the anti-war right could argue that they think in larger categories than the pro-war right, because they they see rather than seeing Islamic militancy as separate events, they see it as part of an even larger picture.
Perhaps the point here is that you feel that the US ought to target all Islamic militants whether or not they threaten the US directly? (For example, go after Syria until it ends its supt of Hezbollah). If that is the case, I think that implies that becuase there is a phenomenon of Islamic militancy, it means that all militancy is allied. My thoughts are that the militants are too fractious to come together without a severe external threat, so going after only the groups that involve a direct threat to us (and countries such as Afghanistan that harbor them) prevents other groups from threatening us, and also reduces the impetus of said groups to rally together, thus allowing them to concentrate on the far easier, and far preferable, task of killing each other (I am Wahhabi, Shi’a fundamentalists must die! No, I am Shi’a fundamentalist, Wahhabis must die!).

Fianlly, on the anti-terrorism as law enforcement issue: I have no problem with hunting doiwn and assassinating Arab terrorists per se, but the concern I, and most others like me, have is what this means for people accused of terrorism within our own country. What exactly is the alternative to treating it as law enforcement? Does this just mean hunting down groups in other countries, or does it mean that anyone suspected of terrorism immediately loses all their rights and that the government can kidnap people off the streets and hold them indefinitely on mere suspicion? Or does it simply mean that Arab terrorism gives us carte blanche to take over any Arab or Muslim country we choose? there needs to be a little more clarity here, I think.

Posted by: Michael Jose on March 25, 2004 2:28 PM

Mr. Jose’s point is well taken that the anti-war right does not, like the liberals, deny that the terrorists form an enemy entity; only they think it’s _our_ actions, rather than its own inherent dynamics, that have spurred that entity into existence. In that sense, the anti-war right is even more blaming of the West than the liberals are, since the liberals merely believe in a “cycle of violence,” consisting of individual actors getting annoyed and reacting against other acts of violence, while the anti-war right believe that the West’s actions (principally its support for Israel and its imperial reach) have literally _created_ Islamic militancy. This is similar to the liberal anti-anti-communist position which said that Communist aggression was created by America’s Cold War policies. It’s also known as “Blame America first.” That doesn’t _necessarily_ mean that it’s not true. Perhaps it IS all America’s fault, though I think any truthful account would not lead to that conclusion.

As for how to deal with domestic Moslems, this is a civilizational, existential conflict between the West and Islam, which is fundamentally opposed to and incompatible with the West. I therefore think that large numbers of Moslems do not belong in Western society, period. I think it was a fantastically fatal error to have permitted them to come here in the first place. While a total deportation is not possible, I support policies that would lead to a steady net out-migration of Moslems and thus a steady reduction of their power in the West, rather than a steady increase, which is what we have now. The main concern is not to jail suspected terrorists, of which the numbers are very small; the main concern is to encourage or require Moslems with militant or Jihadist or terrorist sympathies to leave this country.

In my opinion, if you are concerned about the dangers of Moslem terrorism and Moslem fundamentalism, any measures short of what I’ve just described are ultimately not serious.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 25, 2004 3:48 PM

Back to Richard Clarke, here is proof that he is exactly what he has appeared to be: the latest in a long line of people who have lost their mind and intellectual honesty out of some combination of irrational hatred of Bush and low self-interest:

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/21772.htm

And here is Coulter’s funny take on the situation:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/ac20040325.shtml

Clarke’s critics say he is politically motivated. But as I’ve said before about the Bush haters, this is not politics, this is pathology.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on March 25, 2004 3:53 PM

One point I think should be recalled when we consider the Bush Administration’s resolve in fighting al-Qaida before 9/11.

In May of 2001, we gave the Taliban $43 million in exchange for their promise (hah!) to curb opium production. The fact that bin-Laden — then on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list — was being harbored by the Taliban was well-known. The fact that there were terrorist training camps there was no secret. Yet we gave this rogue, psychotic regime tens of millions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.

What kind of resolve is this? Apparently, before 9/11 the ‘war on drugs’ trumped the war on terror. Most agree that even if the Taliban made some token efforts to stop a few desperately poor farmers from growing poppies, it made hardly a dent in exports — likely because the stock on hand was significant enough anyway. But no matter, we traded $$ for a promise. Four months later, the Taliban’s guest payed us back, with interest.

If sending money to the Taliban reflects a commitment to fighting al-Qaeda, I’d like to know how.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on April 2, 2004 4:46 PM

Disturbing point by Mr. LeFevre. I wonder if this could be called nominalism in action? There is no entity denoted by the word “Taliban.” There is just a collection of various actions, appearances or modes grouped under the name “Taliban.” And we can deal with each one of these modes differently. Insofar as Taliban blows up a priceless Buddhist monument, shocking the world, Taliban is an international pariah. Insofar as Taliban is hosting our declared mortal enemies Al Qaeda, we plan a possible war against it. Insofar as we think the Taliban can help us suppress international drug trafficking, we’ll pay Taliban $43 million. Until pushed to the wall by something like 9/11, the nominalist cannot look at a particular entity and say of it, “This is my enemy, period, and I’m going to treat it accordingly.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on April 2, 2004 5:03 PM

Interesting that the following comment was designed for this thread, which Mr. LeFevre and Mr. Auster also chose to comment on. (The thread is probably byten because it was hard to add to.)

Here is evidence Pat Buchanan is not totally obsessed about Israel. Tonight on The McLauglin Group, Mr. McLaughlin asked for comments about an article in an academic periodical. The article is by a Mr. Abramowiz (spelling?), who has concluded the U.S., as the major world leader, has the capacity (read “moral superiority”?) to exit Iraq now and should do so because the driving force behind the continued violence in Iraq is the Arab-ISRAELI conflict.

The article’s conclusion screams for support from those resentful towards Israel. Yet Pat responded by saying the U.S. cannot leave now but must see it through. He proposes driving an armored division through Fallujia, a city of 200,000 people.

There is a liberal newspaper pundit, Mr. Friedman, who wrote an article a couple of weeks ago. He reinforced my impression, gathered from various military experts on TV, that the U.S. committed too few forces in Iraq. Mr. Friedman’s proposition coincides with the conclusion by Colonel David Hackworth, who vividly described past U.S. behavior in his book Brave Men. Colonel Hackworth demonstrates the U.S. went into both Korea and Vietnam with too few men. Hackworth fought and commanded in both wars. He describes many battles where the U.S. was outnumbered. Yet we were fed the lies about the “little” countries we could have “bombed into the stone age.” So it does not surprise me that President Bush, the system, is still restraining U.S. Marines from responding to the atrocities committed by Ann Coulter’s hard-working, peace-loving, god-fearing Islamic people of Fallujia.

An armored division seems like overkill, but hyperbole is a trait of the brainy Pat, who I think too often speaks without thinking—which is why he is often in trouble. He does have insights that are worthwhile.

I hope Mr. Auster is enjoying his well-deserved time off and will not be annoyed by my limited defense of Pat.

Posted by: P Murgos on April 2, 2004 10:54 PM

Well, it is to be expected that Mr. Mclaughlin continues to ride his anti-Israel hoby-horse. Mr. Mclaughlin has been arguing for some time that the main cause of anti-American Mohommadan terrorism is the Israeli-Arab conflict. This hypothosis is undermined to the point of collapse by the recollection of the history of Al-Qaeda and of its goals. Bin Ladin’s original grievances against the United States were the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia and American support for “corrupt” (i.e., pro-American) Arab regimes.

The U.S. first deployed troops in Saudi Arabia in 1990 to protect the kingdom from any advance by the armies of Saddam (Desert Shield). Saudi Arabia necessarily became the assembly point of American and allied forces for the liberation of Kuwait. U.S. forces remained stationed in the kingdom throughout the Nineties to pressure Saddam to comply with the terms of the cease-fire which ended the first Iraqi war and to contain Saddam.

Bin Ladin was vehemently against the deployment of non-Mohommadan troops in the kingdom. He considered the presence of large numbers of “infidels” in the holy “land of the two mosques” to be a sacrilege. Bin Ladin’s plan to safeguard the kingdom and to expell the Iraqi invaders from Kuwait was to assemble a great Muslim coalition, formed by contingents from states and by volunteers. He recalled the defeat of the Soviets by the Mujahadeen in Afganistan. (He evidently did not dwell on the differances between the two conflicts. Perhaps most prominent of the differances is the dissimilarity of terain. Much of Afganistan is mountainous, the mountain chains cut or paraleled by narrow valleys; eastern Arabia, including Kuwait is a dry, flat desert. The former terain gives guerrilla, hit-and-run warfare a chance of success; the latter is facilitates aerial and tank warfare.) The acceptance of “infidel” American troops on Saudi soil and the rejection of his alternate plan by King Faud and other high Saudi princes caused bin Ladin to view the rule of the Saudi princes as illegitimate.

Al-Qeada’s original goals were the expulsion of American troops from the Middle East; the ending of U.S. influence in the Middle East; the overthrow of pro-American or pro-Western Arab regimes; and the re-establishment of the Caliphate. Although Al-Zawahiri and bin Ladin have bitterly recalled and called for revenge for the “tragedy of Andalusia” (the defeat of the Moorish states in southern Spain by the reconquistas, culminating in the defeat of Granada by the forces of Castile and Leon in 1492), and although Al-Qeada recently denounced Israel, in what appeared be a effort to exploit anti-Israel sentiment in the Arab world in pursuit of recruits and support, the aforelisted remain, I believe, the core goals of Al-Qeada. After all, once the U.S. no longer exercises any influence in the Middle East and after much of Islam is united in a grand Islamic empire, reconquering Spain or eliminating Israel or conquering Kashmir all become more feasable and plausible than they are at present.

Posted by: Joshua on April 3, 2004 2:49 AM

On the question of why the Islamists hate America and what we should do about it, this long discussion, from October 2002, approaches the issue from many possible angles and may be worth perusing:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/000825.html

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on April 3, 2004 10:03 AM

While re-reading my post of April 3, 2004 02:49 AM, I noticed that I erred in my history. I said that Castile and Leon defeated the Moorish kingdom of Granada in 1492. This is not wholly true.

The kingdoms of Castile and Leon were permanently united in 1230, when Ferdinand III, already king of Castile by reason of inheritance by way of his mother, succeeded his father Alfanso IX as king of Leon. The kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united in the marriage of Isabell, heir to the Castilian throne, and Ferdinand, heir to the Aragonese throne. Isabell and Ferdinand married in 1469. Isabell became queen of Castile in 1474, and Ferdinand became king of Aragon in 1479. Ferdinand’s ascension to the Aragonese throne in 1479 marks the beginning of the personal union of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. This union became permanent. The forces of Ferdinand and Isabell conquered Granada in 1492.

Posted by: Joshua on April 3, 2004 9:32 PM

To expand on Joshua’s comments: if the Al-Qaeda types win out in the Muslim world, much is on the table, given their doctrine that anything once under Muslim rule should be under Muslim rule again. That would include not just practically all of Spain but 1) Southern France, briefly under Muslim rule in the eighth century 2) Sicily 3) small areas of the Italian mainland 4) the Balkans and Hungary 4) Russia. It is true that the Tatars only converted to Islam after conquering the Russians, but somehow I think the Islamists will overlook that little point.

Posted by: Alan Levine on April 5, 2004 4:12 PM

I’ve published an article today at Front Page on the 9/11 investigation. The title and subtitle don’t hint at the final point of my article, where I talk about the real fraud of the 9/11 Commission.

The Fraud and Danger of the 9/11 Commission
By Lawrence Auster
Giving Clinton — and the Clinton-era GOP — a free ride.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12896

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on April 7, 2004 2:57 PM

That’s an excellent summary on Frontpage, Mr. Auster. I’m even a bit surprised that such a piece was published on Frontpage, in light of Horowitz’s generally pro-open borders stance. In addition to his resolute refusal to attack Clinton, Bush has left numerous Clinton appointees in high places. Bush, Rove and Co. then look surprised when such people (like Clarke) turn and plunge the knife into their back. I wonder what psychological explanations could be offered for this behavior? Just another form of the kool-aid drinking liberal mindset, I suppose.

Posted by: Carl on April 7, 2004 5:08 PM

Horowitz does not seem to have a fully worked-out position on immigration. He has a general ideology of “inclusiveness,” and he supports Bush on any move Bush makes in that direction. But he’s also, if you can believe it, very concerned about illegal immigration and I think about Moslem immigration as well. He recently published a long, urgent piece about the need to stop illegal immigration. How he can do that and simultaneously support Bush’s proposal to legalize all illegals, I don’t know. But the important thing is that he, unlike so many other established conservatives, is open-minded on the issue and will allow a variety of views on it to be published at his site.

On Carl’s point about the Bushites’ motivations in keeping Clintonites in their administration, it is really a strange thing. Calling it a species of liberalism—i.e., the refusal to believe that there are enemies, the desire not to to judge or exclude or form boundaries (though of course there are always exceptions)—is probably as good an explanation as there is.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on April 7, 2004 5:19 PM

Judging by the general tenor of his magazine, Horowitz is basically unenthusiastic even about legal immigration, and has, nine-tenths of the time, been strongly concerned with illegal immigration. Reportedly, he is, however, beholden to more orthodox or rigid neocon financial supporters who occasionally force him to do things like support Bush’s amnesty plan. But it is rather obviously difficult to reconcile with other things he says.

Posted by: Alan Levine on April 7, 2004 6:04 PM

As to Bush’s retention of Democratic holdovers: even sane responsible Republicans like Eisenhower did things like that, because few Presidents really like a complete discontinuity in personnel or even policy. In this case, it may be a tipoff that one point Clarke and others have made is true: namely, that Bush, like Clinton, did not really consider terrorism a big deal. Lastly, the Bushites hadn’t, and haven’t, the nerve for a big purge of their Administration. They think of what the media would say the next day, ignoring the fact that it will be unfriendly the next day anyway, and the day after that too.

Posted by: Alan Levine on April 7, 2004 6:13 PM

There’s a difference between keeping Truman, or even Carter, Administration holdovers, on the one hand, and Clintonites on the other.

The earlier Democrats were still recognizably American.

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on April 8, 2004 3:55 AM
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