Thursday, January 30, 2003

Heads They Win, Tails They Win

What am I to make of this:

"Even if it goes well – short, quick, with Iraqis dancing in the street – it will nevertheless be known as a U.S. war against a Muslim country," said Judith Kipper, a specialist in Middle East politics for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Best-case or worst-case, any war is going to be a rationale for thousands of new soldiers for al-Qaida."

First of all, if Moslems will really despise us for freeing Moslems from tyranny and torture, we might as well just get the clash of civilizations going now.

But I think Kipper is quite wrong. How is it that fighting back can only make things worse? And if we really whomp Iraq, the enemy will not get even a teensy bit discouraged? So, they hate us now already, yet they will attack us more if we show our strength by defeating Iraq. How is this possible? Shouldn't our first defeat of Iraq have enflamed them for the next century? Conversely, they blame us for the Crusades and we did not exist then. What are we to make of that? Indeed, the French (then known as the Franks) were the more successful of the Crusaders. And France butchered Algerians, fought Libya, and invaded Egypt yet this does not earn France eternal hatred? The Serbs slaughtered Moslems in Yugoslavia yet Moslems aren't declaring jihad on Serbs. Indeed, Iraqis tried to help the Serbs survive our 1999 air offensive. And should not the Indians be faced with unrelenting hostility and suicide attacks for their multiple wars against Moslem Pakistan? And why are we number one on the target list of Islamofascists when the Russians could give seminars on slaughtering Moslems?

Honest to goodness, some people think that it is the height of sophisticated analysis to discuss the finer shades of a vast array of surrender options from which we can choose. They are so accustomed to losing that they cannot conceive victory. I am reminded of General Grant's frustration with his generals when he took command of the Army of the Potomac. His generals raised objections to every course of action, arguing that Lee would counter it. Finally, Grant would hear no more: "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what are we going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do."

I am heartily sick of it, too. Saddam and the Islamists are going to be very busy worrying about what we are going to do to them. And we can turn a double somersault and turn up anywhere on the globe to kill them.

On to Baghdad.