Monday, February 13, 2006

Heartless and Mindless

In the battle for hearts and minds in the Long War, we don't need this:

Apparently, Ann Coulter called Muslims "ragheads" at the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend. How stupid, pathetic, and unnecessary. Coulter can often be sharp and funny - especially when attacking certain liberal sensibilities - but these comments crossed the line.

Yesterday, in Saudi Arabia, Al Gore told a crowd at the Jeddah Economic Forum that after September 11, Arabs in America had been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable." This strikes me as a grotesque mischaracterization of what happened in America after September 11.

Now ask yourself: between the asinine comments of Gore and Coulter, who's done more harm to the cause of the United States?

Stay focused on our actual jihadi enemies and stop trying to make the entire Islamic and Arab worlds our enemy!

But I don't believe we need to even try to decide which statement harms our cause more. Coulter tries to get Americans to believe all of the Arab Islamic world is our enemy. Vice President Gore is apparently trying to get the Islamic and Arab worlds to believe this, too. Each is immensely harmful to our war effort and each ties in nicely with the efforts by thugs and thug regimes to use the Danish cartoon incident to make the Long War a war of civilizations.

People need to get a grip.

UPDATE: Opinion Journal (via Real Clear Politics) describes this long war of winning hearts and minds quite well. The campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are only the most visible and kinetic part of the long war with the jihadis:

The military can't win the Long War on its own. To defeat bin Ladenism, Americans must use every institution at their disposal--including the State Department and United Nations--to put pressure on those who spread the ideology of terrorism while not being timid in making the hard decisions necessary to confront rogue regimes. Iran cannot be allowed to build nuclear bombs, because it is a terror sponsoring state. Likewise Syria must be compelled to behave like a civilized country. Hamas won the Palestinian elections, but its leaders cannot be accepted by Western countries until they renounce terrorism and their desire to wipe Israel off of the map.

The Quadrennial Defense Review points out that the U.S. now has a window of opportunity to shape the world to bolster American security. Undercutting bin Ladenism now, before it gains the strength that Nazism and communism once had, will be much easier before another superpower (presumably China) emerges. America's long-term security depends on it.

It isn't all car chases and pyrotechnics, people. We have much to do. I wrote of our multiple lines of attack in this war in the days following September 11th, though in truth I did not yet consciously foresee the revolutionary quality of the struggle that was thrust upon us that clear morning:

The war America is embarking on will be fought on several fronts. Part will be quietly carried out and some aspects will be open. All avenues must complement the others. This will be necessary because the enemy is bifurcated. One part, the main enemy, is the amorphous network of terrorists bound together by their hatred for the United States. It is incomprehensible to them that a just God would grant such material, cultural, and military power to a nation the terrorists regard as corrupt and evil. The second part is composed of the states that in one degree or another, from hosting or rhetorical support to active planning and action, support the primary enemy. Each facet of the enemy demands a different approach and the various instruments of our power must be used precisely to achieve our objectives. No mere lashing out blindly will bring us victory.

But I felt the depths of the war very strongly.

And the likes of Coulter and Gore when they spout off with idiotic comments will make the war longer and the results uncertain.