July 11, 2005
The War on Terror (Michael Ledeen Mental Remix)
As of 9/11, the terror masters were five: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Today they are three, which is certainly good work on our part. But it isn’t nearly good enough. We cannot possibly have decent security in Iraq unless we end the murderous tyrannies in Tehran and Damascus, and convince or compel the Saudi royal family to shut down the global network of terrorist brainwashing centers they spend billions of dollars to operate.
All this should convince us that it is a mistake to microanalyze the London operation. It is just another event in the terror war, one of many, with many more to come. Its real significance should be seen as a further wake-up call to us and our allies. Our enemies know they are at war, and they are attacking us everywhere they can, in every way they can. Do we really know we are at war, and that we cannot win it within the parameters we have set for ourselves?
This sort of lunacy fascinates me. Ledeen says that our enemies are seized with bloodlust, attacking us wherever and whenever they can. Yeah? Really? So far as I know, the post-9/11 list of terror attacks reads: Indonesia, Madrid, London. Not to minimize their seriousness, but the monstrous "masters of terror" could only pull off three bombings in radically different portions of the globe? We're talking five countries that have or had standing armies trying to attack us anywhere that they can, yet the US (thankfully) hasn't suffered a second attack, London just absorbed their first, Americans safely travel around the globe, Israel still stands...
Ledeen likes the rhetoric of total war (in no small part because he'd like us to declare it), but it's ill-fitting for the situation. America, happily, has not seen any suicide bombings, car bombs, truck explosions, missiles shot at airplanes, nor anything else since 9/11. Why we've gotten such a pass is unclear, but we have. And what that proves, if nothing else, is that they're not attacking us whenever and wherever they can. Indeed, they're doing quite the opposite, hitting us wherever and whenever they want, and doing so rarely.
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I'm surprised Mike didn't throw a "by the power of Grayskull" in there.
Posted by: Horatio | Jul 11, 2005 4:04:12 PM
How come we overthrough Syria and Iran but only compell Saudi Arabia? Neat double standard that.
Posted by: pfc | Jul 11, 2005 4:17:13 PM
There have also been several attacks in Turkey, some in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, several across southeast Asia.
In addition there have been a few prominate known attacks that have been disrupted (the shoe bomber for example) and doubtless there are many attacks that have been disrupted that we know nothing about.
That of course does not count Iraq, which has certainly seen a lot of Al-Qaida sponsored terror.
It is of course hard to say if they are hitting us as often as they CAN or as often as they WANT to. Many suppose that they WANT to hit us as often as the CAN.
Regardless, Ledeen's point is that stopping terrorist sponsoring nations are integral to stopping international terror and therefore we should remove those nations immediately. I don't totally agree with him, I think there are multiple fronts to work on here, but a response to that point which is essentially 'this whole terror thing isn't really that bad, be should just ignore it' doesn't strike me as very serious.
Coming from someone who has, I believe, correctly identified how Democrats and liberals screw themselves over when it comes to foreign affairs and international policy it is especially surprising.
Posted by: Dave Justus | Jul 11, 2005 4:18:54 PM
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan aren't generally thought of as "we" when it's the Western world talking. As for whether or not we should ignore terror, that's obviously not what I'm saying/ But the belief that 5 countries have united to throw everything they can at us and we should march to their capitals is insane.
Posted by: Ezra | Jul 11, 2005 4:21:43 PM
I think the answer to why they haven't attacked us yet is elemenatry politics. It has little to do with how well our government has protected us from further attacks as many have claimed. Their attacks have been against our allies because they are trying to drive wedges between the rest of the world and us.
Look, it is pretty clear that most of the world is less than enamored with our leaders these days; particualrly in Europe where some of the governments are with us, but their citizenry are not. By staging attacks in these countries they sow animosity against the US among a population that is already leaning away from us.
It works something like this, "If it just wen't for those dumb yanks running of to fight that stupid war in Iraq, none of this would have happened." Now recall that Spain elected a liberal president who proceeded to announce that his country was retiring from the Iraqi field after they were attacked and ask yourself if bin Laden isn't just practicing global terror politics 101?
I only fear that Bush is allowing him to succeed.
Posted by: Foulker | Jul 11, 2005 4:25:34 PM
Did Leeden say that 5 countries united to throw everything against us? I certainly didn't read that. Certainly he is claiming that 5 countries (now 3) were the prime sponsors of terror and the terrorists they sponsored are throwing everything they can at us.
Turkey is certainly the most 'Western' of the Islamic world. One of the attacks in Jordan was the murder of a U.S. diplomat. The attacks in Saudi Arabia were primarily against western contractors.
I call that "we."
As I said, I don't totally agree with Ledeen, but I find your analysis even worse in this case.
Posted by: Dave Justus | Jul 11, 2005 4:32:33 PM
No one, conservative or liberal, can read much of significance into the fact that the US mainland hasn't been attacked since 9/11. Is there any doubt that if terrorists really wanted to attack the US homeland that they could and would?
Ledeen is just saying publicly what a great many US citizens believe and many are saying it publicly.
More remarkably, who of prominence on the national scene is publicly countering this idiotcy with a reasoned argument on why this would be a further setback to our efforts and against the national interest?
Exactly what do liberals or Democrats believe should be done to defeat terrorism of the fundamentalist Islamic variety? I can see no consensus on this.
Dems are the minority party, nearly completely out of power on the national stage. That doesn't relieve the Dems of responsibility to put forward a well-reasoned and politically palatable alternative. The failure of the Dem party to put in place a mechanism for speaking to issues as a party - not just some person- while out of power makes it easy to dismiss the relevance of Dems and conclude 'we have no ideas'.
Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 11, 2005 5:04:55 PM
We recently learned that the 4 hijackers were British citizens. Its still unclear, and probably will remain that way, how far from any of these such states the order to attack goes. British (or French or Dutch) internal demographics play a more larger role in their status of "less safe" than American ones do. American ones have a more to do with immigration and foriegn national policies. Imagine if we are letting British Muslim citizens in and they turn out to be terrorists? We can't even now trust people to come from our Allies?
This war is just not centralized in regions we can go blow up to end. This is why "War" in the tradional sense won't work.
Posted by: Adrock | Jul 12, 2005 1:03:36 PM
We recently learned that the 4 hijackers were British citizens.
The elephant in the room that is being ignored is the fact that all of the terrorists that you are discussing are Muslim and the vast majority are of middle eastern descent.
Perhaps you don't like racial or religious profiling, but with these facts, it certainly makes sense. The reason why it isn't being done is because, at this time, the "horrors" of profiling outweigh the horrors of terrorism. When that changes, we will profile.
Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 2:57:56 PM
Zimmerman: Jose Padilla
The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Profiling probably won't help us defeat terrorism at all, but it will prevent Muslims in Western societies from integrating and transmitting our culture back to their homelands, which may well help us defeat terrorism.
One of the problems with Europe, for all it's vaunted tolerance, is that it is impossible for an immigrant (or even the children of immigrants) to ever become a native. They remain outsiders.
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