What Have Progressives Got Against Progress?

Liberals don’t want to be called liberal anymore. They prefer to be referred to as “progressive.”

Conservatives don’t mind being called conservative. In fact, most conservatives are proud to be conservative (and equally proud to be American). And why not? Starting with the vision of our founding fathers, the traditional conservative values of independence, individualism, and self-determination motivated the early settlers and pioneers and, later, the industrialists and entrepreneurs who built this country into the greatest and most powerful nation on earth.

But why are liberals suddenly ashamed of the word liberal? Why do they feel the need to redefine themselves as something else? And why have they chosen the singularly inappropriate term “progressive” to describe themselves? It almost seems as if they’re begging the question. After all, what is progress? Reviewing the history of civilization, progress has traditionally been marked by significant advances that made the cultures that developed them more efficient and productive, enabling them to prosper and to expand their territory and culture.

More advanced civilizations often used their technological sophistication to conquer less advanced civilizations and, historically, it was largely as a result of war that progress spread from culture to culture. The conquering armies have not always been the aggressors. It was Japan that attacked the U.S. in WWII. But Japan would not be the major economic power it is today if the U.S. had not defeated it, and rebuilt it as a modern industrial/technological nation.

There have been episodes in history when more advanced civilizations have been overrun by less advanced civilizations that were more focused on military progress. That’s one reason why a nation should never allow itself to become weak militarily, no matter how advanced it may be in other areas. Mr. Obama recently promised to “cut investments in unproven missile defense systems,” “slow our development of future combat systems,” and make “deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.” Conservatives cringed, but liberals loved it.

All types of progress entail tradeoffs. As vast tracts of land are cultivated, the native species on those lands must either find new environments, adapt, or die. The extraction of raw materials from the earth causes disruption of habitats. The production of metals, plastics, paper, and the manufacture of goods all cause various forms of pollution. But without these trade-offs, civilization as we know it would not be possible.

Liberals don’t believe in trade-offs. They continually seek to enact regulations to curtail any kind of progress that impacts the environment. They want to sequester vast extents of land into national wilderness areas, preventing the extraction of natural resources like minerals, timber, or oil. They want to enact cap and trade regulations that will jack up the costs of the energy we require to live our daily lives, and which is also required to fuel all types of industrial and technological progress.

Progress is always a result of trial and error. Significant advances require significant investments in time, effort, and money, and entail enormous risks because there is no guarantee of success. Who has the kind of money to invest in making progress possible? Capitalists. Why would they be willing to take those enormous risks? Because there’s a possibility of an enormous payoff. They calculate the risk/benefit ratio and, only if the potential rewards significantly outweigh the risks, does it make sense to invest. Yet liberals don’t think anyone deserves such enormous rewards, and would tax their profits to the point where it’s no longer worth the risk to invest. Without capital investment, progress cannot occur.

Liberals like to point out that the income gap between rich and poor is getting greater all the time. But they ignore the fact that the standard of living of the poor gets greater all the time, too. The poorest people today have a higher standard of living than the vast majority of people had a hundred years ago. And the reason they do is all the industrial and technological advances made possible by capitalism. That is true progress. And it benefits the poor as well as the wealthy.

Despite what liberals believe, capitalism is not a zero sum game. When new industries evolve, new opportunities are created. The fact that some people get very rich doesn’t mean other people have to get poor. But those who don’t have the motivation to work hard, better themselves, and pursue opportunities, will always be poor. And the easier the government makes it to be poor, by subsidizing poverty, the more people will take the easy way out.

Liberal ideology is consistently opposed to progress. They continually demand regulations that stymie progress, and they want the government to take more money away from those who fuel the scientific, industrial, and technological advances that define progress. They believe that money should be redistributed to those who don’t contribute to progress, but are its beneficiaries.

Since liberals are so opposed to progress, why is it they want to be known as “progressives?”

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Giving “Peace” a Chance

I was told yesterday that we should “give peace a chance,” and that the sanctions against Iran are working. We just need to give it time. I asked the person who told me that what makes them so certain the sanctions are working, even as Iran continues to amass and enrich uranium and conduct missile tests? I asked what are the criteria for success? I did not get an answer. Ahmadinejad is openly laughing at the U.N. In a televised interview four months ago, he said “If they want to continue with that path of sanctions, we will not be harmed. They can issue resolutions for 100 years.”

While we are “giving peace a chance,” Ahmadinejad is building a nuclear arsenal.

Another person told me today that, if we were to take military action against Iran, the world would condemn us because they already think we’re a bully. Apparently, some people believe we need to wait for Iran to make the first strike, so the world will “approve” when we retaliate. How many American and/or Israeli lives are we willing to sacrifice to world opinion?

It’s frustrating to know what your enemy is up to (because he has brazenly told you), but be unable to do anything about it because you don’t want to look bad to somebody else, while your enemy gloats because he knows your hands are tied by public opinion.

Within the past three months, Iran has been installing 6000 new super high efficiency centrifuges for enriching uranium, that work five times faster than the old centrifuges. Some people are willing to believe Ahmadinejad when he says he’s going to use all that enriched uranium for nuclear energy just to produce electricity, but are unwilling to believe him when he declares the time is very near when America (the Great Satan) will be destroyed and Israel will be wiped off the map.

I’m not suggesting we should jump into a war with Iran tomorrow. But I have a great deal of concern over the confluence of:

  • Their recent dramatic increase in uranium enrichment capabilities.
  • Their mounting increase in apocalyptic rhetoric against both the U.S. and Israel.
  • Their recent saber rattling exercises, indicating that they feel invincible.

All of this concerns me a great deal. It also concerns me that so many people seem determined to ignore these facts, or refuse to consider their potential underlying significance. Any one, by itself, might be dismissible but, taken together, there appears to be a certain momentum building.

I acknowledge that we’re too overextended militarily right now to be able to effectively engage in direct military action against Iran. I see that as a huge problem, as Iran shores up it’s military might in obvious preparation for a conflict we are not prepared to undertake. I also grasp the urgency to take some kind of action to thwart their build-up of nuclear capability before it gets to the point that we cannot, without exacting a retaliatory strike. (Or first strike, as some would have it.) Once they have a nuclear arsenal in place, it’s too late.

How ironic that “giving peace a chance” might lead us down the path to a nuclear war that could have been avoided…

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Ready or Not, A Change is Going to Come

I’m starting to feel more pessimistic about our future than I am wont to do. It seems we are stuck. Like a deer in the headlights, we cannot see which way to move. Iran has made clear their intentions and their capabilities, and they’re sitting there smirking at us while we debate all the ways and reasons we can’t retaliate, and enumerate the innumerable paths to failure. How I wish we had some real leadership in this country. If ever we needed a leader, it’s now.

One question worth asking ourselves when we go into the voting booth in November is what will each candidate’s reaction be in the event of a nuclear war in the Middle East? How long will Obama try to negotiate with a madman while he builds up his military might and prepares for a first strike?

Hang on tight, my friends. We’re headed for uncharted territory.

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When is a Lie Not a Lie?

The left never seems to tire of reminding us that “Bush lied about Iraq having WMDs!” But was it really a lie? If so, how so? It is an established fact that Iraq had developed and used WMDs previously, against its own citizens, though the left seems to have conveniently forgotten this. In his 1998 State of the Union address, President William J. Clinton said:

Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation’s wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and the missiles to deliver them.

The only real question was, did Iraq still have stockpiles of WMDs immediately prior to the beginning of the Iraq war? At the time, every major power in the world believed that it did. Even the U.N. believed it. Yet one never hears anybody saying the U.N. lied, or Tony Blair lied, or Jacques Chirac lied. It’s always Bush, and Bush alone, who “lied.”

Even assuming there were no WMDs, if President Bush, like all the other world leaders at the time, given the best evidence available, believed there were WMDs in Iraq, was it a lie for him to say what he believed? If not, the claim that he lied must be based on an assumption that he didn’t actually believe there were WMDs in Iraq. But why would he not have believed it, considering that everybody else did? It’s generally accepted today that the reason Saddam Hussein didn’t allow the U.N. inspections was because he wanted his neighbors to believe that Iraq still had WMDs. Was there ever any reason to conclude that Bush knew the “truth” when everybody else was taken in by Hussein’s bluff? If not, Bush did not lie. He was, at worst, mistaken.

But it’s always easier to predict the past than the future. As history unfolds, it’s starting to look like, not only did Bush not lie, neither was he mistaken. There is new evidence that Iraq did, in fact, have WMDs, which it was systematically transferring to Syria all the while it was stalling the U.N. inspectors. This new evidence corroborates older evidence that was dismissed by the left at the time as too “convenient.” Yet the evidence continues to grow. What will the left say if confronted with incontrovertible evidence that there actually were WMDs in Iraq? Will they apologize to President Bush for the “lies” they’ve been telling about him for the past five years? Or will they flat out refuse to acknowledge the evidence because it doesn’t support their worldview? (My money is on the latter.)

On April 7, 2008, The Jerusalem Post reported:

An upcoming joint US-Israel report on the September 6 IAF strike on a Syrian facility will claim that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein transferred weapons of mass destruction to the country, Channel 2 stated Monday.

In January of 2006, The New York Sun wrote:

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein’s air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” released this week.

Even prior to that, in the Fall of 2005, The Middle East Quarterly reported:

Several different intelligence sources raised red flags about suspicious truck convoys from Iraq to Syria in the days, weeks, and months prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

These concerns first became public when, on December 23, 2002, Ariel Sharon stated on Israeli television, “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.” About three weeks later, Israel’s foreign minister repeated the accusation. The U.S., British, and Australian governments issued similar statements.

Two former United Nations weapon inspectors in Iraq reinforced concerns about illicit transfer of weapon components into Syria in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s fall. Richard Butler viewed overhead imagery and other intelligence suggesting that Iraqis transported some weapons components into Syria. Butler did not think “the Iraqis wanted to give them to Syria, but … just wanted to get them out of the territory, out of the range of our inspections. Syria was prepared to be the custodian of them.” Former Iraq Survey Group head David Kay obtained corroborating information from the interrogation of former Iraqi officials.

The Daily Telegraph reported prior to the 2003 Iraq war that Iraq’s former special security organization and Shawqat arranged for the transfer into Syria of twelve mid-level Iraqi weapons specialists, along with their families and compact disks full of research material on their country’s nuclear initiatives. According to unnamed Western intelligence officials cited in the report, Assad turned around and offered to relocate the scientists to Iran, on the condition that Tehran would share the fruits of their research with Damascus.

So, when is a lie not a lie?

    a) When it’s an honest mistake.
    b) When it’s the truth.

At this point, we don’t know which of the above is the case. But we do know that there is absolutely no evidence that Bush ever actually lied about WMDs in Iraq. So when will the left stop braying that?

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Published in: on April 10, 2008 at 12:07 am  Comments (21)  
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Nuclear Terrorism — Coming Soon

There are three steps required to build nuclear weapons.

  1. You need to have a missile capable of delivering the bomb to its target.
  2. You need to process a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb.
  3. You need to assemble a warhead and attach it to the missile.

Iran already has a missile capable of delivering a nuclear bomb. Last month, Iran conducted a successful test of their upgraded three-stage Shahab-3B missile. According to Viktor Yesin, former Chief of Staff of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force, the tests demonstrated Iran’s capacity to produce rocket engines that would give these missiles a range of 2,500 miles or more. With that range, they could easily reach targets in Europe. (With strap-on boosters, they could potentially reach North America.) Iran insists their intentions for this missile are entirely peaceful, referring to it as a “space launch vehicle” for orbiting satellites.

However, evidence presented at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last month revealed detailed designs from Iranian military labs for a nuclear warhead, including how it would fit in a Shahab-3 missile. Other evidence included documentation of experiments with warheads and missile trajectories where “the height of the burst … didn’t make sense for conventional warheads,” according to a senior diplomat who attended the IAEA meeting. IAEA Director General Oli Heinonen commented on an Iranian video showing mock-ups of a missile reentry vehicle that it was “configured in a way that strongly suggests it was meant to carry a nuclear warhead.”

Iran will have sufficient weapons grade uranium to make a nuclear bomb within the next two years. The European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) recently ran computer simulations that modeled the centrifuges that Iran is currently operating at its Natanz nuclear facility. Based on the simulations, they determined that Iran could produce sufficient quantities of enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by the end of this year (operating at optimal efficiency) or by 2010 (operating at only 25% efficiency). Iran claims their uranium enrichment program is intended for “purely industrial purposes” to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a new resolution last week, imposing further sanctions on Iran for refusing to cease its uranium enrichment program. Iranian president Ahmadinejad beat them to the punch in making it clear that he doesn’t care. In a televised interview last month, he said “If they want to continue with that path of sanctions, we will not be harmed. They can issue resolutions for 100 years.”

Iran could assemble a nuclear warhead in a matter of months, once they have enough enriched uranium. The National Intelligence Estimate issued in December, which determined that Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program in 2003, was focused exclusively on nuclear warhead development. It explicilty ignored the uranium enrichment program, since Iran claimed that was for “industrial purposes.” Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence and primary author of the NIE report, later conceded that developing a nuclear warhead is, in fact, “the least significant part” of a nuclear weapons program. Prior to this NIE report, uranium enrichment has always been used as the key indicator of nuclear weapons development programs. Since the NIE report was made public, Mr. McConnell has expressed concerns about its effect in downplaying the continuing nucelar threat from Iran. On February 26, he said unequivocally “Our estimate is they intend to have a nuclear weapon.”

Iran denies that it has ever engaged in any design or development of nuclear weapons technology. They insist that all of the evidence presented at the IAEA conference last month were forgeries.

But Iran has a proven track record as a world leader in the funding and training of radical Islamic terrorists. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that Israel should (and will) be “wiped off the map.” Ahmadinejad was also a member of the Islamic terrorist organization that took 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. This blog entry lists a Chronology of Islamic Terrorist Attacks Against the U.S. between 1979 and 2001. A great many of these were perpetrated by Hezbollah, which is funded by Iran. Hezbollah also provided explosives training for Al Qaeda operatives, in Iran, prior to 9/11, as discussed the post Sunni and Shiite Unite Against the West.

Why would anybody be gullible enough to believe that this terrorist nation is amassing all the means to build nuclear weapons “for purely industrial purposes?” Israel knows better. Europe knows better. Russia knows better. The U.N. knows better! Nobody in the world believes Iran has stopped its nuclear development program, except for certain people in the U.S. who, because of their own agenda, were all too eager to latch on to the now discredited NIE report, — and even they don’t believe it anymore.

What could be more menacing than nuclear weapons in the hands of a terrorist nation with a suicide bomber mentaility that has repeatedly characterized the United States “the Great Satan?” Is the reason we’re being so squeamish about acknowledging this threat simply because the left keeps calling Bush a liar on account of not finding any WMDs in Iraq? Could it really be possible that our nation’s leaders are more afraid of name-calling from the left than of an increasingly imminent nuclear threat from Iran? That’s a scary thought.

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Terror, Poverty, and the Willfully Naive

Certain enlightened people keep trying to convince me that we can only solve the problem of terrorism by humanitarian, rather than military, efforts. After all, the jihadists wouldn’t be able to recruit terrorists if those people weren’t so poor and desperate. So, perhaps, if we really want to end this war, we should cut our entire military budget and give all that money to the Arab nations, in the hopes that it will raise their collective standard of living and make them all love us.

Unfortunately, no matter how much money we might shower upon them, it’s hard to see how it would raise the average standard of living of their populations. The countries we’re talking about are not particularly poor, though the vast majority of their citizens are. (How does one come up with a way to blame the U.S. for that?)  No matter how much foreign aid we might bestow on these oil-rich countries, why would  their governments redistribute our wealth any more beneficently than they redistribute their own?

Even if it were possible for us to raise their standard of living, what evidence is there that they would no longer hate us? My personal experience with people collecting entitlements is that they don’t feel any great love for the middle and upper classes whose taxes subsidize them. (If you imagine they do, try taking field trip to your nearest ghetto and take a survey on how grateful they feel.) People who receive benefits without providing anything in return grow to feel entitled to those benefits, and soon start feeling resentful that they aren’t getting enough — because the ones giving it to them still live much better than they do. Obviously, the money is owed to them. Otherwise, why would they be getting it? Once the war was “over,” we’d have to keep on paying forever, to sustain whatever standard we set, or risk their hatred and reprisal for withdrawing it.

As warm and fuzzy a fantasy as it may be, it isn’t realistic to assume that we can buy the hearts and minds of all the people in the world by altruistically showering our money on them. Especially when some of those people have a history of using the money we’ve given them to launch deadly attacks against us. Blindly trusting people who have proven they cannot be trusted doesn’t make them trustworthy. And using our defense budget to arm our enemies somehow just doesn’t seem wise.

The ideal world imagined by the willfully naive is not grounded in reality. The poverty argument is a red herring. This war is not about poverty. It’s about terrorism. Islamic terrorism is not about poverty. It’s about extremist ideologies. No amount of redistribution of wealth is going to address that issue.

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Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 11:18 pm  Comments (25)  
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Sunni and Shiite Unite Against the West

If you’re one of those who is absolutely convinced that there could never be any connection or collaboration between the various Islamic terrorist organizations, because Sunnis and Shiites hate each other, you need to read this article, Death by Car Bomb in Damascus. (I’ve included excerpts below, but there’s much more information in the original article.)

They may hate each other, but not as much as they hate us. Historical evidence shows clearly that, whatever ill will the rank and file Sunnis and Shiites harbor toward one another, their radical leaders are more than willing to set aside sectarian differences to unite in a common effort to destroy the West.

Imad Mugniyah is the top-ranking Hezbollah terrorist leader who was killed last week in a car bomb in Damascus. We all know who Osama bin Laden is.

Imad Mugniyah’s relationship with Osama bin Laden began in the early 1990s, when al Qaeda’s CEO was living in Sudan. Bin Laden’s benefactor at the time was a charismatic Sunni Islamist ideologue named Hassan al-Turabi. …

The differences between Sunnis and Shiites were not insurmountable in Turabi’s eyes; on multiple occasions he dismissed the importance of any theological disagreements. Instead, Turabi envisioned a grand, Manichean clash of civilizations in which the Muslim world stood united against its common Western foes, especially America. In a few short years, Turabi’s Sudan became a hub for international terrorists of all stripes. …

Bin Laden agreed with the Iranian assessment that the enemies of the West should come together. …

The Clinton administration recognized that an alliance between Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda had blossomed in Sudan. In its 1998 indictment of al Qaeda, Clinton administration prosecutors charged that al Qaeda had “forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with representatives of the government of Iran, and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah, for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.” …

That the two men met was made clear by Ali Mohamed, a top al Qaeda operative in the early 1990s, who testified at the embassy bombings trial that he had arranged a sit-down in Sudan between the aspiring jihadist bin Laden and Mugniyah. Mohamed explained:

“I was aware of certain contacts between al Qaeda and [Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad] organization, on one side, and Iran and Hezbollah on the other side. I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s chief, and bin Laden.”

According to Mohamed, bin Laden was interested in forcing American troops out of Saudi Arabia the same way Mugniyah had forced them out of Lebanon. Mohamed said that Mugniyah agreed to help:

“Hezbollah provided explosives training for al Qaeda and [Egyptian Islamic Jihad]. …”

The type of training described by Mohamed took place not only in Sudan, where hundreds of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah operatives had built terrorist training camps, but also in Lebanon and Iran. The 9/11 Commission reported that “senior al Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives.” Then, “in the fall of 1993, another such delegation went to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon for further training in explosives as well as in intelligence and security.” …

[Former Al Qaeda opertive] Jamal al Fadl also told U.S. prosecutors that he had talked to one of his fellow al Qaeda terrorists about his training in Lebanon. Al Fadl said he was told the “training is very good” and his colleague brought “some tapes with him.” Al Fadl elaborated: “I saw one of the tapes, and he tell me they train about how to explosives big buildings [sic].” Al Fadl went on to list the names of some of those who received Hezbollah’s training. Saif al-Adel, who was promoted to the third-highest position inside al Qaeda shortly after the September 11 attacks, was among them.
Death by Car Bomb in Damascus, Weekly Standard

The information in this article is a matter of public record, and comes from the 9/11 Commission report and from testimony by Al Qaeda operatives in the 1998 trial for the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. If, after being exposed to the historical evidence, you still don’t believe in an international network of Islamic terrorist organizations working together to defeat the West, I can only conclude that you have your own reasons for preferring not to believe it.

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Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 10:07 pm  Comments (8)  
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America Sucks

It baffles me why so many Americans readily accept that, in any conflict with foreign interests, America must be at fault. To these people, all of our enemies are actually our victims, and are justified in hating us because America’s a big bully. They seem to believe the rest of the world is full of peaceful, good-natured people and, if the terrorists want to destroy us, it must be because we’ve done them wrong. If those who have declared us their enemies commit inconceivably vicious acts of barbaric violence, it’s only out of desperation because we have somehow driven them to it.

Those who want to believe in our culpability insist that the attacks on (and prior to) 9/11 were only retribution for our “meddling” in the Middle East. The flaw in that reasoning is that, if you look at the history of the Islamic extremists, they do not only attack those who “interfere” with them. They have an impressive track record, throughout the world, of ruthlessly attacking and oppressing those who don’t buy into their ideology. But it’s convenient to ignore that historical perspective if it runs counter to one’s agenda. On the other hand, perhaps all the nations and peoples against whom they’ve committed brutal acts of violence and terrorism are somehow also responsible, and only the terrorists are victims.

The people whose agenda it suits to blame America refuse to consider the possibility that the terrorists might actually hate us for the reasons they claim to hate us. — Because we are the great Satan, and they see our culture as an abomination to Allah. Their law requires victims of rape to be stoned and beaten. They torture and execute homosexuals. They arrest and imprison women for showing their faces, arms, or ankles in public, or for talking to any man to whom they are not related. They execute people for speaking out against their government. In a culture where these affronts to human liberty are strictly enforced by law, why is it so hard to conceive that they find our culture, with all the freedoms we cherish, to be an abomination? Until and unless we’re willing to give up the inalienable rights that we hold to be self-evident, and submit to Shari’a, we will continue to offend.

Sometimes I wonder if the people who hold on so tightly to these romantic notions of our enemies have ever been outside of this country. They seem to assume the rest of the world enjoys the same fundamental rights and freedoms we take for granted here. They seem to assume that everything bad they hear about our enemies is just political rhetoric, and that those governments are really no worse than ours. (In fact, they seem to assume ours is the worst.) This is not just naivete, but willfull naivete.

I’d like to ask those people who really think we’re the bad guys the following questions. 

  • Do you believe they don’t really treat women as property, and punish them for crimes committed against them, or do you believe that’s ok?
  • Do you believe they don’t really torture and kill homosexuals for offending Allah, or do you believe that’s ok?
  • Do you believe they don’t really execute people for being critical of their government, or do you believe that’s ok?
  • Do you believe they don’t really fund and train terrorists to blow up international civilian targets, or do you believe that’s ok?

I’m just curious, do you not believe these things really happen, or do you not believe they’re evil? Or do you believe that they happen, and that they’re evil, but that we are somehow worse than they are?

There really are bad guys out there in the world. And the Jihadists really are bad guys. They are not innocent victims of America’s rapacious hegemony. Nevertheless, people will believe what they want to believe. But why they want to believe that America is always the villain is truly an enigma to me.

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Published in: on February 16, 2008 at 2:23 pm  Comments (59)  
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Are We Really at War?

Some people keep insisting that the war on terrorism isn’t a real war, because you can only be at war with a country, and “terrorism” isn’t a country. The problem is, a worldwide network of well-organized and well-funded terrorists has declared war on us.  When someone declares war on you, and demonstrates the ability to effectively attack you on your own soil, killing thousands of civilians and attacking the Pentagon, you are at war with them whether you call it a war or not. It’s pointless to say “they aren’t a country so we can’t be at war with them,” when they’re clearly at war with us.

There’s a significant difference between the war on terrorism and any previous wars we’ve fought. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a war. We’re at war with an international network of radical Islamic terrorists. The fact that the enemy isn’t one sovereign nation makes this war extremely difficult to prosecute, because it’s literally a war without borders. But does that mean we should give up and go home?

Their leaders have declared that they will not stop until they’ve succeeded in annihilating our culture. Because they’re fanatics, I believe them. These are not rational people. They believe they will defeat us. If they perceive that we’re too weak to continue the battle, it will give them strength to pursue it more vigorously.

There are radical Islamic fundamentalists just about everywhere in the world. Wherever they are, they’re a potential or actual threat, not just to us, but to anybody they deem is an infidel. We need to stop them, both because there’s no other nation on earth powerful enough to do it, and because we are, have been, and will be again, targets of their terrorist activity.

The people who say we should have stayed in Afghanistan because that’s where Bin Laden was before 9/11, or that we should focus on Pakistan because he’s probably there now, don’t understand that Osama bin Laden is not the enemy. He’s only one leader in a vast network of terrorist cells, spead throughout the world. You can’t kill the Hydra by chopping off its heads; you have to disembowel it. That means cutting of its source of funding. Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are the biggest sources of funding for Islamic terrorism. (Saudi Arabia is ostensibly our “ally,” so they will undoubtedly be the last one with which we engage, if it should come to that…)

IMHO, this war will ultimately be fought in every country that harbors or funds terrorists, because it’s a war on terrorism, not on a particular country. The countries that fund terrorism, and the countries where the terrorists organize, plot, stage, and train their operatives, will either fight with us or against us. If they commit to eradicating the terrorists within their borders, we will fight alongside them. If they side with the terrorists, we will fight against them.

Withdrawing our troops now, as the Democrats want to do, would leave the spoils to the enemy, and give them a chance to regroup and grow stronger. And they will attack us again.  I’d rather the war be fought over there by trained soldiers who volunteered to fight for their country than have it come here and be fought by suicide bombers against civilian targets.

Do you remember 9/11? Do you remember how you felt inside when you first learned what had happened? Or has it been glazed over by the media bombarding you with the same images over and over until you were finally inured to the reality of it, and it became just another media event? It was real. And it can happen again. And again. And again, and again. And, if you don’t believe me, ask an Israeli what it’s like to never know from day to day if the bus you take downtown, or the pizza shop your kid stops in with their friends after school, is going to be blown up by terrorists. Do you think it can’t happen here? Don’t forget, it already has.

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Published in: on February 12, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Comments (30)  
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Sacrificing Israel

People keep telling me that the terrorists wouldn’t hate us if we didn’t support Israel. Apparently, it’s our own fault they attacked us on 9/11, because they had already warned us many times to stop supporting Israel and get out of the Middle East. If only we had obeyed, they never would have attacked us on our own soil, killing thousands of innocent civilians and attempting to blow up our Pentagon.

I thought it was common knowledge that it’s a bad idea to negotiate with hostage-takers, extortionists, and terrorists. When you give in to their demands, you show they’re stronger than you are. Once they’ve confirmed their advantage, they inevitably escalate their demands. But these folks seem convinced that, if we’d done what the terrorists wanted, they really would have left us alone. 

And what was it they were demanding? Only that we give them Israel, — that we turn our backs and allow them to take out our strongest ally in that part of the world. Wow. That’s a pretty heavy price to pay, even for a promise to stop killing our citizens. I don’t think I’d be very comfortable with betraying an ally and leaving them like a sitting duck for their/our enemies to destroy, in return for a promise made by madmen to leave us alone.

Those who promote this course of action assume these fanatical extremists are honorable men who negotiate in good faith, and would keep their word to us if we just sacrificed our friends to their ideological blood lust. That isn’t very likely. They hate us. They hate our culture. They believe the freedoms we hold dear are abominations in the eyes of their god, who will reward them for smiting us.

They would not be satisfied with simply destroying Israel, as they promise to do if we let them. Once Allah granted them that victory, they’d take it as a sign and grow bolder. It might take time to build up their nuclear arsenal, and other weapons of mass destruction, while we obediently look the other way but, eventually, they’d get back to us.

Back in the days of the cold war, the threat of Mutual Assured Destruction acted as a deterrent to nuclear attacks. In the war with the terrorists, we’re dealing with a suicide bomber mentality. If there’s any way for them to take us out, they will. Mutual Assured Destruction is no deterrent for them, because they don’t care if they get taken out along with us. As long as they destroy us, Allah will reward them in the afterlife. How do you deter an enemy who has no fear of death? — There is only one way. By preventing them from ever having the means to strike first.

Sacrificing Israel on the altar of terrorism will not save us. And it would be a cowardly betrayal, not only of our ally, but of our own interests as well.

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Published in: on February 9, 2008 at 11:15 pm  Comments (30)  
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