TCS Daily

So, Did America Overreact to 9/11?

By Lee Harris - February 15, 2007 12:00 AM

Did America overreact to 9/11?

This is a question that is much in the air today. Consider, as one example, the essay that recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times written by David A. Bell, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins. The title of the piece is "Putting 9/11 into perspective," and its by-line reads: "The attacks were a horrible act of mass murder, but history says we're overreacting." But does "history" in fact tell us any such thing?

Simply put, Bell's argument goes as follows: There have been wars in the past, global wars, in which millions have died: 50 million, for example, in the Second World War. On the other hand, if you compute the number of Americans who died on 9/11, and "even if one counts our dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as casualties of the war against terrorism," this yields only 6,500 dead Americans. Then, as a way of putting this figure into perspective, Bell says that "we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in car accidents."

There is a bit of history in this argument, though the number of people who died in World War II is not exactly a trade secret of historians; but where exactly is Bell's logic? For example, let us suppose a man comes into your house and shoots your favorite dog in cold blood. You explode in rage and fury, whereupon a calm Professor Bell appears to inform you that during WWII whole families and their dogs were brutally murdered, or that in America thousands of dogs are run over by cars each year. Now both of these facts are true. No point in trying to deny them. But does either of these facts put "into perspective" the wanton killing of your beloved pet? Upon hearing Bell's recital of these indisputable facts, would you immediately say to him: "How right you are, Dr. Bell, and how wrong I was to fly into a rage over the killing of a single statistically insignificant dog. Thank you for putting the matter into perspective for me."

If a madman chops your hand off, will you be appeased if he tells you, "Well, be grateful. My previous victims, and there have been hundreds of them, had both their hands and both their feet chopped off. You are lucky, indeed, that I was so merciful." Would his words persuade you to take a detached view of your detached hand?

When a person or a group suffers an unprovoked attack, their first thought is seldom, "Let's put this into perspective." Instead, there is an adrenaline rush of outrage and anger, and this automatic reaction has been programmed into our species by what Charles Darwin called the universal struggle for existence. The famous Fight or Flight response has been designed to assure our long term survival. One may well die fighting or perish by fleeing; yet both responses are far more conducive to survival than waiting for a professor to put the attack into "historical perspective" four years after it occurred. It may be true that others have suffered even more outrageous attacks than the one you have suffered. But what's that to you? The only attack that concerns you is the attack that you must immediately defend yourself against. You must respond now, or never.

Professor Bell argues that the 9/11 attack did not genuinely endanger our national survival, and that the terrorists lack the capacity to "threaten the existence of the United States." Now if by this Bell means that they cannot kill us all, or even more than a few thousand at a time, then history seems to have proven him right—at least, so far. But what Bell overlooks is that in the struggle between human groups, it does not require a threat to the survival of the whole group to activate the Fight response. Far from it—groups begin fighting for reasons that strike outsiders as trifling or absurd. Is this irrational? To professors ensconced in the comfort of a university no doubt, but not to those who have to exist in a dog-eat-dog world.

The inmates of any jailhouse know that even mildest acts of aggression must be instantly and firmly challenged. If you are a newcomer and another inmate demands that you give him your candy bar, the worst thing you could possibly do would be to try to put the incident into perspective. You cannot say, "Well, it's only a candy bar, after all. No big deal," because, in this context, your candy bar is a big deal. It means everything. If you hand it over on demand, then you have also handled over your dignity. You have thereby informed not only the inmate making the demand, but all the other inmates watching you give into his demand that they too can all walk on you at any time. They too can take from you anything you have. They too can make you their flunkey or slave.

Of course, in defending your candy-bar, you may have to risk your life. But it is absurd to say that you are risking your life "only" for a candy bar when you are in fact risking it to maintain your autonomy and independence. The danger in such a situation is not overreaction, but, paradoxically, the failure to overreact.

The same principle applies to groups, tribes, and nations. If any group wishes to preserve its dignity and autonomy, there will be times when it is forced to act like the inmate defending his candy bar. In terms of a cost analysis, this kind of "overreaction" will seem utterly irrational. Is the candy bar really worth risking your life over? But to you, the refusal to take this risk involves a loss that cannot be measured by statistics—namely, the loss of your status as an independent moral agent that others will be careful not to push around or walk over.

Professor Bell wants us to believe that history tells us that America overreacted to 9/11. What history tells us, on the contrary, is that men have repeatedly gone into brutal and bloody wars over the moral equivalent of mere candy bars. The casus belli of the Franco-Prussian war was the fatal Ems telegram. The First World War began with the murder of a Crown Prince. The American Revolution began with a tea party.

It is far too early to be invoking the august judgment of history on America's response to 9/11; it may well turn out that the USA, instead of overreacting, failed to react strongly and forcefully enough. 9/11 as an act of unprovoked aggression is without parallel, and those who celebrated it throughout the Muslim world did so with complete impunity. In the eyes of our enemy, our failure to respond immediately and indiscriminately to the attack has not been chalked up to our humanitarian zeal, but to our weakness. Like the inmate who hands over his candy bar without protest, those who were watching us for our reaction to 9/11 may be drawing conclusions about us that we did not intend to convey to them, and that are not in our long-term interests.

Lee Harris is author of Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History.



Not indiscriminate enough??? You mean, we didn't nuke Mecca??
Since when has lack of discrimination been a virtue in our culture? Or is the idea that we need to adopt Islamic militant rules and worldview?

We invaded a country, Iraq, that had nothing at all to do with 9/11. Surely that's indiscriminate enough by any rational standard. But maybe mr. Harris can make his point clearer.

Factual point: when has Mr. Harris been in prison or other extreme enviroment defending a candy bar, or is this something he read about somewhere or saw in a movie?

We've continued our policy of appeasement ... we have yet begun to fight!
The Islamic attack of 9/11 was a religious act to galvanize the faithful to the jihadi call to arms. The Muslim attackers didn’t think a “Paper Tiger” like America would react since Clinton did little in the face of previous attacks.

But we only have fought half wars:

We chased the Afghan regime into Pakistan where it originated and has now regrouped.

We removed Saddam while the greater threat, Iran, is left in place to reap the rewards of an enemy now gone.

We’ve failed to take action against the Saudi regime that is funding the world-wide jihadi movement.

We responded to an act of war with “nations-building” instead of annihilating the enemy. We have only succeeded in proving that bin Laden was right … we are a paper tiger and if you wait long enough we’ll surrender.

In the future, with nukes, they can destroy our economy and way of life. It’s virtually insured unless we can reverse Bush’s policy of appeasement.

The US government grossly overacted!
If a man breaks into your house and kills your beloved dog you attempt to get him maybe even to kill him. You do not blow up his whole nationhood and say at least I got the *******! The police do not put half their force on the case.

We should have gone hard and heavy after Al Queda but not occupy any countries. We could have moved in Afghanistan and hunted Al Queda, if necessary toppling the Taliban without taking over the whole country, just driving them from parts of the country.

So tell us what should be done
Invade Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran?? Nuke the aforementioned? Please try to be a little specific.

That depends. Do you just want the man who killed your dog?
Or do you want to get the man who bought that man his gun, and who has been terrorizing your entire neighborhood and who has been trying to buy or build weapons much more powerfull than just guns.

As to your example, once you topple the Taliban, you have taken over the country.

Here are the guidelines
C’mon. I’m not a military expert nor am I omniscient. But there are guidelines.

First: understand the enemy. We are faced with an enemy driven by an imperialist warrior ideology – Islam – and it fuels the war. Muslims are rediscovering their religion and they take it seriously. But Islam is not monolithic: Sunnis view Shiites as heretics.

Second: stop helping the enemy. Stop holding Israel back! Stop helping the Palestinians. Break our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Stop giving Mubarack $2 billion/yr. Stop giving military equipment to Musharraf. Stop helping Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia. Stop groveling; stop trying to “win their hearts and minds.” Stop putting the lives of the enemy before the lives of our troops. We have a 50 year policy of helping Muslims and it has only emboldened the enemy. Appeasement never works.

Third: let the enemy know we loathe their values and culture. Let them know we have no respect for their lives and would use force in a heartbeat if we perceive them as a threat. Under no circumstances use the “carrot” but don’t hesitate to use the “stick.” Islam is a religion on slaughter, conquest, and oppression. Playing nice never works.

Fourth: strike to retaliate, not to rule. We don’t need to run their countries. It is possible to establish a deterrent so that we don’t have to invade and occupy foreign territory. But we have to accept a greater level of collateral damage to implement this policy in the short run. When faced with a savage enemy, one can’t let sentimentality get in the way.

These are guidelines.

Kill his neighbors too?
So, when the man kills your dog (and then shoots himself in the head, denying you justice), do you kill the man who supplied him, then go after his neighbor, and kill his whole family, and anyone who tries to defend his neighbor, and his whole family, and anyone who then says "I'm going to get a gun so you can't kill my whole family" because now that guy is an "imminent threat too."

This question was answered the second we invaded Iraq in the affirmative. Are we such pussies that we can't take a bloody nose? What happened to turn the other cheek, BTW?

The strategic importance of 9/11 should have been nil, but it was a great victory for our enemies because of the way we cowered in terror in response, and then flew off the handle. We systematically alienated our sympathizers and strenghtened our enemies' hands, and the sooner we realize that the STRONG response would have been a MEASURED response, the sooner we can chart an intelligent course through this mess. Foreign policy should not be dictated by emotion.

If they're Muslim
Islam does not see people as individuals; you are defined as part of your family, part of your tribe and part of the Ummah. When a Muslim hates you, your family is in danger; and he expects you to come after his family. That is why an Islamic father kills his son or daughter to restore the honor of the family and tribe. It's to protect the family which is the social unit.

We are fighting this enemy as if they were Lockean individualists. Silly people keep telling us that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 (pssst, Mussolini didn’t have anything to do with Pearl Harbor) as if we should be going after criminals for a criminal act. In war, individuals don’t count. Let me repeat that: in war individuals don’t count. That is why Lee Harris’ article is silly. War isn’t police work writ large. It involves massive death and destruction.

Saddam was a separate threat from the Islamists in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. However, taking out Saddam stopped the Arab nuclear program (which had been moved to Libya.) Mission was accomplished. Then Bush went on a silly social work adventure to create a liberal democracy and “win hearts and minds.” No one advocated establishing a deterrent. No one knows how anymore.

Fine - just leave the rest of us out of it
So, because "Islam" does not see people as individuals, neither shoudl we? That's called THE TERRORISTS WINNING.

For my part, I think it's a bigger middle finger in Osama's eye if we just ignore them and act like this, while tragic, didn't really hurt us (strategically it's a drop of water in an ocean, you do realize that right?).

Guess what - THIS ISN'T A WAR JUST BECAUSE SOME TERRIFIED PUSSIES SAY THAT IT IS. Real men know when a fight isn't worth getting dragged into - this was one of those times.

Security and Social Work
'Then Bush went on a silly social work adventure to create a liberal democracy and “win hearts and minds.”'

I would not characterize nation building in Iraq as "silly". I would say rather that it was failed due to tactical errors. Law and order should have been established in Iraq once Baghad was taken. Law and order includes dimilitarization and border control. Once the country was secured, the chances of building a liberal democracy and a market economy would have been favorable.

After four years the country is still not sufficiently secured to support economic growth and long term political stability. Today, security is the primary responsibility of the elected Iraqi government. But is was our responsibility in the summer of 2003. We failed then...learning from our mistakes and being part of the solution today is the responsible choice.

I respect what you're saying
But I don’t think it is a question of proper policing. The culture in Iraq, as most Islamic nations, isn’t conducive to establishing and sustaining a liberal order. A liberal society (i.e. libertarian society) is based on trust. Police are needed but trust is the underlying factor that is indispensable. Trust is the basis of civilization.

Islam is a religion of force. Mohammad slaughtered, plundered, conquered and oppressed. Deception (takiqyya) is seen as a tactical weapon. Authoritarian rule is the norm. Freedom is something alien to the tribal mindset.

Bush is honorable but in my opinion, too generous. We should have left shortly after toppling Saddam's regime by putting in another dictator or by respecting tribal powers. Iran is the main problem in the region and the world today. Would FDR stop WWII after invading Italy to establish a model society to impress the rest of Europe?

Enought with the WWII comparisons
Iran didn't declare war on us, and neither was it allied with Iraq, so a comparison of the two to Italy and Germany is beyond stupid.

Teaching them a lesson
There's only one thing worse than failing to take action after an outrage like 9/11. And that's taking action, but having it be the wrong action. Like using dummied up intelligence to create the illusion that Saddam Hussein was behind the plot, and invading Iraq for something they had nothing to do with.

No, maybe that's not right. There's only one thing that's worse than taking no action in response to 9/11. And that would be invading Afghanistan to teach them a lesson, and five years later still struggling to a draw with the Taliban. What kind of lesson does that teach people?

Afghanistan today is a power vacuum, with most areas ruled by warlords and opium dealers, with political control chaotic and Karzai's government on the skids, and with a lack of inspired leadership on the political or the military level. Furthermore there is no hope on the horizon for any optimism. Afghanistan is a failure of policy.

And this was us going up against an opponent with virtually no military capability. Suppose we had met with significant opposition? I'm afraid this kind of press doesn't do the American cause much good.

This discussion gets inflammatory ...
The implied tone of the original article and many of the more "agressive" comments is that the enemy is Islam itself. And as such, maybe it should be quarantined if not eradicated. Well, while one can make a very compelling case for "Islam is the real enemy", it really becomes very silly since we share this planet wih more than 1 Billion of them. It would require a holocaust to shame the ***** to eradicate Islam. So, let's get realistic and find some less beligerent way to solve the 9-eleven problem and its aftermath.

If There Was Any Religion That Was Fascist & Genocidal, Fake Cult Christianity Wins Hands Down
Innocent People Murdered By Christianity & Christians 1100-1600

Another 63.8 MILLION murdered by Christianity and Christians 1500-1600.

Beginning the computation of persecutions at 1100 instead of 1200, the average population growth would be 22.2% in the absence of persecution. The deficit in population growth from 1100 to 1200 would be 9.7%, from 1200 to 1300 would be 22.2%, from 1300 to 1400 would be 25%, and from 1400 to 1500 would be 0.8%. This amounts to 203.7 million persons in all. Subtracting 40 million for the Black Death gives over 160 million persons killed by persecutions in the Middle Ages. Of course there were also persecutions before 1100 and after 1500 that are not being considered, such as the 15 million Indians that died in the New World and the estimated 15 million or more killed in the inquisition from 1518 to 1548 and onwards. Perhaps 55 million should be subtracted from this quantity, as well.
However, the population growth in Europe presents a different picture. In 1000 AD, the population was about 36 million, then grew by 22 percent by 1100 and by 31 percent by 1200 and by 36 percent by 1300, reaching about 79 million. In 1400 it was about 60 million due to the Black Death and in 1500 about 81 million and 100 million in 1600. The population growth from 400 to 800 was significantly slower. To explain this increasing population growth in the light of persecution, recall that whenever the Papacy extended its dominion, as in South American or the Crusades, there was much bloodshed. The same would have been true as the Papacy extended its dominion over Europe. Afterwards the persecutions within Europe would have decreased and the attention of the Papacy would have been directed more towards extending its domain beyond Europe. But even a population growth rate of 36 percent is not necessarily high; the entire world population grew by almost 50 percent between 1700 and 1800.
From 1400 to 1500 persecutions in Europe had largely died down, and the population growth rate was nearly 36 percent. The population growth from 1200 to 1300 was almost identical, suggesting that persecutions had largely died down then as well because most of the ?heretics? had been eliminated already and the Inquisition had not really gotten started. Therefore the value of 36 percent from 1200 to 1300 can be taken as a base value in the absence of persecution. Thus the deficits in population growth due to persecution and the Black Death would have been 14 percent from 1000 to 1100, 5 percent from 1100 to 1200, none from 1200 to 1300, 60 percent from 1300 to 1400, none from 1400 to 1500, and 12 percent from 1500 to 1600. Adding these up gives a total of 63.6 million people, of whom 20 million can be attributed to the Black Death and 43.6 million to persecution. Actually, because Europe had less than one fourth of the total world population, it seems doubtful that half of the worldwide deaths from the Black Death would have occurred in Europe. A figure of 10 million instead of 20 million for this would mean 53.6 million deaths were attributable to persecution. This is not too far from the common estimate of 50 million killed in Europe. Adding in 15 million for the New World almost exactly duplicates Brownlee?s estimate of 68.5 million. Of course, the total would have been higher because there was also persecution when the population growth was 36 percent. In addition, the persecutions before 1000 when the Papacy was extending its domain over Europe are not counted.


43 Million Killed In Europe Alone By The Church 1500-1600

How not to solve the terror problem
Jason-- Wouldn't it be a good idea if we were to first clean up the messes we've already created? If we are going to have a positive impact on the Islamic world, I think it would be best to try to create a model they would want to follow. And in Iraq we've only made things worse-- while in Afghanistan we've floundered and let the invasion lose steam.

Also, you say "strike to retaliate, not to rule. We don’t need to run their countries. It is possible to establish a deterrent so that we don’t have to invade and occupy foreign territory."

But what would such a deterrent consist of? We've knocked two countries flat. One had already been pounded to a smithereen by twenty years of previous fighting. The other used to be a viable, if poorly run, country before we broke it. If this episode teaches us anything, it's that we can't achieve foreign policy goals just by killing people.

Our enemy is small groups of radicals organized into terror cells. It's not entire nations. And if we know anything about the motivation of these small terror cells, it's that they are inspired by just the kind of ham handed military force we are currently displaying.

A better approach would be to just do nothing. Getting these hotheads angry is counterproductive. I think your problem is in not noticing that it's not the world's 1,300,000,000 Muslims who are fighting us. It's a handful of groups numbering only in the low thousands.

Declare war on all Islam and we're just going to have more problems.

Are you people stupid, or just willfully ignorant?
Until the day comes when you yellow-backed coward libs understand that if you are not a Muslim, you are fair game to them, you will remain the terrorists' greatest allies.

How is it you do not understand this? Do your simple little minds see the word 'religion' and simply assume they are all essentially the same, like different flavors of ice cream in a case - generally all the same with just slight variations between them, but mostly indistinguishable from one another? Just silly harmless people engaged in their silly harmless religions? Moral equivolency anyone?

The fact that some of you can call 9/11 a 'bloody nose' (how sickeningly wrong-headed you are), or the fact that some of you can insist that all we really needed to do was chase UBL, as though 9/11 was a crime spree and not a global reaffirmation of the war we have unwittingly been in since essentially 1948, all that shows is that you people are exhibit A to showcase how poor our educational system has become.

It's like you were created for no other purpose than to make sure that both yourselves and everyone around you are never anything but victims.

When does it stop being a 'bloody nose', eh? When someone you actually CARE about is harmed? When hundreds of thousands die here at their hands? Will it take millions? At which point do you pull your head out of whatever orifice you have it jammed and realize the truth? And flaccida? When we finally find UBL's bones, will that make all the other terrorists just stop trying to kill us? You think it was just an isolated incident? Can you REALLY be that stupid?

I'm sorry, some of you jackals just really pushed my buttons today. You want to know why our enemies look at us and conclude that we are weak, cowardly and stupid? It's because they see and hear people like you unable to keep your brains open or your mouths shut.

It's not just a few
Our enemy isn’t just a few – it is a broad movement. This movement gets moral and material support from a large percentage of the population and often the majority. We are at war with Islam but we pretend it is only a few. We don’t have to conquer them; only to discourage them. The problem isn’t that the hate us; it’s that they don’t fear us. Silly attempts to “win hearts and minds” only make us look weak and embolden them.

The "9-11" problem
The inflammatory language should not be a problem in this discussion or any other-Freedom of Speech in The Constitution is Sacred for Real Americans.Agressive language and tone are to be expected, and America's enemies should expect the most brutal and destructive responses from us.One way to stop Islamists is to have police/ICE in the United States institute the midnight knock for every expired working visa with an Arabic name on it. Deportation should be considered as they are a real and present danger and National Security threat, and The United States under-reacted to the Pan Am Bombing in 1988 and WTC 93 attack while Ollie North bragged that the 86 Operation El Dorado Canyon, "put Gaddaffi out of the terrorism business". Pigs blood and entrails be upon the Islamist terrorists, and historical revisionists who protect them. Boycotting Exxon-Mobil,Royal Dutch Shell, Occidental Petroleum, BP,and Amerada-Hess which all do business with Terrorist Arabist Regimes would also help,as the wretched ragheads who conspire to kill us may also pump gas there.

Oh come on.
Come on Roy you can do better than that.

"Like using dummied up intelligence to create the illusion that Saddam Hussein was behind the plot, and invading Iraq for something they had nothing to do with."

I know you live in your own little personal fantasy-world and all that, but now you're just making things up.

It's gone from 'Bush lied!' about Iraq having WMD's, as though that was the stated reason for going in there (it wasn't). Now it's up to 'dummied up intelligence to create the illusion that Saddam was behind 'the plot' (assuming your vague reference to 'the plot' is referring to 9/11).

Are you just being egregiously absurd merely to try to make some kind of point, or do you actually expect people not to laugh out loud at such statements?

Identifying and addressing the real enemy
"So, let's get realistic and find some less beligerent way to solve the 9-eleven problem and its aftermath."

I agree entirely. One approach might be to go back to the expressed reasons Al Qaeda is so angry with the US.

There really seem to be only two. The first is our overbearing military presence in the lands of Islam. And that one would have been fairly easy to solve after 9/11 and the initial raid to overturn the Taliban. We could have just withdrawn.

The lesson to hostile governments would have been learned: aid anyone attacking the US and we'll knock you down. Such an approach would have cost little and made no enemies.

Instead we stayed on, and five years later have bogged down in the Afghan mud. Not good. Then, of course, Iraq. What can I say about that sirry spectacle?

Regarding Israel, we could have taken the novel course of acting as an honest broker between Israel and Palestine, being even handed, demanding good faith from both and not being blatantly pro-Israeli. Actions like rearming the IDF with cluster bombs while they were in the midst of bombing civilian populations in Lebanon are the kind of thing that years of diplomacy can't undo.

Finally, recognize the fact that the "enemy" consists of small terror cells-- not all of Islam. Do good police work, in tracking them, uncovering plots and neutralizing their activities. This doesn't require an army-- in fact armies are of no use in this kind of fight. It requires smart cops doing good police work.

The Lessons of History
Anyone believing that the USA overreacted to the unprovoked attack of 9-11-2001 has learned little from history, if they have studied history at all. The single biggest flaw in Bell's assertion that we some how overreacted is that this enemy would never again attack us in our homeland if we had not reacted. How many times had the Islamists attacked American interest prior to 9-11-2001? Soon, if not already, this enemy will have WMDs, most probably nuclear devices, capable of destroying an entire American city. If you don't believe that then you are not paying attention to what is going on in the world, nor are you listening to the words of our enemy. Remember how long it was between the first and second attack on the Twin Towers.

Thinking that invading Iraq and finishing a war started a decade before is wrong again indicates little historical background in reality. Because the Iraq theater of this war has not gone really well is certainly not surprising in the history of war. Every war we have fought was always a close run thing from the start. Where we have failed is when we have lost the will to continue fighting. Ask anyone that served in WWII, especially in the Pacific Island campaign. Ask anyone that served in Korea, Vietnam.

Also you might take the opportunity to revisit the history of US policy relative Iraq clearly stated by past administrations, UN Security Council Resolutions and previous positions of the present critics on the Democratic side of the aisle. Prior to 9-11 they all believed and said that Saddam was the single greatest threat we or the Middle East faced; he was a danger to the World. It was already policy of the USA for regime change in Iraq prior to the Bush Administration. It was policy of the UN that Saddam be punished if he did not comply fully with UN Security Council resolutions.

To face an enemy who understand only the ruthless application of force, who strives for the largest number of civilian deaths at the lowest price, and who has clearly and unambiguously stated they intend to continue this fight until everyone comes under their version of Islam, without appropriated and profound reaction is shear and utter folly. It is indeed being naive and ignorant about the real lessons of history, not the politically correct clap trap versions taught today in most universities.

We often forget what a young country we are. Past civilizations that came and went in 200 years are barely a footnote in history. We are still the grandest experiment of human freedom in history and this experiment can still fall into ruin. Imagine the completely loss of one American City.

In retrospect, we should have focused more on Al Qaida, and less on Iraq
Al Qaida is very involved in But right after 9/11, we had the right idea and should have taken it further by raining hell on Al Oaida & Bin Laden and embarked on a full-scale mission to eradicate that centralized terrorist group.

Iraq, despite any noble motive to spread democracy, has sidetracked the country and we've painted ourselves into a corner. If we would've killed the biggest inmate in the prison (Al Qaida) immediately for demanding the 'candy bar', the other inmates (other terrorists) would have been much more reluctant to attack us.

Going to Iraq was like turning and beating the s**t out of some other guy who was laughing as the inmate punked us. Since we haven't been attacked, it might have detered another attack somewhat, but going after the main perpetrator seems like it'd be much more effective.

Putting them out of business
"One way to stop Islamists is to have police/ICE in the United States institute the midnight knock for every expired working visa with an Arabic name on it."

Bold words. The appropriate countermeasure, for an actual terrorist, would be to make sure his papers were in order.

How broad? How many?
I mean, Islam has about 1.2 billion adherents, divided into numerous subgroups and sects. Maybe - and it's a big maybe - you have 1 million militants and 100 million sympathizers of various degrees of enthusiasm. Just stamping our feet and saying 'evil jihadis! must resist!" offers no guidance whatsoever about what specifically to do - because it's different in every country from Morocco to Indonesia. Saying how important the problem is doesn't help either, particularly when we've got so much of our resources pinned down in an utterly useless war in Iraq.

Echoing what Billy said
I can't think of an analogy less appropriate to reality, and more useless in defining a strategy that will work than WWII comparisons. There is literally no connection, no comparison, no similiarity.

>Iran is the main problem in the region and the world today.

Iran helped us and our allies when we went into Afghanistan.Saddam Hussein was Iran's arch enemy. Do those two facts make any impression at all?

All done by bad people, no question.
As if such a tired hate-filled screed deserves a response anyway..

You mental midgets needs to try to come to grips with some basic concepts: a religion is not capable of doing anything, in and of itself. Any actions, therefore, which you attribute to 'Christianity', are mis-attributed.

Corrollary to that: every religion has at some point had episodes in its past wherein bad people did bad things in that religion's name. If you genuinely want to do anything other than spread your hate, then try learning some history, where you will discover that, unlike in America today, where religion and government are separated by legal mandate, no such situation existed then. The majority of actions taken in 'Christianty's name' by supposed 'Christians' was merely political in anture, having more to do with power and control than than anything having to do with the religion itself.

Your feeble-minded attempt to draw some sort of moral-equivalency between Christianity and islam is no more relevant now than it was the first time whatever hack posted it, and from whatever hack poster you cut-n-pasted it from.

No Subject
''Then Bush went on a silly social work adventure to create a liberal democracy and “win hearts and minds.”'

I would not characterize nation building in Iraq as "silly". I would say rather that it was failed due to tactical errors. Law and order should have been established in Iraq once Baghad was taken. Law and order includes dimilitarization and border control. Once the country was secured, the chances of building a liberal democracy and a market economy would have been favorable. '

It is not easy and the Bush admin. should never have been tried. Our Government cannot even establish law and order to a satisfactory level in parts of our own country. Add to that people would rather be governed badly by their own group than governed reasonably well by foreigners and you got a predictable problem not due to tactical errors but due to human nature. Read the ‘The Moon is Down’ (I may be wrong on the title, the book about the siege of Leningrad). It is not the result of tactical error that Some Iraqi Sunnies want to dominate Iraqi Shia and vice versa.

We won the war in Iraq in 2 weeks. We should have left soon after that or at least after the capture of Sadaam.

In WW2 the nation was united and the cause of victory was total.

It is amusing how you make statements about "Do those two facts make any impression at all?". You know everything don't you.

Funny, I do remember WMDs as a prinicple rationale for going to war in Iraq.
But maybe I'm wrong. What do you remember as "the stated reason for going in there?"

Please don't give the reasons now offered, but the reasons offered at the time. And please quote the language of actual White House or other administration statements. Also note the emphasis given to specifics. Are you sure that WMDs and support for 'terrorism' with Al Qaeda as the implied terrorists weren't at the head of the pack?

Time Machine
Guess we need to get the time machine reved up and go back and kill those bad Christians...

Ever hear of the reformation?

What the hell does this have to do with 9-11? They were worse in 1500 and thus we should do nothing? Boy, now that a sound argument.

YOu missed the Crusades.

So that's still another difference
And another reason not to use the comparison. You'd be surprised but not no Americans think we should not be fighting terror. Lots think the war in Iraq was a colossal mistake that made everything worse.

>t is amusing how you make statements about "Do those two facts make any impression at all?". You know everything don't you.

No, I don't know everything. Do you think I was wrong about those two facts? How? Do you think they're irrelevent? How? Do you have anything to say on topic?

They are the same people who wanted to negotiate with the USSR. One actually told me "better red than dead".

Others I have debated talk of acceptable rates of terror. We must accomodate certain things now and so on. ANything as long as they can avoid direct confrontation.

Now we find out the mall shooter in Utah was a muslim. The MSM essentially covered it up. Why? Do you supposed that a 18 year old mauslim man shoots 9 people for no reason could be a act of terror?

A lot more going on
Iraq and Afghanistan are not the only points int he GWOT. And the good guys are winning more then they are losing.

Yes, we should have gone after Osama and his group with a bit more focus. Yes, we should have had a plan, complete with various contingencies, in place before invading Iraq.

On the other hand, military, para-military, intelligence and police from Europe to Africa are finding, engaging and stopping terrorist. And many of these are linked to Al Quaida.

Recent poll shows 70+% of Americans think Iraq is important on the war on terror and I majority think we can and must succeed.

How do you expplain that? I also talk to many people who are really PO's about this stupid resolution. A resolution that panderst eh lefts hard core anti-war fringe at the expense of the mission and troops.

Politics ahead of nation. The new DNC motto.

Billy boy is wrong as usualy and so are you.
Billy: “Iran didn't declare war on us, and neither was it allied with Iraq, so a comparison of the two to Italy and Germany is beyond stupid.”

So here we have it. The complete moral bankruptcy of the anti-war pseudo-pacifists!

If Muslims aren’t formal and don’t declare war, like Hitler did, we can only respond as if it was a criminal act. Of course, the Islamic enemy knows how to play that game. They attack and then deny; attack and deny again and again. They know the pacifist type will cry “but they didn’t declare war.” It works over and over again. You play right into their hands and set us up for repeated attacks.

If Billy’s family was killed by a nuke but there was no declaration of war, he’d phone 911 for the police.

Spirited repartee
I acknowledge your fighting spirit. What are we ordinary citizens to do? Firebomb the homes of our Muslim neighbors?

Would you think that such a campaign of blood and thunder against Muslims in the US would make them like us any more? Fear us any more? Hate us any more? Putting yourself in their place, what would your response be to such a program directed against you?

Maybe it's not a simple case of "all of them" against "all of us". Maybe the world we live in is a little more complicated than that, and our actual enemies are so rare and so few on the ground that we need to employ methods other than the scorched earth approach to find out exactly who they are.

We did turn the other cheek. 5 or 6 times during the 90's.
Each time the enemy saw this compassion as weakness, and planed more and bigger hits.

When your neighbors tell you time and time again, that they want you dead. When they furthermore take actions to advance their stated goals.

Do you wait for them to kill you, or do you kill them first?

what sympathizers?
the arab street danced in joy the minute the first plane hit.

The Morals Of Immoral NeoCon Christians
Serial killer/rapist Ted Bundy campaigned for the Republican Party

Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child. He admitted he's been doing it for years with a variety of children.

Republican activist Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s during the Reagan White House Years.

Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s during the Reagan White House Years.

Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges.

Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a minor working as a congressional page.

Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.

Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.

Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a juvenile and one count of delivering the drug LSD.

Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks, an advisor to a California assemblyman, was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.

Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.

Republican preacher Stephen White was arrested after allegedly offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.

Republican talk show host Jon Matthews of Houston was indicted for indecency with a child, including exposing his genitals to a girl under the age of 17.

Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling confessed to molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.

Republican Party leader Paul Ingram of Thurston County, Washington, pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.

Republican St. Louis Election Board official Kevin Coan was arrested and charged with trying to buy sex from a 14-year-old girl whom he met on the Internet.

Republican politician Andrew Buhr, former committeeman for Hadley Township Missouri, was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.

Republican politician Keith Westmoreland, a Tennessee state representative, was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to minors under 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).

Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was charged with sexual misconduct involving a 15 year old girl.

Republican legislator, Richard Gardner, a Nevada state representative, admitted to molesting his two daughters.

Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.

Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.

Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.

Republican fake reporter Jeff Gannon organized child sex parties for Bush and his buddies at the White House for several years.

I would, they won't
France is following your advice, I suggest you move to some country that is too scared to fight.

what's so new about the motto
They've been following it since at least the 60's.

Each paragraph has a great thought. Let me pick one:

"Prior to 9-11 they [the Dems] all believed and said that Saddam was the single greatest threat we or the Middle East faced; he was a danger to the World. It was already policy of the USA for regime change in Iraq prior to the Bush Administration."

I remember seeing John Kerry on TV exactly 3 months after 9/11 and he was boasting how the Democrats were ahead of Bush on the Iraq threat. I often wondered if Bush choose Iraq as the second front of the WOT in part to maintain the “United We Stand” bi-partisan posture, conclude the 10 years of fighting (Clinton flew more sorties over Iraq than Bush I), and continue the policy (with the advice of Clinton’s man at the CIA – George Tenet) to insure that Saddam stay WMD-free.

Regime change was the Clinton/Gore policy. It was a respectable option even if it wasn’t the only option for the 2nd front. I’ve come to loathe the Dems for their turncoat ways.

please quote your sources.
And maybe you remember the recent election. Real endorsement of the war, don't you think?

But since you brought up polls:

and your 70 percent number comes from where?

This isn't complicated
We aren't in a war against a nation state. "Muslims" as a class are not in a war against us. some muslims as. Most of the Germans were Christians. Christians did not declare war against us either. A nation did.

>Of course, the Islamic enemy knows how to play that game.

And you have expressed no coherent way to counter it, other than saying really loudly, we don't like jihadis and will kill them if we can find them, but we have real trouble finding them because they hide.

Nobody is expressing "pacifist" (or passivist) sentiments. They just disagree with you on the best way to fight. And using WWII as an analogy offers no guidance whatsoever,

I agree that WWII was different
But the principles are the same. When you face a savage enemy you show no pity. It’s not a question of majority or minority … the enemy don’t take polls among their people. It’s not a question of formal declarations or attack without declarations. You have to mean perceived threat with force or establish a deterrent.

I wrote about this in my “Here are the Guidelines” fifth post from the top.

The reason the enemy resorts to covert means is because people like you will throw their hands up in despair and say we are helpless. In war you attack nations (I agree) but not just because they act as formal national entities. Jefferson didn’t attack Tripoli because of a formal declaration of war. He didn’t say “it’s just a few and they don’t represent the majority.” He didn’t worry about their people. He fought! He established a deterrent.

If you make it clear that you loathe them and will kill their family without hesitation, you won’t have to lift a finger. Once again, the guidelines:

Understand the enemy.
Stop helping the enemy – end the appeasement.
Let the enemy know we loathe their values and culture.
Strike to retaliate, not to rule – establish a future deterrent!

We already know how to do it right
>>MacArthur did it right with Japan. We have his plan and could implement it, but being in a rush we failed. This failure has cost lives and ultimately will net us a bad result in Iraq.

>>Part of knowing your enemy is to figure out what he loves and why. This would be the leverage point. It is not about how nice we can be! We already financially support just about everyone on the planet. Nice isn't working!

>>Pick a list of targets and post them to allow civilians to leave. Then level them completely. Become a country of its word, and make sure you fulfill your promises. You tell them the next time "x" happens you are going to level "y" 72hrs later. When "x" happens drop leaflets to remind them of your intentions and do it. If casualties occur, you can be absolved. After about a dozen of these exchanges people will get the message.

>>We have lost credibility when for years our president would go on the air and shake his fist saying we will get you and then do nothing. We have lost credibility because our major political parties will use everything to destroy each other not realizing they are destroying their very nation.

>>Thanks to Reagan and the Strategic Defense Intuitive, North Korea now knows that their ballistic missiles will no longer be a serious threat as we deploy this new defense system. They are suddenly willing to negotiate because they see their only asset loosing value fast.

>>We need to take steps to return our credibility and even give reason to fear us. Until we take these steps, nothing will change.

Excellent points
Excellent points, ablur92! They're lost on Lemuel but I and others appreciate them.

Can't find it now
I should bookmark this crap. The poll was about the war, not Bush.

However, this one is interesting.,2933,213850,00.html

Either way, I don't think a election where most candidates won by 5000 votes is a huge endorsement either way. Additionally, the party in power usually does far worse in mid terms. IN a nutshell, I think most Americans want o succeed. It is the hard left that wants failure at any price.

Iran has declared war
Iran has threatened us with every speech. They so far haven't started lobing shells but political war has been declared. Start looking into Mr. Dinnerjackets speeches.

Most of the lessons of modern day war were actually learned in WWII. It was the last war that liberal/PC/SP philosophies did not rule. It was a war fought with the sole purpose is winning. These small touchy feely excursions our costing lives and money and emboldening the enemy.

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