June 24, 2006

Deluded America

Extending the discussion that began with Worse Than Even Moral Equivalence, Diana West writes about Deluded America:

...a quotation by Churchill on the subject of war. Specifically, what happens to a civilized society when it goes to war with a barbarous one...what I remember as being the main point was that if the civilized society is to prevail over the barbarous one, it will necessarily and tragically be degraded by the experience as a vital cost of victory. Partly, this is because civilized war tactics are apt to fail against barbarous war tactics, thus requiring civilized society to break the "rules" if it is to survive a true death struggle. It is also because the clash itself — the act of engaging with the barbarous society — forces civilization to confront, repel and also internalize previously unimagined depredations. This is degrading, too...

The question is, did bombing Dresden to defeat Hitler or dropping two nuclear bombs to force Japan to stop fighting make the Allies into barbarians?

I think most people would still say of course not and argue that such destructive measures were necessary to save civilization itself — and certainly thousands of mainly American and Allied lives. But if this argument continues to carry the day, it's because we still view that historic period from its own perspective. We view it from a perspective in which Allied lives — our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons — counted for more than Axis lives, even those of women and children.

How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think anymore. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy and the "civilians" they hide among — and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq — our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, and not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran and not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadists. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of, anyone who does. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.

Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis. The morally superior (read: paralyzed) don't really take sides, don't really believe one culture is qualitatively better or worse than the other. They don't even believe one culture is just plain different from the other. Only in this atmosphere of politically correct and perpetually adolescent non-judgmentalism could anyone believe, for example, that compelling, forcing or torturing a jihadist terrorist to get information to save a city undermines our "values" in any way. It undermines nothing — except the jihad.

Do such tactics diminish our inviolate sanctimony? You bet. But so what? The alternative is to follow our precious rules and hope the barbarians will leave us alone, or, perhaps, not deal with us too harshly. Fond hope. Consider the 21st-century return of (I still can't quite believe it) beheadings. The first French Republic aside, who on God's modern green earth ever imagined a head being hacked off the human body before we were confronted with Islamic jihad? Civilization itself is forever dimmed — again.

Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker, RIP.


Diana West has more in It's an Islamic jihad, stupid:

Discussing the "war on terror" has been endlessly awkward. Terror -- like a blitzkrieg, sneak-attack or disinformation -- is a tactic, not an enemy. But in our politically-correct era, we dwell on the tactic, never defining the enemy...but don't describe him as an Islamic jihadist in the age-old tradition of Islamic jihadis going back to Muhammad. Such historical precision might be hurtful and insensitive, and we wouldn't want that.

Indeed, as a matter of American foreign policy, we don't want that. Better to keep things vague and indirect...Once upon a time, We the People were crass enough to have repelled a German blitzkrieg, defied Japanese sneak attack, and even, some of us, combated Soviet disinformation. Now, We the Peoples are "enlightened" to the point where we send armies out for years to fight generic "terror" -- no matter how specifically Islamic that it is.

There are many reasons why this matters, not least of which is that, without understanding the religious nature of jihad (holy war), along with its sister institution of dhimmitude (inferior status of non-Muslims under Islam), there can be no triumph over jihad and no avoiding dhimmitude. There can also be no understanding of the religiously rooted attitudes toward jihad movements among even non-violent Muslims, generally ranging from a tacit ambivalence to wild adulation.

Even as we fight our war against "terror," we simultaneously fight against any such understanding. Maybe the reason goes beyond reflexive PC manners. Maybe the West simply doesn't want an "enemy" at all; maybe we simply want to safeguard ourselves against "terror." Maybe our elites believe that, in targeting only terror, the enemy will learn to like us, and terror will go away.

This mindset may explain why the United States exhausts itself trying to disclaim a connection between Islam and jihad, opening Islamic centers on U.S. military bases (most recently at Quantico at the behest of a Wahhabi-educated cleric). Thus, as Paul Sperry writes at frontpagemag.com, "facilitating the study of the holy texts the enemy uses, heretically or not, as their manual of war"; treating those same holy texts reverentially by military order at Guantanamo Bay; and even sending in the Marines to donate prayer rugs to an Iraqi mosque.

Such tactics suggest we no longer seek a military triumph over Islamic jihad -- if we ever did. Had we prosecuted such a war, it would be over by now. The president would have directed the military to eradicate, freeze or neutralize jihadi threats where they exist...

But no. Such a war on terror long ago gave way to the Struggle to Make Everyone Think We're Swell. In this no-win fight, we must watch what we say...And we must watch what we do...In a war in which an interrogation could save a city, we rewrite our interrogation rules to make sure that it won't. "If this debate were limited to what's best for interrogation purposes, the decision (about whether to soften interrogation techniques) would be pretty easy," a senior Defense Department official told The New York Times. "But then you have to look at what we lose diplomatically.'"

Why? What are we, Liechtenstein? We sure act like it. The Washington Times' Tony Blankley recently noted the defeatism in America's about-face with jihadist Iran -- the looming front in the war. By offering non-military nuclear technology or else threatening non-military sanctions, the Bush administration seems to have acquiesced to what Blankley describes as "the only 'respectable' position" among both European and American elites: namely, "the absolute exclusion of a military option."

If true, this would mean that the already inadequately titled "war on terror" would no longer refer to "war" at all. And that would leave only...


Israel offers an appropriate and, by American standards, politically incorrect alternative approach for dealing with Islamic jihadists:

Israel will work to ensure the Hamas-led government falls if a soldier kidnapped by Palestinian militants is not released alive, a high-ranking security official said.

"We will make sure that the Hamas government ceases to operate if the kidnapped soldier is not returned to us alive," the source told AFP...

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I live in a town about 50 miles from where Pfc. Menchaca was from. The enormity of the barbarism practiced on him and Pfc. Tucker has yet to hit the intelligencia (read PC apologists) nor do I think it will until some massive terrorist attack either convinces them or the rest of us rise up and smash the islamofascists despite the apologists. There can be no other outcome in the war between humanity and the barbarians.

Great post.

Posted by: GM Roper at June 24, 2006 2:43 PM

The greatest respect we can show these two gentlemen would be to end the war today and bring our soldiers home. This war is based on lies and you all drank the cool-aid!

Posted by: Santos Appolito at June 25, 2006 4:21 PM

Santos -

You are drinking your own "lemon"ade. I guess you think this barbarous behavior is our fault? That perhaps if we brought our troops home, sealed our borders, and hid in our cocoon from the outside world maybe we will be better off?

Get real - you should not degrade an excellent historical perspective from one of the greatest leaders of the past century with your left-wing accusatory, biased slander.


Posted by: Tim2 at June 26, 2006 8:38 AM

How come when a policeman is killed brutally by a criminal the left doesn't wave their hands in the air in disgust and say "bring the policemen home"?

Sucks to be the world's cop. But who else will stand up to those who would have no issues with barbarically defeating those who won't capitulate to their unliberal views?

Posted by: doubled at June 26, 2006 9:54 AM