Tuesday, January 30, 2007

'Cuz it's "hip"

David Bell's LA Times piece is yet another example of the pontifications of somebody who just doesn't quite get this whole "war on terror" thing. Via Patterico:

IMAGINE THAT on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers
and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks
on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that
six hours after that,there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks hadcontinued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20
million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union
suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help
put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during
the war against terrorism.

It also raises several questions. Has the American reaction to the
attacks in fact been a massive overreaction? Is the widespread belief
that 9/11 plunged us into one of the deadliest struggles of our time
simply wrong? If we did overreact, why did we do so? Does history
provide any insight?

[...]

The people who attacked us in 2001 are indeed hate-filled fanatics who
would like nothing better than to destroy this country. But desire is
not the same thing as capacity, and although Islamist extremists can
certainly do huge amounts of harm around the world, it is quite
different to suggest that they can threaten the existence of the United
States.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Bell completely misses the point of the War on Terror. He quite accurately assess the situation in stating that, "desire is not the same thing as capacity..." but he misses the connection. Let us examine this further.

The Islamists that want us dead truly do desire our extinction. They don't simply hate us--the people. They don't hate John because he's John or Teressa because she's Teressa. They hate America because it is America: free, equal, (mostly) Judao-Christian oriented, the land of prosperity and opportunity. This is what they hate. Their desire is not to kill a few people, but to destroy the way of life we call American.

But this is more than simply desiring something. I desire a large house, a nice car and the financial freedom to do whatever the hell I want. While surely I work hard to achieve these things, there are certain things that are off the table in my "desire" to achieve these things: I would not steal. I would not murder. I would not bring any harm to others. I would not cheat or do anything to compromise my family, myself or my values. For the Islamist fundamentalist, this restraint does not exist. In the case of those who wish us to be destroyed, for our way of life to eternally parish, they will stop at nothing. Not only would they murder and destroy as a last resort, they would do this as a primary resort. Their mindset is this: achieve our goal at any cost and with any means necessary.

This brings us to capacity. Bell believes the fundamentalists lack the capacity to do real or significant harm. There are a few problems with this view. Firstly, the extent of harm done cannot be measured simply in how many deaths have been accrued. Instead, there are certain other indicators, both measurable and immeasurable, that must be considered. Did the attack do damage to financial institutions? (Think Twin Towers) Did the attack strike a blow against the morale of the enemy? (Say, by striking the heart of the American Armed Forces in hitting the Pentagon.) What symbolism can be drawn from the attacks. (While they were unsuccessful in destroying the White House or Capital, and the fact that the likelihood that even if they had hit the White House of the Capitol they would have killed any "major players," such an attack would have been a symbolic blow to the US).

Secondly, and most significantly, we have to consider the fact that such extremists not only desire our destruction, but they desire the means (capacity) to bring about that destruction. And so we find ourselves in Iraq, wherein we hoped to prevent such monsters as Osama bin Laden from acquiring WMD's which would thus give them the capacity to do large, wide-scale destruction.

The fact that Bell leaves these arguments out of his piece makes me suspicious. I'm no genius (in fact, I can't even spell the word as the Spell Check tool as just underlined it in red...), but even I can see that these are the most basic flaws in Bell's piece. To me, the possibility that Bell was aiming to cause a stink and get some attention must at least be considered. In a time when it has become "hip" to think that 9/11 was a vast government conspiracy which was allowed to go forth (or perhaps even carried out) by our leadership in order to build the ground on which to launch "wars of aggression" in the Middle East, I think it's at least possible that some--Bell included--might just see this as a means to achieve a few minutes in the national spotlight...

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2 Comments:

At 5:18 AM, Anonymous gravityX said...

Oh........My.........God. Are you the biggest idiot or what? Maybe not, but surely one of them. "Put another one in the stall Sally, we found him eating the others oats again."

Bell was simply shaping a scenario. He wasn't laying down the foundation of terrorism and its past, present, and future affects on America. You completely took an article and blew it up into this major controversial argument.

"They want to rid our existence." "They'll stop at nothing to achieve their goal." "They're looking to tear us down via symbolic actions that don't necessarily reap catastrophic porportions (a'la, capacity)." Yada Yada Yada, blah blah blah.......

We've heard it all before. It's freakin' redundant. People such as yourself go out of their way to overanalyze a simple situation. They hate us because we do not pray to Allah and suscribe to their religious fundamentals as a whole within our nation. Period. It actually came out of the goats' mouth (pun).

That being said, we are now stuck smack dab in the middle of a religious war that has been ongoing for centuries. Being that the foundations of terrorism lie solely in a religious confine, it is a war we can not possibly win, ever. You said it yourself, they will stop at nothing. For each one we take out, there's two more coming in.

It is not territorial as with ALL the wars that preceded us, IT IS A RELIGIOUS WAR! In the name of Allah. They are martyrs for their beliefs. Martyrs for their cause. Go thank your buddy Bush and his hierarchy for putting us there. "Hey Clyde, the fires gittin' low, go head'n throw some more dat der gasoline on it."

I don't have time nor the patience right now to sit and attempt (I say attempt because of your party allegience) to educate you on the facts and evaluations of our nations disparities. And don't even get me started on the 'Hallmarks of a Democrat' article and the presidential race.

Just as with the war at hand, these are issues you can't possibly win. I see you trying though, atta boy! Stay in school.

 
At 6:07 AM, Anonymous gravityX said...

One more note; you conservatives do nothing but point the fingers, turn the tables, label figures, create stupid slogans (i.e. fuzzy numbers, cut and run, oh, and lets not forget your favorite, flip floppin among others)to validate yourselves since the facts don't credit you and your performance.

Let me at least take a moment to treat you to Mr. Webster's definitions of some words you apparently are not familior with.

Liberal - of political party favoring democratic reforms or favoring individual freedom.

Reform - improve; reconstruct; abandon evil practices.

Conservative - keep from change; preserve; maintain; one who desires to preserve institutions of his country against change and innovation

Democracy - government by the people or their elected representatives

Democrat - DERIVED from democracy; an advocate of democracy

Hypocrisy - assuming false appearance of virtue; inSINcerity

Now, there are way too many hypocricies (republican) to illustrate at the moment, but let's identify a couple, shall we?

Republicans hate liberals as they are incapable of not using the term within a sentence. Yet by definition, liberals subscribe to democratic reforms to establish freedom and rid evil practices.

Now, what is the current reason for our presence in Iraq at the moment (until it changes again as with the WMDs, can you say 'flip-flop?')? Ooooohh, you say to free the Iraqi people and build a democratic society do ya.

Yet by definition by good ole' Mr. Webster, a republican is one who desires to preserve institutions of his country against change.

Can you feel it? Can you feel it Jeff? I think that's your name. Hell, by definition, we'd all be still riding in horse and buggys like the Amish if the republicans ACTUALLY apply their so called beliefs. After I get the tongue out of my cheek I'll go ahead and eat that cake. What? I can't eat it? But you said I could have it.

Publish this, although I don't think anyone frequents the site to read it. I came across it by accident.

Burned like a barrel on a picket line!

 

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