“In a new report, the Rand Corporation suggests the US replace the term “˜war on terror” with “˜counter-terrorism.– — from this article
How much money, how big was the contract, that allowed a group at the Rand Corporation to come up with this kind of thing? A million? Ten? Were bound copies of the solemn report, distributed to the press and members of the government, on the heaviest-weight bond, the best that Crane produces, and bound, possibly, by Sangorski and Sutcliffe?
Please explain, Rand Corporation (and all you armies of consultants feeding so greedily at the trough of the “war on terrorism”) what exactly you did, how many man-hours were involved, and who participated in, the report that includes such things as this?
We’d all like to know.
You don’t “defeat” those who are already True Believers of the Al Qaeda sort. But you can make Islam far less attractive to weak-minded or alienated Infidels by limiting the efficacy of well-financed and incessant campaigns of Da’wa. You can make Islam far less attractive — make it an embarrassment, really — for many Muslims now living in the West. You can make Believers, whether living in the Lands of the Infidels or in Dar al-Islam, more likely to question Islam — for example, cause the 80% of the world’s Muslims who are not Arabs to begin to see that Islam is, and what’s more always has been and will be, a vehicle for Arab supremacism, expressed sometimes in linguistic and cultural imperialism, and sometimes, as well, in the form of economic and political imperialism. You can make all Muslims see, or at least be forced to listen to, or eavesdrop upon, the proposition — repeated endlessly and loudly — that the failures of Muslim states and societies, political and economic and social, moral and intellectual, are the result of Islam itself. This has been discussed by me, and in detail, dozens of times before. Since I was the first to do so, and even now have yet to hear a detectable echo where it should have been picked up and endlessly repeated, I want the American government to send my check, care of this website, and to make it at least equal to the sums spent on assorted Rand Corporation reports such as this one, over the past seven years.
I need the money. And you, Dear American Government, need the advice that is worth its weight in…gold, diamonds, titanium — well, a hell of a lot.
When you must husband resources for a war, because the war in question goes on forever, and when the main instruments of the enemy are not qitaal or terrorism, but an assault on the West, through the Money Weapon, Da’wa, and demographic conquest (though in some places, where the Infidels are deemed militarily not as powerful as that West, as in the Philippines and Thailand and Sudan and Nigeria during the Biafra War, qitaal or combat, and its handmaiden terrorism, are used), then you try to identify weaknesses in the enemy camp, and to exploit those weaknesses, to play on them. You certainly do not do anything to minimize or decrease the effect of those internal weaknesses.
The Bush Administration has not done that in its ill-named “war on terror,” which includes large sums of money, and all sorts of other things as well — men’s lives, for example, and military equipment used up at a fantastic rate — being squandered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. There are other ways. It takes a real effort to fail to see the sectarian and ethnic divides in Iraq (and Afghanistan, and Pakistan too). It takes a real effort not to see the resentment of poor Muslims at the largely-unshared and undeserved riches of the Gulf Arabs and others who have received the trillions, and who do almost nothing to relieve the poverty of other Muslims, save for a few well-chosen, publicity-stunt “donations” here and there.
But what is curious is that the critics of the Bush Administration also have failed to identify, to put their finger, on what is wrong with the policy. Perhaps those most exercised by Iraq are people who, often described as “on the left,” who while they want the Americans out of Iraq, are not about even to hint at the very best, the very most convincing argument, in favor of an American withdrawal: that such a withdrawal will not only end the colossal squandering of resources, but also lead to a situation of permanent low-level hostilities between Shi’a and Sunni, as the latter do not acquiesce in, and the former refuse to surrender, the new power acquired by the majority Shi’a, the inevitable consequence of the removal of Saddam Hussein and his disguised Sunni despotism. So deep is the desire, by those critics “on the left” of the Administration, never to call Islam itself into question, that they never hint that perhaps the reason the Bush Administration’s policy is so maddeningly wrong is that it is based on sentimental messianism, the desire to “bring freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads” without noticing that these “ordinary moms and dads” are Muslim — and therefore, even if this or that American officer may have allowed himself to be tremendously impressed with some Iraqi counterpart, whose interests temporarily coincide with those of the Americans, which leads to his being regarded as a true-blue ally, when in fact he is a true-blue ally only for this or that purpose, in the end, if he is a true believer in Islam, he will turn on the Americans the minute they either stop being useful (as in fighting those he regards as the enemies of his sect or ethnic group or tribe) or refuse to come through with more money and, especially, more military equipment.
Watch out for the more innocent American officers returning from Iraq who, knowing little of Islam, remember fondly only this or that liquid-brown-eyed Iraqi who was once fighting beside them, and manage to mistake these people for permanent friends — a motley crew of friends, Shia or Sunni Arab or Kurd — mesopotamian gunga dins whom the Americans can count on. In fact, the person who is raised up in a Total Belief-System that inculcates the notion that the only division of humanity that counts is that between Believer and Infidel is unlikely to be someone you can count on, unless he needs you, right then, or is hoping to inveigle out of you something in the near future.
No, the Left in America won’t use the one argument that could prove successful in persuading the government — of Obama or McCain — to withdraw troops from Iraq, and not to put more troops, or give still more aid, to the meretricious government of Karzai in hopeless, but manageable (mostly through ruthless manipulation of local proxies) Afghanistan. They would rather keep the troops there than make an argument based on telling the truth about the meaning, and menace, of Islam.
As for the Right, what comes into play is simply blind, dumb loyalty to Bush and to those who, calling themselves “conservatives” (whatever that now means) and “Republicans,” do not dare to recognize the folly of the venture that will enter history as Tarbaby Iraq — or at least should. No, they won’t reason why.
Programmatic Left, hating Bush but not wanting to suggest there might be a problem with Islam, and Programmatic Right, wishing not to suggest that there might be a problem with the tactics and strategy in this “war on terror,” deserve each other. And they have each other.
The problem is that we who wish to be counted out of both camps, and simply would like threats identified, opportunities recognized and exploited, and nimbler wits to be employed, also must pay for the continued idiocy of others. As the wise man dieth, so dieth the fool, or expressed otherwise, As the fool dieth (because of his foolishness), so — when the fools are ruling the roost, because there are so many of them — alas, dieth the wise man.
It’s happened so often before. See, for example, the last unappetizing century.