Monday, October 31, 2005

The Carnival of the Armchair Generals

 
The Virtual Armchair GeneralLast Friday’s open-forum post, Confronting the Enemy, provoked a lot of interesting commentary. People argued and disagreed, yet remained civil, which is always a prerequisite for a good discussion.

The theme questions of the topic were “Does violent jihad represent the essence of the religion of Islam?” and the corollary “Is the existence of the ‘moderate Muslim’ possible?

We’re all on the same team, but different people are proposing different strategies for the game. Some favor a Hail-Mary play (peggy); some want to throw a bomb into the end zone (El Jefe Maximo); others want to hand off to the fullback and bust a hole straight down the middle (Bill and Heloise).

I’ve divided the different strategies into three broad groups: Moral High Ground, Divide and Conquer, and Fierce Guard Dogs. Cato, who inspired the thread but didn’t contribute, is most definitely a Moral High Ground person. Some of the commenters didn’t seem to fit in any of the groups, but those I could classify are listed below:
Moral High Ground   Divide and Conquer   Fierce Guard Dogs
a4g  bordergal  Bill
Clouse  Jesse Clark  El Jefe Maximo
Jason_Pappas  PD111  Gryffilion
Old School    Heloise
Papa Bear    JoeC
peggy    Papa Ray
quark2    

And now for some samples from the three groups.

Moral High Ground

Peggy:
     The truth is our greatest weapon. We should only resort to other means if our free speech to protest against islam were threatened by the powers that be and then it is our right as citizens to fight those powers. The average muslim person should never have to worry about our intentions towards their persons or families or property or businesses or prayer centers as long they abide by the laws of our land.
If we keep to the high ground, we should with time be able to turn things around. The first idea we must get across with meticulous care is this: It is possible to oppose islam without bearing hatred towards all those who believe it and everyone should be able to freely and openly dispute the ideas and beliefs of others by right as long as they dont call for violence against the other group in an indiscriminate way that would hurt peaceable folks.
A big problem with islam and muslims is that they do not understand this. They equate open rejection of their beliefs as hatred and bigotry mainly because their own leaders encourage them to do so by their example. But coming as they do from their original environment which is devoid of the hurly-burly of true democracy and liberty, they are easily mislead to shut their ears to the “bigots” who dislike all muslims and are encouraged to dismiss all criticism of their religion as ignorant. If we happen to think that islam is the worst idea for a religion there ever was but have no inclination to hate those who believe in it then we have to distinguish ourselves from the true haters by our conduct, by our charity and hospitality towards all.
[…]
I have no fear of islam being able to win the battle of ideas once it ceases its current childish and violent tactics. It is easy to see which side has formed a successful civilization from its internal resources and which side will have to be forced by pressure from without to behave in a civilized manner.
a4g:
     If Islam is inherently bloodthirsty, and Christianity not— so what? Whether the distributions of killers and lovers among adherents are titled “devout” or “lax” matters little, because the distribution curves will remain largely the same despite the titles.
So the answer to Islam is not peculiar to Islam— and probably not particularly profound.
What has worked in the past to allow man to crawl out of his filthy hole for a few fleeting moments? We are fortunately living in the greatest example in history.
Work to create environments where people can take charge of their own lives. Free markets. Political participation.
Will this “reform” Islam? Or will it merely precipitate the conversion of quite a few muslims to the more sanity-friendly Christianity?
Either way, I think it doesn’t matter. For the outcome will be the same.
quark2:
     There are peaceful moslims. In the main, they are peaceful, secularist and law abiding where ever they live. Among them live the enemy, using these peace folks as a shield and cover. They are usually careful to not expose themselves even to their neighbours. The problem with islam is being able to discern the friend from the enemy. Here is where it is the responsiblity of the moslims to police themselves and be law abiding by turning in those among them with the intent of breaking our laws. This should already be in place, and sadly I don’t think much of this is happening yet. It is with apprehension that I see our moslims being taken down in this country whether they are innocent or complicit if we suffer another bad attack. As posted above, telling the truth, shining the light in dark places and straight line communications should be our first line weapons of choice against those who use islam as their reason for total control globally.
Divide and Conquer

Jesse Clark:
    
I think it’s also important to understand all of Islam. This is not just some great monolithic religion in which all its believers adhere to the same tenets. It is as divided as Chrisitanity or Judaism.
There is more division than just Sunni and Shi’a, and there is more than just the Qur’an. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of Hadith out there. Moderate Muslims accept only a few (by comparison) to the more radical and fundamentalist groups, who accept great numbers of Hadith as accurate.
There is not just one Sahri’a. There are four. Four seperate schools of thought on how to apply Islamic Law. They range from the moderate and quite liberal Hanafi to the radical Hanbali, which states that the Qur’an must be applied without interpretation or question. There is no reason, or ‘ijtihad’ to be made in discerning the law, as there is in the other three schools. Hanbali is the source of the Wahhabism the so often makes headlines. Yet Hanbali is followed by less than 5% of all Muslims worldwide.
And I haven’t even begun to talk about Sufism.
It is important to not see Muslims as homogenous. Yes, there is an extremely violent sect of Islam. Yes, we need to completely annihilate them before they annihilate us. But the moderate Muslims should not be viewed as accessories to their crimes. If we are to defeat our true enemy within Islam, we will need their help.
PD111:
     Now it is true that some muslims are peacable enough. Yet it has to borne in mind that some very peaceful muslims, to the utter surprise and shock of their friends and family, have become shaheeds. There is also demographics to consider. Muslim representatives will always use muslim numbers to extract further dhimmification.
There is no need to think of a “war of civilisatations”. A separation is far better and humane then considering Three Conjecture scenarios, just so to prove that all cultures can live together. It is a recognition that all cultures cannot live under the tent of multiculturalism. It is a recognition that some cultures, islam in this case, is not yet ready to embrace plurality and tolerance.In the future that may come about, but in the meantime, the whole excercise is getting fraught with danger for all mankind.
Fierce Guard Dogs

El Jefe Maximo:
    Given that what you say is correct, I don’t see much alternative to the reimposition of a species of at least indirect colonial control over much of the Muslim world, coupled with mass expulsions or detention of dangerous persons within the west.
The main feature would be a type of interdiction or blockade in the form of bans on the movement of persons out of the interdicted countries (i.e. prohibition of passenger air and sea travel), and denial of access to employment, residence and education in the west. Traffic back and forth would be solely financial and commerical. The Muslim world is afforded access to the imports it may need from the west in exchange for access to oil and raw materials, without major movements of population.
Some mechanism would need to be in place to adjudicate requests for individualized exceptions/waivers of the ban.
Allied to this would need to be a propaganda and education effort -- essentially a promise to remove the interdiction/blockade when the Muslim world espouses “civilized values.”
All of this administered not by the UN or anything like it, but by a commission directly answerable to the governments of the great powers (i.e. US, Japan, China, India, Europe/(UK seperate?) and probably Brazil).
This whole scheme would permit a substantial degree of liberty to exist outside the interdicted area, and for trade and commerce to go on, but would doubtless take a traumatic shock to the west before imposition of any such thing would be considered. Unfortunately, I suspect that our enemies will in time supply the necessary shock. Establishment of this system would require a major war.
Essentially, it turns the Muslim world, involuntarily, into pre-Meiji Japan, to enter its Meiji stage, probably on a regional basis, as it shows it can.
Bill:
    We need to wake up to the fact that going to war means suspending our “civil rights” and that the constitution is going to be “shredded.” We can comfort ourselves that our citizen volunteers and elected citizens will restore those rights and “tape” the constitution back as good as new after we’ve kicked the enemy’s ass.
For all the hand-wringing about profiling and deportations and internment camps, try reading a solid analysis of the Reconstruction after the Civil War. Then come back and tell me that deporting is so horrible comapred to the absolute tyranny, abrogation of the Bill of Rights, and nullity of the constitution that the people of the South suffered under for YEARS. Being forced to vote a certain way or not being admitted back into the union as citizens? Doesn’t that sound like one of the most horrifying crimes that can be perpetrated on a supposedly “free” citizenry?
I’ll take internment camps any day. FDR was an ass, but he was right to be cautious with the camps.
Heloise:
     The icons of islam, beside the koran, are the shrines in mecca of the black metorite and the magic well, zamzam, where believers go on pilgrimage. Their belief is that allah will always protect these shrines. Just today, a muslim said this on Jihad/DhimmiWatch.
If the icons are destroyed, then allah is not omniscient and islam has no god. The shock to the mind of the muslim would be so great as to render them inactice or at the least confused and extremely disillusioned, for what is there to fight for now?
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I tend towards the “Moral High Ground” camp, but the “Divide and Conquer” people make sense. Also, my emotions make me root for the “Fierce Guard Dogs.” In fact, looking at them from the Freudian viewpoint, the three categories could be matched up with the Superego, Ego, and Id.

But I’d like to look at what’s politically feasible, and not just at what we wish would happen. Jefe and Bill, I could be with you 100%, but what you’re talking about can’t happen in our current political context.

And the current political context does matter. If we’re going to backseat-drive the auto politic, we have to take into account the road conditions, how bald our tires are, and how many horses we have under the hood. If we have a major terrorist attack next week that kills 100,000 people, the political context changes dramatically. Then the system becomes chaotic, mathematically speaking, and hence unpredictable. All bets are off.

So, if we want to argue, let’s assume the political context stays more or less the same for the next couple of years, i.e.:

1. Terrorist attacks that kill American civilians remain sporadic and minor.

2. The situation in Iraq stays the same, with security improving slowly but steadily.

3. Musharraf manages to stay in power.

4. Boy Assad remains damaged but hangs on in Damascus. The mullahs don’t get any openly revealed nukes. North Korea continues to heel for the Chinese.

5. The lily-livered craven gonadally-challenged cowards in Congress continue their pork-driven profligate ways at least through the 2006 elections.

6. The EU and the UN continue to undermine, anklebite, obstruct, and otherwise interfere with the Coalition.

7. The price of oil doesn’t fluctuate more than 25% in either direction.

8. But the mujahideen continue planning jihad, amassing firepower, and indoctrinating in the madrassas, all funded by the Saudis.

So those are the ground rules. You’re in the Administration making policy, and those are your political constraints. No fair invoking any deus ex machina. What course would you attempt to follow in an attempt to deal with the Great Islamic Jihad?

If you post on this in your own blog, let me know and I’ll link here.

On your marks… Get set… Argue!


ONGOING UPDATES

JoeC is glad to be a Fierce Guard Dog, and has weighed in on his blog at The Gates of Vienna, Redux.

Thunder Pig has joined the task force with Introducing...Armchair General Thunder Pig?!?

Jesse Clark has his take up at Armchair Generals Conference - WWIV Edition.

Always on Watch recommends a new anti-jihad British blog called A New Dark Age Is Dawning. He takes on Prince Charles, aka Prince Dhimmi, which is good enough for me.


I borrowed the graphic at the top of this post from The Virtual Armchair General, which is a site that you’ll want to visit, because Patrick Wilson is the “Exclusive Provider of Unique Wargames and Collectible Miniatures & Accessories.” Right up Jefe’s alley.

53 comments:

Goesh said...

I always miss the 'brawls', though the civil nature of the debate on this topic fits the top-notch quality of this forum(blog). Good hosts=good guests. You can enter my name in the fierce watch-dog group, maybe you could start a 4th group - the rabid group, and put me at the top of the list.

JoeC said...

A great post, Baron.
In a continually high-caliber blog.

Glad you included me in "Fierce Guard Dogs." I am certain that is far better than "Porch Poodle!"

The biggest reason I continue to post in comments here is the disconnection between reality and fantasy that the world seems to embrace.

Fact: Islam is stating, repeatedly, that they desire OUR death.
Not just a couple of Muslims. Thousands. Maybe even hundred of thousands, bordering on millions.
These icons of "Peace and Tolerance", are minutes away from obtaining or building nuclear weapons.

Most of the world, in a sedated stupor, says "hush little one, it will be okay."

When they (islam) succeed with their desire to wipe the physical country of Israel off the map of the world, will enough people care? Will there be an outcry of rage and revenge?

I think we are in for some very dark days.

Nukes in the hands of fanatics. Fanatics that are enabled by the inability of Politically Correct governments to identify their fanaticism.
Nukes, enabled by a former superpower like Russia, with technical and monetary assistance given in the hope of receiving more "Oil."

The worldwideMedia fiasco. They are unwilling, unable, uncooperative in naming the enemy all of humanity faces.

Will history show that freedom of the press led to the largest enslavement of peoples the world had heretofore ever known?

I am STILL waiting to hear the "great outcry" of Moderate Muslims against terrorism and radical Islam.

I won't be holding my breath.

Devout Islam = Radical Islam.
Or acceptance thereof.

Mussolini said...

To take your political outline for the next couple of years, let me throw in my assumptions (not predictions):

1: Terror attacks will continue with at least two more coordinated attacks on American soil that hit our transit system. Deaths not as spectacular as 9/11, so the public anger spikes lower and recedes faster. Desensitization

2: Iraq slowly improves. That's how I see it. New government means years of "finding it's feet." Staus quo

3: Musharraf is a political animal who is "looking the other way" on Islamic terror. He is not our ally. Pakistan will continue to fund, supply, and harbor terrorists. Status quo

4(a): Syria... Assad loses it. His power has been weakening steadily. Can't trust his own security forces, and Islamic-whackos have been flooding his country. Islamic coup. Turn for the worse
(b): Iran continues to escalate rhetoric. Due to the minimal fallout from their earlier announcements, they will get louder and more hysterical. Dementia of this sort requires feedback. Israeli response becomes more likely. Wild card
(c): North Korea made their pitch and we artfully ignored them. Kim Dong Ill will hang on, but will continue to be irrelevant. Status quo

5: Congress gets burned in 2006. Republicans will continue to spend like happy democrats right up to their defeat. Senate will be lost. House will retain a very thin republican majority. Rhetoric flourishes, nothing will get done.

6(a): EU begins to exhibit an increasing recognotion and motivation for dealing with the immigration problem they have so long ignored. Racial backlashes erupt everywhere. Cooperation with the US increases. Too little, too late
(b): UN will continue to actively obstruct the US and actively support Islam. Status quo

7: The price of oil will drop to around $40 per barrel as Iraqi production increases, Venezuelen production stabilizes, and refineries are brought back online. Status quo

8: Saudi Arabia continues funding murder. We continue to look the other way. Saudis continue making tiny "democratic" concessions that amount to nothing, but sound good on paper. Status quo

Addition: Egypt goes radical. Libya has second thoughts about siding with the US. Blair, retiring, leaves a Britain overrun with muslims - Britain lurches away from the US.

Potentials: Israel conducts missile tests on Iranian targets. Limited war India and Pakistan go to war - I'm not sure how this can be avoided, although I hear India's current government is very Islam-friendly. Might require a change of government. With the Bhartiya Janata Party gaining the lion share of seats with their "feel good" message, war might end up costing more civilian lives before India reaches the "tipping point." Full war

This might only be 2005, but I do not see the 2008 election going to anyone but Hillary. The democratic base will have another 3 years of cranking up the rhetoric and hatred, aided by the media, while the republicans will continue to squander all opportunities to advance a conservative agenda (low taxes, reduction in government, fiscal responsibility).

Despite her assurances otherwise (promises that mean nothing), the troops will immediately get pulled home (if they're still there). Iraq should be able to handle the burden by then, but the media will claim Hillary "saved" America from certain defeat. Muslim murderers will be invigorated and will call it a humiliating defeat for America. If Israel hasn't launched its nukes by then, they will when they see they're all alone.

Mussolini assessment: things don't look good.

Always On Watch said...

I think that I missed this discussion because of all my car trouble on Friday (three flat tires in less than 24 hours).

Too bad! But I'll go back and do some reading.

I think that I might be a guard dog, though--even if I don't always post about the dangers of Islam and sometimes put up a humorous post. Right now I'm really angry about two things: the cancellation of the Senate hearings on Saudi's influence on mosques in the United States (posted on that one this past Saturday) and Prince Charles's new mission as the UK apologist for Islam.

As a teacher of homeschoolers, I have the opportunity to share lots of points about Islam, and you can bet that I'm at it all the time. I've lost a few clients because of my stand. So be it.

PS: Pardon me for doing this...I'd like to recommend a UK blog @

www.librabunda.blogspot.com

Libra Bunda (A New Dark Age Is Dawning) is not my site. It is, however, a good one and relatively new. He needs some encouragement, I think.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Looking at what's "politically feasible" as opposed to what we wish would happen. Oh, I quite agree Baron. The things I think we will have to do are NOT politically feasible at present...and there are other storms out there too...China, India etc., etc.

I think our enemies will see to our politically feasible problem. Meanwhile, I'd like to see us get to work on defining spheres of influence with the other powers, inasmuch as those can be negotiated. Meantime, we have to do what we can do...but someday...WOOF.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Thinking more on your parameters...I think they're all more or less well taken...but a couple more things need consideration.

One great bit of luck we have had so far is that other great powers have not, so far as we can determine, attempted to use the Islamic Jihad as a stalking horse for their own purposes. However, I don't think they will remain immune from this temptation much longer.

Taiwan is going to return to the motherland, by hook or by crook -- you can count on it. Morever, I can see no set of circumstances under which the US will not have serious difficulties with China and other powers over access to energy.

Europe has its own reasons for rivalry with us also.

Given that this is the case, I can very easily see a certain power, or powers, attempting to use the Jihad against us. We must combat the Jihad with this possibility in mind, at the same time preparing for a resumption of Great Power rivalries.

What we need, of course, is to expand our dealings with anglosphere countries, and seek new alliances with India, Japan, and probably Russia, and to tell NATO to take a hike.

Going to blog on all this this week, if I can find the time.

Archonix said...

I'm fairly certain that the EU will try and use the global jihad as some sort of propganda, at the very least. They're already starting to do that now,, making continual references to how the evil Bush has somehow single-handedly brought the terrorism down on our heads.

If the US manages to break the green lobby then there's potentially a huge energy resource sitting out in the deserts of Australia, which has the single largest known deposit of realtively accessible uranium. At the moment they aren't mining it much - their own green lobby seems to think it's a bad idea, but there are politicians talking about it over there right now. They're even saying that the waste should be brought back and sorted in spent mines there, which makes sense. Australia is geologically almost dead. If the US is serious about reducing its dependence of foreigjn oil, then adopting more nuclear power is the way to go. The new pebble-bed reactors are theoretically incapable of catastrophic meltdown.

I think that an energy policy that cuts out the middle east, and perhaps takes advantage of potential finds in Siberia, almost completely unexplored in terms of oil and mineral wealth - joint-exploitation of which might bring the russians over to our side - is the single biggest means we have of reducing the Islamist threat.

Papa Ray said...

I would suggest reading this before armoring up and locking and loading. The comments are even better, read those for sure.

Information and a keyboard make terrible weapons or poor unreasoned reading, The Infomation is the ammo, so load up and proceed...with caution or with abandon.

I'll put my 2cents in later.

Papa Ray

Andrew Scotia said...

I cannot argue with any of your assumptions, Baron; with the possible exception of Assad fils, whose demise is, I feel, a lot closer than people expect. But, that's just a niggle given the task you have set.

It is important to remember that administrations come and go and that policies are therefore delimited by the commas between them. So, the task becomes one of developing a set of longer range assumptions such as yours and then embedding them them is a complete road map of possible actions given those assumptions. We do have a history and a model for this kind of initial policy formulation that initiates debate and, with luck, leads to policy. Sometimes we have had to go back into our history and pick them up, dust them off and re-interpret in light of current conditions. I will list a few: Monroe Doctrine, Kennan Doctrine, Truman Doctrine. I have truncated this list, since it is provided to illustrate and not suggest.

How does an administration formulate a doctrine that can provide guidance and influence policy past its' term in office?

In the past it was possible for academicians to provide the frameworks for policy; I'm thinking here of Kissinger's Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. That is no longer an option for any number of reasons. But, the process remains the same.

First, an enunciation of a set of assumptions grounded in the past, the now and the future. Then a meticulous preparation of a set of categories that use these assumptions to formulate a complete and flexible range of policy options ranging from the diplomatic to the military.

Since the exercise depends on the assumptions they must meet some conditions. First they must be comprehensive and reasonable; in that most citizens can say, "Yes, that about sums it up". The must be well "illustrated" with examples; in academic writing this is done with citations, footnotes and a bibliography. This is important because of the selective reportage of important events in the past.

Since it is on the assumptions and their ability to withstand attack, this is the most important area, as you yourself illustrate in the task you have set.

The forum in which they are presented is very important these days. Churchill knew this instinctively when he choose to present his "Iron Curtain" speech in Kansas, of all places, knowing that it would concentrate the medias attention on him and whatever he said, since it was assumed that it was a valedictory speech. I would suggest the UN, in this case, since it would be a message to the entire world and indicate that the US had not given up entirely on that body.

If I was writing the speech I would make sure that the initial set up be one in which the President delivers a few, simple, "Down Home" truths that y' all need to know about the way that this administration has been lookin' at the world for the last couple of years. Y'all best listen. He is at his best when he is the simple cowboy, hunkered down, stirring the camp fire coals with a stick and tellin' the hands what they can expect. This is a piece of theater for both the American and the world publics. That is why he has so attacked on that front. It is a powerful image.

So, my proposal is that a statement of doctrine is the way to go here since it will live beyond the current administration.

Of course, my personal belief is that the US will be unrecognizable in twenty years for any number of reasons beyond science and technology. In all likely hood we will have become a Spartan state organized top/down to administer a still fractious world. I truly hate to say this but I believe that the world with nuclear weapons must be a zero sum game.

Goesh said...

I would institute maximum attention and resources to developing our green energy reserves. I have been reading where canola oil can, with very little modification, be used in diesel engines. Oil revenues are funding terrorism, we all know that, so cut it off.

Militarily, I would invoke total war on terrorism and consider human resources, the potential for jihadic recruitment,support and funding, as viable targets. We could start with carpet bombing the Bekkah valley in Lebanon and gaza...well, some napalm in Jarkarta might not hurt either. The nice thing about being in the rabid category is you don't have to listen to arguments filled with reason and hope. When the monolith of religious dominance, islam, will not reform itself and not temper its zealotry, it is safe to assume that only one side can remain standing, and at the cost of near total devastation of the other side. In light of the resources of technology, education and money available to the islamic monolith, it has not altered its course. We are alerted to only an increase in attacks and the pursuit of nuclear weapons by a fundamentalist oligarchy that hangs people for their sexual preference and advocates eradicating another nation because of its religious orientation. We are faced with fabulous wealth that funds this extremism while their own women can't even vote or drive a car. We we are to hold out for reason, logic, good will, diplomacy, and understanding, with selective military action being the last resort? The sheep will bleat their same tired mantra as their heads are being sawed off with a dull knife. The cry of allah akbahr is the last thing they will hear.

Andrew Scotia said...

Further to my last posting...

May I propose that the intiative to formulate a new doctrine begin here and that it be called, The Gates of Vienna Doctrine.

The task would work just the way these things are done in administrations; working papers, circulated for comments, followed by the whole thing coming together with citations and bibliography called Assumptions for American Foreign Policy In the Twenty First Century

Everybody should now re-read, Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence; American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World.

First task: A Taxonomy of Assumptions Realting to Foreign Policy.

Roll your own foreign policy. Pass the papers please.

Goesh said...

- and I read in a FOX news article that in Iran, 300 men and women volunteered to be suicide bombers against Israel after the Prez made his statement about Israel needing to be obliterated. Maybe a couple of them can make it to crowded shopping malls here at christmas time, the great infidel holiday in the land of the great satan. Boy! That would give jolly old St. Nick an ulcer, eh? What the heck, if jihadis can hijack airliners with box cutters they sure ought to be able to learn Spanish and come up from the south bearing 'gifts' with which to spread the glad tidings of islam. Ol' al jazeera would plaster that one all over the planet in about 20 seconds. "Today the glorious martyrs of islam killed the pagan god santa claus in 3 cities near the Mexicna border. Many infidels devoted to their pagan god and slavishly buying material goods to celebrate the event were sent to judgment as well".

Mussolini said...

I don't think it is currently possible in America to come up with a "doctrine."

Half of the country opposes the other half for the sheer sake of spite. The rhetoric and hysteria build like a ceaseless avalanche gaining force and momentum that is endless.

This spite is aided and encouraged by the media and engaged at all social levels via judicial activism, paid for with our own tax dollars.

Further, and even apart from my previous contention if we want to turn a blind eye to the American left in the name of "goodness," even if we all came together for a time to form a doctrine, the drift immediately begins.

Take, for example, the immediate drift of the left after 9/11. What did it take, three days? To ignore left/right in this is hard but not impossible. Let's say that America has little capacity to focus for any length of time on anything. We get tired, bored, and contentious. We cannot abide a war longer than half the time it took to win the last war.

Within days of the Iraq invasion, we were in a "quagmire." Whereas previously, within weeks in Afghanistan, we were in that dreaded quagmire. Before the next war is an hour old, we will be in a quagmire.

The media will drum it into our heads, and ignorant Americans will want to sound intelligent to any journalist or reporter and will want to make the "politically correct" statement of opinion so as to show off their "intellect" on TV.

"The sheep will bleat their same tired mantra as their heads are being sawed off with a dull knife. The cry of allah akbahr is the last thing they will hear. Dead on, Goesh.

peggy said...

I have to correct something that I didnt notice before about my comment.

You quoted me as saying that I have no doubt that islam can win the battle of ideas once it stops its childish and aggressive tactics.

That should really read "cannot" Is there anyway you could correct the quote for me? Thanks.

I think that I may come across as more dovish than I really am. I believe that islam can be undermined by the truth wielded from the high ground. It cannot stand up to real competition, real liberty, or unfettered free speech.

If it was me, I would call my approach the one two punch.

Punch one. Keeping to the high ground is regardless always the right thing to do but it also has the practical advantage of aiding the message in two ways.

1) Any message coming from a party which acts with utmost deceny and fairness and charity will stand above the crowd and be more attractive. More people will listen to the reasonable and thoughtful person than one who may have a good idea or two but comes across as a crank and a hater. If our criticism of islam is both informed and thoughtful and does not derive from fear or insecurity, then we should do it the honor our argument by having enough confidence in its truth to let it speak for itself without playing games or name calling or stooping to the same level as our opponents.

2) Two, keeping to the moral high ground prevents the distractions from the message that can be exploited by our opponents to discredit the message.

Punch Two- Once we have earned the respect of others by our conduct and have gained a hearing for our message, then the truth becomes a weapon to defeat the ideas that will destroy our society rather than enhance and perfect it as the muslim proselytizers claim.

The threat to our way of life is does not just come from the terrorists. It comes from demographics. Not only are we threatened by a growing natal muslim population, we are also threatened by Westerners becoming philosophically convinced that islam is the answer to perfecting our society. These folks are in fact perhaps the most dangerous as they are hawking an americanized/westernized islam which is a Trojan horse aimed at the heart of our society. They are having a great deal of success. We must above all defeat this idea that islam can improve our society with its ideas. We must be aggressive in confronting these ideas and shredding them for the nonsense that they are.

I think that we on the home front can play an important role in this area of the conflict by convincing muslims that islam cannot lead to or contribute to a truly moral society. Islam can be defanged by a combination of liberty and truth and by that I mean it can be stripped of its universal ambitions if one can convince decent muslims and disenchanted westerners that islam has no business being the top dog of the world let alone being the top dog in any society.

It would be unlikely to do as much harm as it has done up until now if it was just a religion which kept to itself and didnt try to convince and/or force others to believe in it. The whole problem stems from its belief that islam is good news that it has to become dominant in order to create a peaceful and just world. This idea is simply wrong and it must be debunked before we can consider ourselves safe once again.

Sorry for the very very long post but I wont be able to come back today. Got to get it all out now ;-)

Baron Bodissey said...

peggy -- actually, what you said was: "I have no fear of islam being able to win the battle of ideas once it ceases its current childish and violent tactics."

That makes complete sense to me, but if you want to change the wording, let me know. I couldn't find anything that looks exactly like what you mention here.

Mussolini said...

I'm not taking exception here about the posters who desire the "high ground." It is a strategy to win, and that alone makes it unassailable from the standpoint of those who would surrender.

However...

Why should America bother to take the high ground? Someone explain to me the benefits of America playing by "white glove" rules when no one else will play by them?

Who are we trying to impress? Our own egos? The rest of the world will undoubtedly write a history that excoriates our war and how we win it (under the assumption that we will).

If we are the bad, evil bastards no matter how we wage this war, does it make any logical sense to hamstring our efforts to win as quickly and as efficiently as possible?

Maintaining the "high ground" requires the forbearance and restraint that effectively limits our responses to this war and requires more blood on our part to maintain than does fighting this war the quick and dirty way.

We're going to be villains no matter how we act. Just look at Gitmo for any indication of the world's opinion, no matter how far we push the royal treatment on people that have never before seen such luxury.

This high ground? Is this just a salve for our own conscience as secularist Americans (whatever religious background) because we're engaging a war against a politically correct religion in contravention of all politically correct righteousness?

More lives will be spent this way.

Mussolini assessment: our intent to prostitute our methods for the sake of world opinion will fail and we will lose many more innocents in doing so. Not worth it.

peggy said...

Baron,

You are right. Dont change the quote.

I just wish I had written it a little differently. When I read the sentence again this morning I thought that it didnt come out as strong as I wanted. Islam cannot win the war of ideas with the West if the fight is on level ground. I'll be happy as long as that is understood as my position.

JoeC said...

peggy said...
I just wish I had written it a little differently. When I read the sentence again this morning I thought that it didnt come out as strong as I wanted. Islam cannot win the war of ideas with the West if the fight is on level ground. I'll be happy as long as that is understood as my position.

The playing field will NEVER be level, Peggy.
Islam fights from Heaven. You cannot change that fact, for devout Muslims.

There is no higher place than heaven.

Muslims have no need for a level field. They, according to their Qu'ran, are gods chosen ones.

There is no "high ground" that we can occupy, in regards to Islam.

We will win, or they will win, by the sword.

Redneck Texan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Bill, you're not using my assumptions, you're revising them. Hmmm. Yours could be right. But just for fun, what would happen under mine?

Most important (for this thread at least) is what's politically possible.

I agree that we're almost certain to get Hillary in 2006. That's why my scenario cuts off before then -- stop before the nightmare begins.

a4g said...

(For the sake of this argument, I'll accept the moniker High Ground-- though I suspect my version of "high ground" involves more than the standard amount of JDAMs and tactical nukes than would commonly be accepted in polite company.)

For me, the "high ground" is a tactical wartime decision. Strategic ends remain identical-- the complete elimination of radicalism. Prosecution of the war by the most effective means is the absolute standard.

Which means you don't overextend your LOCs, which are constantly attacked from "the left" flank. A blitzkrieg against the entire dar-al-Islam on any other day than Sept. 12, 2001 was/is doomed to collapse under the weight of caterwauling apologists-- and a 9/12 action would have only succeeded if sufficiently rapid (and Churchill's "thank you" booting at the end of WWII should be duly noted).

The Western Theater in this war involves the takeover of hardened enemy fortifications in the MSM, Academia and the Courts. We have not sufficiently secured these assets to thrust forward without fear of unacceptable attrition from our supply lines.

So the question is: what is the most effective weapon to deploy in the Middle Eastern Theater given this environment? I submit that liberty, information, and disposable income are the high-tech sappers of this war. We have an opportunity that Eisenhower never did, to infiltrate the Soviets of our time with pockets of Ebola-like Capitalism that can quietly explode the enemy from within. He will bleed out green.

Planting the seeds of Western culture is a devastating form of intellectual germ warfare, the tyrannical innoculation for which takes centuries of wealth, decadence and self-indulgence to develop. And unlike most pathogens, a blowback reinfection would be most desired.

So let the enemy try to plant IEDs or bomb discoteques to disrupt our efforts, while all around him, his nihilist worldview crumbles away in pockets of dreaded optimism.

Today, we've got a red flag fire danger here in Southern California. A steady heat is pulling the moisture from the wild brush that covers the hillsides. It doesn't take more than a spark to start a fire. Burning embers start more little fires that become impossible to contain. And then, at the proper temperature, the whole hillside will go up. It takes a coordinated, trained, well-equipped response to put the thing out. That is a sophisticated luxury our 7th century* adversaries do not possess. They will be consumed in the fire of the counter-jihad.


*that's for you, D.

Redneck Texan said...

Civility is a prerequisite?....darn, thats certainly limits the effectiveness of otherwise sound tactics.

Our insistence on civility is factored heavily in our enemy's plans for our demise.

They would never have attacked us in the first place had we not exposed that inherent weakness of our doctrine to them.

Civility has certainly never been a prerequisite for victory until recently...I wish it was just a blogosphere thing, but its not.

Its odd that the keepers of the Islamic dream chose this point in history to revive their aggressive moves. No doubt advances in technology have made it easier to take the battle to our turf, but still they made no attempt to infiltrate and instigate trouble in Europe while Hitler and Stalin were in charge of counter-terrorism planning. I am not promoting their doctrine, just observing its effect.

Now, thanks to our insistence on civility they can exploit the loopholes in our doctrine that allow them to crash our borders, become a voting block, and demand representation that reflects their cultural values and needs, at the expense of the fabric of our society. And to deport them all back to the ____hole they came from would violate our sense of modern day civility.

Of course its difficult to poke fun at the Europeans when we too have fallen voluntary victims of our civility as well. I have recently become a minority in my beloved state, and I feel that is directly related to the decision we made to order the Texas Rangers to stop shooting every Mexican invader they came across.

There was nothing civil about the way our ancestors carved our great nation out of this continent....modern notions of civility have come at an expensive price for all of us I guess.

Mussolini said...

Baron - true. What I meant was, I was using your assumption that the political climate could and would yield certain results. So I used that assumption and made my own.

I like to be accurate, but as you can see from my posts, they're about a zillion words too long. For the sake of brevity, I figured everyone would get the point. Other than Syria, I think we disagreed by matters of degrees.

A4g - I can't help but agree with reasoned logic. However, I will take (small) issue with the following:

"So the question is: what is the most effective weapon to deploy in the Middle Eastern Theater given this environment? I submit that liberty, information, and disposable income are the high-tech sappers of this war. Emphasis mine.

I have no problem with that position if the we were talking about the most "politically feasible" method, rather than the most effective.

While we spread the acknowledged "ultimate clean" weapon of democracy and information - to do exactly as you describe - muslims will continue to kill Americans and other innocents. So I wouldn't call it the most efficient.

And that is what it all comes down to, doesn't it? You made the point yourself about the political environment. What are we willing to do to win that we can "stomach" as the political animals we are? While our enemies are willing to do anything, including die, we are only really willing to "talk" to them (spread info, democracy, wealth).

Platitudes will not win the war against an enemy willing to die to win.

While that oft-repeated line from me might sound like I disagree with you, it doesn't. Rather I'm making a point that those radical elements of Islam - the 300million+ Islamists who strongly favor killing Americans - will not be persuaded by talk; those will need to be killed. The non-radical elements will embrace our "talk" and move forward to better integration with society.

We'll still have to kill the radicals.

Mussolini said...

Redneck - you're wrong!

Heheh... but not in a bad way. About the muslims and terrorism during Hitler and Stalin?

Hitler, in his desire to ingratiate himself with the muslims, overlooked the atrocities that began occuring in Yugoslavia. The Italian occupiers alongside the German troops took matters into their own hands.

Whereas muslims were murdering while the Reich wrung their hands in appeasement, the Italians sent in forces to root them out and kill them.

Guess what happened? The atrocities stopped.

Appeasement: ineffective.
Killing the bastards: effective.

Otherwise, I agree with what you said. Why be civil and feel that we are required to be civil when the world will call us uncivil anyway? What the hell is the point? If it's just to make ourselves feel good, then why not buy fuzzy carebears to sleep with?

Cato the Elder said...

Who is this Cato of whom you speak? I thought I was he.

Baron Bodissey said...

Goesh, you're not sticking to the ground rules. Key phrase: politically feasible. Your courses of action may be eminently sensible. But if you were president and gave the orders for them, they would not be carried out. One or more of various processes would prevent you: impeachment, resignation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and/or SecDef, de-funding of ALL military operations by Congress, etc.,etc.

That's why I don't just want to talk about what we think would be best, just about what would be the best possible.

Baron Bodissey said...

Redneck, I mean civility here. Not in the war.

It's a version of "Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends."

a4g said...

Bill - I've got no quarrel at all with you on killing radicals.

However, I don't really care if it's the Marines or the nascent Iraqi forces who do the killing. Just so long as the bugs get squashed.

That's the whole point of the tactics I propose-- that they serve the greater purpose of the war. The idea is not to take some egghead principled position on the human rights of beasts, presenting our bared necks as we curl around to peer into our navels, but rather to creatively use wonderfully predictable human nature and conveniently located indigenous populations as force multipliers.

Yes, stamping out individual radicals is important. But creating a society that is a toxic stew of suburbs and tax forms is critical.

----

I just thought of a test for the High Ground argument. The hypothesis would be soundly refuted if the presence of Jamaat ul-Fuqra in the Baron's backyard was not partially sustained by foreign funds.

Anyone have any information on this?

Baron Bodissey said...

Cato the Elder -- we now have another commenter, just plain "Cato".

Perhaps he is "The Younger"? i.e. the unintended fruit of your misspent youth...

Baron Bodissey said...

a4g -- re JF funding. It's more the other way round. They engage in welfare fraud etc in this country and then send the money to the Sheikh in Pakistan.

Baron Bodissey said...

I deliberately left out one factor from my list of contextual assumptions: the condition of our borders, and our attitude towards immigration. I thought one of y'all might pick up on it.

I think that's one area where we could effect massive change before '08. The public is overwhelmingly in favor of controlling immigration.

The political difficulties come from:

1. Corporations that profit from the vast hordes of Hispanic helots now doing our low-status labor, and
2. The PC/Multiculti/Race Grievance lobby, which can make our cowardly leaders run for cover like rabbits.

But I think the task is doable. And it starts in the Republican primaries.

Open to the floor for discussion.

Thunder Pig said...

Well, for better or worse, I went ahead and posted.
Let me know if I'm attempting to go too much in detail.

Mussolini said...

I think the better political action is for a president with balls to declare a national state of emergency due to the out-of-control nature of the war.

We have no control over our borders. We have little control over our airports. The federal government and the left have made airport security a joke where Grandmas and Al Gore are searched while Achmed and Tariq sail right on through - all in the name of sensitivity.

How damn sensitive do we need to be? The ACLU sues any logical approach to security.

To continue on my political point: With no control over our own security, and a state of emergency declared, institute martial law, nation-wide (temporary suspension of the constitution). Muslims are stopped on sight. CAIR is abolished. The ACLU is abolished. Islamic mosques and schools here in the states are closed down, permanently.

We "cleanse" the nation as best we can of terrorists and their supporters. A virtual security state is established until the war is over (our lives are at stake).

Then, use the army like it should be. Top on the list: wipe out Saudi Arabia. Support India in a war with Pakistan. Support Israel in a war with Iran. Nuke any country stupid enough to use WMDs against us - no quibbling or hand-wringing - it becomes a sea of glass.

That is my "political" strategy for winning the war. Shorter war = less American deaths. After we win, restore the freedom we enjoy as Americans.

You have to ask yourself, how many innocent lives (young American men) is it worth spending to claim you're on the "high ground" when no one else in the world cares?

Cato the Elder said...

Baron, I was afraid something like this might catch up to me sooner or later. Guess I should be expecting a claim for back child support sometime soon, eh?

a4g said...

Baron -

Well, darn it, that doesn't help me test my hypothesis, since JF is acting as an agent for the enemy, and as such, is psychologically intertwined with the larger conflict. (The self-organization of a hurricane would appear to break the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, but as system drawing heat from an outside source (the ocean), it does not).

What is required for High Ground debunking is an isolated control group -- an example of an environment in which a jihadi-type mindset develops and flourishes within the context of a upwardly-mobile, generally free society. (These may be exceedingly narrow, self-fulfilling criteria-- or I may just be moving the goalposts)

The flourishing is the key-- as I think we're not tilting at the windmill of eliminating evil altogether (which I fear would not fare well for most of us), but rather exploring whether an idea (Islam) can be so dangerous and poisonous as to be capable of breaking out and overpowering established goodness.

A dispossessed, apocalyptic cult coming to power in a free, open society is the litmus test-- and, no, the Democrats don't count-- they're out of power ;-)

I'm thinking of the spread of Islam into southeast Asia, displacing indiginous religions, and wondering if I'm not talking myself into a different column...

Time to go to my thinking chair...

Andrew Scotia said...

Bill,
There is already a provision for the declaration of a "State of Internal Security Emergency", 50 USC, § 797, (see also DOD 51 OO.52-M), that is somewhat less draconian than your proposal which would be a non starter right out the box. The provisions are contained in the 1950 Internal Security Act. The emergency provisions have never, to my knowledge, been challenged in court. Once promulgated, SCOTUS would be reluctant to deal with the issue on the basis of the separation of powers. I do not hope that things ever come to that pass, but it is there. In this respect it is not a paranoid fiction of the tin foil hat left or the black helicopter right. I am unsure, however, if it suspends Posse Comitatus. In 1971, Congress did take back some of the provisions of the Act, Emergency Detention of US citizens, but many still remain in force. There was a later take back in 1993. In normal times one could expect whole battalions of lawyers to march on Washington if it was declared but I believe that would not be the case if a determined President pressed the issue.

This is not a joke. At one time in my life I used to have to review the local plan for the ...mumble... office I worked from, once a year. It had to be briefed to staff and assignments reviewed.

Under its' provisions the borders could be sealed without much of a fuss, you would hear a lot of people being asked for ID and being put into vans for "processing". And, airline, bus and train ticket counters would be flooded with people self
repatriating to various countries.

It would not be a "High Ground" solution; more a cleaving of the Gordian Knot. We could expect it the day after one of our cities was irradiated, for example, and probably not before such an action.

Baron Bodissey said...

a4g --

Commenter mika at Belmont Club had an interesting quote the other day:

"In its active participle form of gha-zi- ("one who takes part in a gha-ziya"), the word is technical term for a Muslim frontier/march warrior whose constant attacks against a neighboring infidel power open the way for the expansion of Islam."

Cambridge History of Islam, p. 283

"Gha-zi- warriors depended upon plunder for their livelihood, and were prone to brigandage and sedition in times of peace. The corporations into which they organized themselves attracted adventurers, zealots, and religious and political dissidents of all ethnicities."

This is the pool of people that the Great Jihad is drawing on -- disaffected folks who are generally inclined towards thuggery, ciminality, brigandage, and mayhem. The jihad is what suits them to a "T" -- the rules are simple, the code is strict and manly, honor is paramount, and -- most important -- they get to be very, very violent.

Hence the recruitment in the behavioral sink of the American prison system.

It makes sense to view John Allen Muhammad and Richard Reid as gha-zis.

blert said...

It is inevitable that the course of action will be a confused muddle.

America is unable to name the enemy beyond 'radical islam' because it is essential to keep the war controlled.

That soft, fuzzy focus will make crisp, strong military action unusual and controversial.

Divide and survive is the only path to a paced conflict.

It is commonly believed that we can eliminate the Arab oil weapon by alternatives. This is totally false. Oil is freely traded while at sea. It is cheapest liquid energy now and for many years to come.

As a thought experiment: If we were to shift to higher cost alternatives then that handicap would be on us alone. China would be advantaged. Further we would consume the Arab oil, now indirectly, by importing what it produced.

The only way to take the oil weapon away from the Arabs is to seize their wells.

If that Rubicon were crossed the whole world would be furious -- but helpless. Now our hand would be on the global tap.

I suspect that the resolution of this conflict will come when that sin is committed.

Our excuse: the KSA and Iran are conducting religious war against us.

Iranian nukes with KSA penetration agents (JF)would be the end of us.

Our enemies are not unhinged, just staggeringly ruthless. The intention is to backpack nukes into critical nodes and let loose all in one go. It is intended to be a five minute war of no-notice obliteration.

All of the talk about Taiwan is code talk in China for USA. America is too powerful to be explicitly named.

All of the talk about Israel is code talk in the Ummah for USA. America is too powerful to be explicitly named.

Everyone who is against us can never say so.

Right now we have a commercial war with France that is killing their economy. Look at their red wine industry.

We have a hot war, by proxy with Syria and Iran.

We have China using the Ummah as a stalking horse. So much better to use an enemy to smash another enemy. China has been called to account on their Nork sock puppet. Keep in mind that these loose nuke programs were started before Deng. There are some rabid anti-American ranters still in the PLA.

I named his conflict WWIV September 11, 2001. I figured we were under attack even before the second airliner.

Considering the belated 4th hyjack who can believe that the scheme was ONLY four jumbo jets? That would leave too many targets untouched. I suspect that some of the teams flaked out, and just walked away.

donkatsu said...

ag4

Would you agree that the takeover of Turkey by Islamic extremists would constitute a refutation of the High Ground view? Turkey has a reasonably strong economy, improving education, official secularity, equality for women, etc.

And yet, they voted in an Islamist government in 2001. This government has not (yet) taken the country into the nuthouse. If they do . . . ?

And then there are the well adjusted cricket players in the UK.

Redneck Texan said...

Well Baron the ground rules you have set, which I agree are reality based constraints, leave us with few options that deviate too far from the current inefficient reactive path.

If I was CnC I would drop the pretense of this not being a holy war, and would make a regular habit out of pointing out the violent tenets incorporated into the religion of peace's doctrine, which in itself might get me run out of office. But if I survived telling the American public the truth they don't want to hear, I would then attempt to publicly expose the house of Saud's role in spreading Wahabism into western societies. And then I would attempt to reduce the Islamic Clergy's appetite for the global expansion of their corrupt ideology by overtly targeting them regardless the political borders from within which they spew their hate filled rhetoric. And every attack by Islamic Cultural warriors on America would cost them a holy site.

But that small dose of reality would probably be too great for me to survive in our inherently self-destructive political structure.

I think, like others here have suggested, that the political constraints you have imposed on our arguments are inevitably subject to change at some undetermined point in the future. I don't see us remaining helpless Jihadi fodder for the remainder of the century, and I don't foresee us preventing them from escalating the holy war before they are in a position to seriously threaten the continuance of our way of life. I am afraid its going to take the big one here, or maybe several of them, before the political dynamics allow a victory to be a feasible option on our part. It may just be wishful thinking to assume we can mount a conflict resolving response after they finally blow our arrogant high ground out from underneath us, but thats what I am basing my hopes on.

While your constraints accurately reflect the current limitations we have imposed on ourselves, there are of course other possible scenarios that don't require an politically hamstrung American president to resolve.

The American people could take matters into their own hands (cough), and bypass the legislative limitations we have imposed on ourselves, and eliminate the domestic threats and obstacles to victory that can never be eliminated Constitutionally. Its happened before and it might be rather short-sighted to assume it cant happen again....just needs a sustained catalyst such as empty grocery store shelves which could be caused by any number of events. We may have become too lazy to demand good governance but we are all still seven meals from barbarism.

But a more likely path to conflict resolution might lie in the hands of the leaders of other nations that are not as hamstrung by a bitterly divided populace as any American president would be. The Israelis and Russians both have a button labeled "enough is enough", and they are both more likely to be the initial recipients of the Islamists final provocation than we are. Stands to reason they might be more likely to discard political limitations than we are as well.

But that was an excellent thought provoking question you posed. It drives home that we are destined to allow our enemy do decide when this is over.

Mussolini said...

Nothing like ceding all initiative to the enemy, is there?

Surefire strategy to win.

Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Papa Ray said...

I had halloween duty tonight plus I got to reading the comments over at the Belmont Club on a thread fighting the war with Iran or not fighting the war with Iran.

I did find something that goes with this tread.

This speech by Khamenei gives you an idea of his soft toned sharp tongue that is heard in Iran. Since he is THE TOP DOG and controls everything in the country, it might be wise to hear what he says. His "President" is a nobody in a new job that he has no experience and evidently no talent for.

He (Khamenei) is the one that I want to know alot about. He is the one calling the shots.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

a4g said...

Donkatsu -

Complete refutation? No.

But a 10 lb weight on an ounce scale? Yeah.

Thunder Pig said...

My major concern is that nothing short of tens of thousands of Americans dead will allow us to significantly change course in our conduct of the war. Even sept 11th didn't uncork the nukes. So, in my opinion, we creep along like we are, slowly steering our nation on its course.
I think the nest major move will be by the jihadis, on their own or acting as proxy for Iran or Syria; or Israel attempts to take out the Iranian threat. At that point, all bets are off.

Baron Bodissey said...

donkatsu -- I've been watching the situation in Turkey. It's very important, because of Turkey's attempt to join the EU. I'll be posting on it eventually.

peggy said...

I get the feeling reading these posts that the high grounders may be a bit misunderstood. I could be wrong but that is how I am seeing it.

When I talk about the high ground, I'm talking about what we as individual citizens do to preserve our civilization and refers only in a limited way to our government. I am talking about how we as individual citizens go about decreasing or controlling the muslim population of the West by simply resorting to the truth and broadcasting it unapologetically, attractively and ethically. We can win muslims to our side and slow the rate of conversion by being smart and having confidence that we need not resort to the tactics of either the muslim proselytizers nor the fringe dwelling haters. I am talking separation and elevation of our argument against admitting the ideas of islam into our system unexamined, uncriticized and relativized. A society lives and dies by its ideas and its an insane society that does not subject new ideas to the harshest critique. Religions are groupings of ideas as much as anything else and anyone who says that religions should be exempt from criticism is culturally suicidal. Religion, unlike skin color or ethinicity can elevate or destroy societies. It is a strong position to say that we must combat this blind acceptance of islam as on par with Christianity and Judaism or any other of the faiths that co-exist with us peacefully. It will require strength and bravery to rise above the current level of discussion about islam that I have seen online.

As regards our government, the high ground does not mean that our government should not in the strongest terms defend our interests. There should be no quarter in the current war and I for one would like to see a stronger government response in any number of areas. I personally would like the war in Iraq to be fought harder and with more troops to get it over faster.

But when it comes to maybe advocating deportations etc, that is where I want the government on the high ground. I don't want our government indiscriminately punishing all muslims already living here just for being muslims. I want to see our government treating these people with the utmost respect as long as they are law abiding. This does not rule out cutting off muslim immigration. No foriegner has any right to come to the US or other Western nations and we are well within our rights to control the immigration of any group. I think its suicidal not to control muslim immigration. I think that our government should not hesitate to cut off access now while at the same time continuing its efforts to improve the living conditions in their native countries so that they wont want to come here anyway.

I dont think the high ground is a weak position at all since it mostly relates to how we treat individuals who arent inherantly guilty of anything just for what they believe no matter how much we may dislike those beliefs. The high ground does not mean slacking in our vigilence at home or abroad, and it does not mean that we should not ruthlessly persecute the war against those engaged right now in violence and plots against us. These should be spared nothing.

Baron Bodissey said...

peggy -- There are people who consider the Moral High Ground position to be a wussified cop-out. I'm not one of them, but I can see the merits of the "Fierce Guard Dog" position.

I don't think I've misread you, because you're very clear about meeting force with force.

All 3 positions are necessary for proper political functioning. We're really arguing about is what the judicious mixture is.

Really, you ought to open up "peggyblog" so you could post and people could comment over there. You write well, and very clearly. We'd blogroll you.

Papa Ray said...

Here is another serpents voice from a while back.

Notice the certainty of his tone, the clarity of his message.

Then look what comes from our leaders, our media.

We have a big problem, and what is worse, no one seems to know or care.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Engineer-Poet said...

Of course, all of this comes down to energy; if we didn't need what the KSA et al. were peddling, they would be powerless and their ideology discredited.

I've said it before and I'll say it again (wordy sumbitch that I am):  Energy is a neglected front in this war, and technology is our best weapon.  What most people don't recognize is that oil is already very expensive compared to the alternatives.  Regular gas at $2.249 run through an engine at 17% efficiency costs 35.8¢/kWh at the crankshaft.

We've got a metric buttload of alternatives if we start using our brains.  Some of them are almost trivial improvements over what we're using now, like a hybrid car with some extra batteries that you charge when you get home at night.  Little things like that can eliminate up to 80% of gasoline consumption.

Unless I'm really, awfully wrong, Illinois could get all its electricity and run all its cars on grass.  No joke.

We could whip China by the simple expedient of quitting WTO, going "eco" along with Europe and not letting anyone into our new trade group unless they greened up too.  China doesn't have the land to do it, and without being able to export to us they're screwed.

Baron Bodissey said...

Ah, but Engineer-Poet, the cutting-off of China is not politically feasible -- the interests arrayed against such a move would strangle any attempt to do so in the Congress.

We can curb China at the margins -- by preventing them from importing certain of our goods, and keeping them from buying into certain strategic industries. The things which the Clinton Administration so signally failed to do, and which Canada is failing to do even now.

Engineer-Poet said...

Would a "greenhouse tax" on all Chinese goods imported to the US and Europe (and Canada, if it followed along as it did with Kyoto) just be fiddling at the margin?

I bet it would cause enormous pain over there.  However, we'd have to pull out of WTO first.  This would be much easier to do if we did it in concert with the EU and formed a new trade bloc.

I see lots of people denouncing environmentalism as damaging to the US.  It can be used that way, but the other edge of that sword is at least as sharp.

Papa Ray said...

Here is a worth while post at alwaysonwatch blog. Read the comments while your there.

Nine Danger Signs--Or Is It Ten, Now That The Senate Has Canceled Scheduled Hearings?

p.s. I sent eighteen emails today to Texas pols and told them that they had better start taking care of the nations business and stop fighting among themselves.

Fat chance...

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Engineer-Poet said...

Great read, Papa Ray (and thanks, AOW).

Since you're in Texas, I took a look at the potential non-oil energy yield from Texas.  It's a mighty sunny place (Austin chased me out of there with the August heat) but the wind power is cheaper to get to and VERY impressive.

Take a look at this wind resource map.  From the class 4-6 territory, there's enough wind to satisfy 123% of Texas's electricity requirements (something I suspected after witnessing an afternoon in McAllen); if you include the class 3, you're up to 371% (860 BILLION kWh/year, or more than 20% of total US consumption in 2004).

Looking at total Texas energy consumption (which unfortunately ends in 2001, and is only an estimate) I note that Texas consumed 1.34 quadrillion BTU of gasoline and 0.695 quad of distillate fuel oil (diesel) in the latest year on record.  If we assume 17% efficiency for the gasoline and 35% for the diesel, that's 471 trillion BTU of energy delivered, or 138 billion kWh.  When you add that and the 386 billion kWh generated in 2002, it looks like Texas has enough wind alone to tell OPEC to go to hell, leave its remaining oil in the ground, and export plenty to other states.

As Bruce Sterling (one of those commielib Austinites) said, "WE'VE STRUCK WIND".