Friday, November 05, 2004

And then there were 4

(quick context here)

Israel, India, us - and now Holland.

It's not the biggest coalition in world history (that'd be Gulf War I, the Virtual War), but it's a start.

Even though I criticize Andrew Sullivan, I'm not above shamelessly stealing links from him:

"I know for sure that you, Oh America will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Europe, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Holland, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Hirsi Ali, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh unbelieving fundamentalist, will go under."

Aerik, we need your historical knowledge: how were the original Hashish'ins stopped?

And why, again, should I be disappointed that we're not going to get to experience JFKII's "fresh start" approach to this fun-loving bunch of guys?

Right now they're in the freaky-mystic Pan-Slavic international terrorism network - priority one has to be preventing them from taking root in host nations. Afghanistan was like that. Iran and, apparently, Sudan? (please clarify based on your recent research) are now.

If we fail in Iraq, that's what we'll be left with. But surely your position is now reduced to agreeing with George H. W., or Kissinger - Saddam was a useful barrier beween the soft Gulf underbelly and the howling Borglike fundamentalist Next Stage of History beyond. Keep the lid on, because if we take it off it'll blow up in our faces.

We cannot act like this. If we fear rather than hope, we watch horrified as this ideology spreads and gains power. This is, of course, happening anyway, and the longer we chase it around without definitively defeating it, the worse the overall picture becomes.

Maybe we can't defeat it. If not, and I regret sounding like a broken record, get ready for another century like the last one.

This is the Russo-Niponnese war of 1905. What's next?


Blogger sugis said...

Interesting title for your blog, Knemon, considering I don't believe that a machine gun hand could never be kinder nor gentler.
Anyway, go back to my post where you posted your comment about me not knowing or having any repub friends. I do, more than you think. I don't believe you read my entire post, but I urge you to do so before condemning my position. Here is the link.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Knemon said...

The name of the blog is from a Neil Young song, "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" (which Michael Moore used for the end credits of "Farenheit 9/11" after Pete Townsend refused to let him use "Won't Get Fooled Again."

"We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand ..."

It's a very anti-Bush (41), anti-Republican, anti-80s song. Imagine big, gold-plated ironic finger quotes hanging up around it.

11:59 AM  
Blogger sugis said...

Oh, I see. Interesting!

12:08 PM  
Blogger aerik_the_red said...

1st) congrats on the founding of a new blog. You're budding like a hydra.

2nd) I assume you are referring to the "Assassins," and I've got some bad news for you, sunshine, if you are still a proponent of the "surgical warfare" approach to terrorists and terrorist-harboring states in the Middle East - i.e., that we can attack hostile elements embedded in a civilian population without alienating that population. According to some website I found:

>>"The Nizari Ismaili state, which controlled numerous mountain strongholds and their surrounding villages as well as a few towns, finally collapsed in 1256 under the onslaught of the Mongols. Thereafter, the Nizaris of Persia, Syria and other lands survived merely as Shi‘i minority communities without any political prominence."

So, basically, after a couple centuries of concerted effort by Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, and various other meanies, it took the complete obliteration of civilization by the Mongols to get the Assassins out of their mountain-top hidey-holes. Make no mistake: we face very much the same dilemma now, robot bombs and guided missiles notwithstanding. "Surgical" strikes with limited effect, or bloody urban warfare, house by house, street by street, resulting in substantial destruction and possibly the effective razing of a city. It will be interesting to see how Falluja turns out. My prediction: a bloody mess that cements Iraqi opposition to the U.S. occupation AND (a 2-fer, here!) the interim government.

3rd) I wouldn't say that my stance toward Iraq was ever anything more than the stance you ascribe to Kissinger and Bush Sr. That's exactly what Saddam Hussein was - a buffer. And, in bleeding Iran dry during the Iran-Iraq war, a very good one, especially because he didn't make any headway himself. You say that we could no longer afford to treat Saddam that way, given certain post-9/11 facts. I would still like to know what those "facts" are. Okay: al-Zarqawi was hiding out there. Okay: it was reasonable to think in 3/03 that Saddam had chemical weapons. Okay: everyone knows that he hated America. So, therefore, he's going to hand off the chemical weapons to someone (NOT necessarily bin Laden or al-Zarqawi, but SOMEONE - ANYONE) who is then going to use them against the U.S. either at home or abroad? Nuh uh. Because he knows that would be his ass, on a silver platter. I still don't buy it.

4th) Even if I DID buy it, you know what? THEY FUCKED IT UP BIIIG TIME. In our phone convo, you implied that sending in a skeleton crew was a deliberate strategy to avoid alienating the population. Frankly I think this argument is a little absurd. It's all very well and good to want to avoid alienating the population, but what do you think alienates them more: infidels walking around with guns, or 1.5 years of civil disorder? Polls showed approval of the occupation at above 60% right after the war, and it is now beneath 40% - the main complaint being our inability to restore order. And you know, that makes a lot of sense. As Colin Powell said, "You break it, you buy it" - and implicitly, "You are reponsible for gluing it back together." We screwed this up ROYALLY, and it's not like we weren't warned - Shinseki said we would need (at least!) 250,000 troops to restore order. And they fired him for it - well, ushered him into retirement.

5) You know, now that Iran is going to have nuclear weapons pretty soon, leaving Saddam in place as a bulwark or buffer might, again, have not been such a bad idea. Now there is no government or armed force in Iraq to speak of, other than our own, which is struggling to keep pace with events, and thus Iran has a free pass to develop nuclear weapons for the next year or so. Remind me again, how is this "fighting" Islamic extremism? Now, the only bonafide Islamic fundamentalist regime, with a history of supporting terrorism, is armed with nuclear weapons. Great. Halfway there already.

6) Book rec: "Persian Puzzle" by Kenneth Pollack. Breaks the whole shit with Iran down. VERY interesting.


5:02 PM  
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12:25 AM  

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