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Forgetfulness and Denial
Tech Central Station ^ | April 6, 2004 | Lee Harris

Posted on 04/05/2004 10:04:19 PM PDT by quidnunc

In my book, Civilization and Its Enemies, I wrote that the West is suffering from forgetfulness. After reading and listening to some of the responses from the Right to Fallujah, I am inclined to believe that I was being an optimist in my assessment. The problem, it is beginning to appear, is not forgetfulness, but denial. It is not that we in the West have forgotten what our enemy is like; it is that we refuse to see what he is like even when it is being shown right before our eyes, as was the case with the atrocities in Fallujah.

Just as the editorial board of The New York Times, on the second anniversary of 9/11, wanted to persuade us that 9/11 was simply a fluke, unlikely to happen again, so many on those on the opposite side of the political spectrum have wanted to persuade us that Fallujah was a similar fluke. Just as the left wants us to think that 9/11 tells us nothing about the nature of the enemy we are facing, so now the right wants us to think the exact same thing about Fallujah. For both parties, it has become politically necessary to deny the evidence of their senses in order to bolster the ideology of their own pet fantasies.

"Fallujah was contrived. It was all the fault of the cameramen. It was a cunning tactic used in the hope of causing reprisals."

It is not as if the savagery so endemic to the Arab world needs new apologists; the Left, all around the world, have been working night and day to make excuses for precisely the kind of horror that was enacted in Fallujah. Each time a Palestinian elects to martyr himself in the name of Allah and to murder innocent Israelis in the process, there is someone to tell us that this is the only way that the Palestinians can express their desperation — though oddly enough no other desperate group, such as the Armenians or the Jews, has ever chosen to express their desperation by encouraging their children to blow themselves up.

The apologists of the Left argue that 9/11 is a natural response to the wickedness of the West. The apologists of the Right argue that Fallujah is a response to the wickedness of Saddam Hussein. On both readings, neither event is seen as evidence of a profound civilizational chasm between us and them — a chasm so wide and deep that it will inevitably swallow even the best-intentioned efforts to bridge it.

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at techcentralstation.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: fallujah; leeharris

1 posted on 04/05/2004 10:04:19 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: Tolik
FYI
2 posted on 04/05/2004 10:04:51 PM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: All

Donate Here By Secure Server

3 posted on 04/05/2004 10:07:53 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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To: quidnunc
The enemy of civilization is barbarism. Uneducated fanatics are the worlds worst example of barbarians.
They are easily manipulated. That is why they fall victim to the Saddams of the world. One Saddam falls. Another rises to take his place. Barbarians celebrate because it is all they know.
4 posted on 04/05/2004 10:15:15 PM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: quidnunc
The author keeps talking about the enemy, and how everyone doesn't understand the enemy, but never gets around to expressing his understanding of the enemy, and how we are all wrong. File this under: Articles from the "I know better than everyone else crowd."

In any case, those on the Right do recognize that there are monsters in Iraq, but that does not make all Iraqis monsters. Those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the rights of others, will find themselves taking a dirt nap, just as such people do in any civilized country.
5 posted on 04/05/2004 10:17:26 PM PDT by TheDon (John Kerry, self proclaimed war criminal, Democratic Presidential nominee)
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To: TheDon
TheDon wrote: The author keeps talking about the enemy, and how everyone doesn't understand the enemy, but never gets around to expressing his understanding of the enemy, and how we are all wrong. File this under: Articles from the "I know better than everyone else crowd." In any case, those on the Right do recognize that there are monsters in Iraq, but that does not make all Iraqis monsters. Those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the rights of others, will find themselves taking a dirt nap, just as such people do in any civilized country.

I was really ambivalent about this coliumn and almost didn't post it.

6 posted on 04/05/2004 10:21:35 PM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: quidnunc
YAWN, Same old Hard Right Isolationist rant from those who want to pretend that the USA can hide from terror in Fortress America. Doesn't this guy ever get tired of hitting the same wrong note over and over and over? I also find his ethnocentric beliefs appalling. How can any rational being think that the actions of a few thousand bad guys in a nation of 25 MILLION PROVES the Arabs are "endemic savages"? Appalling, truely appalling. It guys like this that make it possible for the Hysteric Left to smear "conservatives" as a bunch of racist bigots.
7 posted on 04/05/2004 10:24:16 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Vote Bush 2004-We have the solutions, Kerry Democrats? Nothing but slogans.)
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To: quidnunc
I have to more or less agree with Mr. Harris, but with my own spin. The "gap" that is not being acknowledged is that Islamic culture and Western Culture cannot peacefully co-exist. It is folly to think they ever will. The West must break the back of Islam if we are ever going to pacify that region.

The West had to learn that in the past when Islam was overrunning the world at the point of the sword. Thankfully, Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, stopped the further spread of Islam.
8 posted on 04/05/2004 10:27:52 PM PDT by Sola Veritas (West vs Islam)
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To: quidnunc
It seems to me that anyone using the name Mohamed, anyone that has "converted" to Islam, and anyone that carries the title "cleric" needs to be hurried along on their journey to Allah. We might consider sparing Mohamed Ali because he's too sick to do any harm - but only if he agrees to take his original name back.
9 posted on 04/05/2004 10:42:55 PM PDT by Jaysun (The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: quidnunc
"In any case, those on the Right do recognize that there are monsters in Iraq, but that does not make all Iraqis monsters."

Correct, but I am reminded of the Jack Nicholson line "you cant handle the truth!" I dont think we do want to realize how barbaric the culture we are fighting can be. we are doing a very Liberal thing, imagining that by pretending they are better than they really are, they might aspire to live up to the benighted portrait of it. The poll result in Iraq was interesting something like 40% were for democracy, 30% for a "rule by religious leader" and 20% for a strong-man. So a democrat would eke out against Saddam and an ayatollah in Iraq, but not resoundingly.

TheDon: "Those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the rights of others, will find themselves taking a dirt nap, just as such people do in any civilized country."
Well, we can colonize Iraq and choose to enforce that as law. However, the question is to get the Iraqis to do that themselves. Are they up to the task? is the question. Will Iraqis themselves construct the kind of civil society and maintain it, or will their historical habits force them to retreat to more primitive governance?

A year ago I was optimistic and argued against the pessimists. But now it looks like civilization is a thin veneer on a society that barely knows how to function normally after a generation under saddam, with violent fascists and terrorists eager to undermine our project.
It is an attempt like trying to fly a plane for the first time, while a flock of crows crap on you and peck at the fueslage. I have more a determination that we have to succeed than a sure confidence that we will.


10 posted on 04/05/2004 10:45:45 PM PDT by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com - Disturb, manipulate, demonstrate for the right thing)
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To: WOSG
WOSG wrote: But now it looks like civilization is a thin veneer on a society that barely knows how to function normally after a generation under saddam,…

It's not just Iraq, the whole of Araby is only marginally civilized.

Just look at the Palestinians.

11 posted on 04/05/2004 10:49:33 PM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: quidnunc
yes, my point... we should not underestimate the radical transformation that we are asking for.

Only Turkey has been a successful Islamic democracy and that was through a heavy military presence.

The thought presents itself: Our US military would have to play that same "brokering" role, but we'd likely lack the strength of will or staying power to impose our will to break up dangerous trends. Even an obvious wannabe Hitler like Sadr we let fester for a whole year with his little 'army' of jihadists. We have to clean it out, and keep the field tilted in favor of the democrats, then let history play itself out and hope the forces of modernism are stronger than the forces of reactionary islam.
12 posted on 04/05/2004 10:59:41 PM PDT by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com - Disturb, manipulate, demonstrate for the right thing)
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To: quidnunc
bttt
13 posted on 04/06/2004 1:15:52 AM PDT by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: quidnunc; TheDon; WOSG; Sola Veritas; o_zarkman44; lainde
The problem with Lee Harris writings lately is that each peace almost can't be read separately from others. They are more like puzzle pieces that must be put together to be understood. That creates confusion, sometimes people perceive completely opposite from what he had in mind (as I interpret it, I may be wrong myself :)).

I finished reading his book a few weeks ago. It's very interesting. He looks at the nature of power, how civilization came out of barbarism. Lots of food for thoughts. To me, at least, many ideas were very fresh.

One of the ideas that applies here is that there always will be ruthless people that will exploit situation. They will, by their nature, think the things that other people believe unthinkable. So they gain instant advantage. Too much ruthlessness destroy civilizational order. But there is no other way to fight ruthlessness besides employing your own ruthless people. How can you then be sure that your ruthless saviors won't turn on you? The answer is the honor code instilled in the society that creates among your own ruthless the first allegiance to your own "team"/society.

US Military has this code instilled in them. No time in history they turned against the society. They CAN deal with the ruthlessness of our enemies.

But the society needs to realize that we do have enemies that no amount of our apologizing and concessions will satisfy. The problem is that our society is not ready to bring down the ruthless force needed.
The paradox probably is in the fact that we are accused of using too much force when in reality we did not use enough of it.

There were well argumented calls to erase Fallujah. Give 24 - 72 hours (whatever) warning for people to get out, and then erase the city. It would have been the right message well understood in that part of the world. The reality is that we are not going to do it. So we stuck with half measures again.
14 posted on 04/06/2004 6:35:48 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: quidnunc
When I saw the title my initial reaction was that it was about Hillary and how she perfected "Forgetfulness and Denial".
My bad.
mc
15 posted on 04/06/2004 6:37:18 AM PDT by mcshot (Over da bridge member of the Henry Bowman Society)
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To: Tolik
Tolik, sorry this is so late. Your comments are very thoughtful. We are not yet serious in waging this "war". If we were serious we would not let the Saudi "Oil Bank" that finances the terrorism still stand or give legitimacy to its murderous representatives that make farcial ceremonial trips to Washington crying how misunderstood they are. We would not have left the heroin poppy fields in Afghanistan intact to further finance weapons. They should have been destroyed with something corrosive so you couldn't grow anything for 50 years or so. Terrorism,(ordinance, nuclear weapons etc) requires financing. The terror banks are still spitting out oil and heroin money. No wonder the world sees us as naive. It just seems so simple...Take out the BANKS PLEASE! But what do I know.
16 posted on 04/07/2004 1:09:21 AM PDT by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: lainde
Thanks. The credit belongs to Mr. Harris.

I agree with you. That inconsistence drives me crazy (besides sending the mixed messages to our enemies and friends alike).
17 posted on 04/07/2004 5:28:56 AM PDT by Tolik
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