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LOSING THE WAR ON TERROR: THE VOICE OF DESPAIR ECHOES AGAIN
National Review Online (The Corner) ^ | August 20, 2005 | Andy McCarthy

Posted on 08/23/2005 11:39:58 AM PDT by nosofar

For what it’s worth, this is where I get off the bus. The principal mission of the so-called “war on terror” – which is actually a war on militant Islam – is to destroy the capacity of the international network of jihadists to project power in a way that threatens American national security. That is the mission that the American people continue to support.

As those who follow these pages may know, I have been despairing for a long time over the fact that the principal mission has been subordinated by what I’ve called the “democracy diversion” – the administration’s theory that the (highly dubious) prospect of democratizing Iraq and the Islamic world will quell the Islamists. (Aside: go ask Israelis if they think the fledgling “democracy” in Gaza and the West Bank – which is very likely to bring Hamas to power – promotes their national security.)

Now, if several reports this weekend are accurate, we see the shocking ultimate destination of the democracy diversion. In the desperation to complete an Iraqi constitution – which can be spun as a major step of progress on the march toward democratic nirvana – the United States of America is pressuring competing factions to accept the supremacy of Islam and the fundamental principle no law may contradict Islamic principles.

There is grave reason to doubt that Islam and democracy (at least the Western version based on liberty and equality) are compatible. But that is an argument for another day. The argument for today is: the American people were never asked whether they would commit their forces to overseas hostilities for the purpose of turning Iraq into a democracy (we committed them (a) to topple a terror-abetting tyrant who was credibly thought both to have and to covet weapons of mass destruction, and (b) to kill or capture jihadists who posed a danger to American national security). I doubt they would have agreed to wage war for the purpose of establishing democracy. Like most Americans, I would like to see Iraq be an authentic democracy – just as I would like to see Iran, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. be authentic democracies. But I would not sacrifice American lives to make it so.

But even if I suspended disbelief for a moment and agreed that the democracy project is a worthy casus belli, I am as certain as I am that I am breathing that the American people would not put their brave young men and women in harm’s way for the purpose of establishing an Islamic government. Anyplace.

It is not our place to fix what ails Islam. But it is utter recklessness to avert our eyes from the fact that militant Islam thrives wherever Islam reigns. That is a fact. When and where militant Islam thrives, America and the West are endangered. That is also a fact. How can we possibly be urging people who wisely don’t want it to accept the government-institutionalized supremacy of Islam?

And if the United States, in contradiction of its own bedrock principle against government establishment religion, has decided to go into the theocracy business, how in the world is it that Islam is the religion we picked?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraq; islam; sandnazis; war
I hadn't heard the US was doing this, but I haven't been keeping up with the details. It wouldn't surprise me from the State Department, though.
1 posted on 08/23/2005 11:40:00 AM PDT by nosofar
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To: nosofar
?....LOSING THE WAR ON TERROR: .....NO WAY......

Russia, China, Japan, India, ARE STRONGER THAN EVER.....Before!!!!!!!

The 'whole' truth and NOTHING but the truth......

John14:6

2 posted on 08/23/2005 11:47:24 AM PDT by maestro
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To: nosofar
If Andy McCarthy really believes that the U.S. support for an Islamic government in Iraq represents a setback in the "war on terror," then I'm afraid he's been delusional for a long time.

The so-called "war on terror" was officially lost when we insisted on calling it -- well, a "war on terror." Terrorism is a method of projecting force, not an enemy -- and our inability to publicly identify a real enemy pretty much guaranteed that this war would be no more successful than all of those other wars against nebulous, inanimate things (war on poverty, war on drugs, war on illiteracy, etc.). We might just as well have declared war on bad weather, and the results would have been the same.

As far as Iraq is concerned, there was no need -- after the summer of 2003 -- to maintain any illusions about the U.S. commitment to the effort. This was the period of time in which the U.S. Congress -- which couldn't even reach on consensus on funding the war effort in Iraq -- somehow managed to garner unanimous support for a Federal law to protect Americans from . . . now get this, folks . . . TELEMARKETERS.

3 posted on 08/23/2005 11:48:11 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.)
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To: Alberta's Child

The War on Terror never even started since we have the same open sore of a border that we had before.


4 posted on 08/23/2005 11:55:01 AM PDT by the gillman@blacklagoon.com (Google CFR North American Community)
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To: nosofar
I have been despairing for a long time over the fact that the principal mission has been subordinated by what I’ve called the “democracy diversion” – the administration’s theory that the (highly dubious) prospect of democratizing Iraq and the Islamic world will quell the Islamists. (Aside: go ask Israelis if they think the fledgling “democracy” in Gaza and the West Bank – which is very likely to bring Hamas to power – promotes their national security.)

I'm extremely conservative, and I know that I'm inviting denials and flames with what I'm about to say. But I've felt since the beginning of this that the W admin. was naive. The way W spoke about democratization of the ME became an almost religious fiat in his mind, a command from "the God of liberty." He actually misused that scriptural phrase in this political context!

How could they NOT know the stiff and constant terrorist resistence we would face? How could they not know we'd face constant losses as long as we were there?

Fighting radical Islam head on is one thing. Staying in Iraq to build schools and repair water lines in the hope that a forced "democracy" will somehow chase terrorism away is, again, hopelessly naive. And it's a waste of American lives.

5 posted on 08/23/2005 11:59:15 AM PDT by mikeus_maximus (Hillary for Prez! -(The Whitehouse wants its china back; China wants the Whitehouse back))
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To: Alberta's Child
The so-called "war on terror" was officially lost when we insisted on calling it -- well, a "war on terror." Terrorism is a method of projecting force, not an enemy --





Actually, "terror" is a method of projecting force, "terrorism" is an ideology rooted in terror. It would have made more sense to call for a "War on Terrorism", than a "War on Terror". To do so would have underscored that the war has an ideological component and not just a military component.
6 posted on 08/23/2005 11:59:19 AM PDT by rob777
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To: mikeus_maximus
Exactly. The George W. Bush (candidate) who said he wouldn't waste military resources on stupid nation-building exercises sure knew what the hell he was talking about.

I wonder where that guy went.

7 posted on 08/23/2005 12:06:12 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.)
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To: nosofar

I think the war in Iraq was a mistake, but not because of whatever Constitution they produce. It's quite clear at this point that whatever document they produce won't determine the situation on the ground there. Some variety of civil war will decide that- you've got 3 major ethnic groups each of which want the oil and political power.

We'll stick around and get our soldiers killed and whenever we leave they will have their civil war. And the Shiites backed by Iran will very likely win and we'll have two Irans. All for the low, low price of 700 billion dollars or so and 5000 or so US lives.


8 posted on 08/23/2005 12:08:48 PM PDT by Altair333 (Stop illegal immigration: George Allen in 2008)
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To: mikeus_maximus
Fighting radical Islam head on is one thing. Staying in Iraq to build schools and repair water lines in the hope that a forced "democracy" will somehow chase terrorism away is, again, hopelessly naive.





Terrorism is just that, an "ism". That is to say, it is an ideology, much like communism. The only way to defeat an ideology is to counter it with another ideology. Militant Islam is a form of terrorism, but there are others as well. (At the moment, militant Islam is the main example of terrorism) A military approach alone will not work. To win, we need to engage in a pro-freedom ideological offensive. I think that this is what the administration is trying so convey, although not so effectively. Finally, a "forced" democracy is one thing, using force to stop the proponents of terrorism from denying a people a chance at democracy is another. Which is the case here depends on where the majority of the population stand on this. It is still too early to tell.
9 posted on 08/23/2005 12:12:24 PM PDT by rob777
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To: nosofar
Nattering nabobs of negativity.
10 posted on 08/23/2005 12:13:50 PM PDT by sydbas
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To: nosofar

I reluctantly have to agree with the article. Spreading democracy should not be our goal. We must first defend America. Then we can help those who are being oppressed and/or being slaughtered or starved in other countries.

Terrorists, domestic or foreign, pose a mortal threat and cannot be ignored. Anarchists also pose a serious threat because without law and order, we would descend into the darkness of survival of the fittest.

Having said that, the war in Iraq, justified or not, has been a noble war that freed millions from a murderous tyranny. We have learned many lessons from Iraq that will hopefully guide us to wiser decisions in the future. We must stay the course and continue to honor our military who carry out their country's mission regardless of their personal feelings and the abuse by ill informed US citizens.

God bless America.


11 posted on 08/23/2005 12:14:41 PM PDT by FOXFANVOX (Freedom is not free.)
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To: nosofar
Once again, the press doesn't get it.

The war was always about asserting American power into a region that was funding organized terror against our civilization. The inevitability of terrorist nuclear weapons dictated our course of action if we wished to save ourselves from destruction.

WMD & Democracy were part of the ideological message to build the momentum to do this. This is not post WWII Europe and it was never realistic to plan specifically for a democratic transformation, however, it continues to provide a vision and goal to those in the region that are willing to work for it.

We have cleared the land and planted the seeds. They must decide for themselves what they want to grow. All this chatter about "what was promised" and "what the American people want" is just second guessing from the press, and it is getting very tiresome.
12 posted on 08/23/2005 12:15:21 PM PDT by Wiseghy (Part of the True Conservative Majority of Kaleefahrnya)
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To: Alberta's Child

War on a tactic is/was an asinine and cowardly formulation.

More so now.

Like a war on sneak attacks. Or nasty things under rocks.

An civilisation that cannot or will not name the enemy due to whatever expedient reasons, well, ......


13 posted on 08/23/2005 12:19:32 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: rob777

I understand the rationale. Dropping a nominally democratic government in the ME, especially one which bows to Islam, is a poor and indirect attempt to change a widespread religious belief. It's as naive as the belief of the 60's children that we could have global peace if we just spread enough love.


14 posted on 08/23/2005 12:34:08 PM PDT by mikeus_maximus (Hillary for Prez! -(The Whitehouse wants its china back; China wants the Whitehouse back))
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To: nosofar

This NRO guy must believe everything he reads in the newspapers.


15 posted on 08/23/2005 12:36:28 PM PDT by Chaguito
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To: Chaguito

Read Sharansky. Proclaiming support for democracy has huge impact on oppressed peoples. I do think we must watch that constitution and make sure that it is something Americans should fight for. If not, we leave. We got in in 3 days and we can get out the same way, if they don't protect human rights , for instance, in their constitution.


16 posted on 08/23/2005 1:09:23 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: mikeus_maximus
Dropping a nominally democratic government in the ME, especially one which bows to Islam, is a poor and indirect attempt to change a widespread religious belief. It's as naive as the belief of the 60's children that we could have global peace if we just spread enough love.




No argument here, I'm not sure yet that the jury is in as to whether the Iraq government will end up bowing to "traditional" Islam.
To a majority of Muslims, the Koran is recited as a religious ritual. The actual interpretation is not as fixed with them as it is with the leaders. (It has more of a symbolic value than an ideological one) Those who actually take the literal meaning of the Koran seriously are the one who are the problem. I say let them keep their devotion to Islam as religious symbolism, but change the ideological content of traditional Islam. (What some Muslim reformers are now calling "political Islam") The new proposed constitution names Islam as a source of law, but it also names basic human rights as a source as well. The two are not compatible according to traditional Islam, or a literal reading of the Koran. The fact that they are both included in the new constitution, coupled with the polls I have seen showing VERY little support for an Iran style Islamic Republic leaves me to believe that some major reinterpretation of the basic doctrines of Islam are in the works. (This has been going on in Iraq amongst some Shiites since Saddam was toppled. I even read one post where a Muslim seminary was being set up that would allow one to study Islam in the context of the modern ideas and other religions, especially those ideas that supported the ideal of liberty. There were also some earlier comments made by Grand Ayatollah Sistini that amounted to something akin to the separation of Mosque and State. (As opposed to religion and government)

I think the jury is still out as to whether this will work.
As to the possibilities of an Iran like Islamic Republic, I highly doubt it. The more likely result is a three way split up of Iraq among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds following a protracted period of civil strife.
17 posted on 08/23/2005 1:42:19 PM PDT by rob777
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To: Alberta's Child

Congress also got together recently and agreed to require anti-freeze makers to change the stuff so that it isn't lethal and attractive ... to dogs. Meanwhile, our borders are unguarded and illegals, including terrorists, can enter whenever and wherever they want.


18 posted on 08/23/2005 5:41:56 PM PDT by WestSylvanian
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To: nosofar

gloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloomgloom


19 posted on 08/23/2005 5:45:21 PM PDT by woofie
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To: nosofar
Though I agree with many of the posters here ... Bush is naive and his administration is doing a poor job in Iraq ... AND Bush is doing a piss poor job of selling this war to the american people ... the name we put on why we went there is irrelevant.

Central Asia cannot be ceded to the islamists. Iraq was a good place to start. We need to see the real threat and put a LOT more force on it. Get rid of the political generals and put war fighters in there. The cause is as great as the cause in WWII ... perhaps greater. We will be in the Dark Ages if Central Asia goes down the tubes. It will take a draft and millions of soldiers if we fail in Iraq and Iran is allowed to take over the whole area.
20 posted on 08/23/2005 5:58:53 PM PDT by mercy (never again a patsy for Bill Gates - spyware and viri free for over TWO YEARS now)
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To: mikeus_maximus
The way W spoke about democratization of the ME became an almost religious fiat in his mind, a command from "the God of liberty." He actually misused that scriptural phrase in this political context!

W. is a politician and politicians speak a different language when addressing national audiences. I generally discounted this kind of talk because of it. I still think I'm right, but not quite as much as before.

21 posted on 08/25/2005 8:56:28 AM PDT by nosofar
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To: FOXFANVOX
Spreading democracy should not be our goal.

The initial point was to push Islam in general. The war has done that, but not as much as was initially envisioned. I also suspect there are people in the administration who took their eye off the ball (the Islamists) and got a little too invested in 'democracy' in the ME for its own sake instead of a strategy in the WOT. I don't think it's near what it looks like because politicians tend to overstate things in the spirit of if you repeat something long enough and loud enough it it must be true (similar to 'Islam is a Religion of Peace'). I doubt Lincoln, for example, believed at least some of what he said during the Civil War, but the rhetoric was necessary to instill motivation and morale in the North.

22 posted on 08/25/2005 9:05:08 AM PDT by nosofar
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To: mercy
... AND Bush is doing a piss poor job of selling this war to the american people ...

This is what irritates me the most. This should have been considered as PART of the WOT and planned for every bit as much as the actual military operations. Maybe it was planned for, but it was a pretty crappy job if so.

23 posted on 08/25/2005 9:07:30 AM PDT by nosofar
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