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RETALIATION, YES OCCUPATION, NO!: The case for limited war aims (Special Edition)
Antiwar.com ^ | October 7, 2001 | Justin Raimondo

Posted on 10/07/2001 3:57:41 PM PDT by ouroboros

Special Edition
October 7, 2001

RETALIATION, YES –
OCCUPATION, NO!

The case for limited war aims

As US missiles rained down on Afghanistan, the chilling voice of Osama bin Laden, carried by Aljazeera television in Qatar, rang out over Western airwaves, directly addressing Americans as well as his fellow Muslims: "America," he said, "is full of fear from its north to its south," and Americans "will never feel safe until we and the Palestinians feel safe." "It’s greatest buildings are destroyed," he hissed, agreeing with Jerry Falwell that "here is America struck by God Almighty," and adding that "America is tasting now only a copy of what we have tasted."

In what amounts to an open admission of responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden wrapped his monstrous confession in the rhetoric of vengeance, in effect saying: feel our pain. He is claiming the right of retaliation when he says "Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated." In this first fusillade in the propaganda war, bin Laden used all the weapons at his disposal. "A million innocent children are dying at this time as we speak," he said, "killed in Iraq without any guilt." An American reporter, Leslie Stahl, brought this issue up to then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright in an infamous 1996 interview:

Leslie Stahl: "We have heard that a half million children have died (as a result of sanctions against Iraq). I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"

Madeleine Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it."

~ Sixty Minutes, May 12, 1996

To win the war on terrorism, the US is going to have to come up with a different answer than the one offered by Mad Madeleine.

"Israeli tanks rampage across Palestine," continued bin Laden, his soft voice and gentle eyes a bizarre counterpoint to the unrelenting harshness of his message. The voice of pure evil, and a very effective evil – one that contains within it a grain of truth: Israeli tanks barrel into "Ramallah, Rafah and Beit Jala and many other parts of the land of Islam, and we do not hear anyone raising his voice or reacting. But when the sword fell upon America after 80 years, hypocrisy raised its head up high bemoaning those killers who toyed with the blood, honor and sanctities of Muslims." Here he is speaking directly to the Arab "street," while also taunting his Western enemies: he scores points with the former by not only pointing out the hypocrisy of the West, but also in holding it accountable.

The Bush administration knows how very effective this line of argument is in the Middle East: the appeal of bin Laden’s message goes way beyond the ultra-fundamentalist faction of Islam represented by the Taliban. No wonder Colin Powell is putting pressure on the Qatari authorities to close down Aljazeera TV, ironically one of the few freewheeling and uncensored media outlets in the region.

This unusual broadcast by bin Laden clarifies two issues beyond any possibility of doubt:

1) The Al Qaeda terror network and Osama bin Laden personally are responsible for the 9/11 atrocity, and the US is fully justified in going after them and ripping up this order of assassins root and branch.

2) In order to win the war against terrorism, America will have to change its foreign policy. If the Bush administration is now engaged in an effort to win over Muslim hearts and minds, then a wide-ranging review of US policy perspectives in the Middle East is in order. Unconditional support not only for Israel but for the decadent and tottering Saudi regime – everything must be put on the table.

The Ladenite declaration of war – clearly made before the US military assault – also clarifies the role and program of the peace party: to limit this war as much as possible. Excluding pure pacifists, non-interventionists can make only one argument against this war: that it will have the exact opposite of its intended consequences, and that therefore American war aims must be narrowly focused on the elimination of the terrorist threat. A just war against bin Laden and Al Qaeda could easily escalate into a broader, regional war – and then the world war metaphor so beloved by our pro-war intellectuals and pundits in the cheering section would become a grisly, bloody, futile reality.

Our argument against that kind of war is simple: it is not in America’s interest to take on the entire Muslim world. That the Bush administration agrees with this perspective is underscored by the Powellian strategy of building a broad coalition including Arab countries – an effort which so enraged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he grotesquely likened it to Munich! Naturally, the Israelis are pursuing their own national interest, and one reason many Americans admire Sharon is that he does this so doggedly and unrelentingly. On the other hand, it is neither surprising nor any less admirable when an American President and his secretary of state pursue the same policy on behalf of our own nation.

The worst case scenario is a war, a world war, pitting the US and Israel against the world’s Muslims, and a good deal of the rest. Yet that is the war that is coming, unless principled non-interventionists unite around a program of limited war aims. "Peace now" is no longer a viable option, but, then again, neither is perpetual war.

Retaliation, yes – occupation, no! That must be the battle-cry of the noninterventionist movement as we face a new challenge to our analysis. For once, America is fighting a defensive war, a just war – at least, so far. But it is an almost effortless transition from a just war to a war of conquest, so that most never notice when that point has been passed and there’s no turning back. Already the President has alluded to the postwar reconstruction of Afghanistan as comparable to the rebuilding – and occupation – of Japan and Germany. Of course, US soldiers are still occupying Germany and Japan, and the question is: will they be occupying Afghanistan 60 years after an American "victory." That would be a Pyhrric victory indeed, one that recalls the statement of old King Pyhrrus: "One more ‘victory’ such as this and we are finished."



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To: TKEman
The United States simply must promote democracy around the world.

Promote? Sure, but at the point of a gun? Is that really promotion or is it enforcement? What founding document makes this REPUBLIC the world's policeman, anyway.

Democracy is not necessarily the best government for every people on the planet at every moment in time. We have no mandate or interest in shaping the world in our image. We should set an example, not policy, for other countries to follow.

21 posted on 10/07/2001 4:42:54 PM PDT by ouroboros
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To: evita
$3 billion buys us a strong ally in the area that is not subject to the Islamic party line. It also buys us a ready-made set of airbases and deep water seaports on the Mediterranean within striking distance of anywhere in the Mid-East. At $3 billion a year we get off cheap.
22 posted on 10/07/2001 4:43:11 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Un-PC
Israel is a "democratic socialist" state.

One could also describe Israel as a "nationalist socialist" state. Of course, I would never do that ;)

23 posted on 10/07/2001 4:45:53 PM PDT by ouroboros
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: LLAN-DDEUSANT
just as absurd as the notion that Israel belongs to a bunch of Europeans.

Actually most Israelis are from Jews who fled Arab lands.
Nice try.

26 posted on 10/07/2001 4:54:12 PM PDT by JAWs
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To: ouroboros
Justin is usually pretty good, but he misses the point here.

Yes, it would be a mistake to link arms with Israel and go into Afghanistan. But Bush isn't doing that.

It would be an even worse mistake to repudiate Israel and kowtow to Palestinian terrorists. It would be read as a sign of cowardice and lack of will all over the Arab world, just as Israel's ignominious retreat from Southern Lebanon under its previous government placated no one, but only encouraged the Palestinians to strike harder.

Bush should keep on message. Israel has very little to do with this attack, despite the talking heads. America was the object of Bin Laden's attack. Our response has nothing to do with Israel one way or the other. Rather, as Bush has said, we will pursue our enemies until we have defeated them, by simple right of self-defense.

27 posted on 10/07/2001 4:54:16 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: Pissed Off Janitor
Are you recomending long-term occupation by ground troops? Now that would be crazy.
28 posted on 10/07/2001 4:56:27 PM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
The plan I've been hearing about calls for the overthrow of the Taliban and the uprooting of terrorist networks in Afghanistan followed by UN occupation using troops from Arab countries. The UN holds the country for the interem needed to set up a new government while the US/Europe/Russia spend time developing the country and re-building it's infrastructure. Sort of a "Marshall Plan" for Afghanistan, the idea being that if a democratic government was installed and the people were given a chance at a better future they would be less inclined to commit suicide trying for us Yankees.
31 posted on 10/07/2001 5:02:29 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Zeroisanumber
In other words "nation building." Been there, done that.
32 posted on 10/07/2001 5:03:35 PM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Cicero
Yes, it would be a mistake to link arms with Israel and go into Afghanistan. But Bush isn't doing that.

Well, I don't think he is saying that is what we are doing. He is merely warning against it.

Raimondo: "Our argument against that kind of war is simple: it is not in America’s interest to take on the entire Muslim world. That the Bush administration agrees with this perspective is underscored by the Powellian strategy of building a broad coalition including Arab countries....For once, America is fighting a defensive war, a just war – at least, so far. But it is an almost effortless transition from a just war to a war of conquest, so that most never notice when that point has been passed and there’s no turning back."

Raimondo is stating his preference that, as the war progresses, we continue to follow the lead of Gen. Powell and the President rather than Wolfowitz, Perle, etc. who are clamoring for a much wider conflict that could ignite WWIII.

33 posted on 10/07/2001 5:04:53 PM PDT by ouroboros
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To: Un-PC
The Israelis did NOT " steal " land in 1947. It really would behoove you to leave your anti-Semitic biases behinf and learn some history. Perhaps you should start with the Balfore Agreement, perchance ?

Maybe you would like the USA government to give parts of our nation to Mexico, and the rest to various Indian tribes, where they can proove that they really ARE Indians. Then , let's make England give their land back to ... ? Hmmmmmmmm ... the Normans ? No, the were French and invaded. Oopps ... but the Normans were really Germans. Oh, and before that ? Well okay, wha about the Angles ? Oh dear, another invader and Germanic. The Saxons ? See the Normans and the Angles. Oh dear, oh dear. Your proposition is even more ridiculous, than mine.

How about we fid the Cannanites, and give them back ALL the territory covered by Israel. Oh gee........the Hebrews killed and / or intermarried with them. Sooooo, I guess that Israel REALLY does belong to those modern day Israelis. So there !

34 posted on 10/07/2001 5:05:05 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: LLAN-DDEUSANT
"Palestinians are Palestinians driven off their own land. "

Can you provide a map of Palestine?

35 posted on 10/07/2001 5:09:45 PM PDT by K7TNW
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Better perhaps, to build a nation then it is to smash one flat and then leave the problem to fester again. Remove the conditions that create terrorists and you effectively destroy the terrorists.
36 posted on 10/07/2001 5:09:48 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Cicero
Very good point. I will also add with bin-Laden's recent linkage, any major pro-Pal move will be seen as a victory for terror. And as long as the Pals use terror (terror by OUR definition- not the PC version or 'well if it kills Israelis it's OK' fantasy of the Arab world) then we can not let them profit from it. To use the VN era phrase- the war is over if they want it.
They don't want it.
37 posted on 10/07/2001 5:15:43 PM PDT by JAWs
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Answer: Bubba, Osama, Saddam, Justin.

Question: Name the four least credible sources of how to deal with anti-American attackers and their sympathizers.

38 posted on 10/07/2001 5:20:20 PM PDT by D-fendr
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To: ouroboros
Typical raimondo BS.
39 posted on 10/07/2001 5:32:28 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: nopardons
I'm familiar with the Balfour Amendment. It was perverted by Zionists and used as justifaction to steal Arab lands. You're the one who needs to brush up on his history. Do you think the Arabs, who owned more than 85 percent of the land in Palestine, just handed over their property. If so, you're incredibly gullible.

By the way, I don't appreciate being called an anti-semite simply because I refuse to wolf down pro-Israeli propaganda lock stock in barrel. You're not going to get a true picture of events unfolding in Palestine from the mainstream media.

Incidentally, you've violated the rules regarding "no personal attacks" by trotting out your virulent anti-semitic charge. It's a cheap shot that is a favorite tactic of leftwing extremists and, apparently, some Freepers.

40 posted on 10/07/2001 5:37:02 PM PDT by Un-PC
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