Skip to comments.RETALIATION, YES – OCCUPATION, NO!: The case for limited war aims (Special Edition)
Posted on 10/07/2001 3:57:41 PM PDT by ouroboros
October 7, 2001
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." "Its 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 Ladens 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 Americas 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 worlds 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 theres 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."
What makes this the "land of Islam"?
Is it so because Moslems live there?
Are Jersey City and Brooklyn part of the "land of Islam"?
The Coalition, whatever it looks like as time goes on, will have its boot on the necks of several terrorist-sponsoring states for the forseeable future, if they don't get the message that they've got to stand down from harboring these cretins.
There's going to be a shift in power, with Russia clearly on the side of the U.S. and Europe. It's hardly the U.S. and Israel alone, no matter how much you try to characterize it as such.
No. The radical Muslims will continue to demonstrate how much of a threat they are to civilization, and even the Saudis and Egyptians will do what they have to do to rid their countries of the scum.
"These people", as you call them, never said to do nothing. This column is perfectly consistent with Raimondo's previous work.
I wonder how much this one sentence got played up in the Islamic press.
She really blew it with this one.
I strongly disagree with the idea of changing our foreign policy as a result of these attacks. Below are the reasons why:
We must hang tough, and hang together. Or we will surely hang separately.
Good post. Justin hits the nail on the head. Taking on the entire Muslim world would be an idiocy of collosal and bloody proportions. Yet that is what some laptop warriors in the press, among them the saber rattlers at National Review, The Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal, are advocating.
We need to punish those responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist massacre. But we don't need to engage in nation building in a faraway land whose proud people will view us unwelcomed occupiers. We also need to get our damned troops out of Saudi Arabia and inform Israel that we're cutting off their $3 billion-a-year handout. Israel's decision in 1947 to steal Palestinian lands and force their inhabitants into separate, but unequal, non-Jewish districts is their problem, not ours.
By the way, as a taxpayer, I'm sick and tired of handing over $3 billion a year to this perpetual welfare case. Let them run their "democracy" with their own money.
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.
One could also describe Israel as a "nationalist socialist" state. Of course, I would never do that ;)
Actually most Israelis are from Jews who fled Arab lands.
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.
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 Americas 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 theres 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.
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 !
Can you provide a map of Palestine?
Question: Name the four least credible sources of how to deal with anti-American attackers and their sympathizers.
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.
Typical CWOJackson profundity.
Excerpted from Palestine and the Palestinians (Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 1997), by Samih K. Farsoun with Christina Zacharia, pp. 72-86.
The terms of the British Mandate over Palestine set up irreconcilable and contradictory goals of self-rule for the native Palestinians and a national home not specifically defined by Britain for European Jews. For the Zionists Jews, the national home meant quite simply a "Palestine that was as Jewish as England is English or Canada is Canadian," as the Jewish Chronicle wrote on 20 May 1921. Britain provided for the establishment of a Jewish agency to be, in its official language, "recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social, and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish population in Palestine." The facilitation of the immigration of Jews to Palestine, and "the close settlement by Jews on the Land." The Mandate agreement was thus framed largely with clauses that favored the Zionist cause over Palestinian self-determination.
The Zionist project was fraught with discontinuities, contradictions, and conflicts with the Palestinian natives and occasionally the British Mandate administration, but in the final analysis its implementation was quite successful.
Factors that led to this success include:
In-Migration and Demographic Transformation
Separate Jewish Economy
Separate Social and Political Institutions
Creation of a Jewish State within a State
In-Migration and Demographic Transformation: Palestine in 1882 had a small, native, and migrant religious Jewish community of roughly 24,000 among a Palestinian population of nearly 500,000. There were several waves of politically inspired immigration into the country. The first occurred between 1882 and 1903 and totaled about 25,000. The second, between 1904 and 1914, brought in around 35,000 immigrants, which resulted in a total Jewish population of 85,000. The third wave between 1919 and 1923 brought another 85,000 immigrants, mostly Polish and middle class. The December 1931 British census of the country showed that of the 1.04 million people, 84 percent were Arab and 16 percent were Jewish. While the increase in the Jewish population was due largely to in-migration, the Palestinian population increased naturally at 2.7 percent per year. Because of the rise of Nazism, 174,000 Jews migrated to Palestine between 1932 and 1936. Suddenly the Jewish population in Palestine rose to an estimated 28 percent of the total inhabitants. This radical change, occurring in a brief span of only five years, must certainly be recognized as an important cause of the Palestinian Arab rebellion of 1936 against British Mandate authorities. Both legal and illegal Jewish immigration (according to Mandate authorities) into Palestine increased during World War II and its aftermath. By the end of 1947, Palestine Mandate government estimates indicate that of a total population of 1.9 million, Jews made up only 31 percent. Thus, only a year before the state of Israel was unilaterally declared, the Jewish population constituted less than one-third the total inhabitants. Nevertheless, the Jewish minority in Palestine became a powerful community.
Land Acquisition: Despite their contention that Palestine was a land without people, Zionists discovered that Palestinian land was not uninhabited nor was it readily available. Palestine was densely populated and intensively cultivated. Moreover, the land tenure and ownership system was complex. Available land was expensive and became more so with the rising demand of a population growing as a result of both natural increase in-migration. With the establishment of the Palestine Mandate, Zionist hopes that state land-perceived as vast and potentially accessible-would serve as a basis for land acquisition also turned out to be unrealistic. From the data, it is possible to discern three periods of land acquisition by Zionists and Jews. While Jews in 1922 owned 3 percent of the land of Palestine, the additional land purchased by 1947 raised the total owned by the immigrant Jews to 7 percent of the whole area of the country. The British Mandate government classified Palestinian land as good, medium, and poor. After the general armistice of the 1948 war, Israel had captured over 77 percent of Palestine and more than 95 percent of the "good" soil. The newly sovereign state of Israel also expropriated 80 percent of privately owned Palestinian land and confiscated at least 40 percent of properties held by Palestinian Arabs who remained on the land and became citizens. The total losses of Palestinians are estimated at a staggering 7.43 billion Palestinian pounds (equal then to the British pound).
Separate Jewish Economy: The roots of Jewish separatism within Palestine extend from the first decade of the mandate. British policy of economic development in Palestine, and specifically, of granting Jewish settlers monopolistic concessions and industrial protectionism facilitated the building of an exclusive Jewish economy, little connected to the overall Palestinian economy. British Mandate government policy advantaged Jewish industry at the expense of Palestinian industry. The result of this situation for Arab industrial development was that Jewish-owned industry grew in light industries in which Arabs were trying to make headway. Thus, the Jewish sector came into direct competition with the Arab sector. Although Palestine has a primarily agricultural economy, especially in the Palestinian Arab sector, the Jewish community acquired only 7 percent of its food from the Arab sector in 1939 and 6 percent in 1944.
Jewish Labor: The initial Zionist project of redemption of the land with Jewish labor quickly transformed during the mandate period into the development of an urban and industrial Jewish economy and labor force. As in the development of an exclusive Jewish economy, institutions, and land base, the British colonial government of Palestine contributed to the creation, protection, and unemployment relief of exclusive Jewish labor. The British did not, however, extend the same policy to the Palestinian Arab labor force. Further, the British facilitated the creation of a two-tier wage structure of Palestinian Arabs and Jews in both the private and public sectors. These discriminatory labor policies handicapped Palestinian labor in wage levels and working conditions. The principal means through which the Zionists succeeded in building a separate and privileged labor force was the Histradrut, the General Federation of Jewish Labor, established in 1920, which also owned construction, consumer, banking, and marketing cooperatives.
Separate Social and Political Institutions: The Histadrut was perhaps one of the most developed Jewish social institutions in Palestine. Among many activities of this unique union were health insurance programs, training and education programs, job placement and pension programs. Like other practices of Zionists, these social institutions were exclusive to Jews. One of the most important factors in recreating the Jewish national identity was their educational system. In the Mandate agreement, Zionists won from the British and the League of Nations the recognition of Hebrew as an official language, along with Arabic and English. They also acquired British consent and support for a separate and exclusive private Jewish school system. Zionists gained autonomy over the curriculum, which was imbued with Jewish nationalism. The British Mandate government denied these freedoms and financial support to the Palestinian Arabs. Palestine's educational system for the two communities under the Mandate was separate and unequal in terms of quality, financing, levels of education, and delivery. Separation of the two communities was promulgated in 1926 by the British Mandate government's Religious Communities Organization Ordinance. It granted the Jewish settler community in Palestine a juridical personality and the power of taxation for charitable and educational purposes.
Jewish State-within-a-State: The British authorized the establishment of the Jewish Agency to represent, lead, and negotiate on behalf of the Jewish settler community in Palestine on all aspects of British policy. In turn, the Jewish Agency established various social, economic and political agencies, institutions, and organizations-including military and intelligence. These organizations were the nucleus of an emerging autonomous Jewish political authority within the Palestine Mandate government. The Palestinian Arabs had no such centralized political agency, nor did the political leaders have the capacity to mobilize the population effectively on a national level. It was this well-organized, well-financed, and well-armed state-within-a-state political authority that defeated the Palestinian resistance an Arab expeditionary forces and conquered most of Palestine in 1948. In 1948, the Zionist movement unilaterally declared the state of Israel. The majority of the Palestinians became stateless refugees.
For more information, go to www.palestinecenter.org. Click on the link "Modern Palestine."
She perhaps wanted to demonstrate a mental toughness, and hence resolve, but it sure didn't sound right. As though she and the U.S. had to "pay the price" of half a million dead Iraqi children.
I'll bet she put that sentence in the proper context by explaining that the blame lied entirely with Saddam in not letting the food for oil through to the children, and that even more children would die if Saddam carried out his plans unhindered. At least I hope she did.