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Victor Davis Hanson : Another 9/11? The awful response that we dare not speak about.
National Review ^ | July 6, 2004 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 07/06/2004 7:56:48 AM PDT by quidnunc

Almost daily we are assured that another attack on the homeland, commensurate with 9/11, is inevitable. What a scary mood of fatalism we are in! Where will it happen? The Olympics? The party conventions this summer? A week before the election? Chicago? L.A.?

Our experts weighed in over the 4th of July weekend and seemed to disagree only over the method of the mass murder to come. Will it be chemical, biological, radiological, or involve hijacked planes, car bombs, or waves of suicide terrorists? We talk endlessly about "they" without ever specifying exactly who "they" really are who are planning to butcher us at home. So in between our summer fare of televised beheadings, Michael Moore's latest pseudomentary, and Alfred Knopf novels about killing George Bush, we sit waiting, waiting, waiting.

While we speculate idly about the nature of the attack to come, and the inability of our homeland-security forces to stop it, very few talk about what we should do post-facto if the promised disaster actually transpires. This is a surprising lapse if one believes an understood response helps in advance to create deterrence.

-snip-

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


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: summerattack; vdh; victordavishanson
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1 posted on 07/06/2004 7:56:49 AM PDT by quidnunc
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To: sauropod

read later


2 posted on 07/06/2004 7:57:57 AM PDT by sauropod (Hitlary: " We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: Tolik

FYI


3 posted on 07/06/2004 7:58:20 AM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: quidnunc
1) Islamist Iranian overnment begins and ends their sessions with "death to America".

2) Iranian government is working on a nuclear bomb.

3) Nobody is doing anything meaningful to stop it.

4) Draw your own conclusions.

4 posted on 07/06/2004 8:01:29 AM PDT by rageaholic
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To: quidnunc

Go back to JFK and the Cuban missile crisis. Any attack on the US or its allies using weapons of mass destruction will be considered a nuclear attack by Islam on the United States.


5 posted on 07/06/2004 8:04:11 AM PDT by omega4412
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To: quidnunc
The key for the United States — in very quiet and deferential tones, in private, and to the albeit illegitimate leaders of these relevant countries — is to convey the message that if there should be a repeat of 9/11
Maybe someone has sent the message already....
6 posted on 07/06/2004 8:09:28 AM PDT by 1066AD
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To: quidnunc

Unsolicited advice: Put Paris at the top of the list of targets.


7 posted on 07/06/2004 8:11:54 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: 1066AD
Maybe someone has sent the message already....

An interesting and real possibility. However, I think VDH is making a strong case for going public with such a message. It is one thing to quietly tell Syria's leaders that we will dismantle their government through force if anything happens. It's another to announce to the Syrian public that we will torch their homes if their government back an attack.

That said, given the complicity of our media with the enemy, I'd recommend waiting until after the election before announcing such policy. To do so beforehand would lead the media to paint Bush as a latter day Goldwater, bent on nuking the world.

8 posted on 07/06/2004 8:15:23 AM PDT by Mr. Bird (Ain't the beer cold!)
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To: quidnunc; seamole; Lando Lincoln; .cnI redruM; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...

Is our reluctance to discuss the unmentionable because we think we can do nothing in response — as if there is no culpable nation-state, a toothless CIA can tell us little, we dare not upset fragile gains in Iraq, or that violence only spawns violence? In a world in which Hezbollah promises to help out with peddling Fahrenheit 9/11, the Spanish people are led by the nose by al Qaeda, and Americans lose their heads to cheers in Middle East Internet cafes, have we given the fatal impression that we would grunt a few times, flip the channel, and then do nothing after a repeat of September 11?

And our silence is almost surreal given the standard past American policy in the Cold War of quietly announcing that a Soviet first strike on the United States would result immediately in massive retaliation. We caricature Mutually Assured Destruction today — indeed, it was a frightening Strangelovian concept. Yet in the absence of any better strategy, MAD kept the peace for 50 years and prevented millions of Americans from being incinerated.

So what would the United States do the next time we are hit?...

...What to do? The key for the United States — in very quiet and deferential tones, in private, and to the albeit illegitimate leaders of these relevant countries — is to convey the message that if there should be a repeat of 9/11, the United States will hold any countries responsible who are proved to have aided or sheltered any of the guilty. Now what does that overused and near-meaningless phrase "hold responsible" really mean? A repeat of Afghanistan and Iraq in places like Iran or Syria?

...Perhaps it would be best to inform hostile countries right now of a (big) list of their assets — military bases, power plants, communications, and assorted infrastructure — that will be taken out in the aftermath of another attack, a detailed sequence of targets that will be activated when the culpable terrorists' bases and support networks are identified and confirmed. We would have to draft a formal declaration of war — as we should have against the Taliban, bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein — against those countries that harbored or even aided the next 9/11-like cell. Both sides should anticipate the consequences should another 3,000 Americans be incinerated at work.

...Honesty and resoluteness now might just saves lives later on, as the Middle East realized that it had a collective stake in preventing another calamity.

Oilmen would be aghast that we might hit a country that exports petroleum like an Iran. And we should assume that the Arab world, the Europeans, and many of the Michael Moore Left would hope that we simply take another massive attack, "learn" from our disaster, and then through such pain come to "wisdom" about the "futility" of war begetting war.

Yes, another 9/11 would be a watershed event where the tragic choices in responding would entail only "bad" and "much worse." If it were to occur again, then we would have to realize that we had no foolproof ability to stop such mass terror. And if we were to accept that death sentence and do nothing, then we would also accept the sure end of our civilization as we know it. Compared to that scenario, discussing a bleak response right now doesn't seem so stupid. Keeping silent about it does.



    Victor Davis Hanson Ping ! 

9 posted on 07/06/2004 8:16:36 AM PDT by Tolik
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July 06, 2004, 8:45 a.m.
Another 9/11?

The awful response that we dare not speak about.

Almost daily we are assured that another attack on the homeland, commensurate with 9/11, is inevitable. What a scary mood of fatalism we are in! Where will it happen? The Olympics? The party conventions this summer? A week before the election? Chicago? L.A.?

Our experts weighed in over the 4th of July weekend and seemed to disagree only over the method of the mass murder to come. Will it be chemical, biological, radiological, or involve hijacked planes, car bombs, or waves of suicide terrorists? We talk endlessly about "they" without ever specifying exactly who "they" really are who are planning to butcher us at home. So in between our summer fare of televised beheadings, Michael Moore's latest pseudomentary, and Alfred Knopf novels about killing George Bush, we sit waiting, waiting, waiting.

While we speculate idly about the nature of the attack to come, and the inability of our homeland-security forces to stop it, very few talk about what we should do post-facto if the promised disaster actually transpires. This is a surprising lapse if one believes an understood response helps in advance to create deterrence.

Is our reluctance to discuss the unmentionable because we think we can do nothing in response — as if there is no culpable nation-state, a toothless CIA can tell us little, we dare not upset fragile gains in Iraq, or that violence only spawns violence? In a world in which Hezbollah promises to help out with peddling Fahrenheit 9/11, the Spanish people are led by the nose by al Qaeda, and Americans lose their heads to cheers in Middle East Internet cafes, have we given the fatal impression that we would grunt a few times, flip the channel, and then do nothing after a repeat of September 11?

And our silence is almost surreal given the standard past American policy in the Cold War of quietly announcing that a Soviet first strike on the United States would result immediately in massive retaliation. We caricature Mutually Assured Destruction today — indeed, it was a frightening Strangelovian concept. Yet in the absence of any better strategy, MAD kept the peace for 50 years and prevented millions of Americans from being incinerated.

So what would the United States do the next time we are hit? Strike who or what — and where, when, and how? The problem with the likes of a supposedly nation-less bin Laden, Zarkawi, or their copy-catters, we are told, is that they are like metastasizing brain tumors whose ganglia are deeply embedded in the surrounding tissue. Surgery or chemotherapy often kills the host as well as the cancer. They and their stealthy patrons both know and count on just that ambiguity and imprecision — as if Americans never operate on malignant brain tumors.

Thus the genius of the jihadists is that they provide psychological rewards on the cheap for millions in the Arab Street without costs, and in turn thrive on "credible deniability" of their tacit hosts. They smirk that postmodern Western liberality precludes Shermanesque collective punishment against the pre-modern. After all, a Christiane Amanpour can be at the front in 24 hours before a live 60-million-strong global audience to yell to U.S. troops on patrol "Don't step on that child!" — even as her husband advises the Kerry campaign back home. But do they also know that another 9/11 would throw such restraint out the window?

Without the direct aid of an Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, the secret support of rogue elements within the Saudi Arabian, Jordanian, and Pakistani governments, and millions on the Arab Street, the killer cadres simply could not carry out their next large attack. Most Arabs are shocked at the beheadings; but even those who know where the beheaders live and sleep are not so shocked at seeing Westerners sliced and diced to turn the killers in.

Thus on 9/12 we saw Middle East governments like the Saudis (whose 15 citizens spearheaded the murder), the Baathist Iraqis, the Syrians, the Iranians, the Taliban, and the Lebanese all sort of publicly disassociate themselves from the murder — even as many of their populations polled silent approval and their own smirking intelligence services shrugged that some such attack was always inevitable — and perhaps salutary after all given our support for Israel and our intrinsically satanic nature.

What to do? The key for the United States — in very quiet and deferential tones, in private, and to the albeit illegitimate leaders of these relevant countries — is to convey the message that if there should be a repeat of 9/11, the United States will hold any countries responsible who are proved to have aided or sheltered any of the guilty. Now what does that overused and near-meaningless phrase "hold responsible" really mean? A repeat of Afghanistan and Iraq in places like Iran or Syria?

We should be clear about a proper response now and inform the appropriate parties exactly of the real damage that they should expect — and it won't be moral fuzziness about guilt over endemic poverty, ancient support for the shah, past Aramco antics, the misery of the Arab Street, and all the other bottled causes and complaints that the Middle East counts on for its accustomed pass from a supposedly neurotic, decadent, and self-loathing West.

Perhaps it would be best to inform hostile countries right now of a (big) list of their assets — military bases, power plants, communications, and assorted infrastructure — that will be taken out in the aftermath of another attack, a detailed sequence of targets that will be activated when the culpable terrorists' bases and support networks are identified and confirmed. We would have to draft a formal declaration of war — as we should have against the Taliban, bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein — against those countries that harbored or even aided the next 9/11-like cell. Both sides should anticipate the consequences should another 3,000 Americans be incinerated at work.

In real wars of the past, Germans did not study in the U.S. in 1943. Third-Reich reporters did not mingle with Allied journalists. You could not just dial up Mainz or Kobe to chat. Americans did not watch documentaries alleging bloodguilt for B-17 raids. Our ancestors really did sacrifice for total victory. Something like all that is the awful nature of real war that would follow another mass murder here at home — and this presently deluded world right now should shudder at the very thought of it to come, try to prevent it, and stop looking at "war against terror" as some sort of parlor game. Honesty and resoluteness now might just saves lives later on, as the Middle East realized that it had a collective stake in preventing another calamity.

Oilmen would be aghast that we might hit a country that exports petroleum like an Iran. And we should assume that the Arab world, the Europeans, and many of the Michael Moore Left would hope that we simply take another massive attack, "learn" from our disaster, and then through such pain come to "wisdom" about the "futility" of war begetting war.

Yes, another 9/11 would be a watershed event where the tragic choices in responding would entail only "bad" and "much worse." If it were to occur again, then we would have to realize that we had no foolproof ability to stop such mass terror. And if we were to accept that death sentence and do nothing, then we would also accept the sure end of our civilization as we know it. Compared to that scenario, discussing a bleak response right now doesn't seem so stupid. Keeping silent about it does.

10 posted on 07/06/2004 8:19:35 AM PDT by Gritty ("Whether this antiwar minority succeeds in turning victory into defeat is open to question-VD Hanson)
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To: quidnunc

Once again, the problem is not the nature of the enemy without, but the nature of the enemy within.

As this article indirectly suggests, the symbolic representative of that enemy is Christiane Amanpour. Not that she is much worse than thousands of other media prostitutes in the west, but that she represents them.

It is NOT clear what our response will be as long as it is not clear who Americans will elect as president in November 2004. If it is Bush, we will respond to another attack with as much force as necessary, just as we have already shown we would do in Afghanistan, Iraq, and more quietly in other places. So far, we have more than returned the favor bin Ladin paid us.

If Kerry is elected, we'll turn the other cheek. He'll say, in deeds if not in words, "I liked that. Do it again, because it helped me get elected."


11 posted on 07/06/2004 8:20:36 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: quidnunc

Nuke Mecca? Sure hope not :)


12 posted on 07/06/2004 8:22:45 AM PDT by dennisw (http://www.prophetofdoom.net/)
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To: Mr. Bird
To do so beforehand would lead the media to paint Bush as a latter day Goldwater, bent on nuking the world.
Good point.
13 posted on 07/06/2004 8:31:41 AM PDT by 1066AD
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To: quidnunc
I don't know that we would do anything. Oh, we would do little things and call them the big thing, but we simply don't have the national will to do the big things that need to be done.

Delusional, self-destructive liberals control political debate and simply will not allow any kind of collective punishment to occur. So "moderate" Arab muslims simply have no incentive at all to turn in their murderous brothers.

14 posted on 07/06/2004 8:33:14 AM PDT by hopespringseternal (People should be banned for sophistry.)
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To: quidnunc

bttttttt


15 posted on 07/06/2004 8:36:04 AM PDT by dennisw (http://www.prophetofdoom.net/)
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To: Tolik; Gritty
Thanks for the ping Tolik. Thanks for the q-flu-less reply gritty.

FMCDH(BITS)

16 posted on 07/06/2004 8:42:51 AM PDT by nothingnew (KERRY: "If at first you don't deceive, lie, lie again!")
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To: quidnunc
I agree that we need to broadcast what we will do to nation-states in the aftermath of any similar attack. But I also think that Bush needs to discuss the probability and possibility of an attack with the population in order to toughen us up and to thereby mute the economic consequences of an attack. A lot of what Al Qaeda wants to accomplish is a repeat of the several trillion dollar impact that 9/11 had on us, and through us, other western economies. Some portion of that impact is psychological and could be mitigated by helping Americans to understand not to overreact if an attack happens. Bush is not particularly articulate and this could be a very difficult message for him to carry off, especially in an election year. But he needs to do it.
17 posted on 07/06/2004 8:43:22 AM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: quidnunc

Another excellent article by VDH. I am fairly certain that the Administration has developed a response. I hope we have already conveyed diplomatically and privately to Iran, Syria, et al what our response will be. It is very difficult to do so publicly, especially in an election year. We did send Iraq such a message during the Gulf War to Iraq in the event they used WMD against our troops.


18 posted on 07/06/2004 8:43:30 AM PDT by kabar
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To: Mr. Bird
That said, given the complicity of our media with the enemy, I'd recommend waiting until after the election before announcing such policy.

I agree, unless a strike happens before the election, and if such is the case, I would hope our plan of massive retaliation is already in place, and launched within hours of said attack after a short and simple announcement by our CiC.

FMCDH(BITS)

19 posted on 07/06/2004 8:58:08 AM PDT by nothingnew (KERRY: "If at first you don't deceive, lie, lie again!")
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To: Tolik

"...Perhaps it would be best to inform hostile countries right now of a (big) list of their assets — military bases, power plants, communications, and assorted infrastructure — that will be taken out in the aftermath of another attack,..."

YOU GO BOY!!! I think the Prez oughta make this known publicly NOW. Should this happen two weeks before the election, or even two days before as in Madrid, and The Prez acted as you suggest, he would win in a landslide. What say ye?


20 posted on 07/06/2004 9:25:41 AM PDT by no dems (Is there still a demand for good men?)
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