February 3, 2006

It's a weapon of the war

Ethan commented, about my previous post on the cartoons:... I'm a little surprised by your reaction here as well - I learned much of this viewpoint at your feet, John...you've talked about the consequences of rewarding terrorism for years now...

Of course I'm against rewarding terrorism. But the war isn't just us vs terrorists. It's us and the terrorists fighting for the future of the Islamic world, the majority of which is not strongly committed one way or another.

I think making a stand on ths issue is, in fact, rewarding the terrorists. They are using classic guerilla tactics...commit an outrage so the defenders over-react and alienate the population. In this case the outrage is the terror threats against newspapers, and the over-reaction is the flaunting and re-printing of the cartoons, which alienates a lot of Muslims who are not terrorists. We are doing what the terrorists want. We are being suckered.

The right tactic would be to affirm the general right to free speech but, as a temporary war measure, restrict publication to deny the enemy a propaganda weapon.

This would be analogous to our reaction to 9/11. Osama probably wanted us to either flinch, or to lash out with wild violence and anti-Moslem hatred. Either response would work to his advantage. Either one would be rewarding terrorists. But we didn't play his game. Instead we went on a cold brutal relentless hunt for the terrorists, combined with efforts to win moderates and to change the tyrannies that are the underlying problem. And you can laugh at Bush's "religion of peace" malarky, but that is a calculated attempt to pull moderate Muslims to our side (even if moderate Muslims are not in fact particularly moderate or peaceful). It's a weapon.

That's been the right tack, in my opinion. Cold and disdainful towards our enemies, never inflammatory or provocative. Treat 'em like termites to be exterminated, not men worth getting het up about. And bend over backwards to attract the others, be jolly Uncle Samta Claus...as a weapon of the war.

War always requires some curtailments of civil liberties, and in this case (yes, yes I know it is not even a remote possibility) I think freedom of press should be restricted as a weapon against our enemies. (As it also should be in the case of the horrid traitors at the NYT and WaPo who routinely publish leaked classified information. Them I'd sent to Gitmo in an instant. Lafayette Baker, where are you when your country needs you...)

* Update: And there's another thing. Defying your enemies is good, as long as you are willing to fight, if it comes to that. I feel confident about Americans, but those Europeans are picking a fight they are not prepared to go through with. If you defy killers, you better be willing to kill some people. Or you've just made things much worse.

And wars are about winning, and part of that is chosing your ground. Our enemies chose this ground, and they knew what they were doing. Now we are doing what they want, lining up to fight in the cause of adolescent trash. Brilliant, just brilliant.

Remember the poem? You should...
...And how can man die better,
Than when facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?...

What a come-down from then to now. In these strange depraved last days of Western civilization, we defend tacky cartoons...

Posted by John Weidner at February 3, 2006 4:16 PM
Weblog by John Weidner