When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

June 17, 2005

The Naive Fox


The Glittering Eye made the following comment about my distributed post comparing Wretchard's contention that we're approaching a "Hansell-Lemay moment," with Larry Johnson's contention that we're approaching a "looming debacle:"

I think the most important implied point in AR's post [I cross-post to AR as well as the Jawa Report] is the need for the political leadership here to shore up morale and public opinion. This is an area in which the Bush Administration has been consistently weak.

Just to be clear, I'm not sure that all we need is a better sales job by the Bush administration, because part of the ineffectiveness of the current effort is that the administration is afraid to ask very much of the US public, which misleads them into believing that the threat is far less grave than it is. This, in turn, leaves the public open to a certain "degradation of moral clarity" such that we start worrying more about the way we handle the Qu'ran than whether we're defeating a pack of fanatical cutthroats bent on our destruction. If we could manage to get the job done by just using our pinky finger then that'd be fine, but one ought to recognize that the outcome is less certain and the cost may be much higher (in terms of American lives) than we thought. On the other hand, if we act decisively now and keep up the pressure there's every chance that we'll utterly destroy the enemy. That's the real implication of the good news we've been hearing.

There's an old Chinese story about a foolish immature fox who ran across a frozen lake in mid-winter and then, just as he was about to reach shore, relaxed and allowed his tail to get wet. The tail froze fast in the lake and he starved to death, unable to move. It seems to me that this story applies, or could apply, to Israel's recent indulgence of the Palentinian leadership, as Bill Roggio points out in his excellent piece: Abandoning Success. For seduced yet again by the lust for peace they seem to have stopped short of utterly annihilating Hamas and IJ, as though they could trust the newly elected Palestinian leadership to finish the job seemingly only a short hop away.

But the parable could also apply to the US effort, which seems to be a little complacent as it registers some encouraging trends toward democratic reform as outright victories. Meanwhile the enemy successfully appeals to the more foolish of our citizens, convincing them to legitimate the enemy's own propaganda. And make no mistake, they're mainly concerned with the impact that this retenchment of purpose on our part has on their own "strategic rear." In a word, the faithful repetition of the "Qu'ran flushing" and "Gitmo gulag" themes not only undermines our sense of purpose, but more importantly it freezes public will in the Middle East regarding democratization, and gives anti-democratic and totalitarian forces there an opportunity to regroup, recruit, and redeploy.

At some point Americans in general, and not just the military, are going to have to make a few sacrifices in order put totalitarianism under our feet for good, and the sooner we realize what that will take the better. Otherwise, even with all our success, we could end up like that foolish fox, wasting away in sight of shore.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at June 17, 2005 04:13 PM

Retaliatiory Launches

free hit counter