What Winning Isn't

Arianna Huffington sums up pretty well what I have been a broken record about for the last few weeks: Israel’s Tactical Catastrophe is pushing Middle East moderates to embrace Hezbollah.

But, as I’ve asked before, does Israel want to be right or does it want to win? And can victory be defined as anything other than the ability of Israel to guarantee the security and safety of its people?

I think the actions of Israel indicate that it would rather be right than win. The hawks who I argue with on blogs around the world like to believe we can “win” through military efforts. All this does is swell the ranks of Hamas and Hezbollah. Unless you kill ‘em all, which is immoral and virtually impossible, you will generate enemies faster than you can kill them, just like Israel is doing right now in Lebanon and just like the US is doing in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

5 years after 9/11 George W. Bush has succeeded in making the world far less safe. The Middle East is in far worse shape than the day he took office. Our interests there are less secure. Our allies are less secure. A hundred thousand people are dead so we could put one man in jail. This is an administration of incompetence and failure and apparently one that never learns. No matter how unsuccessful we are, we never change tactics.

3 thoughts on “What Winning Isn't

  1. I’m trying to bite my tongue but I guess it’s not in my nature.

    First off, the canard that “we’re creating more terrorists than we destroy” is obviously the party line; I hear it spouted by every lefty I talk to. My reaction is, “Really, how do you know that? Is it like in Jason and the Argonauts, kill a terrorist and more are born from his teeth? Do you know that there is a lot of respect for the strong and for the victor in the Arab culture? I would say that cutting and running with our tail between our legs would create and embolden more terrorists than hanging in there and rooting them out. Truthfully, I think it’s just another meaningless emotional argument made by the left. As it pertains to Israel, the last 6 years when they were appeasing, pulling back out of occupied territories, etc. did nothing to weaken Hamas or Hezbollah, in fact it did the opposite. So it looks like there’s pretty good evidence that doing nothing actually creates more terrorists.

    And even if it were true, to say we should stop attacking our enemy because it’s pissing them off makes no sense. Hey, did you know that every time the US is attacked by terrorists it’s creating more right-wingers? Why don’t the terrorists think of that? Gee, they could really have there way with us if they just stopped hijacking planes and flying them into buildings or strapping bombs onto schoolgirls to kill innocent people in marketplaces. Stupid terrorists, they’re going about this jihad thing all wrong.

    I think the only way we can win with the Islamo-fascists is through force, there is no negotiating with them and there is no appeasing them. So yes, you do have to kill them all (the fascists, not the normal everyday Muslim that wants to live in peace) and I do not see this position as immoral. If they want to kill me, and if they will only stop once they’ve killed me and everyone like me, I argue it’s perfectly moral and sensible to kill them. I believe it’s called self defense.

    The Islamo-fascists are not at war with us because we are attacking them. If that were the case, why have they attacked India, the Philippines and Indonesia? Why do Shiites attack Sunnis, why do light-skinned Arab Muslims kill dark-skinned African Muslims in the Sudan? This battle is a clash of cultures and one culture (the west) wants all people and religions to live in harmony and another culture (Radical Islam) wants to destroy all other cultures (even subsets of Islam as mentioned above) and subject all people to their rule. I don’t know why that is so hard for some people to understand.

    Radical Islam is at war against sexual equality, racial equality and religious freedom, it’s not at war with the US, we are just the biggest practitioners of those concepts.

    I would argue that we are more secure since Bush took office. We and our interests were attacked many times when the great Bill Clinton was in office. Who was “making terrorists” then? This most recently foiled attempt to blow up jetliners is another example of a plot that our intelligence along with British and Pakistani intelligence saved us from. Pre 9/11 and pre Patriot act, this terror attack would have probably succeeded.

    This is not about putting one man in jail and that is absolute hyperbole, it’s about defending our families, our nation and the world from the enemies of freedom and equality.

  2. You see, this is why I get frustrated with the Right. I agree with some of what you say: there are people who are actively engaged in trying to kill us. Those people need to be killed or incarcerated. They cannot be appeased. I agree.

    HOWEVER, this is a very, very, very small minority of Muslims. This is the Timothy McVeigh’s of the Arab world. They have unrealistic goals and are intent on violent means to achieve them. They are radicals. By and large, they have not had the support of the average Muslim. The problem is, we are using very indiscriminate methods to attack the radicals and so far, according to George W. Bush himself we have, in Iraq, killed upwards of 50,000 civilians, 15 times more people than were killed in 9/11. Others put the estimate at more like 100,000 or even more. That’s Iraq. In Palestine, the same is true. Israel, in an attempt to catch the few percent that are radicals, have made life hell for everyone. For some reason you people cannot get your heads around the fact that the average, non-violent Muslim is getting fucked up the ass all day every day by the US and Israel. THAT CREATES PROBLEMS.

    You may be right that our intent is not to kill civilians, but apparently we suck at it because we have killed jillions of them. In their eyes, we look like enemies. We kill their little kids, we blow up their ability to provide water and electricity. Our actions to fight a war with a slim minority of terrorists ruins the lives of millions of people. Can you fucking understand the destructive influence this has? Why can’t you acknowledge that our actions are devastating millions of lives?

    Yes, lets catch the few tens of thousand of bad guys, but, for the love of God, let’s stop destroying the lives of peace-loving Muslims. Our actions, whether justified or not, are creating enemies out of people who would not otherwise have reason to hate us.

    The “Islamo-fascists” (I see Rove has a new phrase for the RNC soldiers) are a slim enough minority that conventional military tactics are not effective. The application of conventional military tactics is making the situation worse. You guys just can’t seem to see that and it is infuriating.

  3. I see a lot of agreement here actually. I think it’s safe to say we agree on the following:

    1. Bad people want to kill us
    2. We should kill the bad people
    3. We should not kill the good people
    4. We have not prosecuted the “war on terrorism” very well

    Both of us have stated those exact facts. Now, how can we all get together and agree on how to go about this? I think that one way we, and by “we” I mean our leaders, the administration AND the legislature, can do this is to put down the rhetoric and hyperbole and figure it out. Unfortunately we have the right who have decided on an admittedly clumsy and ineffective course and the left who can only offer up the solution of getting the hell out and pointing the finger of blame at the right. Also, in my opinion, the left in being so hyper-critical of the administration and the military have come off as anti-American and dare I say, nattering nabobs of negativity. I think we can also both agree the solution is somewhere in-between “killing them all” and “cutting and running” but we have leaders on BOTH sides that seem incapable of working together for anything, even when there is a common purpose and they agree.

    For my part, I am all for a more covert, special ops type of plan that would infiltrate the enemy, attempt to monitor their banking and communications (without being called out by the NY Times), work on supporting local opposition to the radical elements, blowing up concentrated cells and assasinating their top leadership where possible.

    Now, just because I may not agree with Rummies tactics and I view him as a stubborn old goat with too much pride, doesn’t mean I’m going to condemn, hate or just criticize for the sake of enhancing my own position. This is how I perceive the left to be behaving. I would have so much respect for say a John Kerry, or a Hillary Clinton to come out and say that America is right and America is just to eliminate these radicals but how about we try to do it a different way? I haven’t heard that from anyone. It seems like the left is just perfectly happy to tear down the right as much as possible until they can beat them up so much that they lose public support, then they can ride in on a white horse to save the day.

    Both sides do this to the detriment of the country, it’s just that the right is in power at the moment.

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