Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Was Osama Right?

Bernard Lewis wrote in OpinionJournal During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans,
Before George W Bush.
not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?".... We in the Western world see the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union as a Western, more specifically an American, victory in the Cold War. For Osama bin Laden and his followers, it was a Muslim victory in a jihad, and, given the circumstances, this perception does not lack plausibility.

From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.

Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then.
And any major attack in the US is not likely until a Democrat is back in the White House.
The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.
I feel sure there will be a major attack, possibly several, as soon as a Democrat is back in the White House. The question is what that Democrat will be prepared to do. Will he/she risk the ire of the pacifist netroonts and respond as Bush did. Realize that Conservative Christians, a major base of the Republican party, would be able to live under Muslim rule. We would have to pay the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government), but we would also have to pay high taxes under a Democrat as well. And some of the major support bases of the Democratic party would fare much worse. Gays would not need to worry about marriage. They would wonder whether they would be killed by hanging, being thrown off buildings, or being beheaded (the way they are treated in Muslim countries), and the pro-abortion crowd would find abortions unnecessary. Premarital sex or sex outside of marriage would be handled by stoning to death.
Gaius blogged Read the whole thing, it's important. I wrote about the "last helicopter" strategy that is driving most of the terrorist's agenda and efforts. They expect us to leave. They expect us to abandon our allies and our principles. Because politicians in this country are increasingly unable to think beyond the next election. There is absolutely no thought being given to what the long-term consequences of the current Democratic leadership's agenda. The bloodbath that will ensue - not even discussed by Pelosi. The terrorist Disneyland that will result? Nothing Reid is interested in. The effective undermining of the constitution of Congress attempting to usurp the power to conduct war? Never mind. The long-term cost to this country? Not even one synapse firing over that for the Democratic leadership. Lewis is trying to sound the alarm here.

Is anyone else listening?

Publius Pundit blogged Click through the link to read the whole article, well worth your time, and offer your thoughts in the comments section: How is America to deal with the anti-democratic forces in the Middle East? The carrot or the stick? It's a vital question.

Betsy Newmark blogged Our response to 9/11 by attacking Afghanistan and then going into Iraq was a change from that past. But now, as politics threatens to show that Americans will pull out when the going gets tough, we are in danger of once more being termed, as Osama bin Laden did, the "weak horse."

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