Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Frustration

I apologize for my absence. I was travelling recently and have since been quite busy at home and work.

There continues to be some fallout as the result of TV footage purporting to show American soldiers burning the remains of Taliban "fighters." I'm frankly frustrated by our continued appeasement of Moslem sensibilities. This is not a way to fight a war. My frustration is echoed in the following excellent essay by Bruce Thornton at Victor Davis Hanson's website. Here's his conclusion:
We may think we are projecting the strength of our values when we chastise our troops for sometimes resorting to unpleasant actions in order to win against a brutal enemy. But in fact, the message we send is that because we have doubts about our cause and our beliefs, we will second-guess and scrutinize our own behavior in the midst of a hard fight. Wars are ugly and cruel, as all violence is. To think that one can fight a brutal enemy within utopian parameters is to court failure and defeat. This does not mean that anything goes, obviously. But we have to be realistic about where those impassable limits lie, given the sort of irregular war being fought. We can argue about those limits later, but burning the bodies of dead murderers to my mind is a long way from actions completely out of bounds, especially if such actions will save the life of even one American and take us one step closer to achieving our goal. After all, we’ve had ample proof for decades that being nice and tolerant doesn’t cut any ice with those who fancy themselves the warriors of Allah.
All means cannot justify all ends, but some means can justify the right ends. Every war this country has fought employed terrible means that none of us would want to choose, but that were justified by the rightness and goodness of the end. If we truly believe that our goals in Iraq are just enough to kill and die for, then we should stop undercutting and second-guessing our troops in the field who are laying their lives on the line to achieve those noble ends. And if we don’t really believe in those goals enough to grit our teeth and do what must be done, as our fathers and grandfathers did in World War II, then we should pack up right now and go home.

The sentiment is also echoed at the Ayn Rand Institute where Alex Epstein argues that America's attempts to appease "Muslim opinion" are depraved and suicidal. Here's an excerpt:

So-called Muslim opinion is not the unanimous and just consensus that its seekers pretend. It is the irrational and unjust opinion of the world's worst Muslims: Islamists and their legions of "moderate" supporters and sympathizers. These people oppose us not because of any legitimate grievances against America, but because they are steeped in a fundamentalist interpretation of their religion--one that views America's freedom, prosperity, and pursuit of worldly pleasures as the height of depravity. They do not seek respect for the rights of the individual (Muslim or non-Muslim), they seek a world in which the rights of all are sacrificed to the dictates of Islam.

The proper response to Islamists and their supporters is to identify them as our ideological and political enemies--and dispense justice accordingly. In the case of our militant enemies, we must kill or demoralize them--especially those regimes that support terrorism and fuel the Islamist movement; as for the rest, we must politically ignore them and intellectually discredit them, while proudly arguing for the superiority of Americanism. Such a policy would make us safe, expose Islamic anti-Americanism as irrational and immoral, and embolden the better Muslims to support our ideals and emulate our ways.

Our war effort has certainly not been helped by the constant appeasement but I suppose to hope that the present administration will abandon it is pointless. It remains to be seen if we can win in spite of our lack of moral certainty.

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