Thursday, April 17, 2003

Kiss our ass
James Schlesinger has written a commentary of towering stupidity in today's WSJ Opinion Journal. It's entitled "Political Shock and Awe: We've won a war--and taught the Middle East a lesson". What's the argument? It boils down to "We are the strongest, don't fuck with us, the Arabs tried, they lost, all the catastrophes they promised before the war didn't happen, and the press and Europeans were idiots for thinking they might."

Here are two paragraphs:

Many have argued that greater self-criticism or better understanding of the roots of terrorism would magically dispel the hostility displayed in much of the Arab world. This was reflected in widespread demonstrations as we responded to 9/11 in Afghanistan; pervasive sympathy for, as well as some direct support of, bin Laden; celebration of 9/11 itself; constant anti-American whining in the Arab press; and a steady flow of critiques from Arab governments (albeit sometimes primarily for domestic consumption.)

There is a notable diminution of the earlier braggadocio. The many-heralded "catastrophes" did not take place. There was no "explosion" in the Middle East, no widespread unrest immediately upsetting governments, no endless urban warfare, no heavy casualties, no use of chemical and biological weapons (which Saddam supposedly did not have). What we have seen instead is a stunned realization of an awesome display of military power.

So, what's wrong with that? Nothing, except that if that's the level of strategic debate that Schlesinger and his friends at the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board are engaging in, then we might as well, all of us, invest in a bunker in Tasmania. Where does this line of reasoning take us? Not very far. Schlesinger glorifies military power, applauds Arab fear, and doesn't even bother to see whether all that force can be used, with other policy instruments, to transform Middle Eastern societies into more open affairs.

Stand aside Rush Limbaugh....

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