Eliot Cohen, a neo-con reconsiders Iraq: But what I did not know then that I do know now is just how incompetent we would be at carrying out that task. And that's what prevents me from answering this question with an unhesitating yes.
Thats what most of us anti-Hussein anti-Bushies have been saying for a long time. We have no problem with the idea of ridding the world of bad guys [its utopian, perhaps, but a worthy sentiment]. But with the incompetence of a president who has never shown competence in any part of his life, save drinking.
Disbelief at the length of time it took to call an insurgency by its name. Alarm at our continuing failure to promote at wartime speed the colonels and generals who have a talent for fighting it, while also failing to sweep aside those who do not. Incredulity at seeing decorations pinned on the chests and promotions on the shoulders of senior leaders -- both civilians and military -- who had the helm when things went badly wrong. Disdain for the general who thinks Job One is simply whacking the bad guys and who, ever conscious of public relations, cannot admit that American soldiers have tortured prisoners or, in panic, killed innocent civilians. Contempt for the ghoulish glee of some who think they were right in opposing the war, and for the blithe disregard of the bungles by some who think they were right in favoring it. A desire -- barely controlled -- to slap the highly educated fool who, having no soldier friends or family, once explained to me that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties are not really all that high and that I really shouldn't get exercised about them.
Remember when Michael Moore challenged congressmen to send their own kids to Iraq?
Here is another article from the American Conservative: it's realization - terrorism is not based on Religion or "evil" but upon real political ends. Robert Pape says the central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.
This was, of course, pointed out in a different fashion by Michael Scheuer aka anonymous.
<category>Osama bin Laden<category>’s speeches ... begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.
I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.
I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.
There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.
The real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to him.
These are lessons Israel might want to learn also. Israel continues to create barriers around Jerusalem. Gershon Baskin vents: The barriers will destroy any belief that peace is possible in the future and it will add only minimal security for limited times to the people of Israel. This barrier is a disaster attempting to confront the disaster of terrorism. Terrorism must be confronted by addressing the root causes of terrorism – mainly the continued occupation, but also the Palestinian political decision to keep the armed struggle option alive and viable. Both of these must end!
Here is an interesting map, by an Israeli organization, about the peace offer from Barak.
One commentator on metafilter remarked, sarcastically: I think a really, really good way to encourage the end of hostilities
over nebulous borders is for one side to take a hard-line stance and
simply start muscling in on places whereever they feel like it.
Especially when the results of muscling in will further impoverish and
endanger the already impoverished and resentful civilian members of the
enemy. Especially, especially
when the enemy doesn't have an organized army and operates out of
largely uncoordinated terrorist cells who draw their members from
resentful, impoverished, unemployed civilians.
History has clearly shown that the best way to deal with a guerrilla enemy force that blends in with and is aided by the civilian population is to indiscriminately impose "big stick" policies on everyone, civilians and terrorists alike. Because, y'know, if your policies lead to an enemy civilian's kid dying because he can't get the kid to a hospital fast enough or the civilian losing his job, that civilian will totally be cowed and definitely not get angry and decide to retaliate.
TRULY THESE IDEAS ARE BRILLIANCE DEFINED.
You want an end to terrorism. End the occupation. Period.
It doesn't feel good. It feels like we're caving in. And yes, they are criminals. But we shouldn't have been there in the first place.