The defiance we need

And the oppression we've got

By Paul J Cella Posted in | | | | | Comments (42) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

It is my firm view that the most vital problem of American national security, the question upon which hinges our fortune in the war that came to our shores on September 11, in short, nothing less than the most pressing issue before the Republic, is whether or not we will comprehend the ineradicably Islamic character of the enemy.

Are we or are we not a people capable of embracing hard truth about the war that is made against us — the hard truth that the enemy finds his motivation, his inspiration, his justification, his rhetoric, even his strategy and tactics, in the authentic and primitive traditions of the religion of Muhammad? Are we or are we not a people possessed of the fortitude equal to this challenge? As the cliché goes, can we handle the truth?

It is an open question, I’m afraid; and I am convinced that it is one whose answer will tell for or against this Republic for generations for come.

It is in this context that we ought to read with alarm and indignation of the dismissal of Major Stephen Coughlin from the Pentagon. Coughlin worked as a counterterrorism analyst, and took an unsparing view of the Jihad. The document he authored concludes that a “working threat model” of the enemy must begin with “an unconstrained, undelegated, systematic, factual analysis of the threat doctrine that the enemy self-identifies as being driven by Islamic law.” The pulverizing fact is that our current model begins with an unthinking rejection of such analysis: it begins with a deliberate closing of the mind, enforced by the standard methods of intimidation and vilification. Coughlin, for instance, has been publicly castigated as a “Christian zealot with a pen.”

Read on.

There have been varying official explanations for his removal, but as The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz reports, “officials supportive of Mr. Coughlin said the real reason is that critics . . . want him sidelined because they oppose his hard-to-refute views on the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine.” One of these critics, an assistant to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, is reported to have ties to a propaganda arm of the Jihad.

A number of eminent military men are willing to go on record in Coughlin’s defense. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney: “Steve Coughlin is the most knowledgeable person in the U.S. government on Islamic law. The secretary of defense should ensure that he stays at DOD.” Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Corps, "[Coughlin’s work] hit the mark in explaining how jihadists use the Koran to justify their actions.” U. S. Central Command analyst Neal Harper: “Ignoring Steve Coughlin's honest assessments and terminating his contract sets a dangerous and disturbing precedent.”

Imagine, if you can, men in the late 1940s arguing, or at least implying by their silence, that our security services should not take seriously the stated doctrines and historical development of Communism; that it is too controversial for analysts to treat Marxism as the ground of the aggression from the Soviet Union, and study it diligently in that light. This, in embryo, is the sorry state of affairs in America today. [Update: it was just brought to my attention that Diana West made this same argument, even more vividly, last week.]

Patriotic indignation should swell against this oppression. Under its influence, the public mind of the Republic may have no compass over the character, the origins, the antiquity, the variations and predecents, of the war being made against us. Friends, it is an oppression — a crippling and dangerous one. We invent new euphemisms to conceal the facts virtually every day; we invent them because, as Chesterton aptly put it, short words startle us while long words sooth us. Sen. John McCain, for instance, is said to be a hawk on the war on terror. For him the enemy is a comically redundant string of emotional descriptors: “radical Islamic extremism.” My personal favorite is the talent of our sheepish writers for piling on suffixes. The enemy becomes “Islamicism”; whatever is necessary to rhetorically distance him from the Islamic religion as such. The purpose of these lengthy phrases is not to properly identify and understand the enemy; it is to sooth the distressed conscience of Liberalism.

Now let us consider another question: What is the traditional American rejoinder to oppression? How have our fathers generally replied to the specter of a rising tyranny? How have they answered a proposed oppression of their self-government, their very inheritance as Americans and freemen?

With defiance.

It is defiance that we desperately need, my friends and countrymen. Do not be cowed by this oppression. Do not fear the degrading whims of political correctness. Do not flinch at its honorless fashions and shameful bullying. Think of your heroes, the patriots who sacrificed to give us what we have here on these shores. Think of Reagan’s dogged defiance of any intellectual accommodation with Communism. Think of the boldness and courage of the men and women who resisted segregation. Think of Burke’s defiance of the French Revolution, Churchill’s of Fascism, both of whom were cast into the wilderness for their “warmongering,” only to be rehabilitated when their prescience was realized.

One obvious practice step to take is this: We are in the midst of a rather wild and wooly primary season. Rarely has there ever been such an opportunity as this to bring immediate and perceptible pressure to bear on politicians. These men and women would be our commander in chief in a war which has already included the most grievous blow ever struck against us by a foreign enemy. Do not let this moment pass. Press the candidates with these questions. Make them squirm. Embarrass them (gently) for their foolish euphemisms. Demonstrate that we will have no truck with such rhetorical games. Make obvious our impatience with that cupidity, that inertia, and that cravenness which would deprive us of our capacity for self-government on the war into which we have been flung.

We must defy the oppression that would drive good men like Major Coughlin from places of influence. We must stand with fortitude as our fathers once did, and earn the right to be called American patriots.

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And it doesn't really matter. There are two major reasons why the Pentagon and all other govt agencies will toe the line for PC.

1. We rely on Islamic countries for oil. No real surprise there. How much do we want to risk that source of energy? With no real national energy policy (like drilling for oil), we are screwed. As long as our energy policy is decided by a defeatist, Luddite Congress, we are NOT going to find new energy. Bio, solar, none of that crap works. It doesn't compare to the energy of fossil fuels.

2. It is political suicide to publicly espouse, or even tolerate, his views in the Pentagon. Anyone want to consider the ruckus raised by a defeatist, "tolerant" Democrat Congress if "Christian" America is going to fight another Crusade against Islam?

America does not have the backbone to face the truth right now. We are in danger of losing the White House to a party that has states their intent to NOT protect American interests militarily and to reduce our energy production.

Until America once again is proud of being American, free, and independent, it just ain't gonna fly.

I'm not real happy with the sale of our smart bombs to Saudi Arabia. I haven't forgotten that 15 of the 19 were from there and I'm not happy with their efforts to "tone down" Wahabism (or however it is spelled). Iran may be the short term threat working on the bomb, but Saudia Arabia is the nest from which the problem emerges, whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Indonesia.

If you happen to be in Michigan, South Carolina, or Florida and get the chance to ask the candidates a question, ask them point blank whether they support the removal of Major Coughlin from his advisory post.

The Times doesn't have their letters to the editor for today posted to the Web yet, but CAPT. GORDAN E. VAN HOOK with Navy from Alexandria has taken the time to write a letter entitled Differences of Opinion in which he claims that Bill Gertz, Frank Gaffney, and Diana West have effective slandered Hesham Islam, the close aide to Mr. England mentioned above. According to this Navy captain Hesham Islam "has been done a disservice by these writers" and those writers "do not understand how the system works." The good captain finishes it off with the usual PC charge "one would have to wonder if this folderol would have ensued if Mr. Islam had a different last name."

It just might be time for certain people within the administration to start hearing from Americans who are tired of heroes being slandered.

The italics are supposed to end after "Opinion" and I can't edit the post.

Sorry, I usually check the preview first.

proves again Murphy's law. I'm with you, it's usually the bolding for me....

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

As is oft mentioned or at least implied here at RedState, Santayana' most famous words are quite apt here:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

The Koran commands those who would follow Mohammed to spread Islam. That spreading has always been accomplished through the use of force. If, in fact, I am mistaken in this, I invite anyone out there to please direct me to a single instance of a nation on this planet becoming predominantly muslim without the impetus of the sword. Why would anyone who knew anything about the history of Islam believe that the 21st century would prove the first in which Islam was dominated by peace-loving leaders with whom we could reason without the clear and present threat of an overwhelming military response to back any agreements we reach?

Yes, I personally have known Muslims who to all appearances loved the people around them and would not answer the call to jihad. Yes, I believe that most Sufis truly practice a peaceful brand of Islam. Yes, I believe that the people of Iraq have demonstrated that they want an end to the violence in their nation. My comment is not meant to condemn all Muslims as murderous or barbarous, rather it is to agree with Paul's point that those military analysts in our government who are willing to face the realities of Muslim history and of the actual teachings of the Koran vis à vis conversion at the end of a sword must be listened to, encouraged, indeed lionized. We must throw off the oppression that lays so heavily upon our nation, that is variously named Political Correctness, Liberalism, Defeatism, etc.

From the earliest days of Islam to today the story is the same. Only those who were willing to meet Islamic nations with a superior military force survived. All others were conquered, as Allah demands in the Koran. If you are weak then it is Allah's will that you be conquered by your Muslim neighbor. If you are strong then the shrewd Muslim will deal with you as such until such time as he grows strong enough to believe he has a chance to conquer you and then we are back where we started.

Europe is not Muslim today because the crusades stopped the invasions that were started by the Muslims to the south of that predominantly Christian continent about a millennium ago. As so many others here at RedState have pointed out, it is sheer lunacy to interpret the history of the crusades as a set of unprovoked acts of aggression on the part of Christian Europe. Rather, these wars were a fight for survival against a foe who believed that all must be conquered so that they will be subjected to the rule of the Muslim leaders.

Europe is becoming Muslim today because the governments of Europe are not willing to use the force of law to stop Muslims from enforcing their own, nominally illegal, practices in those parts of France for instance which the government has de facto ceded to local imams. If we do not throw off the oppression that leads to the sacking of truth-speaking military leaders we will soon face the same sort of oppression seen in some neighborhoods in France.

The need for transformation of our education system in America is great. The nonsense that has led to the sacking of Major Coughlin is a direct result of the nonsense that passes for education in our schools. Though he said it nearly 100 years ago, G.K. Chesterton had it right when he spoke about compulsory education...

The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense. -G.K. Chesterton

on "the ineradicably Islamic character of the enemy," at least the fact that the enemy uses and is motivated by the belief that its political project is mandated by Islamic doctrine. I think where the disagreement comes (certainly, where you and I disagree) is as to the enemy character of Islam. That is the big question: is Islam itself the enemy, such that a natural or at least historically accepted reading of the Koran will always produce such people? Or is the current fusion of political totalitarianism and terrorism with Islamic doctrine something that can be weeded out of the Islamic world? In short, are terrorists the weeds in the Islamic garden, or are they the garden itself? Call me an optimist but I believe that the goal of dividing the totalitarians from the mass of the Islamic world is feasible. It may require people on some level to bend their theology to accomodate the material facts of the world, but human nature tells us that can be done.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

Then to tease out where we stand a bit, are you ready to concur with my view that we have to adopt a much more strident rhetorical and strategic posture vis-a-vis the Islamic religion; that, in other words, we are going to have to emphatically leave open the question, are terrorists the weeds in the Islamic garden, or are they the garden itself?

Because right now almost every ounce of official rhetoric weighs on the "weeds in the garden" side of the balance. The question is not open. Our elites have closed it emphatically.

So again: do you agree with me that America needs to dramatically intensify its rhetorical posture against the Jihad?

(Incidentally, I find it almost providential that there is in Islam this very clear doctrine of Jihad, around which we can build the legal, rhetorical and political framework to strike that the enemy -- the DOMESTIC enemy above all -- without embracing the whole Islamic religion in a system of subjection. Jihad can be outlawed and Islam left alone, at least in theory.)

And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

are you ready to concur with my view that we have to adopt a much more strident rhetorical and strategic posture vis-a-vis the Islamic religion

I think we have to acknowledge that these guys are motivated by a reading of Islam and press harder against the idea that that reading is correct. I look at it this way - it's a sort of Pascal's Wager. If the mass of Muslims can be convinced that suicide bombing and the like is not in their interests and not true to their faith, we benefit from the effort to do so.

If they can't, we face no choice but a colossal civilizational conflict no matter what our public rhetoric.

Either way, we benefit by posing as long as possible as championing the ability of ordinary Muslims to live and worship in peace and freedom from the extremists. Not by denouncing core aspects of their faith as irredeemably wicked, even if as Western Christians we believe that to be so.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

[We do not benefit] by denouncing core aspects of their faith as irredeemably wicked, even if as Western Christians we believe that to be so.

I think we benefit by telling the truth about the enemy. The doctrine of Jihad is irredeemably wicked. If cannot say that doctrine which blesses treachery, plunder, and enslavement, so long as it is visited on the unbeliever, is wicked, then we cannot say that anything is wicked.

The question of whether Jihad is indeed a "core aspect" of the Muslim faith is the open question. But it is not one that we infidels can answer. Thus we cannot "press harder against the idea that that reading is correct" -- we cannot enter into the Islamic mind and decide what Islam is.

What we can say is that this doctrine is wicked, and that any movement, religious, political or social, which includes it, cannot and will not be tolerated.

And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

we are disarming ourselves in we ignore that Jihadists find support for Jihad in their spiritual beliefs. In the medium to long run, we will have more moderates if we start an ideological/theological discussion now.

OBL argues Koran = Jihad
We argue Jihad = Evil

Let moderates follow up with Koran does NOT equal Jihad

If they win, great for everyhone
If they lose, we have a problem, and we need to face it ASAP

When acquired his copy of the Koran, in order to understand how the beat the Barbary pirates better, ahve been forced to apologize or resign his office?

In the above discussion between Dan and Paul, I agree with Paul . Not that they are at diametric opposite -- far from it, the situation at hand resists easy quantification, the "ah, square peg, and LOOKIE HERE, I got a square hole that fits it perfectly".

But I fall on the side here to say that given the (1) uniquely Islamic character of and self-identification as Islamic the expansionist terrorists themselves, (2) the instinctive knee-jerk reaction of those who people Islamic lands to laud and support terrorist acts [think 9/11, the streets of Palestine overflowed with celebration], and (3) the relative dearth of any forces within Islam to shout down the "heresy" or at the very minimum, to police their own...

I submit that 6 years after 9/11, not all that much has changed -- the onus is on Islam and Muslims to give us a compelling reason NOT to paint with a broad brush.

Stridence is called for. Hard lines need to be drawn. The door is always open for reason, but we can't continue to use kid gloves.

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

If this Coughlin fellow really was so bold as to generalize all of Islamic thought with what we see today as a radical jihadist movement, then he deserves to be ostracized. Any argument taking Islamic thought to a "logical" conclusion of Jihad is flawed, and does not deserved to be given any credibility. This is not a war to destroy Islam; it is a war to defeat terrorists and other enemies of freedom.

"Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey... Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now". -White Goodman

If this Coughlin fellow really was so bold as to generalize all of Islamic thought with what we see today as a radical jihadist movement, then he deserves to be ostracized.

That's not it at all, partner (though that's closer to the correct way to go about it than you'd ever let yourself consider). What Coughlin has advocated, as one of the DOD's foremost experts on Islam and Islamism, is making sure, when regarding terrorists and politics in the Islamic world, to consider "the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine." You think that's wrong?

The only logical conclusion one can draw from Coughlin's point is that Islam is the problem and not Jihadist Muslims.

If America's leaders espouse the philosophy that "Islam is the problem" then that is simply a call for a global conflict between the US and all Muslims nations. And if that is what America's terrorist policy is then let the carpet bombing commence in all Muslim countries. Why wait. If one is convinced Islam is the problem and not jihadism weeds in the Muslim garden then one should espouse annihiliation of all Muslim countries and societies ASAP. There is no need to wait because Islam is the problem and Islam ain't going anywhere.

OBL and other Jihadists say "we do this in the name of Islam"

We need to be better at identify the Jihad threat so that we can defend the country.

Coughlin says the enemy is motivated by their religious beliefs, we need to keep those beliefs in mind in trying to defeat our adversary.

Coughligh fired because viewpoint of looking to Islam as inspiration is bigoted and will turn off Muslims.

We are now unable to to factor in the primary motivating factor of our enemy.

We are flying blind . . .

Yeah, I have a problem with any theocracy, so if that is where the discussion begins then I'm more open to it. If it however presumes to take Islamic values and norms, as they apply to their every day life, their political and moral thought, and logically conclude that Jihad results, then I'd say that it is way off base. That is essentially the same argument that Osama Bin Laden is making in trying to rally Islam to his cause. Instead of supporting his views as pertaining to Islam and Jihad, we should be debunking them. That is the way this war should be approached, and is just another reason I like Romney. (Had to throw that in there, hey)

"Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey... Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now". -White Goodman

The issue here isn't whether Islam as a whole is or isn't to blame for terrorism. The issue is that, in order to understand what makes terrorists tick (in order to better counter and defeat them), and in order to cut them off at the source, we must understand their view of what they do.

Islamic terror stems from Islam, and how the two are related, and how the former uses or corrupts the teaching of the latter in an effort to achieve its ends, must be understood if we are to deal with the real problem.

Acknowledging that is what Maj. Coughlin's sin was --- and it is a necessary acknowledgment to make.

...then is it really a good idea for us to spend trillions of dollars and thousands of lives building a country with a constitution that reads:

Article 2:

First: Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation:

A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.

and imposed a Western style constitution like we did on Germany and Japan after WWII.

Now, we have to deal with the fact that a person in Afghanistan (for example) converts to Christianity and then is sentenced to death. The State Department had to negotiate his exile out of the country.

on not wanting to run with our tail between our legs.

I have no confidence that we are building anything worth building.

I look to Turkey---a country that had a genuine organic secular leader. Turkey is sliding to Sharia law despite every opportunity to become more Western instead of less Western.

..whole lot to say that would be reassuring to you.

All I can do is point out that an Iraq that is friendly to the West is a whole lot better option in that region than one which is not.

Things like the Coughlin episode show that we do NOT have a plan B--and that we are not doing everything that we should.

We won the cold war in part by taking on the enemy in the realm of ideas. I don't hear ANYONE taking on Jihadists in their interpretation of the Koran.

Certainly, nobody outside the US is doing this. And we won't because people like Coughlin are thrown under the bus

We won the cold war in part by taking on the enemy in the realm of ideas. I don't hear ANYONE taking on Jihadists in their interpretation of the Koran.

Some people are doing this. I know brave Muslims who are doing it. But the difficulty here is that the Jihadists are not theological innovators. They are not espousing new and revolutionary doctrines. They are moving in an ancient tradition that is emphatically not of their making. Their claims of Islamic orthodoxy are very difficult to refute. To me it is a fools errand to expect infidels from the West to succeed in a theological debate over what is the "new" Islam. We have no credibility there.

More broadly, I am firmly opposed to any argument which implies that our victory in this war is dependent on the cultivation of a moderate Muslim bloc capable of commanding wide assent in the Dar al-Islam. This is like making a win in a football game dependent on the most extravagant Hail Mary play in the book. It is folly.

And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Because you cannot skip from an pure religious state to a secular democratic society.

You have to take baby steps. You have to allow the citizens to build their democratic structures slowly so there is a solid foundation when more "liberal" (in the traditional sense of the word) changes are enacted.

In short, you cannot bring people from an 800 AD mind space to a 21st century mind space overnight. It has to be done slowly and incrementally or you seriously risk of a collapse into anarchy or fundamentalism.

Having people vote when they have a 7th century outlook vote is not wise.

We should have focused first on a rule of law before counting votes. Instead, we have instituted voting without rule of law.

No Muslim country has signed on the treaty on human rights signed by the rest of world. The reason why the could not (and had to sign their own Islamic version of it) is that (1) Islam is more than a personal religion, it calls for Islamic government in a way the Christianity does not call for Christian government); and (2) its treatment of women and non-Muslims is not consistent with human rights as otherwise recognized elsewhere in the world.

The fact that Coughlin is gone is a sign that instead of proactively trying to figure things out, we are instead adopting a PC, head-in-sand approach that is not going to help us.

I would argue that getting people to vote is THE fundamental building block of democracy. Deed down people want their voice to count and to express their political beliefs.

As such it was crucial to get the Iraqis voting ASAP and interested in self government and engagement in the political process.

The treatment of women can, unfortunately, come later. first, let's get them moving in a democratic direction - then we can address human rights issues.

address human rights issues."

Does it ever work this way?

If converting to Christianity leads to a death sentence, is it "moving in a democratic direction."

Historically speaking, rule of law almost always preceeds voting---not vice versa. Plenty of countries have voting, but rule of law is still the exception not the rule.

Is it good for someone to express their political beliefs if it means that non-Muslims should be dhimmis?

It is abundantly clear that the logical winners in this mini-debate are Paul Cella and Major Stephen Coughlin.

Completely apart from what has been written so far, let's consider that in this pre-election season we often ask candidates, "What have you done so far? Show us your accomplishments." And there are accomplishments, both good and bad to consider.

So I say to Islam, What are your accomplishments? I know many of the bad ones. Where are the good ones? How well do they offset the bad? Why does Islam consider itself so superior that Christians and Jews are considered fair game for forcible conversion? And how does Islam justify the final solution, that of religiously-sanctioned murder of those who won't convert?

The extremists may well be "weeds in the garden," because I am hopeful that the average Muslim does not want to become a murderer for his religion. But Islam itself seems to fertilize the weeds just as much as it does the vegetables, maybe more so.

Finally, I see two related problems. First, there are those who use the teachings and principles of Islam to advance themselves and their personal hatred of the rest of mankind, OBL is the prime example. Second, there are those who can be convinced to support the OBL's of the world because they can be convinced that their Islamic faith also supports the OBL's.

In the first group are people who would be dangerous no matter how they reached the position where they could harm others. These are the jihadist generals. In the second group are the people who would not be dangerous at all had they not been taught to become unthinkingly faithful to the Koran and dependent upon radical Imams to interpret the inflammatory message for them. These are the suicide bombers against the rest of the world.

If we aren't willing to recognize the obvious, and as a result we fail to defend ourselves, we will end up like Europe or worse. Refusal to understand the nature of a threat almost insures that the threat will succeed.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

People like Coughlin aren't saying Islam is per se is bad. What they are saying is that certain things in Islamic teaching (Koran, Hadith, and Sira collectively) are interpretted by OBL and his elk as a justification for murder.

Instead of swiping that fact under the rug, we should encourage a debate within the Muslim world BY CALLING ATTENTION to those arguments.

However, we are doing the opposite. Not only are we refraining from engaging in a public debate---we are cutting off internal expertise at the highest levels of government.

We need to create more moderates (or get more people on the "record" for a non-violent interpretation of what OBL says requires violence). We cannot do this if we are afraid to look to Islamic law as a motivating factor.

We have a clear advantage in weapons, logistics, communication and control, the size of our armed forces and the quality of our training. The last time that I know of that a Muslim army won a significant battle was at Galipoli in WWI, and that was against a British leadership that seemed determined to throw away every tactical advantage it gained. With very little preparation our forces traveled halfway around the world and wiped out the fourth-largest army in the world in a few weeks, a feat that the Iranian couldn't do in eight years.

Clearly, the only way we can lose this war is by pretending that it's not happening.

Unfortunately, that seems to be EXACTLY what we're doing.
"You can't save the Earth unless you're willing to make other people sacrifice" - Scott Adams (speaking through Dogbert)

But we didn't really defeat the 4th biggest army. They simply caved, quit and walked away to fight the insurgency. They were really chicken littles with no stomach for a real fight.
When they saw a superior army coming they tanked.

1) They were the 4th largest army prior to Desert Storm in 1990, not prior to Iraqi Freedon in 2003.

2) THey were lackluster in Iraqi Freedom because Saddam Hussein totally extrapolated the Blackhawk Down scenario beyond it's applicability. Technicals work well against light infantry w/ limited close air support.

They lose effectiveness versus M1 Tanks, and Apaches. They are totally ineffective against aviation flown at 10,000 ft, using smart munitions that find their targets by FLIR in the middle of a dust storm. Hussein made OIF an easier walkover than it had to be.

"If this ain't a mess, it'll do until one shows up." -Sheriff Bell, No Country For Old Men

4th largest or not, it still sounds like a defeat to me.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

We waxed them twice, DS and OIF. And don't forget the successes little Israel had against a bunch of Muslem armies. (Until they tried to be too dainty against the Hezbos.) It is not military strength we lack.

All of the advantages you mention relate specifically to military power. This war is not primarily a military war--it is a war of ideas--a conflict of two world views.

Reagan won the cold war by engaging in a battle of ideas. The military stuff was important---but secondary.

He called a spade a spade. He identified with disidents and said "we stand with you."

We confronted Soviet communism unapologetically.

We need to confront Jihad in a similar manner. However, because it is couched in a religion that is not associated with European white males, it is against the PC rules to say ANYTHING on the topic.

Agreed, though I don't think it's just PC-ness.

We're a country founded in no small part on the principal of religious tolerance, and we've gone through some serious (albeit long-overdue) racial traumas in the last generation. We are, probably should be, a little squeamish about fighting an all-out war against an enemy that's militarily weak, dominated by a non-European racial group, and defines itself in religious terms.

Unfortunately, our enemies have become expert at exploiting this squeamishness.

Unfortunately, this is NOT a war we can choose not to fight. The enemy we face has already come to our shores once, they're dangerously close to controlling the second most important resource on the planet, they're developing a nuclear capability, and they're utterly ruthless. As the original post points out, we need to develop a willingness to do that which we find distasteful if we're going to get this job done. Personally, I think that any political candidate who's opposed to waterboarding is simply not emotionally ready to win this war.

"You can't save the Earth unless you're willing to make other people sacrifice" - Scott Adams (speaking through Dogbert)

"Imagine, if you can, men in the late 1940s arguing, or at least implying by their silence, that our security services should not take seriously the stated doctrines and historical development of Communism;"

I can remember! I remember it well all the way through the late 50's. For those of you who have been asleep for the last 60 years, let me say that we have not successfully addressed the "doctrines and historical development of Communism" as a security matter either domestically (academe) or in foreign affairs (Chavez.) I fear that we will have the same limited success in a battle of theory with Islam. We are a practical people. We will take practical steps to protect ourselves. But, if (when) Europe becomes Islamized, we will have very little will for a contest of idiologies.

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