Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Liza writes:

Any of you who think that Muslim terrorists will settle down once the U.S. stops supporting Israel should explain to me why Al-Qaeda just bombed hundreds of tourists in Bali, most of whom were not Americans. Australia suffered the most casualties.

This is a religious war - fanatical Muslims around the world against Christians and Jews. It is not just a question of Muslims resenting and attacking Israelis and Americans. The fanatical Muslims are equally vile in persecuting indigenous Christians in their homelands, some of which are far from the Mideast.

The only way to cow them is to use overwhelming force with Western technology, which they cannot duplicate. The logical next step after our success in Afghanistan is Iraq. Yes, it is expensive, but we have to do it or we will be sitting ducks for a lot more attacks.

John responds:
"This is a religious war" - Why does that sound familiar? Oh, yes: Pat Buchanan's address to the Republican Convention, Houston, August 17, 1992. The speech that his enemies in both parties said was responsible for Bush I losing to Clinton.

Liza says Bali proves that "The logical next step after our success in Afghanistan is Iraq." What an awesome non sequitur! If our "success in Afghanistan" did not prevent Bali, what reason to suppose that bombing Baghdad would prevent similar attacks?

I would draw a different lesson from the Bali bombing: That our U.S. style of warfare is powerless to defeat the enemy we face. See this column.

Liza responds:

So what would you do, John? Give up and let them go on attacking Americans and other Westerners?

The attack on the French tanker is more evidence that the jihad is not just directed against the U.S. and Israel. France has been anti-Israel and pro-Iraq for a long time.

Al Qaeda has been getting state sponsorship from a few countries such as Iraq. Without the state sponsorship, they would not be able to train, organize and equip. Kicking out the sponsoring regimes one by one will send a message to the remaining ones.

What religious war was Pat Buchanan talking about? Surely not the Muslim one? Perhaps the domestic policy split between devout Christians and almost everyone else?

John responds:
I never said this is only about Israel. That would be too simple. Israel is merely one front in a wider conflict.

Actually, we don't know that al Qaeda has been getting state sponsorship from Iraq. As Charlie Rangel quipped, "there's more al Qaeda in Buffalo than Baghdad" (referring to the recent arrests of 6 Yemeni-Americans)

We have already destroyed al Qaeda's principal state sponsor. It is not clear that there is any other state sponsor. Al Qaeda draws varying amounts of support from a number of states; probably a dozen states give al Qaeda more support than Iraq does.

Yes of course; but my point is that for the last 10 years Buchanan was demonized for declaring that "there is a religious war" - the same declaration you are now making.

If this is a religious war, why attack Iraq, the most secular Muslim country except Turkey?

Bush, meanwhile, has repeatedly denied that religion has anything to do with the war he has declared. He says Islam is a religion of peace.

How can we fight and win a religious war if our leaders deny it?

Americans don't know how to fight a religious war. If we did, surely Step One would be to enforce a clear boundary separating us from all the heathens, pagans, gentiles, and barbarians. Exclude them, deport them, keep them out.

Evidently, our leaders are unable or unwilling to take those simple first steps. Instead, we are constantly lectured that "diversity" is strength.

If this is a religious war, I fear that the advantage belongs to the side with the stronger religious belief.

Liza suggests we should "cow them" (Muslim fanatics) by using "overwhelming force with Western technology, which they cannot duplicate." But that strategy has been attempted for many years by Israel, without success.

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