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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Round Two: Realism in American Foreign Policy

A reader offers further objections to my arguments.

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This is round two of the argument about realism in American foreign policy, in response to Further Thoughts on the Justification for Deposing Saddam Hussein

In round one, my reader argued against The Debates: President Bush Couldn’t Assert One of the Most Important Reasons for the Iraq War  and More on “Blood for Oil”

The opening paragraphs of his latest comments are presented below in their entirety.  In addition, he made specific points about some of my assertions, to which I will respond below, after covering his general comments.

“I think one crux of the matter is?a simple difference of fact:?there was no alliance or connection between al-Qaeda and Hussein, no immediate danger to us or to the oil supply, and instead of stabilizing the hornets’ nest we’ve stirred it up bigtime.
?
My moderate, i.e.,  beer-drinking, Muslim friends tell me al-Qaeda and Saddam are pretty diametrically opposed and any significant alliance would be extremely surprising. Somewhere between the Hitler-Stalin pact and?the?Muslim legend that 9/11 was a conspiracy between Bush and the Zionists.? Stranger things have happened, but it’s simply bizarre to accept it as truth without tangible evidence.?It’s people believing what it suits them to believe.?Perhaps a little multiculturalism in education is not such a bad idea after all, when we have to understand and deal with these cultures.
?
I think the other crux is that I come at it from a different approach.? There’s a morality of the establishment, which is to respect?the status quo, render unto Caesar and keep your nose clean.  There’s?a morality of the underdog,?which is?equality and peace, since the underdog sheds blood and benefits from redistribution. And there’s the morality of the idealist or radical which is that there’s a right way to live, and the utopian end justifies some shortcuts.
?
I tend to come from the first point of view, the middle of the road conservative, and the current right-wing crowd, and?you if I understand?you correctly, come more from the third, the idealist or radical.
?
According to that view,?bombings, looting, Abu Ghraib, ‘freedom is messy’ are an acceptable price but worth it in the long run because there will be democracy and gratitude to us for having brought it. The so-called conservatives are running radical foreign and fiscal policies, not to mention locking people up without due process, tapping phone lines, knocking on people’s doors to ask them if they know anyone who might be engaging in ‘illegal’ protest. In the extreme, so-called conservatives are bombing abortion clinics and Federal buildings. The right is utopian, going to radical extremes to further their ideological ambitions, and the people you consider socialists are by comparison?the voice of reason.
?
Personally, I’m paranoid that the center won’t hold if we keeping?going down that road. We have the most to lose, we are the most vulnerable target, we are the world’s biggest debtor. Radical?policies don’t make a lot of sense when you have the most to lose, especially when you clearly show that you don’t?anticipate the obvious risks. If we continue down this radical path and people keep cutting corners because we’re at war or the ends justify the means, the worst case is that we keep dividing the country, we have another botched election,?we get attacked once or twice, we invoke even stronger ‘law and order’ measures, and people don’t view us as that great a place to invest their wealth, and we end up economic disaster and blood in the streets.
?
What I generally find interesting? in your stuff?is?to understand why well-educated, well-informed, experienced observers?who have a lot to lose aren’t worried about the threat?to the future and the Constitution?that those actions represent. “

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First, the reader states flatly that “there was no alliance or connection between al-Qaeda and Hussein, no immediate danger to us or to the oil supply, and instead of stabilizing the hornets’ nest we’ve stirred it up bigtime.” 

This contradicts even the highly partisan 9/11 Commission, whose report confirms that there were connections between Saddam and Al Queda, though no direct link to the 9/11 suicide bombings.  It flatly contradicts what liberal lights like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Teddy Kennedy said, based on the intelligence information available to them and the Executive branch before the start of military action.

As to whether there was “no immediate danger to us or to the oil supply,” that is no more than arm-chair, Monday-morning quarterbacking.  It’s easy to sit back now and to say that we should have been clairvoyant.  Search the record as carefully as you wish and you will not find any statements from the Hero of Chappaquiddick or from his puppet John Kerry, before the invasion, that we needed a “plan to win the peace.” 

What confronted the administration was a declared war by Al Queda, a devastating pair of attacks on United States soil, and uniform intelligence reports from, among others, the CIA, France, England, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom reported that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. 

The New York Times, Washington Post, and other socialist propaganda organs all head-lined only one part of the recent Duelfer report: Sadam probably had destroyed his WMD at some time after Desert Storm, hoping to get the UN sanctions lifted.  What these media did not report at all, or buried well down in their coverage, were three crucial points. 

First, even Saddam’s own military and political leaders did not know this, each thinking that some other unit still was armed with WMD.  Why?  Because Iraq had, and used, WMD several times in the past, and military units had been armed with them and told to use them, if Desert Storm forces had continued their drive all the way to Baghdad in 1991.  If even Saddam’s own people within Iraq thought that he still had WMD, why is it so terrible a blunder that the administration thought so too?

Second, Mr. Duelfer reported that Saddam’s scientists had been prepared, and had the wherewithal, to reconstitute the poison gas and nuclear weapons programs immediately after the UN lifted its sanctions. 

Third, Saddam had diverted nearly $2 billion of presumably oil-for-humanitarian-purposes revenues to bribe France, Russia, Turkey, and others to lift sanctions and to block U.S. efforts to force Saddam to comply fully with the resolutions.  Had Senator Kerry been President, our “friends” in France would have got the sanctions lifted within months, and Saddam would by now actually have WMD.  Looking at his record, does anyone doubt that he would have used them against Israel and American interests, wherever he could?

It might also be noted that, had Saddam not been bribing Turkish officials, that nation might have approved using Turkey as a landing site and launching pad for one of our armored divisions to attack Iraq from the north, simultaneously with the attack from Kuwait.  That division was unable to enter Iraq until after most of the fighting around Baghdad had ended and was unavailable to help impose civil order within the Sunni Triangle at the critical early stages of looting and vigilante violence.

In sum, the Bush administration had good reason to believe that Saddam posed a very real threat, and, given Iraq’s pivotal geopolitical position, every reason to take preemptive action both to deny enemy access to its oil supplies, and to assure their availability to the rest of the world.

The reader then says, “My moderate, i.e.,  beer-drinking, Muslim friends tell me al-Qaeda and Saddam are pretty diametrically opposed and any significant alliance would be extremely surprising.”  Later, in reaction to my list of contacts and coordinated actions between al Queda and Saddam compiled by FreeRepublic.com, he says, “There were no training camps in Saddam’s Iraq. I saw reports of some activities in the Kurdish area outside of Saddam’s control. The FreeRepublic.com guys are not always what one might call reliable sources.” 

Why, one might ask, are apostate Muslims drinking beer in Manhattan necessarily more authoritative sources than the contemporaneous reports, from 1997 through 2000, in US News and World Report and Time Magazine, which were the sources used by FreeRepublic.com?

Second, the reader says, “I think the other crux is that I come at it from a different approach.? There’s a morality of the establishment, which is to respect?the status quo, render unto Caesar and keep your nose clean.  There’s?a morality of the underdog,?which is?equality and peace,  since the underdog sheds blood and benefits from redistribution. And there’s the morality of the idealist or radical which is that there’s a right way to live, and the utopian end justifies some shortcuts.
?
I tend to come from the first point of view, the middle of the road conservative, and the current right-wing crowd, and?you if I understand correctly?you, come more from the third, the idealist or radical.”

My response is amazement that he interprets my position as a radicalism in which the utopian end justifies shortcuts.  In almost all of the postings on this website, I oppose exactly that position. 

It is liberals, whom he characterizes as reasonable, who demand that the Jewish and Christian religions be suppressed, in favor of the religion of socialism.  It is the world’s liberals who liquidated millions of individuals for the “greater good,” in the name of an abstract ideal called socialistic social justice and its utopian promise to perfect human society. 

In the United States, Big Brother thought control is already a fact.  In good Orwellian, NewSpeak fashion, academic freedom has been turned on its head to mean that no voice may be heard in opposition to liberal orthodoxy. 

In colleges and universities across the nation, students who question the dogma of socialism are ridiculed by their professors, forced to perform demeaning jobs for liberal student organizations, and attend Mao Red-Guard style “sensitivity” training to reprogram the mind to think only secular, materialistic, and atheistic thoughts.  Offending students will be lucky if not put on academic probation, or expelled, for “creating a hostile atmosphere” by questioning liberal dogma

In the United States Senate, no person who professes to be a religious Jew or a Christian will pass muster as an appointee for Federal judgeships or administrative positions.  Only socialists who believe in a Constitutional right to murder infants and vow fidelity to secular materialism need apply.

It is American liberalism, based squarely on the secular and materialistic religion of socialism (known today as secular humanism), that posits an ideal government structure that only intellectuals are knowledgeable enough to discern and to impose upon the people, for their own good.  Every prominent liberal voice for the past century has inveighed against individualism and urged submersion into the collectivism of economic and social classes (see How Socialists Stole Liberalism and Socialism: Our Unconstitutionally Established Religion.

It was John Dewey, the most prominent of liberal spokesmen in the first half of the 20th century, whose pragmatic philosophy proclaimed that there is no such thing as moral principles, that the only test of validity is whether your actions get you what you want, in short, that the aims of socialism justify whatever actions may be necessary to impose that religion upon society.

It was socialist Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who said that there is no such thing as a higher law of morality, that whatever liberals can induce the public to believe must be accepted as the truth.  It was Holmes who, in order to support efforts to implement socialism, said that traditions, the Constitution, and the words of statute law are immaterial, that the law is nothing more than what a particular judge declares it to be.

My position is the opposite.  I believe that citizens, not as homogenous members of vast social classes, but as individuals, must do their best to develop their consciences and to live by the moral principles of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  That necessarily means a great deal of personal freedom, but not hedonistic license.  The Golden Rule of morality imposes self-restraint and keeps individuals from in-your-face crudity, incivility, and sensual license that are the predominant characteristics of life today in liberal havens like Manhattan, LA, and San Francisco.

As noted in Liberals Hate Christianity, the Democratic Party has come to rely heavily on anti-religious voters.  Leading liberals like Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich see Christianity as more of a threat to the United States than Al Queda, precisely because people who share traditional Judeo-Christian principles oppose liberal-socialist collectivism.  Our insistence on personal morality and individual responsibility are roadblocks to imposing Secretary Reich’s liberal welfare state for favored social and economic classes without regard to individual merit, effort, or contribution to society.

Third, the reader says, “According to that view,?bombings, looting, Abu Ghraib, ‘freedom is messy’ are an acceptable price but worth it in the long run because there will be democracy and gratitude to us for having brought it. The so-called conservatives are running radical foreign and fiscal policies….”  In other exchanges of email with me, he also has said that the invasion of Iraq is not a just war.  Liberal foreign policy, by implication in that view, is morally just, because its dogma of collective security finds legitimacy in consensus among members of the community of nations.

In other words, liberals oppose the idea of morality at home, but champion it as the guideline for American foreign policy. 

This puts liberals in an odd position indeed.  Try squaring their idea of a just war with John Dewey’s generally accepted theory (among liberals) that, according to Charles Darwin, there is no morality, merely the struggle for survival, which produces randomly accidental results.

One explanation is that what constitutes morality in foreign affairs for liberals is not a universally recognized set of views comparable to the Ten Commandments in personal affairs.  Liberals’ foreign-affairs morality is actually no more than what their councils of intellectuals, at any given moment, in good Darwinian fashion, opine is the right thing to do.  Yesterday’s “morality” may no longer be today’s.  A just war is no more than what world opinion, whatever it may be, will accept at a given time.  If world opinion, expressed in the UN or the streets of Europe or Manhattan, ignores the slaughter in Rwanda or the Balkans, or condemns the Israelis as Nazi aggressors for defending themselves, then that must be the moral position of liberalism, until further notice.

Elsewhere, my reader writes, “The right is utopian, going to radical extremes to further their ideological ambitions, and the people you consider socialists are by comparison?the voice of reason.”

Graham Wallas was a major thinker in the British socialist party at the beginning of the 20th century.  In “Human Nature in Politics,” written in 1920 after the shattering disillusionment of the First World War, he called what is present-day American liberal thinking the rationalist fallacy.  That fallacy is the assumption that human beings will act in domestic politics and foreign affairs on purely rational motives and only upon logical trains of reasoning. 

Seeing themselves as supremely intelligent and rational, liberals find it inconceivable that other people might not willingly and happily accept their conclusions and their directives.  Therefore, they believe, the world’s problems can be solved simply by reasoned discussions in the halls of the League of Nations or the UN.  Resort to military force, by the same token, is irrational and reprehensible, even in response to mortal threats to national interests.

Disagreeing with my assertion that a principal reason for deposing Saddam and having troops in Iraq was the need to protect the world’s access to Middle Eastern oil, he writes, “Hey, if I’m a seller of anything I prefer a higher price and if I’m Osama I’ll blame the Saudi royal family for anything. If he had said oil prices should be lower, that would have been news. He specifically says oil prices will be determined by the market, not that he’s going to use oil to take over the world.”

That presumes that Al Queda is motivated by purely rational economic calculation.  Nothing in Al Queda’s history, however, suggests that its leaders act in accord with reason or with regard to the best interests of the Arab Islamic world.  Saddam set the Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze after Desert Storm, though doing so made no military or economic sense.  Suicide bombers, people who take pleasure in being video-filmed decapitating human beings, are not as rational as liberals assume.

The reader writes, “Historical precedent doesn’t make something either right or sensible. Evil and stupidity have long historical precedent.”

That argument, also expressed by John Kerry, is a boomerang that circles back, with multiplied force, to hit the Senator in the face.

Liberals still ignore the scientific evidence of centuries of historical experience and plow doggedly ahead toward their utopian vision of socialistic perfection.  Dazzled by the brilliance of their own abstract thought, liberals remain blind to fact. 

Never mind that every essay at socialism since 1789 has, at best, made conditions worse and more often has led to mass slaughter of millions of human beings.  The Great Society increased the rate of violent crime almost 500 percent, introduced widespread addiction to drugs, depressed academic results alarmingly, induced roughly 80 percent of young blacks under the age of thirty to make welfare dependency their life’s career, and produced the highest rates of illegitimacy ever known in any society in history.

The rationalist fallacy leads liberals, in the face of repeated failure, confidently to assume that their views nonetheless, this time, will predictably shape public opinion, both here and abroad, among friend and enemy.  Liberals therefore believe that any leader who doesn’t subscribe to their opinions is not rational and that his contrary views by definition violate their morality of internationalism and collective security.

Maybe that isn’t evil or stupid, but it surely isn’t right or sensible.

Finally, the reader writes, “Personally, I’m paranoid that the center won’t hold if we keeping?going down that road.  Radical?policies don’t make a lot of sense when you have the most to lose, especially when you clearly show that you don’t?anticipate the obvious risks…...If we continue down this radical path and people keep cutting corners because we’re at war or the ends justify the means, the worst case is that we keep dividing the country, we have another botched election,?we get attacked once or twice, we invoke even stronger ‘law and order’ measures, and people don’t view us as that great a place to invest their wealth, and we end up economic disaster and blood in the streets.

What I generally find interesting? in your stuff?is?to understand why well-educated, well-informed, experienced observers?who have a lot to lose aren’t worried about the threat?to the future and the Constitution?that those actions represent.”

It’s not unreasonable to worry that the public will lose heart and interest, particularly given our history in the Vietnam War era (see Terrorism as Entertainment).  Beginning with the Baby Boom generation, most college students have been inculcated with the religion of socialism, and they now occupy influential, if not dominant, positions in our legislatures, the judiciary, and our educational system.  Knowing this, Al Queda is counting on the American people’s lacking the necessary conviction and fortitude to stick with the war against Islamic terror over the coming decades.  We are already hearing today’s version of “better Red than dead” in Senator Kerry’s call to begin pulling troops out of Iraq and to hand our fight over to the UN. 

Are we to follow the lead of Spain’s new socialist government and accept the resurgence of Islam and the universal imposition of sharia as preferable to fighting and dying for our liberties?  Is Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” through appeasement better than taking the fight to the enemy?

I do worry about the future of the United States, and, yes, we have much to lose.  Every war, from the Civil War onward, has led to more collectivized power in Washington.  But the Patriot Act, which applies anti-organized-crime tactics to terrorism, is pretty mild stuff compared to the total nationalization of most of our economy under Woodrow Wilson in World War I, or to Franklin Roosevelt’s version of Mussolini’s Fascist state corporatism in the Depression.

The far greater danger lies in liberalism’s rationalist fallacy of treating Islamic radicalism as civil crime that can be prosecuted in the World Court or the UN’s Security Council.