Friday, July 01, 2005

Eviscerating the New York Times... again

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WarThe blogger voted (by me) as the most likely to get a syndicated column is New Sisyphus. Actually, it's unclear whether the blog is written by a group or a single person. Either way, it's not to be missed. In a recent entry, NS brutalizes a New York Times' op-ed piece. The editorial's unnamed, gasbag authors are left holding a shredded canard - but not any semblance of an argument.

The combination of this piece and a panoply of excellent commentary on Powerline make for powerful, maddening reading. That the leadership of the Democratic party can so willfully ignore their own votes, which clearly stated the rationale for war in Iraq ("Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States... are known to be in Iraq... Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens...") -- and that they can do so without any fear that the mainstream media will sound the alarm claxons for egregious duplicity -- are among the more obvious reasons for the blogosphere's ascendancy in audience, importance and quality of analysis.

We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war, or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation. But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks. We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal - beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.

-- Excerpt, New York Times, Lead Editorial, today

Liberals, as the whole world knows, are masters of nuance and of complex thinking. It is Conservatives who deal in simplistic ideals... responding to detailed challenges by issuing jingoistic clichés. Bush... is roundly ridiculed in the MSM and the Leftish corners of the Internet for his lack of nuance, his lack of comprehension...

...So why is it that liberals persist in claiming to not understand the President’s central argument regarding the War on Terror, the Iraq War’s place in that larger conflict and the role of 9.11 in shaping his strategic worldview that made Iraq a necessary battlefield?

...The President’s argument is easy to grasp... The attacks of 9.11 were not simply terrorist attacks — as the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the U.S.S Cole were perceived and treated — but a declaration of war. This declaration of war was readily identifiable as such by the vast majority of the American people, yet carried with it a new and perplexing wrinkle.

The enemy was not a nation-state or even the agents of a nation-state, but, instead, the vanguard of a wide-spread ideological movement... ...This new enemy shares a common cause not bounded by nationality or a specific grievance, but by an essentially fascist view that only the [ideologues]... are truly human, that [only they] have a holy duty to decide who lives and who dies, that only [their beliefs] are acceptable, and that the unbelievers must be converted by force or be killed so that a return to some romanticized volkish past... in all of [its] historical homelands (this includes you, Spain), can be achieved.

Thus, after 9.11 the nation found itself at war with an organized ideological enemy. While most of this enemy were non-state actors, some received sanctuary and support from some states, notably the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran...

However, at its core, the enemy was not a state or even a collection of states, but an ideology... The central lesson of 9.11 taken away by the President was that if these... “root causes” of terror were not addressed... it would be only a matter of time before the United States was attacked again. And the next attack may well be many times worse, given the state of modern weapons technology and our free and open society.

Here the President made a judgment as the chief exective, commander-in-chief and the man actually responsible not only for our safety but the safety of future Americans as well. In his judgment, the [enemy's] ideology... rose to prominence... for the same reason the same affliction rose among a good proportion of the world’s Germans a half-century ago: a sick and afflicted political culture has nurtured a violent popular ideology of grievance-fixation, anti-Semitism and murder. Nothing short of breaking the back of the conditions that gave rise to the ideology of fascism would deprive it of strength and recruits, thereby preventing future attacks on the U.S. from a foe that is neither deterrable nor destructible in the classic sense.

That being the case, once the immediate and relatively easy to identify goal of removing an obvious state sponsor of... Fascism was accomplished in Afghanistan, the President needed to put his strategic vision into action.

A number of reasons made... Baathist Iraq the obvious choice: it was a once-prosperous, multi-ethnic community in the heart of the Islamic world that had been brutalized by an insanely aggressive regime that not only had invaded neighboring countries twice but had used long-banned chemical weapons in doing so. It also had an on-going program to further develop WMD for its use. It had used WMD against its own population to strengthen its rule by fear. It was still technically at war with the United States, violating a cease-fire almost daily by firing upon American pilots. It had attempted to assassinate an ex-President of the United States. It was supporting suicide bombing in Israel by providing financial benefit to such fanatic’s families. It had given refuge to terrorist groups and terrorist leaders. In short, Iraq was the poster child for the type of dysfunctional political culture that had given rise to the grievance-based ideology...

Thus, Iraq presented the President with a convergence of strategic sense and tactical opportunity. Strategic, in that a conversion of Iraq to a more democratic and prosperous country would provide a counter-model to that proposed by the [ideologues]; tactical in that its WMD program, aggressive behavior and... links to terrorist groups represented a threat to the United States.

...Together, both prongs, along with the aggressive use of law enforcement domestically and abroad, diplomacy, and special operations in remote theatres, make up the wider War on Terror... is in 9.11 that the President forged his central judgment: that a phenomenon previously thought to be a regrettable but constant in life—Islamic terrorism—has now shown itself ready, willing and able to represent an existential threat to the United States and that, therefore, it must be fought aggressively, while on the offensive, in a wide-ranging campaign to deny it sanctuary, succor and room for growth.

Thus, for the NY Times and liberals at large to say that Iraq had “nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks,” is to miss the larger point the President is making... Iraq is central to the President’s war aims in that he seeks to inject a radical new order in the heart of the Middle East, one that will present an alternative and democratic space [to] deflate the appeal of the fascism that gave rise to 9.11 and similar attacks.

For liberals to pretend not to understand all this — for them to lose their vaunted sense of nuance and understanding — reveals a profound and distasteful dishonesty on their part... Beyond indicting Bin Laden in District Court for the Southern District of New York, liberals have been without a strategic plan on how to win the War on Terror. In fact, they would deny such a war even exists.

Such is their right. But their standard-bearer, Senator Kerry, took that argument to the American people a mere 7 months ago and they soundly rejected it in favor of the strategic vision advanced by President Bush and his team...

Clearly, it’s Bush who has a problem with complex arguments and nuance and not, say, the editorial board of the New York Times.

New Sisyphus: Eviscerating the New York Times... again

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