"We could level half the country, that'd probably fix our problems pretty quickly, no!!? "
No. In my opinion, levelling select pieces of the country isn't working either. I believe Iraq, (a sovereign country we no longer occupy, officially) has suggested a timetable for the withdrawl of US troops and Amnesty for insurgents not tied directly to terrorist acts. I haven't had time to read much on what that might mean, but it does suggest there may be alternatives besides our current... lets say semi-traditional involvement, since you seem to think by traditional I mean strictly air war, which, traditionally I don't think we've used against an insurgency. In vietnam for instance (and I mean no comparison at the moment beyond style of fighting) we had troops on the ground, we had a hearts and minds campaign, and understandable difficulty telling who was the enemy and wo wasn't. I hope those sound enough like arguments to you., I shouldn't want to give you the 'out' of claiming all I have to offer are insults, you Wolfawitzawannabee.
"So what would a war on terror look like to you, Max? "
As I've said multiple times, and as you argue against almost immediately, It would look like a very large multinational police effort. It would of course also incorporate economic and political efforst as well. Saudi Arabia might be induced to fund less terrorism, for instance, if we stopped selling them weapons systems and dancing through the flowers holding their hands, etc.
"(which a lot of liberals are fond of saying)."
Thank goodness you do not fall pray, as I so often do, of demonising and lumping together political blocks. I shall endeavor to match you and be more charitable when refering to 'conservatives', many of whom are fond of dismantaling our system tri-partite system of government. Oh, damn! I did it again.
" However, the countries that have funded these activities (yes, this includes Saddam's Iraq), as well as the countries that continue to breed intolerance, hatred, sexism, and racism towards Jews, Christians, and the West in general are actually VERY statist, and very traditional."
MMmm. Excellent point. I'm sure this moral, anti-real politic explains our invasion of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and why when we discovered who ran the worlds nuclear blackmarket, we demanded his extradition to the Hague. Well, at very least harsh punishment. I mean house arrest. Anyway, Paksitan says he's under house arrest, and why would our allies lie to us? Your... argument, here, Kev, would hold water if it's relationship with our foreign ppolicy were more than coincidental. Are you perhaps suggesting we develop a foriegn policy with these goals? Traditional warfare against states that support terrorsim? Maybe I'm not clear on what it is you're trying to say here.
"But to argue that Iraq had absolutely NO role in the current makeup of the modern Middle East is absurd."
I hate it when I argue things without knowing it. Here's the argument I wanted to make. Since those are NOT the reasons we went to war there what chance do you think we have of making things better with the strategy and leadership that developed the false reason in the first place? And, now that we are in Iraq, do you see this is helping or hindering any chance we might have had or have of working on some of the other countries in the region that had a much larger role in the current make-up of the middle east. I think it's kind of weakened our hand with Iraq.
I feel as if your argument is:
"Yes, I agree, we went with bad reasons and we could have gone to better places, but now we're here lets just keep doing what we're doing and maybe it will morph into a being about good reasons and everybody there will forget about the bad reasons."
I don't favor that course, but I do think it's an arguable way of looking at the situation, and even has laudable, desireable, altruistic goals. I also think it would require a massive commitment and massive sacrafices well beyond anything either party has placed on the table. You say the Bush plan has looked 'pretty clear'. I'd say if his goals for the WOT are anything like yours, they are a muddy disaster. He needs a LOT more money and it can't come from borrowing. He may well need a draft. He needs a fully funded, decent health care system for returning servicemen and women and an agressive anti-corruption campaign so we aren't throwing away the money we have. I don't want the WOT you do Kev, but if Bush does, he's not being very realistic about what it would take.
" To say that this war is just against a few guys in a group called Al Qaeda misses the point and the real problem, and I think this is where we part on the matter. "
I think you are underestimating my view of the problem, but essentially, yes, this is where we part ways. I do not think military force, particularly occupation, addresses the problem of terrorsim in speciffic and rabid fundamentalism in general.
"This isn't two equals having a duel at sunset over a chick. This isn't "wanton". We are fighting people who want to see us destroyed. We are fighting people who want to oppress women, destroy Jews, Christians, and just about anybody else who disagrees with them. "
Yes, but the way we are fighting them is the way Chenney hunts quail.
We spray buckshot and we may well get the evil doer bird or birds, but we get a whole hell of a lot of other quail in the buckshot spray as well. And then those quail get really, really, mad, and the lots of quail who used to be somewhat anti-semitic and made their women quail dress in bags, which is admittedly bad, start to think the martyred evil doer quail made a lot more sense before our clumsy, hamfisted VP started shooting. I do not think this is about two equals. I think it's about one country, one stateless movement and one fuck of a lot of bystanders getting killed by both sides. I'm quite sure it's not a duel. Do you think it's Batman Vs. the Joker, or might your view be nuanced enough that to imply absurd metaphors is insulting. If so, I apologize for the Batman line and the Chenney metaphor. I'd hate to think that just because I disagree with you I'd boil your ideas down to nonsense, like, say, two guys dueling.
"The loss of innocent life is horrible, unfortunate, and sad. The intentional taking of innocent life is barbaric, "
Those are good deffinitions. I agree with both of them. How do you deffine a callous disregard for innocent life? I think a callous disregard of innocent life is a really, really, really big part of war. When a country uses cluster bombs, land mines, white phosphorus, I believe this shows a callous disregard for innocent life, and when a countries citizens don't scream bloody blue murder that also shows a callous disregard for innocent life. The collective screaming of voting american citizens might impact some of these policies. The collective screaming of American voters will probably not influence the practices of beheaders. I'm sorry that comes off as "blame America first" to you. I see it as conservation of screaming.
You call my conservation of screaming 'weak'. Admittedly, a fabulous argument, and is it any wonder I resort to name calling in the face of such erudite reasoning?
"I know, I mean, what good does it do the Iraqis to not be living under Saddam any longer???"
I'm not certain, since I have never lived under either Sadaam or their current straits. It is my opinion from what I've read and thought about, that their lives were not that great in either scenario. I'm sure your certainty that their lives now are three whole question marks better arises from something pure enough that you have no cause to even wonder if we've brought more misery than was there to begin with. If there was only one question mark, it might be something worth at least thinking about, but three? I have obviously come up against a law of physics, one of Rumsfelds 'known knowns'. I can only assume that your certainty at a distance compared to my uncertainty at the same distnce, stems from your superior character.
"I know, I mean, what good does it do the Iraqis to not be living under Saddam any longer??? And all of this never-before-seen stuff, like Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds working in the same room to patch together a republic???"
We are now up to 9 question marks in total, so I must be mad to even question you, but it's in my nature. I would say that since all the things you note took place and continue to take place in the presence of our vigorous military presence, we do not know if this is progress. If something lasting comes out of it in the end, yes. If it can only even struggle along while we surround it with blazing guns, then no, Kevin. In my opinion, that would not be progress, especially concidering the amount of bodies it takes to fuel the experiment. I would say you may be right. But despite your punctuation frenzy!!! I do not cede that as a given!!! And that, too, is where we part ways!!!
You may see it as perspective. I see a certain arrogance there.
"Call me Samuel Huntington, but I think we are on the verge of a great war. "
I think we are too, Samuel, but I think we are there because too many on both sides find that idea engaging, romantic and religous. I think a great war is what the terrorists, the fundamentalists, Jihadist, dead enders, etc. desire most of all, and I think we have agreed to theri playbook since the moment we went to war with a country W wanted to settle scores with instead of pursuing a more thoughtful honest policy. I think there is still time to put there playbook down and spend all our energy finding a way to avoid a great war. In worst case scenarios on either side of this divide; I believe civilzation could almost certainly survive some serious horrors. I do not believe that civilization could withstand another Great War. I hope and pray for a middle way.
"This isn't the same as WW II. Thank God for that. And thank God that President Bush isn't alowing isolationists and political opponents to prevent us from dealing with this threat now rather than later, much like they did to FDR. "
See, that's where I think you're blinded, Kev, by your idea that this is a pre WWII situation. You think we are 'dealing with this threat now'. I think we are throwing money and bodies down a rathole, almost totally ignoring actual homeland security and sticking our heads in the sand over rising sea levels which could make a Billion people refugees. THAT's the kind of shit that can cause Great Wars. I think there may be some ground between being an isolationist and thinking invasions and occupations are swell policy. Are anti-war and isolationist synonamous to you? I always thought there were other ways to work for change in other countries, I didn't realize if I thought all out war was a costly mistake that made me an isolationist.
"So I agree, Bush certainly isn't like FDR. "
Oh, well done sir! I agree , Imperial presidency (which as you know is the thing I find least attractive about FDR and I don't think it was a neccesary component of what made him a good president) is the only arena it's fair to compare them in. I do so wish we had a time machine so the brilliant stategic mind and compassionate social soul could have lead us through our darkest moments.
"YOUR COUNTRY IS AT WAR WITH A "VERY REAL ENEMY", MAX!
You have convinced me sir! I still have objections to my countries conduct, but I now see there is no need to mention them, or that if I absolutely feel must, I make very sure there is an equal measure of complaint against our enemies! See you on the other side of IGW, the Inevitable Great War!!!