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  1. #1
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    The Unwinable War

    I know some people will not like the source of this article but if you can move past that and address the central question . . . is this an unwinnable war? and if so, what to do?

    Another 9/11 anniversary: How do we find our way out of a 100-year war? - Salon.com
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    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    I know some people will not like the source of this article but if you can move past that and address the central question . . . is this an unwinnable war? and if so, what to do?

    Another 9/11 anniversary: How do we find our way out of a 100-year war? - Salon.com

    Another rambling, kitchen-sink nullity.

    - This war began closer to 675 than 1975. No one named Bush created Timur.

    - He offers no policy but just the usual pablum by committee.

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    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    The only winning move is not to play. U.S. military involvement in the Middle East is only for the benefit of arms dealers and other corporate interests. Not only is it not for the personal security of actual American people, it's an "enemies creation" program that ultimately endangers them.
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  4. #4
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    The only winning move is not to play. U.S. military involvement in the Middle East is only for the benefit of arms dealers and other corporate interests. Not only is it not for the personal security of actual American people, it's an "enemies creation" program that ultimately endangers them.

    No people have been attacked and enslaved simply for being there?

  5. #5
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    So don't go there.
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  6. #6
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    So don't go there.

    There is never here until it is.

  7. #7
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by decimon View Post
    There is never here until it is.
    So, in other words, you have nothing to add but can't restrain yourself from saying something, even if it's nonsense. How Trumpish
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  9. #8
    03310151 is offline Registered User
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    Leave them be. And don't let them in. Period.


    No more invade the world, invite the world.


    Granted, I’m some kind of weirdo nut who thinks the basic arrangement of the world into 200 separate countries is, on the whole, a pretty good idea. Everybody who is anybody knows instead that All We Have to Do is invite every Iron Age culture in the world into our countries and then come to a mutual agreement with them upon protocols of behavior governing every aspect of our mutual lives.

    That’s All We Have to Do

  10. #9
    heirophant is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    I know some people will not like the source of this article
    What I don't like is the 'article's' vacuous stupidity. It's basically some self-styled writer/activist ranting about George W. Bush. It's just assumed that the 'War on Terror' is America's doing, that it continues simply because of us, and it can end whenever we move suitably to the left and choose to end it. That just ignores historical reality.

    but if you can move past that and address the central question . . . is this an unwinnable war? and if so, what to do?
    Presumably referring to the arguably misnamed "war on terror". I prefer to think of it as national, cultural and civilizational self-defense. Western civilization will have to undertake self-defense measures as long as there are groups and ideologies out there (currently a certain kind of Islamic radicalism, but potentially including Chinese imperial-statism as well) that actively threaten us.

    How long will it continue? For as long as it has to. (How long have the left's beloved battles against 'social injustice' been underway? All of human history ?) Presumably some things really are worth struggling for. The survival of our Western civilization is one of them in my opinion. Needing to defend the things that we believe are most valuable and important is the human condition. It's as true today as it ever was. It doesn't show any signs of changing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    The only winning move is not to play. U.S. military involvement in the Middle East is only for the benefit of arms dealers and other corporate interests. Not only is it not for the personal security of actual American people, it's an "enemies creation" program that ultimately endangers them.
    I don't hate defense industries or 'corporate interests'. Vilifying them is just the lazy Marxist-inspired knee-jerk-think that the Soviets used to promote among Western intellectuals.

    I do agree (with several caveats) that the US shouldn't be trying to force regime-change in the Middle East. We shouldn't be trying to reshape the region in our own image, as "liberal democracies" or whatever we imagine their ideal future to be.

    We have learned (over and over) the danger of creating power vacuums in that part of the world. George Bush inadvertently created one in Iraq when he overthrew Saddam. Hillary and Obama created one in Libya when they assisted in the overthrow of Qaddafi. The vastly over-hyped 'Arab Spring' created them in Egypt (with the US cheering them on), leading to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and in Yemen, which became another failed state. Tyrants aren't the worst thing that can happen in these places. Don't try to overthrow them on principle, without knowing what will replace them. (And yes, that applies to Assad in Syria too. Sorry neocons.)

    But having said that, where power vacuums do exist and are filled with dangerous and nasty things like the Islamic State, the Taliban and al-Shabab, the US does have an interest in supporting domestic elements in these countries that have some chance of restoring a functioning government that can keep a lid on the militants. That's currently where we seem to be in Afghanistan, a thoroughly nasty and barbaric place.

    We know that there are virulently hostile 'jihadist' forms of radical Islamic theology currently ascendant in much of the Islamic world. Large portions of the population in these countries are sympathetic to these ideas. Many of the local governments in these areas oppose these popular tendencies. (I'm thinking of Egypt and President al-Sisi in particular.) So idealizing democracy as a universal panacea that solves all problems might not work out very well everywhere. We might not like the results of democracy all that much.

    Rather than imagining the "war on terror" as a military campaign conducted in the Middle East, it probably should instead be thought of as something primarily taking place at and within our own borders. The US, Europe and other Western countries like Australia shouldn't be welcoming all the migrants they can get, Merkel-style, without paying any attention to the newcomers' politics, their theology and their individual histories, associations and training wherever they come from. (The great majority of 'migrants' seem to be young males of military age.)

    The tremendous mistake the the British made was for decades was giving asylum to people judged to face persecution in their home countries, without ever inquiring into why these people were in danger of arrest. So the UK ended up accepting many of the most radical Islamist preachers in the entire world, some of whom currently operate out of London mosques. They attract circles of supporters, so London turns into a boiling hotbed of terrorist preaching.

  11. #10
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Quote Originally Posted by heirophant View Post
    I don't hate defense industries or 'corporate interests'. Vilifying them is just the lazy Marxist-inspired knee-jerk-think that the Soviets used to promote among Western intellectuals.
    After everything I've ever posted here, you know full well that nothing I post is either lazy or Marxist-inspired.

    You make it sound like there are only two possibilities, either Soviet socialism or else the crony corporatism that we have now that is so often misidentified as capitalism. But that's not so. We don't have a free market system in the West, we have a corporatist system in which large players (especially "defense" contractors) and government officials act in concert for mutual advantage at the expense of taxpayers and entrepreneurs. Better than socialism to be sure, but just because the takers under corporatism shear the sheep more carefully doesn't mean they're not the enemy of free people.
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  12. #11
    heirophant is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03310151 View Post
    Leave them be. And don't let them in. Period.

    No more invade the world, invite the world.
    I'm strongly inclined to agree. Though I do worry about the blank spots on the map (some of them our own creation) where things like Islamic State and al Qaeda fester.

    Granted, I'm some kind of weirdo nut who thinks the basic arrangement of the world into 200 separate countries is, on the whole, a pretty good idea.
    Yes, yes, yes.

    Unlike many people who turn the word into a fetish, I actually do value diversity. Different countries create the opportunity for many subtle cultural variants to survive and coexist. Each one is kind of an historical experiment into organizing human life.

    Everybody who is anybody knows instead that All We Have to Do is invite every Iron Age culture in the world into our countries and then come to a mutual agreement with them upon protocols of behavior governing every aspect of our mutual lives.
    The hidden and always-unspoken assumption is that the left's "liberal" values (which I generally like) will always be ascendant. We can invite all the theologically conservative Muslims we like, but women's rights and gay rights will never be threatened. Rights of free-speech will continue to exist and be honored. Secular law will continue to be supreme, and not God's revealed law.

    The problem is that our own foundational values and assumptions aren't simply self-evident and universal, like physics' laws of nature. They are historically contingent, products of the Western world's long and turbulent historical evolution. Other cultures share different assumptions, the products of their own societies' evolution.

    And that in turn suggests that people aren't like water molecules, fungible and interchangeable. People bring their fundamental ideas, values and assumptions with them. If those are too different, and if the newcomers congregate in large enough numbers, then social tensions are created where they didn't previously exist. Too much of that, and formerly strong and confident societies start to disintegrate, as we see today in the US and Europe.

  13. #12
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by heirophant View Post
    But having said that, where power vacuums do exist and are filled with dangerous and nasty things like the Islamic State, the Taliban and al-Shabab, the US does have an interest in supporting domestic elements in these countries that have some chance of restoring a functioning government that can keep a lid on the militants.
    I agree with a lot of what you've said, at least to some degree. I think that you touched on a critical element in the above sentence, one that distinguishes different factions in our country. I'm referring to the notion of "support" for certain preferred elements in these various countries. It seems that the US has a pretty bad history of who or how they support these elements. I'm not great at the precise history of these issues but I know we supported a group in Afghanistan against the Soviets and that ultimately these people turned against us in the form of the Taliban. Aside for that specific example, I'm asking a question about "support" and what constitutes support. Humanitarian aid? Money? Arms? Troops? And what are the conditions for giving/receiving? No one has been able to figure any of this out even though it's been going on for decades.
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  14. #13
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    So, in other words, you have nothing to add but can't restrain yourself from saying something, even if it's nonsense. How Trumpish

    If you don't get it then you don't.

  15. #14
    Stanislav is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03310151 View Post
    Leave them be. And don't let them in. Period.

    No more invade the world, invite the world.
    This proposal is slightly too late since that time (at least) when William Penn, owner of Pennsylvania, invited in persecuted religious minorities from across Europe, back in 1677. The country of United States was built as bound by destiny, not blood, from the very beginning; eventually, subsequent waves of them became you. That is what makes America great.

    Having said that, some Iron Age shit is better left in the Iron Age. Along with the more recent bigotry.
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  17. #15
    Stanislav is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by heirophant View Post
    The hidden and always-unspoken assumption is that the left's "liberal" values (which I generally like) will always be ascendant. We can invite all the theologically conservative Muslims we like, but women's rights and gay rights will never be threatened. Rights of free-speech will continue to exist and be honored. Secular law will continue to be supreme, and not God's revealed law.

    The problem is that our own foundational values and assumptions aren't simply self-evident and universal, like physics' laws of nature. They are historically contingent, products of the Western world's long and turbulent historical evolution. Other cultures share different assumptions, the products of their own societies' evolution.

    And that in turn suggests that people aren't like water molecules, fungible and interchangeable. People bring their fundamental ideas, values and assumptions with them. If those are too different, and if the newcomers congregate in large enough numbers, then social tensions are created where they didn't previously exist. Too much of that, and formerly strong and confident societies start to disintegrate, as we see today in the US and Europe.
    The problem with the above is that these arguments in much the same terms were laid out against, successively, Germans, Catholics, specifically Irish, Eastern Europeans, Eastern European Jews, black freedmen, Asians, and now Muslims and, bizarrely, Catholics again (of Hispanic persuasion). You need to make a stronger case why these two most recent waves are so much more "alien" than the previous ones. I suspect you can't.
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  18. #16
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislav View Post
    You need to make a stronger case why these two most recent waves are so much more "alien" than the previous ones. I suspect you can't.
    Al-Qaeda marked the 16th anniversary of 9/11 by releasing previously unseen footage of Mohand al-Shehri, one of the hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, noting that the terrorists have "longed for your beautiful lands" and find the blood of Americans "delicious."

    Al-Shehri, 22, was a Saudi who trained in Chechnya and Afghanistan months before being granted a student visa to the United States. He arrived in the U.S. four months before the attacks and trained on a flight simulator in Vero Beach, Fla.

    According to the video, al-Shehri shot the statement April 17, 2001, before he arrived in the United States that May.


    Cont... https://pjmedia.com/homeland-securit...us-meat-cheap/


    And then there's the likes of Linda Sarsour and her - good grief! - Women's March.

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