13 May 2007

U.S. foreign policy goals.

The military is universally assumed to be stupid by the pantywaist set. That it is a meritocracy that rewards common sense, efficiency, character, and adaptability is, however, something that is readily manifest to anyone who has spent any time in uniform (whether of the VN-era cotton-reinforced starch variety or today's beef-flavored/IR-opaque/bullet-retardant variety).

Military planners focus first on "the objective" and proceed from there to marshall resources suitable to accomplishing the taking of said objective, given the realities of time, temperature, terrain, troops, equipment, supplies, proximity to a Wal Mart Supercenter, and just how suicidal or pissed off the enemy happen to be on D Day.

Efficiencies are achieved.

However, the reality of what's on the ground is not always obvious and UPS is rarely there to deliver the enemy's plans when you need them. (Although the New York Times is always happy to deliver ours to the enemy.) In the absence of a Fox News camera in the councils of the enemy or a Wikipedia article on a particular foreign policy problem, just how does one make the right call on whom to support, whom to oppose, and which mosque to bomb?

This blog has, for this reason, stood four square with the President on the decision to invade Iraq because of the truth of that military maxim that is so instructive when you are (1) in the killing zone of an ambush (not good) or (2) 100 yards from the main attack of an aggressor horde battalion (extremely not good), namely:
"When all hell breaks loose, do something, even if it's the wrong thing."
We were attacked. Some kind of action was called for. Iraq was a start.

Period.

End of navel gazing on the advisability of the venture at the outset.

For similar reasons, we have been tolerant (somewhat) of the President in particular, and the West in general, in being slow to grasp the implications of Islamic immigration, Muslim political doctrine, and the threat to Western society posed by Muslims cloaking themselves in Western legal doctrines. (This last is particularly tricky.) We ourselves hadn't read any books about Islam until something like two years ago and our learning curve since has been steep, to say the least. (Like Fjordman, we've resented the diversion of our processor power to learn about this useless and horrible political doctrine but these days there's no such thing as a choice not to inform oneself.)

That said, the issues are (1) what have we learned from experience in the last six years and (2) what are we to do next?

A former French intelligence officer makes clear what objectives 1 through 3 should be:
"It was a doomed enterprise from the very start: a ‘war on terror'—it's as ridiculous as a ‘war on anger'. You do not wage a war on terror, you wage a war against people," . . . .

"The Americans have been stuck inside this idea of a ‘war on terror' since September 11, they are not asking the right questions."

"You can always slaughter terrorists—there are endless reserves of them. We should not be attacking the effects of terrorism but its causes: Wahhabite ideology, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. But no one will touch any of those."[1]
It's a good question to ask, however, whether we know why we should adopt these objectives.

We seriously doubt Mr. Bush thought he was fighting "terror." He knows very well the broad outlines of the opposition he faces and the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are indeed killing "insurgents" not "terror." Come on!

The problem with Mr. Bush is he's reluctant to take the heat for "naming names," to use the argot of the "controversy" over Congressional inquiry into the communist infiltration of Hollywood, though we very much doubt that his understanding of the threat includes an explicit appreciation of the Koranic underpinnings of terrorism and the milder, though no less deadly, jostling for incremental implementation of the bilious sharia. Nonetheless, as we say, Mr. Bush is far from the noun-pursuing idiot at whom his critics jeer.

However, the failure to state the obvious -- or even to initiate a national debate -- about the nature of Islam leaves the "default" position as inaction and, hence, dereliction of duty on the part of all Western political leaders. Until the moment of national awakening occurs, we will continue to see the folly of officials "working with Muslim organizations" -- an endeavor as patently ridiculous as the State Department's working with the KGB to solve the problem of communist subversion would have been during Cold War times. (Or now, for that matter.)

Our salvation will come
When a prudent desire for self-preservation, physical and civilizational, finally forces a sufficient number of Infidel peoples and states to discover the ideological roots of Muslim terrorism, [and] then those whose duty it is to instruct and to protect us will cease to commit folly after folly, based on a miscomprehension of Islam. . . .

This failure, still, to begin to think clearly about the nature of Islam, to look carefully at it, is responsible for the follies, both foreign and domestic, of the Western governments and peoples, and especially of this Administration.[2]
Alas, we are one or two parsecs away from this salvational moment of clarity. The competition for the minds of voters addled by cable tv or imprisonment in government schools apparently must play out inexorably until the next catastrophe.

In the meantime, people like Saudi "Prince" Alwaleed ibn Talal has donated at least $50 million to CAIR, much of it to finance "a media campaign" in the U.S.[3] We can't think of a more calculated insult or more deliberate act of recent foreign government meddling in the internal affairs of this country than this.

A government on the qui vive regarding U.S. interests would have flown into a rage over such a blatant act . . . or taken action against CAIR for its failure to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), if that is what it is and what it's been obligated to do, but hastn't.[4]

But did our government do either of these?

The question is ridiculous.

What kind of a government lets such things happen without even a whimper of protest? Answer: A clueless government that is seriously out of touch. Or a government dangerously beholden to the Saudis . . . .

Which is by no means a backhanded endorsement of the sogenamte "loyal opposition." We gag at that particular locution but, alas, to our knowledge no possible presidential contender on the horizon is making any kinds of noises indicative of the much-needed epiphany described above. And it's certain that addled voters will not demand it. Let alone note its absence.

No, what they'll demand is platitudes and reassurances and, so, for the moment government and governed are in perfect harmony. A state of lazy, dangerous equipoise.

"United We Stand."

Our national purpose is just that clear.

Notes
[1] Alain Chouet, former senior officer of France's DGSE foreign intelligence service. Quoted in "Washington is losing ‘war on terror': experts." Agence France-Presse, July 4, 2006) (emphasis added).
[2] "Calling Islamism the Enemy." By Daniel Pipes, danielpipes.org, 12/1/01.
[3] "Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?" By Fjordman, Gates of Vienna, 4/20/07.
[4] Foreign Agent Registration Act:
22 U.S.C. § 611. As used in and for the purposes of this subchapter--

(a) The term "person" includes an individual, partnership, association, corporation, organization, or any other combination of individuals;

(b) The term "foreign principal" includes--

(1) a government of a foreign country and a foreign political party;

(2) a person outside of the United States . . . ; and

(3) a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country.

(c) Expect [Except] as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the term "agent of a foreign principal" means--

(1) any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant, or any person who acts in any other capacity at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal, and who directly or through any other person--

(i) engages within the United States in political activities for or in the interests of such foreign principal;

(ii) acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal;

(iii) within the United States solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value for or in the interest of such foreign principal; or

(iv) within the United States represents the interests of such foreign principal before any agency or official of the Government of the United States; and

(2) any person who agrees, consents, assumes or purports to act as, or who is or holds himself out to be, whether or not pursuant to contractual relationship, an agent of a foreign principal as defined in clause (1) of his subsection.

(d) The term "agent of a foreign principal" does not include any news or press service or association . . . so long as it is at least 80 per centum beneficially owned by, and its officers and directors, if any, are citizens of the United States, and such news or press service or association, newspaper, magazine, periodical, or other publication, is not owned, directed, supervised, controlled, subsidized, or financed, and none of its policies are determined by any foreign principal defined in subsection (b) of this section, or by any agent of a foreign principal required to register under this subchapter; . . . .

22 U.S.C. § 618. (a) Any person who--

(1) willfully violates any provision of this subchapter or any regulation thereunder, or

(2) in any registration statement or supplement thereto or in any other document filed with or furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of this subchapter willfully makes a false statement of a material fact or willfully omits any material fact required to be stated therein or willfully omits a material fact or a copy of a material document necessary to make the statements therein and the copies of documents furnished therewith not misleading, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, except that in the case of a violation of subsection (b), (e), or (f) of section 614 of this title or of subsection (g) or (h) of this section the punishment shall be a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
(Emphasis added.)

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