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Peikoff For Kerry?

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Whoa, man, that was one bitter rant! This is what you get from using pessimism as an epistemological method.

The war effort is far from going as well as it could, that's true. We are making much less progress than would be possible. But we are making progress.

If your only argument against me is that I am a "bitter pessimist", then you have no argument at all, because I am not bitter, I am angry, and I am not a philosophic pessimist, I am an Objectivist.

You think the war effort is "progressing"? How so?

The Taliban is regrouping and mounting attacks in Afghanistan, and we are losing our grip on Iraq. We have no military objective in the Middle East, other than to police some cities. We cringe at the thought of taking out Iran. We have no plan for victory. Meanwhile, the enemy is driving our allies from the region, spreading fear, launching strategic attacks on countries and political enemies around the world, and undoubtedly preparing to strike the United States homeland once again.

Our morale as a nation is getting lower each day that this "war" drags on. We are losing militarily and psychologically. We reduce our tactics to the tactics of the enemy, because we fear civilian casualties. Meanwhile, the merciless enemy is winning because it is using every tactic and propaganda it can, inventing new tactics, and seeking new and better ways to destroy us.

The enemy is winning because it knows who its enemy is: infidels. In their view, they are fighting against the disciples of Satan. That is a powerful motivation for waging war.

We are losing because, as a nation, we don't know who our enemy is. We are fighting the worker ants, but we have no clue who they are working for or why they are invading our homes.

Yet, Bush would have us believe that we are winning the "War on Terror". He wants you to believe that he is accomplishing stuff, when in reality he is making it harder for us to identify and fight the enemy. By dealing with terrorists one-by-one he gives the impression that terrorists must be fought in this manner. Thus, prepare for guerilla war on a global scale. By calling this a "War on Terror", Bush enables mass evasion of the real threat: Islamic Totalitarianism. By not invading Iran, Bush accepts the validity of an Islamic Theocratic State. After all, we are not at war with Islam, we are at war with the "perverters" of Islam. Remember?

With Kerry in charge we will rethink this war. Hopefully, Kerry will pull us out of this ambush, and we will regroup, restrategize, and do something slightly better next time. Even if he doesn't pull us out of the Middle East, a blow to faith will have been dealt, and a little more room for reason will have been created. Without such a retreat and regrouping, we will continue on this blind crusade until we are thrust into a Christian nightmare of passion and force. Whether it is a theocracy or a democracy, or some other kind of collectivist state, it will be the Christians in charge of your life.

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With Kerry in charge we will rethink this war. Hopefully, Kerry will pull us out of this ambush, and we will regroup, restrategize, and do something slightly better next time.

More likely he will pull us out and the enemy will regroup, restrategize, and continue the war ... on American soil.

Even if he doesn't pull us out of the Middle East, a blow to faith will have been dealt, and a little more room for reason will have been created.
If you "deal a blow" to Bush's Christianity, it will have no effect -- and will probably embolden -- the Islamic fundamentalists.

Without such a retreat and regrouping, we will continue on this blind crusade until we are thrust into a Christian nightmare of passion and force.

Would you prefer an Islamic nightmare of passion and force ... like 9/11 ... or worse?

Whether it is a theocracy or a democracy, or some other kind of collectivist state, it will be the Christians in charge of your life.

HOW could that happen in America??

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More likely he [Kerry] will pull us out and the enemy will regroup, restrategize, and continue the war ... on American soil.

The enemy is attacking, implementing strategies, and recruiting in new territories, including the United States. As for continuing the war on American soil, I'm sure they will get around to that before or after they polish off our soldiers in the Middle East.

If you "deal a blow" to Bush's Christianity, it will have no effect -- and will probably embolden -- the Islamic fundamentalists.

Well, when I hit somebody over the head, they usually wonder why I did it. I don't know why you think losing an election will have no effect on people like Bush.

Would you prefer an Islamic nightmare of passion and force ... like 9/11 ... or worse?

I'd prefer another 9/11 to a Christian democracy, which is what I think is most likely.

HOW could that [a religious collectivist state] happen in America??

Easy. The "public will" is allowed to determine more and more law, through voting. The public is largely Christian. The law will become largely Christian. They may not say, "Hey, let's create a Christian dictatorship." No. They will start voting for Christian-based propositions and amendments, which is already happening.

If you think our Constitution will not allow this country to descend into collectivism, then you are seriously mistaken. It has been happening for decades. It is only a question of what type of socialism it will descend into. A religious one or a secular one. I don't think a secular one is likely anymore. The morality of Christianity has proven too powerful.

The only way we can stop the trend toward a born-again Christian America is to hit Christians where it hurts. In the schools and in the elections.

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This entire thread is shameful.  Hardly a person here seems to have given any serious consideration to Dr. Peikoff's position and his argument for it, instead taking their previously held political views as a given and ignoring anything which contradicts them.  I'm not saying that Dr. Peikoff is right (I have yet to reach a conclusion about that), but quotes such as the above--which are far too common in this thread, and are representative of its general tone--illustrate that most people here have failed to even attempt to grasp what Dr. Peikoff is saying.  That being the case, I don't think those people have any business discussing Dr. Peikoff's position in this thread.

(Sorry to single you out, BlackSabbath, nothing personal.)

I based my point on John Lewis's Bush Vs Kerry article from the ARI.

I assumed that Dr Peikoff agreed with it. Given Betsy's post below, I didn't make an ass of u and me. :D

Sorry, but I love that emoticon.

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If you "deal a blow" to Bush's Christianity, it will have no effect -- and will probably embolden -- the Islamic fundamentalists.

Well, when I hit somebody over the head, they usually wonder why I did it. I don't know why you think losing an election will have no effect on people like Bush.

It might, but I am more concerned with having an effect on people like Osama.

Would you prefer an Islamic nightmare of passion and force ... like 9/11 ... or worse?"

I'd prefer another 9/11 to a Christian democracy, which is what I think is most likely.

:D REALLY??

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It might, but I am more concerned with having an effect on people like Osama.

I'm more concerned about having an effect on Americans. I'm not going to vote based on what Osama thinks or might do in the future. And I'm not going to vote based on what world opinion might be.

I'm going to vote based on what will help this country move closer to reason. What is necessary for this country to develop the moral courage to identify and annihilate our enemy?

As a side note, I will add that I don't automatically accept the premise that Osama wants Kerry to win. (Did I miss the speech where Osama endorses Kerry?)

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Mr. ‘Swing,’

Your post this afternoon (#150) on what is wrong with George Bush’s war policy is forcefully put. And it has the virtue of not straying from the primary issue in this election: the conduct of the war. It contains such a comprehensive list of relevant facts – and myths – that I can’t resist commenting on some of them:

“The Taliban is regrouping and mounting attacks in Afghanistan…”

This is a warning that the press keeps trotting out every six months. The problem with it is that there no evidence of trans-national or even trans-provincial organization of Islamic ‘Mujahideen’ forces. The American special forces presence (14,000 strong) and the fledgling Afghan Army are very effective at splintering all opposition to Karzai’s government. The U.S. Army Special Forces have been particularly effective in forming counter-Mujahideen alliances with local village militias (the rulers of Afghanistan’s historically anarchic rural expanses). When Taliban or ‘Afghan Arabs’ are found regrouping, they’re hit. In the most recent action (last week), an Afghan Army outpost was attacked by 150 Mujahideen. The Afghan national troops called in air strikes which were delivered by American helicopters, a jet fighter, and a B-1 bomber (no American forward air observer or any other kind of American military personnel were present). Four national army soldiers were killed and in a brief battle that claimed an estimated 70 Islamist lives. Portions of the Afghan Army are now integrated with the U.S. war machine. These units are capable of the same 10:1 to 100:1 kill ratios we are.

“…we are losing our grip on Iraq.”

This is a warning the press keeps trotting out every month – or every week or, sometimes, every single day. What they never report is that amid the chaos of civil war many Iraqis are finding opportunities to better themselves. After decades of stagnation and isolation from the global economy, the Iraqi economy is reconnecting with the world – and they are connecting directly to the most powerful engine of material prosperity in that world: the United States. Near the centers of trade, real estate -- that most precious commodity of traditional society -- is rapidly appreciating. Prices for the great (and terribly ugly), luxurious, 6000 sq. ft., concrete and tile houses that line Baghdad’s broad avenues jumped 25% in the six months before the invasion and have climbed another 25% to 50% since. Iraqis are snatching them up at $500,000 and $600,000 a piece.

They know something that some of us here in the United States have trouble seeing. The United States cannot leave Iraq. We have no fallback position. Our nation has got a hold of theirs and it will NOT let go. It is unlikely that the old man who, as a young man, marched with pro-Vietcong protesters and branded all American soldiers as “war criminals” – John Kerry – it is unlikely that even HE would let go of Iraq. An Iraq abandoned to the forces of the region would collapse into a terrorist haven that would dwarf Gaza, the West Bank and the Taliban's Afghanistan combined. Iraqi’s sense that there is no turning back. American weds itself to every nation it invades. And, unlike some other nations throughout history, American will do almost anything to make it a happy union.

“We have no military objective in the Middle East, other than to police some cities.”

The majority of the press is opposed to any U.S. 'colonial' influence over the Middle East. As a consequence they have totally ignored George Bush’s strategy for the region (He DOES have a strategy…see my comment, below). George Bush and his Administration – who appear to operate in an organizational culture that is isolated and aloof from the goings on in the general political culture – have allowed this impression to stand unchallenged. “My mouth is where words go to die,” George Bush once quipped. The failure to forcefully articulate his strategy for America’s defense and security is not funny. It's costing him...and us.

“We cringe at the thought of taking out Iran.”

How true!

Iran will probably get the bomb in the next 12 to 24 months if the United States doesn’t do something drastic – e.g., a series of heavy air raids against Iran’s nuclear industry (I’d like to see that followed up by a sustained air campaign like the one against Serbia in the ‘90s...NOT likely!). George Bush’s leadership vacuum on this issue is so bad, the policy wonks in Washington are openlying writing about how they hope the ISRAELI Air Force will fly in and rescue us! It’s pathetic! For the past three years, the United States has treaded lightly, showing respect and deference to the government of Iran…as if they already possess a fearsome nuclear deterrent. We are following the dictum that it is a very BAD idea to shoot at a regime today that will have nuclear weapons aimed at us tomorrow. This orientation proves that Bush’s foreign policy apparatus is committed to the idea that Iran’s Islamic ‘Republic’ will remain. They will entertain no foreign policy calculation that supposes that one day the regime will be gone.

“We have no plan for victory.”

This charge is specious. George Bush has let his voice get drowned out in the general noise and confusion of America’s political culture, but that does NOT mean he has nothing to say on this. And it does not mean he isn’t following – as well as a reasonably honest pragmatist can – a long-term plan of action.

In his post-9/11 speeches, in pre-Iraq invasion speeches, one speech last winter, and in a series of speeches delivered to friendly audiences this summer, George Bush has been very clear. He has a plan. The plan is practical. It will eventually bring about a further expansion of American influence in the world and lead to the world-wide defeat of Islamism. And, under George Bush’s leadership, our government is working the plan – doggedly and, occaisionally, with ingenuity. (e.g., the idea of setting up a new Iraqi government in a ruined nation in the midst of civil unrest seemed stupid at the time -- but it's proving to be a significant anti-Islamist asset.)

George Bush and his people have used the lessons of the Cold War to write a comprehensive plan for the defeat of Islam. Mr. Bush calls it the “forward strategy of freedom.”

If you haven’t already done it, go look up his speeches. Read them.

You may not like the plan. You may think it doesn’t address the Iranian nuclear threat. You may think it is far too indirect a plan; a plan that will take far too long to work – so do I.

But it is a plan and, over the long haul, it will work.

“Meanwhile, the enemy is driving our allies from the region, spreading fear, launching strategic attacks on countries and political enemies around the world, and undoubtedly preparing to strike the United States homeland once again.”

Nearly every government on earth is a morally craven shell of a nation. That is why, under the pressure of globalization, most governments are simply giving up their sovereignty and their borders and joining the defacto international compact created, not by diplomats and political scientists, but by trade agreements and the American corporation. The few nations that have an independent purpose – like Great Britain or, to a lesser extent, Australia go on, but most will cease to be independent nations in a couple more decades.

“Our morale as a nation is getting lower each day that this 'war' drags on.”

Morale is falling under a cultural resurgence of the “Vietnam Syndrome” – a symbiotic re-enforcement of self-doubt initiated by Leftists and reinforced by conservatives – I won’t get into this here. This is a big story. Rob Tracinski has covered major aspects of it in his T.I.A. Monthly essay “The Unlearned Lessons of Vietnam.” And I’ve covered it more briefly in T.I.A. Daily in “The Sins of Commissions,” and “War Heroes and Obligations: The Left ‘Cares’ about Our Soldiers--So Long as They Are Victims, Not Victors.” But, please, don't add to the problem by proclaiming our situation hopeless and advocating (more or less) the immediate withdrawl of American forces from Iraq. If you don't root for American victory who is going to? If you don't show some personal resolve (you don't have to enlist, all you have to do is show some resolve), you'd be pushing back against the gradual encroachment of the "Vietnam Syndrom."

“We are losing militarily and psychologically.”

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker with a map of Vietnam that says: “When I left we were winning”?

It’s my favorite summation of the whole “Vietnam Syndrome.” (In many ways the United States had the North Vietnamese on the ropes, AFTER the Tet Offensive in ‘68)

The Vietnam Syndrome is a big cultural issue. It’s what happens when a free country – culturally infected with altruism-collectivism – can do to itself when it fights a war. America is not the first nation to suffer the syndrome. It will not be the last to suffer this physically self-destructive form of self-doubt. France suffered it between WW I and WW II…and was utterly destroyed. Israel has been suffering it since the civil war in Lebanon, back in ‘82....at the cost of at least 1000 lives.

“We reduce our tactics to the tactics of the enemy, because we fear civilian casualties. “Meanwhile, the merciless enemy is winning because it is using every tactic and propaganda it can, inventing new tactics, and seeking new and better ways to destroy us.”

Read the papers more carefully. Read some ‘insider’ military blogs. The Army and the Marine Corps have adapted to the ‘battlefield’ (it’s more of a long, drawn-out skirmish) and they’re constantly pioneering new tactics for urban fighting and anti-insurgency warfare. Individual fighting men and their units are experimenting and perfecting the arts of ground combat against an enemy they totally outclass. Effective methods demonstrated by small units on the battlefield are promulgated up to central command, across to other units in the field, and out to war colleges and training camps and Pentagon planners -- with the speed and efficiency of the information age.

As an organization, the U.S. armed forces are retaining and building on combat know-how very effectively. As individuals, the personal experience and competency of our infantrymen, tank commanders, artillerymen, and airmen is not being lost the way it usually is – to casualties

Meanwhile, the much of what Islamist militiamen are learning in combat is not passed on effectively. It moves mostly in multple stages, by word of mouth. And even when it is passed on, it isn’t exploited effectively in a culture that has historically eschewed all forms of training. And every day, the Islamists loose their best, most skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced riflemen – cut down by well-aimed American bombs, chain guns, and rifles. Every month, the Islamist militias become more heavily populated with ‘green’ replacements and more heavily populated with OLD men of 17. Seeing one’s comrade’s die in large numbers rapidly ages a young man’s mind. As he progresses towards an acceptance of his own eminent death and his inability to avert it, he begins to loose touch with the world and slides into the arms of the battlefield’s psychological angel of death: “combat fatigue.”

Our side is learning faster than theirs. And each month of fighting that passes, the pace of American learning ACCELERATES...and the pace at which OUR young men ‘age’ THEIR young men accelerates, too. If the American people and their President regain the will to use our military, they would surprise us once again. The American fighting man would shock us with how lethal they have become over the past 15 months.

“The enemy is winning because it knows who its enemy is: infidels. In their view, they are fighting against the disciples of Satan. That is a powerful motivation for waging war.”

Islamism is a very shallow guide for action. Fanatic allegiance to its religious dogma is – BY FAR – our enemy’s greatest weakness.

It is the single reason why I am convinced that the United States cannot lose this war. We’d probably win if we did NOTHING but just went about our daily lives. BEFORE 9/11, BEFORE we started fighting, we were doing serious damage to Islamism without even trying -- that's why the attacked us! If we actually show up on the battlefield and fight, at least once in a while, the enemy fate is sealed. (I’m husbanding the deepest reasons why I believe this for now…I’m working on a formulation of it.)

American culture – and the culture of the West generally – is a tangle of contradictory and conflicting elements. But each of the elements of the culture was born of an attempt (honest or dishonest) to create a systematic, highly integrated view of the world. The culture of Western Civilization has an extraordinary reach and sophistication and depth – extending from the broadest principles of epistemology down to the applied ideas of the special sciences, both of the man and of the world. (e.g., Did you know there is such a thing as a probate historian? and who would have thought comets would have anything to do with dinosaurs?)

The mental world of the devout Muslim doesn’t have this depth, not a particle of it. To use a phrase that is usually a dishonest smear: theirs is a flat, thin, two-dimensional world.

The amazing power of will of the Muslim fanatic? Yeah, right!

When I hear someone speaking of the mental toughness of the religious warrior, I slip off the safety catch of my AR-15 – actually, it makes me feel like WRITING about slipping off the safety catch of my rifle. I won’t actually do it, of course. THAT is because the mental discipline and focus of Western man (me) dwarfs that of a religious primitive – whether he was born into the grinding poverty of traditional society or gave up the trappings of oil wealth in order to join it. When the time comes to flip the selector to “fire”…well, I’ve already outlined a few elementary aspects about how a thinking man fights, on the issue of tactics, above.

-- Jack

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Objectivists are few in number, and we live in an archipelago of semi-free republics around the world. We face many common problems. One underlies the debate over Bush vs. Kerry:

What method should a rational person use to select one politician rather than another?

Ayn Rand characterizes methods as products of consciousness, products that "designate systematic courses of action devised by men for the purpose of achieving certain goals." She notes that a method may be purely psychological (as in a method of memorizing a password) or a mixture of psychological and physical actions (as in a method of drilling for oil).

For anyone who has selected a candidate in the upcoming U. S. presidential election: What method led you to your choice of Bush, Kerry, or other?

What I am asking for is a process abstract enough to apply to any election -- or, if that is not possible, then why not?

Burgess Laughlin

www.aristotleadventure.com

(For Ayn Rand's brief comments on method: _Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology_, 2nd edition, pp. 35-36 and 304-305. The password example is mine; the oil-drilling example comes from Ayn Rand.)

P. S. -- This is my first post. If I have misused the features, tell me.

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Just for the record, Bush has never banned any type of stem cell research, he did what a Capitalist government would do--stop federal funding in 60 lines of stem cell research, although research is still fully available to private enterprise.

When Democrats refer to a "ban", they refer to a ban on funding.

[Nice board format]

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Jake Wakeland writes:

"They know something that some of us here in the United States have trouble seeing. The United States cannot leave Iraq. We have no fallback position. Our nation has got a hold of theirs and it will NOT let go. It is unlikely that the old man who, as a young man, marched with pro-Vietcong protesters and branded all American soldiers as “war criminals” – John Kerry – it is unlikely that even HE would let go of Iraq. An Iraq abandoned to the forces of the region would collapse into a terrorist haven that would dwarf Gaza, the West Bank and the Taliban's Afghanistan combined. Iraqi’s sense that there is no turning back. American weds itself to every nation it invades. And, unlike some other nations throughout history, American will do almost anything to make it a happy union.

“We have no military objective in the Middle East, other than to police some cities.”"

First, let me say to Jack that his was one of the best things I've read on the subject. I thank him for taking the time to write such a detailed response.

I have a question as to the above quote. I have often wondered whether it would have been posible to simply destroy Iraq's military capability, government infrastructure, etc and then just leave without the nation building aspect of the campaign as has been suggested by many Objectivist commentators. Your qoute above offers a good reason why that would not have been possible; namely the inevitable descent of the country into anarchy and then Islamic control and a terrorist haven. So was some form of government / nation building inevitable? Could another strategy have been developed with Iraq as a starting point that didn't involve a replacement government or a regime change? Was American political involvement on this level the only alternative?

So many Objectivists fault Bush's prosecution of the war. I would like to know concretely what *should* have been done so I can guage for myself his performance as Commander In Chief. I do not have the requisite military / tactical knowledge to make such conclusions.

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I see Bush more as an M1 than an M2. However, I am open to arguments on this--so I can't say for sure that I won't vote for Kerry.

Yes, I think Bush is more of an M1 as well, which is still dangerous in itself. To me, it seems that if Bush were an M2, he wouldn't be as pragmatic as he is. I've never actually read the Bible, but I've heard that it states that Christianity is the only "true" religion. So , if Bush were really an M2, then he would be able to identify Islamic Fundamentalism as our real enemy instead of terrorism.

However, the only real grounds I have for this view are as follows: Bush is a longtime friend of Evangelist Billy Graham. Billy Graham was supposed to give the Invocation at Bush's Presidential Inauguration but fell ill and sent his son Franklin instead. Shortly after 9/11, Franklin Graham released the following statement, "The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion." After this statement made its way into the press, Bush began to distance himself from the younger Graham. (Source: http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=337 )

Now, Graham is certainly an M2, but whether this view on Islamic faith is upheld by other M2s is debatable. (It's just an hypothesis. I'll have to do more research on this issue.)

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Faith, in this context, means "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=faith)

Did Bush have enough evidence of WMD (a faulty premise to begin with) to risk American lives in Iraq? [And I feel very strongly about this, by the way. I am from the "bomb it all" school of thought.  What's the point of living in - and/or risking one's life immigrating to - an advanced society if countries culturally stuck in the 12th-15th centuries can take American lives?]

Do you know the answer to that question? None of us know all the evidence that was available to him. We do know that Hussein used chemical weapons on the Kurds. So he had them without question at one time. That is material evidence. Is it unreasonable to assume he still had them later on? I don't think so. If I'm not mistaken, all Western intelligence agencies, not just the US, thought Hussein still had WMD. Nor is proved even now that he did not---he could very well have shipped them to Syria. Finally, WMD were not the only reason Bush decided to invade Iraq. It was also a source of support for terrorists, with potential to support them more in the future.

You also say that he was using the best available information.  This is not true. This  is the best available information.

I was clearly referring to having the best available information on whether there were WMD in Iraq---not on whether Iran should be attacked, as your link indicates. Does the ARI or Leonard Peikoff have the best available information on whether there were WMD in Iraq? If you are simply referring to the overall war strategy, it is true Bush didn't consult with ARI or LP. Neither did any other politician in America. So why single out Bush for failing to do so?

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You think the war effort is "progressing"? How so?

Jack Wakeland has pretty much done my replying for me, and much better than I could have. The only point where I disagree with him:

Bush’s foreign policy apparatus is committed to the idea that Iran’s Islamic ‘Republic’ will remain.  They will entertain no foreign policy calculation that supposes that one day the regime will be gone.

What evidence are you basing this on? I believe the administration is definitely contemplating the possibility of the regime being overthrown, if not by America then by the Iranian student movement.

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Mr. Capitalism,

Do you read The Intellectual Activist? The answer to your question can be found in the dozens superb strategic political essays my good friend Rob Tracinski wrote in 2001 and 2002. In those essays, he and I were of one mind (sometime during 2002, the depth and quality of Rob's analysis of the Bush presidency took off and left me in the dust...not much better than a fan).

It started in the last three weeks of September of 2001. Rob and I spent a LOT of time on the phone talking about what the hell the U.S. can do to protect our skyscrapers, our cities, our civilization, and our lives.

I was especially worried about the idea that destroying two of the world's most gigantic buildings -- and killing thousands of people -- was the greatest possible advertisement for a nuclear terrorist attack. "If you give us the bomb, we'll deliver," the al Qaeda billboard seemed to say.

Of course, one thought going around among our acquaintances was that the United States could fire a couple dozen of our 135 kT warheads -- killing a few million Muslims where THEY work and live. We'd terrorize all 1,000 million of them and put them in awe of ever daring to raise a hand against us again.

"...and then what?" was the question I asked.

Wouldn't some of our Muslim opponents, headless of the danger, rise up against us and renew their little war again? (And there’s the problem of explaining why we killed 1 million friendlies -- fellow victims of Islamic tyranny – along with 1 or 2 million potential hostiles.)

So we came up with a colonial solution.

The United States of America needed to takeover all of the central nations of the Muslim World (from Lebanon to Pakistan, from Uzbekistan to Yemen) and police them of terrorists.

Once we were in there, we could then connect their peoples to the American political/economic machine. We would show them how to begin rapidly liberalizing their governments; how to begin rapidly transforming their stagnant, miserable traditional societies in nations of people who smile. The core of the project would be the forced reform of Islam, the only truly militant, armed religion of the world.

When they were on their way towards a secular, Westernized life, we could take our policemen home because they would be becoming just like us.

How to take them over?

Nations that were friendly enough to -- in earnest -- offer their help in policing up their society's terrorists (e.g., Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Kuwait) would become friends...and we would station thousands of police and paramilitary operatives in each of their nations and work in a cooperative enterprise to destroy the Islamists.

Nations with governments that have been willing to cooperate in the past...but that hesitated to help, were ambivalent, or became withdrawn (e.g., Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain) -- we'd look into destabilizing their governments and installing "our son-of-a-bitch"...who would then promptly 'invite' an American security force in to guard the government...followed by special forces soldiers and police investigators to police up the country.

Nations who were hostile and closed to us -- openly in an unfinished shooting war (e.g., Iraq and Iran), or threatening us indirectly through their support of Arabist or Islamist terrorism (e.g., Lebanon, Syria, Libya) -- those nations we'd have to invade. (A few countries -- 'failed nations' -- that are so isolated and so impotent that no matter what their hostility, their terrorists can be dealt with using satellites and a few A-Teams...no true invasion is necessary for countries like Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. We can come and go across their borders as we wish, whenever we wish. They aren't nations and never were.)

I thought the top priority in September of 2001 -- if the president were to embark on program of even half this scope -- would be to build up a 500,000 or 1,000,000-man military occupation police force.

And the first sign we'd have that the president was serious would be if we caught word that the U.S. government was hiring and training thousands of new police and military instructors they would need to create this force. The second sign would be if the President banged the patriotic war drum -- stirring the American people's passion for retribution -- stirring up the cultural wave necessary to find that many volunteers for military/paramilitary service.

Neither Rob nor I nor any of our friends or acquaintances ever saw the any signs of a build up for the kind of full-scale war we wanted.

But, to give Mr. Bush his due, our nation is in the middle of a similar kind of plan -- scaled down to a quarter of the size we'd hoped for, and weakened by a watering down of the colonial secularization/liberalization part of the program (Mr. Bush has been trying to hide from the 'sin' of empire building, even while his actions generally point towards...empire building.)

But even without pushing more aggressively into the Muslim World, we are far from lost in this conflict.

The power of the American political machine has been spilling over our borders, creating something that looks very much like a world-wide empire -- a hegemony -- that dwarfs what the British possessed at the height of their influence. It will win most of our battles without us ever having to fire a shot...and it, too, will leave people who smile in its wake.

American influence was working on the Muslim World before 9/11, progressively eating away all the 'piety' of their fanatic religion. And THAT is why al-Qaeda was formed. And THAT is why they attacked us.

-- Jack

_______________________

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"...and then what?" was the question I asked.

Wouldn't some of our Muslim opponents, headless of the danger, rise up against us and renew their little war again?  (And there’s the problem of explaining why we killed 1 million friendlies -- fellow victims of Islamic tyranny – along with 1 or 2 million potential hostiles.)

_______________________

Jack, I am so glad you wrote this response because colonial occupation is the only way I ever saw at how to deal with the Middle Eastern Threat. At least I know that I was not alone. I too didn't think the 'nuke-em-all' approach could work. As you said, "and then what?" Your plan makes complete sense and I don't think Alexander the Great himself could have laid it out any better.

What kills me is that there is nowhere near the will in this country to execute it to that extent. Bush's watered down version is the best we are going to get. Also, I think in order to be able to afford such an occupation force, the US would need to free up its economy; we'd need to turn towards laisez faire so we could afford it. And here, I feel freeing up the domestic energy industry would do wonders; for our economy and to remove Middle Eastern monopoly power over the world's most important commodity.

And the Libertarians argue for no military intervention. What planet are they on? And the left... The colonial strategy that you outlined is exactly what they fear. If you can stomach it, see the movie 'The Manchurian Candidate' and see how they portray Bush's military strategy (which is a watered down version of yours). They see it as hostile wars of aggression based on an overblown or manufactured threat of terrorism for the sole purpose of inflating the balance sheets of mega corporations.

They wont see the danger until it appears as a mushroom cloud over their heads. And then it will be too late. That movie made me want to cry.

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Mr. Wakeland,

The strategy you have outlined is by far the best response to Islamism that I have ever heard of. I'll join argive99 in thanking you for posting it.

I didn't really find an answer to my question in your post, though. I was wondering if you had some specific evidence upon which you based your claim that this administration counts on the continuation of Iran's current regime. I agree that President Bush is implementing a scaled-down and weakened version of your strategy--but does this scaled-down version necessarily exclude a regime change in Iran?

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Anyone who has access to the Philosophy of Objectivism tapes by Leonard Peikoff should listen to the question period of Lecture 5 in relation to this question. In it Ayn Rand talks about the dangers of religious conservatives and it is very interesting.

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Anyone who has access to the Philosophy of Objectivism tapes by Leonard Peikoff should listen to the question period of Lecture 5 in relation to this question. In it Ayn Rand talks about the dangers of religious conservatives and it is very interesting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I do not have those tapes, but I did listen to that lecture series some years ago. In my notes for Lecture Five, I have Miss Rand stating in the Q&A basically that a bad ally is more dangerous ideologically than is a poor enemy, that philosophical issues are more important than attacks on concretes.

Do you know what the actual question which she responded to was? And do you have more of her response than what my notes indicate?

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Do you know what the actual question which she responded to was? And do you have more of her response than what my notes indicate?

The questioner wanted to know whether to vote for a liberal or a conservative Republican. They thought that even though the conservative was the worst philosophically, that they at least wanted free market policies, and that their philosophy wouldn't have much practical effect "in the real world."

Here are some quotes from Miss Rand's reply:

(Buckley = conservative, Moynahan = liberal)

"Anyone who denies the right to abortion can not be a defender of rights, period." (i.e. can not be the government)

"The Conservatives have decided to be Trojan horses [to the Republican Party], the way the Communists were against the Democratic Party..."

"The Conservatives will then take over the Republican Party and we'll just have liberals and conservatives. Which will mean: liberals and fascists, because that is all that the religious conservative group is - they are pure fascists. They might leave you some freedom to work - for a while. It is intellectual freedom that they want to cut, actually many of them advocate censorship. For example their drive against the movies. Now that is the choice between Mr. Buckley and Mr. Moynahan."

"Therefore an 'ally' who comes close to you but starts from opposite premises, is much more dangerous to you than a mild enemy."

(because when they screw up, Capitalism takes the blame)

"I would vote for a liberal over Buckley anytime."

"Buckley is the trojan horse, out to destroy any hope that this country ever had of a return to freedom and actual capitalism, actual free enterprise."

"I'm not going to vote not particularly for Moynahan, but against Buckley - we've got to get him out of there."

"In the real world where you have to look at things long range, which means philosophically, you have to get that conservative out of Washington - he got in by a fluke, get him out by every legitimate means you can."

"Please, in the name of philosophy in the real world, and not philosophy in the hereafter, vote Buckley out. That is my suggestion, my advice, philosophically."

She seems to be really, really against Christian Conservatives in Government...

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The questioner wanted to know whether to vote for a liberal or a conservative Republican. They thought that even though the conservative was the worst philosophically, that they at least wanted free market policies, and that their philosophy wouldn't have much practical effect "in the real world."

[snip]

"In the real world where you have to look at things long range, which means philosophically, you have to get that conservative out of Washington - he got in by a fluke, get him out by every legitimate means you can."

"Please, in the name of philosophy in the real world, and not philosophy in the hereafter, vote Buckley out. That is my suggestion, my advice, philosophically."

She seems to be really, really against Christian Conservatives in Government...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you, IDC. Very helpful reply.

I think that she had very good reason to be greatly opposed to Christian conservatives in government. It's the inverse of certain praise for the founding fathers. They tolerated slavery, yet slavery was inconsistent with their fundamental ideas (inalienable rights to life, liberty, etc.), so something ultimately had to give, either the fundamentals or derivatives. Fundamentals are the last and most difficult ideas to change, the most difficult to challenge, even seemingly self-evident. The founders were great and moral men in spite of their tolerance for slavery, and slavery, which was inconsistent with their fundamental views, had to come to a head because of its clash with their fundamentals, which it did by way of the Civil War.

The Christians (qua Christians) are evil in spite of their tolerance for "individual rights."

Just as with the environmental movement, it is not the rank and file who determine the nature and the danger of a movement; it's the radicals, those who are most consistent on the fundamental level. Christians are like cockroaches, in wait for the day when by sheer numbers they can come swarming out of the woodwork into the light of day to declare this a Christian nation.

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Jack,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. You present quite a bit of information. Perhaps you can offer your sources on conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you are suggesting that we are winning the "War on Terror", then I will flatly disagree with you. But I have previously provided my main points for why Bush is losing this war. So, I will focus the majority of this post on addressing some of the specific statements you made.

It [MisterSwig's previous post] contains such a comprehensive list of relevant facts – and myths – that I can’t resist commenting on some of them ...

Would you mind listing the "myths" that you accuse me of conveying? I understand that you think my statement "We have no plan for victory" is specious, and I'll get to that later in the post. But are there other statements I made which you think are false?

When Taliban or ‘Afghan Arabs’ are found regrouping' date=' they’re hit.  In the most recent action (last week), an Afghan Army outpost was attacked by 150 Mujahideen.[/quote']

My position: "The Taliban is regrouping and mounting attacks in Afghanistan.”

Seems in line with your view.

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Of course, one thought going around among our acquaintances was that the United States could fire a couple dozen of our 135 kT warheads -- killing a few million Muslims where THEY work and live.  We'd terrorize all 1,000 million of them and put them in awe of ever daring to raise a hand against us again.

"...and then what?" was the question I asked.

Wouldn't some of our Muslim opponents, headless of the danger, rise up against us and renew their little war again?

They would have to be the stupidest people in the world to rise up again. But, if they do, and they are allowed to become a large threat to America, then you find out where they lived and you put another crater in their homeland. Pretty soon the smarter people will realize that they ought to teach their children something other than anti-West ideas and they ought not tolerate such terrorists, for fear of American revenge.

(And there’s the problem of explaining why we killed 1 million friendlies -- fellow victims of Islamic tyranny – along with 1 or 2 million potential hostiles.)

I don't consider that a problem. We say, look, it was either our blood or yours. We chose yours. And if you don't want more of your people to die, you'd better do something about that terrorist group that trains down the street.

[W]e came up with a colonial solution ...

Attempting to colonize the Middle East would result in daily American casualties for decades and decades. The nuclear solution results in the end of the enemy with little or no losses of our own.

If we used our nukes to defend ourselves, then we could take our brave soldiers and use them to actually defend our borders and our homeland from any foreign invaders stupid enough to try to attack us.

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MisterSwig wrote:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the life of a single American soldier is worth more than the whole of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. That is the kind of moral resolve that needs to be achieved in the minds of the people of this nation, if we are to defeat an enemy as diabolical as militant Islam.

You don't win a war by begging your enemy to embrace your flawed way of life. You win by using overwhelming force upon them and their friends. Then you give the survivors the opportunity to surrender unconditionally and change their ways forever.

And you keep dropping bombs until every last fighter is dead or left with nothing to fight for.

You want to destroy militant Islamists? Then you destroy what they treasure most--their goddamn mosques and holy cities. Let them pray to their great Allah in the rubble of His temples.

Falling morale is due to the fact that we are losing the war and, as a nation, don't know why. Morale will continue to fall until we figure out why we are losing and start winning.

If you are suggesting that people who think we are losing the war are suffering from some kind of disease, then I disagree completely. I think such people are properly evaluating the facts.

I would add to the problem if I acted like we were winning this war. I would add to the problem if I reinforced the false belief that Bush's "plan" provides hope for victory. And I would be adding to the problem if I condoned the ongoing sacrifice of our soldiers to the enemy.

I would not ask a soldier to do something I am unwilling to do myself. And I am unwilling to lay my life on the line for "Iraqi freedom." I would much prefer that our valuable soldiers were not policing the streets of Baghdad, but were in hardened fortresses, launching bombs at Iran and Syria until they surrender unconditionally or become extinct. And it is my firm belief that until this nation is ready to do something like that, we have no moral right to send our military anywhere. [Emphases added.]

The above is essentially my position on America at war. I do not believe we have to colonize anyone per se. I don't see what the problem is here: let us have Dr. Peikoff's arguments and then we can thrash out this issue objectively, i.e., with method.

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"Please, in the name of philosophy in the real world, and not philosophy in the hereafter, vote Buckley out. That is my suggestion, my advice, philosophically."

She seems to be really, really against Christian Conservatives in Government...

I think she was referring to the Old Right -- William F. Buckley's brother James running on the Conservative Party (NOT the Republican Party) ticket for re-election to the Senate against one of the more rational intellectuals in the Old Left.

In 1970, the Conservatives achieved their most stunning victory when James Buckley, Bill's brother, won his race for United States Senate on their party ticket. There were of course many others who stood up to the liberal Republican machine. Eventually, the Conservative Party, while small, came consistently to provide the margin of victory or defeat for Republicans.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_..._13/ai_86505632

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I think she was referring to the Old Right --  William F. Buckley's brother James running on the Conservative Party (NOT the Republican Party) ticket for re-election to the Senate against one of the more rational intellectuals in the Old Left.

OK thanks for that, I didn't realize NY had a Conservative Party quite apart from the Repubs. But I still think it is a pretty similar situation: Bush is a conservative (even though on the Repub ticket) and his opponent has the same kind of policies she listed for Moynahan (nationalized health insurance, centralized economic management). And she said she would vote for the liberal "anytime."

The US was supposed to be a country with intellectual freedom and small government, we all know this. The small government thing is a lost cause ever since the passing of the income tax. All that is left is the intellectual freedom. I know you will ask for the evidence that Bush is a threat to the intellectual freedom, and I can only point to his professed Christianity and what Christians traditionally have done to intellectuals.

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