City progressives and Afghanistan
The folks over at Fog City apparently agree with Noam Chomsky that the US is out to conquer the world, and Afghanistan is just part of that plan.
Over at the Bay Guardian's political blog, the thinking is the same, with the unstated assumption that Afghanistan is just another one of those wars launched by the US on unsuspecting countries. Steve Jones came unglued when I made this comment to one of his anti-war posts. No wonder the American people can't trust the left to govern this country!
Of course the threat to our security doesn't come from the Taliban themselves; they seem content to terrorize only the people of Afghanistan. But they and Al Qaeda are doctrinal and political allies, which is why they made the deal with Bin Laden before 9/11 in the first place. By the way, since there are no longer any US troops in Saudi Arabia, shouldn't Bin Laden call off the fatwa now?
There is a significant minority of Muslims who are a direct military threat, as the Christmas Day attempt to blow up that airliner again demonstrates. Maybe we can't "extinguish" the threat, but we surely have to defend ourselves. Do you think it's misguided to try to defend ourselves? Do you really think we can negotiate some kind of political settlement with Bin Laden and his international followers? If so it would be interesting to learn what a deal like that would look like.
It's not a matter of revenge, but surely we have to protect ourselves. We should abandon our attempts to do so and resign ourselves to having an airplane or a subway train blown up "every few years"? And you call me "insane" and question my "sense of proportion"! How would Obama explain that to the American people? "Don't worry, folks. We're just going to let the terrorists blow up an occasional airliner and/or subway car." The primary nuclear danger the world faces now is from the Islamic fanatics, who, as soon as they get their hands on the bomb, will use it against us, against Europe, or, in the case of Iran, against Israel. The Afghanistan/Pakistan border is a haven for these Islamic terrorists, who would like to take over Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal. No, I don't think we're going to live "happily ever after" in our lifetime. These homicidal/suicidal fanatics are going to keep coming at us for the forseeable future.
Steve Jones wrote:
The fact that most Americans see all muslim fundamentalists as a direct military threat---such as the above commenter who can't distinguish between a Yemeni and a Talib, even though they're on different continents---indicates how dangerously misguided we are in our belief that we can extinguish this threat militarily. You want total war? Against isolated pockets of radicals throughout the world, and involving a country with nuclear weapons? You want to reduce the world's great cities to rubble, again, just like we did in Dresden, Hiroshima, London, Nagasaki, Berlin, and countless others? You want a death toll in the millions to avenge an attack that killed 3,000 or because you're scared that someone might try to blow up an airplane or subway train every few years? You're insane! Have you no sense of proportion? Do you really think we'll just kill them all and live happily ever after? That's a children's fairy tale.
Now, as far as Matthew's point about using Gutierrez's death to make a political point, it's true that I did, just as supporters of war do in their statements about what this death means, and just as we hear about from the president on down every Memorial Day and Veteran's Day and every time a bunch of American soldiers get killed. And that was precisely my point: the warmongering will stop only when we see deaths like this as the tragic and unnecessary price we're paying for a misguided policy that is doomed to fail. Bring the troops home.