Monday, May 28, 2007

Connecting some dots

This morning’s New York Times breathlessly reports the obvious: Iraq has become a giant training camp for anti-American insurgents who plan to expand the conflict.

“The flow of fighters is already going back and forth, and the fight will be everywhere until the United States is willing to cease and desist,” says a Saudi with vast knowledge of Jihadist networking.

Yes, well, duh, you think. Any idiot could see that coming, But our politicians and pundits aren’t just any idiot. They are stupid on a grand, historic scale.

Note how our Jihadist counselor in the above quote doesn’t require the United States to turn off the teevee and convert to Islam. He says until we “cease and desist.” Presumably he means cease and desist from conquering foreign lands, propping up violent dictatorships, and arming foreign oppressors. Is that really too much to ask? That we stop our senseless murder spree? I could see room for argument if it were doing us any good, but as the NYT article demonstrates, our violent meddling in other people’s affairs is creating an army of formidable enemies.

The very same article contains even more powerful evidence of how mind-numbingly stupid our leaders continue to be. Have they learned anything from the experience of providing arms and international support to the likes of the Ayatollah Khomenei, Sadaam Hussein, or Osama bin Laden? Well, no
Last week, the Lebanese Army found itself in a furious battle against a militant group, Fatah al Islam, whose ranks included as many as 50 veterans of the war in Iraq, according to General Rifi. More than 30 Lebanese soldiers were killed fighting the group at a refugee camp near Tripoli.

The army called for outside support. By Friday, the first of eight planeloads of military supplies had arrived from the United States, which called Fatah al Islam “a brutal group of violent extremists.”

What the Times fails to report, in typical Times fashion, is that the Bush administration supported, at least indirectly, that very same terrorist group which we are now helping the Lebanese government fight.

Where will the next bin Laden come from? Follow our money, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of candidates.

So what would happen if we were to take our opponents advice and “cease and desist?” Would the sun come out from behind the clouds and spring flowers sprout overnight from the blood-drenched battlefields? Well, no. There would be a long period of fending off attacks and legally pursuing violent criminals, but over time what goes around would come around, just as it is right now, only in a good way.

But that is not going to happen. We have gone too far down the path of authoritarianism. With our Iraq disaster providing such a training and propaganda windfall for those who want to attack us, it seems inevitable that an attack will come. Do we, as a people, have the maturity to react intelligently to another 9/11? Not bloody likely. Our leaders, Bush and Cheney, are cowards and they will be replaced with other cowards. We have chosen our path. It looks like water rushing, downward, like a spiral.