Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Friday on the conner

Today's post that grabbed my attention at NRO's The Corner, was the following head scratcher from Andy McCarthy:
Mark, I couldn't agree more about U.S. credibility, and this "exit strategy" stuff is infuriating — although it is probably natural if the appearance is that we're adrift. That's why I think the heart of the matter is "the continue to target al Qaeda" part. That goes to the government's credibility with Americans.

The primary mission, post-9/11, is to defeat this enemy. If people start to think our government believes that can be done by delegating the problem to other governments (particularly new, struggling ones), that would rightly be seen as a severe breach of trust. On the other hand, if we recommit unambiguously, in word and deed, to routing al Qaeda and its state sponsors (the Bush Doctrine as originally articulated), most Americans will pleased and our international credibility will take care of itself.
How is it that the neoconservative answer to any question on international affairs is to stay the course in Iraq. We have a prime example for how the stated goals of the Mr. McCarthy are directly contradicted by the actual outcome of his stated strategy (stay the course until victory, whatever that means) for reaching those goals.

McCarthy urges us to stay the course in order to combat Al Qaeda. In fact the entire justification for staying the course in Iraq is to combat the people who attacked us on 9/11. The conflation of these two issues is maddening, and self defeating. Again... for the 17 millionth time, and I'm certain McCarthy realizes this by now even if he refuses to accept the truth of the matter... Iraq had no hand in 9/11. PERIOD! In fact our invasion of Iraq has led to the expansion of Al Qaeda recruitment on a catastrophic scale. We have self evidently defeated our own stated purpose of fighting those who attacked us on 9/11 by invading Iraq, and McCarthy pounds his chest and calls for this mistake to be seen through to it's bitter conclusion.

Furthermore in blithely accepting the loss of international credibility as a foregone conclusion to the struggle against Al Qaeda, McCarthy calls upon us to pursue policies that again directly harm our interests in the struggle. Al Qaeda is not the governing party of a nation. We have already ousted their benefactors in Afghanistan. The enemy at this point is an amorphous conglomeration of cells and groups who are determined to harm us where ever they can reach us. So invading a country or holding territory does not address this particular enemy. To be effective in this struggle America MUST have prestige and the support of every nation we can ally ourselves with.

To adopt a bellicose or intransigent attitude in this struggle with nations who do not threaten us is self defeating because of the nature of the struggle we are involved in. Straining relations with these nations means they will not give us cooperation that we must have to stop Al Qaeda. Would we cooperate with a nation who disappeared our citizens, or just acted in a hostile manner to us? We are currently holding a man accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner years ago... and we won't turn him over to Castros government because of hostile relations between Cuba and America. This is a case example of how international cooperation is necessary in order to effectively combat terror, with us harboring the terrorist, but failing to recognize the lesson of our own teaching.

Tossing another nations citizens into Guantanamo Bay or rendering them to outsource torture means those nations are not inclined to give us the support we need after our transgressions are found out. Going it alone because we have alienated most of the rest of the world against us hardly bodes well for our success in the war on terror.

I really wish these neocons would just stop and give some thought as to the true nature of the global war on terror and how our actions affect our goals. It is easy to beat the war drums and insist on stay the course... and it is hard to admit the error of your ways, especially when those errors have resulted in the needless deaths of scores if not hundreds of thousands of innocents. The scale of these mistakes are biblical. But not admitting these mistakes in the face of incontrovertible evidence against you, and insisting that the mistake continue, only worsens the error, thereby worsening the moment when you must face the reality of what has been wrought in your name.

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