Archive for the ‘america’ Category

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The following is a comment of mine in a Seminar held at the Greek Community Centre in Melbourne, on the 16 of March, 2017, whose theme was, “Thucydides as Philosopher-Historian.” 

The teachings of the philosopher-historian Thucydides are taught assiduously and meticulously in the military academies of the Western world, especially in the United States and Russia.

Thus, these academies are churning out—like Plato’s academy generating philosopher-kings—philosopher-warriors. One such military savant is general Petraeus, the vanquisher of al-Qaeda in Iraq; another two, are generals McMaster and Mattis, the present occupiers respectively of the posts of National Security Adviser and of Defence, in the Trump administration. And it is not an aleatory action or chance event but a deliberate choice, on the part of Trump, that he has appointed high military personnel in key positions of his administration: In anticipatory awareness that America could be attacked with bio-chemical, and, indeed, with nuclear weapons, once the terrorists of Islam acquire them. Such an attack would overturn the USA in an instance from democracy into a military dictatorship, as only the latter could protect America and the rest of the West from this sinister existential threat that is posed by these fanatics.

Two Thucydidean fundamental principles in warfare were, “Know thy Enemy” and “Pre-emptive Attack.” Thus Thucydides in the twentieth-first century, will be the saviour of Western civilization.

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The following paper was written on October 9, 2004. It’s republished here as a result of the ominous events occurring in the north-west of Iraq and the capture by fanatic Islamists of Mosul and their proclamation of a Caliphate. It is noteworthy that many of its jihadists are citizens of the USA, UK, Europe, and Australia

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A deadly Trojan horse has been placed in the midst of the metropolises of Western civilization and, like Troy, is threatening its destruction. Throughout Europe, North America, and Australia, the belly of this deadly Horse is already bursting open delivering and unleashing a horde of fanatic barbarians on the cities of the civilized world, whose holy agenda decrees the wiping -out of Western institutions and their open, tolerant and free societies, and the genocide of their peoples by the fire of Allah’s hell.This is the nightmare scenario that countries of the economically developed and free world are facing as a result of their humanitarian and generous, but replete with folly, immigration policies that allowed such vast numbers of mostly unassimilable Muslim immigrants with ‘exponential’ birth rates, to become permanent residents and citizens of their countries. (In the Netherlands almost one third of children under the age of thirteen are Muslim. No wonder that the great Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis argues, that “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century”.) As inexorably, not an insubstantial number of these Muslims of the diaspora will become terrorist - fodder for the likes of bin Laden, as Mohammed Atta, the Western educated ringleader, as well as so many other terrorists who have been also educated in Western universities, as the murderous group of 9/11 has shown, whose terrorist cell was hatched in Hamburg Germany. This is especially so for many young unemployed Muslims in the West, who have been brought up within the strict confines of their rigid religion and who are therefore psychologically more susceptible to the calls of their fundamentalist imams for a Jihad against the infidels, making them therefore prone to become martyrs in this holy war against them. Hence the terrorist barbarians are not at the gates of civilization but inside its gates.

September 11 was a wake up call to all governments of the democratic world to the mortal threat that Muslim fundamentalists posed to their peoples. However, despite the exploding sound of this call, only a few governments are willing to recognize this great danger -whose gathering dark clouds teeming with lightning bolts are hovering over the cities of the world threatening their peoples with total annihilation -and stand-up against it. Apparently, only a handful of them have the intellectual capacity, imagination, and historical insight to perceive this great danger, and the resolve and moral mettle to take the necessary relentless measures and actions to prevent this catastrophe of biblical proportions from happening. America, Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland and the thirty other countries who have deployed their armed forces to fight global terror in Iraq under their politically and morally strong and historically savvy leaderships, will be acknowledged and renowned by history as the countries that saved Western civilization from this lethal attack by this horde of fanatically necrophilous barbarians. The no quarter given, relentless retaliation of these governments to this existential challenge of global terrorism to the civilized peoples of the world, will be totally justified by future historians, as has been the stand of those nations who fought against Nazi and Communist totalitarianism and who made the necessary and stupendous sacrifices to save the world from these two regimes of evil in the Twentieth century.

DESPITE US ERRORS AN WITHDRAWAL IS UNTENABLE

Even if one concedes that serious mistakes have been made by the Americans post March 2003 after the defeat of Saddam, which was part and parcel of the war against global terror, such as indiscriminately disbanding all Iraqi military units, and not dealing with the incipient insurgency of urban terrorists last April by using overwhelming force against it and nipping it in the bud, instead of ceasing their military offensive, as they did in Fallujah, and passing the control of that city to a former Iraqi general, who proved to be completely inept in disarming the insurgents. The strategic goal of the military planners against the insurgency, should have been the prompt and devastating defeat of the insurgents in this city, either by their mass capture or mass annihilation, which would serve as a deadly example to all other insurgents in other hot-bed provinces in Iraq, with the high probability that this would have led to their complete demoralization and surrender, as I had suggested in a previous paper of mine last April, which was sent to the U.S. Embassy in Canberra. (It seems now that the Pentagon is using exactly this strategy, as the capture of Samarra by American and Iraqi forces and the elimination of the insurgents, has shown.) As the outcome of this erratic implementation of the Pentagon’s military plan, by starting an offensive against the insurgents and then stopping it halfway before achieving its goals, Iraq has now become “the crucible of global terror”, to quote Tony Blair. This is the glaring fact that all governments who have committed themselves to fight global terror are presently confronting.

To turn tail and run now from Iraq would not be merely foolish, it would be the greatest military error against the war on terror, as it would deliver a tremendous victory to the terrorists on a global scale. It would reinforce in the minds of the terrorists, as the withdrawal of US forces from Beirut and Mogadishu had done, as a result of the casualties Americans had suffered in these two cities, by presidents Reagan and Clinton respectively, that America and other Western nations lack the resolve to stand-up to them and fight, and will induce them to be even more lethally aggressive against the ‘cowardly’ West. Hence the critics and opponents of the war, who blame the Bush administration for exacerbating terrorism in Iraq and call for the US withdrawal from Iraq, are purblind and cannot see that such action would be the greatest error that one could commit against the war on global terror. It would surpass by a great order of magnitude all the mistakes that the Pentagon committed in Iraq. If indeed the opponents of the war are right, that the US incursion of the country and the overthrow of Saddam has strengthened and intensified terror in Iraq, then the reasonable course for nations who believe that there is no other alternative but to fight and defeat this global menace, would be for these nations to deploy their armed forces in Iraq and inflict a deadly blow on global terrorism, by defeating the insurgents decisively. Or if they are unwilling to spill the blood of their own soldiers, they should at the least support morally and politically the soldiers of the nations, i.e., the American – led coalition, who are brave enough to sacrifice their own lives in the cause of global security and freedom.

This would be the wise course to follow, to correct the mistakes of the Americans, instead of aggravating and compounding these mistakes, by running away from Iraq, and in spite of these errors (in all wars errors are made ), to unflinchingly support America in this historic and deadly confrontation with these medieval barbarians, whom only America’s military might can defeat comprehensively, among all other nations in the world.

THE ENEMY WITHIN

But the war against global terror and Muslim fanaticism will not be won, unless the governments who have pledged themselves to fight global terror also deal with and tackle the cunning and deceitful enemy that lies within their borders. To carry out this far from easy task, these governments have to realize that they can no longer be tolerant, on the basis of laws of non-discrimination on religious grounds, to the breeding grounds of terrorism that entangle, ivy-like, the edifices of Western cities, i.e., the mosques and Islamic schools, of whom a minority of, but highly influential, imams and teachers, preach hate against the mores of Western civilization and of their peoples, inciting young Muslims to enlist in a holy war against the Great Satan, America, and on all other nations that embody the cosmopolitan values of Judeo-Greco-Roman civilization.

The cardinal question therefore is, how to sterilize and make barren the breeding grounds of terrorism that are ensconced in the cities of the West whose deadly offspring are the enemy within. Since the idea of repatriation and resettlement by means of a monetary incentive for millions of Muslims, who have now made their home in Western countries, is no longer feasible – fathered by that prophet of British politics Enoch Powell, who in his Birmingham “Rivers of Blood” speech on April 20 1968, clearly and ominously predicted the deadly conflicts that would arise between Britons and British citizens of colonial background who had settled in England, and who with prescience had opposed the so called humanitarian immigration policies of both Labor and Conservative governments – one has to consider other lines of action. One of them would be the immediate cessation of funding these mosques and schools by governments, unless the former adopt in their curricula a primary undiluted course of ‘no leaks’ assimilation for their students to the mainstream culture of the nation that they have chosen freely to live in, and put an end to all ‘traffickers’ of the disastrous policy of multiculturalism, which with mathematical precision divides a nation. Another one would be the swift passing of special, indeed emergency, legislation that would make it easier for the police and for the relevant government officials to jail or deport, radical imams and teachers who propagate, either openly or cunningly and insidiously, a holy war against the West. Furthermore, to attenuate and diminish the high birth rate of Muslim families, governments should introduce a policy of negative incentives, which could stop this high birth rate such as paying to all families of the nation, children’s allowances up to the number of four children. Any children born beyond that number would not be entitled to any allowances. Nor would any allowances be paid to children born from a second marriage, whose fathers or mothers already have four children from their previous marriages. This measure would bring the birth rate as close as it is possible to the common standard of Western societies and to the ethos and aspirations of motivated modern nuclear families. It would also stop the ‘racketeering’ of phony separations and single motherhoods, whose deliberate purpose is to abuse and defraud the system of family payments, and whose side – effect is, the perennial continuation of voluntary unemployment among this group of men and women.

Undoubtedly, these harsh measures will raise a hurricane of protests from Muslim organizations of the diaspora and from Muslim states. This will be followed by a chorus of international lawyers and of the liberal intelligentzia from the well-heeled countries of the West, who will denounce these measures as brutal and heartless to poor families, viciously racist, and chauvinistic, striking a terrible blow to democracy and opening the way to an authoritarian state and even worse. But this soft potpourri of legal and intelligence gnomes are unwilling to recognize, and it might be beyond their depth, that the grossly mistaken immigration policies of the nations of the West are now coming to haunt them with their destruction. And the only way to prevent this destruction is for the governments of these nations to take tragically severe measures to correct this gross mistake of past governments that now threatens their peoples with extinction, either by weapons of mass destruction or by the upshot of demographics.

 

DEFEAT OF TERROR LIES IN ITS LACK OF SUCCESS

One must recognize that the terrorists are technically educated barbarians, with PC’s in one hand and with the distorted fragments of the Koran in the other – who consider it to be the only fountain of knowledge – lacking the open- mind of a universal education; unread in the great writings and literature of all peoples and of all ages; mentally untouched by their rich Arab culture, literature and philosophy; unread in the great philosophical writings of Al-Farabi, who placed rationality above the revealed truth of the Sharia nor in the equally brilliant writings of Ibn-Sina (Avicenna ) and of Ibn-Rushid (Averroes ), who both placed human reason above religion, and of Omar Khayyam, who never believed in Providence or in any other World but this one, valuing the sensual pleasures of this world as the fill to the brim of life. Being ignorant of the existence of this great Arab intellectual treasure, that was an essential element of the cornerstone of Western civilization and of the Italian Renaissance, their minds locked in the fanaticism of fundamentalist Islam and its death-cult, they have no respect for any other peoples’ religions except their own. Instead they zealously believe that the followers of all other religions are destined to go to hell and only Muslims will enter the gates of infinite paradise, especially if they are anointed by martyrdom. It is of such stuff that these implacable enemies of Western civilization are made.

Confronting such suicidal fanatics, who fervently believe that the West and its Great Satan, America, are responsible and culpable for all the ills that have befallen upon Muslim countries; determined to destroy this source of evil by chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as soon as they are in their possession, the political leaders of the West, and especially of America, are deprived of any soft options and are forced to take on the hard option of the “unsheathed sword”

The art of diplomacy, the laudable deliberations of the United Nations for peace making, which could be effective when one deals with a rational foe, are totally ineffective when one confronts an irrational enemy, whose only ‘rational’ communication, in his hearing, is with God. That is why the academics who teach their students the ‘management’ of terrorism by a diplomatic demarche as the only rational way to counter and thwart it, rather than war, which is so costly in human and economic terms and without making certain its defeat, are not only starry-eyed, but also debar themselves from the disciplines of politics and of war strategy. Management presupposes and involves rational processes, which to the terrorists is terra incognita, and therefore with algorithmic precision is bound to fail.

But wherein lies the answer to this conundrum of how to defeat global terror and its state sponsors? History’s edict provides the clear and indefeasible answer to this intricate issue. When a nation fights a swarm of religious fanatics, depriving these fanatics of the ability to launch successful operations against their enemies is the most effective way to defeat them, as the terrorists, being no longer successful in their attacks against the West and in their attacks against the American-led coalition in Iraq, will find the “mouse of doubt” implanted in their hearts (a doubt whose epiphany will reveal to them, that after all they might not be in God’s favor) gnawing, slowly but surely, at their belief that they are the instruments of Allah. This, in itself, will compel them to abandon their cause.

And this is why the successful outcome of the war in Iraq for the U.S. – led coalition and the introduction of democracy to its ravaged people, is of such vital importance. The decisive defeat of the terrorist insurgents will unfold a dawn of a bright future for the people of Iraq, and also commence the beginning of the quick end of global terror.

I rest on my oars:your turn now

I’m republishing this piece that was written on October 2011.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Barack Obama has been elected as president of the most powerful nation in the world that since the end of the Second World War has been the bulwark of freedom against its infernal enemies, i.e., the former Soviet Union and its allies. In the twentieth-first century Western civilization is threatened by a new implacable and irreconcilable enemy, fanatical Islam; and the USA is the only nation in the world that can defeat this foe. But president Obama has already failed both tests of “knowing thy enemy,” and as a sagacious strong respectful leader. He has weakened America both before the eyes of its friends and allies and, most dangerously, its enemies.

The nations of Eastern Europe are rapidly losing their trust toward the US that the latter will protect and defend their interests and security, since Obama’s withdrawal of the missile defence shield from Poland and Czechoslovakia and his concessions to the Russians. And the enemies of America, such as Iran and its multiple terrorist proxies are heartened and have increased their confidence that in Obama they have before them a giant eunuch who is incapable and unwilling to use force, even as a last resort, against them. Since Obama has replaced America’s superpower ‘Jupiterian’ bolt diplomacy with olive branches toward them.

The “dangerous scenarios,” of which you are concerned with, are already in their incubatory stage: a nuclear armed Iran that would start a proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region with all the great dangers that would issue from such proliferation, especially in a region that is replete with the votaries of fanatical Islam. Thus to your question what kind of advice one would give to Obama in such an impending crisis, it would be the most heavily ‘armed advice’ that would fall on his shoulders. But Obama has neither the spine nor the balls to carry such heavy advice on his morally rickety frame, and least of all bring it to fruition as a last resort. Thus any strong advice given to a congenitally weak president would be a barren exercise.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It will have even bigger consequences if it succeeds by wishful thinking.  Rapprochement in itself is meaningless unless there is clear and unambiguous understanding and agreement between the parties about the conditions of such rapprochement. It would be a mistake to deduce from the rhetorically conciliatory statements of President Rouhani that Iran has abandoned its desire to acquire nuclear weapons. And to differentiate himself from the holocaustian statements of his predecessor, Ahmadinejad, is hardly an indication that the new regime is repudiating its clandestine goal to develop a nuclear weapon. Only if Rouhani allows open and rigorous inspections in all areas of Iran where Western intelligence cogently suspects the secret development of a nuclear weapon will the experts be convinced that Iran has changed tack in regard to its nuclear arsenal.

It is more probable, because Rouhani perceives a weak president in the United States, he will be exploiting that weakness to achieve Iran’s historic and Islamic aim to enter the nuclear club by persuading Obama about the peaceful purpose of Iran’s nuclear build-up. Rouhani is aware that Obama needs and desires a suspension of tensions so he will have the excuse to take all options off the table and thus as an incompetent and effete president tranquilize himself by false hopes. And Rouhani and his advisors know, that this détente can be achieved on promissory notes that will never be cashed. Thus by providing Obama the confidence that he can come to a reasonable agreement with Iran, Rouhani achieves two diplomatic goals. (1) He defers USA action from resolving speedily and decisively the issue of nuclear weapons by creating the euphoria that this matter can be resolved by prolonged negotiations, a dilatoriness that Obama is most happy to accept as he desires to push the hard options, if they are needed, in the future ahead with the hope that they will never be used, and which also suits Rouhani perfectly as it will give Iran more time to achieve its strategic goal to build the bomb. And (2) weakening Israel’s resolve to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear installations, if other Western states are found to be wanting in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear armaments, by isolating Israel from its major ally, the USA, and from other Western nations, and thus making it more difficult for Israel to strike.

It is for this reason that Clemons should be more restrained in his optimism of the opportunity of reaching a rapprochement with Iran when a more sinister and malign opportunity could be hidden behind the apparently benign talk of Rouhani.

In view of Obama’s variable inconsistencies in the Syrian Crisis declaring on the one hand that he would be attacking Syria for breaking his “red line,” for using chemical weapons against its own people, and, on the other, dithering and postponing this attack until its authorization by Congress, I’m republishing the following article that was written three years ago for the readers of this blog.  

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Would Edward Luce and Daniel Dombey, and by implication Steve Clemons, expect Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary, to say that Barack Obama agrees “with what Senator Schumer said? It is astonishing to see Clemons diverting the issue of the total freeze of settlements, which Schumer correctly criticized as a grave error on the part of Obama contra Israel, to what Schumer’s stand was to Jesse Helms and to John Bolton “few years ago.”

Clemons is entitled to his opinions but he is not entitled to his facts. The facts are that the foolish imposition of the total freeze of settlements on the Netanyahu government by the Obama administration’s lack of foresight that it would be politically unrealizable for Israel and that it would evolve and become for the Palestinians, as it did, a rigid condition for their participation with any talks with Israel, was the major factor that derailed Obama’s engine of diplomacy from its track that would bring the two belligerents to the negotiating table. It was precisely this quintessentially wrong and injudicious policy of Obama that Senator Schumer rightly criticized as being the reason of the administration’s abysmal failure in the Middle East. Another fact is that Obama’s diplomacy is inconsistent, rewarding his enemies and penalizing his friends. While he claims that his diplomacy is indiscriminate and is based on soft and smart power coming on doves’ feet and extends his hand in a velvet glove to the enemies of America, he carries a bludgeon in his hand in his relations with his strongest and most loyal ally, in this case Israel.

Throughout history there has never been a case when a nation engaged in war with implacable enemies would chastise and alienate its most steadfast and reliable ally for the purpose to placate its enemies. Obama will go down in history as the only leader who not only doltishly and doggedly opened the door of diplomacy to an enemy such as Iran which has been training in its own country members of the Taliban and supplying them with weapons–as well as its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah–to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, but who was also willing to sacrifice the vital interests of his most staunch ally against Islamist terror, Israel, on the altar of this spineless, strategically unprincipled, and totally fallible diplomacy.

The above emitted the two following responses:

Posted by Dan KervickApr 27 2010, 6:54AM – Link

Kotzabasis, WigWag seemed to be wondering a few days ago why those posts in which you make a serious, debatable point are ignored. But can there be any doubt why people habitually turn you off, when so many of your posts consist in cowardly, third-person personal characterizations of other contributors, lamely shouted out to no one in particular?

 

Posted by WigWag, Apr 27 2010, 9:45AM – Link

Actually why the interesting point Kotz made is never debated is rather plain. His point was an astute one, but as I am sure Kotz would be the first to admit, it was hardly an original one. Kotz was making precisely the same point Schumer was; that by offering to conduct their negotiations for them, the Obama Administration provides an incentive for the Palestinians not to negotiate at all. Kotz, Schumer and many other sage observers have also made the point that by making demands on Israel that Obama knew, or should have known, that it wouldn’t comply with, it was Obama himself who was making his stated goal of getting negotiations started much more difficult.

Steve Clemons in his diatribe against Schumer never responded to this point and Dan Kervick hasn’t either. Neither has any other serious commentator as far as I can tell.

It seems to me that the lack of response to the Schumer/Kotz allegation is evidence of the fact that the point is irrefutable.

If it’s not, someone should give it a try.

In view of the latest attacks by Islamist fanatics in the USA, Britain and France, I’m republishing the following debate that occurred on September 2010.

American says,

For those who think we need to redouble our efforts to “win” the war in Afghanistan, I take it they mean we need to do whatever it takes, militarily and financially, to build a stable Afghan state run and headed by a secure and US-friendly government. I have two problems with this idea. First, I tend to doubt that the US has the wherewithal to accomplish such a goal in such a rugged, decentralized and forbidding country – no matter how much our surge surges. The whole idea seems fantastical.

Second, I don’t see how even achieving this fantastical aim would really help with the Al Qaeda issue, since I find it hard to believe that any Afghan government that we can realistically imagine taking shape will have the capacity to prevent Al Qaeda elements from gathering in remote locations and forming bases. As a basis for comparison, can we realistically imagine an Afghan government with even half the capacity of a state like Pakistan? Hardly. And yet Pakistan itself is not in control of large swaths of its country. Pursuing the quixotic state-building plans of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is a distraction from the methods that actually work.

My understanding is that we have been engaged in a global campaign against jihadist terrorism for several years now, and the main practical method is to rely on intelligence to stay one step ahead of the folks who actually pose a threat, and then disrupt their efforts, kill their leaders and interdict their operations. We’re probably going to have to keep doing that sort of thing for quite some time, just as the effort against organized crime in the US never really ends. If Al Qaeda cadres build some kind of training base in Afghanistan, we go in and blow it up. If they build another one, we blow that one up too. We use predators and covert methods. The same is true of al Qaeda redoubts in Pakistan or Somalia or Yemen, right? We are going to have to do this no matter what kind of government we get in Kabul.

I can’t believe that at this late date American political leaders and opinion leaders are still deluded by the theory that the chief enabling cause of terrorism is “state sponsorship”, and so that our aim is to manufacture strong states where none exist now. This seems wrong-headed to me. I’ve used this analogy before, but the militant jihadist movement seems something like the anarchist movement of a century ago. Parts of that movement were violent. Was the solution some sort of state-building process in Europe and the United States? No. There were already strong states in Europe and the US. But it is of the nature of terrorist groups to slip between the cracks in the sovereign power of states.

Anarchist terrorism was basically a law and order problem. The idea was just to stay ahead of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, and outlast the movement as its ideological fervor gradually dissipated and it burned itself out.

We should never have gotten involved in state building in Afghanistan. Now we have a generation of American leaders who are invested in that project, and see their personal honor and the national honor as riding on its very unlikely success. They need to get real.

Australian says,

Ben Katcher’s intellectually malodorous, and disingenuous, argument has reached the other shores of the Pacific. While he claims that “pouring more troops…into Afghanistan means fewer resources to pursue our other national security objectives across the globe,” he does not mention any of them by name other than the economic crisis mentioned by Dennis Blair. Hence his statement that “strategy is about priorities and trade-offs,” while true in general, is a contrived fiction when he applies it to international terrorism since these other priorities remain nameless. The reason why he does not name them is that if he had identified these priorities and contrasted them with the priority of global terror he would embarrass himself for being ludicrous.

Dan Kervick’s paragraph that contains “we use predators and covert methods,” which incidentally is an idea that I suggested myself too eight years ago, is very interesting although he contradicts himself further down on his post when he contrasts present terror with anarchist terror in the past and says for the latter that it “was basically a law and order problem,” which he first ventilated in a riposte to me on TWN three years ago. Surely, Kervick, who has learnt his logic by sitting in the spacious intellectual laps of Hume and Russel, could not cogently argue that “predators and covert methods” fall in the ambience of “law and order.”

American says,

Kotzabasis says:

“Surely, Kervick, who has learnt his logic by sitting in the spacious intellectual laps of Hume and Russel, could not cogently argue that “predators and covert methods” fall within the ambience of “law and order.””

I do. When I say that terrorism is a law and order problem, I don’t mean that the only tools to be used are the methods of the criminal justice system. Those latter tools have proven effective in many cases, including operations interdicted in the UK and Canada. But given the limits of applying these tools across borders and inside rugged countries, sometimes more aggressive means must be employed. What I mean is that terrorism is fundamentally a problem of a limited number of militant “outlaws”, and that the strategy for addressing it should focus on that fact, rather than be distracted by extravagant projects for state improvement and state overhaul.

What I am most skeptical of is the idea that the problem of terrorism is a conventional military problem that calls for the use of conventional military operations – in the form of armies, invasions and occupations – against either states or sub-national “armies”. And I am especially skeptical of the idea that the way to address the problem of terrorism is to launch massive – and generally very unrealistic – state-building operations in the hope that some day the dangerous backward parts of the world will be filled with well-functioning and capable states that will be able to suppress all of the militants operating inside their territories.

There are other means that need to be used as well, including denying the terrorists the ideological foothold that multiplies their influence and capability. That means not doing so many things that provide evidence of the very charges the terrorists make. To counter jihadist charges that the United States is hostile to the interests of Arabs and Muslims across the world the United States should stop behaving as if it is indeed universally hostile to the interests of Arabs and Muslims.

Australian says,

Kervick says:

“When I say that terrorism is a law and order problem, I don’t mean that the only tools to be used are the methods of the criminal justice system.”

Your quote states the obvious. Of course one does not fight terrorism only with police methods but the question is out of all the methods which are the most effective by which one can defeat the jihadists. And while your paragraph in your previous post that mentions “predators” and all the other ‘hard things’ that one has perforce to do against the jihadists is full of strategic clarity, by reverting back to your old argument of three years ago that the present terrorists are similar to the anarchist terrorists of the past and can be interdicted by ‘police’ methods, you unconsciously downgrade the seriousness of your ‘hard things’ position.

Moreover, you are locked in the fallacy of a rational person who premises his actions that his enemies that ‘round’ him up are also rational and if he shows by his actions, in our case America, that he is not against Arabs and Muslims this will bring a definitive change in the attitudes of the jihadists. This is a ‘straightjacket’ delusion that has lost all contact with reality. Islamic fanaticism will not be influenced, soothed, abated, or defeated by moral examples or olive branches but only in the field of battle and that is why a military deployment against it is a prerequisite. In short, it’s just another but more effective method in defeating the jihadists in a shorter span of time.

American says,

C-G Kotzabasis,

I’m talking about the hearts and minds issue. There is a hard core of dyed-in-the-wool militant jihadists with an uncompromising Salafist ideology. They are not going to be swayed by US public diplomacy, or by forseeable changes in US policy. They can only be dealt with forcibly. They must either be captured or killed, and their plans must be disrupted.

But the hard core is surrounded by concentric circles of people who are associated with the hard core by various degrees of fellow-travelling or sympathizing or onlooking. The extent to which the jihadists are able to expand their movement to get material or moral assistance from people in the out rings depends on how well their message resonates.

In my view, the jihadists have been the beneficiaries in recent years of a number of wrong-headed US policies that help their message resonate strongly. If hundreds of innocent people in Gaza have their lives snuffed out in an over-the-top Israeli attack, some as a result of deliberate crimes, with nary a peep from the US Congress, then when your friendly neighborhood jihadist says, “Muslims lives mean nothing to the Americans,” that message is going to get much more play on the street than it would if the US Congress had stepped up and condemned the excessive use of force.

Australian says,

Dan Kervick,

Certainly the “hearts and minds issue” is a core issue. But the “concentric circles of people,” will not be influenced by US Congress pronouncements and condemnations, in this case of Israeli actions, if they perceive, which they will, that this change of American policy arises from the weakness of the latter and from the strength of the “hard core” “militant jihadists” in their war with the US. The concentric circles of support for the militants will only disappear by depriving the latter of the ‘aura’ of being seen as the victors (The ethos of Arab pride trumps all.) against the American hegemon. And that entails the imminent and decisive defeat of the militants in the field of battle, as it happened in Iraq to the Sadrist militias and al Qaeda.

Furthermore, your concentrated reasoning loses its force if your policy contains these two incongruous parts: The first one will destroy by predators and covert operations (Which will be seen in the Muslim world as American excesses) the incubators of “Salafist ideology”, which are the madrassas, while the second, will denounce American and Israeli excesses. Do you seriously believe that such denunciation will have greater influence upon fellow-travellers and sympathisers, than the destruction of the madrassas in which many civilians will be killed, and will win their hearts and minds?

Join the debate

I’m republishing this paper written in 2007  as the intellectual prattling know-all elite continue to disparage and malign George Bush for his decision to invade Iraq.

A response by Con George-Kotzabasis to:

 All the President’s Enablers by Paul Krugman

The New York Times July 20, 2007

The fundamental principle of power and of any political activity is that these should never be any appearance of weakness. Niccolo Machiavelli

The eminent professor of economics Paul Krugman who ditched his solid professorial chair for the ephemeral glitter and celebrity status that accrues from being a peer pundit of The New York Times, ridicules George Bush, in his latest article, of a misplaced confidence that verges to a “lost touch with reality”. Confident to bring in Osama dead or alive, confident toward the insurgents “to bring it on”, confident that the war will be won, when the latest report of the National Intelligence Estimate is so gloomy about the prospects in Iraq and the war against al Qaeda that would make even the most optimistic of Presidents to have second thoughts about his policy, but not George Bush. Krugman states, “thanks to Mr. Bush’s poor leadership America is losing the struggle with al Qaeda. Yet Mr. Bush remains confident”. Such a stand “doesn’t demonstrate Mr. Bush’s strength of character” but his stubbornness to prove himself right despite the grim reality.

But Krugman saves his main grapeshot to fire it against the Republican doyen Senator Richard Luger and General Petraeus both of whom he considers to be the “smart sensible” enablers of the President. He argues that while Senator Luger knows, and indeed, acknowledges, that Bush’s policy in Iraq is wrong, he nonetheless is not prepared to take a strong stand against it. And he cleverly in anticipation of the September report of General Petraeus that might be favourable to the situation on the ground as an outcome of the surge, he launches a pre-emptive strike on the credibility of the general by quoting extensively from an article the latter wrote in the Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2004, whose assessment about Iraq at the time was overly optimistic if not completely wrong. In the article the general wrote, “that Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously” and “are displaying courage and resilience” and “momentum has gathered in recent months”. It’s by such implied non sequiturs that our former professor attempts to discredit General Petraeus. Just because he might have been “wrong” in the past it does not follow that he would be wrong also in the future. And Krugman caps his argument by saying that because of these “enablers” of the President, “Mr. Bush keeps doing damage because many people who understand how his folly is endangering the nation’s security still refuse, out of political caution and careerism, to do anything about it”.

But how serious are these strictures of Krugman against the President and his so called enablers? Let us first deal with the optimism of Bush and his confident statements about the war in Iraq and the struggle against al Qaeda. Krugman is lamentably forgetful that when the President committed the U.S. to take the fight to the terrorists he stated clearly and unambiguously that this would be a generational struggle. And in this long war against al Qaeda and its affiliates and those states that support them, he was confident that America would prevail. Hence all the confident statements of Bush were made in the context of a long span and not of a short one as Krugman with unusual cerebral myopia made them to be. His argument therefore against the President’s optimism and confidence, which he ridicules with the pleasure of one “twisting the knife”, is premised on a misperception. Moreover, did Krugman expect that the Commander-In-Chief of the sole superpower not to have expressed his hopefulness and confidence to the American people, when they were attacked so brutally on 9/11, that the U.S. in this long war would prevail? And is it possible that our pundit to be so unread in history and not to have realized that in all critical moments of a nation’s existence it’s of the utmost importance that its leaders rally their people against a mortal threat with statements of hope and confidence, as Winston Churchill did in the Second World War, that the nation would be victorious against its enemies? Would Krugman have the President of the United States adopt the gloom and doom of the so called realists as a strategy against al Qaeda, its numerous franchises, and the rogue states that support them by sinister and covert means?

Indeed, the liberal’s and The New York Times’  “Bush derangement syndrome…has spread” not only “to former loyal Bushies”, to quote Krugman , but to more than two thirds of the American people thanks to this ignominious coterie of  all the President’s disablers of the liberal establishment, and its pundits, like Paul Krugman. The paramount duty and responsibility of the media, being the Fourth Estate in the political structure of a democratic society, at a time when a nation faces and confronts a great danger from a remorseless and determined enemy, is to morally mobilize and rally its people behind their government and their armed forces that are engaged in war. In the present defensive pre-emptive war–the latter as a result of the nature of the enemy and his potential to acquire nuclear weapons–that has issued from the aftermath of 9/11 and the cogent convincing concerns of the Bush administration of a possible nexus in the near future between al Qaeda and its sundry affiliates with rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction and nuclear ones, and the portentous and abysmal danger this would pose not only to the U.S. but to the world at large, the media has a “sacred” obligation to unite the American people behind its government of whatever political hue. No errors of judgment or mishandling the planning of the war by the Bush administration can excuse the media from abdicating from this historical responsibility.

There is no fogless war and no one can see and perceive and measure correctly all its dimensions. And the frailty of human nature further exacerbates this inability. But no Churchillian confidence in one’s actions and strategic acumen throws the towel because of mistakes. One corrects one’s errors and keeps intact his resolution to defeat the enemy with a new strategy. (And one has to be reminded that the greatest scientific discoveries have been built on a pile of mistakes.)  It would be an indelible obloquy to one’s amour propre to even consider that these uncivilized obtuse fanatics, and seventy-two virgin pursuers, could come close to conceiving a strategy that would defeat the know-how and scientific mastery of Western civilization and its epitome the United States of America. Only a lack of resolve of its politicians and its opinion-makers, as a result of their fatal embrace with supine populism, appeasement, and pacifism, could lead to such shameful and historic defeat.

America at this critical juncture of its historical and Herculean task to defeat Islamofascism in a long, far from free of heavy casualties, painstaking arduous war  needs a wise, imaginative, and resolute political and military leadership that will overcome all the difficulties and imponderables of war and will strike a decisive lethal blow to this determined suicidal enemy. The new “Surge” strategy of the resolute Bush administration implemented by that “superb commander”, according to his troops, General Petraeus, seems to be accomplishing its objectives. Two prominent and vehement critics of Bush Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of  The Brookings Institution who had accused the President of mishandling the war, after an eight-day visit in Iraq talking to high officials now believe that we are fighting in “a war we just might win”. And Petraeus, like a stronger Atlas, is pushing the rise of the sun of victory in the up till now dark sky of Iraq. Hence, the courageous actions and sacrifices of U.S soldiers in Iraq are not wasted and will be written with adamantine letters in the military annals. At this momentous noteworthy victory all the President’s and the nation’s disablers will be cast into the pit of ignominy by history. 

I rest on my oars:your turn now