Thursday, July 28

Tancredo and Ultimate Responses and the Necessity of Pragmatism in the War on Terror

Hugh Hewitt has been ranting on Tancredo's words on bombing Meca. I like how Jeff Goldstein puts it into words. I have to agree more with Goldstein, than Hewitt. I called in to Hugh's show, and my comments where that I think sometimes evangelicals who go into politics confuse the role of the church, the role of the individual, and the role of government. While as an individual, I may find the Muslim religion deplorable, and I do believe it is a violent religion, the government's role and communication may need to be different.

Then again, I do think the government needs to keep their options open and the Muslim community needs to know that if they do not take a stand against extremist violent Muslims, they will also suffer repercussions. It is inevitable, regardless of what the US might or might not do.

Here is what Hugh said:
I want to be very clear on this. No responsible American can endorse the idea that the U.S. is in a war with Islam. That is repugnant and wrong, and bloggers and writers and would-be bloggers and writers have to chose sides on this, especially if you are a center-right blogger. The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion. It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong. If Tancredo'’s blunder does not offend you, then you do not understand the GWOT.
Goldstein's comments:
I will offer this one observation, however: it doesn'’t matter to me whether or not the US actually would unleash such hell on Muslim holy sites. What matters to me is that our enemy knows that no military response is ever off the table. The US has done—and continues to do—enough good in this world that it need not constantly strive for the kind of cheap grace that comes from loudly and publicly eschewing pragmatic analysis about our military response options for the sake of placating those who have every reason to fear us.
He also responds and comments on Hugh's comments.
Perhaps. But more likely, what Hewitt is really suggesting is that adopting an official position against Islam is a strategic blunder. And he’s right—for the US to openly declare war on all of Islam is foolish, counterproductive, and doesn’t jibe with the facts on the ground. But being prepared to consider the most devastating response to a most devastating attack—one that, when threatened from a position of power could, in fact, force the mainstream Muslim world to turn on its own extremists out of worry for our potential retaliatory action—is hardly irresponsible.

What is irresponsible is failing to prepare for every contingency by failing to imagine every contingency. And those so outraged by Tancredo’s remarks should remember that the same kind of criticisms were leveled at Herman Kahn, whose On Thermonuclear War—while publicly reviled—was a handbook for pragmatically thinking through Cold War nuclear brinksmanship. The bottom line is, the US has amassed the most powerful military on earth; and it is hardly a sin to admit to that, or to admit to a willingness to consider every option available to us when it comes to waging a war that has been declared and waged against us.
Read the rest and the discussion. Good stuff.