Republicus

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Name:
Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Progress And Good Signs Of Success--Amidst Difficulties

In four days, on December 15, the third and final round of elections in Iraq will take place, and vote in a four-year parliament.

Their first task will be to discuss the conditions for U.S. Troop withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Saddam is on trial and is just begging to be hauled off to the Hague.

Either way, he's finished.

His sentencing will close the book on Iraq's dark past and propel the new republic forward.

This is encouraging news:

On Friday, Sunni clerics urged kidnappers to spare the lives of four Christian activists (the deadline passed, and no word yet as to what the kidnappers have decided).

Things are changing.

These are Sunni clerics banding together as representatives of the faith and calling for clemency and the freeing of Western (an American, a Briton and two Canadians) Christians.

The silence from Islamic institutions around the world--both Shia and Sunni-- in regards to condemning terrorist activities like hostage taking (not too mention suicide bombing)-- has been deafening (when not vociferous in their support of them), so this pro-life rallying of the clerics--for the lives of Western Christians, no less-- is quite a radical development.

That's the kind of thing healthy religious institutions do.

Granted, the four aid workers had condemned the war (which certainly flavored the calls for clemency, and was used as the primary appeal to the kidnappers, in fact), and the clerics still defend the "righteousness" of the Sunni side of the insurgency.

But they are still going out of their way to save the lives of four Western Christian infidels.

Hitherto, Republicus does not remember them calling--as an organized body--for mercy on any other Western aid workers taken hostage and then murdered.

Surely they couldn't all have been "Pro-War."

Also, while defending the insurgency against the occupation, they did speak out against the killing of innocent women and children.

That, too, is quite radical.

Sunni clerics also used the last major weekly religious service before Thursday's national elections to urge a big Sunni turnout.

That, too, is radical: they boycotted the last election in January.

One Sunni preacher called the upcoming parliamentary vote "a decisive battle that will determine our future."

That is a profound shifting of mentality.

In 1991, when Saddam Hussein spoke of "The Mother Of All Battles," he wasn't referring to a political campaign, the way Clinton's strategists in the "War Room" could have.

But the Sunni preacher was thinking precisely along those political--not violent-- lines.

They are conforming.

And 3,000 Texas National Guard troops have come home after nearly a year in Iraq.

Meanwhile, however, an American soldier was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad-- the seventh to be killed around the capital since Thursday.

And at least 2,142 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff said...

Terrorist Strategy 101: a quiz
by Pericles [Subscribe]
Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:57:00 PM PDT

(From the diaries -- kos)

Instructions. For Questions 1 and 2, assume you are a violent extremist. In other words, there is some issue (it doesn't really matter what) for which you are willing to take up arms and kill people, even innocent people.

Question 1: What is the first and biggest obstacle between you and victory?

If you answered "People on the other side of my issue," go sit in the corner. That answer is completely wrong. If you assume terrorists think that way, everything they do will seem like total insanity.

The first and biggest obstacle to your victory is that the vast majority of the people who sympathize with your issue are not violent extremists. They may agree with you in principle. They may even sound like violent extremists late at night over their beverage of choice. But when the hammer comes down, they won't be there. There are weeds in the garden and final exams coming up and deadlines at the office. Good luck with that car bombing. Call me next time, maybe things will have settled down by then.

* Pericles's diary :: ::
*

Most people, most of the time, just want to get along. They'll accept a little inconvenience, ignore a few insults, and smile at people they hate if it allows them to get on with their lives. Most people on both sides of your issue just wish the issue would go away. If you're not careful, those apathetic majorities will get together and craft a compromise. And where's your revolution then?

So your first goal as a violent extremist is not to kill your enemies, but to radicalize the apathetic majority on your side of the issue. If everyone becomes a violent extremist, then you (as one of the early violent extremists) are a leader of consequence. Conversely, if a reasonable compromise is worked out, you are a nuisance.

Question 2: In radicalizing your sympathizers, who is your best ally?

No points awarded for "the media" or "sympathetic foreign governments". In radicalizing your apathetic sympathizers, you have no better ally than the violent extremists on the other side . Only they can convince your people that compromise is impossible. Only they can raise your countrymen's level of fear and despair to the point that large numbers are willing to take up arms and follow your lead. A few blown up apartment buildings and dead schoolchildren will get you more recruits than the best revolutionary tracts ever written.

Perversely, this means that you are the best ally of the extremists on the other side. That doesn't mean you love or even talk to each other -- they are, after all, vile and despicable demons. But at this stage in the process your interests align. Both of you want to invert the bell curve, to flatten out that big hump in the middle and drive people to the edges. That's why extremists come in pairs: Caesar and Pompey, the Nazis and the Communists, Sharon and Arafat, Bush and Bin Laden. Each side needs a demonic opposite in order to galvanize its supporters.

Naive observers frequently decry the apparent counter-productivity of extremist attacks. Don't the leaders of Hamas understand that every suicide bombing makes the Israelis that much more determined not to give the Palestinians a state? Don't they realize that the Israeli government will strike back even harder, and inflict even more suffering on the Palestinian people? Of course they do; they're not idiots. The Israeli response is exactly what they're counting on. More airstrikes, more repression, more poverty -- fewer opportunities for normal life to get in the way of the Great Struggle.

The cycle of violence may be vicious, but it is not pointless. Each round of strike-and-counterstrike makes the political center less tenable. The surviving radical leaders on each side energize their respective bases and cement their respective holds on power. The first round of the playoffs is always the two extremes against the center. Only after the center is vanquished will you meet your radical counterparts in the championship round.

Question 3: What is Bin Laden's ultimate goal?

This is an easy one. Bin Laden has been very explicit: He wants a return of the Caliphate. In other words, he wants a re-unified Islamic nation stretching from Indonesia to Morocco, governed by leaders faithful to the Koran.

This goal is quite popular in the Islamic world. The Muslim man-in-the-street knows his history: When the Dar al-Islam was unified, it was the most feared empire in the world. Baghdad, the home of the Caliph, was the center of civilization, leading the world in learning and artistry as well as power. (Europe may well have lost its classical heritage if Muslim libraries hadn't preserved Greek manuscripts through the Dark Ages. Just about any English word beginning with al refers to an Islamic invention: algebra, algorithm, alchemy, and even alcohol -- which was an Arabian process for distilling perfumes long before the West started using it to make hard liquor). Who wouldn't want that back?

Well, for starters, the current rulers of the two dozen or so nations of the Dar al-Islam wouldn't want the Caliphate back. They've got a cushy deal and they know it: They run a very profitable gas station for the West. Keep the people in check, keep the price of oil low enough not to wreck the Western economies, don't piss off the United States badly enough to bring the troops in, and they're set.

These leaders are Bin Laden's near enemies. (That list of near enemies included Saddam Hussein when he was in power.) The far enemy is the power that backs them all up: the United States. (You may look askance at the assertion that the US was backing up Saddam's Iraq. But Saddam became our enemy only when he began to unite other nations (i.e., Kuwait) under his rule. In the Reagan years, when Iran was threatening to extend its boundaries at Iraq's expense, Saddam was our friend.)

Question 4: What is Bin Laden's immediate goal?

If you've been paying attention, you should get this one right: His immediate goal is to radicalize the hundreds of millions of Muslims who sympathize with the vision of a restored Caliphate, but have better things to do with their lives than join the jihad. A particular problem for Bin Laden are all the Muslims who think that they can find an acceptable place for themselves in a world order dominated by the United States.

I won't insult your intelligence by asking you who his best allies are in reaching this goal: President Bush, obviously, and all of the neo-conservatives in the Pentagon who push for the most aggressive response to the terrorist threat. Also the Christian leaders like Franklin (son of Billy) Graham, who regularly denounce Islam in terms that look fabulous on Al Qaeda's equivalent of the locker-room bulletin board. John Ashcroft -- and anyone else who mistreats assimilating Arabs and thereby convinces them that they will never really be welcome in America -- is also an ally.

It doesn't matter how much they hate him or denounce his deeds; anyone who radicalizes Muslims is doing Bin Laden's work for him. President Bush may as well have been reading from an Al Qaeda script when he referred to the War on Terror as a "crusade". Muslims know their history and know exactly what a crusade is: Christians invade and steal your land. People who didn't believe this when they heard it from Bin Laden have now heard it from the Crusader-in-Chief.

Question 5: What was the purpose of 9/11?

No points for "To intimidate the United States into retreating from the Middle East." If the US had immediately decided to wash its hands of the Middle East, a variety of secular gangsters like Mubarak and Musharraf and Hussein would have started fighting it out amongst themselves. The odds were small that an Allah-fearing Caliph would arise from such a struggle. Whether the eventual outcome would have been good or bad for the United States is debatable, but it would have been terrible for Bin Laden.

Like all attacks in the bell-curve-inverting stage, the purpose of 9/11 was to provoke a military response. Prior to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, most Muslims had never seen a direct victim of the United States. Many have claimed that the Israelis are really American proxies, and so the Palestinians are victims of America. (Some have gone so far as to claim that the Serbians were American proxies, but that was always far-fetched.) Proxies, however, can never compete with real live American soldiers. And despite the occasional bombing of Lebanon or Syria or even Iraq, it is hard to paint the Israelis as anything more than a regional threat. Pakistanis and Indonesians may sympathize with the Palestinians in a distant sort of way, but they can't raise a credible fear of Jewish tanks rolling down the streets of Islamabad or Jakarta.

Now, thanks to President Bush and the magic of al-Jazeera, every Muslim with working eyesight has seen Muslim women and children killed or horribly disfigured by Americans. And Americans are everywhere; any one of them might be working for the CIA. American troops and ships and aircraft have a global reach. No matter where in the Dar al-Islam you may be, you could be under American attack in a matter of hours. Those screaming people on TV could be you and your family.

Question 6: What was the point of the Madrid bombing?

Trick question. The point of the Madrid bombing was exactly as it appeared: to intimidate the Spanish into taking their troops out of Iraq. And, by extension, to intimidate all the other members of Bush's coalition.

Bin Laden wants to fight Americans, because America scares his sympathizers and energizes his base. But Spaniards and Poles and Salvadorans just confuse the issue. Also, an allied presence
diminishes American expense and American casualties, both of which are key to Bin Laden's strategy.

Question 7: What is Bin Laden's long-term strategy to defeat the United States?

Some people find it hard to believe that Bin Laden can even imagine that he will defeat the United States, much less that he has a plan to do so. But he believes in miracles, and he began his military career by participating in the defeat of the once-mighty Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden has been very clear about his strategy, which depends on the same principles that won the Soviet/Afghan War. In his taped message of October, 2004 he said (according to an al-Jazeera translation):

All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah. So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.

In other words, he wants to draw the well paid, lavishly supplied American soldiers into wars on his territory, where he can fight cheaply. The more American troops he can attract, the more expensive the war will be, until even the economy of the United States can no longer support it.

This idea is not new. Abu-Ubayd al-Qurashi wrote in Al-Ansar in December 2002 that Al Qaeda would imitate the Vietnamese strategy of attacking the "center of gravity" of the United States. Then, the center of gravity was American popular opinion, so the real Vietnam War was fought on television. But things have changed:

A conviction has formed among the mujahedin that American public opinion is not the center of gravity in America. ... This time it is clearly apparent that the American economy is the American center of gravity. ... Supporting this penetrating strategic view is that the Disunited States of America are a mixture of nationalities, ethnic groups, and races united only by the "American Dream" or, to put it more correctly, the worship of the dollar, which they openly call "the Almighty Dollar."

Currently, the Iraq and Afghan Wars together are costing the US something like $60-80 billion a year. That's a nasty load and is one reason why our national debt is sky-rocketing, but it is still within the long-term carrying capacity of the American economy. However, this level of effort is not getting the job done in either country. More American troops and American money will ultimately be needed, particularly if Bin Laden can continue to strip away our allies. If he really wants to destroy the American economy, though, Bin Laden must widen the war into additional Middle Eastern countries.

Question 8. Why didn't Al Qaeda attack the United States before the election?

On the evening before the election, I was on a street corner waving a Kerry sign. The next guy over was waving a Bush sign. He put forward the following case: Of course Bin Laden wanted to intimidate us into leaving Iraq, of course he wanted Kerry elected, and of course he would have attacked us prior to the election if he could, but President Bush has so improved our homeland defenses and so wounded al Qaeda that Bin Laden no longer has the ability to launch a major attack inside the United States.

Let's put aside for the moment the thought that Timothy McVeigh was no genius, so you and I could probably launch a major terrorist attack in the US if we were so inclined and sufficiently determined. The sign-waver's logic fails to account for Bin Laden's goals and strategy: While Bin Laden wanted Spain to leave Iraq, he wants us to stay in. He's counting on it. Moreover, President Bush is so hated in the Islamic world that he makes a perfect foil. A Kerry victory would have required a major new propaganda effort -- and maybe another terrorist attack that Kerry would have to respond to.

So President Bush is keeping us safe in the following perverse manner: By following Bin Laden's script so perfectly up to this point, Bush has made another attack unnecessary. Since the purpose of 9/11 was to rile us up, Al Qaeda need not hit us again as long as we stay riled.

Question 9. What can we expect Bin Laden to do next?

As the Iraq War drags on, it is becoming less and less popular. The Afghan War is mostly out of the public view, but to the extent that it also drains American lives and money with no end in sight, it also is losing support among those who are paying attention. The memory of 9/11 is starting to fade, as years without an attack convince more and more Americans that we are safe.

All of these factors threaten Bin Laden's plans. If President Bush is tempted into pulling our troops and TV cameras out of Iraq, Bin Laden loses. He needs the United States to continue playing the Great Satan role, because there are many secular Muslims who still hope to fit into the globalized world economy. He needs an enemy to focus their fear and anger, and only the United States is up to the job.

What's more, if he is going to bankrupt the US economy, he needs a wider war. At this point the US military is stretched thin, so a wider war would require a draft or some other unpopular measure for swelling the ranks. The American public would have to be very, very riled to agree to such a thing.

All of this points in one direction: Another attack on the United States, probably within the next year. Ideally, the trail would lead back to some area where the US doesn't currently have troops, and where there is an attackable enemy. Iran is an obvious choice, if Bin Laden can engineer it. But Syria would work as well, and may be easier to manipulate. Egypt, Pakistan, and/or Saudi Arabia could fill the bill if the attack on the US were coupled with a revolution against the corresponding US-supported government. So, for example, an attack on the US coming from Pakistan could be synchronized with the assassination of President Musharraf to draw American troops into that country.

Where will he attack? The target needs to fulfill two criteria: First, it needs to be justifiable to an Islamic audience. Bin Laden's pre-election message was probably aimed at them rather than us, and was intended to pre-justify the next attack. From an Islamic point of view, Bin Laden has now pleaded with the American electorate to be reasonable, and has been rejected. Any attack that follows will seem all the more justified. Second, the next attack needs to empower Bin Laden's most aggressive enemies in the United States. He wants us to continue striking first and asking questions later.

It is probably hopeless to try to read Bin Laden's mind in enough detail to guess his exact target. (And there is always the worry that we will do his thinking for him or point out something he has overlooked.) Undoubtedly much will depend on the opportunities that most easily present themselves. But one class of targets seems all too obvious: red-state megachurches whose leaders have made virulently anti-Islamic statements. They are relatively undefended. They are the heart of Bush's political power base, and so can be blamed for his policies. They can easily be portrayed as enemies of Islam. And, last but not least, an attack on a church would rile American hawks like nothing else.

Question 10. What can we do?

Obviously, if we have good intelligence and good police work, we can hope to catch attackers before they kill anyone. But this approach is unsatisfying, because Al Qaeda is patient, and will keep sending attackers until one gets through. To the extent that we are able to track down Al Qaeda's leaders, including Bin Laden himself, that also works in our favor. But Al Qaeda is a movement, not the work of one man or even a small inner circle. Its ideas and strategies are widely distributed. If Bin Laden's sword falls, someone will pick it up.

To a certain extent, the logic of reprisal is irresistible. Who can sit quietly while someone repeatedly hits his face, even if he knows the attacker only wants him to strike back? Ignoring one blow just invites the next. America is not a land of Quakers and Mennonites. If attacked, it is inevitable that we will respond.

However, we need not respond with overwhelming force that kills the innocent and guilty alike. It is important that we husband and cultivate the moral capital that an attack will give us, not spend it all (and then some) in an over-reaching reprisal. This was the mistake Bush made in Iraq. The world was on our side -- yes, even France -- when we brought down the Taliban. If we had captured Bin Laden in Tora Bora and declared ourselves satisfied, we could have gained stature, even in much of the Islamic world.

We need to realize that we play to the same audience as Bin Laden: those Muslims trying to choose between the twin dreams of the Caliphate and of finding their own place in the world economy. Anything that persuades them that the world is open to them works in our favor. Anything that closes the door on them works for Bin Laden.

Most of all, we Americans need to keep a leash on our own radicals. They are not working in our interests any more than Bin Laden is working in the interests of ordinary Muslims. The extremists on both sides serve each other, not the people they claim to represent. The cycle of attack-and-reprisal strengthens radicals on both both sides at the expense of those in the middle who just want to live their lives.

In the face of the next attack, be slow to embrace radical, violent, or angry solutions. The center must hold.

10:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

What's this, Daily Kos?

Of course.

Pericles: Instructions. For Questions 1 and 2, assume you are a violent extremist. In other words, there is some issue (it doesn't really matter what) for which you are willing to take up arms and kill people, even innocent people.

Republicus: M-hm. And that includes the "violent extremists" of the Bush Administration!

Pericles: Question 1: What is the first and biggest obstacle between you and victory?

If you answered 'People on the other side of my issue,' go sit in the corner. That answer is completely wrong.

Republicus: No it's not. You go sit in the corner.

Pericles: If you assume terrorists think that way, everything they do will seem like total insanity.

Republicus: Hello? They think they will be rewarded if they kill "People on the other side of (their) issue" --and themselves--with seventy virgins in some unearthly Nirvana.

Pericles: The first and biggest obstacle to your victory is that the vast majority of the people who sympathize with your issue are not violent extremists.

Republicus: No. "The first and biggest obstacle to your victory" is a unified in purpose and determined West.

And the "vast majority of the people who sympathize with your issue"--i.e. that the West is evil and that a caliphate must triumphantly re-emerge and dominate--may not be "violent extremists," but they are most certainly extremists.

Pericles: They may agree with you in principle (i.e. an extremist one). They may even sound like violent extremists late at night over their beverage of choice.

Republicus: Yes. *In vino veritas.*

Pericles: But when the hammer comes down, they won't be there. There are weeds in the garden and final exams coming up and deadlines at the office. Good luck with that car bombing. Call me next time, maybe things will have settled down by then.

Republicus: Yes. They're called moderates.

Pericles: Most people, most of the time, just want to get along.

Republicus: Yes. Like the Western-minded moderates in Iraq.

Pericles: They'll accept a little inconvenience, ignore a few insults, and smile at people they hate if it allows them to get on with their lives.

Republicus: Yes. Like the Western-minded moderates in Iraq.

Pericles: Most people on both sides of your issue just wish the issue would go away. If you're not careful, those apathetic majorities will get together and craft a compromise. And where's your revolution then?

Republicus: DUH. What do you think we're trying to encourage in Iraq?

Pericles: So your first goal as a violent extremist is not to kill your enemies, but to radicalize the apathetic majority on your side of the issue.

Republicus: Why? To have more numbers to kill more of your enemies with, that's why!

It is the first goal of the United States not to "kill our enemies" but to civilize--not "radicalize"--the "apathetic majority" by showing them a better way and discrediting our enemies.

Pericles: If everyone becomes a violent extremist, then you (as one of the early violent extremists) are a leader of consequence. Conversely, if a reasonable compromise is worked out, you are a nuisance.

Republicus: Duh.

And how is a "reasonable compromise" best worked out?

Through parliaments, the rule of Law, and repectable standing in the international community, bozo.

Percles: Question 2: In radicalizing your sympathizers, who is your best ally?

No points awarded for "the media" or "sympathetic foreign governments".

Republicus: He's covering his ass, saying "Don't look at me!"

Outfits like Al Jazeera, Moveon.org, and THE DAILY KOS are your best allies.

Pericles: In radicalizing your apathetic sympathizers, you have no better ally than the violent extremists on the other side.

Republicus: Who? Oh, right. The American president, the "Neocons," and the Likkud Party.

Pericles: Only they can convince your people that compromise is impossible.

Republicus: Hey bozo, "they" have shed blood to give them Democracy.

It's a superior system.

It thrives on compromise.

Pericles: Only they can raise your countrymen's level of fear and despair to the point that large numbers are willing to take up arms and follow your lead.

Republicus: No, only the terrorist leaders themselves--and outfits like Al Jazeera, Moveon.org, and THE DAILY KOS-- can raise their countrymen's level of fear and despair against the West.

Pericles: "...A few blown up apartment buildings and dead schoolchildren will get you more recruits than the best revolutionary tracts ever written."

Republicus: Didn't help Zarqawi.

Pericles: Perversely, this means that you are the best ally of the extremists on the other side. That doesn't mean you love or even talk to each other -- they are, after all, vile and despicable demons. But at this stage in the process your interests align.

Republicus: He's wrong, or he's lying. Your best ally are the extremists on the SAME SIDE, namely outfits like The Daily Kos, which doesn't mean you love or even talk to each other -- you guys are, after all, vile and despicable demons. But at this stage in the process your interests align.

Pericles: Both of you want to invert the bell curve...

Republicus: Yes, both of you--the terrorists and their antiwar allies--want to invert.

Pericles: ...to flatten out that big hump in the middle and drive people to the edges.

Republicus: Yes. And then call the people on your edge "The People" and "Us" and "Victims of America" and even "True Patriots" while lambasting those on the other edge as "fascists."

Pericles: That's why extremists come in pairs: Caesar and Pompey, the Nazis and the Communists, Sharon and Arafat, Bush and Bin Laden. Each side needs a demonic opposite in order to galvanize its supporters.

Republicus: Hm. Like the Daily Kos and
"extremists" like Republicus, presumably.

Pericles: Naive observers frequently decry the apparent counter-productivity of extremist attacks.

Republicus: He just called "the big hump in the middle"--the ones who decry HIS Leftist antiwar attacks--"naive observers."

The ones who decry "the apparent counter-productivity of extremist attacks" coming from the RIGHT are most assuredly "enlightened patriots."

Pericles: Don't the leaders of Hamas understand that every suicide bombing makes the Israelis that much more determined not to give the Palestinians a state? Don't they realize that the Israeli government will strike back even harder, and inflict even more suffering on the Palestinian people? Of course they do; they're not idiots. The Israeli response is exactly what they're counting on. More airstrikes, more repression, more poverty -- fewer opportunities for normal life to get in the way of the Great Struggle.

Republicus: So Hamas is cleverly inflicting misery on the Israelis so that the misery brought on the Palestinians by righteous retaliation can be blamed on the Israelis?

Is it possible that they're just the dirtiest of fighters without having cunningly thought: "If we do this and they do that then we can say this!"

It sounds like your bypassing the obvious--that they're violent brutes--and making up all sorts of rationalizations to explain how they aren't.

Pericles: The cycle of violence may be vicious, but it is not pointless.

Republicus: Of course it's not. Their point is to terrorize.

Pericles: Each round of strike-and-counterstrike makes the political center less tenable. The surviving radical leaders on each side...

Republicus: !!! the Israelis retaliating against radical terrorism are likewise being "radical"???

Pericles: ...energize their respective bases and cement their respective holds on power.

Republicus: What are you talking about? The Israelis have rejected hawks in favor of doves.

Pericles: The first round of the playoffs is always the two extremes against the center. Only after the center is vanquished will you meet your radical counterparts in the championship round.

Republicus: What is this relativistic nonsense?

This guy is leveling the playing field and pitting Hamas and Israel against each other like European soccer teams and implying that supporters on each side are equally fanatic.

Pericles: Question 3: What is Bin Laden's ultimate goal?

This is an easy one. Bin Laden has been very explicit: He wants a return of the Caliphate. In other words, he wants a re-unified Islamic nation stretching from Indonesia to Morocco, governed by leaders faithful to the Koran.

Republicus: He's right! That's why the strategy to defeat that agenda is global in scope and addresses systemic maladies and cannot be limited to lynching Bin Laden and then walking away.

Pericles: This goal is quite popular in the Islamic world.

Republicus: No, in the *Islamicist* world.

The difference calling somone an "Islamic" versus an "Islamicist" is the difference between calling someone a "patriot" and a "fascist."

If Bush said something like that, you'd go after him for talking like a "Crusader" and taking on the entire Islamic world.

Pericles: The Muslim man-in-the-street knows his history: When the Dar al-Islam was unified, it was the most feared empire in the world. Baghdad, the home of the Caliph, was the center of civilization, leading the world in learning and artistry as well as power. (Europe may well have lost its classical heritage if Muslim libraries hadn't preserved Greek manuscripts through the Dark Ages. Just about any English word beginning with al refers to an Islamic invention: algebra, algorithm, alchemy, and even alcohol -- which was an Arabian process for distilling perfumes long before the West started using it to make hard liquor).

Republicus: Yes. The age of Kindi, Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimomides.

Those guys were Platonics and Aristotelians.

WESTERN.

Pericles: Who wouldn't want that back?

Republicus: Good question!

But they sure as hell aren't going to get it back with iron-fisted despots and Islamicist theocrats enslaving infidels like yours truly in dhimmitude.

Pericles: Well, for starters, the current rulers of the two dozen or so nations of the Dar al-Islam wouldn't want the Caliphate back.

Republicus: Because they don't want iron-fisted despots or Islamicist theocrats running the show.

These theocrats don't think like 12th Century philosophes.

Pericles: They've got a cushy deal and they know it: They run a very profitable gas station for the West. Keep the people in check, keep the price of oil low enough not to wreck the Western economies, don't piss off the United States badly enough to bring the troops in, and they're set.

Republicus: It's called cooperative civilization for the mutual pursut of comfort in a globalized world.

Does he have a problem with that?

Pericles: These leaders are Bin Laden's near enemies. (That list of near enemies included Saddam Hussein when he was in power.)

Republicus: Hold it. This guy isn't really comparing the Hussein monarchy in Jordan with Hussein's Baathist Iraq, is he?

Yes.

Pericles: The far enemy is the power that backs them all up: the United States.

Right. It's called protecting our ALLIES.

Pericles: (You may look askance at the assertion that the US was backing up Saddam's Iraq. But Saddam became our enemy only when he began to unite other nations (i.e., Kuwait) under his rule. In the Reagan years, when Iran was threatening to extend its boundaries at Iraq's expense, Saddam was our friend.)

Rpublicus: NO! Really?

Does that indicate Foreign Policy "corruption," or realpolitik?

Pericles: Question 4: What is Bin Laden's immediate goal?

If you've been paying attention, you should get this one right: His immediate goal is to radicalize the hundreds of millions of Muslims who sympathize with the vision of a restored Caliphate, but have better things to do with their lives than join the jihad.

Republicus: Republicus has been paying attrention.

You already said:

"So your first goal as a violent extremist is not to kill your enemies, but to radicalize the apathetic majority on your side of the issue."

Republicus corrected: No. "The first and biggest obstacle to your victory" is a unified in purpose and determined West.

But what this guy is trying to assert is that a unified in purpose (winning) and determined (to win) West is what will make us lose.

So we should let the antiwar crowd disintegrate our unity in purpose and dissolve our resolve to win so we could...

...Win?

Are you nuts, Pericles?

Pericles: A particular problem for Bin Laden are all the Muslims who think that they can find an acceptable place for themselves in a world order dominated by the United States.

Republicus: Yes.

And we're trying to show them how.

Pericles: I won't insult your intelligence...

Republicus: You already have by talking down to me like an elementary school teacher and playing little "Time for a quiz!" and "Guess what I have behind my back?" games.

Pericles: ...by asking you who his best allies are in reaching this goal: President Bush, obviously, and all of the neo-conservatives in the Pentagon who push for the most aggressive response to the terrorist threat.

Republicus: lol See?

He earlier said:

"In radicalizing your apathetic sympathizers, you have no better ally than the violent extremists on the other side."

And Republicus responded:

"Who? Oh, right. The American 'Neocons' and the Likkud Party."

He's covering his ass. Bin Laden's best allies are oufits like Al Jazeera, Moveon.org, and THE DAILY KOS.

He's saying it's the forces that are fighting TERRORISM who are the terrorists best allies in a shameless display of outrageous sophistries!

Pericles: Also the Christian leaders like Franklin (son of Billy) Graham, who regularly denounce Islam in terms that look fabulous on Al Qaeda's equivalent of the locker-room bulletin board.

Republicus: Of course. The radical Red State Christians.

This is all their fault.

Those friggin' religious nuts torch mosques and harass and kidnap Moslem missionaries and videotape their beheading.

No, wait, that's what the Islamicists do to Christian churches and missionaries!

Pericles: John Ashcroft -- and anyone else who mistreats assimilating Arabs and thereby convinces them that they will never really be welcome in America -- is also an ally.

Republicus: Over-the-top. American Moslems who don't implicate THEMSELVES by being at the wrong place at the wrong time (like in an Al Qaeda training camp n Afghanistan, or on a confirmed terrorist's cell-phone record) have the ACLU assurances that they can walk onto an airplane unharassed while a silver-haired grandmother is frisked and "body searched" to avoid charges of "discrimination."

And didn't Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus during the Civil War piss off Confederates--as well Lincoln-Haters in the Union?

And didn't FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans piss off the Japanese?

Of course they did. So what.

But before Lincoln suspended habeus corpos Fort Sumpter was fired upon.

And befgore FDR interned Japanese- Americans there was Pearl Harbor.

Before the Patriot Act and Operation Iraqi Freedom was 9/11..

And Bush was being lambasted at the time--from the LEFT!-- for "disengaging" from the problems in Israel.

And they hit us anywy.

Pericles: It doesn't matter how much they hate him or denounce his deeds; anyone who radicalizes Muslims is doing Bin Laden's work for him.

Republicus: What is this guy suggesting we do?

APPEASE TERRORIST MENTALITIES?!?

Yes.

Pericles: President Bush may as well have been reading from an Al Qaeda script when he referred to the War on Terror as a "crusade."

Republicus: That was funny! He was like: "We will prevail in this...this..."

And I'm like: "Don't say it, George!"

"...this...this...CRUSADE!"

And I'm like: "Aw, he said it! lol!"

Pericles: Muslims know their history and know exactly what a crusade is: Christians invade and steal your land. People who didn't believe this when they heard it from Bin Laden have now heard it from the Crusader-in-Chief."

Republicus: Oh, all of a sudden an authentic Bushism is supposed to be taken very, very seriously?

Come on. That was funny. There was no implied nexus to the Knight's Templar.

And besides, Jerusalem doesn't need saving.

It's already in the right hands.

Pericles: Question 5: What was the purpose of 9/11?

No points for 'To intimidate the United States into retreating from the Middle East.'

Republicus: Sez you.

Pericles: If the US had immediately decided to wash its hands of the Middle East..."

Republicus: One more time: Bush was being seriously attacked--from the LEFT--for "disengaging" from Clinton's "Peace Process" when 9/11 struck.

Pericles: ...a variety of secular gangsters like Mubarak and Musharraf and Hussein would have started fighting it out amongst themselves. The odds were small that an Allah-fearing Caliph would arise from such a struggle. Whether the eventual outcome would have been good or bad for the United States is debatable, but it would have been terrible for Bin Laden."

Republicus: That's speculation. A whole slew of scenarios had the potential to manifest themselves in the wake of American disengagement, good or bad for Bin Laden, terrible for the United States.

Pericles: Like all attacks in the bell-curve-inverting stage, the purpose of 9/11 was to provoke a military response.

Republicus: Look. Bin Laden did NOT want to have the patronizing Taliban dismantled, Al Qaeda decimated, and his banishment to a cave (if not some wealthy relative's lavish basement back in Saudi Arabia).

He is not happy AT ALL with what is going on in Iraq.

But this clown "Pericles" is trying to tell you: "Yes, we've walked right into Bin Laden's trap. Everything is proceeding precisely as he planned!"

LOL! PERICLES IS A MORON!

Pericles: Prior to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, most Muslims had never seen a direct victim of the United States.

Republicus: Where has he been? The Palestinians have been playing the victim card for DECADES, and they ultimately blamed the United States for the victimization.

Pericles: Many have claimed that the Israelis are really American proxies, and so the Palestinians are victims of America.

Republicus: Right.

Pericles: (Some have gone so far as to claim that the Serbians were American proxies, but that was always far-fetched.)

Republicus: Yes. We helped Muslim, Albanian narco-terrorists pursue their own dream of an imperial Greater Albania at the expense of SErbian sovereignty.

Yeah, you're welcome, guys! Don't mention it!

Pericles: Proxies, however, can never compete with real live American soldiers. And despite the occasional bombing of Lebanon or Syria or even Iraq, it is hard to paint the Israelis as anything more than a regional threat.

Republicus: "'MORE' than a regional threat?"

Isn't that enough?

If the Israelis were of the same sick mindset as the Islamicists, the surrounding, hostile Middle Eastern deserts would be seas of glass.

Pericles: Pakistanis and Indonesians may sympathize with the Palestinians in a distant sort of way, but they can't raise a credible fear of Jewish tanks rolling down the streets of Islamabad or Jakarta.

Republicus: How could they?

Israel doesn't want anything to do with them.

Pericles: Now, thanks to President Bush and the magic of al-Jazeera...

Republicus: Right. The two "radical extremes"--while he places himself and his rabid antiwar crowd in the "moderate, mainstream midde"--which begs the question: What's HIS solution?

He's been blaming the "radical extremist" President Bush and his "Neocon administration" for making the life of the "reasonable" and "moderating" "middle" (including himself, presumably) miserable because they're caught in a tug-of-war between the two equally "radical extremes," i.e. the Bush Administration and the terrorists who were behind 9/11.

So what he's saying is that the "extreme" of the Bush Administration would be better served if it ceased the tug-of-war with the "extreme" Bin Laden types, because the tugging only serves to push the "vast middle" towards the Bin Laden crowd?

This devious propagandist is simply trying to convince--if not confuse-- with sophistries that the United States should unilaterally stop fighting!

Pericles: ....every Muslim with working eyesight has seen Muslim women and children killed or horribly disfigured by Americans.

Republicus: But not by Zarqawi and Sunni insurgents?

Is he saying that "every Muslim with working eyesight" blames America?

That's the same demagogic filth Lee Harvey uses when he says "Everyone knows."

Pericles: And Americans are everywhere; any one of them might be working for the CIA. American troops and ships and aircraft have a global reach. No matter where in the Dar al-Islam you may be, you could be under American attack in a matter of hours.

Republicus: Hello? We're fighting a friggin' war.

You don't think the Germans were constantly aware that they could be under American attack once we entered the European theater?

You don't think the Germans AND the Japanese were aware of our constant presence in the reconstruction after WWII?

Do you know what we did to Dresden?

A lot worse than what Hitler did to London (which is saying a lot).

Pericles: Those screaming people on TV could be you and your family.

Republicus: What a coincidence! That's how Republicus felt on 9/11!

Pericles: Question 5: What was the purpose of 9/11?

No points for "To intimidate the United States into retreating from the Middle East."

Republicus: This self-ordained pedagogue is getting on my nerves. He apparently thinks that I'm some kind of hand-raising "Oo-oo! Pick me, pick-me!" pupil eager to earn his smiling, haed-patting approval and get a little star stuck on my forehead.

For the last time: Bush was being seriously attacked--from the LEFT--for "disengaging" from Clinton's "Peace Process" when 9/11 struck.

Bin Laden called us a "paper tiger."

He came right out and said that our withdrawals from Lebanon and Somalia were because we were easily intimidated and easily retreated.

Now give me those points, Pericles.

Pericles: The extremists on both sides serve each other, not the people they claim to represent.

Republicus: True. The Jihadists and the antiwar crowd most certainly serve each other.

Pericles: Abu-Ubayd al-Qurashi wrote in Al-Ansar in December 2002 that Al Qaeda would imitate the Vietnamese strategy of attacking the "center of gravity" of the United States.

Then, the center of gravity was American popular opinion, so the real Vietnam War was fought on television. But things have changed:

A conviction has formed among the mujahedin that American public opinion is not the center of gravity in America. ... This time it is clearly apparent that the American economy is the American center of gravity...

Republicus: False. It is still American public opinion.

And Pericles knows it. He's just trying to cover his ass again by belittling his subversive complicity with the desired prospect of defeat.

He himself lets slip at the conclusion that the center is, in fact, public opinion:

"In the face of the next attack, be slow to embrace radical, violent, or angry solutions. The center must hold."

But I thought "things have changed," Pericles!

Pericles: Question 6: What was the point of the Madrid bombing?

Republicus: Well...

Pericles: Trick question.

Republicus: Aw, he got me!

Pericles: The point of the Madrid bombing was exactly as it appeared: to intimidate the Spanish into taking their troops out of Iraq. And, by extension, to intimidate all the other members of Bush's coalition.

Republicus: My thoughts exactly. What's so tricky about that?

Pericles: Bin Laden wants to fight Americans, because America scares his sympathizers and energizes his base. But Spaniards and Poles and Salvadorans just confuse the issue.

Republicus: No, what "energizes his base" is the idea of a dispirited international coalition.

Of course they want to strip power away from the coalition.

What "confuses" them about the participation of other countries is that IT PROVES YOUR ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONIZATION A LIE, because it involves the civilized world, and not just "Imperial America!"

Strip away the coalition, *voila*: Look, look, they're by themselves! It's imperial unilateralism!"

Yes, that's what they tried to accomplish too--BUT YOU, "PERICLES," ARE SANCTIONING THAT, because the participation of the Spaniards and the Poles confused YOUR premises and arguments, too.

Pericles: Also, an allied presence
diminishes American expense and American casualties, both of which are key to Bin Laden's strategy.

Republicus: DUH.

SO WHY AREN'T YOU PROMOTING COALITION INTEGRITY?

Pericles: Question 7: What is Bin Laden's long-term strategy to defeat the United States?

Some people find it hard to believe that Bin Laden can even imagine that he will defeat the United States, much less that he has a plan to do so. But he believes in miracles, and he began his military career by participating in the defeat of the once-mighty Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden has been very clear about his strategy, which depends on the same principles that won the Soviet/Afghan War. In his taped message of October, 2004 he said (according to an al-Jazeera translation):

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah. So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah."

In other words, he wants to draw the well paid, lavishly supplied American soldiers into wars on his territory, where he can fight cheaply. The more American troops he can attract, the more expensive the war will be, until even the economy of the United States can no longer support it."

Republicus: Yes. Republicus whold assume he's counting on something like that.

But two can play at that game, Pericles.

We're freezing bank accounts and bleeding them so bad they're not only stuck with having to kill themselves along with any attack that isn't a roadside bomb, but they've resorted to killing fellow Muslims praying in Mosques, and going on suicide missions.

But no! "Pericles" wants you to think it is WE who are growing desperate and being "bled" while Bin Laden rubs his hands together in a cave and says: "Yes, YES! All is going as planned!"

Pericles: Question 8. Why didn't Al Qaeda attack the United States before the election?

On the evening before the election, I was on a street corner waving a Kerry sign.

Republicus: Of course.

Pericles: The next guy over was waving a Bush sign. He put forward the following case: Of course Bin Laden wanted to intimidate us into leaving Iraq, of course he wanted Kerry elected, and of course he would have attacked us prior to the election if he could, but President Bush has so improved our homeland defenses and so wounded al Qaeda that Bin Laden no longer has the ability to launch a major attack inside the United States.

Let's put aside for the moment the thought that Timothy McVeigh was no genius..."

Republicus: Stop right there. Mcveigh was a trained Marine who knew about explosives and battlefield tactics and was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.

Pericles: ...so you and I could probably launch a major terrorist attack in the US if we were so inclined and sufficiently determined.

Republicus: Yeah. Good luck, Pericles! See ya in the funny papers!

If not in GITMO.

Pericles: The sign-waver's logic...

Republicus: Oh, the man holding a Bush placard is demeaned as a "sign-waver" as distinguished from Pericles, who was waving a Kerry sign?

THIS GUY'S AN ILLOGICAL JOKE!

Pericles: ...fails to account for Bin Laden's goals and strategy:

While Bin Laden wanted Spain to leave Iraq, he wants us to stay in. He's counting on it.

Republicus: BULL. Sophistries. Bin Laden wants Bush to lose. Bin Laden wants America to be humiliated by LEAVING Iraq with the mission defeated.

Pericles is saying that Bin Laden would have prefered to have had both his arch-enemy Bush in command for another four years with his "stay-the- course" philosophy and the world's greatest military force building bases in Iraq on the gamble that he will convince enough Muslims to become suicide terrorists...

...and drive out the American military from Iraq?

THAT MAKES NO SENSE, "PERICLES!"

Pericles: Moreover, President Bush is so hated in the Islamic world that he makes a perfect foil.

Republicus: IN THE ISLAMICIST WORLD.

I wonder what "Pericles" said after Bush was photographed holding hands with the ISLAMIC LEADER OF SAUDI ARABIA.

What does Pericles think of the fact that our best allies in Iraq--aside from the Kurds--ARE ISLAMIC?

Does "Pericles" think that the accused pedophile and American pop star Michael Jackson is in danger of his life living in Islamic Bahrain?

President Bush is "so hated in the Islamic world" by the same kind of psychos who "so hate him" in THE AMERICAN WORLD.

i.e. YOU GUYS.

Pericles: A Kerry victory would have required a major new propaganda effort -- and maybe another terrorist attack that Kerry would have to respond to.

Republicus: No "maybe," DEFINITELY.

But note what "Pericles" is implying: "JUST IGNORE THEM!"

Yes, according to "Pericles," it is Bush's offensive effort that makes the problem of terrorism even worse.

So "Pericles" decides to vote for Kerry--because he thinks he'll do a better job in quelling terrorist ire (which is exasperated by Bush)--but once Kerry's in, "Pericles" admits that his own "inoffensive" superiority as a President WILL INVITE MORE TERRORISM!

Pericles: So President Bush is keeping us safe in the following perverse manner: By following Bin Laden's script so perfectly up to this point, Bush has made another attack unnecessary.

Republicus: That's perverted logic. ONLY A UNHINGED BUSH-HATER LIKE HIMSELF--AND OTHERS--HAS THE SHAMELESS GALL TO SAY THAT BUSH'S SUCCESFUL AGENDA AGAINST TERRORISM IS ACTUALLY A "FAILURE" BECAUSE IT MAKES MORE TERRORISM "UNNECESSARY."

They're friggin' NUTS.

Pericles: Since the purpose of 9/11 was to rile us up, Al Qaeda need not hit us again as long as we stay riled.

Great! Republicus WILL STAY RILED, then!

No, THE PURPOSE OF 9/11 WAS IN FACT IN EXPECTATION OF OUR CAVING IN.

Bin Laden called us a "paper tiger."

He said our ignominious "retreat" from places like Beirut and Somalia proves that.

HE WAS NOT EXPECTING TO LOSE HIS LITTLE CALIPHATE IN AFGHANISTAN.

HE THOUGHT HE COULD KEEP US OUT OF THERE THE SAME WAY HE KEPT THE SOVIETS OUT.

He was WRONG.

AND SO IS PERICLES.

Pericles: "Question 9. What can we expect Bin Laden to do next?

As the Iraq War drags on, it is becoming less and less popular."

Republicus: Gee, I wonder why.

Normal war-fatigue, and BECAUSE OF JUNK LIKE THIS.

Pericles: The Afghan War is mostly out of the public view, but to the extent that it also drains American lives and money with no end in sight, it also is losing support among those who are paying attention.

Republicus: So "Pericles" wants to lose that, too?

Pericles: The memory of 9/11 is starting to fade, as years without an attack convince more and more Americans that we are safe.

Republicus: Why do you think the President reminds us to stay vigilant?

But everytime he refers to 9/11, what do people like "Pericles" say?

"HE'S FEAR-MONGERING!"

And yes, we are safer.

Why?

Because there is no threat?

Or because the administration has taken aggressive measures and in fact has broken up many threats and actual attempts?

Pericles: All of these factors threaten Bin Laden's plans. If President Bush is tempted into pulling our troops and TV cameras out of Iraq, Bin Laden loses.

Republicus: NO. If we pull out of Iraq because of people like "Pericles," Bin Laden will most ASSUREDLY praise Allah.

Pericles: He needs the United States to continue playing the Great Satan role, because there are many secular Muslims who still hope to fit into the globalized world economy.

Republicus: DUH.

BUT THEY WERE PLAYING THE GREAT SATAN ROLE FOR DECADES JUST DOING WHAT AMERICA DOES.

And who do you think we're encouraging and cultivating in Iraq, I ask again?

"Secular Muslims who still hope to fit into the globalized world economy," perhaps?

Pericles: He needs an enemy to focus their fear and anger, and only the United States is up to the job.

"Pericles," YOU MAKE NO SENSE.

Are you saying that Bin Laden doesn't want America to retreat from Iraq because its presence there riles up enough radical Moslems to be able to rally a large enough army in order to...

...EVICT THE AMERICANS FROM IRAQ?!?!?

What the HELL are you talking about?

Pericles: What's more, if he is going to bankrupt the US economy, he needs a wider war."

BUT HE'S GOT ONE!

And the enemy has more to worry about dwindling stipends than we do.

Pericles: At this point the US military is stretched thin, so a wider war would require a draft or some other unpopular measure for swelling the ranks. The American public would have to be very, very riled to agree to such a thing.

Republicus: Now see here, Pericles, if the terrorists do something so spectacular as to force consideration of the draft, you can be damn sure it will be something that will make us take the gloves off and make the draft a secondary option to the available one of using nukes.

They're on very thin ice. They better watch it.

Pericles: All of this points in one direction: Another attack on the United States, probably within the next year. Ideally, the trail would lead back to some area where the US doesn't currently have troops, and where there is an attackable enemy. Iran is an obvious choice..."

Republicus: Yeah, that would be just brilliant for Bin Laden.

The Iranians have a MUCH larger Western underground movement than Iraq ever did.

All they need to rise up and overthrow the mullahs is...

...American military support.

Periles: ..if Bin Laden can engineer it.

He wouldn't, and he can't. He's been neutralized. He's only a spiritual figurehead.

If not a potted plant.

Pericles: But Syria would work as well, and may be easier to manipulate.

Republicus: Yeah, sure, "Pericles." Syria would just LOVE to invite retribution.

Pericles: Egypt, Pakistan, and/or Saudi Arabia could fill the bill if the attack on the US were coupled with a revolution against the corresponding US-supported government.

Republicus: Yo. "Pericles." Wake up. The trend is going in the other direction.

Pericles: So, for example, an attack on the US coming from Pakistan could be synchronized with the assassination of President Musharraf to draw American troops into that country.

Republicus: Look "Pericles." I don't know how much of that Kool-Aid you've been drinking-and are now serving on the house-- but try to understand something: NO COUNTRY IN ITS RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT A BALLS-OUT INVASION BY THE UNITED STATES MILITARY.

Pericles: Where will he attack? The target needs to fulfill two criteria: First, it needs to be justifiable to an Islamic audience. Bin Laden's pre-election message was probably aimed at them rather than us, and was intended to pre-justify the next attack. From an Islamic point of view, Bin Laden has now pleaded with the American electorate to be reasonable, and has been rejected.

Republicus: wait a sec, "Pericles," I thought you said earlier that he WANTED to be rejected.

Oh, right, he wanted to be rejected by the American electorate because he secretly wanted Bush to remain in power, but meanwhile he wants to fool his own people into thinking he was getting "dissed."

Brilliant...

...If not a forced rationalization by you to make the apparent facts conform to your psychobabbling world-view where you try to make excuses for and second-guess Bin Laden--who's on the run and hunted--to tell everyone that he's actually winning.

You guys are NUTS.

Pericles: Any attack that follows will seem all the more justified.

Republicus: Yeah! Just like 9/11!

Pericles: Second, the next attack needs to empower Bin Laden's most aggressive enemies in the United States.

Republicus: Uh-oh. Who could THAT be?

Pericles: He wants us to continue striking first and asking questions later.

Republicus: Yeah! I get it now! Because it makes *Al Jazeera* AND you guys scream bloody murder, because that's exactly what we do both on the battlefield and in the processing of enemy combatants!

Yes, yes, ANYTHING we do that pisses off you guys and Al Jazeera and "riles up" the Arab Street is a victory for Bin Laden!

Sooooo...the wisest course of action would be...
...not to do anything that riles up the Arab street!

Do I get any points? :)

Listen to this, listen to "Pericles"-- HE'S THINKING LIKE --AND FOR-- BIN LADEN ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB:

Pericles: It is probably hopeless to try to read Bin Laden's mind in enough detail to guess his exact target.
(And there is always the worry that we will do his thinking for him or point out something he has overlooked.)

Republicus: Yes. He's "worried" about doing the "thinking for him" or "pointing out something he's overlooked."

That's not exactly what he's willfully doing here:

Pericles: Undoubtedly much will depend on the opportunities that most easily present themselves. But one class of targets seems all too obvious: red-state megachurches whose leaders have made virulently anti-Islamic statements. They are relatively undefended. They are the heart of Bush's political power base, and so can be blamed for his policies. They can easily be portrayed as enemies of Islam. And, last but not least, an attack on a church would rile American hawks like nothing else.

Republicus: You disgust me, "Pericles."

Pericles: Question 10. What can we do?

Republicus: I've got an idea!

SHUT.

THE F**K.

UP.

Pericles: Obviously, if we have good intelligence and good police work, we can hope to catch attackers before they kill anyone. But this approach is unsatisfying because Al Qaeda is patient, and will keep sending attackers until one gets through. To the extent that we are able to track down Al Qaeda's leaders, including Bin Laden himself, that also works in our favor.

Republicus: Yes. Good. You recognize the futility of the "fly-swatting" approach.

Pericles: But Al Qaeda is a movement, not the work of one man or even a small inner circle. Its ideas and strategies are widely distributed. If Bin Laden's sword falls, someone will pick it up.

Good, "Pericles," good! Keep thinking, there's a good man!

Pericles: To a certain extent, the logic of reprisal is irresistible. Who can sit quietly while someone repeatedly hits his face?

Jesus Christ. Good, "Pericles," good!

Pericles: ...even if he knows the attacker only wants him to strike back?

Oh gawd. He just keeps PULLING himself back in!

LISTEN: THEY DO NOT WANT US TO FIGHT BACK.

Pericles: Ignoring one blow just invites the next.

Republicus: Yes. Good, "Pericles," good! You can do it!

Pericles: America is not a land of Quakers and Mennonites. If attacked, it is inevitable that we will respond.

Republicus: Damn right, homeboy! Yes, yes! You're thinking clearly!

Pericles: However...

Republicus: Oh, no.

Pericles: ...we need not respond with overwhelming force that kills the innocent and guilty alike. It is important that we husband and cultivate the moral capital that an attack will give us, not spend it all (and then some) in an over-reaching reprisal.

Republicus: Huh? We do.

Pericles: This was the mistake Bush made in Iraq.

Republicus: What? Bush said, "F**k 'em. Let's just nuke 'em?"

No. We went with a relatively small-sized force-- inviting recriminations from antiwar armchair-generals who said we SHOULD have gone in with "overwhelming force."

We went out of our way to save as many lives as possible--undoubtedly losing many of our own
in the process against a vicious enemy who doesn't give a damn about "collateral damage."

We're helping them build a constitutional republic.

THAT'S "overwhelming force that kills the innocent and guilty alike....over-reaching reprisal?"

Oh, that's right:

Bush's military equals the blitzkrieging and stormtrooping Nazi army!

Pericles: The world was on our side -- yes, even France -- when we brought down the Taliban.

Republicus: Right! Now the whole wide world is against us!

Pericles: If we had captured Bin Laden in Tora Bora and declared ourselves satisfied, we could have gained stature, even in much of the Islamic world.

Republicus: Excuse me, but do you honestly believe that the ferocious terrorists we've encountered both in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as we have seen manifesting itself in Spain, France, and London, and as usual in Israel, well after Tora Bora, wouldn't be there if Bin Laden had been captured?

You actually preferred the disfunctional, Pre-9/11 status quo?

Pericles: We need to realize that we play to the same audience as Bin Laden: those Muslims trying to choose between the twin dreams of the Caliphate and of finding their own place in the world economy. Anything that persuades them that the world is open to them works in our favor. Anything that closes the door on them works for Bin Laden.

Republicus: Right. Open markets, Democratic reforms, and modernization works in their--and our-- favor.

But they really should let go of the "dream" of the caliphate.

It already had its run and died of natural causes.

Ironically:

Pericles: Most of all, we Americans need to keep a leash on our own radicals. They are not working in our interests any more than Bin Laden is working in the interests of ordinary Muslims.

Republicus: Yes. Heel, boy.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

"Bush also accepted responsibility for invading Iraq based on faulty intelligence."

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," Bush said.

Thats right George, almost there, yes, yes

"And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

awww Georgie. One more little step, It was a lie and I submit my resignation and will turn myself over to the FBI. So close.Pussy

8:37 AM  
Blogger John said...

With former-President Clinton?

11:57 PM  
Blogger John said...

P.S. If "Pericles" is a pseudonym and not actually his name, then that clown has adopted the name of the most famous Athenian tyrant and imperialists, probably on the notion that, as "Pericles," he is modeling his condescending speaking style and imperious command of "the facts" after a great Classical orator of a presumed benign Democracy.

6:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home