Friday, January 1, 2010

Who's to blame for terrorism’s moral victory?

Clausewitz defines war as "an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will." The remarkable thing about terrorist warfare is that, once it has been carried out, even a foiled terrorist attack serves that strategic objective. The terrorist understands that what ultimately compels the will is not just the successful application of force but the fear and demoralization that result from it. Therefore fear and demoralization are the terrorist's strategic weapons. Even when a blow is averted, and the enemy escapes immediate death and destruction, the near miss can be enough to raise his level of apprehension. It can increase the weight of his sense of vulnerability, especially when its deadly effect is forestalled purely by chance, while highlighting the futility of all his precautions. The terror strategist can certainly count on circumstances occasionally to produce such outcomes. But I would assume that the thorough practitioner of terrorism builds them into his strategic thinking, especially when he has at his disposal assets who eagerly welcome the platform and notoriety they will assuredly enjoy if they are taken alive. The December 17 terrorist attack against Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should therefore be considered a successful terrorist assault. This is at least in part because, despite the limited scope of its direct physical effects, the volume of its moral and emotional effect is increased by prominent Americans who, knowingly or not, act as amplifiers, broadening the reach and impact of the act itself.

As Clausewitz also observed, "military activity is never directed against material force alone; it is always aimed simultaneously at the moral forces which give it life, and the two cannot be separated. But moral values can only be perceived by the inner eye... Since danger is the common element in which everything moves in war, courage, the sense of one's own strength, is the principal factor that influences judgment." The morale of an army or of a whole people during war cannot therefore be sustained apart from their moral perception, which necessarily involves their perception of their own moral position relative to the enemy. Sane people do not by and large sustain difficult and dangerous efforts they believe are unjustified. In large scale conventional warfare, the clear and present threat to their survival may be sufficient justification. But in the terror war, individual engagements directly affect only a relative few. For the rest, the threat to their survival as a whole is an abstraction. With the right kind of leadership, it can become a moral and emotional reality. But that requires an intelligent, capable and sustained articulation of the strategic vision that clarifies for the "inner eye" both the physical and moral reality of the threat.

With respect to the terror war Islamic forces have been waging against the United States, G. W. Bush proved incompetent at articulating this strategic vision, but at least he tried. Because his agenda and world view are so consistent with those of the forces brought against us, Obama has never made any attempt to do so. On the contrary, he has consistently slandered the United States with a pose of self-flagellating (as regards the nation) and self-righteous (in regard to himself) apology for supposed American acts of domineering injustice that, he implies, naturally result in hateful acts of carefully planned violence against the American people.

Since he is a wholehearted advocate of the leftist critique of American liberty Obama's conscious validation of the moral position of its enemies comes as no surprise. What surprises some is the fact that a famously staunch conservative like Ron Paul blames U.S. for violence. In a recent TV appearance we find him "blaming terrorism on the U.S. presence around the globe. 'They're terrorists because we're occupiers,' Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said on the Larry King show". Of the motive for the recent terror attack he said "We bombed Yemen 2 weeks ago….He (the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) did it because of the bombing." Ben Stein, also a guest on the show, correctly noted that Paul's statement has no basis in fact since "there is no U.S. occupation of Yemen or Nigeria" and Abdulmutallab "had already been mobilized and had even bought his Northwest ticket before we struck." Moreover, as noted in the WND account of the show, "Reports confirm that there was an air strike by Yemeni jets-and possibly some from Saudi Arabia", not U.S. forces.

Apparently Ron Paul believes that seeking cooperation from other states in striking against terrorist camps makes us "occupiers". In a similar vein, because after repelling Iraq's invasion of Kuwait during the first Gulf War, the U.S. did not invade and occupy Iraq, our role as occupiers somehow explains the 9-11 terror attacks. We are in the wrong because we dare to defend others. We are in the wrong because we dare to ally with others in order to do defend ourselves.

Such illogic cannot rightly be described as reasoning. If we make it the basis for dealing with terror, we end up asking ourselves, as Obama apparently does, what we can do to appease their righteous anger at our misdeeds. We end up looking for ways to do their will. Clausewitz would recognize that as a victory, for them. They could never achieve it without assistance from purblind politicians on both ends of the American political spectrum. Thus, tragically, they overcome their supposed opposition to one another, acting in concert as the mortar and pestle of defeatism, slyly grinding away the morale and safety of the nation.


MSchaut said...

There have been so many lies on both sides of the aisle, and so much misleading propaganda in the media, that citizens simply cannot have faith in their government any longer. Health care, Social Security, Medicare, the economy, the bailouts, immigration, 'homeland' security have all been so dreadfully mismanaged that no one should be surprised that there are many of us conservatives that might feel that the war, and our foreign policy, have also been mismanaged by both parties and by all the administrations back to Carter, if not farther. The confusion, misinformation and coverups are purposely generated to set up the citizenry to be demoralized long before any terrorist does his underwear bombs or shoe bombs, and there are so many questions about the Trade Center attacks that go unanswered that we cannot make a genuine assessment of the situation. Ron Paul has long been open about his position on foreign policy and his statement is consistent with it. Clearly our country is looking to expand to global war, whether or not the people want it or the country can afford it. Knowing this, our enemies can bring us to an internal destruction with nothing more deadly than box cutters and nikes. It really is long past time that honesty and integrity, justice, statesmanship and patriotism replace the mess we have for governance now. We have high hopes in those who, like you, have a true commitment to our Constitution, the example of our founding fathers, and the courage to follow it.

Anonymous said...

The harder truth to bear is that America is not in any serious danger from Islam. The danger comes from secular humanism and the Progressive movement within American society itself. Without the calculated sabotage of American security policies, Islamic terrorists--no matter how radical--could pose no serious threat. Without systematic disparagement of America's own religious heritage and particularly the freedom to convert to Christianity, Islam could not compete as a serious cultural factor.

Islam, both as a religion and as an international terrorist cause, is nothing more than a straw dog. It is being propped up to distract and confuse Americans (and the citizens of all the Western republics) as to the identity of their real enemies. Certainly, terrorists should be dealt with as the war criminals they are. Of course, muslims should be required to respect the freedom of other religions. These points are hardly worth discussing.

So why are they disputed? There is a saying, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." But the natural (rather than strict) corollary is that stupidity can fail as an explanation. The problem isn't that Progressives don't understand what needs to be done to protect and preserve America. The problem is that the preservation of America is incompatible with their agenda, and they know it.

Ron Paul may be forgiven for failing to state clearly the real reasons that armed, freedom-loving Americans will serve better at home than abroad (or he may not, forgiving him isn't my job anyway). The very idea that America has passed the point at which civil discourse is sufficient to rectify the systematic damage to the foundations of is uncomfortable to even contemplate, let alone state publicly.

But contemplate it you must, and state it I do. The real war is against those traitors who deliberately seek to destroy America from within. They arm themselves even now for the attack. You would be unwise to await their permission before preparing to defend yourselves.

Lloyd said...

Chiu,I believe you are by far the most intelligent and well informed person that is "allowed" to add their comments to this blog. Terrorist, Islamic or otherwise are "allowed" to carry out their jehad against this country. I would like to quote Thomas Jefferson "I perfer dangerous liberty to peaceful servitude." Americans it seems to me perfer peaceful servitude. I would like to leave this discution with a quote from Julius Ceasar "If you must break the law, do it to seize power, in all other cases observe it" which is a concept our "so-called" president and congress understand.

Dawg_em said...

It is my understanding a U.S. representative to Iraq told Saddam Hussein we had no interest, one way or the other, in his designs on the disputed oil fields in Kuwait. Some months later hundreds of thousands of people are dead. If true, it begs the question; why? Did Saddam want to start trading oil in a currency other than dollars?

The U.S. has for decades supported and or installed regimes friendly to our interests. When Yemeni and Saudi jets bomb targets can we honestly expect jihadists, or the average Muslim for that matter, to believe we had no hand in it? That such rulers are making decisions apart from our influence? Undoubtedly Ron Paul needs to do a better job of explaining how U.S. policy is perceived abroad. Is perception reality? No. But the reality of terrorism proceeds from the perception of U.S. imperialism.

And can we honestly say we are not imperialists? It might be convenient to frame this as a national security issue, while ignoring the enrichment, bribery and corruption that appears to follow this type of "foreign policy". Often at the expense of the respective populace.

I really hate being put in a position where I sound anything like the enemies of America. But I have never been, and never will be, one who says "My country, right or wrong." Of course, it begs the question; whose country? The America of Main Street and mom and pop stores, Sunday services and picnics, donations to victims of natural disasters? Or maybe it's not about a nation at all. It's really about a world order run by a globalist cabal of eugenicists and mass murderers who gladly bomb a wedding and kill hundreds in order to get one or two jihadists. Perhaps the "cure" is worse than the "disease". (A review of the Waco slaughter would be helpful in illustrating the brutishness of the fascists.)

I don't fear getting blown up in an airliner by some poor misguided soul as much as I fear an all-seeing, unaccountable, corrupt oligarchy that uses technology, taxes and international laws to enslave me and my posterity. It couldn't be that terrorism perpetrated by 12th century barbarians living in caves is not only a distraction, but a means to induce compliance into a system designed to concentrate power into the hands of a few? Could it?

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

There is a difference between an honest appraisal of American foreign policy and reflexively blaming it whenever a terrorist incident occurs, and Ron Paul has a consistent history of doing the latter. As you’ve said, Dr. Keyes, the facts don’t allow for this terrorist to have been motivated by supposed U.S. efforts in Yemen. I can only speculate that Ron Paul, in citing "U.S. occupation," is buying into the terrorists’ premise that all Muslim land is (or should be) part of a single caliphate, and all Muslims, regardless of nationality, are acting to defend "their" land, whether it be Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s a very dangerous premise to grant, because you can de-legitimize any American operation in the Muslim world, even if taken in self-defense. A key aspect of war is that you are not granting the enemy the legitimacy of their grievances.* The problem I have with Ron Paul is that he almost always gives the terrorists' complaints some validation. That is very dangerous.

* And unfortunately, we’ve seen a rash of this in WWII revisionism, specifically citing the U.S. cutoff of oil exports to Japan as a justification for the Pearl Harbor attack.

Derek P. said...

"Therefore fear and demoralization are the terrorist's strategic weapons." (Dr. Keyes)

We play by those same rules Dr. Keyes.


'Dawg em', there was some speculation as to whether or not Saddam was duped into moving against Kuwait. Maybe so. He was given a free hand (by us) in his war against Iran. Who knows. Maybe he thought we would allow him to do the same with regards to Kuwait.

"Did Saddam want to start trading oil in a currency other than dollars?" (Dawg em)

From what I have read, in 2000, Saddam did convert all of Iraq's oil transactions to euros. (That act sealed his fate.) When we invaded in 2003, we returned all oil sales from the euro back to the dollar.

"The U.S. has for decades supported and or installed regimes friendly to our interests." (Dawg em)

And in the minds of terrorist that is akin to being an occupier. But what they think is something not to be given any concern. Only what we think.

"Undoubtedly Ron Paul needs to do a better job of explaining how U.S. policy is perceived abroad." (Dawg em)

Why only Ron Paul? Here we are on Dr. Keyes' website talking about Ron Paul's perceptions. Does that strike you as being a little bit odd? Imagine, Ron Paul talks about Ron Paul on Ron Paul's website. And Dr. Keyes talks about Ron Paul on Dr. Keyes' website. OK. Ron Paul. So be it.

"It's really about a world order run by a globalist cabal of eugenicists and mass murderers who gladly bomb a wedding and kill hundreds in order to get one or two jihadists." (Dawg em)

That's called using 'fear and demoralization' as a strategic weapon my friend.

Mohamed said...

Quran confirms the Torah and Gospel but attacks the Talmud and Trinity!

Anonymous said...

The Koran says a lot of things. One thing it should mention is that the Suras were never meant to be treated as scripture. Oh, wait, that's what calling it "The Recitation" was originally supposed to signify.

Derek's statement that his side plays by the same rules as the terrorists is...revealing. But it does raise a point that deserves to be addressed. Why is terrorism considered inherently wrong by Western Civilization? Because the propagation of fear and demoralization is fundamentally incompatible with the effort to create a free and moral society. The goal of freedom demands that terrorists be killed so that civilians (in both its technical and more general sense) may have more options to actually pursue (rather than merely having a wide selection of "last words"). The goal of morality demands that people be raised to value courage and independence, with the attendant burden of personal responsibility for one's own views and deeds.

There are many eager to claim that all power is based on terror. But the judgment of history is very clear. It is those societies which inculcated valor and freedom which have always prospered, not only culturally and economically but militarily as well. To those who deny the power of freedom, all demonstrations of power are seen as proof of oppression and terrorism. The raw economic, cultural, and military superiority of Western Civilization and America particularly are the 'evidence' of 'imperialism'.

I may occasionally call out a warning. My goal is not that you respond with fear, but fortitude. Still, the choice is your own.

Clay said...

Alan Keyes compares Ron Paul to Obama come on now,that's a stretch of the imagination! Ron Paul has always stood firm with the Constitution. Alan's character assassination of Ron Paul, seriously questions Keyes loyalty to liberty. Alan Keyes, usually know for his intelligence, takes sides with ad hoc hominem-Ben Stein and makes the most asinine and childish comment about Ron Paul's hypothesis.

(Ben Stein, also a guest on the show. correctly noted that Paul's statement has no basis in fact since "there is no U.S. occupation of Yemen or Nigeria")

Hey Alan, you don't have to occupy Yemen to have Muslim terrorist. All you have to do is occupy a Muslim country. I'll spell it for you bud, IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN, just in case you forgot those occupations. Lets take Alan Keyes logic further. He means to tell me that no American would be mad if foreign troops occupied Texas. I mean I don't leave in Texas but according to Alan Keyes, I would not terrorize the occupying foreign army becasue they are not in my home state. Absolutely absurd! Real patriots opose empire! I'm sorry I voted for you in the 2000 Republican Primary.

MSchaut said...

Demoralization has been ongoing for decades, brought upon us by the amoral in media, in politics, in administration, in short, by the 'powers-that-be'. This happened LONG before Ron Paul caught national attention. I don't know any of the young adults who support Ron Paul who are demoralized by him or his positions, and indeed, he has brought to their committed attention how important morals actually are for a good life and strong country. Worrying about demoralization NOW when corporatists and bankers have destroyed the economy and millions are in dire financial straits is like worrying whether the biopsy was done right years after the patient is in the grave.

gilbertabrett said...

Who's to blame for terrorism's moral victory? WE ARE! I am still sick to my stomach every time I see that big eared you-know-what that sits in OUR White House. I am even more sickened when I remember that so few people made a stink, that we ALLOWED a person with a MUSLIM name and NO CREDENTIALS to even run for the office of president of the United States of America, NO ONE NOTICED. Talk about building up an ego! And then we have nerve to comment on or be indignant when terrorists are let go to return to Yemen, or try to blow up a plane on Christmas 2009, or kidnap our soldiers, or any of the other demented things they do. GET READY PEOPLE! This is coming to a theater near you soon. Just keep sitting there being self-righteous and doing nothing but thinking your vote is going to make a difference. Hope and change on THAT one...

gilbertabrett said...

PS - AND WHO CARES ABOUT RON PAUL? Another waste in the scheme of American government and politics... He is going NOWHERE!

Derek P. said...

"Derek's statement that his side plays by the same rules as the terrorists is...revealing." (Chiu)

I wouldn't go so far as to say that only 'my side' plays by the same rules as the terrorist. The use of fear and demoralization is a time tested practice used by all. Politics. Warfare. You name it. It's instinctive.

Dawg_em said...

Derek P.,
You say toma(y)to, I say toma(h)to.

Some say 'fear and demoralization' and some say terrorism. Much like the fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo.

Galactic Over-Lord-in-Chief,
Is it revisionist to say US warships harassed shipping enroute to Japan, in addition to cutting oil supplies?

And if Iran were to start disrupting oil shipments throughout the region would that not constitute an act of war? An act contrary to the security of America? I am in no way comparing present-day America with the brutal imperialism of yester-years' Japan. The question of whether or not it was necessary to allow (encourage) an attack on our country to stoke the passions of a somewhat isolationist America is a discussion best left for another day.

My point is this: without a God-fearing leadership that understands the constitution and role of federal power both nationally and internationally, can we as citizens really trust decisions made on our behalf? Especially when we have enough natural resources to make us independent of others exports, thereby negating the need for war?

Anyone who refuses to believe the leadership in Washington is bought and paid for, and completely without hope of remediation, ought to have his head examined. And if one acknowledges as much then how can trust be placed in people who are determined to destroy our country?

And lastly, perhaps someone can explain to me why we need over 6 hundred bases around the world. Wouldn't closing the vast majority of them, and using those savings to invest in a rapid reaction corps, be of greater value? If imperialism is truly NOT our goal then why don't we start acting like it?

Epididymus said...

Everyone seems to be missing the point that terrorism succeeded as soon as the Patriot Act was passed and the TSA was established. Terrorists set out to change our way of life, and they have succeeded.

BTW, does anyone else find it ridiculous that we have all of this airport security when the borders are wide open to anyone who can survive in a desert?

gilbertabrett said...

I am glad I came to this site to leave a comment about some things I heard this morning. I was glad to read others' comments since yesterday; especially about terrorists coming across our borders. I often wonder why the government makes such a big deal about planes and yet WATCH people run across the border from Mexico on a daily basis without doing a thing. OH! I forgot. That is the new voting block. Who needs to do anything to please REAL American citizens when we can make enough new citizens with the stroke of a pen to win an election...

I heard Glenn Beck this morning say how stupid the "birthers" are for continuing to question the citizenship status of the long-legged mack daddy. He says they are on Barak's payroll. Who is he foolin'? That faked out court jester of Fox "News" is one to talk. If anyone is on the payroll, it's him AND Fox "News." IF "birthers" are so stupid, then WHY won't ANY "news" networks have Dr. Keyes OR Rev. Manning OR Orly Taitz OR anyone else on their networks and have a LEGITIMATE discussion about this topic? At least Dr. Keyes is not sticking his finger in his eye to make himself cry before he goes on air to get ratings.

I challenge fat boy Beck to have Dr. Keyes AND Rev. Manning on his show and try to be as smug with them as he was on his radio show this morning. Perhaps even if he did not learn something about the Constitution and how easy it could be to put a stop to this destruction of our country, he would at least have great ratings. A simple minded buffoon...

From my point of view, terrorism succeeded the day we did not stand behind Israel (1948) and encourage them to take the original borders GOD promised their people A LONG TIME AGO. As far as I'm concerned, we could have two super Wal-Marts in the Middles East had we have handled our business in Iraq AND Afghanistan... I guess I will never get elected president, huh?

Anonymous said...

I find it a bit more ridiculous that any obvious terrorist can bypass the airport security entirely on the say-so of an obvious terrorism supporter, but perhaps that's just me.

It's also telling that some people are so completely committed to the utility of terrorism that they see everything through that lens. If an act was effective, it must have been terrorist, and vice versa. Of course I did already mention that they think that way.

I believe in killing enemies, not scaring them. I believe in the power of moral allies, and that it is greater than the friendship of cowards. Terrorism can only work on those too depraved to be worth cleaning up their stains. It has zero utility in any serious conflict.

Common Sense said...

"Small Government Conservatives" like Alan Keyes and others fight so arduosly to keep the size of government in check. They fail to see, however, that a foreign policy of interventionism only creates a bloated and monstrous government, all in the name of "national security." The foreign policy of the the former and current administrations is similar to the policy of the great Progressive himself: Woodrow Wilson. Bush's expansion of military and bureaucratic power and Obama's escalation of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan have resulted in an increasingly escalating threat of terrorism at home and around the world.

Look at what the "War on Terror" has brought us in this country. The PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Department of Homeland Security, increased Executive powers, all in the name of protecting America. This is certainly no way to go about shrinking the size of government. Perhaps conservatives should modify the wording of their principles and ignore the Constitution all together, which they tend to do anyway.

Epididymus said...

Common Sense -

"Perhaps conservatives should modify the wording of their principles and ignore the Constitution all together, which they tend to do anyway."

I think you have conseratives confused with republicans. The Republican Party was conservative, until the take-over of neo-cons under George W. Of course there is nothing conservative about a neo-con, just like there is nothing liberal about prosecuting people based on their thoughts (hate crimes).

Dawg_em said...

Common Sense,

I guess I'll have to amend my definition of conservative and perhaps you can help me.

Whenever someone ignores the constitution he is not a conservative. George W. Bush is(was) not a conservative. Actions speak louder than words. Just as Obama is a puppet of the elitists so too was Bush.

People need to get over this left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative. The path of destruction we are on has very little, if any, deviation regardless of who sits in what office.

Fight the New World Order and the Globalists. Soverignty and independence are our only hope for liberty. (Based wholly on our subjugation to the will of God, of course.)

Patrick said...

It is has been a grave disappointment that an imminent Constitutional Conservative such as Alan Keyes (whom I actively campaigned for in the 2000 primaries) has been neo-conned into believing that perpetual war is either constitutionally valid or necessary for our national security.

I have yet to see a statement, whether from Keyes or anyone else, drawing parallels from Ron Paul's viewpoint to "terror appeasement" and "blaming America" and so forth that do not qualify as jingoistic to some degree. Our wrongheaded policies are not "America," and should never be equated as such.

How could it possibly be sound national defense policy to ignore the motivations of Al Queda and other terrorists? But when Dr. Paul brings these up to explain why our foreign policy doesn't work, along with the immeasurably great expense of blood and treasure with no improvement in security, he's labeled an appeaser. He advises, as Reagan did retrospectively, that the Middle East has "irrational politics" and so we should just leave it be.

Dr. Keyes, how can the neo-conservatives and yourself support a foreign policy which replaces the Christian Just War Doctrine with the Preemptive War Doctrine? And how does that square with the Constitution on declaring war?

And these policies are not only wrong in principle, but wrong in outcome. We're not safer. We should only deploy our troops for real national security, not this plutocratic neo-con empire. We should have struck swiftly after 9/11 and came home, as Dr. Paul has advised all along.

Yours in liberty, Patrick

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