Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 + 5

The full text of the National Interest symposium on 9/11 five years later is now available, featuring comments from Peter Bergen, Michael Scheuer, Anthony Sullivan and Alexis Debat, among others. [Excerpts from the symposium and an extended discussion about them took place on TWR on August 10th.

I found the first author's points where a mix bag. While understanding that America is "hated" for what she does and what for what she is, his ideas on the use of force seem resurrect the spirits of Custis LeMay and Ghenghis Khan. A strange mix indeed.

But at least there is consistency. If you start down that path, then as Temujin and LeMay both recognized, you do the job required (e.g. slaughter the inhabitants of Samarkand or fire bomb Tokyo). If you argue that people only understand force, then that force better be overwhelming.
I personally try to undertsnd 9/11 attacks as the foreign analogues of the Oklahoma City bombing with the added twist of suicide element.

I suspect that the motivations were the same; i.e. a sense of aggrieved justics and the need to exact revenge. Or as Patrick Buchannan wrote: "The reason they are here is becuase we are there!"

While you cannot satisfy every one, you also do not need to go out of your way throwing fire bombs; one has to show judgement.

But showing judgement requires the acceptance of limits. US is a country whose national ethos cannot easily admit limits.

On the other hand, more and more US is fighting (like Israel) a religious war with Islam. US cannot win.
US needs to get out of Iraq, reassure Iran, and together with EU, Russia and the regional states try to begin a regional discussion around security framework for the region.

US can no longer settle Arab-Israeli Was but it can try to minimize its losses by becoming more impartial. US has to also prepare of MB becoming the dominant party in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, etc.

US need to start, from scratch, its information war effort.

All of the above undertakings will take decades with no assurance of success.

But there is no alternative.
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