Steven Den Beste lays out his case for Iraq, which strangely enough sounds like a thorough analysis of root-causes. Those poor, poor liberals, who still think that answering the question “Why do they hate us?” will avoid any spilled blood and make the world embrace in green fields lined with oleander.
Soon. There’s some business that needs taking care of, first.
We must attack Iraq. We must totally conquer the nation. Saddam must be removed from power, and killed if possible, and the Baath party must be shattered.
“Put the hanky down, it’s clobberin’ time.”
But Saddam isn’t our enemy. bin Laden (may he rest in hell) is not our enemy. Iraq isn’t our enemy. al Qaeda isn’t our enemy. The Taliban weren’t our enemies.
Our enemy is a culture which is deeply diseased.
We’re everything that they think they should be, and by our power and success we throw their failure into stark contrast, especially because we’ve gotten to where we are by doing everything their religion says is wrong; we’ve deeply sinned, and by so doing we’ve won. They are forced to compare their own accomplishments to ours; we are the standard of success, and in every important way they come up badly short. They have nothing whatever they can point to that can save face and preserve their egos. In every objective way we are better than they are, and they know it.
And since this is a “face” culture, one driven by pride and shame, that is intolerable. Nor is it something we can easily redress. The oft-proposed idea of increasing aid and attempting to eliminate poverty may well help in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, but it will not defuse the hatred of our Arab/Islamic enemies, for it is our success that they hate, not the fruits of that success.
They face a profound crisis of faith, and it can only resolve one of three ways.
First, the status quo can continue. They can continue to fail, sit in their nations, and accept their plight. By clinging to their culture and their religion they may be ideologically pure, but they will have to continue to live with the shame of being totally unable to earn the respect through achievement that would be the only thing that actually would satisfy their grievance. Solution one: they can stagnate.
The second thing they can do is to accept that their culture and their religion are actually the problem. They can recognize that they will have to liberalize their culture in order to begin to achieve. They can embrace the modern world, and embrace western ways at least in part. They can break the hold of Islamic teachings; discard Sharia; liberate their women; start to teach science and engineering in their schools instead of the study of the Q’uran; and secularize their societies. Solution two: they can reform.
Some Arab nations have begun to do this, and to the extent that they have they have also started to succeed. But this is unacceptable to the majority; it is literally sinful. It is heresy. What good does it do to succeed in the world if, by so doing, you condemn your soul to hell?
Which leaves only one other way: become relatively competitive by destroying all other cultures which are more capable. You level the playing field by tearing down all the mountains rather than filling in the valleys; you make everyone equally tall by shooting everyone taller than you are. Solution three: they can lash out, fight back.
We’re facing a 14th century culture engaged in a 14th century war. The problem is that they are armed with 20th century weapons, possibly including nuclear weapons. And they embrace a culture which honors dying in a good cause, which means that deterrence can’t be relied on if they get nuclear weapons.
Why is it that the US is concerned about Iraq getting nukes when we don’t seem to be as concerned about Pakistan or India or Israel? It’s because those nations don’t embrace a warrior culture where suicide in a good cause, even mass death in a good cause, is considered acceptable.
It’s certainly not the case that the majority of those in the culture which is our enemy would gladly die. But many of those who make the decisions would gladly sacrifice millions of their own in exchange for millions of ours.
It may sound strange to say, but what we have to do is to take the 14th century culture of our enemies and bring it into the 17th century. Once we’ve done that, then we can work on bringing them into the 21st century, but that will be much easier.
I am forthrightly stating that it will be necessary to destabilize the entire middle east, which puts me exactly counter to European foreign policy. No bandaid will do. It isn’t possible to patch things up with diplomacy because the rot runs too deep. Diplomacy now would be treating the symptoms and not the true disease.
I am forthrightly stating that no amount of aid to the poor will stop the aggression against us, angering liberals everywhere. It isn’t our wealth they hate, it’s our accomplishments. The only way we can appease them is to ourselves become failures, and that is a price I’m not willing to pay.
I’ve parsed his argument down severely. It really is quite a nice piece of work in full.