Comments Posted By Nathaniel White
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Oops, I cut-and-pasted two first paragraphs and forgot to proof-read. Basically, I like your writing. Forget the "knee-jerk" comment, since it has nothing to do with the rest of my post.

Comment Posted By Nathaniel White On 9.05.2007 @ 14:39

Rick Moran, much as I enjoy your ability to finish a sentence, I deplore the knee-jerk shortsightedness that pervades, IMHO, most political speech. Not just on the "left", not just on the "right". You want "lefties" to realize that some Muslims, inspired by al Qaeda rhetoric, will commit murder on a large scale (or plan to do so).

"Until this singular fact sinks in on the left and among our elites, we will be fighting the War on Terror with one hand tied behind our backs. I’ve written extensively about the absolute need to get the western left fully engaged in this fight. But as long as they continue to use the War on Terror as a purely political issue or their own stupidity blinds them to the danger, we cannot and will not win."

This fight is larger than just the Muslims.

I cannot speak for "lefties" everywhere, particularly as I disagree with "lefties" almost as often as I disagree with "righties". However, I'll share my perspective on the "War on Terror".

Since before recorded history, groups of humans have been killing each other for a variety of reasons. In the past few hundred years, the definition of the modern nation-state has meant that the action of killing the civilians in another group has been divided into two categories: war and murder (or genocide). A sub-category of murder is terrorism. When a nation-state declares a war, we can kill civilians and its okay (as long as we pretty much follow the rules). If we don't declare a war, or if we break the rules too much, then we consider ourselves (people) to have committed murder, genocide, or war-crimes. I like these categories, and find them useful.

My problem with the "War on Terror", besides the whole "War on [class of phenomenon]" issue, is that we are not seeking to create a world system where the rule of law is supreme and civilians are only killed on a large scale in declared wars. We are actually doing several things at the same time:
1. Occupying central Asia and acquiring control of valuable oil reserves.
2. Attempting nation-building in two (at the moment) violently chaotic areas.
3. Attempting to prevent any Muslims from killing US citizens (or, presumably, citizens of other countries, though I'm not clear on that).

Although I disagree with the necessity and the choice of strategy for 1 and 2, I'm happy to go along with 3. I'd just like to make it more inclusive -- attempt to prevent anyone, including Muslims, from killing people on a large scale without first declaring a war. I'm not sure about the best way to do it, although I favor a mix of "global Marshall Plan" to reduce the poverty and related disorder that inspires violent genocide like that of Rwanda or Nazi Germany, and an international treaty organization with criminal enforcement powers (yes, it's the world government, sorry). Of course, that treaty organization would be completely irrelevant to most of the mass murders in the States in recent years: school shootings, Oklahoma bombings, and our various violent homegrown religious extremists.

You may say I'm not enough of a "lefty" to qualify for your comment, but I have heard similar things from those who consider themselves deeply left wing.

To sum up: IMO, many "lefties" are deeply concerned by large scale killing, whatever inspires it; the fairly smart ones I know regard most activity promoted under the "War on Terror" as a dangerous distraction from the issues that really make us either safe or at risk.

Comment Posted By Nathaniel White On 9.05.2007 @ 12:42

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