Thursday, August 10, 2006

Terror Stopped - For Now

The news today is filled with information about the plot to destroy ten or so jetliners over the Atlantic ... a plan for mass murder comparable with 9/11.

Here we are engaged in an "international war against terror." Our military forces carefully choose targets in an effort to minimize civilian casualties. Meanwhile, our enemies are using every means at their disposal to target and kill unsuspecting civilians...ours, theirs, they don't care. And there are people on our side (supposedly) who claim that our enemies are justified in the way they are fighting us.

Some moral relativists claim that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." I disagree. True warriors/freedom fighters in the modern, civilized world limit the force they use based on the nature of their enemy.

The amount of force that you use against an enemy should be limited by the way in which your enemy fights you. If you are fighting an enemy who is only using nonviolent, political methods then it would be immoral to use violence against them. It would be outrageous and criminal for Joe Lieberman's supporters to start blowing up buses in Connecticut just because their guy lost at the polls on would be ludicrous and wrong because they have effective, nonviolent means to achieve their goals.

If you are fighting an enemy who is using violence in a "limited war" fashion (such as the way the US and Israel use force), then it is immoral to respond with terror and violence aimed at unsuspecting civilians. Ok, you don't want to mass your forces into a major attack on the enemy ... that would be stupid since you would get wiped out. But if you can't achieve your goals through a direct military assault and if you can't achieve them through the political process, perhaps you should examine your goals ... maybe you need new goals.

What do the Arabs want with respect to Israel? Do they want to live within the borders of Israel and enjoy the full rights as citizens in a western style representative government? They can do that without war. A certain amount of immigration into Israel is allowed. Of course, not everyone who wants to move to Israel can do so ... just as not everyone who wants to move into the better neighborhoods in any American city can do so.

But the Arabs don't just want to live within the borders of Israel, they want to control the country. There is an exclusive neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio named Bexley. It is a great place to live; I live a few blocks outside of it and love to walk there. There are a limited number of houses for sale there. What would happen if a thousand families decided that they wanted to live in Bexley ... and THEY wanted to take control of the local government? They could try and move in legally ... but if there were not enough houses for sale (or if they could not afford to buy the houses that were available) they would be out of luck. They absolutely would not have the right to start killing people and destroying property in order to frighten Bexley residents into abandoning their homes so that the newcomers could move in.

Our enemies can't defeat us on the battlefield. They have goals that cannot be achieved through the political process nor through diplomacy. The only way they can achieve their goals is to terrify us into submission. The problem is, their ultimate goal is to dominate the world. If we retreat for now, they will only come after us later.

So, where do we go? What do we do? How do we respond?

On Friday September 13, 2003 an essay was posted at The Belmont Club entitled THE THREE CONJECTURES.

Conjecture 1: Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold
Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam
Conjecture 3: The War on Terror is the 'Golden Hour' -- the final chance

Why will attaining WMDs destroy Islam?

Because capability is the sole variable of interest in the war against terrorism, the greater the Islamic strike capability becomes, the stronger the response will be. An unrepeatable attack with a stolen WMD weapon would elicit a different response from one arising from a capability to strike on a sustained and repetitive basis. The riposte to an unrepeatable attack would be limited. However, suppose Pakistan or North Korea engineered a reliable plutonium weapon that could be built to one-point safety in any machine shop with a minimum of skill, giving Islamic terrorists the means to repeatedly attack America indefinitely. Under these circumstances, there would no incentive to retaliate proportionately. The WMD exchange would escalate uncontrollably until Islam was destroyed.

Consider a case where Islamic terrorists obliterate a city, causing five times the deaths at Hiroshima and an American limited response.

In a war between nations, the conflict might stop at this point. But since there is no one with whom to negotiate a peace and no inclination to stop anyhow, the Islamic terrorists will continue while they have the capability and the cycle of destruction continues.

At this point, a United States choked with corpses could still not negotiate an end to hostilities or deter further attacks. There would be no one to call on the Red Telephone, even to surrender to. In fact, there exists no competent Islamic authority, no supreme imam who could stop a jihad on behalf of the whole Muslim world. Even if the terror chiefs could somehow be contacted in this apocalyptic scenario and persuaded to bury the hatchet, the lack of command and control imposed by the cell structure would prevent them from reining in their minions. Due to the fixity of intent, attacks would continue for as long as capability remained. Under these circumstances, any American government would eventually be compelled by public desperation to finish the exchange entering -1 x 10^9 in the final right hand column: total retaliatory extermination.

In other words, the moment they hit us, we would need to kill them all ... otherwise they would eventually build more nukes and hit us again.

Our enemies want to terrify us into submission. They would show us no mercy and leave us with no freedoms. One need only look at the history of Islam in India to see what is in store for the entire world if we surrendered to the terrorists.

The terrorists believe that if they use enough violence we will capitulate. Hopefully, we will not. But we must make it clear to the terrorists that we are willing to destroy them ALL if they continue to ratchet up the level of destruction and use WMD. We choose to fight our wars in a limited fashion ... it has been a luxury that we could afford. Once the enemy deploys WMD, we will no longer be able to afford that luxury. We will return to the horrific days of the Second World War when civilians were legitimate targets ... total war.

At the top of this essay, I wrote, "The amount of force that you use against an enemy should be limited by the way in which your enemy fights you. " Our enemies are willing to wage total war against us; we are morally justified to respond in kind. Our very survival is at stake!


Post a Comment

<< Home