[lit-ideas] Re: Text of bin Laden Tape

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 12:46:54 +0900

As I recall from the Phil-Lit days, Lawrence was the one of us who
actually put in the hard work to study Islamic fundamentalism and
develop a persuasive message that when we hear these people talking
about our destruction we ought to take them seriously—and be under no
illusions that what we hear is only a kind of posturing that will fade
away when people of good will, or more likely a realpolitik based on
let's make a deal, get together to talk things over. This point I
couldn't agree more with what he has said.

But Andy asks the right question when he/she asks "How do we defeat
terrorism?" What is utterly clear from recent history is that our
leaders have been largely clueless. We've heard a lot of cowboy talk
about chasing them down and smoking them out. We have seen an invasion
of a sovereign nation justified not by real attacks but hypothetical
threats that have turned out, as a matter of fact, to have been
unfounded. We have seen a military machine so powerful that it could
destroy the invaded nation's army in a matter of days bog down in the
precisely the murderous quagmire that our military leaders expected
(remember Shinseki talking about the need for hundreds of thousands of
troops and James Webb writing in The New York Times, "Don't do this
Mr. President. We will have to have tens of thousands of troops
deployed for year with bull's eyes on their backs.") Why? Because the
administration's hand-picked proconsul didn't expect an insurgency (L.
Paul Bremer in his new book). Our image abroad has been shot to hell;
our army is bleeding and strained to near breaking point; Osama Bin
Laden is still out there preaching our destruction. And still all we
hear is, "Keep on shopping, the economy needs you. Trust us, we know
what we're doing."

Know what they're doing? My ass. The lack of enthusiasm for this war
has a lot more to do with the public's being lied to and the unkept
promises, utter incompetence and rancid, rampant corruption of the
current administration than it does with pacificism (a decidedly
minority position in today's US of A).

We do need to fight terrorists, and we do need to do a hell of a lot
better job of it. I repeat Andy's question, Lawrence. How are we going
to do that? And how are we going to build the national solidarity that
winning that fight will take?

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd.
55-13-202 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220-0006, JAPAN

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