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Five years on

September 11th, 2006

Five years after the terrorist attacks on New York, the best that can be said about our situation is that it could be worse. The response from our elected leaders, and particularly the Bush Administration, has been comprehensively bungled, or worse, undermined by the pursuit of private and political advantage, and pre-existing political agendas, at the expense of a concerted attack on those who are trying to kill us. Incompetence and worse has been rife at every level from the tactical (the failure to catch bin Laden when he was surrounded) to the operational (the various stages of the Iraq occupation, starting with a Provisional Administration hired from Republican job message boards) the strategic (the whole Iraq war) and the moral (the many crimes that have blurred the difference between us and the terrorists). All of these things have squandered our resources, while acting as a recruiting banner for our enemies.

The only thing that has prevented things being even worse is the gratuitous bloodthirstiness of our enemies. Brutal attacks in Muslim countries, executions of innocent people shown on video, and the continuous suicide-terror attacks on ordinary people going about their daily business have shown their true nature, and discredited radical Islamism among many who remain deeply hostile to the US and the Bush Administration. As I mentioned a year ago, in countries like Indonesia , the Iraq war has been highly unpopular, but the great achievement of JI has been to make themselves even more unpopular.

The most significant change since last year is that we no longer hear much about “good news from Iraq”, except in the same context as “mission accomplished”, “turning the corner” and similar discredited phrases. A year ago, pro-war opinion was united in the belief that the Mainstream Media were presenting an overly gloomy picture and that the truth could be found in sites like Arthur Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq, which cataloged steady improvements on all fronts, from electricity supplies to security. Chrenkoff ceased publication just under a year ago, and handed the baton to Good News from the front, which appears to have given up the struggle around May 2006.

In retrospect, it is obvious that the Mainstream Media have consistently got things wrong, but in the opposite direction to that claimed by the Good News. At every stage, things have gone worse than would have been expected by anyone relying on say, the New York Times, rather than bloggers like Juan Cole It’s been at least a couple of years since Western reporters could safely travel independently anywhere in Iraq, and they’ve been increasingly reliant on the Pentagon for news.

Of course, there are still some, totally cut off from reality like our own Andrew Bolt. In the alternate universe inhabited by Bolt, everything is going swimmingly, and patience is all that is needed.

Recognising that the Iraq venture has been a disastrous failure doesn’t help us that much, since all our options there are awful. But maybe some sort of partition can be managed, enabling the Coalition to declare victory and pull out without leaving too much chaos behind them. Then perhaps, we might focus on our real problems.

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  1. taust
    September 17th, 2006 at 14:52 | #1

    A thought

    Al-Qaeda appears to have the concept of an Islamic caliphate covering all existing Islamic countries and active conversion of the rest of the world.
    Its ideology appears to be religion.
    Al-Qaeda’s major source of funding is Saudi Arabia.

    Al-Qaeda needs to destabilise existing Islamic nations if it is to achieve its aim.
    The USA is attacked because it is seen as supporting the regimes Al-Qaeda is wishing to destabilise.

    Destabilising actions appear to severely reduce the economic progress of the nations subject to the destabilisation process.

    Some of the regimes Al-Qaeda wishes to destabilise and obtain control of have governments that are unsuccessful in meeting the aspirations of a significant part of their populations. Some have pre-existing ethnic/religious tensions that can be exploited. These failures and tensions create groups of people who can find the
    Al-Qaeda attractive, particularly when Al-Qaeda is a source of money.

    The Al-Qaeda government would impose restrictions on the behaviour of its subjects that most western people (and perhaps a majority of any people) would find unnecessarily constricting of the subjects’ achievement of the subjects’ potential.

    Except for the attack on the USA (and surely the USA can look after itself) what is the incentive for the west to expend treasure and young people in hindering Al-Qaeda in its objective?

  2. milano803
    September 18th, 2006 at 02:04 | #2

    Al Qaeda would like the entire west to be part of the caliphate. Are you willing to sign up?

  3. Katz
    September 18th, 2006 at 11:40 | #3

    Doctors are reputed to say, “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”

    Doctor Republican has killed Iraq. (However, the deceased’s organs may be donated to others, e.g., Iran.

    And, in the course of the operation, Doctor Republican has self-administered a needle stick and now he has electoral AIDS.

    Luckily, Doctor Democrat has agreed to act as a locum.

    Will Doctor Democrat be less clumsy?

    One can only hope so, for his sake.

  4. Dave Surls
    September 20th, 2006 at 13:07 | #4

    “I think we’ll call a halt there. Dave, thanks for the insight you’ve given us into the pro-war viewpoint.”

    Stopping me from posting here won’t change the fact that our military operations (thanks for help funding them with your tax dollars, btw) have been a huge success, toppling the Baathist and Taliban governments (thus preventing them from continuing to support terrorists like Osama Bin Laden or Abu Abbas), while the terrorists they once supported are being hounded, and killed on a daily basis, as opposed to being free to operate from bases in Afganistan or Iraq without real fear of reprisal, as used to be the case.

    Looks like a winner to me.

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