The L.A. Times, perhaps emboldened by it’s potential re-purchase by the Chandler family, published an interesting opinion piece by Dinesh D’Souza entitled “How the left led us into 9/11“. Here’s the argument:
In considering a funding cutoff for U.S. troops in Iraq, the liberal leadership in Congress runs the risk of making the United States more vulnerable to future attacks, not just in the Middle East but here at home.
The analysis starts with President Jimmy Carter:
[The Ayatollah] Khomeini’s ascent to power was aided by Carter’s policies. Carter came into office stressing his support for human rights. His advisors told him that he could not consistently support the shah of Iran, who had secret police and was widely accused of violating human rights. The administration began to withdraw its support and finally pulled the rug out from under the shah, forcing him to step down.The result was Khomeini, whose regime was vastly more tyrannical than the shah’s. The Khomeini revolution provided state sponsorship for Islamic radicalism and terrorism…
That’s right to the point. The Liberal Left’s policies are, at times, like those of children: they look good on paper and they certainly feel good, so they must be good. Unfortunately there are often unintended consequences for our actions that politicians – of all stripes – fail to consider. Khomeini was a disaster for Iran and Iranians as well as the rest of the world; life would have been better for a lot of people if the Shah had stayed in power. Therefore, logic dictates that Carter should have left well enough alone.
Makes sense. But this somehow seems a bit simplistic. Islam was there as a social force, repressed and therefore under pressure. It was inevitable that they would eventually explode and become a political power. Many of radical Islam’s precepts make little or no sense to Americans. I submit that they make little or no sense at all, just as Marxism/Leninism make no sense in the practical world. But hundreds of millions of people do believe and no amount of denial will change the fact that they will demand to be accommodated.
Osama Bin Laden saw his theory of American weakness vindicated during the Clinton era.
Still, the 2001 attacks might have been averted had the Clinton administration launched an effective strike against Bin Laden in the years leading up to them. Clinton has said he made every effort to get Bin Laden during his second term. Yet former CIA agent Michael Scheuer estimates that there were about 10 chances to capture or kill Bin Laden during this period and that the Clinton people failed to capitalize on any of them.
D’Souza goes on to point out how accessible Bin Laden was in those days. This can also be seen in the 9/11 commission’s report: the opportunities to assassinate Bin Laden and potentially spare us 9/11 and the Iraq war were there. More than that, these opportunities were definitely do-able. Clinton, however, lacked the political, perhaps more so than the moral, courage to take the risk required to do the job.
Interestingly, in this regard the resulting tragedy could easily be pinned on the Republicans who, in their zeal to impeach or impale Clinton, had the President and the public so focused on Monica L. that the administration was unable to focus on the country’s business. Unintended consequences again.
Two lessons can be drawn from these sorry episodes. The first one, derived from Carter’s actions, is: In getting rid of the bad regime, make sure that you don’t get a worse one. This happened in Iran and could happen again, in Iraq, if leading Democrats in Congress have their way. The second lesson, derived from Clinton’s inaction, is that the perception of weakness emboldens our enemies. If the Muslim insurgents and terrorists believe that the U.S. is divided and squeamish about winning the war on terror, they are likely to escalate their attacks on Americans abroad and at home. In that case, 9/11 will be only the beginning.
That is true. With the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to see that President Bush should have recognized this before going into Iraq. We were divided over that policy and its desirability. If we had been unified he wouldn’t have had to beat the drums of patriotism so loud to get us in line. Now the result… But that’s water under the bridge.
Leaving Iraq doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of desire to win the war with radical Islam. A strong case could be made for using the tens of billions of dollars to carry the fight to them in other ways, both direct and indirect, by:
- Doing what Clinton failed to do: ID and eliminate the terrorist leaders at the center of their webs of murder and mayhem
- Insuring our independence from OPEC we would reduce the leverage terrorists have over us in proportion to our success at developing new energy sources
- Cultivating relationships with moderate Islam we could marginalize the radicals, something that’s very difficult now
I’ve come out in favor of Bush’s new plan for Baghdad and I’ve not changed my mind about that. But if we abandon Iraq as a lost cause the war will not end any more than the Cold War ended when we left Vietnam. In the final analysis, fighting for pride doesn’t make sense – only fighting for victory does.
Found via The Texas Rainmaker – thanks.