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Friday, January 24, 2003

From Captain Michael Evans: Follow-Up on "Peace-Marchers or Appeasers?" The Buggy Prof's Reply

Our thanks to Captain Evans, US Army armor, for the following excert from the January 22nd op-ed column in the Washington Post by Michael Kelly: "Marching with Stalinists".

Click on the link for the Kelly article, and the Buggy Prof's reply.
Washington Post January 22, 2003 Pg. 15

Marching With Stalinists

By Michael Kelly

The left in America has for a long time now resembled not so much a political movement as a contest to see how many schismatics could dance on the head of a pin, a conversation that has gone from being national to factional to simply eccentric. At some point, progressive politics reached a state where freeing Mumia was considered critical and electing a Democratic president was considered optional.

Then came Sept. 11, and the left found itself plunged into a debate on a subject of fundamental importance. And this was a debate in which to be of the left was to be, by definition, involved: In al Qaeda and in the Taliban and in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, liberal civilization faced an enemy that represented nearly every evil that liberalism has ever stood against.

What was the left going to do? A pretty straightforward call, you might say. America has its flaws. But war involves choosing sides, and the American side -- which was, after all, the side of liberalism, of progressivism, of democracy, of freedom, of not chucking gays off rooftops and not stoning adulterers and not whipping women in the town square, and not gassing minority populations and not torturing advocates of free speech -- was surely preferable to the side of the "Islamofascists," to borrow a word from the essayist and former man of the left, Christopher Hitchens ..."


........................................................ The Buggy Prof replies:

Thank you Captain for the hard-hitting article, a good follow-up to the Hitchens' article linked here on Wednesday, plus the commentary on it. I hope, if it comes down to a war -- the Saddam regime still in power by mid-spring -- you and your men will all come through it safely.

On a wider plane, one way or another --- either by a coup, an uprising, an invasion mixing these, or a brief follow-through war --- that nasty Islamo-fascist regime will be destroyed. The Bush administration's strategy is sound right down to its very core: the overarching challenge facing this country right now, and Britain in Tony Blair's view, is the triple-pronged menace, all interconnected, of Islamo-fascist terrorism, brutal and anti-western rogue states, and their WMD. Far from being a diversion from the war on terrorism, the coercive diplomacy to disarm Iraq and change the regime is part and parcel of the wider struggle ---- which also requires a shake-up of the dangerous political status quo in the Middle East and Gulf area.

Stripped to its barebones, that status quo's coiled, hot-wire hazard --- for all its ramifications --- reduces to this: a rapidly burgeoning Arab population in 22 states that are all to one degree or another failed states, run by corrupt despots and secret-police rule, small crony tribal-clan-Mafioso networks, suppression of women's rights, failed economies and surging unemployment --- not least among young men, ripe for Islamo-fundamentalist conspiratorial explanations of the chief causes of their and Islam's massive troubles --- and double-dealing Arab governments that allow the growing militant fundamentalists access to their state-controlled media. It's increasingly fertile soil for growing terrorist recruits; and the prospects of their getting nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons one way or another for use are chilling and need to be dealt with decisively now and in the next few years; not the distant and ever more dangerous future.

Those who talk about containing and deterring Saddam ignore these rapidly multiplying political ramifications and their clear links to the appeal of Islamo-fascist fundamentalism and terrorist violence to alienated, mentally dislocated young men --- jobless or with few prospects --- who will burgeon in number in the next 10-20 years and seem receptive to crude, conspiratorial explanations of their and their societies' troubles that single out external scapegoats: the US, the West, Jews, Israel, Hindus, Christians, Russians, and so on. Not to mention that such raw, religiously charged fervor with its theocratic demonizing is bound to exacerbate the already fairly widespread belief among Arabs that the use of violence against these demonic enemies is a morally cleansing act that will restore the dignity, power, and economic well-being of the Arab peoples and Islam.