Shame on Us!

Every year, the sorrow comes back and also the anger. On 9/11, it was not Communists; it was not North Koreans, and it was not Lutherans who succeeded in murdering 3,000 of us. Hardly anyone says it anymore but it was Muslim fanatics who did it, with great deliberateness, with superb planning, with a remarkable economy of means and, finally, with  much success. It was a gifted endeavor.

My orthodox libertarian friends can exhaust themselves all day and all night finding rational reasons for the sneak attack. The Islamist terrorists did it to satisfy their hatred.  They did it for the simple reason that were are Christians, Jews, non-believers, or followers of the wrong brand of Islam, or followers of the right kind of Islam who are not fanatical enough. They thought they would inflict lasting economic damage on our thriving, free society where women never have to huddle under a long raincoat in 100-degree heat.

The assassins were the same people who firebomb at prayer time mosques filled with worshipers whose kind of Islam offends them, in addition to firebombing Christian churches, synagogues, and the occasional Hindu temple.  And yes, we must keep in mind that the Muslim fanatics have murdered many more fellow-Muslims than they have  Christians. That’s true although it’s difficult to comprehend the silence of rational Muslims with respect to Islamist terrorism. The violent jihadists are savages, enemies of humanity who must be  kept under control by the determined use of force.

We are now preparing actively to lose the war in Afghanistan. We invaded that country because its government would not deliver the organizer of the 9/11 massacre, the same man who bragged about it not long afterwards. We invaded the country also to punish Bin Laden’s accomplices and to remove them from power. As happens more and more, we won the war brilliantly and a little cost to anyone except our enemies and then, we proceeded to lose the peace. We owned the country by right of conquest as a result of a just war we had won fair and square. We could have appointed any ruthless viceroy. Instead, under no obligation to do so, we played a nation-building game we couldn’t win because we don’t have the collective perseverance the game requires. We installed a faithless, cowardly, devious man with  a rapacious entourage and little local political support, a man who can’t wait to betray us.

As we turn tail, the same Taliban we trounced under the very same leader that heads it now, Mullah Omar, is going to return. Soon, Afghan  women will die again from common illnesses because there are not enough female doctors to examine them. At the same time, girls’ schools will be closed down, ensuring an increasing dearth of female doctors in the next generation. There is no reproductive paradox involved there for the Taliban. The Koran allows, indeed it encourages the rape and impregnation of captured enemy women. Soon also, we will see again the execution of adulterous women in public stadiums during the half-time of soccer games. (Incidentally, by the standards of  Sharia, nearly all women in Santa Cruz, California are adulterous and therefore deserving of  execution.)
As we leave through the back door, carrying the coffins of the last Americans to die from betrayal by our allies, many brutal opportunists will be watching us go. Our lack of constancy in the relatively minor issue of Afghanistan will be sowing the seed of future military adventures against us. The Chinese, in particular,who know us little more than we know them in particular are watching our every step backward.  I fear that this demonstration of fickleness promises a war of major proportions to our children. Shame on us!

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Shame on Us!

  1. My sides hurt from laughing so hard.

    Of course every evil character in the imperialist’s comic book will come rushing out of the bushes when American bombs stop killing and maiming innocent people. Our bombs are morally superior to those of the barbarians, after all.

    I have yet to see this simple fact refuted on this blog: Osama bin Laden attacked the US because of its ties to the Saudi family, a rival of the bin Laden clan.

    Think about it. There are two arguments being put forth here.

    On the one hand: the 9/11 terrorist attacks were simply a part (albeit a large one) in an ongoing, never-ending process of geopolitics.

    On the other hand: Muslim terrorists undertook 9/11 because they hate everybody who is not like them.

    The French once had the virility to maintain a decadent, expansive, and cruel mercantilist empire in parts of the world. Their opponents were mostly spear throwers. When it ended – after they could not defend their own border from a German advance – the French woke up and found themselves culturally impoverished and fiscally imprisoned.

    You can easily find the legacy of imperialism today. It resides in Western Europe: the site of two world wars, cowardly armies and exceptionally high taxes.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    I’m a simple person. Once war is declared, I don’t really care about the geopolitical forces that led to it. I believe our bombs are morally superior to those of the barbarians. We don’t intentionally target civilians. Many of my liberal colleagues are critical of ‘targeted assassination’. I enthusiastically support it exactly because it is a conscious attempt to minimize harm to civilians and our own. The war in Iraq was a travesty foisted upon our nation by liars. The war in Afghanistan was, and is, entirely justified. Attempts at ‘nation building’ there are just as silly as in Iraq but why is it our responsibility beyond fixing what we broke before we leave?

    • Dr A:

      Once war is declared, I don’t really care about the geopolitical forces that led to it.

      I agree, as do most libertarians. My point is that geopolitical factors explain why terrorist attacks occur in the first place much better than the “they hate us because we are not like them” canard. The latter interpretation is what libertarians abhor much more than the justly-fought (if not stupidly-fought) war in Afghanistan, largely because such demagoguery leads to policies like the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

      By the way, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a man hailed by Dr. J as “an honest and brave man,” recently issued a death sentence for a rival politician.

      We don’t intentionally target civilians.

      Technically, we do. Terrorists that aren’t state-sponsored (in today’s world, that means most of ’em) are civilians, though I agree with your sentiments regarding targeted killings.

      When I spoke of the moral relativism employed by most imperialists in regards to bombs being dropped, I meant it in the broadest sense. The bombs in Afghanistan, for example, are morally superior to those of our enemies. The bombs in Iraq, or the bombs that would befall any part of Rwanda (history and context don’t matter, just drop ’em; they are savages who don’t know any better!) if the imperialists had their way, are quite another story. I don’t see any difference.

      Another important point: the Taliban and al-Qaeda are (or were) two very different factions in Afghanistan. Washington’s inability to distinguish between the two provides us with a good indication into just how complicated the role of world hegemon is. I think Washington’s mistake in conflating the two also serves to bolster your argument that targeted killings are a superior way of dealing with any enemies.

      Lastly, I have to bring us back around to geopolitics. It is still important to keep in mind. If the US merely had diplomatic and commercial ties with polities in the Muslim world, do you really think that we would be targets terrorist attacks? If our interests in the region were merely diplomatic and commercial, do you think it would be easier or harder to fight threats?

      • “If the US merely had diplomatic and commercial ties with polities in the Muslim world, do you really think that we would be targets terrorist attacks? If our interests in the region were merely diplomatic and commercial, do you think it would be easier or harder to fight threats?”

        Yes, we would still be the targets of jihadists terrorists but they might have a little less legitimacy back home.

        I think it would make no difference, or no difference that you or I can predict.

    • I think we have no moral responsibility to fix what we broke in a war started by the other side.

      This is getting tiresome. The “liars” included the intelligence services of several nations, including Russia and France, both of which loudly opposed the invasion. They included most American politicians including Senator Clinton. The vote in favor of the attack on Iraq was overwhelming. I will dig out the count if someone really still does not know.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        I could dig up video clips of Vice President Cheney telling bigger whoppers than President Clinton ever dreamed of….but why bother you never look at that stuff.. Clinton really pissed me off because he looked right in the camera and lied to us. Cheney was much worse, he lied to us about his lies. What a fucking moron, he thinks I didn’t see the first lie and doesn’t realize that the video is there for all to see? The Bush adminstration made this guy look like a total piker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels

  3. Duuuude!

    Look, you are arguing foreign policy with two people. One of them is your intellectual equal. The other is superior you to in every way imaginable!

    With this being acknowledged, I think it is pertinent to remind everybody that at some point arguing with Dr. J’s imagination is just not a feasible endeavor.

    The Bush administration lied to the American people. There was never any connection whatsoever between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Pretending otherwise makes you look bad dude. Citing French and Russian intelligence services to bolster you claim makes you look even worse.

    The war in Iraq was illegal, regardless of how many thieves and liars in Congress bypassed constitutional law to enact it. When two states go to war, a declaration is needed by at least one of them to justify the carnage and acknowledge responsibility. This didn’t happen. In the case of Afghanistan, the regime in place (the Taliban) refused to cooperate, but it was largely acknowledged that Kabul did not exercise control of the regions where al-Qaeda was active. So the war there, no matter how cumbersome and bumblesome it may have been executed, was justified.

    However, let’s take your argument seriously (for the sake of your readers), and suppose that the ends really do justify the means. If this is the case, and supposing that the rule of law is indeed sometimes a hindrance to the best-laid plans of the intellectual class, and supposing that the US government really does do foreign peoples a great service when it undertakes military exercises in their name, then there must be some sort of proof for this, right?

    You point to Iraq’s democracy as a noble end of a ignoble means, correct?

    You must have heard by now that Nouri al-Maliki, a man you have hailed as brave and honest, has recently issued a death sentence for a rival politician, right? Something that I and other libertarians predicted would happen long ago. In fact, let me take the liberty to quote myself in an essay directed at your attacks and written in February of 2011:

    Oh dude! I don’t know what strain of marijuana you are smoking (Santa Cruz has so many to choose from!), but I want some of it. It has not even been eight years since the invasion of Iraq, and already you are proclaiming it a liberal democracy? A bastion of light in a dark and voter-free world? I’ll hold off on the rest of this argument until you let me smoke some of your stash, and then maybe I will be able to possess some mystical insights into the golden sunrise that a democratic Iraq is inevitably going to ride through over the next few decades […] In ten years time, however, I think that we will see the trajectory of Iraq turn towards dictatorship again, while in the states that have managed to keep outside influence limited to trade we will see the evolution of stronger, sounder, democratic institutions.

    If I am setting up a straw man by all means let me know. Give me a stronger argument and I will bulldoze it to the ground, too.

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      As long as as you’re bringing up the huge mess President Bush and the neo-cons created don’t neglect the [currently low key] Kurds. As the Shiites and Sunnis spiral towards civil war Kurdistan awaits.

      • Yes, it’s going to be a big problem. To be fair, the geopolitical situation in the Middle East isn’t totally the fault of the Bush administration, nor should the blame be laid entirely at the feet of the European imperial states of the 19th and 20th centuries (I have a horribly convoluted blog post explaining how factions rather than states are the key to analyzing world affairs here, if you’re interested).

        The Kurd factor explains Turkey’s sudden turn away from Washington since 2003 (rather than the ye old Muslim canard), and the Kurds also have a role to play in Iranian-Iraqi affairs.

        Imagining the coming clusterfuck is not a fun affair.

        For what’s it worth, Washington had a chance to dampen these factional rivalries just after toppling the Baathist regime. We could have implemented a robust federal state that looks much more like our own (or even the EuroZone), but instead we opted for a parliamentary democracy molded on the European nation-state model. This, of course, was a bad idea because such a structure naturally places the central government in a position where it, and only it, is to be the supreme entity that doles out rewards and punishments. We are seeing the consequences of this structure being played out today through various power struggles.

        If one takes a quick gander (sorry, this is long) at the post-colonial world, one can see this political process being played out over and over again as revolutionaries educated in the West sought to model their own polities on the nation-state model, rather than on the federal one. Violent nationalism, poverty and despotism became common themes. The parallel between what is going on in Kurdistan and what happened in the early and mid-20th century in Europe is eerie. With power being extended more and more to the center of our own republic (and that of Canada and Australia as well), the lessons of the post-colonial world have much to offer us.

      • Brandon: This time you make sense.

      • Dr Terry: It sounds interesting, like the germ of an essay in your mind. I wish you would write it and offer it to this blog or to Notes On Liberty.

        Myself, I would welcome a Kurdistan. It’s long overdue. It’s not obvious that Iraq should remain a single state. The more the present entity leans to Iran, the less obvious it is.

        I always wonder if people who deplore the “mess: regret Saddam Hussein. It’s a simple enough question isn’t it?

  4. Ranu Gupta says:

    To Captain Jacque, antogonist in chief of the fish that peacefully reside in Santa Cruz bay. He says he means them no anger, but I do not believe him for a second!

    First the disclaimer before I comment, my knowledge of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is peripheral at best. But I will offer this. I believe that war in general is a barbaric artefact of survival that the sooner we evolve out of the better, and to that end I admire Ron Paul for calling an end to both wars. As I see it, Gandhism or “non violent” resistance coupled with clever diplomacy has proved to be a far more potent force for political change than any war however violent. Case in point, the Iron curtain and the Berlin wall collapsed with so much as a gunshot. More recently, Egypt and Libya are examples where enabling local resistance proved far more effective than any overt aggression by NATO.

    Again I am not suggesting that we withdraw from Afghanistan without due consideration to the aftermath. All I am saying is that if we think about it, especially in the last fifty years, the business case (cost-benefit) for going to war is hard to defend. There are plenty of smarter options available.

    Best, r

    • David says:

      “I have yet to see this simple fact refuted on this blog: Osama bin Laden attacked the US because of its ties to the Saudi family, a rival of the bin Laden clan.”

      Insofar as my capacity to cover the myriad theories of who perpetrated the attacks on 9/11 and why they perpetrated them you are the only entity that I have heard relay that as being the primary motivator. Where is the basis for this “fact?”

      “The Bush administration lied to the American people. There was never any connection whatsoever between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Pretending otherwise makes you look bad dude. Citing French and Russian intelligence services to bolster you claim makes you look even worse.”

      Keep in mind that persons/agencies believing that a connection exists & making a decision based off that belief is different than knowing otherwise and deliberately making a misleading statement. There is a categorical difference between lying and being misinformed. One requires premeditation and the other only requires bad information/stupidity.

      “The war in Iraq was illegal, regardless of how many thieves and liars in Congress bypassed constitutional law to enact it. When two states go to war, a declaration is needed by at least one of them to justify the carnage and acknowledge responsibility.”

      It wasn’t illegal by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, the doctrine of regime change as official US policy dates back to the Clinton administration and the Iraq Liberation Act, shortly after which we shelled Iraq for quite awhile. Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq. Until the Supreme Court rules it illegal, it is legal, whether or not you like it or agree with it or not. And I’m reasonably sure that very few wars throughout the course of history were started with official Declarations. Usually the declaration was the appearance of an army at one’s city walls. Or dropping bombs on boats. Or a gunshot wound to the face. Just ask the Archduke Ferdinand. And that was about it.

      Brandon, you gotta admit it, you missed me, didn’t you? 😉

    • Ranu: I recommend that you read more on 20th century Indian history. Gandhi’s dreamy mindlessness was largely responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands or millions in the massacres of the Partition.

      Other than that, you are right, of course. We can help evolution by eliminating terrorists from the gene pool. We are not doing enough.

  5. Partial reply to Brandon: I don’t try to answer everything Brandon asserts because: One: I have done most of it before (in particular the legality of the Iraq War: It was legal); Two, he habitually sets up whole rows of strawmen for the sheer pleasure of setting them on fire.

    I think I may have unwittingly misled readers or some readers in my posting “Shame on Us” and in my responses to comments on it.

    When I stated that the French and the Russian intelligence services concurred with what leftists and pacifists called “lies” by the Bush administration, I was thinking of weapons of mass destruction.

    My recollection is that the Bush administration’s allegations about Iraq being in any way responsible for 9/11 were non-existent, or rare and ephemeral. One, about an alleged meeting between Al Queda and Saddam emissaries in Prague was never cleared, one way of the other. It was entirely credible although it may not have been true. What was said repeatedly was that Saddam had many (generic) links with terrorism. Of course, that was true.

    In general, I think that Saddam-any terrorism allegations played little or not part in justifying the invasion of Iraq, before or after.

    Speaking of “lies” with respect to the Iraq war does not show realism, it demonstrates naivety. The Bush administration, largely led by its Secretary of State, acted on the intelligence it had then. Our intelligence was extremely bad it turns out. This may be hard to accept for some. The said Secretary of State wrote about this in his memoirs. Do you remember his name?

    • When I stated that the French and the Russian intelligence services concurred with […] the Bush administration, I was thinking of weapons of mass destruction.

      My recollection is that the Bush administration’s allegations about Iraq being in any way responsible for 9/11 were non-existent, or rare and ephemeral […] It was entirely credible although it may not have been true. What was said repeatedly was that Saddam had many (generic) links with terrorism. Of course, that was true.

      In general, I think that Saddam-any terrorism allegations played little or not part in justifying the invasion of Iraq, before or after.

      This is just not true. The Bush administration repeated sought to connect Baghdad to al-Qaeda to bolster its argument that the US should invade and occupy Mesopotamia. From a speech delivered to the American people on October 7th, 2002:

      We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

      Again, I am arguing with your imagination.

      The Bush administration used a wide variety of tactics to convince the American people that invading and occupying Iraq was in the interests of the republic’s security. This is precisely what one would expect from a regime that does not possess a legitimate excuse to go to war. Given that all of the excuses the Bush administration gave as a rationale for the invasion and occupation of Iraq turned out to be, uh, mistaken, I find it hard to believe that no counter-evidence whatsoever passed through the administration’s circles without being seriously contemplated by high level officials. The lies continued nevertheless.

      • Brandon: Thank you for refreshing my memory about Saddam-terrorist links. The evidence was even stronger than I thought.

        How much a role the terrorist links ties played in firing up the Congress into voting overwhelmingly for the war is a subjective matter. However, I was a man in my maturity and a long experience and awareness of political news when this happened while you might have been ______ years old? So, I vote for my recollection. THis is not an argument about the wisdom of age but more about the impotence of inexperience with respect to simple understanding. It’s also an argument about testosterone poisoning.

        Another subjective judgment: “Finding it difficult” after the fact to believe that intelligence services were befuddled and deceived is naive. They screw up all the time except in the movies. And, some of Saddam’s generals declared after the war that they thought they had weapons of mass destruction.

      • Dr J writes:

        Thank you for refreshing my memory about Saddam-terrorist links. The evidence was even stronger than I thought.

        The evidence was false, and any good skeptic could have see the many holes in the argument put forth by the Bush administration in 2002. This first line of argument was only abandoned when the American people largely rejected it, and it was then that the Bush administration began to use French and Russian intelligence services to link Saddam to WMD’s.

        I’m going to repeat myself: “The Bush administration used a wide variety of tactics to convince the American people that invading and occupying Iraq was in the interests of the republic’s security. This is precisely what one would expect from a regime that does not possess a legitimate excuse to go to war.”

        Dr J goes on to school me:

        Another subjective judgment: “Finding it difficult” after the fact to believe that intelligence services were befuddled and deceived is naive. They screw up all the time except in the movies. And, some of Saddam’s generals declared after the war that they thought they had weapons of mass destruction.

        I didn’t say anything about “finding it difficult” after the fact. I am going to repeat myself again: I said “I find it hard to believe that no counter-evidence whatsoever passed through the administration’s circles without being seriously contemplated by high level officials. The lies continued nevertheless.”

        The fact that Hussein kept some of his generals in the dark only strengthens the argument that we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq: there were too many factions at work and not enough information on any of them (including the Baathists). Intervening in post-colonial states is a bad idea precisely because they don’t operate on the same terms as Western states, and therefore policymakers don’t really understand them.

        And, of course, we knew that Hussein had once had WMDs. Washington sold them to the Hussein regime to use against Tehran in the eighties. He must have used the rest of them on the Kurds and the Shiites after the first Gulf War, when Washington abandoned those factions for expediency’s sake.

  6. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Speaking of “lies” with respect to the Iraq war does not show realism, it demonstrates naivety.” No, just a simple statement of fact.

    “The said Secretary of State wrote about this in his memoirs. Do you remember his name?” Yes, unlike many Teapublicans I don’t repress the names of prominent black public figures. I’d post a link to his name to refresh your memory but you never follow them. Do you remember who he endorsed for the presidency in 2008?

    • Dr Terry : I remember that he endorsed OBama.
      Are we going to hear him this time? Isn’t it getting late in the game?

      It’s is not true that I “never” use links offered to contradict me. Two conditions: Has to be a live link so, I just need to click on it. Someone has to give me a reason to bother. Someone – you for example – has to take his responsibility and tell me why I should read the proposed item. The fact that some source or other disagrees wit me is not enough. My three-year old grand-daughter disagrees with me often. That’s not enough to make her worth listening to. The Huffington Past is a bad place to start, as you did recently. If someone had reported to me that you had done that, I would not have believed it.

      Life is short. We have to be selective in how we use it.

  7. Pingback: A European Union of More Nations? « Notes On Liberty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s