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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

12.23.2006

Why Is the West So Blind?

Like a lot of you, I thought the world changed on 9/11/01.

As the WTC area we now know as Ground Zero smoldered, I thought the sheer murderous barbarity of our enemies would forever destroy the naivete of the State Department and CIA, and usher in a new era of hard-knuckled realism when it comes to foreign powers and non-state actors.

I thought that the American public would wake up to realize that they lived in a dangerous and brutal world, and that they needed strong men with a willingness to do what must be done to protect us.

I believed that the utter fecklessness of the Clinton administration, with its mealy-mouthed legalistic approach to counterterrorism and its simpering, lip-biting apologies for historical acts long past had been revealed to be folly of the highest order.

And I thought that we would never again allow ourselves to be so blind as we were to ignore Al Qaeda despite their repeated declarations of intent to wage war upon us and their prior successful attacks against us.

And then came Iran.

Michael Ledeen, as usual, puts it much better than I could:

Why the refusal to see Iran for what it is? Coughlin explains it in a purely military context. He says that NATO troops have enough to do, fighting Taliban units in southern Afghanistan, and are just not prepared to extend their field of operations to the north and west. But, as he says, that would necessarily change if, as appears to be case, our leaders can no longer ignore the evidence.

I think the self-blinding of the West took place at a higher, and more political, level. I blame the intelligence community and the diplomats. They were the ones who refused to accept information from proven sources, because that information was in total conflict with the alternate version of reality they sold to the president: that Iran had been helpful to us in Afghanistan, that there were “moderates” in Tehran with whom we could work, and that a “grand bargain” could be struck, if only we made nice to the mullahs.

And of course I blame the president and his people–from his personal staff to the National Security Council people in charge of the region and the war—who bought the alternate reality. They had numerous opportunities to listen to the truth, and invariably declined.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said of Jimmy Carter that he could not distinguish between his friends and his enemies, and so he had ended by accepting his enemies’ view of the world. The same can be said of George W. Bush with regard to Iran.

And still we dither.


Like many children of the Cold War, I have a perpetual horror of nuclear attack. When the Berlin Wall fell, I went to bed secure for the first time in my life that I wouldn't be awakened by mushroom clouds on the horizon.

Thanks to the Bush administration's weakness, the cowardice, arrogance, and borderline treason of lifetime bureaucrats at the State Department and CIA, along with their Democrat and LWM accomplices, our children will grow up with the fears with which we were burdened, fears which will be realized fully if we do not alter the course of events already underway.

Why are we so blind?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting...I wonder how many Iranian former children of the Cold War also wake up with renewed fear of a mushroom cloud on the horizon. It's less their fault that they have such poor leadership than ours that we have such poor leadership - at least we have a (supposedly) more developed democracy. The problem is with two right-wing governments not knowing how to see eye to eye, and not even trying.

The relief we felt when the Berlin wall crumbled was the relief that Russia had liberalized, that communism had imploded and been proven untennable. Now we're all sliding away from liberalization and back into mistrust. (There's a strong argument to be made that this is the favored state of affairs, from a military-contractor point of view). We've forgotten how to turn enemies into friends because we've forgotten how to communicate (which involves more listening than dictating - something our current president has never learned). Trust and cooperation will remove a threat much more safely and effectively than competition and beligerence, which is all we're hearing from Washington and Tehran.

You're right, they're not taking the threat seriously. Because the only tool in our toolbox is a hammer, all our problems are perceived as nails. We need a new toolbox, as does Iran. Diplomacy backed with force, not force backed with force.

3:38 PM  

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