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meeting the enemy

[Before you read this, just a note that we need only $200 more dollars to meet our goal of $10,000 raised in the Strengthen the Good appeal at Command Post. More on that later] Because I unwillingly - or due to unfortunate cable modem circumstances - had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to say before I actually opened up the browswer to say/write it, most of what you're about to read has been covered on plenty of blogs last night and today. I'll plow on, nonetheless. Well, no. I don't have the time to plow on right now. It will have to wait. Really, what I just wanted to say comes down to this: The war we are engaged in right now is not just the war in Iraq. We are at war against an ideology. We are at war against evil. Saddam and al Sadr are just part of that evil. al Qaeda and the martyr's brigades are just part of it. If you put it together as a whole it is called World War III, or even IV depending on your perpsective. This is the time to forget about oil, forget about WMDs, forget about whatever reasons you have for protesting. Nick Berg's murder should bring us together. It should have the exact opposite effect that the murderer's intended. It should make us feel that, as Americans, our lives are at stake. It should make us feel the way we did on September 11, 2001 when we stared out our windows or at our televisions and said holy shit, we are at war. Our enemy has not changed since that day; we are still fighting the same core group of fundamentalists that have the common goal of wanting the infidels dead. And who are the infidels? Americans and Jews. We should look at the video of Nick Berg's murder and see a common enemy called evil. We should hear the audio of Nick Berg's murder and listen to the chants of Allahu Akbar and hear what we are up against. The video should make you angry. But it should not make you angry at your own country, your president, a few bad soldiers, Donald Rumsfeld, conservatives, liberals, Al Franken or John Kerry. Not even at the media, misguided as they are. We should not be angry at anybody but the people who swung the knife and every last person that follows the beliefs that they do. That's where our anger should directed. That's where the fingers get pointed. Think about that. Go, listen to the shouts of Allahu Akbar, watch the soulless men with the covered faces dance and chant while Nick Berg screams in agony. We have met our enemy, again. We met him in Munich. We met him in New York. We met him on the Achille Lauro, at the Kobar Towers, on the USS Cole and in Fallujah. We met him at the mass graves. We will meet him again. And again. Our enemy cannot be defeated if we cannot agree on who he is. I know with certainity that the men in that video and everyone who subcribes to their deranged version of the religion of peace is our enemy. What's it going to take? Another 9/11? Maybe the loss of a whole city? What will it take before people stop blaming everyone but the doers of evil? Something's coming. Wait for it. As long as they know that we don't have the backbone to do the right thing, they'll come at us full force. Which begs the big question: What is the right thing? And are we right now doing the wrong thing? Update: Read this.

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» "How awful it would be if this worked out" from sisu
InstaPundit attempts to clue in those clueless members of the Fourth Estate for whom Bush hatred trumps patriotism: "To explain things in words of few syllables: It's wrong to root for your country's defeat. Especially when that defeat would mean [Read More]

» ..... from crazy island
I wonder what in the hell this world has come to. What has it come to when people cannot see the truth. I have struggled with how to get across how I feel. Michele pretty much said EXACTLY how I... [Read More]

» Nick Berg from Faithiepoo!
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Comments

I have only seen the stills of the Nick Berg murder. I refuse to let myself hear or see the video. I haven't been able to concentrate on work or any thing else since yesterday morning.

Michelle, this post is an exact echo of what I am feeling right now. Thank you so much.

And, by the way, good luck with the house :)

Geezzz....about the "update", sometimes you wish your suspicions weren't confirmed.

The politics is personal and ultimately self-serving/defeating.

We are doing the right thing. For twenty or thirty years we've sat back and let them bring the fight to us, at times and places of their chosing. Now WE are chosing the time and place. One might quibble over if Iraq was the best next step. Perhaps Iran would have been better, perhaps Sudan, perhaps here, perhaps there. Still, in my view, the important thing is that there WAS a next step.
My mother kept all the letters from my dad and a huge pile of newspaper clippings and magazine articles from the three and a half years dad was in the Pacific Theater. They were lifelong, voracious readers. I spent many a rainy day digging in those boxes as a boy. I read a lot of criticism of how we were fighting that war, never did I see that we shouldn't have fought it.
The clippings from 1942 never said 'North Africa didn't bomb Pearl Harbor'.
The clippings from 1943 never said 'Italy didn't bomb Pearl Harbor'.
The clippings from 1944 never said 'France didn't bomb Pearl Harbor'.
I do not know what, if anything, will get us all pulling in the same direction. One would think that the photos of the mass graves would have done it. Perhaps if the Networks had not decided to sequester the film of the people jumping from the Twin Towers we'd be a bit more united, I just don't know.

Having just been accused of being "obsessed" with war by a family member, and of ignoring "the important things" in life . . . all I can say is that I am more convinced than ever that on September 11, half the country woke up and thought we were back in the late 60s, while the other half woke up believing we'd been dropped into the early 40s.

And you can't get agreement on anything when you can't even get people to agree on what time it is.

As for the post at Instapundit: Depressing, but unsurprising.

Thank you, Michele. Nicely put.

Excellent post Peter. I think that by this point pretty much everybody's point of view has more or less cemented in their minds, and nothing will change it. Not the Berg murder, not some NYTimes reporter basically bragging about her bias, not any images from 9/11 or 3/11 or any other atrocity.

Hatred has taken hold of a large part of the American public. It has divided and may well defeat us. I just hope there are more early-1940s mindsets than late-1960s mindsets out there.

The thing which drive me crazy with shame is that the American magazine journalist Glen talked to would call herself a liberal.

And I used to think that being a liberal meant that you valued liberty for all people, but actually the current crop has such contempt for liberty that they can't even stand to think about it for even a second.

What ever happened to Jefferson's realization that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to
time with the blood of patriots and tyrants?"

A nit pick, though. The Islamist's war on the infidels is really a war on (almost) all non-muslims even if America is near the head of their shit list. Trying to run Hindus out of Kashmir (or just kill them) or attacks in Thailand or the Phillipines are examples that show that it's not just a war against Jews and Americans.

Charles Lindbergh, a decorated war hero himself, actively protested against any US involvement in the "European conflict" with the America First organization. He met with Hitler, and like so many who believed Hitler would contain the communists, embraced National Socialism.

So what's different about America First and the people we are talking about today? When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the America Firsters closed the shops, took down the signs, and went home. Once the nation was attacked, that was it.

What will it take for these people? I don't know. Islamists running through their neighborhood slashing the throats of children I guess.

I failed miserably in my attempt to say what I feel on my own site. You said it with dead on accuracy here for me.

I watched the video. I have no adequate words really. What I do have is a lot of confusion and anger.

sigh

Ask anyone, and they'll tell you I was the first to quibble with the small faction on the left who thought we should have bombed Afghanistan with "love" after 9.11. I want every member of Al Qaeda and their buddies to suffer a long, painful death and that is precisely why I oppose Bush. Bush and the Right jumped off the rails when they decided that the next step after Afghanistan was to attack Iraq, even worse - occupying it. Of all the hotspots in the middle east, Iraq was the least Al Qaeda related - Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even Iran/Syria harbored more terrorists. But we hit Iraq, because it was the easiest thing to do. But they didn't plan, and now our troops suffer while Al Qaeda can pick them off.

The post of Oliver is so clear and well-reasoned that I wish to state a bit about why I disagree with him. This disagreement should be construed as a compliment to Oliver's post.

My general impression is that the liberation of Iraq is part of a general plan to attack the root causes of terrorism: despotic regimes which offer their people no hope. Several such regimes exist in the Middle East. All of them support anti-American terrorism, although the specific brand of anti-American terrorism supported may vary from regime to regime. Note that Al Quaida is hardly the only terrorist group that wants to kill Americans and has the resources to do alot of killing. So, where to start? Iraq seemed like a reasonable place for at least two reasons. First, it has (by Middle Eastern standards) a fairly modern, well-educated, and secular population. Second, it was the state for which it was most easy to construct some sort of casus belli, and indeed several were constructed. Going into Saudi Arabia, though I would have rejoiced, would have looked like a naked resource grab to many and Saudi Arabia would have been a much more difficult soil in which to plant the seeds of liberal democracy than Iraq. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Constructing a casus belli for Iran/Syria would have been much more difficult. Finally, I dispute that the situation in Iraq is really that bad. The stories that I have heard from returning troops have been overwhelmingly positive. The press seems to have focused on the few trouble spots. Of course the planning could have been better, in hindsight, but that is always true. I doubt that a Gore or Kerry adminstration would have done any better, although that is admittedly naked opinion on my part. Indeed, I suspect that most of my disagreement with Oliver on this subject is the result of two intelligent, well-informed people looking at a complex situation and coming to different conclusions.

Michele, although much of what you said has already been said in the blogosphere today, the time you spent thinking about it shows because you said it better.

Oliver's right, and that's why Bush is wrong.

Maybe some of you allow yourselves to be deaf to it now, because some liberals talk nonsense, but HALF of America believes this. Not some crackpot minority; not a bunch of dope-smoking hippies; but half of the nation's citizens just like you:

Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda and 9/11. And if we went to Iraq to liberate them and make them our allies in the region, then we've failed, because the Iraqis now think we're sick and evil and no longer have the right to decide who's "the enemy" in their country (and it doesn't matter what you and I think).

And who's to say if they're wrong? Never mind Abu Ghraib--from what I read in the comments here yesterday, it's a valid question: are our hearts in the right place, or are we willing to kill them all because some of them, like some of us, are bad? That's terrorism.

I think the heart of Michelle's post is correct, but her head keeps wanting to interject the poison--"...misguided though they are; ...read Instapundit"--that keeps us all talking past each other. We can all find freaks on each side whose twisted grandstanding gives us license to ignore each other.

I think Bush was wrong to take us into Iraq. Why? Because it didn't have anything to do with al Qaeda. Not in any meaningful way, as even the Bush administration admits. But wars are terrible, and people do terrible things, and if the war's justification is suspect, then the terrible things that happen have no justification. And while both sides may do terrible things, the side that started the war is going to be judged more harshly than the other. (And don't say "they" started the war, because THERE WERE NO IRAQI HIJACKERS ON 9/11.)

We should be focused on defeating al Qaeda. We haven't been. We've just been outraging the Arab world in Iraq. Should the Arab world denounce, and hopefully get a handle on, the extremists in their midst? Definitely. Should the Arab world be grateful that we deposed Saddam? Probably. Does the Arab world still deserve to be outraged? I don't know: thousands of innocent civilians dead? How do you feel about 9/11? About Nick Berg?

Here's what I fear: That we're entering a situation like Israel/Palestine, where BOTH sides have squandered their morality and righteousness with acts of brutality in the desperate search for revenge and security. Where next year, or in five years, it will be impossible to say who, on God's ledger, is less guilty.

Defeating the terrorists will be difficult--much more difficult than supporting Bush's adventure in Iraq. Because we CAN'T kill them all. If there are hundreds or thousands of terrorists, there are millions of Arab men and women and children who are as innocent as you and me. How can we say that we want to liberate them out of one side of our mouths, but that we're willing to kill them all out of the other?

Look in your hearts. Bush has told you this will be hard, but he's chosen the easy way. Reduce our oil dependency, rally our true allies, use our clout on Saudi and Egypt, ABSORB TERRORIST MURDERS IF NECESSARY TO KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN SIGHT, of course capture and kill the actual terrorists--and above all show decency to the Arab world at large, even when the actions of a few outrage us....

That's the hard way. Can you handle it?

Pk, it would help you immensely to understant the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Israel is a democracy, and far from having squandered its morality, over the years Israelis have come to perfectly reasonable political positions.

They're heavily polled, so it's easy to know what the Israeli public wants and what its politicians are trying to give them.

They want peace, they are willing to give up land...

Yet fighting continues, why? Well put down that newspaper - the Arabs put out lies at a rate of thousands per year, and the media eats them up so our view of the war is highly squewed by lies. "Truth is the first casualty of war" is the cliche in this case.

If you look at the PLO charter you can see that it was written with a purpose. And the purpose was to insure the (eventual) destruction of Israel, and it was written to address a problem with this goal - that problem being that if peace between Israelis and Palestinians was allowed to mature, then Israel would not be destroyed.

So the purpose of Arafat's organization is to prevent peace and to indoctrinate Palestinians to hate.

They've been 100% successful in these goals, if not in destroying Israel.

Talk about the occupation is nonsense. The only reason for the occupation is to prevent terrorists from infiltrating Israel. They stop an average of about one terrorist attack per day. And some of the threats have been huge, like the terrorist who was stopped trying to sneak nerve gas into a hospital - imagine if he'd released it.

Israel is EXACTLY what the middle eastern terrorists want the turn the rest of the world into. Its not widely reported that Hamas says it intends to continue fighting after a Palestinian state is created, it intends to continue fighting after it has destroyed Israel, it intends to continue until "Islam rules the universe" The only difference between Palestinian terrorists and Al Qa'eda is their short term focus, not their eventual goals!

As long as you buy the propaganda that "Israel has squandered [its] morality and righteousness" then you don't understand the situation. In Arab propaganda, the rightiousness of the victim will always be slandered.

And so it is with us.

Yes, you understand that Iraq was not a direct source of 9/11... But all of the regimes in the region are a willing source of terrorists - it's their way of war and its organizations get money and support from wealthy doners, from government and other institutions and from Islamic charities.

Yes it's not a majority of the public that supports this. But these are not really democracies - their public doesn't get a choice. And even in democracies, elites can hold on to unpopular stances. I would bet that the majority of southern Americans didn't support slavery, but it took a war to end slavery.

Anyway it's incorrect to assume that the majority of Iraqis blame us for Abu Ghraib and it's clear from polls that the majority do not want us out. You might try reading the Iraqi blogger, iraqthemodel.blogspot.com

The big picture is that we have powerful minorities in Iraq who want us out, precisely because many have been indoctrinated in the same idiologies that the terrorists represent.

The situation in the middle east is very complicated. I studied it myself and the results of my analysis sent me reeling from the Green Party to the Republicans.

But most people have neither the time to make their own study, nor willingness to accept any complicated analysis that would force them to switch parties the way I did. "Neocon" will always mean Newt Gingritch (as it used to to me) and always mean evil, no matter what foriegn policy analysis it labels.

So it goes.

I already see the conspiracy theories and the "blame the US" explanations sprouting from the usual suspects.

The two myths which this denial will require :

#1) The US detained him, causing him to be kidnapped by the a%%holes scum who decapitated him.

#2) He was decapitated in "response" to the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghirab.

It's difficult to hear politicians play this war for cynical political purposes, but I suppose it's par for the course. All I can do is witness his death, as I can, and point out that he was an innocent and was murdered anyway.

Bleh!

=darwin

Yes, it will take a loss of a city. And that still won't be enough.

My father and sister live in San Diego, which is a ripe target. I wonder every day if I'm going to hear the bad news about it.

Is it time for us to really step up and show our backbone(if we still have one)? I would think so. But we're still too willing to second guess ourselves about everything.

I despair.

There is so much so well written here.
I spend a lot of time trying to understand all of the various information I see, read, hear. I haven't even turned on the TV!
All I can say, without going into my details is:
Love one another.
Tell those that you care about just how much you care.
Do good things as you are aware of, even to strangers.
Hold the door open, smile to others.
Weather through all this, and protect your inner flame.
We cannot turn our back, no; but we can show love when there is so much darkness.
XO to you all-Mark

I want every member of Al Qaeda and their buddies to suffer a long, painful death and that is precisely why I oppose Bush. Bush and the Right jumped off the rails when they decided that the next step after Afghanistan was to attack Iraq, even worse - occupying it. Of all the hotspots in the middle east, Iraq was the least Al Qaeda related - Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even Iran/Syria harbored more terrorists.

This is true. But, before the Iraq war, very few Democrats were saying this. There was Joe Lieberman. And..Joe Lieberman. But he’s too 'right-wing' to be elected, right?

Otherwise, there were none.

But I could be wrong. Does anyone have any links to other prominent Democrats who made pre-Iraq war statements that SA, Pakistan and Iran/Syria were the problem, and they should be recognized as terror supporters and sanctioned, or even targeted for military action?

All I heard were endless complaints about Bush.

Recently, Bush put sanctions on Syria.

Newsweek reacted by saying that Assad is a genuine reformer, and these sanctions will sabotage his efforts at political change.

They then asked Assad if there was anything the United States can do to restore its credibility. The whole interview is so pitiful.

If you can tell me how Kerry will guarantee that Al Qaeda and their buddies like Prince Abdullah and Assad will suffer a long, painful death, I’ll vote for him. From all indications, I believe he’ll follow in Newsweek’s path, begging the Arab world to stop hating us.

"Let's face it, the Internet is a regular Chuckie Cheese of Perversion for creeps and geeks looking for porn, forbidden pictures, fetishes, and anything else that gets their motor running. You know it, I know it, even Rick Santorum knows it (check out hotdalmations.com). So it takes a special kind of dumb to discover that people are jumping all over the internet searching for the Nick Berg death video and interpret that to mean, "See? People care more about Berg than Abu Ghraib or the war in Iraq or if Britney will quit smoking or not." But when it comes to that special kind of dumb,well, welcome to the Great American Dumbfest."

Here's my problem with claims of media bias. The media has turned into one big rubber necking, car crash watching, ambulus chasing circus. Just check CNN. Every day there is a headline story about some car accident, or freak medical death, or some other bizarre story that has no effect on anyone else except the people involved whose families would most likely prefer to stay out of the headlines. The media flocks to death and disaster and they love a war.
A good example is school shootings. The reporters flock to them and it makes front page headlines everywhere. The most horrifying thing about Columbine was how CNN covered it like a football game. Calling play by play as students ran for their lives and police moved in.
The fact is that horror stories sell more papers than the feel good stories. Just look at how much coverage the atrocities and Kill Berg Volume 1 has gotten in the blogosphere. People love mayhem and love to argue about it. If you want the media to change what they report, then give them a reason to.

Darwin, the “usual suspects” blaming the Berg murder on Abu Ghraib pictures have come from both the right and the left. For example, there’s this from Jeff Jacoby: “Nick Berg lost his life because the Abu Ghraib pictures were turned into a worldwide media event.” Or you can go to Free Republic for a slew of posts like this: “You can thank your friendly neighborhood Democrat or CBS (ghoul TV) for this death.” http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1133415/posts

I agree with you that Zarqawi and his henchmen would’ve beheaded Berg regardless of Abu Ghraib and would’ve cited the most convenient justification.

Understanding this about Zarqawi ties us back into Oliver’s post about how Bush has mismanaged the war on terror. As Jim Miklaszewski reported for NBC: “NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger... Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.”

Certainly you’d have to admit that the failure to confront Zarqawi and his Klan sooner was a horrible mistake.