Worse Than By ROBERT WRIGHT
Robert Wright on culture, politics and world affairs.
“We did the Cole and we wanted the
— Mohammed Atef, military commander of Al Qaeda, in November of 2000
You have to give the people at Al Qaeda this much
You might say. Last week at the NATO summit President Obama pushed the light at the end of the tunnel further down the tracks. By the end of 2014, he now tells us, American combat operations in
It’s not as if we need those four years to set any records. At just over nine years of age, this war is already the longest in American history. And this Saturday we’ll eclipse the Soviet Union’s misadventure in
For starters, though
And how many anti-American jihadists has the war created on the battlefield itself? There’s no telling, but recent headlines suggest this admittedly impressionistic conclusion
Hawks sometimes try to turn this logic to their advantage
Actually, we didn’t. The staging ground for the 9/11 attacks was
In the case of communism, this mistake became vivid to me in 1990, when I walked into the finest department store in
So too with jihadism; Al Qaeda’s ideology offers nothing that many of the world’s Muslims actually want — except, perhaps, when they feel threatened by the West, a feeling that isn’t exactly dulled by the presence of American troops in Muslim countries.
There are, of course, people who say that it wouldn’t have been enough to let communism self-destruct. This view, which credits Ronald Reagan with turning up the heat on the Soviets in Latin America and
But look at the price we paid for slightly accelerating the inevitable. In
Of course, wastefulness is a pretty bad thing in its own right. Spending on
All told, then
Still, the strategy in whose name both wars were launched, containment, makes sense if wisely calibrated. A well tuned terrorism containment strategy — dubbed containment 2.0 by the foreign policy blogger Eric Martin — would require strong leadership in the White House and in Congress. It would mean convincing Americans that — sometimes, at least — we have to absorb terrorist attacks stoically, refraining from retaliation that brings large-scale blowback.
That’s a tough sell, because few things are more deeply engrained in human nature than the impulse to punish enemies. So maybe the message should be put like this
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs