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"The Idea of Self-Preservation Was as Jealously

Guarded from the Young as the Facts of Sex Had Been in Earlier Ages": One more quote from Rebecca West, writing about the English after World War I (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), Epilogue, p. 1122, paragraph breaks added):

The sense of guilt which is born in every man, and is willing to operate without reasonable cause, had here abundant food, and for long we had been sick with masochism.... [Many Englishmen] had lost all sense that it is sometimes necessary to fight for one's life; and many children born in the decade after the Great War can never have heard a word from their parents and teachers which suggested that their country had or could have been actuated by any motive except stuipd and credulous jingoism in taking up arms in 1914.

The idea of self-preservation was as jealously guarded from the young as the facts of sex had been in earlier ages. Thus England ... put itself in a position of insecurity unique in history by raising a generation of young men to whom the idea of defending their nation was repugnant not so much by reason of the danger involved (though indeed they were now often instructed in fear as in other times boys had been instructed in courage) as because they could not believe it would in any circumstances be necessary.

Since every day Germany and Italy were formulating in more definite and vehement terms that they meant to vanquish and annihilate England, it was amazing that it should have been possible to enclose them in the magic sphere of this illusion. It would, of course, be comprehensible had they been drugged by sensual indulgence or grown careless of honour; bet never had the mass of the people been more sober, and law-abiding, and restrained, never had they been so anxious for honourable dealings between class and class and between nation and nation.

The fault was not decadence but the desire for holiness, the belief in sacrifice, and a willingness to serve as the butchered victim acceptable to God.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Careful With That Inference:
  2. "The Idea of Self-Preservation Was as Jealously
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The butchered victim being the black lamb--or Jesus.

The grey falcon is the messenger from God who told Tsar Lazarus to lose a battle against the Turks. In order to be holy.

Agree or disagree, I don't see that West is unclear, unless you really, really don't want to see it.
5.12.2006 3:40pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oops. Tsar Lazar. Five hundred years ago.
5.12.2006 3:40pm
Fishbane (mail):
Is this what you get when you marry Ayn Rand to a government PR flack?
5.12.2006 3:50pm
Tocqueville:
This story is replaying itself throughout the West today, especially in the academy, as we raise up another generation of emasculated men ill-equipped to confront the jihadist forces that seek to annihilate them. The tragicomedy of our situation - we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible, the qualities we desire - drive, dynamic, creative, moral, responsible can not exist without universals - some connection to the "real."

In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful."
5.12.2006 4:10pm
Allen Asch (mail) (www):

The idea of self-preservation was as jealously guarded from the young as the facts of sex had been in earlier ages.
Hey, now we're finally discussing something having to do with my real day job as a stay-at-home dad. Having spent the last five years primarily concerned with child rearing, the quoted sentence seems unnecessarily scornful. Who has to teach self-preservation to the young? Using violence for self-protection is not something kids generally need to be taught; it's something of a natural instinct. Teaching kids to avoid violence is not something deserving the scornful tone in Rebecca West's quoted passage. Particularly in direct contradiction to West's implied scorn, I believe that the principles of self-defense, like sex, may be too sophisticated to teach to young kids. For many young kids, a strong anti-violence message is the best message. When they're older, they can learn about using reasonable force to protect themselves and others from imminent threats.
5.12.2006 4:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Allen. They can. They should. West is saying the teaching was positively in the opposite direction at later ages.
5.12.2006 4:27pm
SLS 1L:
What's with the literary quotes today? Employing the maxims of implicature, we can infer that Eugene is trying to convey some relevant message. The analogy seems to be that we Americans are too unwilling to defend ourselves today.

So, Professor: is the mssage "we should be cheering the latest illegal NSA program" or "we should invade Iran"?
5.12.2006 4:39pm
frankcross (mail):
Economics, people.
The poor feel as if they have less to lose, with their lives, and are braver. If we are emasculated, it is because we are richer. Blame capitalism.
5.12.2006 4:43pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Yeah, imagine a generation skeptical about war after the massive and largely pointless carnage of WWI. Now imagine a generation after WWII thinking every bad leader had to be dealt with as if he were Hitler and that all skeptics of any war were the moral/political equivalents of those unwilling to confront facism.
5.12.2006 4:49pm
Bill Harshaw (mail) (www):
I guess the Brits don't think of this as the "Greatest Generation"? Seems to me that Americans drew much the same lesson from WWII, reference the effort to outlaw war by treaty during the 20's and the Ney (I think) hearings during the 30's that led to the Neutrality Acts.

IMHO this is mostly stuff. Yes, we usually learn the wrong lessons from history, but we muster the guts to muddle through.
5.12.2006 5:06pm
Steve:
Well, you can't really expect the American people to come together with a sense of steadfastness and shared sacrifice when no sacrifice is ever asked of them. What price is the average American paying to support the War on Terror? Our current administration gave us a tax CUT during wartime. Civil liberties, a tradeoff of a little freedom for added security? The only way we find out about it is through leaks in the press, and even then the government does its best to obfuscate what is really going on. At no time do they ever come out and tell the American people, "These are challenging times, and here is what you all must sacrifice to meet the challenge"... so why should people assume a sacrificial state of mind on their own?
5.12.2006 5:14pm
Gordo:
Thank you, Professor Volokh, for quoting from one of the greatest books I have ever read.

The menace from totalitarian Islam is, at this time, much less than that from either Nazism or Communism in the last century - certainly in terms of military threat. And I wonder if the Jihadists will ever be able to equal the technological prowess of the Nazis or the Soviets, since their ideology in so many ways rejects, ignores, or discounts, technological prowess.

The real danger is what West is talking about - the moral rot of civilizational cowardice. If it continues too far, our current enemies won't have to be very technologically advanced to overcome us.
5.12.2006 5:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
SLS IL.

I don't pretend to know what, exactly, the professor is suggesting.

If I had to guess, I'd say he is at least partly aiming at the folks who are currently rehearsing arguments not to get all aggressive and nuts and icky because Rhode Island never was all that much good anyway.
5.12.2006 5:28pm
AndyS:
You're kidding, right?

"The idea of self-preservation was as jealously guarded from the young as the facts of sex had been in earlier ages."

What ages were those? Rebecca West romanticizes a prior era, just as she romanticizes the one in which self-preservation was kept secret. Neither age ever existed.

"it was amazing that it should have been possible to enclose them in the magic sphere of this illusion"

Even West acknowledges how ridiculous her whole thesis is.

This kind of silliness is useless in understanding the past and doubly irrelevant to the present.
5.12.2006 5:33pm
SLS 1L:
If I had to guess, I'd say he is at least partly aiming at the folks who are currently rehearsing arguments not to get all aggressive and nuts and icky because Rhode Island never was all that much good anyway.
You mean the null set?

Seriously, the risk of Iran in particular, or Islamic terrorists in general, destroying Rhode Island is zero. Contra Eugene, there is no threat to American "self-preservation." No armies are poised to invade. No terrorist has enough nuclear ICBM's to nuke us into oblivion, as the Russians did. The worst thing that might actually happen would be a nuclear bomb in a major city, which foreign invasions (especially invasions of countries without nuclear weapons programs!) do nothing to prevent.
5.12.2006 5:41pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm pretty curious about the relevance of this passage tool. Because whatever you could say about American political discourse after 9/11, it was hardly that folks generally were unwilling to commit the nation to war.

But maybe it's true that the worse things go in Iraq, the more the justifications for the war seem to have unraveled, the more Americans conclude that attacking Iraq in the first place was a bad idea, and the more questionable things the administration does in pursuit of its war, well ... maybe the more we're going to hear WWII stories. Sure, some/many/most these days would would seriously question if not scoff at comparing the Iraq war to WWII, or FDR to Bush, or even Saddam's Iraq to Nazi Germany. But EV didn't make that comparison. Although, not surprisingly, some commenters picked up on that idea.
5.12.2006 5:49pm
Lev:


It can't happen here
It can't happen here
I'm telling you, my dear
That it can't happen here
Because I been checkin' it out, baby
I checked it out a couple a times

But I'm telling you
It can't happen here
Oh darling, it's important that you believe me
(Bop bop bop bop)
That it can't happen here

Who could imagine that they would freak out somewhere
in Kansas . . .
(Kansas . . . Kansas . . . Kansas . . . Kansas . . . )
(Kansas, Kansas, do-do-dun to-to
Kansas, Kansas, la la la)
(Kansas, Kansas, do-do-dun to-to
Kansas, Kansas)
Who could imagine that they would freak out in Minnesota . . .
(Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi
Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi . . . )
(Mama Minnesota, Mama Minnesota, Mama Minnesota,
Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma Mama Minnesota,
Mama Minnesota, Mama Minnesota,
Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma Mama Minnesota)
Who could imagine . . .

Who could imagine
That they would freak out in Washington, D.C.
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
(AC/DC do-do-do-dun, AC/DC
Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, AC/DC)
But it can't happen here
Oh baby, it can't happen here
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
Oh baby, it can't happen here
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
It can't happen here
Everybody's safe and it can't happen here
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
No freaks for us
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
It can't happen here
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
Everybody's clean and it can't happen here
No, no, it won't happen here
(No, no, it won't happen here)
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
I'm telling you it can't
(AC/DC bop-bop-bop)
It won't happen here
Bop-bop-ditty-bop
(I'm not worried at all, I'm not worried at all)
Ditty-bop-bop-bop
Plastic folks, you know
It won't happen here
You're safe, mama
(No no no)
You're safe, baby
(No no no)
You just cook a tv dinner
(No no no)
And you make it
Bop bop bop
(No no no)
Oh, we're gonna get a tv dinner and cook it up
(No no no no no no no!)
Oh, get a tv dinner and cook it up
Cook it up
Oh, and it won't happen here
Who could imagine
That they would freak out in the suburbs!
(No no no no no no no no no no
Man you guys are really safe
Everything's cool)

I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool

And they thought it couldn't happen here
(duh duh duh)
They knew it couldn't happen here
They were so sure it couldn't happen here
But . . .

Suzy . . .
Yes yes, oh yes--I've always felt that
Yes, I agree man, it really makes it . . . yeah . . .
It's a real THING, man, it really makes it

FZ: Suzy, you just got to town, and we've been . . . we've been very interested in your development
Suzy: Forget it!

Hmmmmmmmmm
(It can't happen here)
5.12.2006 5:52pm
Lev:

But maybe it's true that the worse things go in Iraq, the more the justifications for the war seem to have unraveled, the more Americans conclude that attacking Iraq in the first place was a bad idea,


The "ultimate question" with respect to Iraq is the same question vis-a-vis Iran, which was the same question vis-a-vis Germany in the late '30's. What if "the opposite action" had been/will be taken.

Knowing then what "we" knew then, and what we know now, what if Germany had been militarily crushed, and Iraq left alone?
5.12.2006 5:57pm
SLS 1L:
Lev - excellent point. Government has a long and despicable history of turning despotic. We should not let ourselves fall into the trap of believing that it can't happen here.
5.12.2006 5:57pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
I should say that the Brits were still at it, at least on the home front, based on the way they have banned guns and, for all practical purposes, self defense against crime. Are we surprised that their violent crime rate is double ours here in the USA?

Brooks Lyman
5.12.2006 6:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
SLS. I don't know of anybody currently threatening Rhode Island.
I do know, and know of, people who would do exactly as I said were someone to occupy Rhode Island and impose a tyranny.

During the Cold War, we were faced with numerous issues such as Viet Nam, Korea, and others, which were all, viewed in isolation, okay to lose, or not contest, for that matter.
However, were we to lose all of them, it would have been a problem. Because in the aggregate, they would have made it possible for the Soviets to think they could make a run for the Channel. Look at a map. Iceland? Neutralized, it makes it tougher for the Allies in the third Battle of The North Atlantic, covering the Greenland-UK gap. Dakar? As a base for long range (Bison) anti-shipping aircraft, convoys moving south to avoid soviet stuff coming out of the Norwegian Sea would be vulnerable. Combat ships would be stretched. Half of the stuff we'd have needed in Europe would come from the Gulf ports through the Straits of Florida. More fighting and losses.
So any one contest could be said to be a matter of choice, to win, lose, or ignore, without significant damage. To lose all would have been, the strategy folks thought, would be a catastrophe.

To say, this one doesn't matter might be correct, in isolation. To say, this issue doesn't matter might be correct in isolation, but I get suspicious when the people saying it don't see the aggregate situation and are willing, always, to surrender "just this once", and imply, dishonestly, that there is ever a line for which they will fight.

This seems to describe Europe, and some of America.
5.12.2006 6:06pm
SLS 1L:
I get suspicious when the people saying it don't see the aggregate situation and are willing, always, to surrender "just this once", and imply, dishonestly, that there is ever a line for which they will fight.
Describing a decision not to launch a preemptive war as a "surrender" is so Orwellian as not to merit further comment. And while there is a subset of Americans who think we shouldn't even have invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, that subset is very small.

I don't understand your point about Rhode Island. While in the absolute worst-case nightname scenario Islamic terrorist organizaitons might destroy several American cities with nuclear weapons, they have no army, or navy with which they could land one, and without those things they could never conquer any portion of the U.S.
5.12.2006 6:21pm
AndyS:
Dear Brooks Lyman:

A couple of recent statistics:

* In 2001, there were 73 firearm murders in Great Britain.

* In 2000, there were 10,801 firearm murders in the US.

(Sorry for the slightly off-cycle numbers; they were the easiest to come up with.)

US population is about 5 times that of the UK -- which makes our firearm murder rate about 30 times theirs on a per capita basis.

There are lots of different ways to count "violent crimes" -- and different countries do this quite differently. The idea that Britain's rate of violent crime is double ours was arrived at by choosing methods that minimized our numbers and maximized theirs.

I chose to give you numbers on murder by firearm because there's no issue of different ways of counting. In general, when other sorts of crime are carefully compared, the idea that their crime rate vastly exceeds ours doesn't hold water.

Anyway -- with all respect -- you're quoting a highly politicized number, not one arrived at by dispassionate analysis.
5.12.2006 6:44pm
SG:
SLS 1L,

I disagree with your assertion that there's no existential threat to the US. Look at the polls that say people support the recently revealed NSA program by a 2:1 margin. That's what 9/11 wrought. If a nuke explodes somewhere within the US, the US as we know it will cease to exist.

Not because the US has been conquered, but because the population will demand it.
5.12.2006 8:11pm
Jeremiah:
SLS IL:

Let's take as a given that the Iraq war should not have been launched. Two questions for you:

(1) Do you believe that there ought to be a GWOT with a scope greater than the invasion of Afghanistan?

(2) If so, what would be your preferred grand strategy for winning that war?

I ask because the President and his circle believe that the best long-term preventive for Islamic terrorism is to democratize and westernize the Middle East. So, to them, the Iraq war made sense from a grand strategic perspective even if its more immediate justifications were invalid.

What do you think would be a better grand strategy, presuming we are in a conflict which requires a grand strategy?
5.12.2006 8:13pm
Splunge (mail):
Seriously, the risk of Iran in particular, or Islamic terrorists in general, destroying Rhode Island is zero.

Iran is not interested in destroying, nor even occupying Rhode Island. What they're interested in right now is being able to act in their region of the world (mostly) and (in part) throughout the world without needing to pay heed to the opinion of the United States. They would like the Americans to be worried about what the Iranians might do, not vice versa. It's about power, not territory.

So, do the Iranians acquire power if they have nuclear weapons with which they could annihilate New York City, even if they don't bother to raise the troops to occupy it? Of course. The US never had the troops to occupy the USSR, nor even to defend Western Europe, but holding just Moscow hostage with the few atomic bombs we had in the late 1940s gave us substantial leverage over Stalin. Enough to keep West Germany and West Berlin free, for example.

The question before this generation is not whether Rhode Island should be defended. The question is whether giving the mullahs significantly enhanced influence over the choices our descendants can safely make is a choice for which they'll honor us. It's an age-old question: their freedom versus peace in our time -- which will it be?
5.12.2006 8:23pm
SLS 1L:
It's an age-old question: their freedom versus peace in our time -- which will it be?
You are making several false assumptions. If we invade Iran, here's what we know, or can be virtually certain, will happen:

1) The population of Iran will rally around their government and increase its support. This is what always happens when people are invaded by foreign powers; we won't see a spontaneous revolution any more than we did in Iraq.

2) We will not destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, because we don't know where all the facilities are. We will slow it down by a few years but not stop it.

3) Thousands of innocent people will die. Some will be American soldiers; some will be Iranian soldiers; most will be innocent Iranian civilians. More innocent Iranians will be injured or maimed. Collateral damage is inevitable in war, but that doesn't make it morally costless.

4) We will make the U.S. even less popular in the Middle East than we already are, hindering our efforts to promote the ideals of liberal democracy in the region.

5) We will further strain our relations with our allies.

6) We will spend a ton of money.

7) The Iranians will retaliate against the U.S. and/or our allies, including and especially Israel.

That's just what we know will happen. If things go poorly (you should never assume war will go as you expect), then it will be worse. And because of #2, all we will gain is an extension of our ability to credibly threaten Iran for another few years.

Your calculus is based on assuming an unrealistically best-case scenario for the war and a worst-case scenario for what happens if Iran gets nukes.

You try to portray this as a sacrifice for future generations, but will it be you or your friends doing the fighting and the dying? You won't even be doing the paying - that cost will be foisted onto our children.
5.12.2006 9:07pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> I chose to give you numbers on murder by firearm because there's no issue of different ways of counting.

Except that counting firearm murders is a "different way of counting". If we count murders, we see different things. If we count rapes, we see different things. Why are firearm murders special?

Note that crime rates vary in lots of ways. One might reasonably believe that Japan is a less violent country than the US, but Japanese-Americans are less likely to be murder victims than are Japanese in Japan.

We know that there are associations. Women who have been battered by their partners are far more likely to be killed by their partners than women who have never been battered by their partners.

The interesting question depends on what you're trying to do. For example, one might look at comparable subpopulations. If they also have comparable violence rates, it's likely that whatever determines violence was captured by the way that we defined the subpopulation. If different societies have different compositions of members of violence comparable subpopulations, they will have different violence numbers. However, the reasonable thing to do in both is to look at what one can do to affect subpopulation membership.
5.12.2006 9:28pm
ChrisPer (mail):
I find the original quote very illuminating. For years I have wanted to understand why my beloved family members were Communists and how their support for murderous totalitarians could translate so easily from and into an anti-west fifth column 'peace movement'. This adds to my understanding.
5.12.2006 9:45pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
As far as we can tell tax cuts have boosted the economy and increased government revenue.

Isn't a strong economy a good idea in war time?

As for shared sacrifice? I spend a lot of time on the net discussing the war with surrender monkeys (American genus). Isn't that enough?
5.12.2006 9:45pm
tsol:
I see the quote as being more relavant to the question of cultural conflict rather than actual armed conflict.

On a related note: Mr. Asch: if you wait until your kids are old and "sophisticated" enough to learn the principles of self-defense, I can guarantee that they will have their asses kicked up and down the playground by other, less "sophisticated" kids!
5.12.2006 9:49pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
SLS 1L,

Only a nuke bomb of a major city? Well nothing to worry about then.

What do you suppose the American response would be to a nuking of one of our cities? Worse than a war with Iran?
5.12.2006 9:52pm
DADvocate (mail) (www):
SLS 1L

The willingness to act upon the idea self-preservation can also be applied to the illegal immigration problem. How long can our nation prosper and successfully provide opportunities for all its citizens when it allows millions to overrun it? Those wanting to give amnesty and allow all this stuff definitely seem to be acting out of the "desire for holiness."
5.12.2006 9:58pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
SLS 1L:

The Brits were correct to not launch a pre-emptive war against the Austrian corporal in 1936. Look at al the lives they saved.
5.12.2006 10:02pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
SLS 1L said at 5.12.2006 8:07pm:

1) The population of Iran will rally around their government and increase its support. This is what always happens when people are invaded by foreign powers; we won't see a spontaneous revolution any more than we did in Iraq.

Well no. Ukranians actually flocked to the Germans when first invaded. They had hoped Hitler would be less brutal than Stalin.

So you might be right. You might be wrong. History does not support your categorical assertion.
5.12.2006 10:24pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
SLS:

I see the Iranians already have you intimidated.

Excellent.
5.12.2006 10:48pm
PersonFromPorlock:
There's a line from Reinhold Niebuhr that I once heard with half an ear... roughly, "In a world where sin is a condition of existence, a pacifist is a parasite who lives on the sins of others."

I've never been able to find the exact quote; does anyone here at VC recognize it?
5.12.2006 11:27pm
SLS 1L:
M. Simon: Are you going to address my arguments, or just respond with irrelevancies?

I can only conclude from your refusal to offer a substantive response (aside from pedantry about history; it should have been obvious that I didn't mean literally 'always,' and good luck finding even one case where strategic raids, rather than full-scale invasion, produced a spontaneous revolution) that you have none.
5.12.2006 11:44pm
therut:
Citizes sacrifice?????????????? They do not know what the word means. My goodness gas has gone up in price and they can not tolerate that and our politicians are playing politics with that to gain votes.
5.13.2006 1:10am
mrsizer (www):
SLS 1L: Glass houses and all that. Until you respond to the question about what you would do as a strategy - not tacitcs - to win the war (or deny there is one), why should anyone respond to your points?

BTW: I assume you have a generator, lots of fuel, and live in Montana if you think a nuke anywhere in the US will not destroy the country. (Oh, and lots of bottled water for when the pumps stop working.) We will not be "destroyed" but our standard of living will revert to the Middle Ages. I admit to decadence: I like hot showers - if fanatics have to die so I can keep them, I'm all for it.

The best response I've seen on the original post: Joseph's about our willingness to see everything as "England in the 1930s". Historical analogy is fine. Assuming exact parallels is a big mistake.
5.13.2006 1:45am
Robert Schwartz (mail):
One of the worst books ever written. Turgid prose, and she swallowed the Serb Nationalist propaganda (the same crap that Milosevich peddled) hook, line and sinker.
5.13.2006 3:07am
Tim Lambert (mail) (www):
Andy Freeman claims that "Japanese-Americans are less likely to be murder victims than are Japanese in Japan". The evidence suggests
otherwise.
5.13.2006 3:12am
Brdo (mail):
If you think that Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is pro-Serb, you didn't actually read the book at all.
5.13.2006 10:14am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
SLS. What does a guy have to do to get a "metaphor alert" around here?

My point is that if some enemy conquers Rhode Island, there will be those who say we don't really need it, the provocation isn't sufficient to fight, RI was actually the smallest state. In other words, there are some people whose implication that at some point they'd be willing to go along with a fight are lying. Perhaps they're lying to themselves first, but they're lying.

The problem is differentiating those from the ones who actually think a better strategic or tactical course would be to wait for a better opportunity. "Suck'em in."


Those who say Iraq was a distraction make two errors. One is that they don't say that the terrorist community spent huge resources there, and, among other things, managed to make their co-religionists despise them. The famed tribalism of Arab cultures and its influence on non-Arab Muslims reduces the concern they have for crimes committed by their brethren against non-believers. Did we juke the terrorists into making our point in an area where their actions would actually have an impact? Remember, we make enemies when Newsweek runs a fake story about Koran desecration. It takes a different level of effort, and a different point, to get their attention about terrorists. The Amman wedding bombing got the folks into the street. The terrs in Iraq are increasingly unpopular.

Maybe there is method to this you haven't thought of.

Some reports indicated that after 9-11 Arab countries hated us and were contemptuous of us. It would be better for us that they hate us and fear us, instead. Iraq helped with that, so their intel guys, grudgingly, gave us what they would not when we were contemptible. We had to smash somebody to make our point.
They weren't going to like us any time soon.

The other mistake is to believe nobody will ask you, as an earlier poster already has, what would you do? Other than disapprove of whatever is actually done by pointing to alternatives not done, what would you actually do?
5.15.2006 12:59am