Sunday, August 20, 2006

Apocalypse How? Keyser Sose, Colonel Kurtz, and the Islamist Endgame

Wretchard at The Belmont Club on the need to rediscover the will to win:
...given a choice between superiority in weapons and ascendance in will, weapons always came in second. Die Welt relates the experience of an Israeli officer who fought Hezbollah during the early 1980s. Israel had artillery, tanks, airplanes to Hezbollahs guns and knives. But Israel was a liberal democracy and Hezbollah a ruthless criminal organization. The overmatch in will made knives were more powerful than tanks because Hezbollah was willing to use them unhesitatingly. Gen. Effe Eytam, an Israeli veteran of that first Lebanon war, tells of how--after Israel had helped bring "Doctors without Borders" into a village in the 1980s to treat children--local villagers lined up 50 kids the next day to show Eytam the price they pay for cooperating with the West. Each of the children had had their pinky finger cut off."

None of the weapons in the IDF arsenal could level this disparity in will. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in a speech before the Harvard class of 1978 explained how weapons simply became "burdens" to those who lacked a belief worth fighting for. Authentic belief brought commitment; but relativism could only aspire to fashion. Schelling would have understood. His audience did not and Solzhenitsyn tried to spell it out for them.

No weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.

What Islamists think are their greatest strength- the willingness of Nasrallah's ilk to fight to the last Moslem child combined with their fundamental failure to understand the culture they are attacking- will lead them to their Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was an Afghani woman being quoted in the press prior to the US invading Afghanistan, who expressed conviction in the ability of the Talaban to defeat the West because she and the other mothers had ten to fifteen children each while the Western mothers had only one or two. She had no comprehension of the capacity of each Western soldier to kill hundreds, if not thousands or tens-of-thousands of her children. Although the salons of the anointed speak of nothing but "concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal", the West has always been moved slowly to the point of massive retaliation. The compassion and incrementalism that was misunderstood by our enemies as weakness of spirit and failure of nerve veiled the ability to act with ruthless resolve once properly motivated. The wonder is the Islamists' dogged insistence on drawing the wrong lesson from every losing encounter with the West. Take out two American office buildings- loose 2 countries. Take 2 Israeli soldiers, lose nearly all the Hezbollah infrastructure, missiles, and a quarter of your soldiers. Present these as triumphs to the pre-medieval home audience. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The West doesn't lack Will. It is easily distracted, intent on amusements, festooned with clownish Quislings and plagued by the self-loathing. But don't mistake the Giant's sleep for the Giant's absence.

Some gems mined from Wretchard's comments:
Start with just 7 nukes: Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, Medina, Qom, Najaf, Tehran. If that doesn't disinfect that toilet, repeat with another 7 cities. Keep going until the Pakis and Indonesians disassemble their mosques and Imams with their bare hands.
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The French used to say disparagingly of Americans that Americans never understood the French behavior in WWII because Americans had never tasted their own blood and ashes.
Just shows you what poofters the French are: the Americans who are least sympathetic to the French performance in WWII are Southerners, the only Americans ever to have tasted their own blood and ashes.
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