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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bill Whittle and 9/11

There is not a lot for me to add. Just go watch it.

12 comments to Bill Whittle and 9/11

  • Ian F4

    Good summary, but I do wish commentators would not use the word “freedom” to describe what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan today, sure, they have democracy, but they don’t have freedom and liberty, because their laws are still based on Islamic shariah.

    I might be wrong, but I think liberty leads to democracy, not the other way round. Whilst the vile ideology that drove bin Laden still exists as law and is given even the tiniest succour, there will never be liberty and freedom.

    Going to war was the right thing to do, but Bush failed at the final hurdle, where there was the opportunity to found a modern secular liberal legislature, he allowed kow-towing to the theologians and got a religious inspired semi-tyranny instead.

  • Alsadius

    Ian – I’m no fan of sharia law, and I don’t claim that Iraq is a paradise today, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s a lot more free than it was a decade ago. Ditto Afghanistan.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Dale Amon: Thankyou for the link – what a great video clip.
    + what @Ian F4 said, which is redolent of the Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone, who once brandished the Koran in the House of Commons, announcing with great authority and prescience:

    “so long as there is this book, there will be no peace in the world”.

    On another occasion, Mr Gladstone referred to the Koran as “this accursed book”.

    Yet, that book is freely published and used to promulgate what has often been described along the lines of:

    …a hideous Fascist religio-political ideology. An ideology that is freedom-hating, life-hating, and “other”-hating – an ancient Arabic Mein Kampf – used in our societies to indoctrinate and condition the thinking of children and adults.

    (The Koran is taught in Islamic families, Islamic mosques and Islamic faith schools, and in ordinary universities.)

    I periodically read and discuss the Koran with my 9¾ -year old daughter, because it is:

    “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”
    Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961. The candle circled by barbed wire has since become the society’s emblem.

    - and because it (the book) is not likely to be banned anytime soon (evidently it’s not felt to be as dangerous to society as The Catcher in the Rye).

  • Dale Amon

    I think we can all agree that anyone who agreed with banning ‘Catcher in the Rye’ was a moron and as such is unworthy of any more of my attention than it would take to kick their butt out of my way while I distributed black-market copies

    I would feel exactly the same about anyone suggesting a ban on the Koran. I doubt anyone smart enough to read Samizdata would actually believe such a thing. Just to be perfectly clear, if such a thing were to occur, I’d be helping hand out black market copies of it for exactly the same reasons.

  • Ian F4

    Ian – I’m no fan of sharia law, and I don’t claim that Iraq is a paradise today, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s a lot more free than it was a decade ago. Ditto Afghanistan.

    Why don’t you tell that to Abdul Rahman ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Rahman_(convert)

    There is “free” and “more free than”, only the first is an objective of liberty.

    Karzai’s model for a “modern” Islamic state is Saudi Arabia, this is like placing Goering in charge of a defeated Germany, tell me why we were fighting the Taliban again, was it just revenge ?

    Iraq might have had more hope if it had been split up.

    I would feel exactly the same about anyone suggesting a ban on the Koran.

    The book isn’t the problem, it is the maniacs who enforce it’s ideology through violence, that is what needs to be “banned”.

  • m2p

    Interesting. There are some basic ideas that need repeating here, and he does that quite well.

    Saddam DID have WMDs. Even Hans Brix and the BBC didn’t dispute that. It’s worth reminding people when they trot out facile lines about “lies” – asking them if they’ve read the Butler Report shuts them up usually.

    He’s also quite right about the huge success of the war specifically against Al Qaeda, and I also derive some comfort from the fact that Bin Laden lived long enough to watch it all fall apart, before dying a frightening and, I like to think, painful death. Iraq really was a conscious effort to bring the fight to the enemy, and although it seemed a non-sequitur to attack a secular socialist despot, it actually did work. His line on “Al Qaeda bet the farm on Iraq and lost” is quite right.

    I suppose I’m not quite so sure about the link to the Arab Spring, and that’s a line our governments have been rightly reluctant to peddle. The converse argument is that perhaps leaving Saddam to rot might have been effective after all, but that’s hindsight. Whittle surely has a point though that other subjects of Arab despots must have taken some inspiration from seeing one of the baddest of them all taken down.

    These strike me as arguments that are impossible to have sensibly, and will remain so for decades to come. The standard illegal-war-bungled-aftermath schtick simply has too much invested in it. I suspect this is what Bush meant in his comment to Bob Woodward at the end of “Plan Of Attack” that “we’ll be dead” before knowing the real historical impact. After all, GCSE history is still telling people that the New Deal worked.

  • James

    His “flypaper” argument about Iraq cuts both ways though. Yeah, the US military has killed loads of terrorists/insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan — some of whom may have posed a terrorist threat to the US mainland. But won’t the relatives of those Iraqis/Afghans killed by stray US bullets, bombs and drone missiles be rather more likely to be drawn to terrorism than if the US had never never occupied their countries and killed their family members?

  • Laird

    I don’t buy the “illegal war” story, either, and I supported (and continue to defend) the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Where I demur is to the subsequent mismanagement (“bungling”, in m2p’s term) of the aftermath. Clearly there was no (coherent) plan for that; “nation-building” doesn’t cut it, and is a completely inappropriate use of combat troops. Also, if we’re going to have troops there they can’t be hobbled by white-glove rules of engagement. Apparently we learned nothing from Viet Nam.

    The beginning of both invasions was magnificent, but we didn’t follow through adequately in either. And we should have withdrawn our troops from both countries years ago. If “nation-building” is required turn the job over to the United Nations (without US involvement). They’ll probably screw it up, as they do everything else, but it’s not our problem.

  • Julie near Chicago

    The problem is that if “nation-building” is turned over to the UN, they WILL screw it up (out of BOTH malice and incompetence–a deadly combination)…at which time it will become our problem all over again, only probably worse.

    Giving the UN the power to run anything in the M.E. would be a disaster. In fact giving the UN the power to run anything anywhere, including an ice-cube concession in the middle of Antarctica, is guaranteed to be a disaster. And there is nothing that delights the UN more than sticking it to the non-Third-World…and especially to the U.S., the U.K., and Israel.

    Julie

  • Ian F4

    But won’t the relatives of those Iraqis/Afghans killed by stray US bullets, bombs and drone missiles be rather more likely to be drawn to terrorism than if the US had never never occupied their countries and killed their family members?

    Have any of those involved in terrorist activities (successful for not) actually been such people ? And what about the past 1400 years of Islamic militarism ?

    The fascist ideology of Islam does not need a bereavement as an excuse, the mere existence of disbelief is enough. History is full of zealots who need nothing more than denial of their belief by others as an excuse to kill.

  • Laird

    You’re undoubtedly correct, Julie. But it’s still not our problem. We should have gotten out years ago. Ultimately the locals will get the government they want (and deserve). As, unfortunately, do we all.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    James has this thought-provoking para:

    “His “flypaper” argument about Iraq cuts both ways though. Yeah, the US military has killed loads of terrorists/insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan — some of whom may have posed a terrorist threat to the US mainland. But won’t the relatives of those Iraqis/Afghans killed by stray US bullets, bombs and drone missiles be rather more likely to be drawn to terrorism than if the US had never never occupied their countries and killed their family members?”

    From my understanding, one of the reasons why the Coalition forces were eventually able to turn the tide in Iraq was that, besides killing a lot of jihadis both Iraqi and foreign, Al Quaeda so disgusted locals by its brutality that many Iraqis, even those perhaps understandably angered by some of the things that happened post-invasion, were willing to inform on these people and help turn them in.

    It may well be true that some Muslims have been radicalised by the Iraq war, but then again, it is sensible to judge, IMHO, that those who wanted to inflict mass death on the West were already turning in that direction. Whittle makes the point in the link that the Coalition may have killed as many as 80,000 jihadis; even if some people have been radicalised, the rate at which terrorists are being killed and captured is outstripping the creation of new recruits.

    In other words, they are losing numbers. Sure, these bastards still pose a threat, but that threat has, in my view, suffered a serious reverse.

    The issue for libertarians of course is whether the sheer output of blood and treasure in the Iraq war was worth it. I am still not totally sure, but unlike some, I am not dismissive. Whittle makes a decent case. It amazes me that more of Bush’s allies during and after the war did not do so.