Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Enemy Like We've Never Known

I know I'm posting a lot these days on the Islamist war with the West, especially in Lebanon, since that is the current hot spot in the ongoing ideological conflict that has engulfed our times. I don't mean to be single topic focused. Regulars to the Meow know that I love to explore the latest frontiers in science and technology, politics and current events of the less global, more mundane variety, and even sports and religion (of the not-desiring-to-take-over-the-world type) find their way into the Meow archives. Right now, though, the war is really on the front burner, and by that I mean the larger war, of which Lebanon and Israel are on the front lines in the greater conflict. So much valuable analysis is coming from so many sources these days, that I find myself simply swimming in things I want to pass on to you all. So, the war keeps emerging as topic number one.

I read another TCS Daily piece, by Gordon Cucullu, this afternoon that really defines the nature of the war we are in, and also how it differs from previous "world wars" we've known. Cucullu explains that we never faced the same kind of enemy before this, one whose motives are so different that their actions cannot be calculated in the same way as the enemies of the past:

"...we are in a global conflict, one that without exaggeration exceeds its predecessors in vitriol, intensity, and potential for destruction. While we ducked under our school desks waiting for the Soviets to attack with devastating nuclear weapons, political leaders on both sides accepted the doomsday strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) as a reasonable deterrent."
With the current global conflict, however, we cannot rely on any of the past restraints for our opponents. The goals and motivations are completely different. With the Soviets we could believe on some level that, though they wanted to spread their rule and ideology, they also weren't really interested in total devastation. I remember a Sting song from the Eighties with the lyric, "I hope the Russians love their children too." On some level, we all believed they did, as history ultimately bore out; they didn't send a nuke our way, because it would have been suicide. Islamists, though, clearly have no problem with suicide. In fact, they believe they will be rewarded for it. The West and the Islamists simply want different things:
"The U.S.-led camp looks to free market democracy and open societies as a solution to the world's issues. The other sees itself under the flag of a resurgent, conquering Islam, sweeping the globe in a new order that aims to impose a new Caliphate upon heretics. Not only is the MAD strategy not applicable, but in the instance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad such global destruction would be welcome, even desirable, as a door-opener for the 12th Imam to reawaken and lead the hosts of Islam against the infidel foe."
The rest of the article I will leave you to read for yourself, or not, as you see fit. It's not cheerful, by any means, but it is a good call to arms--something we can't seem to get enough of in the war we're fighting. I got an email recently, from a new friend, with a question I will paraphrase: if 3,000 Americans dead on our own soil isn't enough to keep us roused, what will it take? She said it much better than I summarized, but it's still a good question.