Friday, October 27, 2006

What Osama wants Osama can have

I think there's a tendency in this country to get our national interests confused. In this corner we have what's best for our national security, and in this corner we have what the terrorists want. We tend to see these as diametrically opposed, and for the most part they are. For example, airplanes crashing into skyscrapers is not what's best for our national security, while it is what the terrorists want. But these two interests aren't always opposed. Osama bin Laden probably doesn't want the Sun to go nova, but that doesn't mean we should cross our fingers and hope it does.

So I sometimes get perplexed when people harp about how such-and-such a course of action isn't desireable because it's giving in to the terrorists, it's what they want. Like the '04 elections. Maybe Osama did want John Kerry to win. Okay. So what? If I honestly think John Kerry would make a better candidate - if, for example, I think it wouldn't have taken him two more years and a rising bodycount to figure out we shouldn't "stay the course" - I'm not going to reverse that opinion just because some wacko in an Afghan cave wants him to win, too. I'm focusing on my own test, I'm not paying that much attention to what the other kids are doing.

There was an article in the Times yesterday entitled "What Osama Wants" which implicated - stated, in fact - that withdrawing from Iraq is exactly what, well, Osama wants; therefore, we shouldn't do it. I'm afraid I'm going to need more than that to convince me. After all, it's just possible that al Qaeda doesn't know what the hell it's doing in the form of a long-term strategy. Our country wanted to invade Iraq, and that turned out to be a big mistake. It accomplished none of the security goals it was supposed to. It didn't bring peace to the Middle East. It didn't weaken the terrorist threat. It didn't free Iraqis from a reign of terror. It didn't free the world of WMDs. Shit, it didn't even get us oil. So why do we assume, when we stumble to get our shit straight, that what Osama wants is in fact detrimental to America? He's a madman who hates freedom, after all. What the fuck does he know?

For example, the article states, "Another problem with a total American withdrawal is that it would fit all too neatly into Osama bin Laden’s master narrative about American foreign policy. His theme is that America is a paper tiger that cannot tolerate body bags coming home; to back it up, he cites President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 withdrawal of United States troops from Lebanon and President Bill Clinton’s decision nearly a decade later to pull troops from Somalia. A unilateral pullout from Iraq would only confirm this analysis of American weakness among his jihadist allies." An interesting assertion, I've heard it before. But I'm not convinced we should keep using our twenty-year-olds as shrapnel depositories just because to do otherwise would lend support to bin Laden's preconceived notions of American resolve. Withdrawal will, what? Embolden the terrorists? Staying there certainly hasn't appeared to unbolden them any. Do we really think Osama is one last dead American soldier away from waving the white flag?

We need to keep our priorities straight. Is Priority One doing what's best for America, or is it sticking it to the terrorists?


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