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The President's Man at Restoration Weekend
To pursue John's point that the Iraq War is a bust, but that we can learn some powerful lessons from it, namely, not only is Islam strong as a political force, it is everything to the average Muslim in the Middle East, shaping his entire culture and society. I offer the possibility that this lesson will not be learned, at least by those in office today.
William J. Luti, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs was the President's representative sent to instruct us about Iraq and Islamic terrorism. He said we must either "change the way we live or change the way they live." Of course, I see us being forced to change the way we live, especially in terms of security demands, but no evidence of Muslims changing the way they live so far. And furthermore Luti asserted that there is a "civil war within Islam between the radicals and the moderates" and that it is our duty to side with the moderates. As earlier, he offered no actual evidence of this kind of civil war going on and I must say I have yet to see it. The civil war within Islam that can actually redound to our benefit is the one, sectarian and ethnic, that we are so desperately trying to prevent, and squandering the lives of our sons to do it.
He asserted we have killed "4,000 hard-core al Qaeda terrorists," but as Hugh Fitzgerald pointed out, if we have spent 400 billion dollars to do it, with their ranks being,as Hugh notes, "endlessly replenishable," that's about a hundred million dollars per. And at this point it's rather silly to pretend that there is some finite number of these guys and when we "get them" that will be it.
The most striking and telling comment Luti made was this: "9-11 was a direct result of the freedom deficit in the Middle East." And "until there is respect for freedom and democracy" in the Middle East, there will be violence.
Run, Tom, Run! Throw these incoherent bums out!