Last night we had a minor surge of traffic as members of James Wolcott’s fan club, clicking on the link he so kindly provided, took a stroll through the Gates of Vienna.
Based on the small sample of comments left behind by these visitors, we must be alarming creatures indeed. It makes me realize once again what a gulf has opened between the left and the right since 9/11. Really, we might as well be from different galaxies. I get used to having reasonable discussions with what seem intelligent, literate, like-minded people, and I forget that we sound like gibbering blood-crazed theocrats to the cognoscenti at large.
I don’t think there’s much we can do to change this situation, except maybe to starve the left of oxygen by removing its sources of public funding. What would happen if they had to get real jobs and work amongst real people?
|I think, like others here have suggested, that the political constraints you have imposed on our arguments are inevitably subject to change at some undetermined point in the future. I don’t see us remaining helpless Jihadi fodder for the remainder of the century, and I don’t foresee us preventing them from escalating the holy war before they are in a position to seriously threaten the continuance of our way of life. I am afraid its going to take the big one here, or maybe several of them, before the political dynamics allow a victory to be a feasible option on our part. It may just be wishful thinking to assume we can mount a conflict resolving response after they finally blow our arrogant high ground out from underneath us, but thats what I am basing my hopes on.|
|While your constraints accurately reflect the current limitations we have imposed on ourselves, there are of course other possible scenarios that don’t require an politically hamstrung American president to resolve.|
|The American people could take matters into their own hands (cough), and bypass the legislative limitations we have imposed on ourselves, and eliminate the domestic threats and obstacles to victory that can never be eliminated Constitutionally. Its happened before and it might be rather short-sighted to assume it cant happen again….just needs a sustained catalyst such as empty grocery store shelves which could be caused by any number of events. We may have become too lazy to demand good governance but we are all still seven meals from barbarism.|
|But a more likely path to conflict resolution might lie in the hands of the leaders of other nations that are not as hamstrung by a bitterly divided populace as any American president would be. The Israelis and Russians both have a button labeled “enough is enough”, and they are both more likely to be the initial recipients of the Islamists final provocation than we are. Stands to reason they might be more likely to discard political limitations than we are as well.|
Well, Mr. Texan certainly joins the ranks of the Fierce Guard Dogs. It’s a good thing for Vanity Fair that he’s not in charge of the country, eh?
Like any number of other commenters, he’s looking ahead to the next big attack and thinking about vigilante justice and massively violent pre-emption. I’d like to avoid both those options if we can. At the same time, I recognize the political limits our leaders labor under, and that’s what the Carnival of the Armchair Generals was all about.
Mr. Texan is right that another huge attack changes the political calculus. But, aside from waiting for the Big One, what can be done?
I see two possibilities. The first is one that I referred to yesterday: changing our national immigration policy. This is politically feasible, since a vast majority of the American public supports curbing immigration. It runs up against the unlikely bedfellows of entrenched corporate interests (which benefit from the cheap illegal labor) and the PC Race Grievance Alliance (which has an attack of the vapors whenever a person of color might be made uncomfortable).
Even Jamaat ul-Fuqra would have its operational possibilities circumscribed if its foreign leaders and advisers were no longer allowed to come and go as they please across our borders.
The second possibility directly impacts the first: continue to enhance and expand the alternative sources of information. When the New York Times and CNN no longer put the fear of Allah into the hearts of politicians, the pols will be more likely to listen to the voice of the people.
As a practical contribution, I suggest turning off the networks and the cable channels, giving up your NYT subscription, and getting your news entirely off the blogs and related media. As Tom Paine said, “Little Green Footballs is my New York Times.” And he’s in Australia!
As the information flows into its new channels, the old media will exert less control over the politicians. Trent Lott didn’t learn his lesson, but eventually some of the younger ones will.
One last thought: the important battle is in the 2006 Republican primaries.