Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ten Years After 9/11/01, Who's Winning?

It sure ain't us, writes a very Steynian-sounding George Jonas:
[A]s the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the Islamist enemy, far from being annihilated or discredited, let alone ground into the dust, is alive and kicking. Some of its heads have been cut off, including one named Osama bin Laden that stuck out its hideous neck more than the others, but like the monster Hydra of Greek mythology, Islamism continues to grow new ones. Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists managed to launch other urban attacks after 9/11 in London, Madrid, Moscow and Mumbai, even if on a smaller scale. The Taliban hasn’t only fought the Western coalition to a standstill in Afghanistan, but seems on the verge of taking the country over again. Nation-building, a hit in post-war Japan, Italy and (West) Germany, is a flop in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush.
As we reach the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, terrorists seem to have the upper hand. They make us practise defensive stripping at airports from Brussels to Seattle. Far from retreating, the Islamists are boldly developing nuclear capability in Iran, a country they own, while manoeuvring to take over countries that already have nuclear weapons, such as Pakistan, or strong military traditions, such as Turkey.
If this isn’t enough of a witch’s brew, add a dash of the unfathomable “Arab Spring” that may yet result in the replacement of nasty tyrants with even nastier ones who despise us in addition to despising their own people; then throw in a feeble democracy flopping about like a fish on dry land in Iraq, and that’s what the West has to show for 10 years of continuous warfare, thousands of casualties and a ballast of billions about to capsize the world’s economy.
With this track record, far from being able to export our institutions, our previously exported institutions are losing their grip. As the American commentator Clifford D. May has observed, the Islamists of ostensibly Westernized Turkey are “positioning Turkey as a contender for leadership of the Muslim world, making it both an ally and a rival of Arabs and Persians eager for the same role.”
Ten years of war after 9/11 has made us sponsors of a competition among would-be Caliphs. As impresarios of resurgent Islam, we’re doing a great job.
Yay, us. ;)

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

Anyone who has already read my comment on the post immediately above this one will not be surprised that I agree entirely with Mr. Jonas. Before you can transform your enemy, you must first defeat him, in such a way that his people are left in no doubt as to his defeat.

Bush's great mistake in prosecuting the "War on Terror" in the Middle East was that he was unwilling to broaden its scope sufficiently. All of the terror-sponsoring states needed to be defeated, though this need not have involved the direct invasion of all of their territories. In the case of Iran, for example, we could have used Iraq as base to subvert the highly unpopular Mullahcracy; Syria could have been neutralized with the mere _credible_ threat of force, established by a few cross-border raids to destroy terrorist bases as soon as they re-emerged following the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime; and, of course, once Iran's government fell to pro-Western revolutionaries, Syria's would have fallen like a secondary domino.

All of this could have been done in the course of a couple of years, if we had not been diverted by the "nation building" project. In the long run, a broader, more intense war, would have been less costly to the U. S., and would have left a much more tractable Islamic world behind.