Warning: Hyperventilation and Double Speak
I was listening to The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on the way home tonight. Now, I have always been a fan of the Shields and Brooks segment, broadcast at the end of each week.
However, recently, I have found Mark Shield's ranting almost unbearable. I must say that David Brookes is a character who I don't always agree with. However he has his head firmly wrapped around what the War on Terror is really about. On Friday, 1 Sep 06 episode, Brookes comments that:
[The War on Terror] is an ideological conflict almost equal to the size of the fight against communism in the Soviet Union and fascism. If you look at a recent survey done in the Middle East, who are the five most important people in this region? It was the head of Hezbollah, the head of Iran, the head of Hamas, the head of Egyptian Brotherhood, all Islamists.
This Islamist movement continues to build and build and build, whether it's Sunni, Shia, Iran, Iraq. This is a big ideological fight.
He is of course commenting on Donald Rumsfeld's recent (and not-so-recent) speeches in which he is comparing America's slow and sometimes miscalculating steps in the "War on Terror" (WOT), or what is now called the "War on Islamo-Fascism" (WIF), to the policies of appeasement by Neville Chamberlain toward the rising forces of Nazi Fascism in the 1930s:
It was a time [1930s] when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else's problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last...
Rumsfeld continues by stating that:
I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.
For the record, Brookes wants Rumsfeld to resign. But for all his efforts in trying to persuade Shields that Rumsfeld (shock horror) may have a point, he is wiped out by Shields' lies and hyperventilating double-speak. First there are his factual errors:
I mean, Hezbollah and Hamas are not the same thing, not as Iran.
I would consider the following: Iran has given millions to Hamas, and is the benefactor, trainer and supplier of Hezbollah. Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah all wish to see Israel either driven into the sea or wiped off the face of the earth. The Iranian Government, Hamas and Hezbollah are all Islamofascists. Nope they aren't the same thing.
He then sticks his head in the sand:
And let's be very blunt about this: al-Qaida had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein.
In contrast Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn bury their noses in data and check the facts:
Indeed, more than two years after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted, there is much we do not know about the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. We do know, however, that there was one. We know about this relationship not from Bush administration assertions but from internal Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) documents recovered in Iraq after the war--documents that have been authenticated by a U.S. intelligence community long hostile to the very idea that any such relationship exists.
We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
We have been told by Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden's longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, that Saddam Hussein welcomed young al Qaeda members "with open arms" before the war, that they "entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," and that the regime "strictly and directly" controlled their activities. We have been told by Jordan's King Abdullah that his government knew Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war and requested that the former Iraqi regime deport him. We have been told by Time magazine that confidential documents from Zarqawi's group, recovered in recent raids, indicate other jihadists had joined him in Baghdad before the Hussein regime fell. We have been told by one of those jihadists that he was with Zarqawi in Baghdad before the war. We have been told by Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and a longtime CIA source, that other Iraqi Intelligence documents indicate bin Laden's top deputy was in Iraq for a jihadist conference in September 1999.
Shields begins to screech (download the mp3 to confirm):
Now, what we have is we have a breeding ground, a recruiting station for terrorists in Iraq as a consequence of the United States occupying, occupying, invading and occupying the Muslim holy land.
So we shouldn't be there, cause that would be stepping on the sensibilities of our Muslim brothers. But here is the extraordinary double speak from Shields:
The president said, in particularly the Salt Lake City speech, that this was the ideological battle of the 21st century, the battle of Iraq, upon its outcome and victory there, dependent victory in the battle of the war against terrorism.
If that's true, what the hell are we doing with 130,000 troops there? We ought to have half a million. Why haven't we mobilized the home front? Why aren't we paying for this? I mean, why, seriously, isn't the country on a war-footing, if that's really what he's talking about?
Got that? We shouldn't be there, but we ought to have had half a million American boots "invading" Iraq and "occupying" the "Muslim holy land". This non-sequiter is only compounded by his accusation that the White House is hypocritical when it comes to the WIF:
And comparing this to battle against communism, the Cold War, and comparing it to the battle against Nazism? I mean, to me, you're making a statement like that, and then you just totally contradict yourself by saying, "We're going to continue with this failed policy and this failed approach."
I mean, who are -- we're against Neville Chamberlain. I mean, seriously, David [Brookes], you can't have it both ways.
If Brookes has his head firmly wrapped around what the WIF is about, then Shields has a tinfoil hat glued to his head. He ends by rationalising his incoherent, inconsistent, contradictory babble with the following:
And now they say, "Well, what do we got? We've tried terrorism. We've tried -- the only thing we have to offer is fear itself."
Perhaps Shields was upset by the following piece of total non-nuance and political incorrectness from Donald Rumsfeld:
Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and distortions that are being told about our troops and about our country. America is not what's wrong with the world.
I'm sure Shields response has the same philosophical backbone as that worn by Pontus Pilate when he replied rather condescendingly to Jesus, the bearer of Truth
What is truth?
UPDATE: The Belmont Club also contributes to the debate:
To be successful the "General's 'New Plan' to battle radical Islam" [read the article] must be consciously pursued by all the organs of national strength. However, it will not. Not until America reaches a broad consensus on the need to wage a struggle of culture, politics and arms against Islamic fascism.