The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, May 07, 2004


              Our Weird Way of War
In today's National Review, Victor Hanson perfectly describes the problems we face (almost entirely self-imposed) in our current war in Iraq as well as our greater War on Terror. It is clear that militarily the US can defeat any another military in the world. Our problems arise from our self-imposed demands on our own morality - our need to behave better than those we are fighting. Our enemies have understood this, and are trying to exploit this vulnerability:

"So our enemies realize that the struggle, lost on the battlefield, can yet be won with images and rhetoric offered up to alter the mentality and erode the will of an affluent, leisured and consensual West. They grasp that we are not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place.
[...]
If, on occasion, an exasperated and furious West sinks to the same level - renegade prisoner guards gratuitously humiliating or torturing naked Iraqi prisoners on tape - all the better, as proof that the elevated pretensions of Western decency and humanity are but a sham. A single violation of civility, a momentary lapse in humanism and in the new world of Western cultural relativism and moral equivalence, presto, the West loses its carefully carved-out moral high ground as it engages not merely in much needed self-critique and scrutiny, but reaches a feeding frenzy that evolves to outright cultural cannibalism.

For someone in a coffee-house in Brussels the idea that Bush apologizes for a dozen or so prison guards makes him the same as or worse than Saddam and his sons shooting prisoners for sport - moral equivalence lapped up by the state-controlled and censored Arab media that is largely responsible for the collective Middle East absence of rage over the exploding, decapitating, and incinerating of Western civilians in its midst.

Key here is our own acceptance of such moral asymmetries...."

Probably most perverse is that in this election season the Democrats seem to want the US to lose, or to at least appear to be losing. They think that the worse things are in Iraq, the bettor off Kerry will be. This has not yet been borne out, as no matter what has happened so far, people still trust Bush more than Kerry to handle a war. Even after all the news about the events at Abu Ghraib Bush is still leading in the latest polls. It is not Kerry who has gained from this but Nader, as John Podhoretz asserts in this article.
|| Nudnik 9:37 AM
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