Tuesday, December 11, 2007

OBL: Dumber Than Bush?

Basically everyone who's been paying attention for the last five years laments the fact that blew it so bad after 9/11. Al Qaeda sucker punched us, and we responded by (a) attacking his second-biggest enemy, thereby (b) shooting ourselves in the ass. As I've said several times, al Qaeda has basically no chance against the U.S....but no one could have predicted, on 9/12/01, that they would have fared so well this far into the conflict. Had we pursued virtually any other course of action available to us, OBL would be a smudge on a cave floor in Tora Bora by now. Only the spectacular incompetence of the Bush administration has made it possible for the fight to go on this long.

If you're like me, you've had thoughts like this: sure, we seem to have all the advantages...but we're slow and stupid. We (sort of) elected someone so monumentally incompetent that he's actually managed to make this resemble a close fight! One f*ck-up of Biblical proportions can suddenly turn a sure thing into less than that...and two such f*ck ups might make it into a near thing. And this administration seem eminently capable of f*cking up again in new and disastrous ways.

This touches on my theory of f*cking up. Goes like this: don't do it. Because you do it once, then you just have to hope you don't get unlucky and do it again. One really bad decision plus some slightly-worse-than-average bad breaks, and you can end up in very serious trouble. The best way to avoid this is to avoid that first f*ck-up.

But--if the recent turn of events in Iraq sticks--our fat may have been pulled out of the fire. To some extent this is due to the surge. But it's largely a result of al Qaeda's mistakes--mistakes that were consequences of their own stupidity and blood-thirstiness. Iraqi insurgents finally got fed up with al Qaeda's murderousness, and turned on them. This, by all accounts, was instrumental in bringing about the current decrease in violence.

So al Qaeda had us on the ropes in Iraq--in microcosm, rather like we had them on the ropes at Tora Bora--but their own idiocy and other vices led them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory--rather like...well, you see the point. Had they just throttled back a bit in Iraq, things would be much worse for us today.

So take heart. It looks like our enemy is dopier than we--by which I mean those we (sort of) elected--are.

They may just lose the GWoT faster than we can.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

But it's largely a result of al Qaeda's mistakes--mistakes that were consequences of their own stupidity and blood-thirstiness. Iraqi insurgents finally got fed up with al Qaeda's murderousness, and turned on them.

Yes, WS. The "surge" just showed the US' commitment not to leave them to this monsters, whose nature they could not hide. They could have been more clever about it, but the savagery that was the key was also the limiting factor for their success. Form meets function.

But like Vichy France, if you are to be abandoned to the monsters, you make your peace and bow and scrape to them if that's what it takes to survive. In Vichy's case, you might even hand them a list of whatever Jews are living hereabouts. You might even help round them up.

Fortunately, the US' somehow-someway commitment to one more try with the "surge" seems to have allowed Iraq to avoid Vichy's moral surrender.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, to make the analogy to WW II France more accurate, we would have to be the invading Germans, and those who cooperate with us the *Vichy* collaborators.

Also, since they weren't there beforehand, the Al Qaeda presence was just a feature of our 'flypaper' theory, whereby we fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here. I'm sure the Iraqis are extremely grateful to be used as cannon fodder in our grand experiment.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Word, A.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Clever, but it takes a moral inversion for the Nazis to be anyone else than al-Qaeda.

I did try to agree with you there, WS. If you want to credit the surge itself, fine. I was more crediting its symbolism.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of which is beside the actual point that the apparent success to date of the surge is great news.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Cheers. But my point wasn't beside the point. A Vichy-type accommodation to al-Qaeda was definitely on the table by the tribes---as in Afghanistan to the Taliban years before.

It was the "surge" and the US' recommitment not to abandon the tribes to the murderers that swung the balance, at least so far.

Despite the cravenness of the Democrats, at least half or 3/4 of them, who said "screw it, it's a civil war, let's bail."

The Iraqi people thank God for that last remnant of courage and decency in the Democratic Party, one of whom I think was Hillary Clinton, altho you'd have to check me on that.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Word again, A.

11:35 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Already in progress before the escalation, so TVD's causal chain is fantastic.

Results in Baghdad appear pretty good, despite early cooking of the books by the Petraeus command. Will they hold? We'll see.

Political progress due to the escalation? Primarily confined to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, nobody knows how much of the progress is attributable to the surge and how much to the fact that Baghdad communities have become Balkanized/homogenized.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

True, sheiks vs. terrorists was already underway, but on a much smaller scale.

What if we had bailed instead of surged? Same thing?

5:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Bigger scale now. Not just throwing [stuff] at the wall.

11:56 PM  

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