Friday, August 11, 2006

Deconstructing Matthew Rothschild

Today's article in The Progressive, by Matthew Rothschild, reeks of instantaneous band-wagon argumentation - the type that liberals cling to as soon as an argument sees light because for so long they've been lacking any argument at all.

As with most of these instantaneous band-wagon arguments, Matthew Rothschild's quickly falls apart under scrutiny. And as with most instantaneous band-wagon arguments, and many liberal "arguments" in general, his is easily deconstructed even by his own so-called "logic".

First, Rothschild says that Bush has failed to secure airports and ports and that, worse, Bush's policies have increased the ranks of terrorist groups.

What’s more, you can tighten security all you want but if you keep manufacturing terrorists, at some point they’re going to succeed.
What Rothschild either fails to mention or simply is ignorant to is that fact that the "cut and run" strategy - or whatever variation he might claim to approve of - has had no different effect. It was in fact Bin Laden himself who boasted that the United States' retreat from Somalia, under President Bill Clinton, embolded him and his followers to further pursue terrorist action against the United States. The retreat from Somalia, according to Bin Laden, emboldened terrorists to the point that they believed that, should they strike the U.S., the U.S. would coil in upon itself rather than respond decisively.

What better recruitment technique is there than the assurance of victory, which is what Bin Laden and his elk garnered from the retreat from Somalia?

Rothschild accuses President Bush of contributing to the ranks of terrorism via his "stay the course" strategy, but says nothing of the contribution that President Clinton's "cut and run" strategy" had to the ranks of terrorism. Rothschild's omission reveals either ignorance or deceit.

Next, Rothschild tries to implicate Bush's support of Israel vs. Hezbollah in the recruitment of terrorists.

And that’s what Bush’s policies have been doing, especially the Iraq War and the U.S. support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
That Mr. Rothschild concludes that the war in Iraq and the U.S.' support of Israel has led to an increase in recruits for terrorist organizations is not the central issue though. That supposition is in fact a valid one. It is Mr. Rothschild's implication that an opposite course would yield an opposite or more favorable result which bears scrutiny.

Mr. Rothschild appears to be attempting to relegate the root causes of terrorism to reaction against "occupation". This, of course, is not the case. Terrorism does, will, and always has existed regardless of occupation. Terrorism, at its root, has nothing to do with occupation, though occupation is admittedly a catalysing factor at times.

Again, Bin Laden himself has stated that it was the U.S.' failure to engage in decisive action in Somali that very much inspired him and his followers to pursue significant action against the U.S., under the assumption that the U.S. would not react in any meaningful way.

The implication of Mr. Rothschild's statement is that, had the U.S. refrained from invading Iraq and supporting Israel, terrorism would not exist, or at least would not be so prevalent. Mr. Rothschild will, however, have a difficult time defending any such position. For terrorism existed long before the war in Iraq (i.e. the Iran Hostrage Crisis, 9/11, etc) and will exist long after it. The reason is that terrorism has much more to do with a sort of cult of death and destruction leading to gifts in the afterlife than it does with vengance of any sort.

If Mr. Rothschild means to imply something other than the above, he does not make that clear, and he should if he wishes to claim any credibility as a commentator on the issue of terrorism.

Next, Mr. Rothschild engages in perhaps the least credible, and most incriminating, of arguments.

After surveying the scene in Qana, he wrote: “A terrible thought occurs to me - that there will be another 9/11.”

Critics of the West and appeasers of terrorists (not one in the same, necessarily) have often latched onto Western-orchestrated "massacres" such as Qana to explain why "so many people hate America". Not coincidentally though, this position has tended to be an untenable one which reveals more about the bias and anxiousness of commentators and extremists to side against the West/U.S. or with the terrorists than it does about reality.

As we now know, the "Jenin Massacre" - bally-hooed by liberals as a catalyst and even a justification for Palestinian-based terrorism - was almost a complete fraud, repleate with staged media incidents, and the works. It is becoming increasingly clear now that the "Qana massacre" - again trumpeted by liberals and the media with zealous enthusiasm - was much the same.

Time after time, events latched onto by the liberal press for the purpose of decrying actions of the West (i.e. Israel) have proven to be exagerations to say the least - fabrications at large. Deaths tolls amongst civilians are consistently revised downward, and still with little to no mention that those civilians were purposely being used as shields by terrorists in violation of international law and moral sensibility. In the eyes and publications of the media, the blood of innocents is always on the hands of Israel, and never on the hands of the terrorists, except for "good reason", such as occupation or staged "massacres".

Lastly, Mr. Rothschild repeats his flawed logic succinctly, proposing that the policies of Bush and Blair are "reinforcing the creed of the fanatic".

But Bush and Blair have been playing the part Osama bin Laden assigned to them.
They are brutally occupying one Arab country. They are supporting the invasion of another by Israel. And they continue to let Israel inflict collective punishment on the Palestinians in Gaza. By so doing, Bush and Blair have been reinforcing the creed of the fanatic. That won’t make us any safer here at home.
Once again, Mr. Rothschild displays a complete lack of historical perspective with regards to the issue which he apparently believes he has so much to say about - and so many answers to.

He claims that it is the policies of Bush and Blair which have encouraged Bin Laden and reinforced the zealousness of fanatics, implying quite clearly that they alone have provided the catalyst.

Again, it is not Mr. Rothschild's implication that Mr. Bush and Blair's policies have lead to an increase in terrorist recruits that is in question, but his implication that an opposite course has or might lead to a different outcome.

The fact is that President Clinton played the part Osama Bin Laden had hoped for and reinforced the beliefs of the fanatics - that they can achieve victory against a decadent, complacent, and corrupt Western society - by retreating from Somalia and emboldening extremists and terrorists in doing so, just as much, if not more so than Bush and Blair's policies have.

Indeed, it could reasonably be argued that other terrorist states and organizations - Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria - have been restrained in their actions because of Bush and Blair's "go get 'em" policies. As Lybia's leader Qadafi has conceded, and as Pakistan's president Musharaf and Saudi Arabia's rulers have discovered, it is no longer safe to assume that one can massively and openly support terrorist organizations without grave consequences. Even Iran appears to understand that it is in its own interest to restrain its terrorist proxies to some extent, lest it invoke the ire of the U.S. and the West.

No such concerns plagued Middle East leaders while Clinton was in office. Indeed, the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Al Qaida gathered their greatest strength during Clinton's presidency. It is only now that President Bush and Prime Minisiter Blair have embarked upon a course for democracy in the Middle East and the defeat of terrorism that the strength and influence of such terrorist organizations have been cast into jeopardy.

-The Analyst

P.S. Please forgive any ramblings on in this post. I am just returned from quite a night on 6th Street. :)


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