Repost: At Google-Lawrence Wright’s Discussion Of Al Qaeda In ‘The Looming Tower’

Lawrence Wright offered a decent profile of many Al Qaeda top-men in ‘The Looming Tower.

They tended to be smart, educated sorts away from home. Ambitious men with deep grievances and wounded pride. Men seeking purity and strength of purpose, as well as a lost kingdom.

Like many Muslim men relative to those in the West, they’d spent most of their lives segregated from women, with many fewer opportunities to have their educations match a deeper sense of purpose and vocation. These were men, who in that rush of youth, perhaps saw little purpose in merely dedicating their lives to family, work and being connected to others through the kind of civil society and associations we have here in the West.

Of course, some men are pretty sadistic to begin with, but certainly not all.

There was righteous glory to be had, and bloody battles to be fought in driving the infidel from the Arabian peninsula, and eventually Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In fact, most of these men were often exposed to political oppression and brutality within the kinds of States common throughout the Muslim world these days.

As for the new recruits: Some of them had a bomb strapped to them same day. Not much room for franchise growth…in this life!

Wright piece on Al Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Some of Roger Scruton’s essays here. Interesting quote in this video, which may line-up with Wright’s observations about the pursuit of purity, and how it tends to end:

‘Universal values only make sense in a very specific context…the attempt to universalize them, or project and impose them…just leads to their appropriation by sinister forces.”

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Feel free to highlight my ignorance.

[Addition]: Of course, what do we do in defense against people who want to kill us where we live, whose ideals are fairly deluded and corrupted from the start?

Related On This Site: From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”

Roger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’

The Categorical Imperative And Some Links On Saudi Arabia and Iran

Via Edward Feser via BBC Radio 4–Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how, in the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) sought to define the difference between right and wrong by applying reason…

Kantian metaphysics can lead to problems in the public square, or at least something of an aesthetic retreat, by individuals, from the public square.  Part of the Anglo-talent for governance has roots in the Humean empiricism Kant was to synthesize within his own platform, and I’d argue this empiricism is culturally much deeper within the Anglo-sphere.  There is often more deference to the uniqueness of each of our experiences and the uniqueness each that case can bring within common-law jurisprudence.

Repost-Appeasement Won’t Do-Via A Reader, ‘Michael Ignatieff Interview With Isaiah Berlin’…A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”…Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-‘Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

Inside every Iranian is a Western peace activist waiting to get out…Via Mick Hartley via The National-Iran’s long-cherished Tehran to Beirut land-bridge moves closer to reality.

From Intelligence Squared: Two people on either side debating whether ‘Obama’s Foreign Policy Is A Failure‘ (some rather unsurprising anti-Trump sentiment is expressed by the panelists at the outset, to some applause by the audience in NYC).

What just happened in Saudi Arabia?  Adam Garfinkle: ‘The 1002nd Arabian Night?

‘Contrary to what the vast majority of Americans seem to think, Saudi Arabia is not a traditional Muslim country. Saudi Arabia is an attenuated neo-fundamentalist country from having been taken over, by force of arms in the early 20th century, by a “revitalization movement”—to use Anthony F.C. Wallace’s classic 1956 description of the type. The Wahhabi movement’

and:

The Trump Administration, just possibly, had one sensible idea in foreign policy: stop playing footsie with the Iranians and organize the Sunnis to confront the real threat—creeping Iranian imperial recidivism—and to whack ISIS at the same time. But having a decent idea and knowing how to make it happen are two different things. The Saudis did not whack ISIS; if any locals did, it was the Kurds, and look where their efforts have got them.

And more broadly: It’s quite possible to bring the problems of other parts of the world into your own neighborhood along with the people you are bringing in.  This can, and and unfortunately, sometimes does, include the worst elements.

Right now, service members and special forces are acting in your name as a U.S. citizen abroad, and local and federal law enforcement officials here at home, and there are many good reasons why.

When we focus on these harsh truths and bear some of the burden they carry, the conversations about freedom and responsibility tend to go better.

Wahhabism in the Balkans?:

With whom can we do business against these worst elements?

and

Previously on this site: Henry Kissinger & George Schulz Via The WSJ: ‘The Iran Deal And Its Consequences’

At Google-Lawrence Wright’s Discussion Of Al Qaeda In ‘The Looming Tower’

Lawrence Wright offered a decent profile of many Al Qaeda top-men in ‘The Looming Tower.

They tended to be smart, educated sorts away from home.  Ambitious men with deep grievances and wounded pride.  Men seeking purity and strength of purpose, as well as a lost kingdom.

Like many Muslim men relative to those in the West, they’d spent most of their lives segregated from women, with many fewer opportunities to have their educations match a deeper sense of purpose and vocation.  These were men, who in that rush of youth, perhaps saw little purpose in merely dedicating their lives to family, work and being connected to others through the kind of civil society and associations we have here in the West.

Of course, some men are pretty sadistic to begin with, but certainly not all.

There was righteous glory to be had, and bloody battles to be fought in driving the infidel from the Arabian peninsula, and eventually Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In fact, most of these men were often exposed to political oppression and brutality within the kinds of States common throughout the Muslim world these days.

As for the new recruits:  Some of them had a bomb strapped to them same day.  Not much room for franchise growth…in this life!

Wright piece on Al Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Some of Roger Scruton’s essays here. Interesting quote in this video, which may line-up with Wright’s observations about the pursuit of purity, and how it tends to end:

‘Universal values only make sense in a very specific context…the attempt to universalize them, or project and impose them…just leads to their appropriation by sinister forces.”

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Feel free to highlight my ignorance.

[Addition]: Of course, what do we do in defense against people who want to kill us where we live, whose ideals are fairly deluded and corrupted from the start?

Related On This Site: From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”

Roger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’

Update And Repost-Why Lars Hedegaard Still Matters

*Originally posted over two years ago, now.
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Now that Pamela Geller (plenty of conspiratorially inclined content and some truth at the link) has become an Islamist target, perhaps we can say the following:  Islam still has a large following.  Radical Islam still has a smaller but significant following, and through IS, Al Qaeda, social media, questionable imams, online chat rooms etc. is still able to radicalize followers to action.  The debate in the U.S. has drifted more multicultural (Left) recently, and so Pam Geller might likely find many fewer Americans standing up for her right to speech, no matter her views.
—————–
You may recall hearing about Lars Hedegaard, former Marxist, admirer of our 1st amendment, and founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society.  He’s still under police protection, having written on many occasions that Islam itself is part of the problem.  Naturally, he’s become a target for costly legal battles on charges of racism.  He’s also been marked for death by some Islamists, joining a long list of those who have become targets of righteous Islamist anger.

To recap::

“The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed.’

Our own ‘beloved’ NY Times, begrudgingly supportive of Hedegaard’s cause, ran a story calling him an ‘anti-Islamic provacateur.’

 ‘However, as Mr. Hedegaard’s own opinions, a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war, came into focus, Denmark’s unity in the face of violence began to dissolve into familiar squabbles over immigration, hate speech and the causes of extremism.’

Having read many of Hedegaard’s articles, I can say he is highlighting uncomfortable truths upon a factual basis with an historical outlook. I can’t say I agree with the idea that Islam is entirely incompatible with Europe, nor entirely with his outlook, but it’s a no-brainer to stand up for his right to speak.  Here is a good response to the Times article.

There’s no doubt the multiculturalist orthodoxy too easily allows what Christopher Hitchens’ termed ‘one-way multiculturalism:’ The apologetic European’s invitation to recently arrived Muslims to go full Muslim or join the perpetually aggrieved; isolating themselves in growing enclaves, loosely tethered to their host countries with vague notions of human rights and soft Marxist solidarity.  Many young men remain underemployed, some in and out of criminal activity, drifting on the margins, looking for someone to be.  Many of the Islamic enclaves have people in them quite attuned to the old ways back in Pakistan, Algeria, Syria etc.

Here, some feel emboldened to adopt increasingly Islamic dress and identity, while maintaining higher birth rates as their populations grow steadily.  Suddenly, the well-meaning, less-fecund Europeans are confronted with face veils, full burqas, and claims for Sharia law. Their brows furrow. Their hearts race.  What happened?

The most dangerous scenarios unfold when some of those young, Muslim men join up with radical Islam as a global cause, or go to join IS, then come back unemployed, radicalized and with a horrific new skill set and commitment to action.

If someone like Hedegaard comes along, they stow him uncomfortably away.  He’s upset the apple-cart. If he’s lucky, he can drum up public support enough to censure the Islamists who come calling.

The celebration of all faiths and all tribes equally under an expansive liberal State fighting for social justice, equality of outcome, and multicultural inclusion is not necessarily a desired outcome.  A class of professional journalists, social scientists, academics and cultural critics who will oversee the forward march to peace and progress under the banner of multiculturalism has downsides.

Related On This Site: They’ve got to keep up with the times: A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic

Al Qaeda Is Still Out There, And It’s Complicated

Andrew McCarthy at the National Review:

Whatever your thoughts on our foreign policy, it’s important to recognize an important aim of any administration is to set goals and appear to have met them.

The whole ‘ISIL’ moniker instead of ‘IS’ or ‘ISIS’, and ‘Khorasan,’ rather than any focus on Al Qaeda serves the current President’s claims that his policies have worked.  There isn’t much evidence for this.

McCarthy:

‘You can’t pick up a carpet by all four corners at once. Some al-Qaeda units are assigned to one or more of these objectives at different times; but all al-Qaeda units support and work toward the comprehensive, hegemonic program. It is highly unlikely that the so-called Khorasan Group is working on a mission completely distinct from al-Nusra’s mission; but even if there were such a division of labor, they are still one organization with one ideology and one ultimate goal.’

It’s a little more complicated than that. Eli Lake’s original piece:

‘The attack on the Khorasan Group, which consists of senior al Qaeda operatives loyal to the group’s central leadership, presents an unusual dilemma for Obama’s own war planners.’

and:

‘An easing of tensions between al Qaeda and ISIS presents dangers for America in its military campaign in the Levant. It could persuade hardline Islamist brigades, the largest of the insurgent militias among the Syrian rebels, to oppose the West and to halt their own war against ISIS.’

Here’s Adam Garfinkle, from a while ago, as (I think) the goal is to have policies that work, that can maintain American security and form functional alliances to meet our interests. Full piece here.

‘It is all well and good to point out that the President is largely to blame for his paucity of decent options—and it happens also to be true. It is true that, had he acted with a judicious use of U.S. power in the early stages in the Syrian civil war, he very well might have avoided the mess that he, and the nation with him, are in now. Plenty of people urged him, and plenty of people warned him—both inside his own Administration and out—that passivity would exact the highest price of all. He ignored them all.’

There’s a real mess out there.

Related On This Site:  From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

A Few More Thoughts On The Marathon Bombing: Free Speech Is Key

Michael Moynihan At Newsweek: ‘http://www.jihad.com’

Link sent in by a reader to Alexander Hitchens essay:  As American As Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became The Face Of Western Jihad

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’From CSIS: ‘Rick “Ozzie” Nelson and Tom Sanderson on the Future of Al Qaeda’,Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

From Foreign Affairs: ‘Al Qaeda After Attiyya’

Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Najat Fawzy Alsaeid At The Center For Islamic Pluralism: ‘The War Of Ideologies In The Arab World’

Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

Keeping An Eye On Syria-From Vice: ‘Rojava-Syria’s Unknown War’

Rojava is in Syria’s northeast, where Kurdish fighters from the YPG try and control their territory during the chaos.  From Jan 2nd, 2014.  Many Christians have simply fled, while remaining Arabs, Kurds and even some Alawites must figure out how to protect their own, including the threat from non-Syrian militias and radicals from around the Muslim world.

Should they ally with the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army?

A lot of these people are farmers.

How are the Turks and the Iranians influencing events?

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Even the NY Times notes that Western fighters heeding the jihadi call into Syria pose a risk upon return.

All that righteousness and fighting experience with nowhere to go.

Walter Russell Mead notes Obama may be moving towards a more interventionist stance in Syria or at least placating the interventionists (why Libya and not Syria for humanitarian intervention is still a tough case to make, in terms of protecting our interests and the stakes involved):

‘The President’s qualified optimism notwithstanding, there are no guarantees that U.S. efforts to empower moderate rebels will be successful. And even if the United States does pick the right moderates to arm, there are no assurances that those forces will be effective; political “moderates” aren’t always the best warfighters’

The longer these things go on, the worse people and groups tend to fill in.

Even some folks at NPR may be pining for the days of Clintonesque humanitarian intervention, as they bring in some analysts to compare the mess in Syria to the former Yugoslavia.

The activist on the street and the aging liberal boomer must find common ground somewhere under the Left-liberal tent.

Many Kurds are as close to pro-American sentiment as we’re going to get.

Longer odds, lots of risk: Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest’s Via Media: “The Rise Of Independent Kurdistan?”From Reuters: ‘Analysis: Syrian Kurds Sense Freedom, Power Struggle Awaits’

See Also:  Dexter Filkins ‘From Kurdistan To New York’

During Christopher Hitchens’ 2009 appearance on Australia’s Q & A, he wore a Kurdish flag pin in solidarity and fielded a question from a Kurd (starts at minute 1:30…mentioned as the rest of the debate may be worth your time):

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In his new book Where The West EndsMichael Totten describes visiting Northern Iraq briefly as a tourist with a friend, and the general feeling of pro-Americanism in Kurdish Northern Iraq that generally one can only feel in Poland, parts of the former Yugoslavia etc.

***A pretty damned good overview of Syria for the non-initiated, including what’s been going on since 2011 and the backstory at the thehowardbealeshow. Recommended. Really.

Related On This SiteMore Syria-From Via Media: ‘Congress on Syria: Going In On A Wing and A Prayer’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’A Few More Syria Links-’Unmitigated Clusterf**k?’

From Reuters: ‘Analysis: Syrian Kurds Sense Freedom, Power Struggle Awaits’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’…Liberal Internationalism is hobbling us, and the safety of even the liberal internationalist doctrine if America doesn’t lead…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Boko Haram & Al Qaeda-What’s The Strategy, Here?

It seems to me there continue to be dedicated groups of Islamist radicals and terrorists, often acting locally but willing to act globally, making universal claims to truth and willing to act on their beliefs.  I am not persuaded that Western influence (cultural, ideological, economic, military) is the root cause of this Islamist terrorism, nor that Western influence will ever be enough to entirely eradicate it either (through military action or through human rights and twitter appeals).

Addition:  As a friend points out in jest:  Bold statements.

Michael Totten ‘The Rise Of Boko Haram‘:

‘Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al Qaeda is global, and it’s on the offensive, not on the run. One of their franchises took over Northern Mali. Another controls large swaths of Syria. Chunks of Libya could degenerate into Al Qaeda statelets if we’re not careful. Another franchise is active in Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb would like nothing more than to re-ignite the civil war in Algeria.

Some terrorists really are local—the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, for instance, and the Basque ETA in Spain—but Al Qaeda is and always has been global in its reach and ambition. It makes no difference if Boko Haram never intends to attack the United States directly when it’s affiliated with a larger network that already has and surely plans to do so again.’

What is the exact link?  Eli Lake tries to provide proof: ‘Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection:

‘The dispute inside the intelligence community falls along familiar lines about al Qaeda. The White House has emphasized the distinctions between al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates and other aspiring jihadists, who the White House sees as operating almost entirely independent of the central group.

However, another faction inside the U.S. intelligence community—one that comprises the current leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and others working in the military—see al Qaeda as a flatter organization that coordinates between nodes and operates through consensus in the model of an Islamic Shura council.’

Related On This Site:  From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Najat Fawzy Alsaeid At The Center For Islamic Pluralism: ‘The War Of Ideologies In The Arab World’

Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

Some Friday Links-How Will The West Hang Together?

A podcast from Via Media on the importance of Ukraine: ‘Sochi, Putin and Russia’s Ambitions

A brief summary:  Ukraine is caught between a domineering old lover and the warmth of his embrace, and a somewhat feckless new EU dating-circuit offering great membership benefits and opportunities.  Perhaps content to play both sides off one another, and deeply divided herself, Ukraine could use some U.S. diplomacy to help her lock-in longer-term commitments to the West while keeping her pride intact.

The game is afoot.

From Foreign Affairs: ‘After Disowning ISIS, al Qaeda is Back On Top:

‘In early February, al Qaeda’s central leadership announced that it had severed ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an affiliate in Iraq and Syria. This step came at some cost of reputation for al Qaeda, but it will serve al Qaeda’s interests far better than maintaining a relationship with an affiliate that subverted al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and damaged the terrorist group’s image. Now that ISIS is disowned, its own reputation is in peril, with potentially devastating consequences. In the weeks and months to come, the United States would be wise to use the rift between al Qaeda and ISIS to promote its own interests in Syria and Iraq.’

And are we undergoing a serious recalibration of American public sentiment towards its political leaders and institutions, including the military?

Is the military sacrosanct, and/or will there always be a kind of moderate liberal-Left suspicion of all things military even when it’s discharged to fulfill moderate liberal-Left goals like human-rights and democracy promotion above all else?

Tom Ricks at Foreign Policy: ‘Where Is The Tipping Point For America’s Trust In The Military, And Are We Near It?’

The implication appears to be that no one blames the military for failing to achieve distinct victory. It leads one to wonder just what the American people will blame the military for. 

There’s a lot of ‘greatness’ bloat all throughout our government, and which we all have a hand in.

Where Do We Go?-Via The Washington Post: ‘Al-Qaeda-Linked Force Captures Fallujah Amid Rise In Violence In Iraq’

Full piece here.

Our current strategy is seriously lacking, the Islamic and Islamist revival isn’t over, the Syrian conflict is helping to cause serious instability, and our Iraq strategy under both Bush and Obama’s leadership isn’t working out as advertised.

We could use some fresh thinking:

‘A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago’

We’re being guided by more liberal internationalist and further progressive Left ideas at the moment, but more conservative and neo-conservative ideas face similar challenges, and as a nation we’ve got a lot of work to do given the state of our politics.

Addition:  Eli Lake at the Daily Beast notes that the Sunni Sheiks aren’t too happy with the situation in Fallujah.

Perhaps you won’t agree with all of Samuel Huntington’s ideas, but he maintained a deeply learned understanding of the animating ideas behind Western/American political organization with keen observation of what was happening on the ground in foreign countries.

Robert Kaplan’s brief summation of Huntington’s ideas here:

“• The fact that the world is modernizing does not mean that it is Westernizing. The impact of urbanization and mass communications, coupled with poverty and ethnic divisions, will not lead to peoples’ everywhere thinking as we do.

• Asia, despite its ups and downs, is expanding militarily and economically. Islam is exploding demographically. The West may be declining in relative influence.

• Culture-consciousness is getting stronger, not weaker, and states or peoples may band together because of cultural similarities rather than because of ideological ones, as in the past.

• The Western belief that parliamentary democracy and free markets are suitable for everyone will bring the West into conflict with civilizations—notably, Islam and the Chinese—that think differently.

• In a multi-polar world based loosely on civilizations rather than on ideologies, Americans must reaffirm their Western identity.”

Worth thinking about.  His Political Order In Changing Societies challenged modernization theory.

From Erik Kauffman’s article:

Huntington was instinctively a conservative because he valued an ordered society, but he also championed conservatism as a necessary instrument to defend liberal institutions against communism. In many of his books he attacked idealistic liberals for holding such institutions to impossible, utopian standards that undermined their effectiveness in the world.”

and:

“An iconoclast to the core, Huntington never threw his lot in with left or right. He was too statist to be a libertarian, too realist to embrace neoconservatism, and too sympathetic to nationalism, religion and the military to identify with liberal Democrats. As a conservative Democrat, then, he is an intellectual rarity.”

Samuel P. Huntington - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2004 by World Economic Forum

from The World Economic Forum’s photostream.

9:26 min on Huntington here.

Click here if you’re interested in some of the backstory of Al Qaeda (The Egyptian government’s brutality, its socialism and the extremely rigid Islamic backlash that’s formed in the Arab world) Lawrence Wright’s article has insight.

Did Bush over-simplify both the depths of the neocons and the American left?

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’

Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’Seth Jones At Foreign Affairs: ‘The Mirage Of The Arab Spring’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

How do we deal with the rise of Islamism: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Pauline Baker At The American Interest: ‘Unraveling Afghanistan’

Full piece here.

‘Many Americans think that President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw most if not all U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year will end the U.S. role in that country’s travails. To the extent they think about Afghanistan at all, most Americans seem to assume that when the last combat soldier has departed from what has been the longest war in American history, the United States (and its International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] allies) can close the book on Afghanistan with a mixed record of accomplishment.’

Have we met our objective?

From accounts I’ve heard, what doesn’t often reach the American public is how fierce the fighting in Afghanistan can be, how much we’ve asked of our troops in fulfilling such a broad mission, and how we still haven’t reached our objective, which is to prevent further attacks on our soil.

Corruption runs rampant, illiteracy remains high, and decades of war have ruined the infrastructure.  Under such conditions, and with so many different ethnic and linguistic groups, it’s tough to provide basic security and incentivize the good in people, allowing interested local village elders, farmers and decent folks have a shot at stability. Afghanistan was most recently headed by a thuggish gang of religious purists, warlords and opium-traffickers, and may well soon be again.

Many of these guys, whose ancestors likely fought against the British, and a few elders who fought against the Soviets, are now aiding or abetting the enemy, and/or are fighting our troops. It’s their backyard, after all, but it’d be much better not to have these local and tribal grievances become the fuel for an international fire, and the opening for the Taliban to fill back in. If so, this opens the door to the global ambitions of Islamist franchises like Al Qaeda once again.

Which means we could be right back where we started.

Interestingly, the concerns of Western secular humanists and global peace-workers actually line-up pretty well with traditional, conservative, pro-military supporters:  We’ve got to keep thinking about solutions and a larger strategy when it comes to this region.

It’s not really over, even though this is the longest war we’ve ever had:

Vice had some coverage:

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From Walter Russell Mead: ‘Hastily Leaving Afghanistan Won’t Encourage Taliban To Make Concessions:’

‘And there are still lots of countries in the region that don’t want Afghanistan to fall under Taliban rule again: Iran, Russia, China, and India all think this would be a terrible outcome. We shouldn’t assume that Mullah Omar is going to get everything he wants’

Sarah Chayes’ Essay From 03/01/2007:  ‘Days Of Lies & Roses

Canadian documentarian Louie Palu covered the Kandahar region of southwest Afghanistan, where much of the fiercest fighting has occurred, and where the British, Soviets and coalition forces have fought.

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Related On This SiteFrom March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanStephen Biddle At Foreign Affairs: ‘Running Out Of Time For Afghan Governance Reform’

Repost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Monday Quotations-Henry KissingerTom Ricks Via Foreign Policy: ‘American General Dies In Afghanistan; An American Lt. Col. Goes Off The Reservation