Next time, kill more of us. Please!

That is the basic message in this LA Times editorial by David A. Bell

Imagine that on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.

It also raises several questions. Has the American reaction to the attacks in fact been a massive overreaction? Is the widespread belief that 9/11 plunged us into one of the deadliest struggles of our time simply wrong? If we did overreact, why did we do so? Does history provide any insight?

Certainly, if we look at nothing but our enemies’ objectives, it is hard to see any indication of an overreaction. The people who attacked us in 2001 are indeed hate-filled fanatics who would like nothing better than to destroy this country. But desire is not the same thing as capacity, and although Islamist extremists can certainly do huge amounts of harm around the world, it is quite different to suggest that they can threaten the existence of the United States.

Yet a great many Americans, particularly on the right, have failed to make this distinction. For them, the “Islamo-fascist” enemy has inherited not just Adolf Hitler’s implacable hatreds but his capacity to destroy. The conservative author Norman Podhoretz has gone so far as to say that we are fighting World War IV (No. III being the Cold War).

But it is no disrespect to the victims of 9/11, or to the men and women of our armed forces, to say that, by the standards of past wars, the war against terrorism has so far inflicted a very small human cost on the United States. As an instance of mass murder, the attacks were unspeakable, but they still pale in comparison with any number of military assaults on civilian targets of the recent past, from Hiroshima on down.

Poor Mr. Bell forgets that Hiroshima was not a “civilian target”. Neither was Nagasaki.

And I do wonder if a guy who is asking, nay, DEMANDING, that more than 3000 Americans be killed before we next respond militarily would be willing to include himself or any of his family members or any of his friends in that next, larger number?

For some reason, I doubt that.

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One Response to Next time, kill more of us. Please!

  1. We hear a lot of complaints against the War in Iraq, not so many against the War in Afghanistan. I wonder why that is?

    Nobody from Iraq or Afghanistan is accused of directly participating in the 9/11 attack on America (although Afghanistan is reliably said to be, or have been, the place where Bin Laden lives; the assumption is that warring in Afghanistan may someday result in the death or capture of Bin Laden.)

    Still, some people insist that America has no legitimate reason to wage war in, at least, Irag.

    They don’t understand, and at least this one dimwit doesn’t understand why America always “over reacts” to aggression.

    The reason is that Americans, having an open society (nearly unique in the world, even today) can’t defend itself against internal attack by keeping potential enemies outside its borders.

    Well, can’t or won’t — the reason doesn’t matter, the result is the same.

    The only viable alternative is to establish worldwide confidenc in the sure and certain “over reaction” of Americans against ANY assault.

    It doesn’t matter if we attack the folks who attack us. We’ll attack the country which sent the assailants, or the country which trained or otherwise supported them. If no better target is available, we’ll attack somebody “like” the folks who attacked us.

    This is retalliation, not revenge.

    It’s a pre-emptive move to insure that the world knows we will punish SOMEONE related to the attackers. If those “someones” fear reprisals, and know that they are a possible target, they may find it in their own self-interest to discourage any individuals or groups who might otherwise have mounted an attack on America.

    There’s another part of this:

    While we’re fighting Terrorists in Iraq, they aren’t attacking American soil. Instead, terrorists and potential terrorists are lured to the killing ground in Iraq where their targets aren’t innocent American civilians but armed and equiped and fully trained combatants.

    Isn’t it better to establish a beach-head in the Middle east to draw out these wanna-be terrorists, than to provide no better target than the American civilian population?

    You bet your ass.

    If we leave Iraq, we’ll be seen as nothing more than a Paper Tiger, just as we have been considered after out non-reaction to terrorist attacks since the truck-bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut back in the ’80s. Include in this litany of passivity the non-reaction to the slaughter of American troops in Somalia in 1993 (“Blackhawk Down”), bombing of the Khobar Towers in ’96, the 1998 bombing of embassies in Africa, and the suicide bombing attack on the Cole in 2000.

    As long as America would not react, its enemies continued to attack.

    Oh, sure, there was the odd Tomahawk Missile attack which had no more result than the destruction of an aspirin factory in ’98. That frightened nobody, and apparently served no better purpose than to distract the American publich from the Lewinsky affair. That was politics, not ‘reaction’. Can you say “wag the dog?”, children? I think you can.

    “No Reaction” is an admission of a failure of will to defend our country.

    “Ineffective Reaction” only invites contempt.

    The only effective reaction is an over-reaction.

    Works for me.

    Hmmm … I think I’ve just written a blog article.

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