Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Condi Talks Sense

Unfortunately it is in the context of responding to Clinton's criticism but this NY Post article has some worthwhile arguments. (The first half of the article is a waste of time, but read it if you think Clinton's opinion of the war on terror is worth noting or rebutting. It gets good after the bullet points.)

Asked about recently leaked internal U.S. intelligence estimates that claimed the Iraq war was fueling terrorist recruiting, Rice said: "Now that we're fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too."

"I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they're using the fact they're being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you've made the war on terrorism worse.

"It's as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren't," she added.

"These are people who want to fight against us, and they're going to find a reason. And yes, they will recruit, but it doesn't mean you stop pursuing strategies that are ultimately going to stop them," Rice said.

She insisted U.S. forces must finish the job in Iraq and the wider Middle East to wipe out the "root cause" of violent extremism - not just the terror thugs who carry out the attacks.

"It's a longer-term strategy, and it may even have some short-term down side, but if you don't look at the longer term, you're just leaving the problem to somebody else," she said.

She also said Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have a "major educational reform" effort under way to root out propaganda literature and extremist brainwashing.

In Latin America, home to outrageous Venezuelan bomb thrower Hugo Chavez, Rice said the U.S. approach is to "spend as little time possible in talking about Chavez and more time talking about our positive agenda in Latin America," including several trade agreements.
My biggest beef with the Bush administration is not that they've mishandled the war on terror (everyone makes mistakes) but that they've consistently failed to argue the cause. Yes, there have been many talking points, but the times when we have been offered an actual argument like the one above have been few and usually, as in this case, in response to someone else's criticism. In fact that doesn't only apply to justifying the war. This administration has had many missed opportunities to make the conservative case for any of its positions.

This may seem like a minor peeve, but consider that the alternative to persuasion is force. In a democracy, the failure to make a persuasive case leads ultimately to tyranny or to civil war. We have a lot of intellectual capital to squander yet before either of those alternatives becomes immanent, but still we have squandered too much of it over the last few decades for my comfort.

No comments: