Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  To hell with twilight. To hell with process.
Rumsfeld's recent speech in Munich makes a powerful argument for learning from history:

In many ways, this war is different than any we have ever fought. But in other ways, our situation today resembles that of free nations in the early days of the Cold War. Over the course of what President Kennedy called "a long twilight struggle," our countries have disagreed on some things from time to time. But fortunately for us, and for our children, we did not lose our will - over many decades, and through many changes in political leadership in all of our countries. Our free nations did not waver when the Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, promised to "bury" us. Nor when he predicted that our grandchildren would live under Communism. Quite the contrary.

...

I'm told that Chancellor Merkel has said, "I did not expect to live in a free society before I reached the age of retirement". As we consider those words, we note that the Cold War wasn't won through fate or luck. Freedom prevailed because our free nations showed resolve when retreat would have been easier, and showed courage when concession seemed simpler. Today, our countries have another choice to make. We could choose to pretend, as some suggest, that the enemy is not at our doorstep. We could choose to believe, as some contend, that the threat is exaggerated. But those who would follow such a course must ask: what if they are wrong? What if at this moment, the enemy is counting on being underestimated, counting on being dismissed, and counting on our preoccupation. Ultimately, history teaches that success depends on will.


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But is he learning enough from history? Did the Cold War really last 40 years because it took 40 years of solid fighting to defeat Communism? No; most of that time was not taken up with fighting, and most of the fighting was a success for Communism. We didn't really start to fight until Reagan turned Bill Casey loose on the Russians. Before that point, we were mainly reacting -- too late -- to Soviet advances, and seeking a balance of power, not an overwhelming advantage.

I'm afraid that Rummy is thinking like a bureaucrat, not a warrior, when he focuses so heavily on the length of the 'long twilight struggle'. When we tread carefully on Mohammedan sensitivities, trying to win 'hearts and minds', we are gaining nothing; we are only losing time and respect. In medical terms, we're using acupuncture and homeopathy against a cancer. We should be using radical surgery and chemo. Remove the bad cells as fast as possible, even if we also rip out parts that don't appear malignant. That's how we won WW2, and that's how we defeated Russia. Note that Germany and Japan were left in ruins after WW2, and Russia is still in economic ruins.

First, we need to kill Saddam immediately. We should have killed him in 1991, and we emphatically should have killed him two years ago when we captured him. As long as Saddam breathes, HE WILL RESUME POWER. Our interference with Ramsay Clark's "legal process" might stir up the natives, but they're already having a nice little civil war anyway. Removing the potential for restoration will calm down that conflict, not aggravate it.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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