Killing Those Who Want to Kill Us, and the Resulting Complications

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Some dark comedy from George Saunders at Slate on exit strategies for Iraq. An excerpt:

Since it is clear that we cannot leave until they stop killing us, and equally clear that they will not stop killing us until we leave, I propose the following exit strategy:

1) Kill all the ones who are trying to kill us, in such a way that none of those who presently do not want to kill us suddenly start wanting to kill us.

2) At the moment of the death of the last person who wanted to kill us, race quickly out of the country before some additional person suddenly decides he/she wants to kill us, thus necessitating our continued presence in Iraq, in order to kill him/her.

3) Having left Iraq quickly, do not look back, so as not to witness individuals claiming they would have liked to kill us, which would then necessitate a return to Iraq, in order to etc., etc. (See No. 2, above.)

To implement this exit strategy, we will have to practice running quickly. It is further recommended that, while running, the eyes be cast down, to avoid witnessing any last-minute people trying to kill us. We will have to establish excellent communications so that the moment that final person begins dying, we can all begin running quickly at the same time, eyes cast down, quickly, to our vehicles, to get to the airport and get out of the country.

This exit strategy will demand a high level of coordination, dedication, and planning.

And how. I was hepped to this one via Wonkette.

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  1. I’m confused. Is this stupidity passing for satire, straight comedy or serious analysis?

  2. There is a price for killing Americans above which other activities become more appealing. That price is established by them, not us. All we are doing now is finally making them pay the price.

  3. Any day now I’m expecting Bush to start announcing that “no obstacle cannot be overcome by a people with sufficient revolutionary will.”

  4. Fred,
    Second and third word of the first
    paragraph, “dark comedy.”

    This is pretty funny stuff. Did George Saunders work for National Lampoon?

  5. That was really funny. Absolutely great.

  6. Nonsense. All we have to do is convince them that killing Americans and freedom-minded Iraqis will not help them achieve their goals, however wacky they may be. That should not require killing everyone who wants to kill us. As soon as it sinks in that we’re not leaving until they have security and elections, even if they kill quite a lot of us, and that many more of them will die, they will stop.

  7. gosh. War is hard.

  8. What I would like to know is where the idea got started that killing people who want to kill you simply produces more people who want to kill you, ad infinitum. It’s nonsensical; there’s no evidence to support it, and it’s contrary to human nature.

    The United States, Australia, France, et. al., killed countless Vietnamese. Where are the millions of Vietnamese who should, supposedly, even now be trying to kill us? I look around and I see plenty of Vietnamese immigrants, and approximately zero terrorists. Ditto for Germans, Japanese — hell, Mexicans for that matter, or Native Americans. We’re still occupying Germany and Japan — why aren’t the Germans and Japanese still trying to kill us?

    Answer: because we killed enough of them, and they gave up.

  9. Keep an eye out for this plan to be the backbone of Bush’s next speech on his “plan.”

  10. Gosh, Dan, I never thought about that. I suppose we ought to occupy Arabia and kill ’em all. Good thing you posted or the War On Terror might never have been won!

  11. Dan,

    The U.S. doesn’t occupy Japan or Germany – occupation implies a lack of sovereignty, which neither state lacks. The U.S. is in Germany at the pleasure of the German government, in other words.

    As to why the Vietnamese stopped killing Americans, well, that’s fairly simple; we left their country. They were never launching attacks against the U.S. mainland and never planned to as far as I know.

  12. BTW, if mere death toll were a means by which to defeat an enemy (at least an enemy of any significant size vis a vis their population), then many wars would have been over far before they were. You can millions, but if you don’t destroy their capacity to fight, it can all be for naught (the 20th century should have taught us that if anything).

  13. “As soon as it sinks in that we’re not leaving until they have security and elections, even if they kill quite a lot of us, and that many more of them will die, they will stop.’

    This technique has proven to be of limited effectiveness in getting similar messages to “sink in” to Palestinians. The Soviets saw similar results in Afghanistan.

  14. I believe a decent ratio is a thousand to one.

  15. The key is to kill all the ones that are weak and succeptable to promises of a better afterlife. Unfortunately, debunking the afterlife won’t occur for a few more millenia.

  16. “BTW, if mere death toll were a means by which to defeat an enemy (at least an enemy of any significant size vis a vis their population), then many wars would have been over far before they were.”

    True, but this doesn’t imply that the death toll is unnecessary.

    If you are sleeping with a guy’s sister and he doesn’t like it, and he attacks you, there are a number of outs. You can promise to leave her alone, you can kick his ass and stay with her, or you can kick his ass and decide to leave her alone. We are in the situation where we are sleeping with people in the middle east we don’t need to be, and there are a couple of ways out. I’m not willing to take it on the chin, comply, and leave it at that, even if I ultimately decide to leave anyway. I’ll make that decision after big bro is on the mat.

  17. The U.S. doesn’t occupy Japan or Germany – occupation implies a lack of sovereignty, which neither state lacks. The U.S. is in Germany at the pleasure of the German government, in other words.

    With all due respect, the U.S. is in Germany at the pleasure of the United States government. We didn’t ask Germany (or Japan) for permission to station troops in their country; we put troops there to make sure those countries stayed in line. We didn’t grant sovreignity to the news German and Japanese governments until years *after* they’re stopped trying to kill us — and even then, we made sure that the new “sovreign” nations understood that they’d be allowing us to station troops there for the forseeable future.

    As to why the Vietnamese stopped killing Americans, well, that’s fairly simple; we left their country.

    But they should have kept killing us, according to the “logic” of the “killing produces more killing” argument. Us leaving the country should have no effect. We killed them, ergo they supposedly should want to kill us.

    For that matter, the “us leaving their country” argument falls apart completely when you consider that Mexicans, Spaniards, and Native American tribes don’t make a habit of killing Americans either. We still, today, occupy big chunks of their countries.

  18. Though I am Ruthless, I don’t think pure killin’ can accomplish what it historically might have.
    I’m thinking of ancient passages where no stone was left on top of another and Cathage where the extra precaution of salting the earth was applied.

    Nope, the only solution today is to stop pissing people off.

    Hey, it’s not rocket science except to certain compassionate conservatives from Tejas.

  19. Our military and most of the rest of our government should leave their country because it has no fair reason for being in Iraq. The only legitimate reason for it to have ever been in Iraq in the first place would be to respond to a REAL threat to US security.

    There never was a real threat to American safety from Iraq, but the neocons engaged in wild duplicity and outright fraud to get the president and the nation to accept that there was a threat when none existed. The fact that our government is in Iraq anyway is a transgression against those Americans who are forced to pay for the Iraq war and occupation even though it is not necessary for their safety.

    When the government swallowed the assorted phony pretexts, it then perpetuated and expanded these lies for which thousands have died, including 800 Americans. More Americans have perished in this elective war then died in the 9/11 Pentagon attack. And, tens of thousands of people have been maimed.

    Of course, the longer the government stays in Iraq, the more Americans that will be killed by Iraqis and the more Iraqis that will be killed by Americans.

    Now it’s WAY past time for our government to leave Iraq. What reasonably expected result could possibly justify the further expected (perhaps even greater in light of the growing torture scandal) loss of American life?

  20. Dead men don’t kill.

  21. Rick – Loved you in Casablanca but since then…

    When was the last Indian attack against our cavalry?

    Whoever taught you to say hyperinterventionist sure got their money’s worth. If we intervene we are Hyper what you said. If we don’t intervene we are “propping up dictators” or some such trash.
    We are a trading partner to most of the world, and we do relatively less intervention than is probably good for us. Just our being is an afront to every failed theocracy on earth. I chose not to die just to make them happy.

  22. Walter,

    Lishen shweethart…(Hey, I just bloged a Bogy impression!)

    “Whoever taught you to say hyperinterventionist sure got their money’s worth.”

    LOL Good one. 🙂

    “If we don’t intervene we are “propping up dictators” or some such trash.”

    No no no, propping up dictators, and others, is one of the ways our government intervenes!

    “We are a trading partner to most of the world”

    Which is a wonderful and enriching thing when the government does not subsidize it.

    “we do relatively less intervention than is probably good for us.”

    What?? Do you have a death wish? Our government is financing oppressive governments in, Uzbekistan, Occupied Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan. Each of these increase the risk of attack against US.

    The US government’s financing of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land was one of the specific reasons for the 9/11 attacks.

    “Just our being is an afront to every failed theocracy on earth.”

    That sounds like a classic definition of “barking up the wrong tree”. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t be likely that there would be any real motivation to attack us were it not for the actions of our government.

    The chief exporter of pornography into the Arab world is Scandinavia. The Islamic clerics complain, but of course there were no 9/11 attacks on Sweden or Denmark.

    The overwhelming evidence is that then 9/11 happened as a direct result of our government’s hyper-interventionist foreign policy, Vis a vis the Mid-East:

    In his 9/11 Fatwa Bin Laden told us the three reasons for the 9/11 attack:

    1. The American military in the Arabian Peninsula too close to Mecca. (This idiocy is at last ended)

    2.The blockade if Iraq.

    3. American government support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm

  23. Sure – just shut up, let them kill all the Jews and then we have heaven on earth. Until they decide to push another button.
    Remember that our support for Israel was worked out by Americas Most Disasterous President, in a deal where he said give back all the land you took in repelling the invasion and we will guarantee your oil supply – then that genious turned around and told Egypt that we would give them a dollar for every dollar we gave Israel, thus guaranteeing that Islamic agression paid no penalty. Remember also that if that dipshit had told Iran to get the hell out of our embassy or get smoked, most of the next 20 years of hell would not have happened. It all goes back to Ike, but I won’t stretch your mind that far.
    Compare North Korea to South Korea to evaluate that little bit of hyperinterventionism I participated in, to my continuing satisfaction, then look at the shit you disconnectors mothered in SE Asia.

  24. Wallter Wallis,

    But, their friends and relatives do. Consider that war and our government’s hyper-interventionist foreign policy might not be the answer. Consider that capitalism might be the answer.

  25. And who came to office with the pledge to stop the war? Not win the war, stop the war. Ike, whose grave I would like to piss on, rught after I piss on MacArthur’s grave.
    I assume, Rick, you have been asleep the last several years when Israei offered most of the land “back” and was rewarded with Intefada.
    You are just being silly when you suggest that a vigorous defense of the territorial integrity of our embassy would not have been to our advantage.
    Respect for the U.S.? Gimme a hit on that pipe.

  26. I like the Vietnam exit strategy.

    We leave and let the winners slaughter the losers. If no more than 2 million or so die and another 1/2 million become refugees we should be in the clear.

    After all even though such an outcome (not the exact numbers) was prediced by the US Government by 1973 or ’74 no one was listening to those genocidal baby killers.

  27. Rick B. says:

    “If the occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government were to end, there would be much less killing of Israelis by Palestinians, and of Palestinians by Israelis. This prospect could be helped along by our government ceasing to fund the occupation. This is a large element of the harmful hyper-interventionism in the Mid-east.”

    This is 100% true. The Palis consider all the land from the Jordan to the Med occupied. So your plan for Pali satisfaction is…….

  28. Walter,

    There was never anything like actually giving the Palestinians their land back on the table and the fact that you put snide little quotes around the word “back” indicates your lack of knowledge of the history of the region.

    Our government is supporting a thieving and murderous occupation that is the fruition of a plan of outright theft by the Israeli government, which is now headed by an out and out racist.

    Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon, “What is to become of the Palestinians?” Sharon’s answer: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    I never contended that a defense of the territorial integrity of our embassy would not have been to our advantage. I just responded to your unsubstantiated claim that;“most of the next 20 years of hell would not have happened.”

    “Respect for the U.S.?”

    The history of the situation is manifest; respect for the US was high throughout the area, even in Israel, after Eisenhower pressured Ben-Gurion as well as the Brits and French to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

    “Gimme a hit on that pipe.”

    Drug legalization is a good cause, as is stopping government impediments to all non-coercive private enterprise, but that’s a different thread. 😉

  29. M. Simon,

    And just which Palestinians contend this? Actually it’s the Palestinians right to exist in their own state that is threatened, not the Israelis.

  30. It is dificult to speak kindly of those whose every expression is kill every Jew. Ask the Jordanians, the real occupiers of the real Palestine, whether they want Palestine back.

  31. Walter Wallis,

    If the occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government were to end, there would be much less killing of Israelis by Palestinians, and of Palestinians by Israelis. This prospect could be helped along by our government ceasing to fund the occupation. This is a large element of the harmful hyper-interventionism in the Mid-east.

    “and told Egypt that we would give them a dollar for every dollar we gave Israel, thus guaranteeing that Islamic aggression paid no penalty.”

    The Israeli government gets at least twice as much as the thug Egyptian government from US taxpayers. The money to the regime in Cairo is a ongoing payoff for Israel.

    And, just so you don’t get carried away with your Islamist boogey man, remember that like Sadam, the Egyptian government is brutal on fundamentalist Islamists.

    “if that dipshit had told Iran to get the hell out of our embassy or get smoked, most of the next 20 years of hell would not have happened.”

    That’s a statement of faith, nothing more.

    “It all goes back to Ike, but I won’t stretch your mind that far.”

    To the contrary; let’s check it out. At times, US policy has been very different from the opportunistic imperial expansionism of the Soviets and this difference paid great dividends and planted the seeds of Egypt’s subsequent ouster of the Soviets:

    After the 1956 war the Brits, the French and Israel conspired to have Israel keep a large part of the Gaza Strip and Sinai for its natural resource booty and actually invited the US government to participate.

    But, after Israel’s joint military undertaking with Britain and France was over, Eisenhower warned Israel of severe consequences were she not to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

    All financial contributions to Israeli institutions would lose their tax exempt status. Also, he basically told the Brits and France he would call out their participation in this land grab to the whole world.

    This episode earned us great respect every where in the Mideast, even in Israel. It engendered pro-US sentiments the Arab world. America was seen to stand for fair play.

    From a John Cooley, C.S. Monitor article: http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0422/p12s03-coop.htm

    “After the US pressured Israel’s British and French allies to withdraw from Egyptian territory in their unsuccessful 1956 war to seize the Suez Canal, Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, refused to pull Israeli forces out of their new conquests in Sinai and Gaza, as the UN Security Council had ordered.”

    “So Eisenhower, in January 1957, threatened American Jewish leaders and lobbyists with withdrawal of tax-free Israel bond sales and other crucial privileges. Mr. Ben-Gurion reversed himself and withdrew. Respect for the US was high throughout the area, even in Israel.

    It’s wonderful that South Korea is free from North Korea, but also note that the North Korean regime continues one of the last remaining outposts of the most murderous political plague ever inflicted on humankind.

  32. Dan,

    ” We didn’t ask Germany (or Japan) for permission to station troops in their country…”

    However, the legal situation has changed since then; today either state could tell us to pack up our things and get the hell out of dodge. In other words, your statement is BESIDE THE POINT since the legal reality has changed significantly since WWII. Therefore, the U.S. no longer “occupies” Japan or Germany. Indeed, in the case of Japan it is even more silly to argue such, since the main American bases aren’t even on mainland Japan, but Okinawa.

    “But they should have kept killing us, according to the ‘logic’ of the ‘killing produces more killing’ argument.”

    Well, I never made that argument; don’t confuse me with other people. I was merely correcting your error.

    “For that matter, the ‘us leaving their country’ argument falls apart completely when you consider that Mexicans, Spaniards, and Native American tribes don’t make a habit of killing Americans either. We still, today, occupy big chunks of their countries.”

    Again, you are confusing me with someone else; I made no such argument.

  33. “It is dificult to speak kindly of those whose every expression is kill every Jew.”

    That’s not the opinion of the vast majority of Palestinians, and the Israeli government is the occupier of Palestinian land using our tax money to do it.

  34. The vast majority of Palestinians do nothing to control those among them who advocate killing Jews, and the vast majority of Palestininans celebrate whenever ill befalls either Jew or American.

  35. The same is true of Israelis who kill Palestinians. The reason that Palestinians have an antipathy toward Americans is that our government finances their occupation and murder. There is no good reason for our government to do this.

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