The War on Blitzkrieg

|

Two posts at National Review's Corner blog—two points that cancel each other out quite nicely. First, John Podhoretz sums up a tussle between Kofi Annan and John Bolton:

To paraphrase Kofi Annan just now: We need a ceasefire.

John Bolton's paraphrased response: Nobody knows how to conduct a ceasefire with a terrorist organization.

Two hours later, Kathryn Jean Lopez praises this "focusing speech" from Sen. Rick Santorum, which is so important it's mirrored on NRO's site:

We are not fighting a War on Terror anymore than we fought a war on blitzkrieg in World War II. Terror like blitzkrieg is a tactic used by our enemy, not the enemy itself. We are fighting against Islamic fascists.

Bolton and Santorum are obviously discussing different things—a conflict with one terrorist organization, Hezbollah, versus a conflict with "Islamic fascism." But if Bolton's right and no one knows how to get a ceasefire with a terrorist organization, how can the U.S. get a ceasefire, or unconditional surrender, or anything else from the enemies Santorum delineates? He fingers Hezbollah, Al Qaeda "and other such groups" as the front line of Islamic fascism, alongside state actors like Syria and Iran. How can they be defeated?

This is a truly modern war—a war fought not just on the battlefield, but on the Internet, a war decided less by armies and warplanes than by individuals making individual choices.

Well, that's helpful—the war will be won once we stop individuals from making the wrong choices. And we have to apply the same approach we took in World War II to an enemy that has no state, never officially declares war, and can never officially surrender or sue for peace. That's some focus.

Advertisement

NEXT: Soundbite: Where the Right Went Rotten

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s like we start out fighting a war on cocaine and end up fighting a war on meth, eh?

  2. David,

    I know it fit in with your theme and everything, but why would anyone think Rick Santorum has anything useful or otherwise worth listening to on this matter? Yes, he is (tragically) a senator, but his observations are uniformly either blindingly obvious or inanely off-point.

    On the Podhoretz quote, though — this is why I’m glad Bolton is at the UN. He may be a bull in a china shop, but there’s a lot of crockery there that needs breaking.

  3. The reasoning appears to be that if there are terrorists in your country, your country is a target. This continues until there are no countries left which will allow terrorists in, and until every country is well-organized enough to keep terrorists out.

  4. Tell me again why it is the enemy here can’t surrender or negotiate? I must’ve missed where they were inanimate objects lacking mouths.

  5. The answer lies in the wisdom of Keith Laumer: “Ain’t nobody as peaceful as a dead troublemaker.”

  6. And we have to apply the same approach we took in World War II to an enemy that has no state, never officially declares war, and can never officially surrender or sue for peace.

    Makes you wonder how we ever made deals with Indian tribes abd bands in the 19th century, doesn’t it?

  7. “Two posts at National Review’s Corner blog – two points that cancel each other out quite nicely.”

    That’s what I like about the NR, they provide multiple, conflicting opinions.

  8. Terror like blitzkrieg is a tactic used by our enemy, not the enemy itself. We are fighting against Islamic fascists.

    Anyone else notice that Santorum and the neocon brigades are slyly conceding a point that those nasty libruls and silly civil libertarians had already been putting forth for years? Yes, a war on a tactic is a stupid idea, like the War on Drugs. Good going, Sherlock…

    I like how they just now discovered the lapse in logic. And just in time to re-brand the Mighty Freedom Struggle of the Securely Homelanded before the 2008 elections.

  9. Actually, Seamus, if my history is correct, our procedure was to promise the Native Americans anything they wanted and then kill them as soon as they’d signed the paperwork. I don’t think that’s going to work this time.

  10. it should be obvious by now that the american political elite have no idea how to fight the fight they’ve picked, but are going to use it as justification to consolidate their empire as best they know how.

    it’s too bad, perhaps, that they don’t know much about how to do that either. such are the travails of decadence.

  11. gaius!!!! Where has my favorite American declinist been keeping himself? How’s your child?

  12. Gaius:

    I know you’re all about the decadence and everything, but I’m with Dominic Flandry (at least I think that’s who it was) — enjoying the decadence while fighting against the decline.

  13. Dave,

    You really can’t figure out the difference? Despite the broader meaning of the term, a cease fire implies that both sides accept that the benefits of peace further their own interests.

    Bolton is referring to a fully armed organization capable of of dishing out violence. Aside from some of Hezbollah’s minor community development work, its only purpose is to kill other people. Why would it voluntarily abandon its sole purpose if it is still capable of carrying out that purpose? Simple answer it won’t.

    Based on what you provided, I am not sure where Santorum states that we can arrange a cease fire with Islamic Fascists–not that that stopped you from saying that he did (fine bit of journalism there).

    In reality there are only two ways to end hostilities. Degrade their capacity to do violence (kill them) or make it undesirable for their sponsors to provide support.

    I can’t tell from your smarmy comment at the end, but are you saying that this is only a war fought on the battlefield, or that individuals don’t choose to join terrorist organizations (you will need to explain their recruitment process if this is the case)? Or does your dislike of Santorum require to parse everything he says?

  14. Ave, Gaius!

  15. it should be obvious by now that the american political elite have no idea how to fight the fight they’ve picked

    And when, exactly, did “the american political elite” pick this fight? 9/11/01? 1948, when Israel was founded? 1492, when the Moors were driven from Spain? Oh, I know, it was our participation in the Crusades, right?

  16. it should be obvious by now that the american political elite have no idea how to fight the fight they’ve picked

    And when, exactly, did “the american political elite” pick this fight? 9/11/01? 1948, when Israel was founded? 1492, when the Moors were driven from Spain? Oh, I know, it was our participation in the Crusades, right?

    Thank you, Papaya – that was exactly the question I have for people who seem to forget that the folks in the WTC towers were hardly on the warpath before the planes hit.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.