December 01, 2003

Reigning in Our Nuts

I've gone on in the past about the obligation of muslims to reign in their extremists, their radicals, and their crazies. This obligation exists on moderates of all groups. The main reason why this obligation rests on the moderates inside the group is that they have unique insights not only into the extremists/radicals/nuts (from here on in exranuts) of their own group, they know how best to excise them without doing more damage than necessary to the larger groups goals and aspirations. Even when internal moderates (as is the case with muslims) are not in a particularly powerful position, it is preferrable to have them do the work. Outsiders are inevitably going to go at the problem like the bull in the proverbial china shop, clumsily.

In an example closer to home, the US has two disparate sets of exranuts to deal with on the War on Terror (we've got lots of other nuts too, this isn't an exhaustive list). There's the left wing surrender crowd who haul out pithy, disgusting phrases like "we support our troops when they shoot their officers". Then there's the "nuke Mecca and make the rubble bounce" crowd. Sanity lies between these two extremes. Steven Den Beste just got a letter from a muslim bull going through our china shop.

For americans, talking seriously about the use of nuclear weapons has a very powerful sobering effect. We've been living the longest with the reality of the capability to destroy the planet and while joking about it can keep the nightmares away, somebody breaking out sober battle plans ends all frivolity.

When we're the unchallanged top dog we tend to get lazy and sloppy as a society. We're just coming off a decade long bender (the '90s) where we were the undisputed champ and we're still dealing with the hangover from that period. Steven Den Beste's serious talk about how close we're dancing edge, to that decision point of having to launch a nuke or give up on being the USA is, in its way, a plea to everybody to get serious, cut the political partisanship, and get on with the business of dealing with a national crisis.

I just wrote about a hypothetical in which political considerations are getting in the way of enlarging the army to a size that is sustainable for our current threat picture. I firmly believe that the Democrat party has a faction that is so obsessed with President Bush and the 2004 elections that they'd think about the politics of it more than the national security angle. I worry that they have 41 votes in the Senate. Because of the disasterous consequences of even letting our need for extra divisions get out before the deal is done, I fear that nobody even dares to do a private whip count.

So we're stuck in a force resizing holding pattern. We simultaneously try to tamp down crises, digest Iraqi tyranny, downsize our military that's stuck in EU states and S. Korea, and manufacture as many free soldiers as possible waiting for the time when there are enough trusted Congressmen to get the bills through quickly and start raising our force levels fast enough to preclude anybody seriously trying to take advantage.

In the meantime, we have to negotiate between the Scylla and Charybdis of our own nuts as outsiders "oscillate between despondency and amusement" at our attempts at doing our own laundry (reigning in our own exranuts).

Posted by TMLutas at December 1, 2003 11:09 AM