Monday, April 02, 2007


The O.K. Corral in Western mythology has come to symbolize the struggle between the law (civilization & order) and the roving bands of outlaws and bandits who roamed the Old West robbing and rustling (barbarism and chaos). I grew up with mostly cowboy heroes--the ones who brough law and order, just to be clear--and one of them was Wyatt Earp. Of course, since then he's been historically "deconstructed" by the postmodernists along with his brothers and Doc Holliday; and the Clantons and their ilk have been romantically idealized and given victim status (so what else is new?).

I mention this because we are today in our own version of the O.K. Corral--and the consequences of the postmodern deconstruction are painfully evident. We are living in a global Tombstone where outlaw nations like Iran can steal and kill at will. The international community--the civilized community--seems to be paralyzed and in denial. They have denigrated the "cowboy" Bush; they have deconstructed all their heroes; and now, there is nothing that stands between them and the Iranian gunslingers who want to take over the town and kill as many of them as necessary. In true pathetic victimhood fashion, they wail and weep, hoping that the town will be taken over so that their lives can be spared.

Jeff Jacoby calls the smell in the air right now "irresolution"; I call it "fear" and its stench is almost overpowering. Never in my wildest dreams when The Sanity Squad recorded its last podcast about the Iranian showdown at the UK corral, did I imagine that there would be not only a tepid response, but a downright cowardly one. As the British cower and the US Congress prepares to surrender, the aggression against the West only increases in intensity and brutality.

....this is how totalitarian aggressors react to faintheartedness.
"In Middle Eastern warfare," writes retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters in the New York Post, "a classic tactic has been to retreat in the face of strength, but to attack when your enemy withdraws or shows signs of weakness." British troop pullouts and congressional cut-and-run votes prompt not fewer outrages and less mayhem, but more. The smell of irresolution doesn't satiate the totalitarians' appetite; it makes it keener.

The Men of West are too fearful to take a stand (what if it was unpopular with some people?) and instead they prefer to run away which allows them also to maintain their denial and delusion. The forces of civilization are willing to get out of Tombstone and let the outlaws and barbarians take over.

Consider, if the leaders of the free world cannot respond appropriately and decisively to the latest Iranian hostage crisis (and you think they would remember the consequences of the last one--particularly on the so-called "legacy" of Jimmy Carter), then the crisis will only escalate. What Carter did (and didn't do) 25 years ago paved the way for 9/11 and the many crises we are dealing with today; what future horrors will the selfish and malignant pacifism of today's left pave the way for in the next decade?

The Mullahs are watching and have a great big Cheshire cat grin on their face. They almost certainly have concluded from the useless British and international response that they can get away with practically anything now.

Where are the heroes today who can lead? Who can face the outlaws at the U.K. Corral? Who can unflinchingly face the armies of the dark lords of Islam and refuse to let them pass? We are saddled with psychotic and delusional Denethors in Europe; and a Congress of mesmerized Theodens; and there is no one with enough moral courage or strength of will to confront the evil that is the source of the poisonous paralysis. The air is drenched with fear and hopelessness and defeat.

And if you look at the contenders for the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes, none of them gives me any confidence at all that things are likely to improve.

Dialogue and Diplomacy; talk and more talk is only useful if Iran and its leaders are reasonable people who desire to change their ways and become a part of the international community.

Well, why the hell should they change their ways? They get everything they want by being the hostile, provacative bullies and thugs they are. They have shown very little interest in the international community unless it does things their way. But we keep talking, as Lowry notes:
If talking with the Iranians doesn't work, it is because we aren't talking to them enough, or the wrong people (i.e., not the U.S.) are talking to them, or when we're talking to them, we aren't saying the right things, or we haven't talked to them long enough, or maybe they don't realize just how very sincere we are in our talking. But, surely, sometime soon, if we just keep talking and offering to talk, all these "misunderstandings" will fade away.

In deterrence theory, this is called "mirroring," judging someone else's intentions by looking at your own. James Baker -- the head of the late, great Iraq Study Group -- concluded that Iran wants stability in Iraq and is amenable to negotiations, no doubt partially because he himself wants stability in Iraq and is amenable to negotiations. Indeed, there is no dispute that can't be worked out by haggling with James Baker, but he has never taken any hostages, denied the Holocaust or claimed to have had a halo -- all exploits of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The old saw about a liberal being someone who won't take his own side in a fight applies here. When the Bush administration presented evidence that the Iranians have provided material used to kill American troops in Iraq with roadside bombs, Democrats exploded in outrage -- at the Bush administration, for not being convincing enough, for having delayed the release of the intelligence, for being overly belligerent toward Iran, which just wants to talk to us.

NEWSFLASH: The Iranians don't want to talk to us. Or, rather they will talk with us as long as we keep up the pretense that they are reasonable; and while they are talking with us, they will continue to do whatever they want. Keep the hostages (since they will suffer no consequences at all); continue to make their nuclear bomb (because they will suffer no serious consequences); and flaunt international law (because no one seems to care and they are hardly likely to be called to account for not following the Geneva Convention); keep providing explosives and personnel to fuel the Iraq insurgency (Bush will get blamed instead of them). Life is good.

It doesn't take a shrink to figure out their agenda. Any kid dealing with a bully understands what the bully wants.

Remember the old joke? How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but the light bulb really has to want to change. Has the Iranian leadership done anything to change its behavior lately? Or has their bad behavior actually escalated as they witness the lack of response in the West?

These enemies are not like us. They do not share our values; nor do they desire peace.

SC&A have noted:
One of the accepted hallmarks of civilized society is an accepted code of moral behavior. No matter one’s prejudices, biases or beliefs, we are all expected to behave in a certain way. We are all expected to treat others, regardless of their religion, culture or creed, in the same way we ourselves expect to be treated. If that accepted code of moral behavior is not present in a particular society, that society cannot be counted as civilized.... and civilized people demand free and civilized societies. They identify with and demand solidarity with similar free and civilized societies. Those in free and civilized society who demand otherwise are themselves living in a fantasy.

Arab apologists and ideologues see confrontation and subjugation, rather than negotiation, as the vehicle for addressing grievances. As the last few years have shown us, violence and the threat of violence can only reinforce those notions.

The Arab world today is recognized for it’s hate and belligerence and not the enlightenment, science, art and literature that contributed to the progress of humankind.
Whatever civilization these societies once may have had, they abandoned when they took up jihad and terror; and as Rich Lowry points out, they have long ago stopped being a part of the international community or the civilized world.

They are just backwaters of hate and violence; swamps of irrationality and deceit. And we are afraid of them (at least the people we elect to lead us seem to be) and they know it and can count on it.

I am saddened and humiliated by the West's response even as I attempt to understand why we have paralyzed ourselves. In a way, the West has been hostage to terror for long enough now to see that we are suffering from some sort of psychological trauma--at least that is how we have been behaving.

The appeasement and coddling (see this for the most recent suck-up) of these barbarians on the part of Western leaders is a type of projection. We are not projecting our bad feelings or qualities into the other, we are instead projecting the very best within us. Anna Freud called it "identification with the aggressor" and it highlights the passive victimhood mentality that has taken hold of the peoples of the West.

So far, the showdown at the U.K. Corral is unlikely to have a positive outcome for the forces of civilization. The Iranians will keep their hostages for as long as they can inflict shame on the West (see here for a discussion of shame cultures) and accumulate "honor" by our shame.

The last hostage crisis that Ahmadinejad particpated in lasted well over a year until a real cowboy was able to stand up to him and his band of thugs and get the hostages home.

I am hoping that somewhere out there in our global Tombstone is a Ronald Reagan /Wyatt Earp or some other cowboy type, who is willing to stand up to the forces of lawlessness and tyranny.

But I am probably only engaging in wishful thinking.

No comments: