Tuesday, March 14, 2006


There is an ongoing discussion about the "to hell with them hawks" that was initiated by Rich Lowry in an article in National Review (subscription required, but here is John at PowerLine's take on it:
In his conclusion, Lowry harkens back to the internal Republican debate over "containment verus rollback" on which National Review entered the scene in 1955:
For believers in a clash in civilizations, the "to hell with them" hawks have an odd attitude toward their own. They want to put our civilization in a permanent posture of strategic defense. In Cold War terms, they believe in Containment rather than Rollback. Containment was a successful strategy, but especially so when Ronald Reagan invested it with aspects of Rollback, launching insurgencies against Communist states and engaging in unapologetic evangelism for the Western cause.
Lowry concludes with an acknowledgment that "[a]t the moment, the wind is blowing the 'to hell with them' hawks’ way." He contends that we should stay the course.

John Podhoretz has followed up with this article, where he says:
the "to-hell-with-them hawks." They are, in Lowry's words, "conservatives who are comfortable using force abroad, but have little patience for a deep entanglement with the Muslim world, which they consider unredeemable, or at least not worth the strenuous effort of trying to redeem."

Here are Lowry's conclusions summarized by Podhoretz :
We can't beat it, they say, and we can't join it. So what is left for us? Just to say "the hell with them."

Podhoretz sees that the problem with both the "to hell with them hawks" and the left's defeatism about Iraq is that it does nothing to stop the onslaught of Islamic terror and desire for domination in the world. Thus, he forsees an ultimate confrontation that will result in many deaths as WMD are employed. This is basically the same argument I made in a piece titled "Inching Towards No" a few days ago:
President Bush has bet everything on the hope that Islam can be changed if it is infused with some democratic opportunities and freed from some of the political and religious tyranny that has dominated the Middle East.
And, as I said in an earlier piece, contrary to the infantile imaginings of the antiwar and so-called "peace" movements, Bush's strategy actually represents the best possible hope for peace; even if it is slight.

It is a strategy that faces the grim reality of Islamic contradictions and historical brutality; yet has enough optimism and goodwill in it to be genuinely worth the price we are paying in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it works--and I haven't entirely given up hope yet-- millions of deaths might still be prevented.
Whether it is appreciated or not, these last few years have indeed been our "Golden Hour" --the short time we have to deal with the threat that is represented by the radical elements of Islam. So much of the last three years has been wasted and frittered away by the left and their carping and undermining of Bush's strategic ploy. The continual appeasement, encouragement and cover given to those who would destroy us without mercy, has markedly diluted what we might have accomplished up to now with our aggressive pursuit of the YES Strategy.

The Golden Hour is down to only a few minutes at most. As the clock ticks down to answering NO to that fundamental strategic question; and as we creep closer and closer to the ultimate confrontation with a medieval, uncompromising and fanatically ruthless religion; there will be no deus ex machina --and no pointless protest march with clever placards--that will be able to save the millions of lives lost in that conflagration.

I did not say this because I am pessimistic; or because I have given up on the Iraq war or on the possibility of Islam being compatible with a free society. I said it because I am realistic about the alternatives available to deal with the threat that militant Islam represents to the world.

However, it struck me as I read about the "to hell with them hawks" (who are just some more wimps unable to make committments, cleverly hiding under the feathers of a hawk) that there is one aspect of their message that I find I can support enthusiastically.

You see, I consider myself a "to hell with them FOR REAL hawk":

-Stay the course in Iraq; do whatever is necessary to finish the job-- in spite of the naysayers, doomsayers, and obstructionists. To hell with all of them.

-Immediately, if not sooner, cease all foreign aid to HAMAS, and MEAN IT. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY MORE MONEY. To hell with them. They do not want peace; they do not deal in good faith.

-Immediately, if not sooner, reconsider all foreign aid to all Islamic countries that receive it. Make that aid dependent on changes that are in our national interest. That includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. If they don't like it, to hell with them. In fact, review the ENTIRE foreign aid that is given to all countries and use it to support our national interests both short and long-term. The only exception would be immediate humanitarian aid for specific purposes.

-Immediately, if not sooner, cease ALL immigration and granting of visas of all kinds from muslim countries and any other country that supports terrorism and/or jihad of any kind. Put a moratorium on it for at least a year while policies are reviewed; new policies formulated. If they don't like it--to hell with them. We can give them a specific set of criteria that must be met to bypass the moratorium. If they don't comply, tough luck.

-Stop pussyfooting around with Iran. They are not dealing in good faith. To hell with them. Don't wait for the UN who will never do anything decisive. Do what must be done and do it soon.

-Stop waiting for the UN to do something about Darfur. To hell with the UN. Do something substantive about the situation in Darfur.

-When the UN fail to do anything about Darfur, Iran, or any other serious situation in the world, then we should withdraw from this league of looters permanently. To hell with them.
Do you catch my drift? It is time to set some limits on behavior FOR REAL. Giving mixed messages doesn't work in psychiatry; and hasn't worked in US foreign policy for a long, long time.

Now is the time to be pragmatic about our foreign policy; time to stop pissing in the wind when it comes to being "nice" to those countries that actively work against our national interests. They are, of course, free to do whatever they want that might be in their own national interest--but we don't have to give them foreign aid. We don't have to subsidize behavior that is detrimental to our country. We don't have to tolerate them pissing on us. And we don't have to tolerate them killing our citizens.

Now is the time to very clearly and precisely say what we mean, and mean what we say. That way we can feel confident when we put our money where our mouth is. And, if the career bureaucrats at State and in the intelligence services don't like it -- then to...well you know what I'm going to say.

To a certain extent, the Bush Administration is doing this or at least has started the process of shifting foreign policy in this direction. More, please; and faster.

Much faster.

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