Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 19, 2003
WAR: Not About The Money

This Andrew Sullivan item on how Bernard Lewis emphasizes the Islamist terrorists' belief that the US would be an easier foe to defeat than the Soviet Union is interesting on at least two levels (beyond the fact that these nutjobs think they were the sole or primary cause of the USSR's collapse):

1. They, like the Nazis, may be making the mistake of underestimating their enemies by equating ruthlessness with strength;

2. If true -- and Lewis knows this subject far better than I do -- Lewis' point actually underlines how little they have in common with the Western Left, which tends to see all things in economic terms. Anyone who pays attention to economics had to realize, at least in retrospect, that the US would present a far more enduring adversary than did the Sovient Union, with its doddering state-run economic system.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:44 AM | War 2002-03 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I recently read “Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam and The Future of America” an insightful and well-written, if also extraordinarily cranky and somewhat alarmist, profile of bin Laden and his movement. The book written by an anonymous “senior U.S. intelligence official” is very adamant about the point that bin Laden and his followers are NOT motivated by money and he/she underscores, and even endorses, their belief that the West is overly materialistic and secular and thus overrates the importance of money. They are instead sincerely motivated by their views which have disturbingly wide support throughout the Islamic world; it is their means rather than their ends which keep them out of the mainstream.

Anonymous’ larger point that bin Laden is viewed as an admirable, devout and magnetic leader throughout the Islamic world (largely attributable to his very real, if overstated, achievements against the Soviets) is tough to stomach, but convincing.

That said, I do believe bin Laden has underestimated the will of America, at his organization’s peril.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at November 19, 2003 9:08 AM

I just finished reading Charlie Wilson's War, which details the efforts of the controversial Democrat from Texas at forcing the CIA and even the Reagan Administration to fund the efforts of the freedom fighters in Afghanistan. A very interesting book and well worth the read. After reading this book, its much easier to understand why bin Ladin and his followers don't give the proper credit to the US in the role of winning in Afghanistan. Apparently, as a condition to agreeing to serve as a base of operations and the smuggling supply stream, Pakistan required that the delivery of the weapons and supplies be made by Pakistani ISI officials, not Americans. Moreover, out of a fear of the Soviets escalating their operation and invading Pakistan (which would have provided them with access to a warm weather port), until the introduction of the Stinger, the CIA strictly enforced their policy that non-Western made weapons be given to the freedom fighters. Consequently, you have the mujahideen receiving AK-47s and other non-Western-made weapons from Pakistanis; for much of the war, the foot soliders were not even aware that the US was providing assistance.

Posted by: Kiners Korner at November 19, 2003 1:10 PM
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