Mr. Sowell: Wrong Again
Today I read a piece by Thomas Sowell, a regular thorn in my side, entitled: "The Arms Race and The Unlimited Enemy" In It he wrotes:
One of these seemingly immortal fallacies is the implicit assumption that our enemies have unlimited resources, so that our efforts at strengthening ourselves militarily are doomed to be self-defeating.
At least as far back as the 1930s, the intelligentsia and others have warned against military spending as setting off an "arms race" in which each side escalates its military buildup in response to the other, making the whole thing an expensive exercise in futility. The same notion was repeated throughout the long years of the Cold War.
Today's version is that, no matter how many Middle East terrorists we kill, new ones will take their place and we will have nothing to show for all our efforts and sacrifices. People who talk this way are completely undaunted by the fact that Ronald Reagan proved them wrong during the Cold War.
President Reagan understood that the Soviets did not have unlimited resources -- and in fact their resources were far more limited than ours. Going directly counter to those who wanted a "nuclear freeze" or other weapons limitations agreements, Ronald Reagan began a military buildup that kept upping the ante until the Soviets had to throw in their hand, ending the Cold War.
I do hope that Condeleeza Rice is far better at analysis than Mr. Sowell is. The very first thing we should note is that the Soviet Union was not a real threat to the US. Mutual assured destruction basically kept the nuclear threat off the table. What Reagan did (maybe) was run the Russian economy into the ground. That is not a good model for the Middle East or against a nebulous "terrorist" organization. In fact it can be argued that in some cases poverty is part of the stew for "terrorists."
Secondly, there is no "arms race" to be had with a worldwide "terror" organization. The guerilla nature of said organizations assumes that they will always be behind the curve as far as weapons are concerned. All a "terrorist" organization needs is a good chemist. The point of terrorism is not to militarily defeat your enemy but to make the environment of the public so frustrating an fearfull that they eventually give in to your demands. In such a scenario, one does not have a timetable that is limited to your lifetime, so long as the idea can be pased on to others, the organization lives.
Mr. Sowell then continues:
When Reagan ordered a bombing of Libya in retaliation for Libyan terrorism, the immortal fallacy was immediately voiced by former President Jimmy Carter, who declared that this would only make matters worse and bring on more terrorism. But Libya toned down its terrorist activities.
Years later, when Saddam Hussein was overthrown in Iraq and was then dragged out of his hiding hole, Libyan dictator Kaddafi decided to end his nuclear program and cooperate with monitors. Unlike Jimmy Carter, he knew that he did not have unlimited resources.
Jimmy Carter was right, if one takes on the long term view. "terrorist" bombings in Israel continue to this day, and of course we have 9-11-2001. just because a single country was not involved does not mean that actions will not happen in other places from people with a similar mindset. On Libya in particular we should note, as written here earlier, that Ghadaffi has other things in mind which he understood having an embargo on his country would prevent him from pursueing. Ghaddafi is not done with the US or Europe for that matter. You just keep watching that falling Dollar.
Lastly Mr. Sowell, doing his best "Boss" act writes:
Critics of the Bush administration may keep saying that there is no connection between Iraq and terrorism but the terrorists themselves seem to believe otherwise. Why else are they pouring into Iraq, in what they themselves have characterized as a crucial battle to stop the Americans from reconstituting that country in ways that will make their plans for the region harder to carry out?
Well perhaps there's the issue of the US being in a country with some of Islam's Holiest Sites? Or maybe it's that they don't particularly like seeing Iraq occupied by the US. Apparently Mr. Sowell is under the impression that the US is in Iraq for the Iraqi's own benefit. he should look into the financials of Halliburton or perhaps investigate the "constitution" that gives the US access to Iraq's natural resources. Oh yes and lets not forget that, oh, what's this, the US is who put Saddam in power in the first place and supplied him with the chemical weapons he used on "his own people." Surely that was done for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
The problem with Sowell, and indeed a large number of Americans, is that they have no clue just how much dirt is done on their behalf and for thier benefit. But everybody else knows and everybody else has just about had it.