December 04, 2003

Root Causes


Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean has made a number of statements recently that give one a glimpse into the dark, multilateralist, socialist corners of his mind. Little Green Footballs noted this leftist conspiracy theory inanity from him: Dean: Bush May Have Been Tipped to 9/11 Attacks. And The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler noted his apparent lust for censorship: Dean: I'd 'Break Up' Fox News.

But what most caught my attention was another scary quote from the Chris Matthews' interview. Dean has been critical of Bush and of anyone who supported invading Iraq. Much of his popularity has been attributed to his "anti-war" stance. But post-9/11, it is crucial to know a candidate's answer for dealing with the threat of terrorism. Dean reveals his in this statement:

"So what we’re going to do is focus on terrorism and not on nation states, unless the nation states merge with the terrorist organization, as they did in Afghanistan. And I supported the action we took in Afghanistan to fight terror." [Emphasis added]

Dean's approach would essentially be a return to post-9/11 appeasement policies, the opposite of the Bush Doctrine, which Bush articulated in his speech on Sept. 20, 2001:

"From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

Unfortunately, even Bush himself has not stuck by his own doctrine, which he violated within a few weeks of stating it by advocating a Palestinian state. But at least Bush is pressuring states such as Syria and Iran who sponsor terrorists -- not just harbor them -- with the implicit threat that America will militarily invaded them if necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks.

Dean, on the other hand, considers this unilateral, preemptive approach morally wrong, except in cases of states openly harboring terrorists, such as the Taliban regime. In Dean's announcement for candidacy he alluded to how he thinks America's military might should be used:

"The idea of America using its power solely for its own ends is not consistent with the idealistic moral force the world has known for over two centuries."

In other words, he considers it more "moral" and "idealistic" to use our military self-sacrificially and not to secure our national self-interests. To him it is better when our soldiers risk death for the sake of other countries than for the sake of America. I can think of few foreign policies more morally atrocious than that. And even Bush is guilty of resorting to such justifications for his military actions (e.g., Liberia).

Terrorists cannot be effective without support from sympathetic states. It's not simply a matter of blatant harboring -- or "merging," as Dean put it. It's a matter of complicity; states who sponsor terrorism are accomplices in terrorism. Soon after 9/11, Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff skillfully explained this and why America should pursue its self-interest: End States Who Sponsor Terrorism.

"There is still time to demonstrate that we take the war against terrorism seriously -- as a sacred obligation to our Founding Fathers, to every victim of the men who hate this country, and to ourselves. There is still time to make the world understand that we will take up arms, anywhere and on principle, to secure an American's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on earth. The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them."

More recently Mark Steyn, in his column 'These five regimes must go' explained not only which nation states should be next in line for regime change, but also why Bush's dithering with the U.N., Colin Powell and Tony Blair contributed to difficulties in Iraq today.

Profound changes in the ... countries [listed below] would not necessarily mean the end of the war on terror, but it would be pretty close. It would remove terrorism's most brazen patron (Syria), its ideological inspiration (the prototype Islamic Republic of Iran), its principal paymaster (Saudi Arabia), a critical source of manpower (Sudan) and its most potentially dangerous weapons supplier (North Korea). They’re the fronts on which the battle has to be fought: it's not just terror groups, it's the state actors who provide them with infrastructure and extend their global reach. Right now, America -- and Britain, Australia and Italy -- are fighting defensively, reacting to this or that well-timed atrocity as it occurs. But the best way to judge whether we're winning and how serious we are about winning is how fast the above regimes are gone.

As president, Dean's basic strategy for dealing with terrorism would be to play the U.N./Colin Powell diplomacy game. Every indication is that he would not go after the roots of terrorism: terrorist-sponsoring states.

Now if we can only convince Bush to do so.

Posted by Forkum at December 4, 2003 07:28 AM