Sunday, October 14, 2007

Smart Aleck Bunk

I read something right now by Steve Benen on TPM criticizing something Mitt Romney said. Now, before the current campaign, I had moderate respect for Romney - he seemed like a good New England Moderate Republican. Yet now he has all the trappings of Political Skank (i.e. someone willing to do anything to get elected). Nearly all politicians are skanks - it's part of the job and it's important to remember that - yet some are subtle about it. Romney is a joke.

So I don't mind attacks on The Mitt... as long as they make sense. However he was criticized by Benen for something that I myself have been tarred with as well. So in defending myself, I will defend Romney.

Romney said:
"This is about Shi'a and Sunni. This is about Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate. They also probably want to bring down the United States of America."
Benen's response:
"...but Romney's take didn't make a lot of sense. Romney was articulating a national security strategy that conflates groups, sects, and agendas that have nothing to do with one another..."
The same charge was leveled against me when an op-ed of mine was published which equated Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Queda. My claim was that they were alike in their desire to kill me - no matter if I was in Israel, in Saudi Arabia or in America. A whiny colleague of mine - whose claim to Middle East expertise is a PhD from Harvard in an unrelated field and (for God knows what reason) a stint as a researcher on the 9/11 commission - claimed that my link of Al Qaeda and Hamas shows that I know nothing about terrorism or the Middle East or, equally likely, high-temperature French cooking.

I believe Benen and Mr. Whiny are using the same argument against the logic shared by Mr. Romney and me. Ya see, Benen-Whiny know for a fact that Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and Hamas are different organizations. They even have different letterheads on the suicide-bomb notes (I assume). It's worse, Whiny would say, because Hezbollah is Iranian, and thus Shia, while Al Qaeda is Wahabist, and thus Sunni. And the Sunnis and Shiites are totally different! They hate each other (exhibit A: Bahgdad)! And Sunnis will actually join up with America to fight Al Qaeda *and* Shiites (see Exhibit A). So, Mr. Whiny concludes, these organizations are different and anyone who equates them knows nothing about terrorism, the Middle East, and French cooking.

My rejoinder (and Romney can join me on this if he wants) is that Benen and Whiny don't know crepe about logic. Ya see, my claim is that all three groups are alike because they all want to kill Jews, Americans, and then everyone else who disagrees with them. Who cares if they hate each other? Who cares if they have different beliefs? I'm not researching a term paper, I'm determining who's the greatest threat to my life!

An analogy from the 1940s. Nazis and Stalinists are completely different from each other. I'm sure that if in 1945 I said that the two groups were the same, the Benens and Whinys would bring up their same criticism: the two ideologies are wholly different from each other. And Stalin was even allied with us against Adolph! My response is the same: yes, they have different ideologies but they have the same goal. In that decade it was genocide and world domination. Sure, they're different, and when one became more of a threat than the other, we allied with them (Stalin vs. Adolph in 1942-45, ex-Nazis vs. Stalin in 1945-1990).

Benen and Whiny's specious criticism masks a deep un-seriousness about the issue at hand. It doesn't matter if these groups are different if the SUBJECT is "who is our enemy."

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