Friday, September 01, 2006

The Three Conjectures Revisited

Wretchard at The Belmont Club did a piece almost three years ago on the Three Conjectures. I was reminded of it by this American Thinker piece sent to me by Carol Herman. Jacques Dhervillez warns the terrorists:

Your traditional strategy, of using terrorist tactics while counting on your enemies to adhere to the rules of diplomacy and formal warfare, doesn’t seem to be working any more.

What you have really done, by past decades of terrorism, is open a Pandora’s Box of horrors that may ultimately harm you and your people more than anyone else. This toughening of the tactics of Western powers is merely an example of Magruder’s Law that:

“Combat inevitably sinks to the lowest common denominator of the combatants. If you like to wrestle in the mud and your opponent likes to gouge out eyes, then sooner or later you will both be eye-gouging in the mud.”

Civilization is essentially a compact of non-violence, a mutual agreement that certain measures will not be used by any party under any circumstances. Pieces of paper like the Geneva conventions are merely reiterations of that agreement.

But whenever this covenant is broken by one party for a sufficiently long period, it is inevitable that their opponents, and eventually everybody else, will break it too. The end result is Magruder’s Law, which applies whenever terrorism is countered by escalation. In essence, the terrorist teaches his enemies to use his own tactics against himself.
That is pretty much what happens in every war. Mr. Dhervillez then goes on to give a number of examples and finishes with this:

I am particularly alarmed by the recent news that Iran has been trying to acquire cesium, for the obvious purpose of instigating some sort of radioisotope terrorist atrocity. Bear in mind that you are planning such an attack against the biggest nuclear power in the world and the only one that has actually used nuclear weapons against an enemy. The only thing that restrained us during the Cold War, aside from fear of reprisal, was a mutually agreed upon taboo. If an Islamic power violates that taboo and uses nuclear weapons against the US, what form do you think our retaliation will take? And how “proportionate” do you think it will be?

Is that what you really want? Does the prospect of your wives and children becoming martyrs of Jihad fill you with joy? If so, then I suppose I have nothing more to say. But if you are expecting the U.S. to continue to exercise Judeo-Christian restraint and compassion in response to your attacks, then according your own accusations, you are wrong. If what you have been saying about our degeneracy is true; then we are no longer a morally restrained Judeo-Christian nation. If most of us are, as you claim, hedonistic materialists, then we are just as capable of vengeance and cruelty as you are.

I do not mean this as a threat, but as an urgent warning. I am trying to make you realize that you—and your families—are at the edge of a slope, a steep muddy slope that slides down irreversibly into an unthinkably horrible pit in which the people of Islam may ultimately perish.
Democracies are slow moving beasts, generally. Goaded into war they then become very hard to restrain.

This is not the first instance of such a warning. Strategy Page had a similar warning in May of 2002 to Saddam.
When A Democracy Chose Genocide -June 18, 1945 - The United States government decided on June 18, 1945, to commit genocide on Japan with poison gas if its government did not surrender after the nuclear attacks approved in the same June 18 meeting. This was discovered by military historians Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen while researching a book on the end of the war in the Pacific. Their discovery came too late for inclusion in the book, so they published it instead in the Autumn 1997 issue of Military History Quarterly.
The gas was expected to kill 5 million civilians and injure another 5 million.

The author reminds us of some facts about American power and American psychology:
The relative power of America's armed forces vis a vis the rest of the world has grown to the point where genocide is unlikely to be necessary to impose our will on any possible combination of enemies lacking the ability to seriously menace the American homeland. The American people might support genocide as policy if further attacked at home, but the American government will act based on its perception of American interests, and keep that demon in the bottle, absent overwhelming public demand. Nuclear weapons use is another matter - the American government has used nuclear weapons to avert greater evils and recently indicated some willingness to do so again, albeit with non-genocidal force.

Our enemies considering further attacks on us should keep these history lessons in mind.

So should our erstwhile "friends".
He was speaking specifically to Saddam, but I think the same dynamic holds true for any enemy of America.

So what are Wretchards Three Conjectures? Here is an abbreviated version:
Conjecture 1: Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold

These obstacles to terrorist capability are the sole reason that the War on Terror has not yet crossed the nuclear threshold, the point at which enemies fight each other with weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist intent to destroy the United States, at whatever cost to themselves, has been a given since September 11. Only their capability is in doubt. This is an inversion of the Cold War situation when the capability of the Soviet Union to destroy America was given but their intent to do so, in the face of certain retaliation, was doubtful.

Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam

This fixity of malice was recognized in President Bush's West Point address in the summer of 2002, when he concluded that "deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend." The enemy was equally indifferent to inducement or threat. Neither making nice -- Jimmy Carter's withdrawal from Iran, Reagan's abandonment of Lebanon, Bush's defense of Saudi Arabia, Clinton's rescue of Albanian Muslims from Serbian genocide, the payment of billions in aid to Egypt and Pakistan -- nor the gravest of threats would alter the enemy's intent to utterly destroy and enslave America. Allah had condemned America. The Faithful only had to find the means to carry out the execution.

Because capability is the sole variable of interest in the war against terrorism, the greater the Islamic strike capability becomes, the stronger the response will be.

Conjecture 3: The War on Terror is the 'Golden Hour' -- the final chance

It is supremely ironic that the survival of the Islamic world should hinge on an American victory in the War on Terror, the last chance to prevent that terrible day in which all the decisions will have already been made for us. That effort really consists of two separate aspects: a campaign to destroy the locus of militant Islam and prevent their acquisition of WMDs; and an attempt to awaken the world to the urgency of the threat. While American arms have proven irresistible, much of Europe, as well as moderates in the Islamic world, remain blind to the danger and indeed increase it. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad recently "told an international conference of young Muslim leaders ... (that) ... Muslims must acquire skills and technology so they can create modern weapons and strike fear into the hearts of our enemies". Fecklessness and gunpowder are a lethal combination. The terrible ifs accumulate.
I'd go a little farther. The survival of Islam requires an early victory.

Already things are getting ugly. If the government won't profile passengers on airplanes the passengers themselves will do the job. There is only so much government stupidity Americans will tolerate before taking matters into their own hands. The Spirit of Flight 93 lives. Muslims in America had better get a handle on this because American citizens are armed and can be very dangerous if provoked. I hope the Council on American-Islamic Relations - CAIR - is listening. Their victimology act is wearing thin.

H/T Commenter Tom at Winds of Change for the Strategy Page article. H/T reader Paul for the WoC link.


Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why on earth anyone would want to screw around with the USA. Surely even the most rudimentary understanding of history demonstrates that hyperpowers did not get to where they were by accident, and that endless provocation will inevitably invite one, massive disproportionate response.

The 'anglo' nations are deceptive, in that it is easy to point at them and say that they are weak, decadent etc. However, America, England, Australia and other nations with a shared cultural heritage - say Germany - are the hardest, most ruthless fighters on earth. It's precisely because we know what we are capable of that we prefer not to have to fight to the death.

Critics keep saying that the Iraqi conflict has sapped the will of the administration, and that they will not sacrifice blood or treasure again against Iran. This is true - however the conclusion that no action against Iran will occur is totally false. If the USA decides not to waste men against Iran, they will use non-conventional meand=s to bring the mullahs down.
Here's a 100% rock solid guarantee - the Bush administration will use nukes if it has to, and I think they have laso decided when this might happen. That's what the Iranians fail to understand.

Duchess Of Austin said...

Annonymous Said: "Surely even the most rudimentary understanding of history demonstrates that hyperpowers did not get to where they were by accident, and that endless provocation will inevitably invite one, massive disproportionate response."

My Dear, you are assuming that terrorists are educated. The majority of them are not. They get whatever "schooling" they get in the Madrassas, taught by equally uneducated Clerics. Consider this: the average age in the Palistinian territories is 17.2 years. How many teenagers do you know who are even interested in history? Heck, they can barely read or write, so a working knowledge of history and/or Western Civilization isn't likely.

Not to mention the fact that whatever "education" they get is so incredibly anti-West, that they could be presented with the truth on a silver salver and wouldn't believe a word.

There are actually people in this country (whom you would assume have at least a rudimentary education) who actully think that the Feds staged 9/11! I've actually seen it! Of course, I saw it on a liberal website....go figure.

Anonymous said...

Osama went to college in the West, and he was sure he had our number. What he didn't understand was that he had the number of the "progressive/liberal/EuroSocalist", not the number of Americans.

People intending to mess with Americans really need to read that essay on the Jacksonian Tradition.

Karridine said...

So far, all discussions have avoided Baha'u'llah, either through choice or through ignorance of His coming, His Teachings.

But we would remain seriously ignorant of the underlying dynamics of this extremely volatile situation were we to ignore Baha'u'llah's assertion that the nations of the world have a right and responsibility to secure their collective security by all just means available (and He KNEW about atomic power)!

Furthermore, we sometimes forget that He sent His son, 'Abdu'l-Baha to America, after they were released from decades of imprisonment at the hands of Muslim governments, and it was in America that he not only showered praise on American ideals and practical realizations, but also warned the (then) Japanese ambassador about a terrible power, then hidden in the earth, but which could be brought into battle IF the Japanese didn't seek justice and courtesy...

Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God, HAS come, and His warnings to Iranian mullahs ring ever more strident as each public development reveals how "...a terrible retribution is approaching you (Iran)..."

The arrogance and ignorance of the Iranian mullahs, born of their collective guilt in heaping shame, pain and ignominy on the Lord of Hosts, blinds them to any rational assessment of their pitiful reality, as they bend every effort to acquire the very keys that will unlock the doors to their own destruction!

M. Simon said...

Clickable link: