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Lethal Threats (cont.)


Mark: I apologize if my manner was grating in some way. I never intend that.

To your earlier point on Paul: Are you suggesting

  1. That presidential candidates ought not criticize U.S. foreign policy? Or
  2. That they may criticize U.S. foreign policy, but only so long as they do not say that any deplorable event is a consequence or part-consequence of our policy?

If (1), you are excluding foreign policy from discussion by our presidential candidates. I don’t think many people would agree with that.

If (2), the presumption is that blaming some deplorable overseas event on wrong U.S. policy is equivalent to blaming it on America. There’s an argument there, on the principle of collective guilt. Still, I think most people would say that if an awful thing happens, and if some person asserts that it happened because of wrong policy on our part, he is blaming the policy, and the policy-makers, not — or not necessarily — the nation.

To your later point: I was taking issue with Cliff’s statement that “the jihadist threat may not be Soviet-sized but — based on 9/11 — it’s a whole lot more lethal.” My desk dictionary (Webster’s Third) defines “lethal” as: “a: of, relating to, or causing death, b:capable of causing death: deadly.” Is the jihadist threat more “capable of causing death” than the U.S.S.R.?

Islamo-fascism does not, to my knowledge, have an army, only a great many terrorists and irregulars. That does not constitute an army. And what is the relevance of “mutual assured destruction” in the case of jihadists? How would they set about destroying us? Short of amassing U.S.S.R.-size stockpiles of nukes, there is no way they can threaten to destroy us. And if they were able to do that, then, and only then, would we be in M.A.D. territory with them, and then we would find out if it works with them. We currently have no idea whether it would or not.


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