ALLOYSTEEL: Muslims are in greater danger from the bad behavior of other Muslims, than even the most concerted assault upon all of Islam by the combined forces of all their opponents in the entire world. Maybe the best of all possible outcomes is to allow the Muslims to continue their mutually murderous fraticide until they get to the last two men standing, each with a mortal wound inflicted by the other.

HUMINT: You are not alone in your thinking. Kissinger said it was "a pity both sides can't lose" the Iran-Iraq war. So let's consider it. My maxim about your plan, If chaos is king, God will be the law. If I'm right, follow my logic. Look around the region at the myriad interpretations of God. The most prominent interpretations are rife with hate speech. The rhetoric of hate is the rhetoric of violence. Now ask yourself where are they going to get the money to buy arms to fuel the violence? Oil. Now ask yourself, who is going to trade weapons for oil? China, Russia and a great number of our European allies are willing to swim in a river of Iraqi blood to make a buck. As bad as it sounds, that's assuming the killing can be contained in Iraq. My bet, it can't be contained because the West never actually controlled it.

It's as if brilliant Western minds have cognitive hiccups about their own self importance. They keep coming back to the idea that the West is the problem - As if the West has as much control in the Middle East as it does on Main Street, USA. Containment was already collapsing when Saddam invaded Kuwait. It continued to collapse in discrete stages that represent a clear pattern. Unfortunately, most of us in the West either want to take responsability for the collapse of containment or are entirely blind to the failure of that policy.

You can blame it on Islam if you like but theological problems have spiritual solutions. Do any of you have any spiritual policy suggestions? Don't answer that... Since the crusades have long ago ended and rightfully so, I've turned to philosophy in my search for an answer. It is through philosophy that early Americans dealt with religious extremism. The behavioral pattern occurring in the Middle East is as old as civilization. Corrupt minds redirect spiritual and nationalistic energies for material power. They enjoy local domination only at the expense of national security and national sovereignty.

Leave them to their own fratricidal chaos and the lowest common denominator will eventually rise from the ashes. People very unlike Westerners will ascend to claim a throne among the ruins. There is no salvation in a plan like that. A society subjected to constant chaos breeds dysfunctional psyches among its people. We don't want a social mindset capable of committing the least civilized acts a person might imagine. Why, because the low to mid ranking henchmen have permission to be ultra violent from their chieftain and their God. They interpret God's will to suit their needs which includes absolute validation of their acts of torture and violence.

That's the brink upon which the Middle East stands right now. GWB knows it. I think he has a very good grasp of what the players need to be doing to prevent it. Unfortunately, he can't do it for them. Besides a few of us here and there, he is not getting the kind of moral and rhetorical support he needs or deserves. Our President is a public servant but micromanaging every move President Bush makes is an anathema to Middle Eastern politics. Providing suggestions makes him look as strong as an American President is, but admonishments for differences of opinion are petty and look petty. GWB knows this too and that's where his near unconditional support for PM Maliki must be coming from.

In short, I disagree with you alloysteel. I think the logical result of an ongoing fratricide in Iraq would represent the worst of all possible scenarios. We have to do what we can to stop the trend toward chaos in Iraq and bring the situation to a sustainable peace. More violence may occur between now and then but we cannot be distracted from the goal of a sustainable peace. That goal is the only plausible definition of victory.





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