Re: Following the Script by Joseph Sobran

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 00:40:44 MDT

On Wednesday, October 03, 2001 5:55 PM wrote:
> YET ANOTHER forwarded message with no commentary.

Hal, you seem able to think for yourself, so why do you need my commentary?

I actually don't want to go too far to defend Sobran, but let me respond to
some of your points.

>> Or is he saying: "Just as we hoped. Bush is following the script we
>> Of course we knew the Americans would take the bait! That was our whole
>> design! Soon there will be open war between the infidels and Islam"?
>> ...
>> The enemy has done the unexpected. Our own government has done only the
>> expected. There is no doubt who is winning, or who holds the upper hand.
> In my opinion this is baloney. What the U.S. government has done has
> been completely unexpected. I'll bet not one person in 100 would have
> predicted on September 12 that there would have been NO U.S. military
> reprisals three weeks later.

I think that's just the lag to build up forces and plan the attack. Recall,
the Persian Gulf War took a huge buildup.

Also, some news agencies are already reporting Army Special Forces
operations in Afghanistan...

> His whole point was to turn this into a war between Islam and the West.
> This has been his stated goal over many years, described in interviews
> and articles. He wants to provoke an over-reaction by the West which
> will awaken the Islamic world and unite them in violent opposition to
> Western culture and governments.

It's too early to tell.

> Instead the U.S. has gone to enormous pains to distinguish between Islam
> and the terrorists. Every day, the President or his spokesman say good
> things about Islam and praise the Islamic states which are allying with
> them. Many of those nations are just as afraid of terrorism as we are.

Of course, that is going on. We shall see how far that goes, especially if
Afghani civilians start to die in big numbers. It might play one way or
another. (In the Persian Gulf War and after, while there were protests and
the like against Iraqi civilians deaths, this did not immediately collapse
the Coalition. Later, the Coalition did collapse, but it might be argued
that such alliances are pragmatic and short lived anyhow.)

> Who would have thought three weeks ago that Pakistan of all countries
> would be one of our most important alliance partners in this effort?

Huh? Pakistan has been a formal US ally since 1954. During the Soviet
occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistan acted as America's proxy in the region,
channeling US aid to the "freedom fighters." It's only after Pakistan
detonated nukes that this relationship started to cool, but it never went
totally cold.

Add to this, Pakistan probably has the most information on and connections
with the Teleban -- helping to put them in power -- of any government and is
right on their border.

> I doubt very much that bin Laden planned for that!

I think you're reading to much into Sobran. I don't think bin Laden has
every detail of World History worked out from the WTC attack until the year
2100. I don't think Sobran believes that either, especially given his
remark that "[o]f course the enemy doesn't know how events will play out
either, but it is too reckless to care. It represents the nemesis of the
modern state, too weak to conquer but satisfied with the stupendous
disruption it can achieve."

> Even the Sudan has
> made encouraging noises, and Iran is supporting the Northern Alliance
> against the Taliban.

BUT Iran has always supported the Northern Alliance. This is not a coup for
the US or against bin Laden. The Taleban are Sunni. Iran is ruled by the
rival Shiite sect. Add to this that Iran is suffering from a huge influx of
refugees from the Teleban. So, economics enters into the picture as well as

> The U.S. has been very successful in exposing the
> division within the Islamic world between the violent extremists like
> bin Laden and the far more numerous moderates who see him as a threat.
> This is a direct and intentional counter to bin Laden's strategic plan.

I think the problem is not this at all. The Islamic world has basically
always been divided. The unity is has had has usually been against external
threats. Even ideals like Pan-Arabism make for diviseness, since it sets
the stage for conflict. After all, who would rule a pan-Arab or pan-Muslim

The more important point in Sobran's piece was the potential impact outside
of the Islamic world in the long run. That is, now the world knows, despite
the US's ability to turn cities into rubble, it can't really defend its own
cities. (This is a lesson I wish the world remained ignorant of. I.e., I'm
not happy it came about. I'd rather be wrong and for Sobran to be wrong
about this point, especially since I am an American.)


Daniel Ust
    See "Dialectical Objectivism" at:

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