July 9, 2004
The terrorist logic of strengthBy James Arlandson
Terrorists would rather fight a weak and discordant opponent so they can win the war they started and impose their ultimate goal. In American politics today, Kerry and the Democrats are the opponents they would prefer to face as leaders of the Great Satan.
The argument is repeated here, briefly:
1. We terrorists believe that if our enemy is weak and discordant, then we will have a better chance of winning and fulfilling our goal.
2. Kerry and the Democrats, our enemy, are weak and discordant.
3. Therefore, we will have a better chance of winning against Kerry and the Democrats.
Premise (2) and the conclusion, (3), are shocking, but the logic is valid and sound; and the premises were defended easily in the previous article.
Bush, on the other hand, is strong and united, so the argument continues, but in the corollary opposite direction. The modus ponens form is again used because of its clarity, simplicity, and rhetorical force:
4. On the other hand, we terrorists believe that if our enemy is strong and unified, then we will have a worse chance of winning and fulfilling our goal.
5. Bush and the Republicans, our enemy, are strong and unified. The rhetoric and actions of Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Rumsfeld demonstrate this.
6. Therefore, we will have a worse chance of winning and fulfilling our goal against Bush and the Republicans.
These premises can be easily defended also.
4. If we fight strong and unified opponents, we will have a worse chance.
This claim is so obvious it does not need to be elaborated. It is always worse to fight a professional heavyweight boxer if one is a ninety—eight—pound weakling. As to unity, this too is obvious. A united enemy is a strong enemy.
The terrorists have an ultimate goal (discussed in the previous article in the first premise), and it is harder for them to win and to fulfill their goal if they have to confront only strong leaders.
5. Bush and the Republicans are strong and united.
The American political opponents of the Administration have never argued that Bush is weak or discordant. On the contrary, they have claimed he is too aggressive, so they challenge the Justice Department to repeal the stronger provisions in the Patriot Act because they claim they are an infringement on privacy—conveniently overlooking the fact that the same provisions are used against drug lords and that they voted for the Act.
The press has complained of how tight—lipped the Administration is. They cannot find someone who will dissent from the President; that is why they latched onto Richard Clark, but he was on his way out and was not selected to occupy a high position on the Bush team, as he had hoped. Apart from him, the Administration remains unified.
The Democrats now complain that Bush rushed the invasion of Iraq, conveniently overlooking the fact that it was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, including Democrats. Launching a war against the terrorist Taliban in Afghanistan and the terrorist—supporting dictator in Iraq is not considered weak, certainly not according to the terrorists.
Vice President Cheney recently used the f—word against Sen. Leahy in a closed photo session, not in public, as Kerry did in a Rolling Stone interview intended for a large audience. This is not sufficient to back up a claim of Cheney's strength, but it does reveal his feisty attitude. Moreover, in all of his speeches, he is strong and unrelenting in prosecuting the war on terror to the very end. Even Democrats agree that Cheney has transformed the vice presidency into a strength, beyond a figurehead to an office that sets policy. He argued for and helped initiate the Iraq War.
Powell has served the President admirably, even though conventional wisdom suggests he is the weaker link in the Administration. But this is not entirely true. No one can deny that most often when he appears on television, he is single—minded and unintimidated. He will finish his goals in Afghanistan and Iraq. He stands strong and united with the President.
Rumsfeld? Nothing more needs to be said. His name is enough. No one accuses him of being weak or lacking unity with the Commander in Chief.
Thus, the Administration is strong and united. They have a clear plan of attack and are implementing it with vigor.
In the near future, Afghanistan will hold free elections for the first time in its history. The infrastructure is being rebuilt. A new highway runs down the middle of the country, a spine for building the body of a modern state. This reduces the number of attacks from warlord—terrorists prowling the margins of the country. Returning visitors say that new construction is booming and business is brisk. The terrorists have lost a stronghold.
In Iraq, the First Armored Division has smashed and disbanded the Muqtada al—Sadr brigade. The Division reports that 'more than several thousands' have been killed. This is strength that the terrorists understand.
The Coalition has ensured that the oil should go to the Iraqi people, and on June 26, the Coalition returned full sovereignty to them. In preparation for that date and for the national elections in January 2005, in cities and town everywhere in Iraq, citizens have been holding political meetings and electing local mayors and councilors, some of them women. Responsible democracy like this detours the terrorist goal of imposing Islam worldwide. If Islamic lands cannot be ruled by terrorists, can Western infidel lands?
Col. Qaddafi, dictator of Libya, has dismantled his nuclear arms program directly because, as he told the Italian ambassador, he saw what happened to Saddam and his statue as the Coalition stormed Baghdad. His decision to join the ranks of responsible nations is one more blow to terrorists. Bush means what he says.
Finally, Saddam Hussein, whose murder of millions of Shi'ites and dissidents over two and a half decades nearly reached the ballpark of Hitler's and Stalin's numbers, is being put on trial. Now he can no longer support terrorists worldwide or Palestinian terror bombers. Bush is strong.
Thus, not even the Administration's worst enemies have claimed that it is weak or discordant because the evidence would contradict them.
6. Therefore, the terrorists will have a worse chance of winning and imposing their goal over Bush and the Republicans.
The inference follows necessarily. Here is a shortened form of the argument:
4. If A, then B. (If we have a strong and unified enemy, then we will have a worse chance of winning.)
Compared to Afghanistan's and Iraq's past, freedom rings throughout their lands now, and freedom extinguishes the control that the violent radicals would like to enforce in order to win their jihad and to impose their goal. But they are having a harder time of it now because Bush and the Republicans make stronger and more unified opponents than Kerry and Democrats, who are weak and discordant.
And the Administration must remain that way. But have small cracks appeared in their strength and unity? More on that in a future article.
Right now, though, Bush will not back down from his policy on the war against terrorists, which can best be summed in Reagan's words concerning his policy on the Cold War: 'We win, they lose.' Kerry, on the other hand, does not even have a clear policy, let alone strong one.
Therefore, given the truth of all these premises, it is only logical that the terrorists would prefer to fight Kerry and the Democrats, not Bush and the Republicans.
Jim Arlandson (Ph.D.) teaches introductory philosophy and world religions at a college in Southern California. He has also published a book, Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity (Hendrickson, 1997).