It's all about reputation
Black is white. Up is down.
Our “pre-W” reputation wasn't as someone “not to be messed with.” That's complete BS. Heck, Bin Laden and friends were so convinced of it that they perpetrated 9-11. Not to be messed with? People messed with us *constantly* because they knew they *could*. All it takes is killing a few American soldiers and we run away. Over. And over. And over.
Which, in my view, is probably the most important reason that it was necessary to go on from Afghanistan to Iraq. We desperately needed to send the message that we aren’t to be messed with because not *only* will we sweep down like the judgement of God and wipe your puny tyranny from the Earth but we will go on and visit wrath elsewhere as well. No more thinking that when the sh*t hits the fan next door that you’re safe from getting splattered with it.
It's not pretty. It's not pleasant. It's actually rather cold and terrible. But so is allowing people to think that we don't say what we mean or do what we say. If Ian is right about something it's that we *must* have a reputation that we aren't to be messed with.
And frankly, we’ve got to consider body language, posture and posturing and how it is interpreted by people from a culture where *no* insult is tolerated. When we tolerate insult, act all peaceful and reasonable-like, it is interpreted, not according to *our* culture, but according to theirs. If they posture and we roll over, we’ve signaled submission and will be despised rather than respected. Saddam, under sanctions, assumed the posture of victory because by *his* rules he *was* the victor.
And we get people all worried because we might antagonize someone.
People insist on our national posture being that of a food animal and think it’s going to result in peace and happiness. Food animals get eaten and it is right and good that they get eaten. It’s their *purpose* to be eaten.
*Our* culture values humility and other remnants and artifacts of our Christian heritage. Our God voluntarily became man and allowed himself to be spit upon and killed in the most humiliating way possible in order to provide our salvation. Even if you are an athiest or pagan, this *is* what informs our culture.
Moslems will say that they respect Christ far more than any Christian because they refuse to allow that God would let any of this happen. They don't believe that God let Jesus die. Humility is degrading and entirely unacceptable in any way. Honor is more important than anything. A nation that despises itself, which is what our “body language” tells them, does not deserve or recieve any respect.
Down is up. White is black.
And why the heck is it necessary to explain this to people who percieve their side of the issue as internationally sophisticated and informed?