One of my very first postings here on Wizbang — and one that, I think, helped land me this gig almost two years ago — was an outraged piece after the massacre of American contractors in Fallujah. In that, I called for the utter destruction of the city as a response.
The US military thought differently. They quietly withdrew from it, and the insurgents/terrorists celebrated their great victory over the US.
Then, months later, after hundreds — perhaps thousands — of insurgents/terrorists flocked to join the “heroes” of Fallujah, the US returned seven months later. And when the dust settled, over 1,000 bad guys were dead and the city was at peace.
I was wrong at the time. I let my fury outweigh my reason. The US military had cooler heads that I did, and their plan worked a hell of a lot better than my own.
With the latest furor over the Islamic riots, I’m feeling the lame type of outrage. But this time I’ve learned a little, and I’m looking to see what others are saying and thinking — others whose intelligence I’ve grown to respect.
Wretchard at The Belmont Club is, as I’ve said before, one of the “heavy thinkers” around the blogosphere. He has two superb pieces on the current brouhaha, here and here. All I can add is the literary parallel of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred, when the father and son had agreed on a peace, but a single mistake by one man triggered a fight that neither side wanted. Wretchard observes that the current fight is not really desired by either side, as it doesn’t suit their purposes, but we find ourselves stuck with it anyway.
And Austin Bay brings up the possibility that the Muslim outrage over the cartoons might be, in part, fanned by Syria to deflect attention from their own problems. Bashar Assad (“The Dorktator”) has been feeling a great deal of heat lately, with the UN actually looking into his country’s brutal oppression of Lebanon. Further, the US has been leaning on Syria, and we have a lot of troops right on their border. Finally, he’s been shoring up his ties with Iran, who seem hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and are themselves feeling considerable international pressure.
Any halfway-decent student of military history will tell you that historians study battles, generals study logistics. So let’s look at the supplies end of this battle. Several people have raised an interesting question: where are the rioters getting all those Danish flags? I’m willing to bet that if the Syrian and/or Iranian government wanted to, they could have whipped up a whole bunch of them before this current hysteria erupted — which, if they did, would imply that they knew it was coming.
There is no doubt that the anti-cartoon riots are doing a world of good for the dictators of Syria and Iran. They are galvanizing Muslims around the world into an “us versus the West” mentality, and solidifying their own bases of support.
Correlation does not imply causation, though. This could be a coincidence, or merely a useful exploitation of an existing situation. But in any mystery, cui bono is as good a starting point as any — and better than most.