Sunday, July 27, 2003

Yahweh, or Allah

Al Barger asked the very pertinent question for today's American foreign policy on his Culpepper Log:

What is the least amount of killing and destruction that will put the fear of Yahweh into our enemies? That's the $64,000 question.

The answer I have seen pop up over and over is the idea that burying a Muslim in pigs' blood, skin, entrails, etc., closes the gates of heaven, with the suggestion now resurfacing with the Hussein boys being buried this way as a sort of object lesson.

The urban legend website,, debunks this one, too, as has Jonah Goldberg, among others.

It certainly would have been cost effective, in every way possible. It's a shame that a simple solution such as this appears not to be in the offing. The $64,000 question is needed, because the American public knows of no other way to deal with a problem but via the quick fix.

I think there is no doubt that the American public has little tolerance for sustaining casualties on a daily basis. More Americans died during a weekend at Gettysburg than in all of Viet Nam, but Americans had Cronkite giving the daily count, and it wore us out faster than the Union in wearing out the South. The daily count is reality here now, and the public will tire of this before 2004.

However, the quick fix suggests not a Dresden, but a Hiroshima, which is freakin' scary. Fortunately, I don't think Americans have any stomach for the job, and as Bush is a political animal, he would never jeopardize the most important objective of all: re-election.

So, to answer the question most accurately and concisely: I don't think the U.S. will be putting the fear of Allah into anybody any time soon. We've become the world's cop, and like most cops, we're feared mostly when in close range, but we're held more in contempt, and heaven help us if we turn our backs.

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