Thursday, August 04, 2005Not exactly a rational sentiment. Which is why I get concerned when I hear such comments from liberals. I expect it from the frothing variety of Republicans, but not from the members of the "peacenik" party.
The argument I was presented with was that the U.S. should hold Islamic holy sites hostage for the actions of terrorists. Now this might work if Al Queda had some sort of respect for the lives of their own (ha!) or if they were an instrument of some nation-state or another (like Hamas's relationship with Iran). Then we would indeed have some leverage.
Unfortunately, neither of these positions holds true. I don't think the first even deserves comment. And the second is precisely the mistaken assumption that the Bushies have been peddling, without result. Al Queda is not sponsored by any muslim government - in fact its whole agenda is to overthrow those governments.
In reality, Osama bin Laden would do a happy dance if we made such a threat. He would then immediately hit some western city somewhere, and we would be faced with the choices of either a) killing millions of people and turning millions more into Al Queda recruits, or b) backing down and being a paper tiger. Osama's entire strategy is to polarize the world into pro- and anti-muslim forces, so that he can rally the latter and re-create the Caliphate. Nuking Mecca would be a wonderful way to accomplish this.
Holding the whole of the Muslim world accountable for terrorism might be emotionally satisfying to some, but it has no moral or rational justification. You can't throw me in jail because some other white guy knocked over a liquor store. Lobbing bombs in retaliation is immoral and counterproductive - a pretty good description of a bad idea.