February 07, 2003

Now, Adlai's Son! Not content

Now, Adlai's Son!

Not content with the earlier Adlai Stevenson hagiography detailed below Howell Raines now has Adlai's son featured with a lengthy op-ed in today's NYT. The basic theme is that his father had devoted his life to the containment of the Soviet Union so as to avoid war (so let's go on containing Saddam!).

There is also a portion downplaying Powell's presentation to the UNSC arguing it would have been more persuasive if Powell had showed that Saddam was close to developing nuclear weapons (chemical and biological capability, it appears, of de minimis importance to Adlai Jr.). But the most offensive passage by far is:

"Sept. 11 was not all that different from Sarajevo at the turn of the century. The 19 men armed with box cutters did not expect to bring down all of America. Only America can do that. They expected a reaction. The one they should get is to be treated as criminals, hunted down and brought to justice. Bringing war only confirms complaints that the United States is waging a war against Islam. It can also give terrorists the reaction they seek."

The implications are clear. We are falling into Mohamad Atta and gang's trap. World War looms because of a U.S. overreaction. Couldn't we just have issued warrants and haled the co-conspirators to court? Or perhaps, in Clintonian fashion, just launched a few pinprick cruise missile attacks in Afganistan or destroyed an incorrect target in downtown Khartoum?

No, Mr. Stevenson. What happened in NYC on 9/11 was a declaration of war. It demanded an extra-judicial response. The 19 men were not "criminals" but enemy combatants who massacred over 3,000 individuals in key symbols of our greatest city, our ministry of defense, and on four of our commercial planes packed with innocent civilians. More importantly, their superiors, financiers, and other assorted co-conspirators are not "criminals" either but mortal combatants who want nothing more than to inflict maximal damage on U.S. targets, whether governmental or civilian, anywhere in the world and at any time.

To say (as Adlai Jr. goes on to) that such a war "confirms complaints that the U.S. is waging war against Islam" is, if anything, grossly disrespectful of vast swaths of moderate Muslims revolted by the September 11th attacks. Adlai Jr.'s rhetoric would go over well at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London--where the shoebomber Richard Reid was indocrinated--but doesn't hold water in more judicious precincts, whether Muslim or non-Muslim ones.

Posted by Gregory at February 7, 2003 02:24 PM
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