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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bin Laden is dead but he's still fighting

No, he's not a zombie, but we're still spending ridiculous sums of money fighting the war on a vague sense of unease and it's clear from statements made by Obama, Cameramong and others in the last day and a half that finally having slotted Bin Laden doesn't mean bringing back soldiers or winding down on the security theatre. If anything, they tell us, it means the opposite because of the desire of the wild-eyed religioloons to avenge Bin Laden's death, itself an act of vengeance for 9/11 which in turn, according to some of the loons, was an act of revenge for occupation of Muslim lands, itself a reaction to one lot invading another lot and the constant threat of almost everyone there to wipe Israel off the map or words to that effect.

Now I'm not going to go all bleeding heart on you and say things like an eye for an eye means we all end up blind. There may be something in that but while thinking about this latest concern over possible revenge of revenge of revenge something quite different occurred to me. As I mentioned the other day, our act of revenge has cost well over a trillion dollars, taken nearly a decade and indirectly cost the lives of more than twice as many as were killed in the atrocity we've been trying to avenge. Some might say that turning fewer than 3,000 dead into more than 9,000 is, in hindsight, a good enough reason to stop, but it's not the only one. Look again at the money - more than $300 million a day.

This isn't about putting a dollar value on the lives of those who died on September 11th 2001 because it can't be done and would be distasteful even to try. However, revenge cannot come at any price for one very simple reason. Each act of terrorism or even the threat of it is relatively cheap, but if each act of revenge is even a tenth as costly as getting Bin Liner has proven to be then before long we in the West, the 'free' countries, will bankrupt ourselves. And the horrible thought that occurred to me last night was this: maybe that was the plan all along.

Seriously, have a think about it. Did the West beat the Soviet Union in a gunfight? No, it just outspent it. Various things made this possible, not least of which was free(ish) markets and an absence of five year plans made it easier to make the money, and of course there were other things besides the Soviet economy involved, but they were provoked into spending more than they should faster than they should have. Bin Laden, whatever else he was, wasn't stupid. Couldn't it have occurred to the bastard to try the same thing with us, to wound pride cheaply but deeply in the hope of an expensive and drawn out response? I'm not the only one to think so (from the Ludwig von Mises blog):
Mises wrote, “No foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization if it does not destroy itself.” [implying] that the sole way a foreign aggressor can contribute toward capitalist civilization’s destruction is to goad it into destroying itself.

That was what Osama Bin Laden was trying to do all along. And the war party (along with its enablers at the Fed) has been playing right into his hands. Even now that Bin Laden is dead, they have given every indication that they will continue to do so.

From the Washington Post:
Did Osama bin Laden win? No. Did he succeed? Well, America is still standing, and he isn’t. So why, when I called Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism expert who specializes in al-Qaeda, did he tell me that “bin Laden has been enormously successful”? There’s no caliphate. There’s no sweeping sharia law. Didn’t we win this one in a clean knockout?

Apparently not. Bin Laden, according to Gartenstein-Ross, had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do — and, more to the point, what he thought he could do — was bankrupt the United States of America. [...]

The campaign taught bin Laden a lot. For one thing, superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because they’re beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that they’ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden’s plan for the United States, too.
On Monday I said that despite everything, especially despite being dead, Bin Laden was technically still ahead on points, though when I said it I was really only thinking how he managed to hurt our liberty just by tempting our governments to take it away from us and - oh, the irony - keep it locked up for safety. Now I wonder if he isn't even further ahead than I'd thought. I suppose the answer depends on for how much longer the US can and wants to carry on spending 300 million dollars a day.
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