Orson Scott Card has authored perhaps the best essay I’ve read in years. He talks a bit about American politics, and then goes shoulder-deep into the nature of the enemy we face in the
War in Iraq War on Islamic Fascism War on Terror.
I haven’t seen analysis this good since Steven Den Beste decommissioned the USS Clueless.
As I read it, I kept finding paragraphs I wanted to quote here, but then further down I found something else, and further down…
It can’t be “nutshelled” with a brief quote. It encompasses the entirety of the new World War, and the futures we face if we follow the various paths available to us.
Well… let me try with this:
When there is no hope of deliverance, the people have no choice but to bow under the tyrant’s lash, pretending to be true believers while yearning for relief. In Russia it came … after more than seventy years. China and Cuba are still waiting — but then, they started later.
So it would be in the Muslim world — if Islamicism were ever able to come to seem inevitable and irresistible.
You know: If America withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan and exposed everyone who had cooperated with us to reprisals.
As happened in South Vietnam. The negotiated peace was more or less holding after American withdrawal. But then a Democratic Congress refused to authorize any further support for the South Vietnamese government. No more armaments. No more budget.
In other words, we forcibly disarmed our allies, while their enemies continued to be supplied by the great Communist powers. The message was clear: Those who rely on America are fools. We didn’t even have the decency to arrange for the evacuation of the people who had trusted us and risked the most in supporting what they thought was our mutual cause.
We did it again, this time in the Muslim world, in 1991, when Bush Senior encouraged a revolt against Saddam. He meant for the senior military officers to get rid of him in a coup; instead, the common people in the Shiite south rose up against Saddam.
Bush Senior did nothing as Saddam moved in and slaughtered them. The tragedy is that all it would have taken is a show of force on our part in support of the rebels, and Saddam’s officers would have toppled him. Only when it became clear that we would do nothing did it become impossible for any high-ranking officials to take action. For the price of the relatively easy military action that would have made Saddam turn his troops around and leave the Shiite south, we could have gotten rid of him then — and had grateful friends, perhaps, in the Shiite south.
That is part of our track record: Two times we persuaded people to commit themselves to action against oppressive enemies, only to abandon them. Do you think that would-be rebels in Iran and Syria and North Korea don’t remember those lessons?
[G]overnment power — even in democracies — depends absolutely on the will of the people to obey. And when you rule by tyranny and oppression, the obedience of the people comes from the credibility of the threat of violence from the government.
The obvious examples are Red Square in Moscow and Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In Moscow, when Yeltsin and the pro-democracy demonstrators defied the tanks, the Russian Army did not open fire. Why not? Either they refused to obey the order to shoot, or the order was not given — but if it was not given, it was almost certainly because the tyrants knew that it would not be obeyed.
In other words, the government had lost the ability to inflict deadly force on its own population.
In Tiananmen Square, however, the government gave the order and the troops did fire. As a result, the tyranny continued — and continues to this day.
Tyrannies only continue in power when they can give the order to kill their own people and be obeyed.
In Iran, there have been several incidents in the past months and years where troops refused to fire on demonstrators. This is huge news (virtually unreported in the West, of course), because of what it means: The ayatollahs’ days are numbered.
…but really: Go read the whole thing.