The O.K. Corral in Western mythology has come to symbolize the struggle between the law (civilization & order) and the roving bands of outlaws and bandits who roamed the Old West robbing and rustling (barbarism and chaos). I grew up with mostly cowboy heroes--the ones who brough law and order, just to be clear--and one of them was Wyatt Earp. Of course, since then he's been historically "deconstructed" by the postmodernists along with his brothers and Doc Holliday; and the Clantons and their ilk have been romantically idealized and given victim status (so what else is new?).
I mention this because we are today in our own version of the O.K. Corral--and the consequences of the postmodern deconstruction are painfully evident. We are living in a global Tombstone where outlaw nations like Iran can steal and kill at will. The international community--the civilized community--seems to be paralyzed and in denial. They have denigrated the "cowboy" Bush; they have deconstructed all their heroes; and now, there is nothing that stands between them and the Iranian gunslingers who want to take over the town and kill as many of them as necessary. In true pathetic victimhood fashion, they wail and weep, hoping that the town will be taken over so that their lives can be spared.
Jeff Jacoby calls the smell in the air right now "irresolution"; I call it "fear" and its stench is almost overpowering. Never in my wildest dreams when The Sanity Squad recorded its last podcast about the Iranian showdown at the UK corral, did I imagine that there would be not only a tepid response, but a downright cowardly one. As the British cower and the US Congress prepares to surrender, the aggression against the West only increases in intensity and brutality.....this is how totalitarian aggressors react to faintheartedness.
"In Middle Eastern warfare," writes retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters in the New York Post, "a classic tactic has been to retreat in the face of strength, but to attack when your enemy withdraws or shows signs of weakness." British troop pullouts and congressional cut-and-run votes prompt not fewer outrages and less mayhem, but more. The smell of irresolution doesn't satiate the totalitarians' appetite; it makes it keener.
The Men of West are too fearful to take a stand (what if it was unpopular with some people?) and instead they prefer to run away which allows them also to maintain their denial and delusion. The forces of civilization are willing to get out of Tombstone and let the outlaws and barbarians take over.
Consider, if the leaders of the free world cannot respond appropriately and decisively to the latest Iranian hostage crisis (and you think they would remember the consequences of the last one--particularly on the so-called "legacy" of Jimmy Carter), then the crisis will only escalate. What Carter did (and didn't do) 25 years ago paved the way for 9/11 and the many crises we are dealing with today; what future horrors will the selfish and malignant pacifism of today's left pave the way for in the next decade?
Carter's cowering cowardice and girly-man symbolism certainly had a lasting effect on Middle East terrorists. They do believe they can bluff and blink. The only reason they released the hostages for Reagan is that they believed he was "crazy" enough to treat them as they deserved. They think that about Bush too, but Blair was getting wobbly toward the end of his tenure and the bleatings of the Brit left were giving the Mullahs hunger pangs for lamb-kebob. So they struck. Dr. Sanity quotes Rich Lowry on the hilarious media con-job a while back called the Iraq Study Group:
If talking with the Iranians doesn't work, it is because we aren't talking to them enough, or the wrong people (i.e., not the U.S.) are talking to them, or when we're talking to them, we aren't saying the right things, or we haven't talked to them long enough, or maybe they don't realize just how very sincere we are in our talking. But, surely, sometime soon, if we just keep talking and offering to talk, all these "misunderstandings" will fade away.
In deterrence theory, this is called "mirroring," judging someone else's intentions by looking at your own. James Baker -- the head of the late, great Iraq Study Group -- concluded that Iran wants stability in Iraq and is amenable to negotiations, no doubt partially because he himself wants stability in Iraq and is amenable to negotiations. Indeed, there is no dispute that can't be worked out by haggling with James Baker, but he has never taken any hostages, denied the Holocaust or claimed to have had a halo -- all exploits of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The old saw about a liberal being someone who won't take his own side in a fight applies here. When the Bush administration presented evidence that the Iranians have provided material used to kill American troops in Iraq with roadside bombs, Democrats exploded in outrage -- at the Bush administration, for not being convincing enough, for having delayed the release of the intelligence, for being overly belligerent toward Iran, which just wants to talk to us.
The Dems are quivering in their collective boots that GWB will grow a pair and end the suspense on the Iranian nuke-building plan. The Dems are willing to throw Israeli security over the side and US credibility into the wastebasket in order to keep the Repubs from letting them grab hold of the US budget in 2008. GWB has tried the good cop for long enough; Reid and Pelosi have to be shown that the Executive Branch runs foreign policy and the Legislative advises and consents, and GWB has the war authorization in his pocket---and can extend it to Iran if they interfere with US Iraqi operations.