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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Power Without Responsibility

The Belmont Club has a thought provoking article about the civil war in Lebanon . Be-bop Galula.

Having coerced the government to do its bidding, the Islamofacists – Hizbullah – retreated back into the shadows.

As Carolyn Glick explains in the Jerusalem Post:

What is interesting about Hizbullah's successful overthrow of the elected government in Lebanon is that after his forces defeated their foes, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah ordered his men to retreat to their customary shadows. Why didn't Hizbullah just overthrow the government? Understanding why Hizbullah refused to take over Lebanon is key not only for understanding Hizbullah but also for understanding Hamas, Fatah and the insurgency in Iraq.

A compelling answer to this question is found in David Galula's classic work, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. ... As Galula explained, one of the main advantages that insurgents have over the governments they seek to overthrow is their lack of responsibility for governance. Far from seeking to govern the local population, the goal of insurgents is simply to demonstrate through sabotage, terror and guerrilla operations that the government is incapable of keeping order. And it is far easier and cheaper to sow disorder and chaos than to maintain order and secure public safety.

In Hizbullah's case, Nasrallah and his Iranian bosses have no interest in taking on responsibility for Lebanon. They don't want to collect taxes. They don't want to pick up the garbage or build schools and universities.

Wretchard explains that there is a great advantage to power without responsibility.
The goal of seeking power without responsibility isn't confined to insurgents and Galula's theory might just as well have been a critique of the modern media as much as Hezbollah. A generation of public intellectuals found it was possible to have both a decisive influence over policy yet remain exempt from accountability for its effects. The next time someone asks how it is possible to simultaneously be a rebel and celebrity, a critic of Global Warming and owner of an executive jet, or become a successful hate-America pastor living in a multimillion dollar mansion, refer him to Galula.

Is there any way of spoiling this little game?
One obvious method is the shockingly simple expedient of making information warfare a part of operations. To patiently label every roadside bomb; every massacre as the work of the hidden hand. The success of the Surge is in large measure due not only to kinetic action but information action. It is not enough to arrest terrorists, it is equally important to connect them to their acts.

But here is where the traditional MSM become a major player. The MSM is perhaps the definition of power without responsibility. Go to the dictionary and look up “power without responsibility” and you will see a picture of a journalist. Ever the critic, never the play. Sniping from the sidelines, never in the game. If the NY Times recipe for defeating terrorism fails, what are the consequences? It holds no office from which it can be removed. It cannot be sued for failure of its policies. It sets the terms of the debate and establishes the ground rules and it is never, ever, ever wrong.

And the MSM have set the rule that information warfare is “unfair” when our side ingages in it.

But the task wasn't easy because at every step of the way AQI's cheering squad yelled "foul". Power without responsibility has been a time honored tradition of the professional critic for so long it's almost a constitutional right. Therefore when Bob Owens at Pajamas Media documents the use of Iranian EFPs against American vehicles some will call it "beating the drums of war against Iran". But he's just connecting the dots. When bloggers replay clips from Jeremiah Wright's all time hit sermons, they'll be accused of character assassination or worse. But they're just connecting the dots.

Accepting the terms under which an opponent chooses to engage in conflict is first and often the worst concession one can make. And it's a concession that many traditionally accord to the left.

The MSM demands that they and they alone are the sole legitimate vehicle by which the public may be informed. If the Pentagon wants to get it's story out, it is accused of spreading propaganda.

That arrogance and presumption are characteristic of the MSM, and it’s often that case that in the face of this kind of brazen presumption this government, led – let us not forget – by George Bush - will often cave when it should counter-attack.

It appears that Barack Hussein Obama has read the book. As evidence, he has told the Republicans that they cannot attack his wife for her statements …. Or else.

"That I find unacceptable" Arrogance on parade.

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