Letters from the Center
Monday, August 01, 2005
  Chrenkoff - Fighting words from a German

Arthur wrote:
> As I've written many times before, at the root this attitude is the
> belief that Al Qaeda is essentially a reactive force, with no agenda of
> its own, except to oppose certain Western actions (if, among other
> things, the existence of the state of Israel can be termed a "Western
> action") - hence, if only we did, or stopped doing, X or Y, everything
> would be fine, since "these people" have no quarrel with us per se ,
> just with some of our policies.

I'm frustrated by your selective interpretation of the opposing
position. Yes, there are certainly those who fit into the
isolationist/appeasement category you paint above. But the degree to
which you focus on them -- in near exclusion of all others -- frustrates
me as so far as I can tell, numerically and politically, that category
is a minority.

It's my impression that most centrist and liberal folks recognize
extremist terrorism is a real problem and needs dealing with, and not
hiding from. But there are many ways to deal with it other than (or in
addition to) the current approach. And thus rather than rehashing why
we shouldn't put our head in the sand (a position that few actually
take), I'd like to hear your views on what we *should* do differently
than right now.

- For example, I'd like to hear more about how *you* propose we deal
with military recruitment problems, or your theories as to why we're
having them in the first place.

- Likewise, liberals believe the perception of America as a nice guy is
a strategic asset -- accumulated over generations -- that we're spending
at a frantic pace. Do you disagree with this? Do you think we're
spending that currency wisely? How could we spend it better, or even
earn more?

Neither of these complaints equate to "pull the troops now!" or "appease
the terrorists!" Rather, it's "let's do a better job fighting
terrorism!" If you want them (ie, us) to listen to your reassurances,
it'd be a huge help if you took seriously our concerns.

What I'd like to hear more about from you is less how the small minority
of stupid people truly are stupid, and more about how the large majority
of concerned citizens are legitimately concerned, and what we can do
about it.


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I'm what you might call a "radical centrist" and these are my letters to bloggers, journalists, and politicians -- left, right, and center -- where I implore them to pull away from the edges and back to the mainstream. Come read if you like, but I'll keep writing either way.

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David Barrett
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