Sitzkrieg’s end

sitzkriegs_endNow that the tattered bunting of the Boston Marathon has been taken down, the grillwork security barricades stacked and put away and the shrapnel swept up, the chorus of self-flagellation has begun. The introspection. The blaming of the victims. The shaming of American patriotism.

We must apologize to the enemies, we’re told. If we apologize to them sufficiently, perhaps they will no longer want to kill us: the Chechens, the Iraqis, the Afghans, people who have been fighting for centuries or a millennium against far crueler adversaries than the United States.

We’ll apologize to them, shrill the leftists. These cries are passive aggressive. They’re passive aggressive toward those who disagree — those who think that we should, you know, hit back against those who attack us. They’re also passive aggressive toward the attackers. Imagine hipsters swinging their tatty leather messenger bags at amused Taliban personnel. Sneering at them and hoping they go away, those scary men whose truly foreign beards and sandals and checkered kaffiyeh scarves are so authentic but so inexplicably unhip.

Maybe sneering will work. Maybe the Taliban personnel will become annoyed enough to leave, back down to the construction zone by the 911 cenotaph where they’ve been busily planning a mosque. Maybe the North Korean gulag dictatorship will cease its nuclear ambitions. Maybe the Chechens will take their pressure cookers back to their boxing gyms.

It’s something wrong with our foreign policy, the leftists cry. Obama has been far too aggressive in his application of missiles from predator drones, surgical strikes designed to attrit the enemy, destroy their terrorist training camps and impinge upon their ability to deliver asymmetric attacks by boxcutter or pressure cooker or whatever black swan is next. And be sure that there will be a next one, and a next one after that, contemptuous little kicks to a tottering infrastructure and economy. Little hard-heeled shin kicks to let us know they’re still here, the sleepers, and to remind us that it hasn’t even started. The Big One. The Other Shoe.

The term Sitzkrieg refers to the period at the beginning of World War II, when hostilities had been formally declared but none of the belligerents had yet made any major moves.

Oh, those innocent days when hostilities were formally declared.

With world events going as they are, the bites of numerous little connected adversaries getting deeper, it’s hard to shake the sensation that our generation’s decade-long Sitzkrieg is over.

We don’t know exactly who sent the Tsarnaev brothers, though we certainly know where they came from. Chechnya has been torn by war before, last by the Soviets, who lost so much patience with the Chechens during the Grozny war that they literally reduced the city to rubble, going block by block with demolitions teams and saturation bombardments of artillery.

Some time after that, they had the Moscow Theatre hostage crisis and then the Beslan school massacre, both terrorist attacks of appalling barbarism, both perpetrated by Chechens. Russia resolved the attacks with characteristically greater barbarism: at the Moscow Theatre, over a hundred died from the unknown gas agent pumped into the building by the rescuers, and at Beslan it wasn’t clear how many of the hostages were killed by the terrorists and how many were killed by their Spetsnaz saviors. The Russians know how to make those sorts of calculations, and they’re not afraid to answer the ugly with even more ugliness.

Say what you like about their methods but the Russians know how to handle problems like that. There wasn’t much shuffling of feet in the Kremlin, not much wringing of hands trying to figure out how to behave. The Kremlin knew exactly how to behave.

Of course they were roundly chastised by the United States and the United Nations, roundly censured with much tongue clucking and finger shaking while the bodies were still warm. We supported the Chechens, back in the days of the Cold War: they kept pressure on the USSR as part of the Containment Doctrine.

Now the Chechens are here, and Soviet Russia has gone away, and the pressure cookers are in us.

A decade later, we’re dealing with those same people. People who are used to fighting the Russians, people whose cold calculus is informed by Russian and other asian methods of deception and asymmetric warfare. Those who shrilled conspiracy theories about the overwhelming paramilitary response in Boston would do well to remember that if reports are true, we still have a cell of ten to twelve Chechens running loose in Boston. Instead of shrilling, those people would do well to hope the Chechens are caught soon, since the tiny Chechen diaspora here in the US doesn’t offer much opportunity for hiding places and that means that whatever cells may be here will have to act quickly before they’re rounded up.

Back in the aftermath of September 11, the question was often asked: “Why do the muslims hate us? Why do they hate America?”

Since then, I’ve spent a great deal of time wondering why the leftists hate America. The truth is, they hate America because they hate masculine power. They hate authority. They hate the civil society that America represents, and of course, since they are products of the United States, as American as apple pie, their hatred is self-hatred: masochistic self-flagellation.

They hate America because they hate themselves.

They’re chattering hard, in their echo chambers and online coffee klatches, places like Salon and Huffington. They’re thinking about how to placate our enemies. Perhaps they’re secretly hoping that cruel men with convictions will come and end their repulsive weakness and degeneracy. End their directionlessness, give them the fear that might make life seem worthwhile again.

Though any Westerner with any sense would never make common cause with such monsters as the Tsarnaevs, those of us with any balls must look upon the shrilling leftists with more than a little contempt. At the end of the day, what common cause do we really have with them?

During the Boston incident, many of the leftist hate brigade did indeed quiet their shrilling, for a little while. Though they would never admit it to themselves, they were happy to see those black-helmeted, high-testosterone mesomorphs with scary black guns patrolling among their upscale apartments and latte houses. Making them safe, protecting them from a wounded nineteen-year-old boy with a pistol because they would never have the stones to do it for themselves.

Until recent events, many Americans have been very concerned about recent purchases by the Department of Homeland Security: over a billion bullets and over a thousand armored vehicles. It’s easy to be concerned by that sort of gearing up, but what’s more concerning, to those who have understanding, is the implication that the war may be heating up again, and that it may be coming here to the home front. That the DHS and other three letter agencies, organizations that we’ve paid hundreds of billions to gather intelligence, have been doing their job since 911.

That they may know something we don’t. Something that keeps them awake at night.

The latte-house set are sorely deluded in their belief that the rest of the world is part of the latte house as well. We — citizens of the Western Prosperity Sphere — have deadly, implacable enemies, and we’re going to have them as long as we have superpower status. When we no longer have superpower status, we’ll have a chance to see the true measure of states like China and Russia, and of the Muslim Brotherhood and their emerging hegemon. Putin said to Bush “The day will come when you long for the days of the cold war,” referring to the fracturing and balkanization of the established powerblocks into numerous foggy entities. After we’ve slipped more, fallen further into dirty socialism, taken our ball and civil society and gone home from the world stage, it’s possible that many of the pinkos who slandered us in all our missteps and little moments of goodness may think back fondly on the days of the United States.

If we fall, it won’t be for long. Something new will emerge, the way it’s emerging in Russia and in scattered green shoots all over Europe. Something strong.

Something the latte-house leftists won’t like at all.


  1. lisacolorado says:

    I’ve felt insecure since the loss of the presidential election. I can’t even argue with the Left anymore. I just remember the way I was taught–my liberty is my own responsibility, and its limits are self-imposed, and that’s the way to stay free. It used to be that everyone around me was taught the same thing, but now I see so many people who believe “liberty has its limits, and the government putting limits on me is for my own good.” Well, how do I avoid being touched by big brother? I shut up but I seek out ideas that give me strength.

    1. Loretek says:

      I prefer instead to tweet absurdities @BarackObama. That gives me strength. Free speech :)

    2. I can’t even argue with the Left anymore.

      They have gone to a different plane.

      You’re going to go through many levels –

      The first is concern for liberty and personal responsibility versus creeping government.

      The next is for what values or organic characteristics will unify us.

      The one after that is for the heights we no longer aspire to, and how far from even aspiring to anything beyond changing the channel the ordinary person is.

      The next is to recognize why traditional government existed: why most people had no say in leadership, why only a few ruled, why there were hereditary roles, etc.

      Finally, one must look within to see what is it that makes us wish to overcome limitation and aspire to something truly beautiful, which is both “the permanent things” (T.S. Eliot) and “the good, the beautiful and the true” (Plato).

      It’s a hell of a journey. Pack an extra sandwich.

      1. Loretek says:

        I think the important thing to note is that it is a hell of a personal journey first. A journey that seems all to difficult for the modern person (I ruined my GPA thinking instead of studying) – maybe I started my journey too early – ehh whatever these specializing fools can’t see the world that will implode on them anyways, I’d rather be away from ground zero.

  2. crow says:

    Powerful stuff! Brett gets peeved at the way of the left. And who, in their right mind, could blame him?
    There’s something insidious about too much peace, for too long a time.
    It might be such a pleasant thing, and useful, but somehow it rarely is.
    It just seems, so often, to promote softness and distraction, leading to a directionless slide into fairyland, where they all lived happily, ever after.
    Except, ultimately, they don’t.

    Living, like anything else, involves a right way and a wrong way.
    Both end in death, ultimately, but a life lived right is a life, indeed, while a life lived wrong is no life at all.

    1. crow says:

      Oops! I am so overcome with allergies this-morning that it takes my wife to mention this is not Brett writing…
      My apologies, Robert :)
      Great essay! So says she, and so say I.

      1. RW says:

        “War is a force that gives us meaning” said someone when he titled a book of the same title.

    2. Wish I could take credit for this one, as it’s a lovely piece of writing.

  3. Ted Swanson says:

    Fantastic analysis, sir. The challenge is to avoid the pitfalls of placation, but also lamentation, and even condemnation, as condemnation more or less goes without saying. Terrorism is like a test of our mettle and this is the only way to pass it.

    1. RW says:

      Thank you. We do live in interesting times. This current crowd aren’t really Frankfurt-school Marxists, though it seems that way at times. I think the pendulum may swing back in the other direction. But for that to happen, the right needs to do soul-searching and find candidates who are less disreputable than the pseudo-left big tent crowd. I don’t know if running someone like Romney was a smart move.

  4. rw says:

    The Czech Theatre just exploded.

  5. 1349 says:

    Though any Westerner with any sense would never make common cause with such monsters as the Tsarnaevs

    The “West” can have no exclusive, special, “Western only”, values and traits. Nor even a special way of life.
    The values and ways that we call “conservative”, “rightwing” are more or less the same everywhere.
    The Muslim “monsters” love their motherland, respect their elders, pray to their god and believe there’s a higher reality; live family-centered lives, find it necessary to have kids, don’t drink much alcohol, don’t use drugs, don’t eat junk food, etc.

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