Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Fourth Conjecture

Item: a letter has been delivered to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra containing anthrax-related spores. The attack is believed motivated by outrage over the sentencing to 20 years imprisonment of Australian Schapelle Corby, widely believed innocent, in Indonesia on drug charges after Bali mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir was given 30 months for murdering nearly 100 Australians. The terrorist weapon was supposed to bring America to its knees, but as terrorist methods proliferate it is increasingly being used in internecine fighting throughout the Muslim world and by non-Muslims in retaliation.

Item: a blast ripped through a Shi'te mosque in Pakistan killing 4 persons. Al Qaeda is suspected of masterminding the Pakistani attack. Item: at least 20 people were killed by a suicide bomber in an Afghan mosque, killing a cleric who was a support of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The attack is suspected to be the work of Al Qaeda. Item: twenty two people were killed as a bomb ripped through an Indonesian market. Item: "The Jerusalem district court on Monday sentenced an Israeli man to eight years in prison for membership in an underground Jewish terrorist organization believed to be behind the killing of eight Palestinian civilians over the last four years."

Steve Coll, writing in the Washington Post asked his readers to imagine a scene in the near future.

Imagine the faculty lounge in the theoretical physics, metallurgy and advanced chemistry departments of an underfunded university in Islamabad or Rabat or Riyadh or Jakarta. The year is 2015. Into the room walk a group of colleagues -- seven or eight talented scientists, some religiously devout, all increasingly angry about events abroad. At night, between sporadic electricity outages, they watch satellite television and chat in cyberspace, absorbing an increasingly radical, even murderous outlook toward the United States. By day, as they sip coffee and smoke furtively in each other's company, these scientists spontaneously form a bond, and from that bond emerges a resolve to act -- by launching a nuclear or biological attack on American soil.

'Beware Islamic wrath', he seemed to say. A true but trite observation. The Belmont Club post All for One and One For All suggested that Coll was missing an equally obvious point.

the situation will be even more dangerous than Coll suggests. Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto. Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at the height of the pilgrim season. In fact, the whole problem that Coll describes should be generalized. The only thing worse than discovering that New York has been destroyed by persons unknown is to find that Islamabad has been vaporized by a group we've never heard of.

Any environment capable of producing terrorism on a scale which could destroy America would be sufficiently powerful to destroy Islam -- and destroy it first many times over. Any weapon that AQ Khan can make can be bought by believers and infidels alike. The theorists of asymmetrical terrorist warfare forgot that its military effectiveness depends on the very restraints that it, itself, dissolves.

Item: In 2001, two Australian scientists accidentally created a genetically modified pathogen so powerful that it raised alarms in the scientific community and caused the researchers to doubt whether they should publish the result of their findings. The Biodefense Quarterly reports:

A January report from Australian scientists documented an unexpected discovery that a genetically altered mousepox virus had a greatly heightened virulence when experimentally inoculated into mice. What implications this might have with respect to other viruses, especially the poxviruses, was of immediate concern both to the investigators themselves and to scientists around the world. ... The effect was wholly unexpected in that the modified virus killed virtually all of the mice so infected as well as half of those that had previously been immunized. The profound effect induced by the introduction of a single gene alarmed the scientists themselves who spent many months reconfirming the findings and debating whether the studies should be published. Eventually, they decided that it was best to make the findings publicly available through publication (Journal of Virology) and to encourage a wider discussion of the bioweapons threat posed by this and other observations that will inevitably arise as biotechnology progresses.

What was that about a faculty lounge in Islamabad?

Postscript

One of the conclusions of the Three Conjectures was that terrorism was a universal threat; that paradoxically, it threatened Islam most of all. Even in Postscript to the Three Conjectures, written right afterwards, it was plain that the engine of unbridled force, once unleashed, would find its most bloody employment in intramural warfare between terrorist groups and the communities in which they lived. Looking back on the post now, I regret the florid style but not the thought.

It would not be the first time that the inner contradictions of a civilization, taken to their limit, have killed it. Something in the expansionist and militant hubris of 19th century Europe led the continent to the mindless mud and trenches of the Great War. The Lost Generation died by Europe's own hand. Now it is Islam coming face to face with a challenge of how to handle the true divine fire. And the real dilemma is that the power behind the light of the stars is incompatible with the framework bequeathed by Mohammed. It may be the turn of the Faithful to die by Islam's own hand unless it can listen to the word that speaks from the very heart of the flame.

And that message, surprisingly, is that we must love one another or die. J. Robert Oppenheimer thought, as he beheld the fireball of the first atomic test at Alamogordo, that he heard the Hindu god Shiva whisper "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds". He understood at that moment that mankind's moral capacity would have to expand to match its technical prowess or it would perish. If Islam desires the secret of the stars it must embrace the kuffar as its brother -- or die.

 

94 Comments:

Blogger Charles said...

bad morals and bad boundaries are two sides of the same coin.

when Jesus looked at that coin he said "Give unto caesar that which belong to caesar and unto God that which belongs to God."

doesn't look like the moslems are giving either to God or Caesar.

6/02/2005 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

The only fly in the ointment so to speak is that our Islamofacist brothers have foregotten exactly how terrible we can actually be. Nearly all the witnesses to our power in WW2 are gone and reading the books of the Kuffar is not looked upon kindly. So having foregotten exactly who it is they are messing with they will act to destroy us and at that point Islam will become a footnote in history.

But sadly we will have to lose millions first. Our anger is not high enough yet to eliminate Islam, but destroy Los Angeles, New York or Chicago and there won't be a corner of the world remote enough to hide the last of the Islamofacists. At that point the stones will call out to the kuffar to say look a Muslim hides behind me. Come and kill them.

Perhaps we might get a charity together to send our Islamofacist brothers some books with pictures about Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Just so they know exactly how terrible we can actually be since those horrors happened with considerably less provocation than destroying a city.

Pierre

6/02/2005 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Some of the horrors that Wretchard is describing cannot be contained. The genetically altered mousepox is an example of what can happen, and there will inevitably be many more of them. It only takes one of them being unleashed upon the world to wipe our page of history clean.

John Derbyshire wrote a column for NRO a while back (sorry, no link) in which he posited that humankind would not survive to reach the 22nd century. I'm not as pessimistic as he, but we could certainly destroy civilization as we know it, quite easily and quite accidentally.

6/02/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

More delusional visions of grandeur. This mythical group of scientists who would destroy themselves and the world in the name of a cruel and vengeful god is surely another pipe dream of fanatics whose sole contribution to modern life has been the invention of wrapping children with explosives and sending them out to blow up themselves and other innocents.

6/02/2005 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Wretchard, with regard to your closing comment, I can find no fault in either the style or thought.

6/02/2005 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Forget the faculty lounges. Some young kids are pretty sharp: see The Radioactive Boy Scout

Producing a nuke is fairly hard. Producing a dirty bomb is a bit easier. You either need a supply of radioactive materials, or a good neutron source (such as a reactor like so many third-world countries like to acquire).

If you have a reactor, then you just insert tubes of powdered cobalt or zinc and let them be irridated by neutrons for a while until you've produced a nice big batch.

If you're able to produce a REALLY big batch, you don't even have to leave international waters to launch an attack on the US. You just have your ship travel to a point where the jet stream above it would carry dust to the west coast, and release a bunch of high-altitude balloons set to detonate and spread fine-grained radioactive dust into the jet stream.

We cannot afford to ignore North Korea, Iran, and the rest of these bozos for much longer. It's possible that we've already waited to long

6/02/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

I agree with Pierre Legrand. Victor Davis Hanson has written extensively about how the unparalleled killing efficiency of Western power. But the dangers of violence are much closer than the military or the group of rogue scientists.

The next attack is just the beginning. After 9/11 the American people and Westerners in general were too shocked to act. Not next time. Forget nukes and bio-chem attacks for a moment. Is there anyone who thinks that after an explosion levels a hotel in Nashville or Dallas that thousands of people throughout the West will not riot against Islamist? Will not gather outside local mosques?

Donald Horowitz detailed how this kind of action comes to pass in his book The Deadly Ethnic Riot. American history in particular is filled with bloody examples of popular mass violence. Violence that makes the recent koran flushing spat look like a sneeze.

Riots tend to spread by their very nature. They inspire supporting and countering actions. After van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam there were several mosque fires and then several church fires in retaliation. After the next attack on the US there will be more than just fires.

6/02/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Western terrorists? Nice theory – in theory. I just don’t see it in actually, at least not as things are now. Come next and worse 9/11 (and there will be a next, I have absolutely no doubt) things may change. But now, I don’t see it. A lone madman sure, but to pull off a bigger attack requires a large base and a big organisation. And this again requires an ideology to bind together. Which western ideology, similar to Islamism, do you think will take a bomb to Mecca?

Israel is the western country which has had to content most closely with terrorists for an extended period. And beyond a few half-hearted (and spoiled) Israeli attempts to blow up a few minor Mosques, as well a few attempts to blow the Dome on the Rock to smithereens and that Goldfellow who shot a lot of Moslems in the Dome, and now this example of your which also seems fairly amateurish - there has not been a concerted movement to take up terrorism. – and actually I have to say I don’t understand why, what keeps the Israeli from it? If I had had to burry my children after a Palestinian terrorist attack I have no doubt I would retaliate with bloody murder. But if the Israeli haven’t taken up terrorism after all these years of being subjected to it, we in the rest of the western world will have to be subjected to something fairly terrible to take us over the edge.

6/02/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

Rune - What keeps average Israelis from committing acts of terror is, among other things, a general sense that the IDF is doing something against Hamas, IJ, Fatah, etc. That is one of the reasons that the IDF publicizes the targeted killings and other military actions. Without the impression that the IDF is fighting on their behalf I think you would see more independent Israeli action. This is one reason why the upcoming forced withdrawl from Gaza is so important. The image of the IDF forcing Jews from their home may do great damage to the image of the IDF as a people's army.

One reason that we do find sporadic violence against Muslims in Holland is that there is no sense that the government is doing anything or is even capable of doing anything.

As for the ideology there are three posibilities: One is Nazism. Fjorman reports that swastikas are prominent among Sweden's rightist. And of course the neo-Nazis are always semi-underground in Germany, especially eastern Germany.

The second is individual nationalism which by definition is not universal or exportable buy local and particular. Look at the National Front in France or the BNP in the UK. Their leaders seem quite pleased with their showing in the last election. Look at the "Lonsdale Youth" in Holland who wear Lonsdale brand clothing because the middle four letters are supposed to be an acronym (in Dutch) for something like "Keep the Foreigners Out of Holland."

Last is Christianity. Don't laugh. The Liberal Enlightenment Rationalism that we all think of as Christianity in the West is a relatively recent development. Christianity has a long history of violent actions.

Perhaps it is too late in the West but Christianity is growing fast in the Third World. Watch Nigeria where Christianity could provide the ideology that opposes Islam when that nation inevitably collapses into civil war. Then think of all the Christian immigrants in the West. Does it take such a leap of imagination to envision Christian Nigerians and Ethiopians engaging in street fights and arson attacks against Muslims in London? Or Pakistanis and Hindus?

The faculty room scenario then become much more believable if the scientists in question are Nigerian or Indian.

6/02/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Unfortunately I simply don't see the collective strength of will from any group in the West, let alone strength of will that coincides with non-governmental financial and intellectual resources to pull off any kind of mass attack against Islamism or anything else.

Random individuals in onesies or twosies, perpetrating OK-city style attacks or perhaps chem/bio "accidents" involving material developed through authorized means, sure, quite possible. Groups with homemade nuclear bombs, not likely.

The non-West apparently doesn't have this problem.

6/02/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The faculty room scenario then become much more believable if the scientists in question are Nigerian or Indian.

Touche.

6/02/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

In correspondence with Arabs, I have asked several of them if they weren't concerned immediately following 9/11 that a nuke would go off over their heads in retaliation. As one, they have all answered "no", on the grounds that "America wouldn't do that."

I find this answer bemusing because I'm not sure if it's (1) denial (which God knows Arabs are experts at), (2) more of the meme of America being a paper tiger which led bin Laden to his lunatic plans ot begin with, or (3) that they have a greater estimation of our inherent "goodness" than is actually there -- that America as a shining beacon of humanity and an assumption that we will *always* do the right and civilized thing, even when bloody and pissed off.

I do think that it wouldn't do any harm to start beating that drum of retaliation a little bit more, the one that points to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Pearl Harbor. And that if *you* can send an envelope with anthrax to the Senate, do you have ANY idea what *we* can do???

I know it wouldn't be politically correct nor would it win us any friends at the United Nations, but it seems to me that we need a level playing field before there can be any real communication between the West and the Muslims. And right now, that field is not level because the Muslims can't see past the 50-yard line.

6/02/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Good post W.

I see the popularization of terrorist acts as an Islam-toward-West-only phenomenon. A Western terrorist action, while emotionally gratifying, seems unlikely to me for two broad reasons: difficulty in delivery and low return on investment.

Building a WMD is easily within the technical and mechanical reach of private indivicuals in the West. The fundamental problem lies in getting the raw materials (fissionable, radiological, bio) in an atmosphere of active law enforcement. The same Western agencies fighting proliferation to the Islamists would undoubtedly find the homegrown terrorist trying to get his hands on these materials in the U.S. or Europe. If it were easy to do, it would have already been done.

Even if you could get access, undetected, to the WMD material, you'd have to pay a hefty sum for it. This would require some sort of financing organization. To my, albeit limited, knowledge, moving around large sums of cash makes you an object for law enforcement scrutiny in the West. Offhsore banking and Swiss accounts notwithstanding, big transfers of cash are a neon sign for law enforcement that you are up to no good.

So taking the law enforcement element into account, you would necessarily have to finance, accumulate materials for, and build your weapon in some part of the world where you are sheltered from the West's prying eyes. For an Islamist, there are lots of places still around to set up shop. For a blue-eyed Westerner, you might have a little bit more trouble blending in. This idea carries over to the delivery element. In addition to finding the funding, equipment, material, and anonymity to build your weapon, you have to get it to Mecca or Islamabad undetetected. You'd have some difficulty since most of the Islamic world are police states, and because you could count on little or no local assistance since you are an Infidel. Perhaps you could do it in Qatar or one of the Stans, but you would have to secure overland transportation and clandestine border crossings, and you'd be doing it with no help from the locals.

Ultimately, though, what's the point of going to all of the effort? Assuming that you could overcome all of these logistical hurdles and you were sitting in a warehouse in Mecca with your nuke, what would you gain by setting the device off? Terrorism is more of a political action than a military action. The point of it is to demand recognition as an equal to a more powerful entity, and thus press your demands. A Westerner setting off a WMD doesn't accomplish anything politically. We in the West already have the capacity to do that. The effect of killing lots of Muslims would not be their capitulation and respect for the U.S. Even a private WMD would be viewed as an act by the Crusader/Zionist hegemony. A statement claiming responsibility by some pro-Western terrorist organization would be viewed with skepticism by Muslims, and far from causing them to capitulate, would galvanize them. Since large numbers of them already hate and fear us, you achieve no new goals, unless those goals included full on West vs. Islam conflict. And of course the handwringing, bighearted governments of the West would then be put in a position of having to divert resources to publicly track down the Western terrorist organization while dealing with the escalation of the WoT throughout the Islamic world.

The emotional gratification of watching Mecca go up in a fireball in retaliation for a 9/11 v.2.0 would be tremendous. But in the long run, any pro-West terror organization would achieve very little, and possibly risk quite a bit to make it happen. Terrorism, as a political tool, just doesn't work going from West to East.

Nathan, I think, nails it from another direction. I have a hard time envisioning even the most rabid ultra-nationalist types in the West developing the political will, financing or organizational accumen to bring off a large scale action.

6/02/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

It is reasonable to imagine that there will be a time when the destructive capacity of a few will equal or eclipse the destructive power of states a hundred years ago. When this happens, truly spaceship earth will be vulnerable to the cults of death. Western humanities fixation on the diversity that separates us will seem nihilistic in light of the basic principles that we hold in common, namely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Ironically, the US has become more of a police state since 9/11 in order preserve those basic principles. That in order to have liberty, one must be secure from those who would destroy. A Jim Jones lurks out there who has given up on this world and would take the rest of us with them to mollify their pain and to give comfort to their own narcissism.

One wonders if this nihilism is not inherent to the Jihadist. As the world impugns the actions of a superpower that is only superficially engaged in international affairs, a conflict in the Middle East is not a world war, the festering pot of religiously inspired despotism goes unchecked.

Perhaps a NATO mini-me will have the moral authority to ferret out the rats in the den, but only time will tell.

Onward to a League of Democracies.

6/02/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

nahncee,
I have had similar conversations with Arabs in the early 90’s. Their meme was simple;

1) Blacks are oppressed and have common grievances with Arabs. Black Americans will unite with the Arabs.

2) Although Americans say things like, “If Iran does this or that, “we’ll nuke the b*stards””, they will not. Ask the Ayatollah if he fears the wrath of the USA.

As far as “beating that drum of retaliation”, I think that Iraq has in no small way been an object lesson for many. I suppose that is why some have been disappointed that it has not been prosecuted in a more blatantly brutal manner. But in the end, the US is managing to husband a democracy where there was dictatorship, so cooler heads are winning the hearts and minds of many.

The leftist press has undermined this noble effort, and before long, we’ll have to beat the drum even harder.

6/02/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

I dont believe this would be as hard as you might hope.

Building a WMD is easily within the technical and mechanical reach of private indivicuals in the West. The fundamental problem lies in getting the raw materials (fissionable, radiological, bio) in an atmosphere of active law enforcement.

I believe in the aftermath of a large scale WMD attack on our country that any Administration that stood in the way of massive retaliaion would be summarily thrown out of office.

A Westerner setting off a WMD doesn't accomplish anything politically. We in the West already have the capacity to do that. The effect of killing lots of Muslims would not be their capitulation and respect for the U.S. Even a private WMD would be viewed as an act by the Crusader/Zionist hegemony.

hehe...If this were reality then wars would never work. But sadly enough if you kill enough people attitudes change. Given' we may have to kill millions but we have before and were I able to advise Islamofacists I would advise them to tread carefully lest they find out just what we are capable of.

We have not seen everything there is under the sun. Never before in history have we had the capability to murder millions, indeed it is entirely possible to murder hundreds of millions. Everyone needs to step back and consider that possibility now.

The United States went to war in WW2 for far less provocation than 9/11. We managed to kill millions. Exactly why that lesson has been forgotten is beyond me but its worth trying to warn everyone before we get that pissed again.

Pierre

6/02/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Future acts of mayhem committed against us and others may well inevitably lead to vigilante retribution, but I think it's a mistake to encourage that mindset or indulge the temptation to invert the 'word that speaks from the very heart of the flame' by threatening: "If you do this, we will do all the more in return."

No matter, perhaps. The worst may happen regardless of what anyone does now, but America should not stop trying to bestow some better quality on a world struggling to survive. We do ourselves no good by adopting or encouraging in ourselves or others the worst attributes of the enemy.

6/02/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

sirius_sir -- we don't have to encourage (or discourage) those "worst attributes". They exist, and they are a human universal.

Severe stress may bring those worst attributes out here in the West. It has been my opinion ever since 9-11 that, should there ever be a reprise of that awful day, we can forget "racial profiling" and hate crime laws -- those will seem quaint relics from a distant past. The mob will rise up and o'er-leap the elite politicians and opinion-makers, and people will be stringing up Arabs from lampposts across the country.

I do not wish this to happen, despite my atavistic desire for revenge. We fight the war we are in now to avoid ever having to find out the accuracy of my dire prediction.

6/02/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Based on historical precedent, an American response to terrosist use of a WMD will not be a spasm but instead will be methodical and ever so more deadly. We did not call up the Japanese on the radio and say "Here's payback for Pearl Harbor." before the Enola Gay took off. Nor did we target the Imperial Palace in Tokyo with the first nuke used in anger. We just dropped the bomb on a military target. Included in one of the instrument packages was a letter addressed to the leading physicist in Japan explaining what the bomb was, but not an expression of hate or a demand that that Tojo or Hirohito be delivered forthwith. When the response to that act was not satisfactory we dropped another one. The Japanese figured it out, real quick.
So it has been in the war on terror. Getting Bin Laden has been secondary to more practical and long term objectives.
So it is very unlikely that we would arrange for Muslims to be "able to pray in any direction and still be pointed toward the remains of Mecca." What we would do would - despite the messages that no doubt would appear on the bumper stickers of our 4X4 pickups - I don't know. It would be fun to speculate. But if it was me at the helm, certain clerics would mysteriously disappear worldwide, whole villages would appear to have suffered a meteor strike, a wave of catastrophic industrial mishaps would sweep the world, and in a decade or less a disease of unknown origins would reduce the birth rate of certain peoples to essentially zero. And, oh yes, Iran and Syria would be a self-lighting glass-paved parking lots. Methodical. That's our way.

6/02/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger willy said...

I think the Bible predicts that man will be close to destroying the planet, with no other course available, when Christ will return to rescue his friends. It looks like this is the direction we are headed. Our only true hope is to be on His list of friends.

6/02/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Pierre:

I believe in the aftermath of a large scale WMD attack on our country that any Administration that stood in the way of massive retaliaion would be summarily thrown out of office.

I gotta disagree.

Such "throwing out" would take place at the next national election cycle. Immediate mass impreachment, recall or whatever just wouldn't happen. People like to have their leadership intact (no matter how ineffective) after catastrophic events. Unless the attack were right before an election cycle for President, Americans would have lots of time to calm down and absorb the bleatings of the Left about how we "deserved" it.

The most that would happen is a generally broader definition of how far is too far in our response. But remember back four years ago when everyone wanted to start carpet bombing? How soon that sentiment faded.

hehe...If this were reality then wars would never work. But sadly enough if you kill enough people attitudes change. Given' we may have to kill millions but we have before and were I able to advise Islamofacists I would advise them to tread carefully lest they find out just what we are capable of.

The difference here is that you are talking about state-organized retaliation, not single-actor retaliation. Further, you are talking about total escalation with Islam. When you talk about killing a lot of Muslims, you have to understand that you are potentially talking about killing them all.

Not that I personally am against West vs Islam conflict, but I just don't see it gaining traction in the U.S., and certainly not in the West in general.

As a whole I suspect the terrorists and ayatollahs have taken our measure: Collectively, the U.S. government has become way to pussified to turn massive bloodletting into policy.

6/02/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger niall said...

RWE,
While I agree for the most part with your sentiments, I believe the Doolittle raid on Tokyo shortly after Pearl Harbor is arguably as important as the atomic bombs as far as an example of what the US can do when it gets annoyed. Little more than 4 months after Pearl Harbor we managed to drop bombs right in the heart of Japan in the middle of the day.

6/02/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

Thomas the Wraith has it right. It is the perception of inaction by the government (be it Israel's or America's) that would drive a group of rightwing fanatics to attack a Muslim country unilaterally.

Those of who claim this is too hard to do are being naive; if we fear it from the few thousand (hundred?) capable scientists in the Islamic world, multiply that by one hundred-fold for the West.

Frankly, until I read Wretchard's post, the whole idea had never occurred to me. It seems unlikely a terrible strike against our people would not be met with a ferocious response.

But consider someone like, say, Nancy Pelosi in the White House--or the return of Jimmy Carter if that image is too hard to create. The president fiddles, diddles and blows up a few military installations/terrorist training camps with cruise missiles (sound familiar?). The UN Security Council denounces the terrorists, but excuses the host country where they operate.

It is not hard in this situation to see Americans taking matters into their own hands. Reprisals would follow, and the result would be a worldwide conflagration met with escalating carnage until Muslims were driven from the earth.

If the sane players in the ME don't want to see this outcome, they need to eradicate Islamofascism--and fast. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle. It will not be put back inside.

6/02/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Baron, agreed. Those "worst attributes" most definitely do exist. My concern is that we don't exacerbate the problem by appealing to our baser instincts. (Encouraging the vigilante mindset, for example. I would argue this point for our own--literal--good, if no other.)

Which isn't to say I think we shouldn't prosecute this war on terror to the best of our abilities and to the furthest extent possible. I'm really, really gungho on getting rid of bad guys. I don't particularly care how it's done, either.

6/02/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I've sometimes wondered what we would do in response to another mass casualty AQ attack within the US or against US citizens/organizations abroad. In the most visible response to 9-11 we dislodged AQ's host government in Afghanistan. What similar target of reprisal offers itself now? Dan Darling at Regnum Crucis believes it obviously to be Teheran, but I do not think this is the likely or previously determined course of action.

AQ's leadership is currently "hosted" by Pakistan, in territories ungoverned and ungovernable by its regime and resources. Because that nation is, to varying extent, an ally, it's a pretty good place for OBL, et al, to park their butts. He and his lieutenants know that we need Musharaff to stay in, not to drive him out. (And "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is, well, in Iraq.)

Retaliation for another 9-11 has to be problematic at best.

6/02/2005 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish,
I think that retaliation for another major terrorist attack, by a non-state (and "not officially state supported") actor, would depend on the cooperation of the government(s) where the groups originated from. For instance, if 9/11 were to happen again, and the Saudis didn't provide serious cooperation, there would be signigicant retaliation against them. (WHich, based on the rhetoric of the Democrats, would presumably receive 100% support by the left!!)

6/02/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger AST said...

If the Muslims want to conquer the West, all they have to do is wait. As Europe is beginning to realize, populations of many first world countries are declining, not even staying level. Sweden, Holland and France have invited many Muslims into their countries and are now realizing that given enough time, the immigrants could control the country through democratic means.

The bigger problem for the Muslims is that they don't want to wait, and have enough young men radicalized that there will be a reckoning before the above scenario can play itself out. Either way, it's going to get ugly.

6/02/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger AST said...

Re: how we would retaliate against another attack

Al Qaeda seriously miscalculated on 9/11. That's why OBL is hiding in Pakistan instead of being treated like royalty in Afghanistan.

I doubt that we would go nuclear on anybody, because of all the innocent people who would be killed in a counterstrike. However, that could be changed if enough innocent Americans were murdered. I was very surprised that there wasn't more persecution of Muslims after 9/11.

One case for nukes would be if Iran begins testing or if North Korea did. More people would support the destruction of a nuclear facility than of a major city. I'm not sure I'd care much if we destroyed the tribal regions in northwest Pakistan, but it would make a lot of the billion Muslims in the world into jihadis.

I've always like Randy Newman's song, Political Science, in which the refrain is "Let's drop the big one and see what happens." But I'm not sure that we would react to more attacks like we did to Pearl Harbor. The liberal media has dampened a lot of our Jacksonian thinking. I wonder how much violence against us it would take to get a nuclear response. Would HIllary have the cojones?

6/02/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

The war between Islam and Civilization has been in a lull for quite sometime, that it should start back up wont be the fault of the West. That Islam will be facing a much different foe than they did in the past is their biggest miscalculation.

The difference here is that you are talking about state-organized retaliation, not single-actor retaliation. Further, you are talking about total escalation with Islam. When you talk about killing a lot of Muslims, you have to understand that you are potentially talking about killing them all.

I am sorry to have not been more clear. I believe that if the State does not retaliate overwhelmingly to any such attack that the difficulties faced by single actors attempting to retaliate will decrease to a vanishingly small percentage of the difficulty they face currently, as you correctly pointed out. As another poster pointed out part of the reason that the Israelis make such a point of advertising their retaliations is to hold in check those in their population completely capable of massive destruction.

Also it may be something to consider that much of President Bush's rhetoric that the left found so provocative was meant to mollify the parts of our population that wanted massive retaliation. President Bush should get much more credit than he has gotten for moderating the desire of our population to "glassify" the ME.

Not that I personally am against West vs Islam conflict, but I just don't see it gaining traction in the U.S., and certainly not in the West in general.

Depends on what parts of the US you are talking about. The Blue areas probably would surrender immediately or devise some massive conspiracy designed to make it look like Haliburton did it. The Southern States would form militias and woe to anyone who showed sympathy towards those who attacked us.

The rest of the world is a much more difficult question to answer. Much of Eastern Europe would take war with Islam as part of the natural order. They remain puzzled on why we helped the muslims in Serbia. The Brits would stand with us, as would, I believe, the Danes and the Germans, the French are more problematic. Where the Chinese and Russians would fall would be interesting.

As a whole I suspect the terrorists and ayatollahs have taken our measure: Collectively, the U.S. government has become way to pussified to turn massive bloodletting into policy.

Exactly but not all of the government is that way. There are still many many Sheepdogs amongst our officials. And our population as a whole are made of people who when push comes to shove are not cowards. While they may not be made of the same stuff as Sheepdogs they won't roll over and die. Its not in their genes.

Thank you for your responses.

Pierre

6/02/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

I remember a book by Frank Herbert (of Dune fame) called The White Plague. In this book a biologist was on vacation with his wife and daughters in Ireland. They are killed in an IRA bombing. He goes over the edge with grief and vows revenge.

He quits his job and liquidates his assets and becomes a sort of bio-weapon Unabomber. He rents an old house with a big basement and begins developing a germ that men can carry it harmlessly but that is fatal to women. Sci fi weirdness ensues.

Point being that neither ideology, nationalism, nor religion need to be the primary motivating factors for future attacks. Simple revenge is a very powerful drive. It's clean and pure and all-consuming. The Islamists are lucky that none of the parents of the Beslan schoolchildren are weapons scientists.

Since there are more and more victims of Islamist attacks worldwide, it is only a matter of time before they kill the children, parents, wife of the wrong guy. Imagine Barach Goldstein with the plague instead of a gun. He infects himself and rents a room in Cairo. Everyday he makes it a point to contact as many people as he can until he dies, alone in his bed, mission accomplished.

6/02/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And that if *you* can send an envelope with anthrax to the Senate, do you have ANY idea what *we* can do???"
---
Applaud?
.JUST KIDDING!

6/02/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

Everyone should keep in mind that the U.S. can do major damage without resorting to the nuclear option. If another 9/11 attack occurs, we should show a bit more of our military power, including destroying cities, food and water supplies, and harbors, if necessary.

The Bush administration's prosecution of the war has been terrific, IMHO. They moved slowly, taking out the visible bad guys and making annoying rules for travelers and shippers so that individuals knew that they were being watched. It's fashionable to mock Bush for this and that, but really--the administration's activities seem like a model for deadly yet humane behavior.

6/02/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Those of who claim this is too hard to do are being naive; if we fear it from the few capable scientists in the Islamic world, multiply that by one hundred-fold for the West.

I don't think that it's "too hard" to do at all. In the West, material and intellectual resources are certainly not in short supply. The question is whether there is a genuine will to organize and carry out such an activity in the first place. That is where the West is lacking.

Islam, on the other hand, provides the will. The way follows.

6/02/2005 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

I think the WMD angle is overhyped. A lot of very angry people can cause a lot of damage very quickly. I don't see a Western non-state actor attacking a foreign power in the short term. After 9/11 v2 Muslims living in the West would be targeted for retaliation by vigilante groups or lone wolf actors. On one hand this is "giving in to our baser instincts." On the other hand Muslims abroad aren't attacking us or the Europeans. Muslims already in the West are.

Muslims living in America are no longer just living in big city America. There are visible fundamentalist Muslims, in the niqab or with full beards, in small towns all over the US. Oxford MS, Overland Park, KS, all over northern VA and Florida. There are 3 dozen mosques in Atlanta, GA. Women in the complete veil and men in long robes shop at the same grocery stores as young men fresh from rural Christian America.

After 9/11 v2 these quiet tensions will be uncontainable. Only a massive show of force by the authorities will protect local Muslims from the angry masses. No government will want to be put in the situation of allocating resources to protect mosques in the wake of another attack. Those who do will risk being seen in the worst possible light.

In this scenario it is the revenge-seeking mob that is the real WMD.

6/02/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Even if the US were to disappear entirely from the planet an unabated growth in terrorism would destroy Islam on its own. Once politics by violence, without restraint and without limit, becomes general it will eat out even those who spawned it.

You can imagine an alternative history where America never existed but in which the same terrible compound of nihilism and mass destruction capabilities obtained and the same tragedy would impend.

Force has utility along only part of its cost/benefit curve. At the extreme limit force is futile: using force to arrest a child molester has utility but by the time we get around to using nuclear weapons the utility of force is dubious. The entire goal of Cold War strategy was to keep the level of force from escalating too far up the curve. The tragic outcome of today's liberal strategy, with its "Abu Ghraib" fixation, is to guarantee that we cannot find stable solutions in the useful part of the curve. In place of a curve, they've created a discrete step function, where civilization is to endure every outrage uncomplaining while the threat grows until, at last, something snaps. Cool it, or lose it. Some may call it principled pacifism, but its real name is reckless cruelty.

6/02/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Theocracy, Halliburton, Evangelical" fixations, also.
The list could go on forever.
---
It is against the law for an employer to ask for more than basic (forged) ID when hiring to determine if someone is here legally.

6/02/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard, you raise a number of excellent points in this essay and your comment above. Others have remarked as well that the only thing that prevents the United States from unleashing the awesome destructive power at its command (conventional and perhaps nuclear) is moral self-restraint.

I also concur that the "liberal strategy" was very much a constraint on the appropriate use of force prior to 9/11. But since then, we've seen two major military interventions (still ongoing) in four years.

The adherents of the so-called Liberal strategy, including some outrageously petulant voices on the far Left, simply could not stop the current adminstration from taking the appropriate and long overdue actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Whether the so-called Liberal strategy is again in the ascendancy is debatable. As I see it, U.S. grand strategy in the so-called Global War on Terror suffers from a number of constraints that work against additional major military undertakings at this time.

I don't have the gas to write an entire essay on this, but as a thought expirement, try to imagine the course of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran had things gone much more smoothly in Iraq than they actually have to date. Somehow, I don't think we would need the EU-3 to buy us time through seemingly endless nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

6/02/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

niall, I was thinking of the Dolittle Raid when I penned that earlier comment. Hard for me not to - one of my high school teachers was a bombadier/nav on that raid. But even then, while it was a boost for U.S. morale, and it rattled the Japanese, we went after legitimate military targets, not the Emperor's Palace or other symbolic sites. Whether the raid really rattled the Japanese enough to cause them to embark on the Midway disaster is something I have never heard confirmed, and how many fighters they held back in the home island in response has never been defined, either - so its "strategic" advantanges may be simply unknown at best.
But folks, in war you don't "retaliate."
You Fight The War.
Consider, though, relative to Wretchard's posit: there are many non-state actors today and some are quite powerful. What would a major international corporation - or combination of them - do if it was threatened by terrorism? As most all of them are?
Maybe UNCLE will stand for United Network of Companies for Law Enforcement.

6/02/2005 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Sirius_sir,

One reason for establishing armies and police forces is to limit the use of force by giving them a monopoly over heavy weapons then putting them under a strict chain of command. What AQ Khan and Osama Bin Laden have done, indeed what the whole asymmetric terrorist thing has done is to demolish this arrangement. This, some on the Left have happily declared, is "true people's war". The invincible army of no army. But it is pretty stupid on closer inspection. Because imitation is only a matter of time.

The major states came to the realization that nuclear weapons had to be controlled or it would burn out the world. All political groups, including Islam, should understand that the same obtains with respect to terrorism, especially WMD terrorism. Once we start this game everyone can play.

Now some will argue that Islam places no value on human life and that suicide is the only game it can play; that it wants to play. I don't agree and think that if the Ummah looked at the problem without blinkers many would find their way clear to coexisting with their neighbors. You can march to Paradise under the shadow of swords, but you cannot march to Paradise under a mushroom cloud.

6/02/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Heh, Palo Alto - sure why not, but it doesn't need to be a *Faculty* lounge - head out onto the field at lunchtime and meet the students.
One of my classmates from Jr. High School (Jordan, not Terman) built a Moog synthisizer, later he built a supercomputer he tried to sell to the Soviets - actually he tried to scam the Soviets for a couple mil. but it turned out to be a US Govt. sting operation. Still, the machine was a working supercomputer so he spent some time in stir...

6/02/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Also depends on who "you" is.
Quite a bit less taxing to incite some mother's very young son to strap on a bomb than it is to contemplate your own survival in a Nuclear Scenario.

6/02/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Wristelwalker said...

Off topic, but interested in your views -

Can anyone interpret what this LA Times article suggests is a US *withdrawl* from Western Iraq?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-syria-iraq,1,7980931.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

6/02/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Until the enemies in the War on Terror are identified and defeated expect a 'death of a thousand cuts' against this 'War' as soon as the Iraq campaign draws to a close.
Because the MSM and by extention the people do not believe that the Iranians, Syrians, Sudenese, Saudis and the various "independent" Jihadists are combined in a common front in a global War.
It will be "Back to Hood" before The War is even over.

6/02/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Wristelwalker said...

Off topic, but interested in your views: can anyone explain what this LA Times article suggests is a US *withdrawl* from the Iraqi-Syrian border?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-syria-iraq,1,7980931.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

6/02/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Chester has a piece on attitudes towards War in the past:
"In high school, I was browsing in a music store and came across a CD titled, That's Why We're Marching: World War II and the American Folk Song Movement. This was a compilation of American folk songs written before, during, and after the US entry into World War II.
I snapped it up and it has proved a great purchase ever since, for here is a narrative of changing popular conceptions of the war told by a chronological record of popular folk songs.
Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, the Union Boys, Lead Belly, and many more who are largely absent from our popular consciousness today, play large roles in the album. Compiled by Smithsonian/Folkways, it is truly fascinating.
I've put a link to the album in the sidebar, but you can also buy it straight from the Smithsonian and listen to excerpts from the songs here.

The first few songs are written before the US entered the war and show a distrust of the motives for involvement. They offer a glimpse into the old pre-war isolationism and its ties to the Depression.
Take Billy Boy for example, recorded in March of 1941 by the Almanac Singers, in sort of a call and response style. It shows that folks were not committed to dying overseas, suspicious of war, and even concerned at the vast corporate interests involved in its prosecution:"

Q: Will you go to the war, Billy boy, Billy boy?
Will you go to the war, charming Billy?

A; It's a long ways away
They are dying every day!

Chorus: He's a young boy and cannot leave his mother!

Q: Can you use a bayonet Billy boy, Billy boy
Can you use a bayonet charming Billy?

A: No I haven't got the skill
To murder and to kill.

...rest of lyrics at Chesters -
. Adventures of Chester
Also, discussion of Iran.
. Adventures of Chester

6/02/2005 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Desert Rat,
If that is your opinion, you should love this "News" from the LA Times!

"Military analysts say there are several U.S. incentives for blaming Syria. Depicting Iraq as a haven for foreign terrorists validates President Bush's claims that Iraq is the center of the global war on terrorism. And branding the insurgency as foreign-inspired hides the fact that many Iraqis actively oppose the U.S.-led invasion.
"

6/02/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wretchard, you make a strong case, especially with regard to the irresponsibility of the left whining about the lesser uses of force and pushing things towards a greater boil. They are truly nihilists. I don't think however that the term applies so well to the Islamofascists. They have a vision of the future and I'm not convinced it is one their current terrorism strategy will work against in the long run, though I think their chances of success are very small. Nonetheless their present strategy may be the best they have.

In their romantic moments they speak of a return of the Caliphate, but I think what more fundamentally motivates them (and what is not incompatible with a Caliphate, though it doesn't need one) is a world ruled locally by gangs of young men bound by theocracy and violence. Now whether the Islamicists are entirely aware of it or not, such a world in which the gangs rule and the rest of the population are farmers producing a small surplus to feed the gangs, would require the deaths of probably at least 5 of every 6 people alive today, including most of the Moslem world.

It's a horrible vision, but one I am not sure is unrealistic or ill-served by their present strategies. Who's to say that the global trading and producive (and scientific) system could not be significantly destroyed if all states lose legitimacy and break up in the midst of contagious terrorism, sending the few survivors back to eke out a living behind their walls, e.g. in the Republic of New New Mexico?

6/02/2005 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

rwe:

Now there's an interesting mind exercise...

How much more agressive would U.S. policy be if big American multinationals were having overseas sites blown up frequently? Could corporations, in the face of an impotent government, be driven to wage a Corporate WoT through private security forces?

Perhaps it's an idea whose time has come.


Anyway, pierre links to the excellent sheepdog essay. I think we're going to need a great deal of ratcheting up in "sheepdog" mentality before we can expect widespread national commitment to massive retaliation for 9/11: The Sequel (or as the case may be, simply instituting more down and dirty rules of engagement).

A fair proportion of the sheepdog-inclined in this coutry are satisfied with simply driving the wolves off rather than exterminating them. Paleos and libertarians openly advocate neo-isolationism.

Meanwhile, the sheep seem to be getting more sheepish and more numerous, accusing the sheepdogs for, alternately, causing the wolves or trying to kill the whole farmyard.

This is going to be a long, long struggle, made longer by the inherent lack of perspective of the American public.

6/02/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A surfer walks during sunset on Kuta beach in the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 25, 2005.
Anti-Indonesian sentiment has heightened in Australia with web sites buzzing threats to boycott travel to Indonesia and some travel agents have reportedly said they will stop recommending the country as a destination if Australian beautician Schapelle Corby, currently on trial with charge of smuggling 4.2 kilograms of marijuana, is convicted.
Judges are scheduled to deliver the verdict on Friday.
. The resort island of Bali

6/02/2005 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Dont judge the people of the US by the Blue States. Plenty of people still have a bit of the old sheep dog in them.
Meanwhile, the sheep seem to be getting more sheepish and more numerous, accusing the sheepdogs for, alternately, causing the wolves or trying to kill the whole farmyard

Wretchard as usual your articles do generate some excellent discussion.

I have often wondered exactly how would the people of the United States react to a Nuclear Attack in the 1-5 kiloton range. For instance if St. Louis were to be attacked tomorrow with an ultimatum issued tomorrow night through the usual suspects, Al Jezeera and what not, of more weapons hidden and ready to pop off should we not immediately withdraw from the ME and Europe. Withdraw all support for Israel and just for good measure withdraw our navy from the Pacific what would our country do. Would we buckle down like the Brits did or crumble? And if a second one went off the next day in Miami would that push us over the brink towards retreat or belligerence?

Pierre

6/02/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Pierre wrote: "And if a second one went off the next day in Miami would that push us over the brink towards retreat or belligerence?"

Or would it have been better for the whole world if we had gone immediately "over the brink" and launched our best counter-battery fire against our foes in far off Afghanistan that very evening, before the sun set over the smoke of 9/11?

Perhaps a decisive strike would have been the most merciful course. And then all the rest that followed may have embodied a greater impetus for peace, rather than all that time wasted in the UN, when our enemies still imagined they could fight back. We might be much further along by now to peace.

I'm just asking.

6/02/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

husker_met said:

"This is going to be a long, long struggle..."

Yes. Yes it is.

"...made longer by the inherent lack of perspective of the American public."

Now wait a minute. The American public is obviously of two, three, or more minds on this subject, not all of them wrong or bad. Don't blame the victims; the general public is not the leader here. The leader is our intellectuals and their conveyer belts in the media; our politicians and policy-makers come in second place for fault. Intellectuals set trends; politicians follow them. For good and ill, that's the way things work.

6/02/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I'm just asking."
So what?
It's still an inSENSITVE question!

---

One way our security would be beefed up considerably with little loss of life would occur if a Nuke smuggled in from Mexico accidentally went off in the middle of the desert.

.Texas Opposes Racist Vigilante Minutemen.
"I think it's a problem all of Texas has with having vigilante groups from other parts of the country come to our state to try to tell us how to run our business," said Democratic state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, an author of a resolution that urged Gov. Rick Perry to oppose Minuteman plans."

"I don't think that there's any doubt that there's a tinge of racism beneath the surface in their attempt to try to stop immigrants from Mexico," Hinojosa said. "Why don't they do that in Canada?"
.

Maybe because Canucks are not sneaking over in large numbers?
...and maybe they aren't because the INS makes it just about impossible for them to become citizens, even if they are MD's???

6/02/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...even though said MD's could help out in the ERs overcrowded w/"unregistered residents."

6/02/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Undocumented almost Citizens."
...whatever.

6/02/2005 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger tcobb said...

This is an interesting thread. I am very impressed by the comments here, as I am by Wretchard's site in general. But insofar as this topic is concerned, I would like to make a few observations:

(1) Many governments support terrorists because these groups engage in activities that support the aims of those governments. They are surrogates and proxies that insulate those states from the harsh consequences that might flow if they engaged in such activities directly. What if the West and countries such as Russia or China start to play the same game, even if such terrorist organizations are nothing more than the creation of their own intelligence agencies? You can have plausible deniability while you give such groups destructive capability that Al Queda never even dreamed of.

(2) Forget about nuking Mecca if you want to destroy Muslims in general. If you wanted to deal the Muslim world a crippling blow, arrange to expose the pilgrims at Mecca to some sort of disease that had a relatively long incubation period and a high fatality rate. Let them disperse to all the Muslim countries from which they came, at which time the symptoms would become apparent, and then watch the plague begin. And it doesn't even have to be something that is obviously engineered by the hand of man. It can be just something that "happened," depending upon the goals of the organization that has seeded it and the current prevailing conditions.

(3) Such actions would have little to do with terrorism, although it would mask itself in that form. The goal would be to undermine the Muslim's faith that God truly is on their side, and to disabuse them of the notion that they are entiled by the will of God to rule the earth.

Much lip service is paid to the Golden Rule, but as a practical matter most people tend to live by another standard, and that is "do onto others as they do to you." Afghanistan was the first manifestation of this dynamic, but Muslim culture does not seem to have grasped the lesson. I fear they shall be given other opportunities to learn.

We live in interesting times.

6/02/2005 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

I think Pierre got it exactly right: We have not killed enough Moslems to change their common preconception that the West is hamstrung by it's own morality, nor have we inflicted enough loss to get them to reject the ideology that is fueling the fire (Where ARE the moderate Muslims protesting against terrorism?).

In WW II the number of civilian casualties the Allies inflicted on Germany and Japan was withering. When we occupied those countries after our victories we encountered some lingering resistance to be sure, but basically we had totally defeated our enemies to the point of humiliating them, and the ideologies that spawned those conflicts were repudiated WITHIN THOSE RESPECTIVE CULTURES.

Unless and untill the "Coalition of the Willing" actually wills an end to this conflict by "glassifying" enough acreage, I fear we are not winning since history shows that peace only follows victories wherein the enemy is thouroughly defeated and demoralized to the point of a "no mas" capitulation with the consequent repudiation of the ideologies that got those cultures into the boiling oil in the first place.

At this point, I really don't think it would take a terrorist attack of too great a magnitude on US soil to trigger some pretty heavy duty retaliation on our part, but I admit that I could be sadly mistaken about that.

6/02/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

What about the nexus of mouse related biotech work involving the creation of Chimeras, human/animal hybrids, and the variety of mouse borne illnesses that now have the opportunity to become modified to affect humans?

The most common animal used in the creation of Chimeras are in fact mice.

6/02/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

1. @ erp: Remember the death cult in Japan that launched the subway gas attack? Is there any reason to believe that they wouldn't jump at the chance to do something like this?

2. @ Pierre Legrand: That's why we're in Iraq IMHO. To try and change things before we're forced to destroy a billion lives. That we as Americans are capable of destroying a billion lives I have no doubt. I know if it's a choice between my neices and 1 billion muslims, I'd push the button. Maybe I'm a bad person for that, but *shrug*.

3. @ Papa Bear: Actually in WWII the Japanese did something like this. They sent hundreds of balloons carrying incendiary devices into Washington state I believe. Caused some small fires but was otherwise useless. But they didn't pack deadly biological microbes either.

6/02/2005 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

This is from that terrific Sheep Dog article that was brought to my attention by one of the main blogger Sheepdogs, Blackfive.
Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
No denying that we all looked to the Sheepdogs to run out and kill the wolves. But as evidence of my faith in the American people, the first victory that terrible day was won by plain Americans put into terrible circumstances who with a simple war cry "Lets Roll" and plenty of Sheepdog like guts ended the journey of the 4th plane. None of them were trained sheepdogs but all of them rose to the occasion and sent a clear message to those willing to listen, screw with us at your peril. We are not cowards.

Pierre

6/02/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

1. I think people are forgetting that left-wing groups have traditionally resorted to terrorism. I.e. the Bush Derangement Syndrome might be having an alternative effect in the crazier segments of the population. Nothing concrete, but the two most active domestic terror groups today are both left-wing.

2. You don't need a WMD to effect catastrophic casualites. LNG carriers are perfect examples. LNG Carriers go to a lot of places, and legitimately so. A terror group could easily engage in a pirate attack on an LNG carrier, steer the ship to a muslim port and then detontate it. Not every port is secure and a LNG carrier would do enormous damage. So would a chemical tanker carrying industrial chlorine.

3. When thinking about how a response to a WMD attack you should also consider the party. If the attack happened with the Republican party in control, then the response would almost have to be an extreme one. The conservative base simply would not accept anything less. If the President offered nothing more than "patience" and a couple cruise missiles, he would get thrown out.

On the other hand if the Democratic party controlled the White House then the response would, IMHO, be automatically and absolutely a nuclear one. The reason is that the GOP has, by and large, garnered real defense credentials. It would be possible, though bloody, for the GOP to stop at the line just before nuclear devastation.

On the other hand the Democratic party has very minimal defense credentials and any response they make that isn't a "balls to the wall" sort of nuclear response would end up painting them as "soft". Pretty much forever. Instead of responding with forceful boldness, they'd be remembered as the party of pansies.

Politically it would be extremely difficult to defend and I couldn't imagine the Democrats wanting to taint themselves this way for the next two-three generations.

The other thing to remember too is the differences in how members of each party view the possibility of such an attack. Republicans believe such an attack could happen, and so they prepare for it. They make studies and case scenarios and have the possible responses already set. The Democrats largely do not believe such a thing is possible and also harbor a severe institutional distrust of the intelligence services. If such an attack happened on the Democrat's watch, it would come as a complete surprise. In that sort of scenario, it couldn't help but go nuclear.

The only question is whether or not the response would be one city, or an entire country.

6/02/2005 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

There's an article in today's Guardian about the massacre in Srebrenice, a reminder that America once went to war to save Muslims from terrorism. Not so long ago Saddam was gassing Kurds and massacring Shi'ites, a tale of murder which included the father of Moqtada Al Sadr, among many hundreds of thousands. The world has already forgotten Saddam's pillage of Kuwait; already consigned to oblivion the memory of the 500,000 who died in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s. Why anyone should think terrorism will tiptoe around the Islamic world is beyond me, when all the evidence suggests they will be the first and most frequent victim of that vicious mode of warfare. What is even stranger is why so many think that the Terror Masters, having used the woodchipper, car bomb and poison gas dispenser so liberally on their fellow Muslims, will suddenly become scrupulous in the use of a nuclear weapon, or a biological weapon, should they acquire one. It is one of these ideas that is unthinkingly accepted even when there isn't the slightest basis for doing so. People like George Galloway continue to egg any Islamist who will listen on, forgetting to tell them they are digging, even without the least response from America, their own graves.

6/02/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Wretchard, appreciate the comment. What I was responding to most vociferously was the attitude that all we need to do is kill more (or most or all of the) Muslims and our troubles will be over. I think we have to be much more selective than that. Confoundingly, perhaps, I also think the war on terrorism will need an even more severe (dispassionate?) application of force in the future.

I sincerely hope the Muslim world recognizes the danger inherent to it in not opposing the likes of bin Laden and al-Zarqawi. I hope we can help in that regard. I don't think it's a useful tactic to say, 'Well, we'll just kill all of you and the problem is solved.' That attitude tends quickly to become symmetrical, which may or may not be an observation containing some irony.

Is it delusional to think that at some point the Muslim world will join the Western world to save both? I hope not, because I really don't see an alternative.

6/02/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Trish and Pierre:

Not to go on a rant or be a wet blanket here but I really wish I could share your optimism regarding the American psyche. Unfortunately, the older and more cantankerous I get, the more my pessimism grows.

And truly I wish this were as easy as a red state-blue state problem as you suggest. But in my experience it’s not. It’s an American problem.

I live in a gun-toting flag-waving red state, a bastion of what passes for patriotism these days. After 9/11 I could look around and say to myself "Finally people have had their eyes opened." Widespread support for decisive military action, and at least seeming support for the concept of "War on Terrorism". Finally people were getting what I always knew.

Four short years later, we’re again, as a culture, obsessed with celebrity show trials and reality TV. People are now more concerned with their economic comfort than security. Everyone, everywhere I look, is more interested with how they are going to extend their credit to purchase a new jet ski (or some other nonsense) than with Operation Matador or the philosophical issues surrounding stomping out radical Islam.

A Republican Congress has only 30 or so hard core members willing to go to the wall to protect the borders, while people here are upset that food prices will go up if we secure the borders.

Most people have no idea what is being done by the government to protect them, but nearly all can tell you the casualty scoreboard from Iraq. You should not have to repeatedly remind people that we are at war, and that the outcome of that war determines our continued existence.

And on and on it goes…

The banality of American pop and consumer culture fosters forgetfulness, and that forgetfulness fosters softness. Historical comparison to what the U.S. public not only supported, but mandated from their government during WWII assumes that we are the same culture. We are not. We are not tempered in the same privation and common sense that our fathers and grandfathers grew up in, and we have less pragmatism in our actions. This is not my indictment of others, but of myself as well. There's more I could be doing too.

Thus, when aroused, we were unstoppable during the 1940s. Today our slumber is far deeper. While we remain essentially American, we are not our forebears. It will take a great and awful event to raise our national will to the level of WWII. Talk about killing more Muslims to make our point in fact misses a greater point. Muslims will have to kill a lot more of us before we collectively sack up enough to put a screeching and final stop to it.

The odds are far greater, IMO, than they ever were during WWII, that we could lose this one. Not from being unable to win it, but from being apathetic.

6/02/2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The banality of American pop and consumer culture fosters forgetfulness, and that forgetfulness fosters softness.
Historical comparison to what the U.S. public not only supported, but mandated from their government during WWII assumes that we are the same culture.
We are not.
We are not tempered in the same privation and common sense that our fathers and grandfathers grew up in, and we have less pragmatism in our actions.
"
---
Very well said.
The spawn of affluence, TV, Corrupted Monopoly Education, and etc.

6/02/2005 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Post Part 1.

After reading Wretchard's conclusion I agree that unbridled terrorism is a two edged sword which could very well slice the Islamofacists in half.

As poster husker_met points out it's not impossible to imigine a huge corporation engaging in terrorism in the middle of Islam. It may take contractors and/or proxy fighters, but it's certainly possible.

Because of the religion which essentially allows maming, murder and deception in the name of "Allah" the West has a difficult time defending itself. It maybe just a matter of defining the enemy.

Terrorism is just too broad a term. I think naming the actual totalitarian "Clerics" and their thugs is necessary. Let's get some names and locations.

I agree with Pierre Legrand that the Islamofascist seem to have forgotten how hot the oven can get. And, It maybe a good time to remind them of WW2.

While reading Wretchard's intro and examples of terrorist's acts, I got the impression that they were successfully from the Islamofacist point of view in that they all exploited our legal system and or our Christian easy going background. Let's look at them (see Wretchards links):

1. "containing anthrax-related spores"

[No real damage was done - opposed to the anthrax attacks in the USA]

The powder sent in a letter to the ambassador and opened by his secretary was found to contain a type of bacillus bacterium, related to anthrax but also to other non-harmful forms... Australian police representative John Davies told media Thursday early tests indicated that it was not dangerous.The mission in Canberra remained closed Thursday, amid speculation that the spores were sent by someone protesting the jailing last week of an Australian woman convicted of smuggling marijuana into Indonesia

2. "a blast ripped through a Shi'te mosque" and "Al Qaeda"

[al Qaeda seems to have killed more of their enemies]

A blast ripped through a Shiite Muslim mosque in the southern city of Karachi on Monday, leaving at least four people dead, three of them the attackers, and a dozen injured in a suspected suicide bombing... Police said the surviving attacker belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), one of Pakistan's most violent Sunni sectarian groups, which has links with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda extremist network. The group was implicated in the videotaped beheading of US journalism Daniel Pearl in 2002...

[Enraged crowd simply attacks a western restaurant to vent rage - damage done to a Western business]

...Six workers at US fast food outlet KFC died when it was torched by a mob protesting the Al-Qaeda-linked suicide bombing of a mosque in the Pakistani city of Karachi that killed five others, police said... Four employees of the restaurant, whose outlets are often targeted during outbursts of anti-American anger in Pakistan, burned to death while another two froze to death after hiding in the walk-in cold storage...

3. "at least 20 people were killed"

[al Qaeda is successful & kills another enemy]

(AKI) The governor of the southern Afghan province of Kandahar has alleged that an Arab al-Qaeda militant was behind Wednesday morning's suicide attack on a local mosque. According to Gul Agah Shirzai, the person responsible for the attack, which killed at least 20 people and injured another 52, is "a foreigner, an Arab militant from al-Qaeda."

"According to the information that we have collected and an identity card that was found, it was a person of Arab nationality," said Shirzai
The suicide attack occured as the mosque was packed with people mourning the senior anti-Taliban cleric Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz, who was shot dead last week by two men driving past on a motorbike. Fayaz - who was a staunch supporter of Afghan president Hamid Karzai - was killed shortly after he launched an outspoken attack on the Taliban leader Mullah Omar at a meeting of around 500 clerics in Kandahar...


4 "twenty two people"

[Successful attack on Christians]

Indonesia — Two bombs exploded in a crowded market in a Christian-dominated town in central Indonesia on Saturday, killing at least 22 people and wounding 40...

5. "Item"

[Overbearing Jewish judge sentences a man who had a grudge against terrorists - If he were in Indonesia he would have gotten a slap on the wrist]

The Jerusalem district court on Monday sentenced an Israeli man to eight years in prison for membership in an underground Jewish terrorist organization... "The war on terrorism at home, like that against external terrorism requires imposing severe and preventative punishment," Judge Yoram Noam wrote in his sentencing. "The phenomenon of organized Jewish terrorists, of citizens of the State, who aim at hurting Arab residents must be uprooted from its core via severe punishment which will repudiate such actions."

To the man on the street, it's a clever manipulation of Western laws and culture to the advantage of the Islamofascist. This brings me back to Pierre Legrand's statement, "Perhaps we might get a charity together to send our Islamofacist brothers some books with pictures about Nagasaki and Hiroshima."

This is basically the "Gen. LeMay Option" where massive retaliation is the only thing the enemy understands.

Gen. LeMay once said, "If you kill enough of them they will quit fighting." And, that is what he did in WW2. He firebombed 60+ cities in Japan.

Next, NahnCee said, "I do think that it wouldn't do any harm to start beating that drum of retaliation a little bit more, the one that points to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Pearl Harbor."

I agree. But, we better have the ability and guts to backup those threats. RWE makes a similar point but mentions the use of sheer force instead of talk.

So let's take a short trip back in time to the famous fire bombing and eventual Atomic bombing of Japan under Gen. LeMay (It's not clear how much a role LeMay played in the A-bomb attacks but his firebombing tactics brought the imperial Japanese to their knees - the A-bomb was just the final blow).

[It is 1944 and Gen. Hansell has lost a considerable number of B29s over Japan]

...On Jan. 6, Gen. Norstad personally arrived on Guam to tell Hansell that Curtis LeMay would replace him. Losses under Hansell had been severe and could not continue. Hansells last flight proved successful. His flight of 62 planes hit the Kawasaki aircraft factory from 25,000 ft, cutting production by 90 percent without a single loss. LeMay took over, and was plagued with the same problems that caused Hansell to loose his job. Bad weather, the jet stream, and swarms of fighters continued. Norstad renewed his request for the firebombing of Kobe, Japans most important shipyard city. On Feb. 4, LeMay sent 129 B-29s carrying a mixture of incendiaries and fragmentation bombs. Kobe was partially obscured by clouds, and only half of the planes found the target. Still, results were impressive. Japanese fighters shot down one B-29 and damaged 35. Six days later 84 B-29s bombed the Nakajima aircraft plant. Results were poor, only seven incendiaries hit the factory area, 97 G.P. bombs fell in the factory area but 43 were duds.

see: Firebombing

...Curtis LeMay had been sent to the Marianas to get results. So far conventional high altitude bombing had not produced the desired results. The weather at altitude was rendering results sometimes useless. He realized he needed a complete change in strategy... He also decided he would firebomb every city in Japan. In 1944 a group of manufacturers including Standard Oil and Du Pont came up with a jellied gasoline called napalm. It would stick to anything and set ferociously hot fires. Gen. Thomas Power, Commander of the 314th Bombardment Wing, carried out a fire raid test over Tokyo. Bombs were dropped from 25,000 ft. and burned out a full square mile... Then came the radical decision by LeMay. The planes would go in at 10,000 ft. He ordered the removal of bomb bay fuel tanks claiming by not going to altitude they would not need the gas. All .50 cal. Guns would be removed, and all ammo. With no guns the gunners did not need to go. They would approach at night, low, not in formation but singly, each plane now carrying twice the previous bomb load. LeMay knew his job depended on this radical decision, and he also knew his tactics would kill thousands of civilians... On March 9, 334 B-29s took off from Guam, arriving in Japan under good weather conditions. The planes were stacked up from 4,900 ft. to 9,200 ft. They dropped one 500 pound cluster of fire bombs every 50 feet. The target area was 3 by 5 miles, containing a large industrial complex, however each square mile held over 100,000 civilians. The bombs fell, and within thirty minutes the resulting fires were out of control, driven by 40 mph winds. Tokyo, hit by strings of incendiaries, became a holocaust. Water boiled in the canals after the temperature reached over 1800 degrees F. For three hour the B-29s kept coming. Only a few fighters appeared causing little damage. We lost 14 planes with damage to 42. An official Japanese count reported nearly 84,000 killed, 41,000 injured, and over 250,000 buildings destroyed in this one raid. 16 square miles burned out... LeMay was driving his crews to exhaustion, as he launched four more raids in the next eight days against Osaka, Kobe, and twice on Nagoya. In only five raids the B-29s wiped out 32 square miles in four major cities. The population of Tokyo dropped to half as panic stricken civilians fled. Washington was finally satisfied that fire bombing was the answer to crushing the Japanese, and sent LeMay a list of 33 additional Industrial targets... Operation "starvation" was the final blow to the Japanese supplies... Admiral Nimitz ordered Lemay to drop thousands of mines which virtually shut down all shipping. The mine laying left the Japanese in chaos, as the results were so effective Japan was actually starving. Nimitz praised LeMay and called the results phenomenal...

see: Firebombing 3

...May 23, 520 B-29s hit Tokyo industrial complex. They were met with blinding searchlights, heavy smoke, heavy flak, and night fighters with orders to ram. This time they were also attacked by the Baka suicide bombs. Seventeen B-29s were lost on this single raid. Another five square miles of Tokyo was burned. Two nights later 502 planes returned, but this night was to be one to remember forever. 26 B-29s were lost and 100 damaged. On the ground another 17 square miles burned, leaving Tokyo over half destroyed. Yokohama was next on the list. The B-29s were protected by P-51s who shot down 26 planes. Despite the excellent fighter cover five B-29s were lost and 175 damaged. Yokohama was mortally wounded with nine square miles burned.

[The A-bombs]

In June a new outfit named the 509th Composite Group with 15 B-29s was stationed at an isolated area on Tinian. The crewmembers never talked about why they were there, only the Commander Col. Paul Tibbets knew why... His next program would be to bomb four cities, Omuta, Hamamatsu, Yokkaichi, and Kagoshima. After that opposition was so light he dropped leaflets in advance not only to save lives but to frighten workers away from their jobs. After observing the almost total devastation, LeMay advised Gen. Arnold that very shortly he would not have any cities left to destroy. Kyoto was off limits because it was a religious and cultural center. LeMay noted that four cities were left - Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Niigata, and Kokura. Of course these cities were reserved for the A-Bomb. The last mission sent 828 B-29s and 186 fighters over Japan without a single loss. On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the A-Bombs were dropped, and Japan surrendered unconditionally.

See:Firebombing 4

One wonders how Syria would fair under such heavy bombing. Would they think twice about sending suicide bombers into Iraq? Or, would they just choose to be completely destroyed?

6/03/2005 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Post Part 2.


niall said...

"RWE,
While I agree for the most part with your sentiments, I believe the Doolittle raid on Tokyo shortly after Pearl Harbor is arguably as important as the atomic bombs as far as an example of what the US can do when it gets annoyed. Little more than 4 months after Pearl Harbor we managed to drop bombs right in the heart of Japan in the middle of the day."

That an interesting thought. Maybe just a swift Doolittle style raid on a offending country like Syria would do the trick. Let's look at the Doolittle raid.

[General Doolittle] It had three real purposes. One purpose was to give the folks at home the first good news that we'd had in World War II. It caused the Japanese to question their warlords. And from a tactical point of view, it caused the retention of aircraft in Japan for the defense of the home islands

Narrator] The training was hard, no one had ever taken off a fully loaded B-25 in less than 500 feet. First they had to prove it could be done, then they had to train the people to do it. Before they were through, one of the Mitchells would lift off in only 287 feet.

[General Doolittle] If we were intercepted by Japanese surface [ships] or aircraft, our aircraft would immediately leave the decks. If they were within range of Tokyo, they would go ahead and bomb Tokyo, even though they would run out of gasoline shortly thereafter. That was the worst thing we could think of. And if we were not in range of Tokyo, we would go back to Midway. If we were not in range of either Tokyo or Midway, we would permit our aeroplanes to be pushed overboard so the decks could be cleared for the use of the carrier's own, carrier Hornet's, own aircraft...
The program went almost according to plan. We were to go bomb our targets, turn in a general southerly direction, get out to sea as quickly as possible... We came in on the deck. We pulled up to about fifteen hundred feet to bomb in order to make sure we weren't hit by the fragments of our own bombs...

[Narrator] On the morning of April 18th, 1942, the task force was sighted by Japanese patrol boats. The boats were quickly destroyed, but they could have transmitted a position report. It was eight hours before scheduled take-off ,an additional 400 miles to the target. Gas reserves would be dangerous low, but they were spotted and they would have to go.

[General Doolittle] I would say that the feeling was "Get the job done and get the heck out of there." The actual damage done by the raid was minimal. We were 16 aeroplanes each carrying one ton of bombs. In later raids, General LeMay with his 20th Air Force, sent out 500 planes on a mission, each carrying 10 tons of bombs.


see: Doolittle Raid

[Crew captured and killed]

Following the Tokyo Raid, the crews of two planes were missing. On Aug. 15, 1942. it was learned from the Swiss Consulate General in Shanghai that eight American flyers were prisoners of the Japanese at Police Headquarters in that city. On Oct. 19, 1942, the Japanese broadcast that they had tried two crews of the Tokyo Raid and had sentenced them to death, but that a larger number of them had received commutation of their sentences to life imprisonment... Two of the original ten men, Dieter and Fitzmaurice, had died when their B-25 ditched off the coast of China. The other eight, Hallmark, Meder, Nielsen, Farrow, Hite, Barr, Spatz, and DeShazer were captured. In addition to being tortured, they contracted dysentery and beri-beri as a result of the deplorable conditions under which they were confined. On Aug. 28, 1942, Hallmark, Farrow, and Spatz were given a "trial" by Japanese officers, although they were never told the charges against them. On Oct. 14, 1942, Hallmark, Farrow, and Spatz were advised they were to be executed the next day.

[Pictures of captives and Public Cemetery No.1]

Public Cemetery No. 1 outside Shanghai where Hallmark, Farrow, and Spatz were executed on 15 Oct. 1942 in accordance with Japanese military custom. They were placed on their knees with their arms tied and blindfolded with black ink marks on the white cloth directly over the center of their foreheads. All three were shot simultaneously by three soldiers with rifles and were promptly cremated.

See: Prisoners

It would appear that the Doolittle Raid was a sprit booster and it may have caused the Japanese to pull back somewhat but, as Gen. Doolittle noted Gen. LeMay did the real damage with relentless firebombing. Hence, I would again suggest that if we issue a threat we should carry through on it.

Hucbald said, "I think Pierre got it exactly right: We have not killed enough Moslems to change their common preconception that the West is hamstrung by it's own morality, nor have we inflicted enough loss to get them to reject the ideology that is fueling the fire (Where ARE the moderate Muslims protesting against terrorism?). In WW II the number of civilian casualties the Allies inflicted on Germany and Japan was withering..."

So were are back to the "Gen. LeMay Option." But, as we have seen with the "Bush Surgical Method" of warefare, hitting the bad guy hard and quickly while sparing innocent civilians has its advantages.

In Afganistan, Bush used a combination of heavy but focused fire power on the Taliban in conjunction with proxy fighters with tremendous success.

Bush did the same with Iraq with fairly swift results. The problem we are seeing in Iraq is a great deal of proxy fighters financed by unfriendly countries. They are drawn like flies to fly paper then killed. And, they have barely nicked the US military - but caused damage to the Iraqi people. Worse, as Wretchard has pointed out terrorism is more of a propaganda tool which, sadly, our own press has used against us.

I would suggest that the Justice department look into new laws which would stem the use of Iraqi "stringers" by US media outlets. This would include making each "stringer" available for questioning in a combat zone. And, this would apply to Al Jazeera reporters as well (if they care to report in the USA). Further, the Administration should wage Media war as was waged during WW2.

Another issue is deterrence. Because the world has new global players that are willing to finance proxy fighters who fight directly against US troops in Iraq it maybe time to beef up military assets and intelligence assets (I believe intelligence and military deterrence go hand-in-hand). It's well know that Gen. LeMay build up of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), his powerful B52 fleet and his ICMB arsenal was predicated on intelligence. The U2, the SR71 and the satellite network played a huge role. Our intelligence needs to be improved. Those in the intelligence community have and important role to play. It's important for them to take their job seriously and to keep secret information - secret - no more leaks!

One last item of interest I found while researching the LeMay/Japan/A-bomb history including the LeMay's role in SAC and it's role in winning the cold war. Fact: Although, we have lost 1,500 Americans while liberating Iraq, Gen. LeMay lost 2,500+ men while operating the Strategic Air Command - which to my knowledge never fired a shot in the cold war. Maybe we should be thankful that Bush has successfully won two wars with a minimum of causalities.

...From 1948 to 1992, 2,583 SAC crew members were killed in the line of duty. Early in its history, SAC decided they needed to honor and remember those who died. And so, the Strategic Air Command Memorial Chapel at Offutt Air Force Base was built in 1956.


see: SAC base

and

see:SAC base 2

and
[Picture of B52 with full armament]

One of SAC's Boeing B-52 bombers with its full armament.

see: picture of B52

[and]

See: more on SAC

6/03/2005 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Most remarkable post, ledger. Thank you.
I have always been impressed by the sheer numbers of weapons produced and employed in WWII, but those you posted on LeMay's Air Force are simply astounding.
To think of the effort required and the equipment at hand to service and fuel such an arsenal is astounding.
(not to mention the terror and punishment absorbed by the Japanese.)
"The last mission sent 828 B-29s and 186 fighters over Japan without a single loss. On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the A-Bombs were dropped, and Japan surrendered unconditionally.
"
---
To think of all the prattle I've heard and read about air power alone being unable to decisively turn a war.
Too bad everyone can not be made aware of what the true nature of total war consists of when people are seriously convinced that our national survival is at stake.
Thanks again, I will reread w/links in the morning.

6/03/2005 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

Actually the wierdest thing to me is that the *least* dangerous muslim, in the context of Islamic militants, is the illiterate uneducated muslim. If you look at who is engaged in all the terror around the world, it's the educated muslims that are the majority of terrorists.

What kind of system is it that the more education you have the more likely it is that you're going to be a terrorist?

Isn't that bizzare? 1.5 billion muslims and the ones we have to worry about the most are the ones with a college degree. What does that say about the future of Islam? What does that say about the future of Iraq and the democracy building in that country? Are we building a democracy only so that, 2-3 generations downtime, a new wave of terrorists will be generated?

The question then becomes this:

Is it possible to permanently civilize Islam? Or is Islam organized in such a way that such is not possible? And if it's not possible, then what is the option?

I posit that civilizing Islam is not possible.

I posit that the only resolution will be one where Islam is dead in it's entirety.

Not a very pleasant scenario.

6/03/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

"Too bad everyone can not be made aware of what the true nature of total war consists of when people are seriously convinced that our national survival is at stake."

I've long maintained that many of the problems America has had with the Islamic world is based on the fact that they largely sat out WWII.

6/03/2005 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish,
In re to your response to husker_met's comment on the lack of perspective; I think that you are being too kind to the American public. There has been a noticeable decrease in support even among the conservative base for the actions in Iraq; as a nation we have been terribly spoiled by a lack of personal cost in the wars we have been involved with since the Civil War. (Please note that I am referring to the nation as a whole, not to the individual families and friends who lost loved ones.) And that has led to us lacking in perspective, about the true cost of freedom and security.

6/03/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam said,
"What kind of system is it that the more education you have the more likely it is that you're going to be a terrorist?"
---
Well, there's a place I know of where the more education you have, the more likely you've lost your common sense, patriotism, and the values you learned at home.

6/03/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Thanks Doug. I just try to do my part.

6/03/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

I would think the fourth conjecture would have many energy states.

Nuking millions of innocents is abhorrent and immoral.

What then are the alternatives?

One is that you would see private groups going after the Radicals in their communities. The means and wherewithal exist in every Western nation.

The Dutch have a history of mob justice during political crises and the NIF ( Dutch Resistance) was the most effective during WWII. The Boers were Dutch and fought the English to a standstill in South Africa. In both cases, the networks that existed still exist, albeit not used in a long time.

The German Resistance to Hitler and later the Allies was well organized and took many forms.

In both cases, these networks could be reactivated and used to strike at Islamic Radicals.

In the UK and the USA, the familial links just don't exist.

But the South proved remarkably resistant to change following the Civil War and used Jim Crow Laws along with local networks to essentially end Emancipation.

On the other hand, a group of planters and intellectuals formed and executed the American Revolution and exited with a stable nation.

And many times a year private corporations effect the rescue of their people around the globe.

But the problem goes back to Wretchard's comment - violence consumes itself. Where would such groups draw the line or could it be drawn?

John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry is a very potent example of where it could lead.

6/03/2005 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Ed,

The Jesuits said give them a man for the first five years and he is theirs for life.

Its no accident that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Its not education, but the kind of education, and not all people, but a specific kind of person.

6/03/2005 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Red River said, "Its no accident that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Its not education, but the kind of education, and not all people, but a specific kind of person." I agree.

But, the problem is in our laws. Once a terrorists gets into the country legally he has the rights of all citizens including police protection. I remember after 9/11 Bin Laden's sister or step sister (or a close relative) got police protection and then had the gall to go on a local TV station in LA and complain that she felt threatened. And, I did see incidences of Islamic males being escorted home by the police. The laws have changed so that suspected terrorists can be under surveillance and so forth. But, those laws are being challenged.

As for underground groups taking action on their own - the laws are stacked against them. Thus, we are dependent on Homeland Security to find and stop Islamic terrorists. If someone as an answer to the problem of terrorists already in our boarders I would like to know.

6/03/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Vorpal said...

Are we so sure that the future leaders of the US will actually counter attack in the event of another terrorist attack? I think it is more likely that the future AG will spend more time prosecuting any American that dares to express anger at the future attack.

6/03/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger longreach said...

Wretchard, while agreeing with your conclusions I have to point out that your item 1 is flawed. The only group who believe the drug smuggler innocent is an hysterical section of the Australian general public. They have been whipped up over many months by a manipulative media. The belief that all or most Australians shared that view was shattered following the embassy incident. Outrage following that incident allowed what appears to be a silent majority to emerge and state their opinion. This time free of the odium of being labelled traitors for doing so.

6/03/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

husker,

You are forgetting that there are a lot of former military Special Forces (etc.) people with experience in the Islamic world. Contractors if you will.

Sir Richard Burton (19th Century) passed as a Muslim. No reason why it couldn't be done again.

Or our American Taliban guy was embraced by our fanatic friends. Other white guys could "pass" as well.

In any case our former military guys have access to networks of former military guys. I am personally acquainted with one of these fellows and despite being married to a muslim girl he is quite bloody minded about the islamic fascists. He has access to the kinds of cash an attack of the type W. posits would require. He also has access to the scientific knowledge and personel such an attack would require.

The only thing holding these guys back is personal restraint.

If the west suffered a major attack the gloves would come off.

6/03/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

If you look at WW2 culture it was quite vapid. Kay Kaiser for gods sake.

I don't think people should confuse popular entertainment with popular will.

Right now the military is the most trusted institution in America. Despite Gitmo. Something like 75% support. Despite Abu Grahb.

The left despite its loud voice is not resonating with the American people.

6/03/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

The U.S. response to 9/11 has been restrained but deadly. Instead of nuking Mecca, we precision-targeted the Taliban and later eviscerated Saddam's armies, all with relatively few casualties on our side. Furthermore, we injected our own ideology of democracy and freedom into oppressed countries, and it's turning out to be a far more subtle and powerful weapon than Islamofacism. Meanwhile there have been no new major terrorist attacks within the United States. The terrorists are on the run, and are losing the war they started.

But what would be the consequences if the terrorists did manage to land a second punch, such as nuking a U.S. city? I highly doubt that such an attack would provoke immediate nuclear retaliation (although lots of people in the U.S. would be demanding it). Instead the U.S. government would use that barely restrained anger to step up the hunt for terrorists by an order of magnitude. Bush's platitudes about "you're either with us or with the terrorists", and his assertions that nations which sheltered terrorists would be held equally accountable, would turn into reality.

Ultimatums would be issued to Syria, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and anyone else who was at all suspected of harboring terrorists or WMDs. And those ultimatums would be obeyed, because the leaders of those nations would know that we weren't bluffing: We would love to find a target on which to vent our wrath, and that wrath could very easily involve nuclear retaliation (perhaps in the form of nuclear bunker busters) and their personal deaths.

6/04/2005 01:06:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Daniel notes, "...we precision-targeted the Taliban and later eviscerated Saddam's armies, all with relatively few casualties on our side. Furthermore, we injected our own ideology of democracy and freedom into oppressed countries, and it's turning out to be a far more subtle and powerful weapon than Islamofacism."

Good point. It look's like Bush's surgical method is working. I don't know if it's his knoweldge of the region or his faith that seem to drive him in the right direction.

[if another terror attack occured]

"... Ultimatums would be issued to Syria, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and anyone else who was at all suspected of harboring terrorists or WMDs. And those ultimatums would be obeyed, because the leaders of those nations would know that we weren't bluffing: We would love to find a target on which to vent our wrath, and that wrath could very easily involve nuclear retaliation (perhaps in the form of nuclear bunker busters) and their personal deaths."

That's sound's logical - assuming the Administration in power has the guts to make good on it.

On similar subject, we have convention "Bunker busters" such as the GBU-28 (described below) which are only affective to a certain extent (without going nuclear). Why can't be build larger conventional bunker busters to really route out the enemy. For example a version containing 5000 to 10,000 lb. of Titional instead of the current 650 lb. of Titional? Then have the thing delivered by a B1 or B2. And, possibly have it accelerated with a rocket motor. I would think convention hard-hitting bunker buster would give us much greater flexibility when dealing with cave dwelling thugs (currently if the conventional bomb doesn't work a nuke is the only option).

The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead. The bombs are modified Army artillery tubes, weigh 4,637 pounds, and contain 630 pounds of high explosives.

see:GBU-28

6/04/2005 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Decapitation attacks work the best against groups who are largely rabble but led by a few intelligent and organized leaders.

Bush and other western leaders have been far too timid in pursuing the military leadership, the religious leadership, and the financial support groups and kingpins of the sunni terror networks.

6/04/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Well lets hope that the next attacks is small enough to survive as a nation yet big enough to finally provoke those who can, to do.

My worry is if the next attack is on the order of a 10-20 kiloton Nuclear weapon in St. Louis with the threat to pop off a few more if ultimatums are not carried out that everyones desire to do more will be a day late.

I can very well imagine the US Population under those circumstances aiding the Government to round up possible operators intent on revenge. The big question is exactly how tough are the people of the US? As tough as the Brits during WW2? If you judge us by our sons and daughters fighting, yes. But then you remember that a vanishingly small percentage of our population is involved in the military and...it makes you wonder.

Pierre
The only thing holding these guys back is personal restraint.

If the west suffered a major attack the gloves would come off.

6/04/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/04/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

daniel,

If the Bush administration is doing its job (and I have no reason to believe they are not), these ultimatums are already issued. There are many players in this war, and some include the secret services of various "friendly" regimes. For now, thanks to Bush, the US is taken seriously. But who knows what the future holds, and who's to be elected as the next POTUS. My feeling is, that no matter who's elected next, you WILL see some kind "probing action" on US soil.

6/04/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

With all due respect, there IS an option open to America which is as subtle and powerful as democracy and as targeted as bio-weapons, and MUCH safer.

Given the widespread ignorance in the Muslim community, and the informed knowledge of a significant minority about Muslim hadith and traditions promising the Coming of the 12th Imam, the Coming of the Promised One, America can disempower the mullahs without disemboweling them, simply by INSTIGATING A PUBLIC DISCUSSION OF/EXAMINATION OF THE COMING OF The Holy One, May 23, 1260 AH (May 23, 1844)!

When this becomes a Reuters/CNN news item, then within 24 hours it will catalyze the underlying substrates of 1)caring, moderate and informed Muslims; 2)scoffing, denying, power-hungry mullahs; 3)scoffing & denying Christian clergy; 4)studying and faithful Christian clergy why choose to follow in adoration their Lord, come in His New Name, 'like unto the Son of Man...'

American government wouldn't be creating these underlying, underpinning realities, it would simply catalyze/ignite them by bringing them into the public consciousness in a swift, instantaneous and unignorable move!

The changes thus triggered will be parallel to the LeMay Option, and vastly more far-reaching and permanent!

6/04/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I did not have time to read the entire comments section, but I agree with you Pierre.

If backed up against a wall, and seriously threatened, there will be hell to pay. In a crisis situation, I'd even put my money on the rank and file Democrats. The elites and activists may be globalist hand-wringers, but there's a reason even they are forced to pretend they're hawkish on North Korea, or Saudi Arabia. Even a large portion of their base itches to spit fire.

There was a good portion of Democratic voters who honestly believed that "Iraq was a distraction from the War against Terror and Bin Laden." They are misguided, but their heart is still in the right place. Those people aren't going to apologizing for America when a big bomb goes off, imo.

6/04/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Hmm.

Bin Laden hoped the 9/11 attacks would cause the Muslim world to rally around him.

Did this happen?

John Brown hoped that by taking Harper's Ferry, he could cause the black South to rally around him.

Did this happen?

In John Brown's case he caused the opposite to occur - the White South rose up against him thus causing the Abolitionists to unify around Emancipation. The reaction of the South permanently discredited even those sympathetic to their cause which isolated and then hardened Southern attitudes.

What are the parallels?

Bin Laden's attacks caused the West, most specifically, the USA, to rise up against him and Islamic Totalitarianism.

The resulting reaction by the Islamists to overreact in grisly ways, thus exposing their hand showing all the world what they were about. Many Muslims while revering Bin Laden, have also turned against him and his ideas.

The daily bombing and killing of Muslims in Iraq has caused many Muslims to see the true nature of AQ. This discrediting of Radical Islam has ironically begun to unify the Arab world that the only other alternative is Democracy - albeit Muslim-style. And as the turn to Democracy takes root, it has hardened the oppoenents to it.

The current war in Iraq is now between Iraqis who favor freedom and Islamists and Pan-Arabists who favor a different principle. The War in Iraq is now a Civil War, but a Civil War that stretches all around the Middle East. One that pits the Isrealis, Jordanians, Iraqis, Kuwaitis and Lebanese against the Syrians, Saudis, and Palestinians. On the surface the division appears to be religion, but its not.

Its no accident that the Wahhabists on one hand the the Baathists ( Socialists ) are unified in some respects in Iraq. We see the same unification here with the Left sympathizing with the Islamo-fascists.

One must keep in mind that the Middle East is not defined by nation-states, but by tribal, cultural, and linguistic differences. To overlay ethnicities across the region highlights the divisions clearly.

If one instead draws a map of the old Ottoman empire or the old Caliph, one sees more clearly the strains as well as what will result one day.

While the USA can influence events, the real battle has to be fought by the adherents across the ME until one side wins.

The four conjectures are based upon a view of violence as all consuming. If one were to look at the South now - a place where antebellum Mississippi was the Richest state in the union and is still abjectly poor, but now Texas and Georgia are again ascendant, one can see that we need another conjecture or series - about the aftermath of Civil War and the nature of reconstruction.

One line of reasoning is to look for further attacks, but another is to examine what lies ahead if the energies of the Levant are finally unleashed.

I foresee the Levant becoming more like India or China - a rising star on the world stage. Except that it has unique advantages from sitting astride the ME and astride the mixing spot for all the world's cultures and ideas. This will allow the brightest to easily combine new ideas while being able to focus Eastward or Westward.

Again, the model is the rise of the South.

We all risk irrelevance if we do not examine the Alternative Conjecture.

6/04/2005 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

An alternative conjecture:

The Middle East engages in a public critical examination of Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God, and His plans for the area and for people.

The overwhelming majority of people in the area embrace His message, and eschew terror and terrorism and force, EXCEPT in cleaning out terrorists!

Because He and His life and message are acceptable to East and West alike, the political scene and underlying dynamics are transformed! He is, after all, the One promised by Jesus of Nazareth (Matt 24:14, Luke 21:24, Matt 24:15)

6/05/2005 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Any environment capable of producing terrorism on a scale which could destroy America would be sufficiently powerful to destroy Islam -- and destroy it first many times over. Any weapon that AQ Khan can make can be bought by believers and infidels alike. The theorists of asymmetrical terrorist warfare forgot that its military effectiveness depends on the very restraints that it, itself, dissolves."

The strategic flaw that appears in this reasoning is that it requires overlooking America's increasing vulnerability to destruction at a single stroke. If Osama bin Ladin had been knowledgeable and thoughtful rather than merely clever, he could have struck a blow from which America might never have recovered. We are so fortunate--and merely fortunate, nothing more--that he didn't choose the occasion of a State of the Union address to target four planes at the Capitol. I can't think of any reason we're not still quite vulnerable to destruction at a single stroke.

6/05/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"If Islam desires the secret of the stars it must embrace the kuffar as its brother -- or die."

Even the friends of America are too concerned with the good of "Islam" or, to avoid personifying an abstraction, Muslims. I've hardened my heart and offer no apology; the focus of my concern is not on whether Islam and Muslims live or die, but on whether they manage to strike a critical blow to America along the way. The reason we're still conferring as to whether Muslim radicals will unleash a nuclear or biological attack on us is that we haven't done enough to strike fear and defeatism among the radicals and take away their resources. I think destroying Mecca, Medina, and the al-Aqsa Mosque would have been a good start, but just a start, toward destroying the belief that Allah and Allah's dedicated radicals can at all stand up to the power of the United States when it's roused. A campaign of assassination against known Muslim enemies of means, i.e. governments, clerics, and tycoons, would have dashed the hopes of the survivors, to say nothing of the hopes of the dead. Actually doing what our critics claim we're trying to do, seizing the oil fields of the Middle East, would have deprived our enemies of much of their income. Selling the oil cheap would have bought off many of our critics, including France, Germany, and Russia. If we live long enough, our hands are going to be red and filthy, anyway; we might as well get started, inasmuch as a war fought by choice is still milder than a war fought by necessity.

6/05/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Doug
If these Islamists were competent we would be in Deep Caca.
Five of the dads at my daughters Karate school could wreck havoc on the US for at least 30 - 90 days. The DC snipers are the perfect example of an American Insurgency.

UBL and his buddies are living in caves in the Afghan-Pakistan mountain region. What a dismal life that must be. I am beginning to doubt that without State support these guys are anything but over hyped Border Bandits.

Since 9/11 we have captured the Buffalo cell, guys that would have, if they could have, but didn't. Or these last two charged in NY, A Doctor that would help treat the wounded if there were any, but there weren't. A Martial Artist that offered to train terrorists in killing techniques, but there were no T's to train.

A lot of hype, but no assaults, and no real sign of capacity to commit another act of any comparable scale to 9/11.
They cannot even strike US in the ME to any major degree

When the MSM declares Victory in December they will have a strong case and will convince the Public we have won the War, whether or not we, or Bush, think we have completed the mission, or not.

6/05/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Zeus said...

you might also be interested in Kato's conjecture

12/29/2005 07:35:00 PM  

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