Monday, July 18, 2005

Think Globally, Act Locally

Although the fight against terrorism has been called the Global War on Terror, in practice it is being fought locally, often over specific issues, in a variety of countries. Reuters reports on Thailand:

July 18 (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim militants killed a Buddhist school principal in Thailand's Muslim south on Monday as security officials met to decide how to use new emergency powers. The principal was shot on the way to school in Pattani, one of the three southern provinces hit by daily killings, arson and explosions in which more than 800 people have died since January last year. Twenty-six of those have been teachers and schools have been a frequent target as symbols of the government of overwhelmingly Buddhist Thailand in faraway Bangkok. Militants also tried and failed to kill teachers in nearby Narathiwat province, police said.

 The Christian Science Monitor reports that the war is not entirely one-sided.

The evening sky was fading to darkness as the nearby mosque sounded the call to prayer. Inside his house, Abdullah knelt to pray. Minutes later, he heard a noise from outside. "It was the sound of a hammer hitting a snake, many times," he recalls. His ritual over, he walked outside to investigate. As he peered inside the open door of his neighbor's blue-roofed bungalow, Abdullah fainted. Inside the house, three young Muslim men lay slumped on the concrete floor, their bodies riddled with bullets fired at close range - presumably using silencers - as they prayed. The killings were the latest in an increasingly brutal conflict that has claimed over 800 lives in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south since January 2004. But the murder of the three men, one of whom was being sought by police over alleged insurgent training, has aroused the suspicions of local Muslims and relatives of the deceased. They say gunmen equipped with silencers were behind the killings, most likely members of Thailand's security forces. Few are prepared to speak publicly, for fear of reprisals.

Across the world in Europe, Spain and Germany, two countries which have been not notably supported President Bush's decision to invade Iraq were pursuing a terrorism suspect for their own reasons. Attempts to arrest an Al Qaeda suspect on the strength of a European warrant at the instance of a Spanish judge were rebuffed by Germany's high court.

A German court today refused to extradite an al-Qaeda suspect to Spain after ruling that Europe’s new wide-ranging arrest warrant is invalid under German law. The ruling, a blow to Europe’s post-September 11 counter-terrorism plans, upheld an appeal by Mamoun Darkazanli, a German-Syrian dual national, whom Spanish authorities accuse of providing the al-Qaeda terror network with logistical and financial support. The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that the European warrant violated the German constitution and the suspect’s basic rights, and was thus invalid.

In Iraq, 170 civilians were killed by suicide bombers over the weekend, the majority at a Shi'ite mosque south at Baghdad. Just how local the conflict can become was underscored by calls from Iraqi parliamentarians to form militias -- notably Shi'ite militias -- to fight the suicide bombers, though in all probability, these calls were made with a view to improving the power positions of the political factions themselves.

Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called on the government Sunday to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. "The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed to stop the terrorists," he told the National Assembly. ... Following Mr. Khuzai's outraged speech in parliament, other members of the Shiite-led majority bloc said they also wanted militias to help stop such attacks. "We need militias to provide protection," said Saad Jawad Kandil, a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a key party in the Shiite-led alliance that dominates parliament.

The fight against Islamic terrorism is often yoked to other and less desirable goals. Whether used to promote a national ID card, the European Union, the cause of British New Labor, or certain Israeli political parties the fight against terror rarely rises to the pure vision expressed by President George Bush: to overthrow the corrupting influence within a world religion and to bring freedom to the dysfunctional societies of the Middle East and South Asia. But then, Islamic militants have used a variety of local issues -- from Kashmir to Timor; from Mindanao secession to returning to Granada -- to advance their own agenda. Viewed up close the "bloody borders of Islam" consist as much of local political conflict as they do of the worldwide issues like Iraq or the restoration of the Global Caliphate. On the level of ideology the fight may have been between an 8th century religious creed and the democratic ideal, but its local manifestation is always going to be Bush against Kerry; Aznar against Zapatero.

But not only has radical Islamism stirred up local mischiefs, it has also functioned as a bellows to fan the flames across other smoldering divides: the conservatives versus the Left; Europe versus America; the Third World versus the First World. It is almost as if the historical narrative, after seeming to settle into the smooth patch of the 1990s, had been reanimated across its entire spectrum by the Islamic disturbance, which shook things loose from their momentary stoppage and got things flowing again. Although the War on Terror is ostensibly a fight against the nihilism of radical Islam, it is probably much more: just how much more history will presently tell us. Radical Islam may find they are in the grip of larger forces whose power they have unleashed, which in their arrogance they sought to control only to find that events have acquired a dynamic of their own.

One factor in particular which Osama Bin Laden and his ideologues may have overlooked is the power of extremism to organize disparate forces against extremism itself. If Al Qaeda has failed to gather all Islam beneath its flag it has increasingly succeeded in getting an absurdly disparate coalition of nations and ethnic groups to regard Islam as Public Enemy Number One. If all politics and extremism is local it follows that all opposition to it will be local too. Thai hit men, British football hooligans and Shi'ite militias may never have heard of the Global War on Terror, but they all know the word opportunity.

233 Comments:

Blogger William Knight said...

You left out another important word that lies at the root of the violence and terror that is boiling around the world: oppression. Until more people around the world wake up to the reality of the political and economic oppression of the haves upon the have-nots, terrorism will continue to plague us all.

Unfortunately, the United States, which had one of the best opportunities to address the root causes of terrorism around the world, squandered that opportunity when it elected to follow the conservative Republican ideology of violence and oppression instead of more intelligent and wise alternatives.

7/18/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Please elaborate.

7/18/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Ahhh,

The LUC! The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Those who work to unite one group often serve to unite the opposition.

Yes, many of the conflicts have been going on before Bin Laden and AQ. This is why I think it is so critically important to destroy AQ's money ratline. Becuase, AQ it seems is more a financial support network and umbrella organization for terrorism. I have read plenty of details about AQ's connections to Abu Sayaf, I have no doubt they help out with Kashmir, with the situation in Israel, in The Sudan etc. As well, as sponsor and coordinate activities outside of the bloody fringes.

7/18/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

William,

I have to disagree with you very strongly.

How much terrorism comes out of Africa, the poorest continent in the world? That which does comes out of North Africa. Hmmmmmmm.

Conservative Republican ideology consists of liberty. Allowing people to take them as far as their talents allow them. Another parthner in the Republican conservative movement talks about the need to share our wealth with others, stresses that we are our brother's keeper, but modern society has dashed that as primative and not to be listened to by the sophisticated.

7/18/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...


William,

Please elaborate.


Well, this point has been made by others, many times before. But in brief, the point I am making is that 9/11 did not happen in a vacuum. Neither did most of the other events of terror before and after that time. The fuel for terrorism comes from people who are filled with rage at some powerful enemy.

For example, in the middle east, there has long been great resentment by many people towards the west. Of course the situation is complicated and there are many other threads involved, over which people can argue endlessly as they try to promote their own political agenda.

But I think the bottom line is if you screw over other people, whether it be politically, economically or militarily, they are going to fight back. And there has been a lot of screwing done in this world by the established powers.

It is true that many of the leaders of terrorism are perverse ideologues who will pursue their agendas regardless of what others in the world do or say. But the body, the sustaining force of terror and violence in the world comes from normal human beings who are reacting with understandable rage at previous wrongs that have been done to them.

I think that until this is acknowledged and truly addressed by those in power, or by their political base, we will not make much progress in ending this global war.

Under the current Bush administration, the root causes of the terrorism around the world have been largely ignored while we instead have squandered huge amounts of resources in fighting a war that has only stirred up greater rage against us, and increased the threat of terrorism against us.

7/18/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Intriguing blog, W. (In spite of wk's droll attempt to insert one-sided opinion against the tide of history).

The full scope of these struggles will most likely not be completely visible until more blood has shed and more votes are cast. Not an outcome with which to be pleased.

Yet those that agree with Patrick Henry can only pray their loved ones survive the turmoil. Those that disagree may go back to sleep. After all, in the limits of their brains it's Bushes fault. (Failing to see if Bush didn't exist he would need to be created).

Wow! They are going after educators! Keeping people in ignorance seems to be popular these days, if the example our own MSM models is to be believed.

7/18/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

William,

Some of what you say is inadvertantly true. However, your assertion regarding "normal human beings who are reacting with understandable rage at previous wrongs that have been done to them." reveals your underlying problem which is a blinding hatred of GWB.

It is true that many of the people in these regions are oppressed. However, not by us. But, by their authoritarian leadership. It is convenient for them to say that their subjects misery is the result of "the Great Satan" to deflect blame from themselves.

Also, can you tell me who "oppressed" the 19 well-to-do guys who carried out the 9/11 outrage?

7/18/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

I guess Saudi Arabia must be dirt poor then, considering all the terrorists it spawns. Guatemala must be absolutely swarming with international terrorists.

I though this poverty-breeds-terrorist meme had been thoroughly debunked by now. It’s nothing but a continuation of the old blame-the-west mentality. So last century.

7/18/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Gee.

William Knight, it was the policies of appeasement taken by Clinton and still advocated by the left that led to militant Islam's decision that we were too weak in strength and resolve to answer terror with force. The polemic of the left especially in our congress and media are giving false hope that Bush will be defeated and the bad old days will return. It ain't gonna happen.

Read all about it. It's been in all the papers, even our very own liberal rag has reported it.

The bombers and terrorists aren't poverty stricken sheep herders. They're the children of wealthy and middle class parents who have had every advantage and have chosen as their life's work, not positive contributions to their community, but the killing of children as their entry fee into paradise.

Honestly, "root causes"? I wish the DNC would issue some new material. Their stuff is getting really out of date.

7/18/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

And we all know how Osama was absolutely oppressed by poverty.

7/18/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Uhm, William? It is a COMMON misunderstanding that those who HAVE, do so by taking from the have-nots.

This is not the case, in almost 98% of the affairs of the free world. Wealth is created, where none existed before. Poor are NOT REQUIRED for 'The Haves' to have and be wealthy.

Addressing wise alternatives is always an option, and America's choices are severely constrained when our enemy publicly states, for the record, there is NOTHING in America or American culture or American notions (of freedom, individual submission to the Will of God NOT THRU mullahs; equality of men and women) NOTHING that they want, hence no way of bargaining with them.

They are willing to die, to kill us or make us submit to their oppression: Shariah Law (as THEY interpret it) and they've demonstrated clearly that they're only limited in killing us by ABILITY, NOT WILL!

Americans are waking up, this war is unlike previous efforts, and is calling Americans to creative thinking BEYOND making war, WHILE successfully waging an effective and focused war on identified targets around the world.

You check out the teachings of The Glory of God yet? He speaks with the authority of, well, God. And He's NOT Muslim.

7/18/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Over at LGF they report one of the bombers just received a new shiny red mercedes. I hope someday I can become that oppressed!

7/18/2005 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Thank you.

I still fail to see how the murder of Buddhist schoolteachers in Thailand is an logical response to the "understandable rage" of the "oppression" that you speak of.

You note that, " Of course the situation is complicated and there are many other threads involved, over which people can argue endlessly as they try to promote their own political agenda." This is most certainly true. Considering some of the terminology that you're using, which sounds strongly Marxist in its orientation, I'm curious as to what degree that you feel that you yourself may be engaging in this process. It sounds like you're attributing motives based on 19th century exploitation theories...

Moving on you note: "if you screw over other people, whether it be politically, economically or militarily, they are going to fight back." This is undoubtedly true. But it leaves out the essential fact that some people will hate you, hurt you, attack you, and murder you without any "screwing over" at all. If history tells us anything, it tells us that there have long been individuals and groups who will decide to attack, destroy, and annihilate with absolutely no provocation whatsoever.

You insist, "the sustaining force of terror and violence in the world comes from normal human beings who are reacting with understandable rage at previous wrongs that have been done to them." Unfortunately, I fear that this remark has little justification. Recent news reports indicate, with some level of surprise, that many suicide bombers and other jihadis ARE NOT from the ghetto or in other ways economically disenfranchised. The only thing I find odd about this is that there has been little reason to ever think that they were from marginalized or oppressed classes. From Mohammed Atta and his crew to this latest bombings in London, we see what could best be described as "fortunate sons."

I appreciate your sincerity and candor, I just fear you're operating from a questionable premise. That premise seems to be that if someone is willing to murder British commuters, Iraqi school children, Buddhist teachers, or anybody else that they must have some legitimate grievance. I disagree. In a like manner, I don't believe that the Spanish were acting on a legitimate grievance against the Aztecs or the Incas. I don't believe that the Nazis were acting on a legitimate grievance against the Jews. And I don't belleve that the Japanese were acting on a legitimate grievance against the residents of Nan King.

The causes (and therefore the solutions) to human violence seem rarely based on issues of social justice, "fairness", or exploitation. Personally, I'm highly skeptical that the democratization drive in the middle east will be as helpful as many here at Belmont seem to feel it will be. But on the other hand, I'm even more skeptical that the Left in West is offering any solutions that are more intelligent or wise. Both seem to be projecting their own fantasies and ideologies onto this situation. Both seem to be thinking along the lines of AQ, if I understand right: convert the world to our way of thinking and all the evil will go away.

7/18/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Convert or die

7/18/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Slavery to the Laws of Allah, as interpreted by the Ruler of Mecca.
I think not for me or mine

Someone thinks that way in Thailand as well.
William is right, if you push someone may push back
Who pushed first?
Who struck John?

Who can strike harder
Who can strike faster

Only a fool picks a fight they know they will lose
The Opfor are not fools

7/18/2005 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Rem870 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2005 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger jsk said...

In thinking about the consequences of the WOT, both intended and un-, I would be very interested in hearing what the BC community thinks about the potential for and ramifications of an outright Shia-Sunni civil war in Iraq. The recent spate of horrific bombings in Iraq have spurred the usual hand wringing in the MM about a violent Shia backlash and the outbreak of a true civil war. From the perspective of the U.S., would such a Shia onslaught against the terrorists and the Sunni elements that are allied with the Jihadists really be such a bad thing? Others have posed this question, and my apologies if I have missed passed discussions of this possibility on the Belmont Club. It just seems to me that unleashing the pent up Shia and Kurdish rage against the Bathists and their Jihadist allies would be a natural and very helpful way to crush the Iraqi rebellion. Or at the very least, a credible threat of such an onslaught might convince all but diehard Islamic fighters to abandon their car bombs and walk to the nearest ballot box. Am I totally wrong on this?

7/18/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, using host's thesis, opfor may see victory as getting in with the local radicals, so that he can be cool and not have to herds goats back at dad's household. Guy'll be deadly in time, without ths slightest notion of world-historical forces. That to me is the greater danger--not that opfor thinks it can win, but that opfor just wants any change at all, anything, death even, is better than the dead zone of timeless frozen sameness--now that that entropy can be 'felt' via the visual pressure of modernism elsewhere. I guess I'm asking, what *is* victory for opfor? Could it be just *being* opfor?

BTW, "...the War on Terror is ostensibly a fight against the nihilism of radical Islam, it is probably much more: just how much more history will presently tell us. Radical Islam may find they are in the grip of larger forces whose power they have unleashed, which in their arrogance they sought to control only to find that events have acquired a dynamic of their own."

Great insight, Wretchard. William Knight's premise is "wrong" objectively but may well be only too true subjectively. Tell Ahmed the goatherd that he is aggrieved, then he IS aggrieved. That's the transition, the move from dissatisfied goatherd to Heroic Martyr.

So, William, in view of capitalism's track record in solving the goatherd subsistance syndrome world-wide where applied--and understanding that nothing besides markets can do it (not even free black-gold)--what long-term prescription is better than the one we are trying to implement right now?

7/18/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger fido said...

It is and always has been about power. How irresistable to these young men to think that they can go from being a nothing - an adolescent almost ready to be an adult - with no prospects for the future - to becoming a hero. A hero not only in the eyes of the extended family (tribe) but to the extent they are exalted by Allah (Power God).
I agree that the solution lies in fee market economies that provide real opportunity for such as these.

7/18/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

I have just this morning donated $100 to the Virginia Republican Party because of having to have read that whining post by william knight. I wish I had more money. I can't afford do this every time.

7/18/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Buddy,

You make a great point. There have always been demagogues willing to get people worked up against all manner of enemies.

7/18/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Killing Buddhists, known for their pacifism, is like shooting fish in a barrel. The Taliban may have set the example when they blew up ancient Buddhist sculptures in Afghanistan. The practice of non-Islamic religion itself is an affront to the armed enforcers of Islam, but they will not stop at the destruction of the past until they have eradicated every vestige of an alternate history, from the present to oldest of antiquity.

Islam is focused on destroying the symbols that are not consistent with its teachings, while the West ponders on how to counter it by teaching tolerance to its victims.

Islamic fundamentalists have found ways to exploit the weakness of its enemies, religious freedom, lax immigration laws, due process, tolerance, etc. Those who have felt its sting are angry and finding that the fundamentalists have vulnerabilities too, namely, five times a day when they are bowed towards the meteor.

Whereas the US keeps fairly cozy relationships with European intelligence agencies, civil authorities such as those in Germany and Italy cannot be counted on to see beyond their own self interest.

What we are seeing in Thailand, Iraq, and elsewhere, is a notable lack of public confidence in law enforcements ability to protect its citizens.

7/18/2005 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

The only good thing about 9-11 is the terrorists played their hand a bit too early. Had they waited 20 years, due to demographics, the dynamic would have been much more to their favor.

After 3 or 4 more disasters, more effective tactics will be allowed to be employed against the Post-Colonialist Islamisists.

7/18/2005 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

"squandered that opportunity when it elected to follow the conservative Republican ideology of violence and oppression instead of more intelligent and wise alternatives."

Except for [list of problems from World War 2 to fascism], violence has never solved anything.

William Knight, get lost. That statement of yours alone invalidates you as a posturing fraud who prefers his ivory tower logic to the hard hearted realism of the ground. The condescension of his last few words rankle me to no end.

7/18/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

William,
Are you suggesting that the Buddhists teachers have it coming because they are oppressors?

7/18/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Buddhists? Pacifist? Depends on which Buddhists you're talking to. The Jap Zen Buddhists turned out some of the deadliest warriors in history. The monks of Shaolin may be pacifist, but only in the sense they won't start a fight but they will end it. Gandhi never knew how to even execute a spin kick.

Don't provoke Buddhists too much, because they're just as vicious as anybody else when they get riled up, and odds are the Thais are getting really pissed off. And they don't have Western namby pamby leftists preaching tolerance to them.

7/18/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Exactly, and there is no "Team America" and we are not policemen for the world.
However, as a nation we can act to protect our own interests. We can engage in active warfare against state sponsors of terrorists hostile to the US and our allies.

The War on Terror has become a misunderstood declaration that is dangerously close to undermining our real wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The War against Terrorism is a struggle against terrorists. One of our weapons in this struggle will be War against state sponsors of terrorism.

7/18/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

JSK,

A Shia-Sunni Civil war in Iraq would probably turn into a proxy war between Sunni and Shia powers in the region.

One reason explaining the rise of the Wahhabi Madrasa is that the Sunnis witnessed the Iranian revolution and Iran's attempts to shake things up in land of the "Holy Mosques". Saudi and other rich Sunni kingdoms then started to finance radical Wahhabi Maddrassas to counteract that rise in Shiism.

With Iran shaking things up in KSA, this forced the Sauds to give more liberty to the Mutawas to deny liberty to others.

While I see your point, I don't think that would be a good thing.

7/18/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are no longer internal state sponsored terrorists in either Afghanistan or Iraq, the terror sponsoring regimes are long gone.
The 'States' that we have emplaced certainly are less capable of maintaining internal security then the previous regimes. Neither will be exporting terrorists soon.

The "Wars" are over in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There are no Opfor military formations in either locale.
The battle has devolved into counter insurgency operations and police work. Neither are US Army or Marine maneuver units specialty.

Get the right skill sets in place.
The truth is we have had way to many people over there, in Iraq, for a couple of years now.

7/18/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Zeno said...

I'm sorry for repeating the same arguments that have been posted better by others before me, but I can't stand anymore to hear people talking about "root causes" and "desperate terrorists". Really, you could similarly argue that there were many "root causes" for Nazism - hyperinflation, the Versailles treaty, etc - but while these certainly helped the rise of Nazism they're not a direct cause of Hitler's insane ideology. Just as poverty and and a (wrongly) perceived opression of the West might be the breeding ground for suicide-bombers, but they do not explain OBL's ideology.
Besides, it's already an established fact that it is the middle and upper classes who provide most fanatics, not the poor and desperate. One of the British suicide bombers drove a Mercedes and went to College.
I'm writing from Brazil, and there are many poor people here who feel "desperate"; there is also a certain deal of anti-american feeling (motivated in part by American support for military dictatorships in the 70's or for (wrongly) perceived economic opression). Yet, while some poor people might become robbers or murderers or drug dealers, there are no suicide bombings. At all. Why is it that only the "Islamic have-nots" blow things up when frustrated?

7/18/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When Bush landed on the aircraft carrier, and following Tommy Franks advise, announced the end of "Major" combat operations, he was right.

We should have started the hand over and the troop draw downs then. The idea of a greater 'footprint' keeping a 'lid on it' is nonsensical. Just more trucks and mess halls to target.

Iraq for Iraqis

7/18/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,
"There are no longer internal state sponsored terrorists in either Afghanistan or Iraq, the terror sponsoring regimes are long gone.
The 'States' that we have emplaced certainly are less capable of maintaining internal security then the previous regimes. Neither will be exporting terrorists soon.

The "Wars" are over in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There are no Opfor military formations in either locale.
The battle has devolved into counter insurgency operations and police work. Neither are US Army or Marine maneuver units specialty.

Get the right skill sets in place.
The truth is we have had way to many people over there, in Iraq, for a couple of years now."

Your role here as the go to guy for military affairs is begining to frighten me.

First, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be over when we accomplish our political goals.

Second, war is often divided into phases. The phase we are currently in involves hostile action against Baathist remnants, Taliban remnants, sympathizers, and foreign fighters.

Saddam is in comfortable confinement, and we have done well arresting those on our deck of cards, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not over.

7/18/2005 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

The goal is to stir up British hooligans and Shiite militias. It is hoped that the first will alienate populations in Europe and Islam in general. The second is hoped to trigger iraqi civil war, in which it is assumed that the "true faith" will win. And if faced with murder as is already happening Sunni will tend to unite. The best recruiting method possible. There will also be massive sympathy for the "oppressed" Sunni in the rest of the Islamic world. Increasing aid will come in, the United States will be blamed for this "plo against true Islam." In a perfect jihadist world Arab and other Islamic governments will fall or be converted.

The vision is dead people, lots of dead people, the more the better. The good ones will go to heaven, and others will be motivated by their deaths. Iraq offers an opportunity to fight the fale believing Shia. If all goes well there can be middle eastern war that draws in Arab countries and Iran. In the perfect dream world oil will stop while oppressed European and other Muslims realize they have no choice, but to kill as many unbelievers as possible.

It is an apocalyptic vision.

You are correct in saying it might turn out badly for them, but they believe they have god on their side. After all even Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell believe god is angry at America and have publicly said that 9/11 was visited upon us for our sins.

7/18/2005 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Here's another take on the "root-cause":

Klaus says multiculturalism, immigration cause terrorism
The excessive openness of the West to immigrants from other cultural environments facilitates attacks by radical Islamists in western countries, President Vaclav Klaus said in an interview printed Saturday in the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).

"This [openness] is in any case a suitable soil for these things [attacks] to happen," Klaus said.

He said that multiculturalism is a tragic mistake of western civilisation for which all will pay dearly. Such openness is not the direct cause of terror, but it is terrorism's fundamental cause, Klaus said. He compared multiculturalism to the role Marx's teaching played in the crimes of communism.

He said at the same time that multiculturalism is not an explanation for the recent attacks in London. "Multiculturalism is an ideology that says that you should emigrate and to make claim to your civilisation, your group and ethnic interests" in the new countries, Klaus said.

"Mass emigration has emerged as a false ideology according to which there exists a kind of claim, a general human right to wander anywhere around the world," Klaus said.
He added that this suppresses the civil rights of the original inhabitants.

If people leave for a place, they should fully accept the place, Klaus said. He said there is a hope for remedy in that this demand is shared by more and more countries, and that the naive ideas from about 30 years ago no longer apply.


Klaus says multiculturalism, immigration cause terrorism

7/18/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat,

While I've not been following Stratfor lately, they made the point repeatedly that the biggest failure of the Bush administration was in not being forthright about the "real reasons" for the Iraq invasion. Stratfor insists that the real reason was not WMD, freeing the Iraq from a dictator, nor even all this democracy talk. Stratfor felt that it was nothing more than a means of positioning US forces in the single most strategic piece of real estate in the middle east, which would then serve as a base for operations in other countries.

I get the sense we will not be leaving Iraq any time soon. But then again, I fear that we are only in the very opening stages of this conflict with militant Islam. The prelude has yet to finish. The night is still young.

7/18/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,
"When Bush landed on the aircraft carrier, and following Tommy Franks advise, announced the end of "Major" combat operations, he was right.

We should have started the hand over and the troop draw downs then. The idea of a greater 'footprint' keeping a 'lid on it' is nonsensical. Just more trucks and mess halls to target.

Iraq for Iraqis"

War is the expression of political power. I must have missed all the Victory parades that followed Franks announcement that "Major" combat operations were over. Logically, his pronouncement allows for "minor" combat operations, which doesn't mean very much to those who are still fighting in Iraq. If we fail to accomplish our political objectives in Iraq we will have lost the war, and it go down in the history books as a Defeat.

7/18/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Attack the enemy and destroy it.
The enemy resides in it's military, just like Bobby Lee and the ANV.
Or the enemy resides in the people, like Mao swimming in a sea of sympathizers.
Saddam and his remnents do not have an Army. It is much more like a criminal gang. The out country terrorists are not a job that the 4th Infantry was ever designed to handle.
Counter insurgency work requires a higher level of local human intelligence work. This requires language skills that my son's USMC Artillery unit does not have. There is not one troop in his unit that speaks Iraqi fluently.
They should not cycle back to Iraq, they have the wrong skills for counter insurgency.

More Army does not mean more leathality.
Less can often be more.

7/18/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

William Knight's comments beg a question: Given that the "historical perspective" argument is so prevalent, and so thoroughly convincing to those that hold it to be valid, how will the US left respond to further violence in our midst? Because it is an airtight worldview (i.e., any oppositional stance only proves it’s truth by exposing the inconsideration for the “victims”), I see no possibility that anything short of horror would change many minds, and then it would be too late.

7/18/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Subdivisions of Islam

7/18/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's too bad that William Knight's viewpoint, trying to be lofty wrt to war/violence, advising 'root causes' as the start point, can't seem to take that one more step back to loftiness, and see that if there's no 'just war' then there's no 'just grievance' either.

That the jealousy and envy which demagogues exploit for power, shouldn't exist. That a rich man shouldn't be hated by a poor man. That the message of the Golden Rule is the the truth. It's all very beautiful. And millions of us are in fact trying to move in that direction.

But meanwhile--let's not commit suicide-by-terrorist. What we're getting at is, grievances are subjective--related to one culture luckily, by climate or whatever, having more than another, and this geography & history being turned into a current criminal offense.

This is bad "talk". Bad "talk" goes into a fence-sitting Arab watching CNN all the way from bin Laden's Thousand Year Reich to Pelosi and Kennedy calling OIF a "grotesque mistake" that we've "already lost". This sort of 'talk' doesn't just kill our soldiers, it kills the enemy's soldiers too--and helps only the "golden-chain" masters.

"Talk" has never been more dangerous. The turmoil of what it--in conjunction with local demagogues the world over--does to the process of democracy, can become a de-facto argument against democracy itself. Just as al Zawaheri said in that video a month ago. There's never been a better time for our Pelosis and Kennedys to shut the F**K up before we lose the world to an ideology that once ensconsed will never--for eternity--be pried loose again.

7/18/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What is the 'political' solution
Once the Iraqi have their election, by your definition, we will be done. A sovereign federal republic. How long do we have to baby sit it? And just how many sitters will it take? Why are not 200,000 locals capable of fighting this alledged 20,000 man Opfor.

Car bombings a common in Israel, how many troops should we dispatch to save them.
London is a hotbed of Terrorist activity, we do we roll?
The Cavalry awaits orders
Most of the Terrorists have come through Pakistan, why are we waiting?
Elections for the Afghans were completed long ago. Why are they unable to field an adequate internal security force? Are we helping or hindering our indig allies with our continued over bearing presence?

7/18/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...

Because of misinterpretations of my previous statement

"the sustaining force of terror and violence in the world comes from normal human beings who are reacting with understandable rage at previous wrongs that have been done to them"

I'll make one addition:

"or to those they care about, support, or identify with."

This is normally implied when a person identifies with others who have been wronged, but I see that it's necessary to be explicit about it in this forum. The London bombers were acting in support of those in the middle east who have been wrongfully oppressed.

I don't agree with their actions of course, but I can understand what their motivations are. The problem with many Bush supporters is that they don't attempt or even want to understand the motivations of terrorists. Instead, they dehumanize them and try to view the issue as a simplistic struggle of good vs. evil.

James Kielland, you try to bring a little more historical context to understanding the source of violence in the world. You assert that previous incidents of large-scale violence have occurred without legitimate grievance.

Leaving aside some of the earlier examples such as the Spanish and the Aztecs, which are quite a bit older than 19th century colonial exploitation, let's consider the case of the Nazis against the Jews. It is quite true that the direct cause of this violence came from homicidal ideologues who had seized power. However, this violence was made possible through the complicity of the average German citizens, resulting from their grievances, legitimate and otherwise, that developed in the aftermath of World War I.

I will reiterate that the ongoing violence, whether perpetrated by Al Qaeda, Baathists, Muslim militants in Thailand, or Western Military powers, is ultimately fueled by rage of normal people resulting from previous wrongs done to them or those they support.

Conservative ideologues refuse to acknowledge these earlier causes, and instead want only to respond to the immediate actors of terrorism with violence in kind.

Violence is like fire. Sometimes you can use it intelligently to put out a forest fire, but if you don't really understand the underlying causes, you'll just make a bigger fire. That's currently what we are doing.

7/18/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

The GWOT and Terrorism are the echoing remnants of the cold war.

Each side had their fair share of monsters, guerilla groups and tin pot dictators.

Sunni religious extremeists to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Shiite religious extremists to fight the US puppet in Iran and the jooooooos.

The cold war ended and the puppets and guerilla's were left to fend for themselves.

US Miltary Engagements - post cold war

Panama - our out of control puppet
Granada - their out of control puppet
Yugoslovia - their out of control puppets
Afghanistan - our out of control puppets
Iraq - their out of control puppet

7/18/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat--not enough time yet?

7/18/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No william , conservatives do not
"refuse to acknowledge these earlier causes, and instead want only to respond to the immediate actors of terrorism with violence in kind."
No not at all. Many acknowledge and understand the causes of Islamic discontent. Many acknowledge and understand the reasons for another Indian Uprising in Bolivia.
We also understand the Historicly successful way to deal with these challenges.
1 Stop people from beheading journalists.
2 Stop people from committing genocide.
3 Encourage particpatory governence
4 Kill those that would kill you
6 Be first

7/18/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

You write, "I will reiterate that the ongoing violence, whether perpetrated by Al Qaeda, Baathists, Muslim militants in Thailand, or Western Military powers, is ultimately fueled by rage of normal people resulting from previous wrongs done to them or those they support."

Would you say that these wrongs are objective wrongs or merely perceived wrongs?

You insist that, "Conservative ideologues refuse to acknowledge these earlier causes.." to which I can only wonder what it is precisely that you want who to say or do to whom to correct these things. Your original post suggested the idea of more intelligent and wise actions. What are these?

Lastly, you make note of the fighting fire with fire. In a sense I agree with you and I think what you're doing is simply buttressing the point made by Wretchard in his post. Wide groups of people from around the world are beginning to respond to what they perceive to be the wrongs inflicted upon them by militant Islam.

7/18/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

William, I think you're missing the point. Nobody disagrees with you in kind--tho perhaps in degree--that injustice exists. Subjective vs objective isn't important once the fire is lit, as you imply.

But...what do we DO? How do we reverse the Mongol Invasions, the Crusades, being born in the deserts instead of in Iowa's 20' deep topsoil?

7/18/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Would your insight have closed Auschwitz?

7/18/2005 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger janet in venice said...

as far as terrorism-
sponsoring states go, the saudi royal family and their blood oath with al wahhab is the one that's still standing.

7/18/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Zeno said...

"the problem with many Bush supporters is that they don't attempt or even want to understand the motivations of terrorists. Instead, they dehumanize them" (william knight)

William,
I'd say it is the terrorists who "dehumanizes" us westerners, when blowing themselves up and causing indiscriminate murder of civilians. But you're right: I, for one, even not being your typical Bush supporter, do not want too much to "understand" the motivations of terrorists. It's not like we need to offer them psychologic guidance or counsel. It's enough to know they kill innocent people and to know that they need to be fought, by military force if necessary. William, really, you might like or not Bush, but I don't understand at all your sympathy for cold-blooded murderers. So we're "dehumanizing" them? Poor things. No wonder they blow themselves up.

7/18/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy
the war is not lost
The 1st phase of the war is done, we won. What we have now,
the peace, is mismanaged, but not lost. The Army's job is to kill people and break things. In Iraq we build schools, water treatment plants, etc. an infinidom. These are not tasks that they as functioning orginizations, are designed or built to do. They will get it done, but we are misusing our assets.

People are irresponsible, until given responsibility. Then aome rise to the occasion, some do not.

Iraq can only be governed and policed by Iraqis. Our goal should be to get there as fast as we can.
We wasted over a year with Bremer, let US not waste any more.

7/18/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

William

Lots of general criticism (Republicans are "violent", Terrorists are "oppressed"), and plain vanilla advice - we need to
"understand root causes".

But nothing specific. One, just one, constructive suggestion would be nice, and I'm sure you would move up a few notches in the eyes of some of the other commenters here. Not that you care, but you should, because many of them spend quite a bit of time trying to understand "root causes".

And, if you can, try not to use the words "colonialism".

By the way, from your comments about "conservative ideologues responding with violence", I assume that you opposed the war in Afghanistan. That's fine, but you might want to use that as a starting point for your suggestions.

7/18/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

OT -- I riffed on the comments here, yet again, at Gates of Vienna. It was something Jakita said the other day. See The Racist Hegemonic Patriarchal Oppressor’s Burden.

7/18/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Janet, we have two enemies in KSA. The AQ element fighting the royal family, and the royal family's AQ element.

We have an interest in an incremental house-cleaning below the radar.

This interest involves the vulnerability of the oil fields, and what that applies to the world's immediate need to put daily--daily--food on 6 billion plates.

7/18/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No buddy
we either most do nothing, because it is hopeless.
Or we must nuke every last one of them, because it is hopeless.

The Mohamandees are omnipotent, their ideology pure.
Always remeber we come from an imperfect past, and so, can do no good. Our intentions are always suspect, evil greedy capitalists that we are.

7/18/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...

buddy larsen said
But...what do we DO? How do we reverse the Mongol Invasions, the Crusades, being born in the deserts instead of in Iowa's 20' deep topsoil?

...Would your insight have closed Auschwitz?


What do we do? Once Auschwitz has happened, you have to fight to stop it. But you have to do more. You also have to do things that prevent the next Auschwitz 30 years down the road. Do whatever it takes to ensure a just settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Put serious pressure on the Central Asian Republic dictatorships instead of just using their military bases. Provide all of the aid money promised to the nightmare in Africa. Try to make use of your resources in the State Depatment BEFORE you invade a country so that you can have some clue of how to go about reconstructing a mess. Try to work diplomatically with other powers in the world instead of spitting in their face by nominating an arrogant asshole like John Bolton. There are a lot of things that can be done, but they require wise and intelligent leaders. So another thing that we can do is to try to elect some.

7/18/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"What is the 'political' solution
Once the Iraqi have their election, by your definition, we will be done. A sovereign federal republic. How long do we have to baby sit it? And just how many sitters will it take? Why are not 200,000 locals capable of fighting this alledged 20,000 man Opfor.

Car bombings a common in Israel, how many troops should we dispatch to save them.
London is a hotbed of Terrorist activity, we do we roll?
The Cavalry awaits orders
Most of the Terrorists have come through Pakistan, why are we waiting?
Elections for the Afghans were completed long ago. Why are they unable to field an adequate internal security force? Are we helping or hindering our indig allies with our continued over bearing presence?"

The political objectives are quite clear. Destroy the government of a nation/state hostile to the US and its allies.
Fulfill our legal or ethical obligations or responsibilities to establish a stable government and a military capable of national defense.

How long American fighting forces serve in Iraq will be according to a negotiated SOFA. A Status of Forces Agreement, which might allow for continued deployment of American forces at the request of the Iraqi government.

You can't get to a SOFA without a stable government. The desired effect is a new government neutral to or not openly hostile to the US.

Desert Rat said,

"Why are not 200,000 locals capable of fighting this alledged 20,000 man Opfor."

The Iraqi government will take responsibily for its own security when it is in both our interests. When it does it will be fighting against an enemy using asymetrical warfare, or an active insurgency or a new variant of both. It is in our national interest to support them in that endeavor.

Desert Rat said,
"Car bombings a common in Israel, how many troops should we dispatch to save them.
London is a hotbed of Terrorist activity, we do we roll?"

We are not policemen for the world. We will work on the problems above in many ways, that might include a military role but only according to a Status of Forces Agreement between allied nation/states.

Desert Rat said,
"Most of the Terrorists have come through Pakistan, why are we waiting?"

Waiting on what? We are engaged with Pakistan. Our position with Pakistan and the laundry list of other countries that you can no doubt provide will be much stronger with nuetral or allied governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Desert Rat said,

"Elections for the Afghans were completed long ago. Why are they unable to field an adequate internal security force? Are we helping or hindering our indig allies with our continued over bearing presence?"

We remain there until all of our political objectives have been accomplished, and according to a Status of Forces Agreement with the new government. If the newly formed and elected government had decided that our troops should be withdrawn, then we wouldn't be where we are today. Fortunately, the government allows our continued presence there which some perceive to be in our national interest.

7/18/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

This,piece of antedeluvian marxist nonsense
"You left out another important word that lies at the root of the violence and terror that is boiling around the world: oppression. Until more people around the world wake up to the reality of the political and economic oppression of the haves upon the have-nots, terrorism will continue to plague us all".

Would be OK but for the fact that the violence is being perpetrated by those living on top of the richest oil reserves in history.
The West spends astronomical amounts in the Middle East,why is it a shithole?

7/18/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

William, I'm sorry, but we ARE doing all those things you recommend. To say we're not--and to toss the epithet at a career record such as Bolton's--is to identify yourself as just the sort of partisan ideologue that you are accusing others of being. Not to be rude, but that's the truth.

7/18/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, LOL!

7/18/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I reject the idea that US troops are under both the control of Mr Karzhai, or that he has an open tab at the bar.
I am all in favor of a secure Iraq, Afgahnistan et el.
I am not in favor of open ended commitments where we misapply our assets.
If this is to be a long , or even, generational conflict, we had better build a force to fight it.

The 3rd Armor & 4th ID are not counterinsurgency forces. To try to employ them as such is wasteful.

We are not engaged with Pakistan in the mountain regions, hell, even the Pakistani Govenment is not engaged with the inhabitiants there. That is where the bad guys are. It is dangerous and uncontrolled out there. We should either be there too, or come on home. Half measures will not win, and US like a winner.
To continue on a path that is going in the wrong direction is foolish. Time to take a compass reading and a map check.

7/18/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

The idea that poverty and oppression are by themselves the root cause of anything just doesn't bear up to scrutiny. By that standard South Korea and Taiwan should be producing suicide bombers and violent radical militias now, just like "Palestine". In a half century those "Asian tigers" raised themselves from nothing to the functioning and prosperous states they are now, and without the massive infusions of foreign aid like the US gives to Egypt.

WHY? Why are those oppressed Asians capable of improving themselves and setting up responsible polities without resorting to suicide-terror? What makes them different from the Arabs?

One word: Islam.

7/18/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Yellow Rain" for the Hindu Kush?

7/18/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

oops!

7/18/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"buddy
the war is not lost
The 1st phase of the war is done, we won. What we have now,
the peace, is mismanaged, but not lost. The Army's job is to kill people and break things. In Iraq we build schools, water treatment plants, etc. an infinidom. These are not tasks that they as functioning orginizations, are designed or built to do. They will get it done, but we are misusing our assets.

People are irresponsible, until given responsibility. Then aome rise to the occasion, some do not.

Iraq can only be governed and policed by Iraqis. Our goal should be to get there as fast as we can.
We wasted over a year with Bremer, let US not waste any more."

There is no second phase of war that has anything to do with managing the peace. There is no peace there at all under any context of the word. There will be a narrowly defined peace there after the new government is stable, a new Status of Forces Agreement with coalition governments is ratified, and only until the engagement of the Iraqi Government in an act of War.

Desert Rat said,

"The Army's job is to kill people and break things. In Iraq we build schools, water treatment plants, etc. an infinidom. These are not tasks that they as functioning orginizations, are designed or built to do. They will get it done, but we are misusing our assets."

More NONSENSE, the Army, Navy, and Air Force all have some variant on a Civil Engineer. Civil engineers build and repair stuff, and when and where is dependent on their orders. This notion that military forces are ONLY designed to kill people and break things is a popular fiction.

7/18/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

http://users.skynet.be/terrorism/html/chemical_yr.htm

but tha's a lotta trouble just to try to out-irony desert rat! ;-)

7/18/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Buddy: advise a course in Remedial Linking.

7/18/2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...

William, I'm sorry, but we ARE doing all those things you recommend.

Afraid not. The Israelis and the Palestinians are at a critical juncture right now with the upcoming pullout from Gaza. The ceasefire is breaking down. What is Bush doing about this crisis, right now?

The actual new aid money appropriated so far for Africa is far short of what Bush promised in his initiative ($850 million in 2004, http://www.avert.org/pepfar.htm), and we have yet to see if the full $15 billion will be appropriated by 2008.

As for promoting reform in the CAR's, can you enlighten me with some facts about what we are actually doing there?

I'll admit that I'm partisan, but I'm not an ideologue. I'll support what works. If the invasion of Iraq had brought democracy and peace, I'd have given kudos to Bush. I still will if by some miracle it comes to pass. But everything that I've read so far indicates that it is a mess and is getting worse.

7/18/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I was an engineer in the Army
We destroyed things.
Building was not really our forte.

Civil Engineers units are not the bulk of our 130,000 man force in Iraq, to think otherwise is wishful thinking.

Much like that follow on car suicide bombing a few days ago. Our force there was inept. Perimeter Security non existant. Those kids died, in part, because of the poor tactical deployment of our troops on the ground.
Less is more. The NG and even RA units are not good policemen.

7/18/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't forget the opportunity for plain old Weirdos.

7/18/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I used to build things, and then I...

7/18/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

There is no such thing as the GWOT. It simply doesn't exist.

However there IS a AGWOTEFTBBTAM.

The "Almost Global War On Terror, Except For That Bit Between Texas And Mexico".

7/18/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In the History Books,
this will come to be known as:
.THE WAR ff the WEIRD'OS!

7/18/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

of

7/18/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Basically, then, William, you just desire more success, sooner, cheaper, more complete, and with proper atmospherics.

Okay, I agree with you. So does George Bush and every sumbitch on the planet, save the enemy.

And, I share your frustration, tho i'm convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that Sen Kerry would've taken the short run pain relief, the ticker-tape parade, and left us in a long-term slide to even greater conflict down the road.

Baron, it ain't me, it's the damn tools!

7/18/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ed,
...that too,
they are covered under:
"Weirdos."

7/18/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gooday!, Bud!

7/18/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Wadhington attacked the Hessions at Trenton with 3,000 men dressed in rags and saved the fledgling Republic
Iraq cannot defend itself with 200,000 men and billions in US aid.
Hogwash
I bet the Iraqis will do just fine, if they can not, well no amount of US blood or treasure will make it so.

7/18/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ed, vote for a garissoned wall. Let's spend forty hundred jillion bucks, and make those terrorists come ashore on the seacoast. Or land an instrument-rated pilot in one the unpopulated size-of-a-small-state counties in west Texas.

7/18/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

It is likely that the US is training indigs for counter-insurgency operations as we speak. It is likely as well that these units will be responsible for turning the tide against foreign Jihadis. But indigs, once trained will eventually go beyond their mandate. Military intelligence is first praised for effectively employing indigs to advance US military objectives, then not soon after, criticized for setting loose uncontrolled militants, such as the Mujahadeen. Sound vaguely like the blowback effect of SOA recruits in SA?

7/18/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

garrisoned. Good point, rat, your closing line.

7/18/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ed
Just like the Queen of Hearts in Alice's Wonderland
The 'war' is what we want it to be, when we need it to be, against whomever we need it to be, today.
Trust us, you bunch of vigilantes.
There is no threat on the border.
Remember the 'War on Drugs'
such success
ah... to emulate that model in the War on Terror. Soon

7/18/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,
"I was an engineer in the Army
We destroyed things. Building was not really our forte."

What was your MOS? I want to read the job discription.

7/18/2005 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Among your suggestions:

"Do whatever it takes to ensure a just settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Just in whose eyes? Your eyes? Netanyahu's eyes? The Palestinians' eyes? Which Palestinians? Considering the divisiveness within the Palestinian community itself, I can't imagine ANY settlement in which some characters would feel was in some way unjust. And even if I could imagine such a settlement, history shows that people have a nasty tendency to gain power by insisting that something was not just.

Beyond the enormous challenges in defining, let alone implementing, a "just settlement" I am not sure that there is any compelling evidence that sympathy for the Palestinian cause is driving Al Qaida. Perhaps fueling to some degree, but not driving. And if it's just fueling it doesn't seem inconcievable that militant islam could move right on up to another grievance.

You further suggest, "Provide all of the aid money promised to the nightmare in Africa."

While I agree that Africa is a problem that needs to be addressed, I've not seen anything to indicate that Thai Buddhists, London busses, and Iraqi children are being exploded as a protest of lack of adequate foreign aid to Africa. Additionally, I've long heard the Left constantly outraged about the US "propping up dictatorships and corrupt governments" around the world, which some have even insisted is a "root cause" of terrorism. Wouldn't massive handovers of money to such African governments be the exact thing so many leftists have been outraged about in the past?

You conclude, "There are a lot of things that can be done, but they require wise and intelligent leaders. So another thing that we can do is to try to elect some."

Any suggested candidates?

7/18/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

76 A20

7/18/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The War on Drugs is soluble with a stroke of the pen. That other war ain't.

7/18/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We call for a reformation in Islam, demand a sea change of attitude.
The fault lines are there
Shia, Sunni, Iraq, a regional battleground.
Winner gets the religion of Islam
Let's get out of the way and see 'em go at it.
Our dreams of a federal republic in Iraq would be squashed, but a new dream, Greater Kurdistan, could be born. 20 million people deserving their own country, if Federal Iraq fails. A disruption of Syria, Iran and Turkey to be sure. None have been helpful to US lately, anyway.

7/18/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

James Kielland -- The only "just solution" envisioned by the Palestinians would be the end of the state of Israel and the removal of all the Jews from "Palestine".

And the other grievances are already in place, waiting for us. Start with "Al-Andalus"...

7/18/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

mos 12Bravo20 baby
Combat Demolition & Construction Specialist

Built triple concertina wire fence, blew up trees & roads
Cut landing zones and laid land mines. Cannot remember one school that we built in six years.
We did build a rappel tower at the School of the Americas, Fort Gulick, Panama

1st Cav, 2nd Inf, 193rd Inf.

Served in Germany, Korea and the CZ/ Panama

7/18/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Chain saws and machetes, not hammers & nails

7/18/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Assualt bridges, pontoon & Bailey

7/18/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not one soccer field

7/18/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"Wadhington attacked the Hessions at Trenton with 3,000 men dressed in rags and saved the fledgling Republic
Iraq cannot defend itself with 200,000 men and billions in US aid.
Hogwash
I bet the Iraqis will do just fine, if they can not, well no amount of US blood or treasure will make it so."

Yes as we all know Washington triumped over homicide bombers, IEDs, political assination, and the MSM, to save the fledgling republic.

7/18/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I heard on TV that Condi is making sure everyone around her has read "1776", by that author whose name I can't recollect.

7/18/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

William Knight goes a bit too far Left, but why do people knee-jerk "No!!" so, when told there are root causes? There is injustice in the world, there is class oppression, dictatorships where power resides with only a small inner circle while millions are disenfranchised, there are brutal Occupations in Tibet and Palestine - there is wealth concentration in the hands of a few from the corrupt Mexican "ownership society folks" as Dubya would put it, to the monarchs of Saudi Arabia. As long as root causes exist and are severe enough, you will have popular discontent seeking outlets.

The solution to that is not as has been emphasized - on a Global War on Terror - with "hero" cops, firefighters, and soldiers sporting golly gee wiz wonder toys.

That's just a component of a struggle. B-2 bombers and SEAL teams are nice to have, but don't
address underlying problems.


On the other side, William Knight & the Left are wrong in that for the last 800 years, Radical Islam has traditionally picked on and butchered weaker foes - Armenians, Hindu peasants, East Timorean tribes, minorities in Islamic nations, Sudan blacks. Islamists don't champion the weak. They prefer to prey on them.

The other aspect of the Hard Left that growingly disgusts mainstream populations in advanced nations seeking to advance justice is their Un-Holy Alliance with Radical Islamists. Islamists that stand for subjugation of women, homophobia, terrorist war-waging, intolerance not just of "infidels" but sects within Islam itself, its cult of death, it's unwillingness to have a Reformation, it's proud, backwards ignorance.

This fatal attraction between the Left and Islam is masked somewhat by the global hatred of Bush and Zionism diverting attention - but eventually Bush will be gone and the worst excesses of Zionism checked by agreement or imposition of final ME Borders.......

Then, temporary blinders off, all will see the Hard Left and Islamists locked in a deep French Kiss. Led by utopian pacifism, moral relativism, and multi-culti worship there - it will be a horrible historical mistake for the Left and will destroy them until they have their own Reformation and come up with a new Progressive society model that has a moral compass, rejects Stalinism, terror, and seeks to preserve the best of Western Civ, not destroy it.

7/18/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"mos 12Bravo20 baby
Combat Demolition & Construction Specialist

Built triple concertina wire fence, blew up trees & roads
Cut landing zones and laid land mines. Cannot remember one school that we built in six years.
We did build a rappel tower at the School of the Americas, Fort Gulick, Panama

1st Cav, 2nd Inf, 193rd Inf.

Served in Germany, Korea and the CZ/ Panama"

Wow, you mean your mos actually has the word "Construction" in the title?

I thought all you did was break things, and kill people.

I'll post that MOS when I find it. What you built was in accordance with your orders, and according to a military objective.

7/18/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

As desert rat has noted, the OpFors are not fools. But lets also distinguish between the true OpFors and regular muslims on the street, and keep in mind that OpFor leadership is working, first and foremost, in the interests of OpFor leadership.

It is in the interest of OpFor leadership for there to be conflict, for it is only in conflict that they themselves are important, or even relevant.

What status and importance did Osama bin Laden have in the Islamic world before he took up arms? What useful skills do any of these people have, except terrorism and fighting?

The biggest threat to the current leadership is that peace should break out, and that people would decide they would rather run their businesses, make some money, and raise a bunch of kids than bother going to a Jihaad rally. Orwell was on the mark in "1984", in that a dictatorship needs a threatening external enemy in order to maintain internal control

7/18/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

It might be appropriate here to mention the overview.
The aroma of Christian freedom is on the march around the world. That progression is the active element stirring up the world and incidentally making it a better place. It has even penetrated the Moslem areas. As many people in many venues have observed it is a Muslim civil war that we are experiencing. On one side you have the pagans who use Islam to enslave the minds of their brothers; little Nimrods, hunters of men's souls and on the other side those muslims who have had a whiff of freedom and like what they see.

The Bible says with authority that the sons of Ishmael are "wild ass men"; their hands are against their brothers and whoever else happens to be around. Add in the Egyptian death cultism and the Persian " will" the Babalonian money people and the Esau natural men and the familiar cast of characters is on stage ready to perform like the villians from a Batman movie.
Think about it: who are the terrorists killing? Mostly poor downtrodden muslims and the people the terrorists think are teaching them about freedom: Mostly American business outreaches.
The elections in Iraq were the turning point in this current conflict. They came out to vote! WOW! That was a big win for sanity.
Isolation of the terrorists is the key.
The main threat to sanity is the American and European far left who want to seat a king or queen on the throne of the United States. They are in the process of doing anything to prevent a victory for this constitutional republic.
We should also keep in mind that the God of the Bible has promised Ishmael ten kingdoms and that means that as such they are here for the duration and that there is something worthwile to God in this being so. But Ishmael and Islam are not the same.

I pray this post is helpful and a valuable contribution to these important discussions.

7/18/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

William,

I've compared the criticism of the left (not necessarily you, but you are providing the buzzwords) to that of a nagging wife, and the rest of us, (not nec. the right, although what passes for the progressive movement today would like to think so) as the henpecked husband.

No amount of effort is enough. No attempt to fix problem is acknoweldged. Only complaints about past "offenses" and conduct, and predictions of failure.

The husband is not perfect, but he's not what his wife says he is.

Aid to Africa, the "Palestinian" cause etc.etc. Fixed tomorrow, these problems would be replaced, like sand in a hole dug at the shore, with new causes and complaints.

And what I don't understand is that with the idea that "progressives" are the smart bunch, thinking of root causes and all of that, how is it that its always the same general root causes?

Muslims murder Londoners or NYers? Well, its US imperialism.

Muslims murder Israelis?
Its Israeli occupation.

Muslims murder children in Beslan?
Its Chechnya and Putin.

Muslims murder children in Iraq?
Its George Bush and the neocons.

Muslims murder Buddhists in Thailand?

Its...

William?

William. Its Muslims.

(Full disclosure, my wife is great)

7/18/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hotdamn, C4 made a good post and didn't sh*t his britches with a 'beware da Jooos' closer! But I didn't know that Bush had endorsed the Mexican oligarches with his 'ownership society' theme. Got a link, there, C4?

7/18/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...

james kielland said:

Just in whose eyes? Your eyes? Netanyahu's eyes? The Palestinians' eyes? Which Palestinians? Considering the divisiveness within the Palestinian community itself, I can't imagine ANY settlement in which some characters would feel was in some way unjust.

Of course you'll never please everyone. All one can do is to try to do what's fair, and work for the mainstream on both sides. I'm no expert on the Israeli/Palestinian problem, but I'll just tell you what I think is fair: Israelis out of the settlements and the Palestinians get half of Jerusalem, that's it.

While I agree that Africa is a problem that needs to be addressed, I've not seen anything to indicate that Thai Buddhists, London busses, and Iraqi children are being exploded as a protest of lack of adequate foreign aid to Africa.

Again, classic short term thinking. I'm not stressing the importance of aid to Africa in response to the London bombing or the Thai Buddhists. I'm stressing the need to address the problem in Africa now to avoid terrorist nightmares coming from there 20 or 30 years from now.

Wouldn't massive handovers of money to such African governments be the exact thing so many leftists have been outraged about in the past?

Who is talking about just doing handovers of money to corrupt governments? There are all kinds of ways of delivering aid: Peace Corps, NGO, UN, direct US military involvement. Here's a mind-blowing concept: do you realize that the 15 billion in aid promised to Africa in 5 years (just promised, mind you, not actually appropriated yet) is being spent every 3 MONTHS in Iraq?

You conclude, "There are a lot of things that can be done, but they require wise and intelligent leaders. So another thing that we can do is to try to elect some."

Any suggested candidates?


Well, I'm sure that anyone I propose will open up a field day for the character assassins in this forum, but here's one: how about Anthony Zinni? He has military and foreign policy experience, especially in the middle east, and correctly called the mess in Iraq.

7/18/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A few booby tramps, some suiciders and assassination plots. Washington succeeded against much greater difficulties than those. He was out numbered by over 10 to 1 by the best Army in the World, but he had the will to win.

A satchel charge attack that kills fifty or a car bombing that kills one hundred is NOTHING.
5,000 KIA in the morning, now that is troubling. If you really think that 800 civilians a month is terrible, that the carnage is 'beyond the pale' just wait.
There could well be a real war, with casualties on a level far beyond everyone's current nightmare. Both to our troops and to the Civilians. Hundreds of thousands could easily be called to account. All because of misjudgments today.
Leg Generals, bureaucrats

7/18/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly my man abakan
you do what you are told, you do your best with what you have.

We constructed, bunkers, trenches, fences, bridges. Things of that nature, not buildings, schools, water pumping stations, infra structure of a country. We'd have done our best, but it is not what we did.
It may not have been done to specifications, but it could have come in ahead of schedule

7/18/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Cedarford, your most intelligent post that I have seen. I am only a long time lurker on this blog, lacking depth in military experience and resources to offer support for my views, offering only a long life as an asset,so I have kept quiet till now. I offer this observation, to me the Koran seems to have about the same validity as Mein Kamf (spelling?) I think our war is with Islam, a system of government designed in the seventh century, which masquerades as a religion.

7/18/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

"If Al Qaeda has failed to gather all Islam beneath its flag it has increasingly succeeded in getting an absurdly disparate coalition of nations and ethnic groups to regard Islam as Public Enemy Number One."
Indeed! My own observations along these lines have for the most part consisted of looking at the news and saying "Look who else these guys have managed to thoroughly piss off.”
It is positively uncanny. Al Qaeda employs suicide attacks, but it appears that the entire movement has a death wish. One can visualize Bin Laden sitting in a cave somewhere and calling an emergency meeting begun with "How could we have forgotten to make mortal enemies of the adherents of African Bantu Witchcraft? I need ideas people!"
Is this really a bizarre terrorist strategic plan, the mindless marching of an "iditology", or a reflection of Wretchard's posit of "All politics is local and that goes for the politics of terrorism as well"?
Or is it simply that the Bin Ladens and Mullah Omars as well as their local equivalents can only thrive in a world of death and decay? In other words, an environment where they can stand tall only because everyone else has been laid low?

7/18/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"A few booby tramps, some suiciders and assassination plots. Washington succeeded against much greater difficulties than those. He was out numbered by over 10 to 1 by the best Army in the World, but he had the will to win."

He suceeded against an Army fighting with conventional tactics, not asymetrical warfare designed to kill civilians to provoke political change. He didn't have to worry about a worldwide media and instant reaction to the day to day warfare across the globe.

7/18/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is the situation in Iraq
Our force is being used where another type of, or better a different extension of our power should be used.

The children are killed congregating around our troops.

Why are the troops there? To protect the children. Had Iraqi Security Forces been manning the check point there would have been no 'sweets', there for no children, subsequently, no two stage sapper attack, that targeted children.

The situation in most of Iraq does not have a US military solution.
We could be doing much better there with less.

7/18/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Well, at least we didn't assassinate that asshole Bolton's character.

7/18/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Brits certainly killed civilians, The Carolina campaign was rampant with British abuse of the colonists. To think that the Brits were playing by Marquee de Queensbury is revisionist at best.

Asymmetrical warfare is much easier and less expensive to fight than a conventional battle. Our challenge is that we are attempting to force the Opfor in Iraq into fighting US on our terms.
My mentors scoff at our tactics in Iraq. We could definitely meet them at their level, and win.
Gotta get wet

7/18/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Global War on Terror

I'm coming to detest that unfortunate phrase as much as I detest "The Religion of Peace" label some hung on Islam.

Similar to the self-touting "heroes" of law enforcement telling us that with more money tossed their way, and politicians nodding and wanting 30 billion for urgent "MANPAD" defense - that we can be perfectly safe....but adding "it's tough, so tough" because We have to be perfect everyday, the terrorist only has to get lucky once

Yeah, like we rely on the FBI and our politicians being "perfect".

Or, the maxim neocon pundits spout We should do what the Israelis tell us to do in the GWOT - no people know how to deal with terrorism better!

As if what Israel has done in it's Occupation is the template for how to get a people to sing Kumbaya. By the Israeli model, when we invaded Afghanistan we should have built Settlements for Americans, taken water resources, set up checkpoints dishing out daily humiliation as a way of stopping Afghanis from resorting to terrorism or supporting outsiders terrorism...

Wretchard writes:

Radical Islam may find they are in the grip of larger forces whose power they have unleashed, which in their arrogance they sought to control only to find that events have acquired a dynamic of their own.

One factor in particular which Osama Bin Laden and his ideologues may have overlooked is the power of extremism to organize disparate forces against extremism itself. If Al Qaeda has failed to gather all Islam beneath its flag it has increasingly succeeded in getting an absurdly disparate coalition of nations and ethnic groups to regard Islam as Public Enemy Number One.


So far, no non-Islamic leader has arisen that urges general violence against ISlam. The "worst" proposals involve checking immigration and watching Islamoid nests closer. In certain countries that has meant that quiet, not openly expressed anger against Islam is still rising. The way this has been thrust into the background by global leaders masked the fundamental irreconcilibilty between Salafi Islam and Communism/Socialism, progressivism, nationalism, Christianity, even Shiite Islam.

If all politics and extremism is local it follows that all opposition to it will be local too. Thai hit men, British football hooligans and Shi'ite militias may never have heard of the Global War on Terror, but they all know the word opportunity.

Unless Islam Reforms and stops it's regular slaughtering of infidels and apostates, this long-suppressed anger against Islamic terrorism and refusal to assimilate will eventually explode. That is how most big massacres or ethnic cleansing events unfold. Perhaps some small-scale stuff might happen - a mosque bombed somewhere, radical Pakis beaten by Brit hooligans ---but the real serious counter-extremism as expressed by a significant part of a non-Muslim country's population will take a significant precipitating event that convinces them that the threat goes past the horrific but managable (Beslan, 9/11) to an unmanagable existential threat (A nuke goes off in a city, a major anthrax attack, a Parliament is nerve gassed.)

In light of that, perhaps it would be better if countries turned a blind eye to counter-extremists taking a toll on radical Muslims - Where "innocent, moderate" Muslim communities also lived in fear of death from random terrorism if Muslims commit yet more terror. The tit-for-tat approach may deter, it may serve as a safety release valve to prevent non-Muslim anger from building up (the blood feud theory), and it may encourage "moderate" Muslims to crack down on radicals as being a great threat to "moderate" Muslims own health and safety.

7/18/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"Exactly my man abakan
you do what you are told, you do your best with what you have.

We constructed, bunkers, trenches, fences, bridges. Things of that nature, not buildings, schools, water pumping stations, infra structure of a country. We'd have done our best, but it is not what we did.
It may not have been done to specifications, but it could have come in ahead of schedule."

A bunker is a building. Yet, you still are avoiding my primary point. Today, we employ military engineers that build schools, rebuild infrastructure, water treatment plants, and this is by design, according to a military necessity.

Incidently, I just noticed that you said you built a reppel tower in a school. So, ultimately your own experience runs contrary to you notion that your job was to break things and kill people.

7/18/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No not at all
Every thing we did, everything we built was to enable other parts of the Combined Arms Team to reach the enemy and kill it, or to protect our troops from being killed.
That was what we trained for and that was our purpose.

Breaking things and killing the enemy, that was always the point of everything. If it did not advance our combat capacity why expend the assets?


If assigned to do something else we'd have hopped to it and done what we could.

7/18/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

I appreciate your suggestion of Zinni, and I think it could potentially be a good one.

My point with the Palestinian issue is that "fair and just" is purely subjective. Suggesting that we can cure terrorism through a settlement there is not particularly useful; in fact the Palestinian situation is quite possibly well beyond our control and our ability to deal with. There is a bit of hubris in your viewpoint. While you admit that there will always be some unhappy people you seem to feel that your idea of fairness will suffice and that we have the power to implement it. I'm not insisting you're wrong on this, but I'm skeptical.

You insist that my inability to connect your African aid package to the current atrocities being committed by militant muslims is "classic short-term thinking." The reason I brought it up is because I was looking for your suggested solutions to the various grievances that you felt were driving things.

It may be that your suggestions would help reduce the likelihood out terrorism arising from Africa in 20-30 years. But it's pure speculation and nothing more. Personally, I do advocate some measure of assistance to Africa, but I have no reason to think that it will reduce Islamic terrorism.. now, or in the future. It may help Africa to be more productive and wealthy, but as we've seen there is little reason to believe economic situations incubate terrorism.

If anything, it appears as if terrorists seem to be coming from the countries with the highest levels of wealth or aid in the Islamic world.

7/18/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Wretchard's point on disparate coalition is right on the money. Hitler created a coalition to defeat him that could not have existed without his efforts. Islamists may be doing the same thing.

Knight's comment is silly - the vast majority of suicide bombers are well off and well educated, i.e. less oppressed than >99% of all the human beings who have ever lived.

There will always be Quislings, Mosleys and Galloways to forgive acts of terror which can be used to advance their domestic agenda.

Remember, a terrorist does not succeed when he kills innocent people, he only succeeds when he alters policy by killing innocent people. It's a very formal dance, call and answer. The left calls, the terrorists answer.

7/18/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

i think he's got you by the short hairs, there, rat. You know the hearts-and-minds elasticities involved better than anyone.

But I know you're making a point--what you're saying is, we're fostering unhealthy dependencies. Prob. quite true...but, jeez, put out the fire with whatever's handy, huh? First?

7/18/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The rappel tower was built to train troopies and officer candidates from Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador. It had a direct effect on the combat capacity of our indig allies in Central America.
It helped train the force that defeated communist expansion in the '80's. Direct cause and effect.

7/18/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Griswe, right--the left legitimizes anything and everything that that will work to create a need for state power.l

7/18/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And no one on the 'right' does that, buddy?

For the most part, domesticly, the Parties are interchangeable

Border security and Work permits.
Peas in a pod, pigs in a blanket

7/18/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Part of the Right does that, rat. But the anti-statist people are also part of the right--the Federalists. The only part of the left that is anymore in the anti-statist camp is the anarchy wing.

7/18/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Buddy, there's also the (dwindling) principled-libertarian faction on the Left, exemplified by Nat Hentoff. First Amendment liberals. Ain't many of 'em remaining, but they do exist.

7/18/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

There are many ways to kill an enemy. If he survives your best efforts at killing him, then try to restrict his movements, and deny him his comfort.

If you are trying to kill an idea, there are also numerous tactics. Giving candy to children, rebuilding schools, infrastructure, water treatment plants, and all that happy stuff which you refuse to acknowledge is an aspect of war are just examples.

There is great power when individual soldiers through their actions create personal bonds with individual Iraqis. It is the difference between occupation by a hostile force, and liberation of an oppressed people.

We are trying to kill both the idea, and the enemy.

7/18/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Right and left are easily confused.
Our old buddy Hitler is often portrayed as a product of the 'right', but as a Socialist he was really just another leftist tyrant.

Secure the border and deliver the mail, until they get those two things figured out I do not think the Federals should get much more to do.

7/18/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Right you are, Baron. There are still the Jack Kerouacs and John Steinbecks--real working-man leftists with whom one can argue economic theory. But they inhabit an increasingly "what, me unconsciously fascistically-inclined?" landscape.

7/18/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Buddy -- Not only that, but Nat Hentoff has had to make common cause with the libertarian Right. The Left has basically excommunicated him for denouncing the ACLU, and for his stance against abortion.

Makes for strange bedfellows.

7/18/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,
"The rappel tower was built to train troopies and officer candidates from Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador. It had a direct effect on the combat capacity of our indig allies in Central America.
It helped train the force that defeated communist expansion in the '80's. Direct cause and effect."

The schools are being built to offer Iraqi children a different type of education, and regardless of what is actually taught within them many, not all, may put the fragments of their short life experiences together and come to a conclusion that will have a direct cause and effect on the death of Americans on Iraqi soil.

The same is true of all those other happy warm and fuzzy endeavors that our military engages in by design in Iraq, ultimately driven by a military necessity.

7/18/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

abakan
You are missing the point entirely

There are tactics to be used in every campaign, theater and operation. Each operation, like OIF, has different phases.

The 'Major Combat' operations of OIF have been over for quite a while. The major elements of Saddam's forces were destroyed and then disbanded years ago.

The Occupational Phase of the OIF has not gone a smoothly as the 1st phase.
Decisions which seemed reasonable at the time, are with hindsight, seen as errors.
The Brits in Basra are an example. Go easy, be seen as human beings, all the warm & fuzzies. Not poor policy, not bad tactics. Cannot stop Jack the Ripper.
The answer is not to Nuke Basra.
The answer is not more US troops, or Frenchies or Italians or Spaniards.
The answer is to find Iraqis that will step up and take control of their city, region or country. Then when we find them, trust 'em to do the right thing.
I'd hate to think we were the Hessians

7/18/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Baron, right, religions such as Secularism cannot abide apostates.

7/18/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

Personally, I do advocate some measure of assistance to Africa, but I have no reason to think that it will reduce Islamic terrorism.. now, or in the future.

There is no magic bullet to eliminate terrorism. And with increasingly sophisticated technology, the problem of terrorism in the future is going to get worse. With biotechnology especially, it's probably going to get a whole LOT worse.

Part of the solution is using military force when necessary, in a carefully measured way that will actually help and not make things worse. But another part is in understanding the problem. For many people, this is a real challenge. Take for example, the comments of
griswel:

Knight's comment is silly - the vast majority of suicide bombers are well off and well educated, i.e. less oppressed than >99% of all the human beings who have ever lived.

Griswel notes that the agents of terrorism are not poor and therefore concludes that terrorism has nothing to do with oppression.

First, poverty and oppression are not the same thing. Second, the immediate agents of terrorism are not always the same thing as the underlying causes.

If you can't understand those two simple points, it's going to be really difficult to come up with solutions to the longer-term problems.

7/18/2005 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is not that schools are not part of a Policy of Victory

It is that Armies are not the best route to deliver those services

If we need schools, water treatment and other infrastructure improvements in Iraq, and we well may, hire professionals and get it done.
But the idea that a Marine fire team is the core building block of the Fallujah city council, and will instruct the Fallujahens on the necessities of civil life is amusing.
If we want to build goodwill through chocolate bars, I have no problem. Let us at least put up a defensable perimeter next time.
DNo one wins many hearts and minds in a self manufactured killing field

7/18/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

First to william knight's points:

Economic disenfranchisement as a root cause? Please.

I live close to several Indian reservations, some of the most economically undeveloped areas in the world.

If ever there were poor people with a gripe against the United States it would be the Lakota Sioux on the SD/NE border (think Third world, Sally Struthers poverty). The poverty there and at other reservations has gotten worse every year for as long as I can remember.

Yet they're not blowing themselves up, and with the exception of a few years in the early 70's, are reasonably nonviolent.

Also...

If anger over past wrongs is the only thing you need to get a little "understanding", does that cut both ways?

Some of my forebears were Teutonic Knights and Dutch Templars who rotted in Syrian jails 800 years ago before becoming part of prisoner exchanges. Does that count? How bout my trader ancestors sold into Algerian slavery? What about 3000+ of my countrymen getting blown up for going to work?

When is the Left going to feel my pain for years of mistreatment at the hands of Muslims?

Back on topic:

I've always wondered how much the AQ/Jihaddist leadership really believes in its own rhetoric, just as I've wondered whether Hitler ever believed in his rhetoric.

Sure you can write books and issue statements and fatwas, but could they just be a means of inciting the "street" to propel you into power and to keep you there?

Since Muslims seem to pick fights with whomever they are proximate with, and likewise have been known to form alliances with seemingly strange bedfellows, it causes me to wonder whether Islam is just the current vehicle for a new group of a familiar strain of sociopath.

Tangentially, I've wondered if the suicide bombers aren't sort of like suburban American white kids who take up the affectations and ideologies of the black underclass. That is, the suicide bomber feels oppressed because he idolizes those who claim to be oppressed (for whatever that claim is worth). Terror leaders understand this need to identify with something more significant than bland middle class adolesence and exploit it.

I dunno. Because Islam is so obviously at odds with every other way of thinking, and because it has produced little to nothing in the way of tangible progress, I can't see what the big draw to it is.

Ultimately, I don't care. The extent of my desire to "understand" those who wish to kill me goes only as far as being better able to stop them.

7/18/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Could you please specify this "oppression" that you feel is the underlying cause and could you please tell us what the US should do to alieviate or remedy it?

7/18/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Additionaly you note, "First, poverty and oppression are not the same thing. Second, the immediate agents of terrorism are not always the same thing as the underlying causes."

Yet in your opening post at the top of this thread you wrote, " Until more people around the world wake up to the reality of the political and economic oppression of the haves upon the have-nots, terrorism will continue to plague us all."

While this is open to some interpretation, I think it's reasonable for many to draw the conclusion that you're saying that poverty and oppression are somehow related or that the poverty of many Muslim nations is the result of oppressive policies of someone (presumably the US.)

You're the person who initiated the idea that this was all about a response to oppression. In your next sentence you connected this oppression to poverty, which you implied was causing the "have-nots" to lash out at the "haves."

If this was the case, if this is what is driving Islamic terrorism (and I'm by no means convinced that it is) how exactly is this oppression being implemented and how would you correct it?

7/18/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

"abakan
You are missing the point entirely

There are tactics to be used in every campaign, theater and operation. Each operation, like OIF, has different phases.

The 'Major Combat' operations of OIF have been over for quite a while. The major elements of Saddam's forces were destroyed and then disbanded years ago.

The Occupational Phase of the OIF has not gone a smoothly as the 1st phase.
Decisions which seemed reasonable at the time, are with hindsight, seen as errors.
The Brits in Basra are an example. Go easy, be seen as human beings, all the warm & fuzzies. Not poor policy, not bad tactics. Cannot stop Jack the Ripper.
The answer is not to Nuke Basra.
The answer is not more US troops, or Frenchies or Italians or Spaniards.
The answer is to find Iraqis that will step up and take control of their city, region or country. Then when we find them, trust 'em to do the right thing.
I'd hate to think we were the Hessians."

There aren't any hard and fast phases in any war. There are are only reports using military terms designed to answer the question of "where are we now?" when asked by civilian authorities.

The oft repeated end to "major" combat operations is just another example. It's a rough point to describe where Saddam's Baathist government and organized military collapsed or disbanded. The "occupational" phase is another rough point to describe the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority seated in Bagdad, and when the tale is over and can be told objectively we will all agree that the "occupation" has been over since the vote to elect a constitutional body. Of course, all of the phases are subject to the whims of the reader.

This however, is a fact. The war continues in Iraq until a stable government, with a ratified Constitution is seated in Iraq, and until the Iraqi government has a military presence capable of self defense.
Quite separate form the war, forces in Iraq after that point will be decided by a Status of Forces Agreement between the two nation/states.

7/18/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

akaban

This
"...This however, is a fact. The war continues in Iraq until a stable government, with a ratified Constitution is seated in Iraq, and until the Iraqi government has a military presence capable of self defense. ..."

Is no where near true, is no fact at all.

Wars do not end when everything is right with the world.
In that theory we could hold Iraq for decades, they never being "ready" or "able".

That reading of history would have US fighting the Civil War in the US until 1963.
World WarII didn't end until the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the Germanys united. Pooy cock.

Wars are over when the enemy is vanquished. The Iraqi Army was vanquished long ago.
We could hand the country over to Chilabi tomorow. The War could be over. There is no "Law" that says we have to install a Federal Republic. That may be a Political aim, but the result of the'war' is long over. There are better ways to 'win' the next phase than to keep an Army of Occupation in place. A Garrison of 20-30,000 and an Avisory Group of about 10-12,000 would more than surfice the Mission Goals you stated.

",,,with a ratified Constitution is seated in Iraq, and until the Iraqi government has a military presence capable of self defense."

That means on 1 January 2006 we can begin to withdraw.
A time table to Victory

7/18/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,
"It is that Armies are not the best route to deliver those services."

This would be your opinion. Not surprisingly, my opinion is the opposite view.

The US military is the most qualified entity on planet earth for providing these services in a war zone at this time and under these conditions. Also, we are contracting out for many of these services.

I agree with you that security is always the most important factor, even when handing out candy to children in a war zone.

7/18/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Although this is the last thing I would ever want, the current islamic terror war cries out for civilian vigilantes. Officials of governments lack the necessary positioning and motivation to deal with the muslim terror problem. Targeted assassinations might slow the salafist bigots down a bit but all these fanatic punks sitting around talking about a supremacist muslim caliphate ruling over the world need to feel the misery they are creating in a direct and dramatic way. They need to feel the pain that they want the innocent to feel. Then they need to die.

7/18/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Buffy: Good point! I recommend we drive stakes through their hearts.
But you raise an interesting if somewhat oblique point: How many of these benighted lands have their equivalents of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S Constitution and how many are the law-abiding populace offically disarmed in order to secure a local "peace at any price" or simply to prevent the overthrow of a despot? The killers of the Muslims in Wretchard's essay are alleged by some to have been a government death squad simply on the basis that they were well armed. But silencers do not represent technology horribly difficult to master, even if you can't buy them at the local Wal Mart.
Is part of the problem that the average guy in the world is disarmed? And will arming him help fix the problem or make it worse?

7/18/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger EddieP said...

William Knight is probably right. It was that ancient republican and forefather of George W. Bush, the crusader known as Gargantuan W. Bush who destroyed the Caliphate the first time around. He and his advisors, Karl the prevaricator Rover and Dick go f*ck yourself Churney, squandered the opportunity to address the root causes of Islamism. Nothing prior to 911 has ever had anything to do with modern day terrorism! If only a democrat such as Al Gore were president, the entire world would be holding hands, singing Kumbaya and buying each other a coke this very minute.

7/18/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Ask for civilian vigilantes, and civilian vigilantes ye shall get. Now it's gonna get interesting:

Frustrated Iraqis ready to take law into own hands
Reuters - Mon Jul 18, 9:03 AM ET
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqis have begun barricading themselves in their homes and forming neighborhood militias in an effort to fend off relentless suicide attacks, residents in the capital said on Monday. The measures come amid waning confidence in the Iraqi police and other security forces as they struggle to get on top of the two-year-old insurgency. In the latest attack, 98 people were killed by a suicide truck bomb south of Baghdad on Saturday.


http://www.yahoo.com

Incidently, why hasn't anyone complimented Mr. Knight on his fabulous tin-foil hat?

7/18/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

james kielland said:

You're the person who initiated the idea that this was all about a response to oppression. In your next sentence you connected this oppression to poverty, which you implied was causing the "have-nots" to lash out at the "haves."

Oppression can be associated with poverty in that it is a lot easier to oppress poor people, but they are not the same thing. When I say oppression I am referring to people who live in a situation of hopelessness and lack of self-determination, where such a situation is actively maintained to some degree by the actions of others.

This is a pretty general definition, but it shows that oppression is clearly distinct from poverty. An individual living out in the woods might be considered totally impoverished in some economic sense, and yet feel a complete lack of oppression. Another individual might be economically better off than 99% of the rest of the world and still consider themselves to be brutally oppressed, such as a woman with many children and an abusive husband. These are just a couple of examples, there are many kinds of oppression.

Cedarford offers another:
As if what Israel has done in it's Occupation is the template for how to get a people to sing Kumbaya. By the Israeli model, when we invaded Afghanistan we should have built Settlements for Americans, taken water resources, set up checkpoints dishing out daily humiliation as a way of stopping Afghanis from resorting to terrorism or supporting outsiders terrorism...

As far as the middle east is concerned, the nature of oppression is not simply defined. Many people there are chafing under authoritarian regimes and lack of self-determination, and rightly or wrongly blame the US for complicity. Our track record of benevolent involvement there is not something to be proud of, that's for sure.

If this was the case, if this is what is driving Islamic terrorism (and I'm by no means convinced that it is) how exactly is this oppression being implemented and how would you correct it?

Al Qaeda will pursue their extremist agenda regardless of what we do. I am not advocating that we appease them. Instead, I'm advocating that we address the grievances of the vast majority of people in the mainstreams of muslim society in the middle east.

To do this, first and foremost we should use whatever political and economic leverage we have to insure a fair resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We are not currently doing this. Rightly or wrongly, this conflict is a festering wound that is a rallying cause for muslim people in the middle east.

Those who say that it is irrelevant and that muslims would find another reason to be extremist are simply wanting an excuse to keep fighting. It's like a muslim saying, 'oh you Americans would have invaded the middle east even if 9/11 had never happened, you would have just found another reason'.

Ultimately, we need to strive to eliminate oppression around the world as well as at home. There is no simple formula for doing it, but the first step is to recognize that this is the problem. Second, we need to realize that a primarily military solution generally does more harm than good, because when previously peaceful people are the victims of violence, they will become more violent themselves.

There will always be some violent extremists in the world, but it becomes more important than ever that we don't create more, because as I have said before, technology increases the ability for violent extremists to wreak havoc on societies.

7/18/2005 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Unless Islam Reforms and stops it's regular slaughtering of infidels and apostates, this long-suppressed anger against Islamic terrorism and refusal to assimilate will eventually explode. (Cedarford @ 12:24 PM)

And then let the fingerpointers concerned with 'root causes' direct a proper amount of attention towards Mr bin Laden and an ideology that has made the intentional slaughter of innocents a modus operandi.

It seems there are some 'moderate' Muslims who are fast wising up to the fact that their salvation lies in opposing the idiocy that would make of their religion a call to arms against modern civilization. There simply is no percentage in acquiescing to--or failing to oppose--bin Laden's Islamofascistic vision. To do so keeps them square in the middle of this conflict, increasingly a target for both sides, and that has to be the last place any intelligent or sane person wants to be.

7/18/2005 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Sunnis were an armed minority for much of Saddam's rule.
There was no 2nd Admendment in Basra.
The Kurds thrived under our Air Cap and armed themslves. Not many reports of insurgency in the Kurdish sections.
The Shia have been arming up for a while now.
Zarquai's plan or ours will soon succeed. Elections or Civil War.

But Civil War AFTER the election, well we are not the world's policeman, or so I've been told.

7/18/2005 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

You wrote, "When I say oppression I am referring to people who live in a situation of hopelessness and lack of self-determination, where such a situation is actively maintained to some degree by the actions of others."

Okay, thanks for the definition. Based on your first post on this thread, it seems that you believe that, "Until more people around the world wake up to the reality of the political and economic oppression of the haves upon the have-nots, terrorism will continue to plague us all. "

The fascinating thing about this is that really your arguments appear no different than many people here on Belmont, whom you've elected to distinguish yourself from. Many here think that democracy brought to the Islamic world will end the "oppression" that is causing young, privledged Muslim men to blow-up themselves and others. I'm skeptical. You seem to think that the oppression is coming from another source, and that once it's alievated there will be much less support for groups like Al Qaida.

Unfortunately, you're unable to provide any concrete examples of this oppression which you seem to feel is causing these blow-ups. There was some talk about insisting that someone, somehow institute what you'd deem to be a "fair" settlement to the problem of Palestinians blowing themselves up. I'm afraid the US has very little power to persuade the Palestinians to accept what you, I, or anyone else thinks might be fair.

You seem to be operating from a perspective or set of premises that suggest 1) oppression and justice are objective and easily identifiable, 2) that people only lash out with violence in situations where they've clearly, objectively, and unquestionably been subjected to clear oppression. That might very well be. My interpretation of history is considerably different, however. I've read of too many cases of entire civilizations and cultures being wiped out by people who they brought no harm to whatsoever.

Your basic argument seems to be that the West, the US, or someone is doing something that is provoking an understandable response. And that if the West, the US, or someone stops doing whatever it is they are doing to produce this that everyone will become reasonable and kind. I've asked you numerous times to identify this magic bullet, to provide examples of policies that you felt were "oppressive" and causing us, Buddhist teachers, and British busses these problems. But you're seemingly unable to.

So again, please.. where is this oppression and which policies would you change?

7/18/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Reading some background and found this little tidbit of info

"Lt.Gen.Aziz had come to be viewed as the evil genius of the military regime and as the godfather of the Taliban of Afghanistan and the 300,000-strong armed jehadist militants of Pakistan (as against the estimated 500,000-strong Pakistan army) belonging to different Islamic extremist organisations. ..."

300,000 armed Jihadist in those mountains. Never realized there were so many folk up there.

http://www.saag.org/papers2/paper146.html

This was in a year 2000 report

7/18/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I wonder...
just who is oppressing 300,000 armed Jihadists in the mountains of Pakistan?

7/18/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat said,

akaban

This
"...This however, is a fact. The war continues in Iraq until a stable government, with a ratified Constitution is seated in Iraq, and until the Iraqi government has a military presence capable of self defense. ..."

Is no where near true, is no fact at all.

Wars do not end when everything is right with the world.
In that theory we could hold Iraq for decades, they never being "ready" or "able".

That reading of history would have US fighting the Civil War in the US until 1963.
World WarII didn't end until the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the Germanys united. Pooy cock.

Wars are over when the enemy is vanquished. The Iraqi Army was vanquished long ago.
We could hand the country over to Chilabi tomorow. The War could be over. There is no "Law" that says we have to install a Federal Republic. That may be a Political aim, but the result of the'war' is long over. There are better ways to 'win' the next phase than to keep an Army of Occupation in place. A Garrison of 20-30,000 and an Avisory Group of about 10-12,000 would more than surfice the Mission Goals you stated.

",,,with a ratified Constitution is seated in Iraq, and until the Iraqi government has a military presence capable of self defense."

That means on 1 January 2006 we can begin to withdraw.
A time table to Victory"

You're slipping dramatically into the form of argument where you refute arguments not made.

"Wars do not end when everything is right with the world.
In that theory we could hold Iraq for decades, they never being "ready" or "able"."

I don't remember claiming that wars ended when everything is right with the world.
I remember saying that there were clearly articulated objectives by which a Victory in Iraq may be judged.

We aren't holding Iraq. We are acting in concert with a freely elected constitutional body to maintain the security of Iraq pending the ratification of their Constitution.

We are trying to kill our mutual enemies while Iraqi civilians and bureaucrats trained by us try to beat together a working constitution and resolve centuries of ethnic rivalry. I suppose this could take decades, but somehow I doubt it. You are correct. It could take decades or the Constitution will be ratified on Jan 1, 2006. My sense is that they will want to finish this whole process as soon as they are legitimately ready and able. Once again, the terms of our withdrawal will be decided in a Status of Forces Agreement between all the individual coalition governments.

So, a complete withdrawal from Iraq is not a condition for victory.

Desert Rat said,
"Wars are over when the enemy is vanquished. The Iraqi Army was vanquished long ago.
We could hand the country over to Chilabi tomorow. The War could be over. There is no "Law" that says we have to install a Federal Republic. That may be a Political aim, but the result of the'war' is long over. There are better ways to 'win' the next phase than to keep an Army of Occupation in place. A Garrison of 20-30,000 and an Avisory Group of about 10-12,000 would more than surfice the Mission Goals you stated."

Wars are over when the political objectives have been met, or if it is a measure of defeat then when the objectives are deemed unattainable. Vanquishing the enemy is related but not required. In this case, Iraqi will assume responsibility for their own security and will vanquish the enemy, as they are able. You again mention the word phase as if it has something to do with winning the war, and it doesn't. If you go to the Coalition Provisional Authority website you will find that it has been archived. The legal authority has been passed to the elected constitutional body so technically the occupation is over.
Iraq has Kurdish president. I wont however continue to argue with you about phases of occupation. Since the whole 'phases' game doesn't have much weight anyway.

Finally, I wont argue about whether there are enough troops there to do the job. If we manage to accomplish our mission then I will believe that we had enough troops. I will also have to defer to the people on the ground who are tasked with making that decision.

I will say at this point that your continued assertions that the war is over rings hollow in my ears. I would assert that this claim doesn't mean very much to the troops on the ground being killed by IEDs and suicide bombers. It doesn't mean very much to the constitutional body working to create a stable government in Iraq. It doesn't mean very much to the current administration. I'm thankful that this is the case.

7/18/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat,

In fairness to William, he did make it clear that many people will respond with violence to what they feel is the oppression inflicted upon people that they support, care about, etc. I think this would cover the militants in Pakistan, by is reasoning. I'm just wondering who is doing the oppression, whom is being oppressed, and how.

7/18/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

William: I'm sorry, I just can't take you seriously. No offense meant, just being honest with you.

You write: "Until more people around the world wake up to the reality of the political and economic oppression of the haves upon the have-nots, terrorism will continue to plague us all."

Now, is this just the present crop of the haves, or do all haves inevitably "oppress" the have-nots. And if so, I'm sure you will see that the only way out of your condundrum is to eliminate the haves so we are all have-nots. Perhaps you were just being sloppy, but this is Marxist to the core. As Tom Friedman writes, communism is unparalleled in its ability to make us all equally poor.

You write: "Unfortunately, the United States, which had one of the best opportunities to address the root causes of terrorism around the world, squandered that opportunity when it elected to follow the conservative Republican ideology of violence and oppression instead of more intelligent and wise alternatives."

I'm assuming when you say the best opportunity you are referring to right after September 11. From what I can pull out of this opaque statement, it seems to me that you are saying we were better as victims than as we are now: people who fight back.

Also, "Republican ideology of violence and oppression"? Here I am assuming you mean Afghanistan and Iraq, yes? In determining if our efforts really are oppressive, wouldn't the testimony of those supposedly under our heel be helpful? The elected governments of both countries have publicly and vociferously thanked the U.S. for their freedom. The people have taken to the streets to vote, smiling down certain death from terrorists, in events that look drastically unlike any oppression ever recorded.

Or are you so condescending that you believe the Afghans and Iraqis simply can't tell when they are being oppressed? And that goes double for the Lebanese, who were so enchanted with the Iraqis "oppression" that they clamored for some of their own. Or did you miss these events?

You write: "But the body, the sustaining force of terror and violence in the world comes from normal human beings who are reacting with understandable rage at previous wrongs that have been done to them."

I'm interested in what you call "understandable rage". Before, you mention rage at "powerful enemies." Does being powerful constitute an understandalbe reason to be enraged? Another way to put this is "loser's rage." Keep in mind there is no bigger loser society than Dar al'Islam as you read the following.

Let me quote you Churchill on Hitler: "The downfall of Germany seemed to him inexplicable by ordinary processes. Somewhere there had been a gigantic and monstrous betrayal." Hitler could not believe the proud German people could really be defeated from without. "He had mingled in Vienna...and here he had heard stories of sinister, undermining activities of another race, foes and exploiters of the Nordic world: the Jews. His patriotic anger fused with his envy of the rich and successful into one overpowering hate...Fearful are the convulsions of defeat."

This was in 1919, long before the adverse effects of the Treaty of Versailles. In fact, as the Allies' demands of German disarmament were watered down into "parity for a proud people", as the will of the victors was corrupted by the weakness of the "root cause and understanding" crowd, Hitler's animosity was blended with disdain and eventually dismissal.

Let the Historians understand root causes. As Churchill laments, after 100 million dead:

"It is my purpose to show how [the War] could have been prevented; how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous...

[The West] lived from hand to mouth and from day to day, and from one election to another, until, when scarcely twenty years were out, the dread signal of the Second World War was given, and we must write of the sons of those who had fought and died so faithfully and well"

7/18/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

right the stated goal

A constitution - done in October
An Elcection - December
Free & Independent.

War over

But really it is already over. We now are creating the targets. What makes you think that my son, nice guy that he is, a Strategic Corporal if ever there was one, and his buddies is better at hunting Iraqis then Iraqis are at hiding out.
It is already, or soon will be, an internal security matter for the Iraqis.
I was trained by men that served on the Phoenix Teams, up on the Plain of Jars and through out 'Indian Country'.
The Goals you speak of, Abakan, are great, the tactics that we are employing to achieve those goals are poor. That is the Challenge. Controled Disengagement is one of the most difficult of military movements.
Find me a Battalion sized enemy element, any where in theater.
Can't do it, they don't exist.
It is no longer a military conflict, it is an internal Iraqi political problem. The Army is not a good tool for that for challenge.
How many of their election cycles will we have to stay and monitor?
And while war is an extension of politics, politics is not an extension of war.
The out country jihadists have to be dealt with in more of a criminal investigatory manner.
That may be why the FBI sent a team over there.
Language skills are paramount.

You do not want to discuss troop strength. That is all the discussion has been about.
How many troops do you need in country after you've wiped out the enemies combat power.

7/18/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Getting back to Wretchard's comment, I would pose the question:

Have Militant Muslims "Awoken The Sleeping Giant?"

This would be similar to the prophetic statement from Tojo's Japan where they acknowledged their own fierily doom.

7/18/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Fascinating, another wonderful post.

7/18/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Ledger:

No, they haven't. Not by a long shot.

7/18/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Ledger,

I'd agree with Nathan that they have not. But I think Wretchard is spot on when he points out that it appears as if Islamic terrorism is creating giant: when you've got both Buddhists and Football Hooligans teaming up against you, you're creating quite a diverse opposition. And AQ doesn't seem to be developing any sympathizers outside of their narrow demographic.

7/18/2005 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just how many middle class Muslims are there between 14 and 28 that pray 5 times a day in the "West"

Pretty big demographic, isn't it?

7/18/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

or not?

7/18/2005 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Griswe writes:

Knight's comment is silly - the vast majority of suicide bombers are well off and well educated, i.e. less oppressed than >99% of all the human beings who have ever lived.

If one looks at typical Revolutionary Leaders, the most committed soldiers - in any era one does not find the ranks filled by impoverished peasants. That does not detract from the legitimacy of the cause, or form an endorsement ....it is simply the way it is.

Half the Bolsheviks were drawn from the sons of wealthy Jewish merchants and professionals, the other half from well-to-do or middle class Gentile property owners - even people like Stalin, whose father was a prosperous Georgian trader. Pol Pot and others came from the elite. So too, Che`. Mao was middle class, Zhou En-lai from the Mandarin Manchu elite. Same with American Revolutionaries. Bin Laden was rich, so too Arafat came to the PLO a many times over millionaire. Ayman al-Zawahiri was a doctor from one of Cairo's leading families. Marx came from a bourgeous family, Engels the son of a very rich mill owner. Later on in a post-Revolutionary country you get the Kruschev peasant-son types....but not at the beginning.

The important thing to note is that comparative wealth and education give a Jefferson, a Binnie, a Mao the leisure, resources and education to lead. They are not illiterate, starving or worried about the next crop failing after 100-hour workweeks folks that comprise the bulk of humanity. And to note despite the fact that a Jefferson or a Lenin or a Bin Laden could have a life of comfort and leisure - they nevertheless risk their very lives in a cause arising from what they see as injustice, grievances, class poverty.

To falsely point out that since Alexander Hamiliton was well off, that Che` had it made, that a Saudi with 2 Mercedes all fighting for a cause, therefore it somehow "proves" the injustice and grievances they are fighting for is invalid - is silly.

There are legitimate Muslim grievances, there are very unwise US policies that form root causes of the dangerous confrontation we are in - not just Islamic intolerance, culture of death, backwards irrationality - all have to be examined closely.

PS Buddy Larsen - The concentration of wealth in America to the super rich "ownership class"and the lower middle class & poor losing ground is worrying. It is what many Republicans want - and it puts America closer to being the "insiders revoving door corruption, peon labor, corporate-crony style of Latin American society" than Americans managed to avoid for most of our history. Who wants our country to become what most Mexicans are fleeing???

7/18/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat,

I haven't a clue, but I see the problem that you're implying. My only point was that there doesn't appear to be an expansion beyond this group.

7/18/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think that is true.
You've got the mountain men, but they will not leave the mountains.

If we do not enter they will continue their border bandit ways,as they always have.
300,000, if correct alot of guys.

The urbane traveler, speaker of languages, holder of passports.
These are the Jihadist foot soldiers.
Hiding in plain sight

7/18/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

The only "just peace" between Israelis and "Palestinians" (a people created by the Soviets during the Cold War) is for the Israelis to control all of the region once known as Palestine--and then some, like the Golan Heights, for security purposes only.

The Arabs who claim to be "Palestinians" should go back to Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. That would be a "just peace."

7/18/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat wrote:

"The urbane traveler, speaker of languages, holder of passports. These are the Jihadist foot soldiers.
Hiding in plain sight."

Yes. And if we bring democracy and capitalism to more of the muslim world, they'll be able to afford more education, travel, and exotic toys.. and have a deeper knowledge of our society and economic systems.

7/18/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

The latest post at LGF is very much related to the debate here with William Knight.

7/18/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Their trouble has not been lack of funds, they've go plenty of cash.
Travel, well they have been doing that for years. Mostly into Europe, but alot have come to the US. Mohamedean Atta grew to despise the tittie bars he and his crew were hanging out in.
The freedom of people to do as they wished. From dancing naked to college education, women's freedom caused Atta and his cronies to fight for right and repression.
Hate of the different. Not to hard to understand.

7/18/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The concentration of wealth in America to the super rich "ownership class" and the lower middle class & poor losing ground is worrying.

Why?

As long as the net worth of an individual to a market economy is greater than or equal to his cost of living, I don't see any reason to be concerned. The "super rich ownership class" gets salaried at market value of its constituents' skills and talents, same as everybody else, right?

7/18/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Good article by Ben Stein, a Conservative, on why America must use it's tax code to strive less to further enrich Hedge Fund Managers and focus on an American system that adequately compensates truly indispensible - like the soldier that gets 1,900 a month and a 6,000 dollar death benefit if killed in combat vs. the 5 million payouts 9/11 bond trader families received.
http://nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17every.html?pagewanted=all

7/18/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In the good old USA Today

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An unrepentant Eric Rudolph declared Monday that abortion must be fought with "deadly force" as a judge sentenced him to life in prison for setting off a remote-controlled bomb at an abortion clinic that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse "

Add him together with Tim McVeigh, the Unabomber, the DC Snipers & the border from San Diego to Brownsville. Comes to just one conclusion
Only the Army can restore order here! oh, we caught all those guys with out the Army... sorry

But the Border

7/18/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Finally I'm on topic!

Think Globally, Act Locally – Philly Style

Speaking of "moderate muslim leaders" here in the good ol' USA:

"...the Muslim leadership council known as the Majlis Ash'Shura of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley is standing behind Ali, Imam Isa Abdul-Mateen, the group's secretary, said yesterday afternoon.

"Just because someone else said he did something wrong doesn't necessarily mean he received justice," said Abdul-Mateen, who leads a North Philadelphia mosque. "It's a system known for injustice."

This quote comes in a story about Imam Shamsud din Ali in Philly, who has just been convicted on 22 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy. This was a four-year investigation, with hundreds of wiretaps of the defendant used as evidence against him. But "just because someone else said he did something...." ?

Is this a "moderate Muslim"?

7/18/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

nathan
It is not in salaries that the monies are made.
Salaried help is always, well, help
Even at 25 million a year

Ben Stein writes in the NY Times
"...Philip J. Purcell, who has just left a huge financial services company after his performance was deemed subpar, and he's taking home a $113.7 million severance package.

Then there's an article about the fellow who is replacing him, and about how he was offered something like $25 million a year. A fellow on the job just three months, whose main quality was apparently loyalty to the subpar-performing manager, is getting $32 million. ... ...Or I read a letter from a buddy of a member of the Navy Seals who was killed recently in Afghanistan when his helicopter went down, and he was getting maybe $1,950 a month, fighting the Taliban and fighting Al Qaeda (which killed 3,000 innocent men, women and children on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001). That means the guy at the hedge fund is getting as much as, say, 10,000 of these corporals per annum.

What keeps going through my mind is that there is a big, yet always unstated, connection between these two groups of men and women - on one hand, the megastars of Wall Street and corporate boardrooms, with their vast paychecks, yachts and horse farms in the Hamptons, and, on the other, the grunts in body armor chasing down terrorists half a world away in 130-degree heat.

The link is that the men and women of Wall Street and of corporate America do their very important work - and it is vital work, indeed - inside a box of security and safety created by the courage of the men and women who wear battle dress uniforms and ride down the highway of death in Iraq in armored personnel carriers handling machine guns. ..."

Big money is beyond the reach of salaries, even those multi million dollar deals.

7/18/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Nathan: The "super rich ownership class" gets salaried at market value of its constituents' skills and talents, same as everybody else, right?

No, wrong. The rich really do get richer, it's not a myth. On the other hand, everybody is getting richer in America, according to accurate histories of the last many decades. And us po' boys is catchin' up faster'n ever.

The Truth about Income Inequality

7/18/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

William,
Some quotes from one of your heroes of justice for the poor and the oppressed. These might help you advance your arguments. Enjoy!

On Social Justice
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between rich and poor means abstracting one from the fundamental facts.
---
On Writing
The writer is the engineer of the human soul.
---
On Media
Print is the strongest weapon of our party.
---
On Education
Education is a weapon whose effects depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
---
On Ideas
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?
---
On Democracy
It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
---
On Problems
Death solves all problems – no man, no problem.
---
The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.

Joseph S.

7/18/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

C4
Good taste in reading selections

7/18/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Desert,

When you say "border" I hear "DMZ."

7/18/2005 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Jakita repeats the classic Zionist lies - hoping they will somehow persist in America after being discredited everywhere else, even in Israeli universities..

The only "just peace" between Israelis and "Palestinians" (a people created by the Soviets during the Cold War)

Like Syrians and Lebanese, the natives living in Palestine maintained continuous presence in the Levant and were always considered as linguistically and culturally distinct peoples, even as their names changed, during periods of Roman, Persian, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, and Ottoman rule.

The groups genetically closest to the Christian & Muslim Palestinians in testing are not the Saudis, Moroccans, Egyptians, Iraqis....but are the Separdic Jews and Lebanese. Not surprising since most Palestinians trace ancestry to Canaan and Jews that converted to Christianity then Islam...

That is one reason Arabs disparage Pals and call them "cousins to the Jews".

Some Zionists argue a Nazi-like racial purity test applies, that since Pals blood is "diluted" by Arab blood they should be considered as Arabs with no right to Palestine. Ironically argued by blue-eyed, blond Askenazis so heavily cross-bred with Slavs and N Europeans that they no longer resemble their Semite brothers.

....and the same is for the Israelis to control all of the region once known as Palestine--and then some, like the Golan Heights, for security purposes only.

Not what Balfour says and Zionists pledged to at the time - or what the Zionists agreed to as a condition of UN membership. The Zionist dream of Eretz Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates or lesser conceits of Yishrael at the height of the Maccabees is effectively dead.

The Arabs who claim to be "Palestinians" should go back to Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. That would be a "just peace."

The great Zionist lie - that no real Palestinians exist, that it was an uninhabited land 'till the European Jews arrived - has long been discredited. Those pesky Census numbers from the Ottomans and then the Brits as they formed the Mandate show the numbers pre-Balfour and immediately after Balfour. No Arabs from "elsewhere". Natives, and lots of them.

The Zionist documents themselves from that time pleading for more Jews to be let in also reveal that in arguing the existing numbers didn't prevent more immigration if the jobs were created more in industry and less on Arab & Zionist agriculture.

Enough "so-called" Pals existed that 700,000 refugees were created and documented by UN refugee workers during the great 1948 ethnic cleansing the Zionists launched. The counter-argument is that a European nobleman said it "looked pretty desolate" in a one day journey through the area and an American fiction writer, Mark Twain, on a similar quick sojourn, said it looked pretty bare of people in a hot day's sun.

Compensation for Jews that lost land and property in the 1st half of the 20th Century? Over a 100 billion in reparations. Compensation for the Palestinians losing land in 1948 and in 1967? Not a shekel has been pried out of Israel's grasp to repay those Muslim and Christian property owners.

7/18/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Have you guys checked out Tancredo's remarks?:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,162795,00.html

7/18/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

cedarford . . .

I'm sure that william knight will be able to figure out a "just peace."

7/18/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

More people think US is winning WOT:

Polling Data

Who is winning the war on terror?

Jul. 2005 Jun. 2005

U.S. / Allies
44% 42%

Terrorists
34% 32%

Neither
16% 20%

Not sure
6% 8%



Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,500 American adults, conducted on Jul. 13 and Jul. 14, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

www.rasmussenreports.com

7/18/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

sam,
he must be a reader here at Belmont, where else could he have come up with that idea.
He thinks our frontiers are wide open, not sure how he feels about the mail

7/18/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yeah, well the London sapper attack has been spun pretty well. Young innocents led astray, yada yada.
Just wait for whatever is next.
A DC Sniper type outbreak could swing those numbers in 2 weeks.
A major event, over nite.

7/18/2005 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

C4--if I can address an area on your commentary in isolation, yes, the concentration of weath is worrying. CEOs making fortunes on stock options while line workers are stuck on wages is bloody unfair. Kurt Vonnegut had a theme in one of his books where the people with advantages had to wear lead plates strapped over their shoulders. To even up the advantages. On the other hand, our tax system is steeply progressive, look at the stats. What else ya gonna do, without disincentivizing the merit system? Kids can go to college in this country--somehow, even if they're poor--tho certainly it takes more gumption than if one has it handed to him. But these things work out over generations in a mobile society--of course there's sad stories of those who had no chance to make it--but maybe they have a kid who takes the growing-up-poor experience and makes a great success as a result. We move fast down, too. Successful family may breed unmotivated kids. The trick is to create a society with mobility, and then step back and let it run. If you're poor, dumb, and ugly, well that sucksbut you can still choose to be honest, nice, and hard-working, and parlay that into something. But, life ain't fair, for sure. But after a consensus steeply-progressive tax system, and a society that values the rags-to-riches self-made person more than anything else, whatcha gonna do? Sure, some want to be commies and make it all flat, as if Nature is someone's fault.

7/18/2005 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

rat,

Yes, I was thinking the same. I don't think I've seen it discussed anywhere else but here. He must be lurking around here somewhere. Wonder what his handle is on BC?

7/18/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

William Knight,

Logically you should be reluctant to carry out your own program. Who is to judge what oppression is? The United States? Who is to right those wrongs? The United States? And by what means? If America is the problem, as you argue, how can it be part of the solution, as you suggest?

The Islamic Jihad is winning converts from the Left precisely because their opposition to civilization is more logical. They hate it. They want to destroy it. And from their point of view this makes much more sense than arguing that the source of 'oppression', which is the West, should undo itself while miraculously preserving itself; without accepting that it amounts to exactly what the radical Islamists aim for. The difference between Osama Bin Laden and Ward Churchill is that Osama Bin Laden has the sand to put his money where his mouth is. Ward Churchill wants to get his 100 K a year from a society that he hates without being aware of the irony. Osama wants to do away with that society, period. That's more logical than hoping for the both. Islamic clarity will not distinguish between William Knight and anyone else once they have seized power. It is no defense to say, 'but I argued for justice on the Belmont Club'. After all, if they thrashed Robert Fisk, who will they not beat, who will they not decapitate? If they will blow up the Bamian Buddhas, which are neither Christian nor Western, why should anything in your neighborhood be spared?

Logically, one should cheer Osama Bin Laden for overturning oppression. Either that, or be ready to defend all that you are and be ready to do it yourself.

7/18/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A communist
some one who has nothing
and wants to share

7/18/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Obviously, I don't completely understand why market value applies disparately to different people.

I met Ben Stein once; I was rehearsing with a string quartet for a private engagement in Beverly Hills. I presume he was a friend of the host.

7/18/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

professional or semi pro string player, why nathan, you are a man of many talents.

I like Steins Game Show, win his money. Humor with intellect.

His Fox Saturday appearances are fun too.

7/18/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ben stein is on one of FoxNews' Sat AM mkt-recap shows. Funny, dead-pan, razor-sharp guy.

7/18/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Speach writer for Nixon, I think, or someone from that era.

7/18/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Rat,

You're correct. A very talented guy. Done a lot of interesting work in economics.

7/18/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

jamesreading the posts I agree with your Stratfor remark
The Bush crowd has not been forthright. Better that they had been.
Say what you mean,
mean what you say.

The US public likes a winner
The like to be told what is what
They see thru the BS pretty quick

Old GW Bush may not be the very best, but he was the pick of the last litter.

7/18/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

In 1973 and 1974, he was a speech writer and lawyer for Richard Nixon at The White House and then for Gerald Ford.

http://www.benstein.com/bio.html

7/18/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

The problem with many Bush supporters is that they don't attempt or even want to understand the motivations of terrorists.

Trust me, William, there were no "root cause" defenses argued at Nuremberg. The sane and moral people of that generation decided to annhilate rather than understand the SS.

I have no understanding to extend to the scum that perpetrated 911, Beslan, Madrid, London, Bali.....

Maybe you need to examine why you need to?

7/18/2005 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is, I'm coming to believe, the Selfish Syndrome.
Everything is about me, everything you do or say is about me or because of me, you say things to please or bother me. You do things to please or bother me. Nothing you do is about you, it is all about me. If it does not effect me it is of no importance. If something enters my world it is only important in how it effects me.
What ever you do is because of me
If you do something bad, well it's because of me. If you succeed, well it is because of me. You are of no importance, there is only me

extrapulate to any size group desired. just a thought

7/18/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, all i can say is, you sure do have a high opinion of yourself.

7/18/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...

from "Agents of Innocence" by David Ignatius, a 1987 novel set mostly in Beirut. Ignatius has been a reporter for the Washington Post for many years.

"Do you know what bothers me aboout Arab men?" said Jane. "They are crazy about sex, but they are afraid of women."

"Yes. But what happens when Arab culture becomes modern enough that the women have more sex, too? Or at least begin to think about it. I'm not sure that Arab men will be able to handle that part of modern life very well, because they're so afraid of women to begin with. What will happen then?"

"They will go the other way."

"What do you mean?"

"Back into the dark ages."

7/18/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Penny--you're right: "understanding" is the very last thing we need to hand the terrorists. Perhaps we could give them understanding during their burial services.

Desert Rat--

The Selfish Syndrome you describe is Narcissism. Borderline Personality Disorder. The kind of person who makes you wear a sweater because they feel cold...

~D

7/18/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Rat,

Right. There may indeed be some "root causes" and they are undoubtedly worth exploring and understanding. But the implicit assumption in so many of the "root causes" people is that they are to be found in their own society, and always in people/institutions within their own society that they have long been opposed to.

I'm not particularly a fan of President Bush, but I have very little animosity towards him. Consequently, I've been surprised by the venom that has been unleashed towards him following 9-11. My own guess is that 9-11 was so incredibly horrific that many people are simply unable to fully accept or grasp what occured. That there could be such levels of hate and hostility in some people seems very hard to grasp. Unable or unwilling to accept that the hatred is direct AT THEM they instead make up rationalizations that seek to push the blame somewhere else.

Evil often times appears to us to be so completely irrational and even insane. And yet, a world filled with irraional or insane actors is a very unnerving world. We all want to make sense of evil and in our own Western tradition a significant amount of time has effort has been spent by philosophers and theologians to explain "the problem of evil" or suffering in the attempt to make it seem reasonable.

Secondly, in the West and in the US in particular, we have strong notions that individuals create their own reality. This also plays along quite nicely with our general mythology of being "self-made" individuals, in charge of our destiny. While some commentators have pointed to the self-loathing characteristics of Leftist thought I'm sometimes left feeling that much of the weirdness is the result of people unable to accept that no matter what you do, no matter what you believe, no matter how you try to reframe or reinterpret things, evil people still exist and can hate and harm others for reasons that aren't very reasonable.

Fundamentally speaking, the terrorism of a group like Al Qaeda threatens many things that many people want to believe. We don't like to believe that evil can come completely at random and without any provocation. We want to know what we did wrong. Barring that, we want to know what someone else did wrong. Because that's significantly easier than coming to grips with what appears to be really motivating Al Qaida's blood lust.

7/18/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

James, right--the problem-solving mentality bumps into the mentality-solving problem.

7/18/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Had a girl friend, once.
She thought like that
I had to leave,
cause it just wasn't me

7/18/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Nathan,

I didn't mean to bug you. I just meant to point out that it's not the "market value" or the "talents" of the rich that are not seeking their own level in our free market.

It's that they have huge gobs of CAPITAL that come with their name and ancestry, it's what happens when someone in our family was successful as a capitalist over the past century or forever.

These guys are not like you and I, they don't "invade the capital." Even if they have to marry their older cousin to preserve the family wealth.

Hate 'em if you want to, it doesn't do you much good as a free man.

7/18/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

William Knight's (if that is his real name) screed which included "arrogant asshole like John Bolton" made me realize he is highly partisan and has a poor command of the English language, a poor command of logic, and a lack of self-control.

From now on I will click past his posts (I only hope his screeds don't start a trend on this tread).

7/18/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The wealth is institutionalized and in many ways the people mere players in a role they did not create. Others live for it.
You can only do and spend so much and I have never seen a luggage rack on a hearse.

7/18/2005 07:03:00 PM  

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