Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Dark Frontier

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's press conference enroute to Paraguay is interesting for a number of reasons -- the first being Paraguay itself. The Power and Interest News summarizes the region's strategic importance to the US. South America is wracked by a confluence of resurgent Marxism, fueled by Venezuela and Cuba; failing states and coca. Of particular interest is the Tri-Border area, centered on the town of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay on the border of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The Associated Press described it as "a key South American point for Islamic terrorist fund raising to the tune of $100 million a year." The Tri-border area is sometimes described as the Muslim Triangle and is alleged to be one end of a conveyor belt leading to the US southern border.

So great is the supposed US interest in the Tri-Border area that the Vermont Guardian hinted at the planned establishment of an American military base in the vicinity, an allegation that Paraguay later denied. The Vermont Guardian echoed the characterization of Tri-Border area a possible springboard for Islamic terrorism.

The triple border between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil has been long been rumored to be an “Islamic terrorist training ground.” According to New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, the area is “one of the most lawless places in the world … also the center of Middle Eastern terrorism in South America.” In 2002, Goldberg reported that Hamas and al-Qaeda are associated with the terrorists in this region.

But Vermont Guardian journalist Benjamin Dangl noted that some sources felt that the perception of Al Qaeda in South America were the fevered imaginings of an agent of Zionism, just as was the connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

As the U.S. was gearing up for a war in Iraq, Goldberg also wrote an article linking al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by the Bush administration to further their argument for war. Muckraking writer Alexander Cockburn found various inaccuracies in the article, and also noted that “Goldberg once served in Israel’s armed forces, which may or may not be a guide to his political agenda.”

Whatever the truth to these rumors, Rumsfeld's press conference produced another gem on the arming of the Iraqi insurgency by Iran. After the media asked precisely one question about the Tri-Border area ("Q: Will you be talking about the tri-border issue in Paraguay? A: I think the cooperation that the countries in the tri-border area have demonstrated has been a useful and constructive thing. It's been good. ...") they skipped straight to the subject of the Middle East.

Media: There have been reports about Iran specifically facilitating -- I mean you've addressed them a little bit. But over the weekend there was an even more detailed report in Time Magazine about Iran’s Revolutionary Guards setting up a specific unit in Iraq to carry out car bombings against Coalition forces. Are you aware of those kinds of reports? Do you think Iran's involvement is getting more intensive as the process of writing the constitution goes along?

Rumsfeld: I've not seen that report. I see intelligence reports and we know that we're finding Iranian weapons inside of the country. They don't just get there by accident. They don't fly there. And we know that Iran has a system of government it would like to replicate in Iraq, and we know the system of government they have with a handful of clerics running the place and telling everyone want to do is fundamentally inconsistent with the kind of a constitution that's currently being drafted in Iraq. And an Iraq that is democratic and representative will stand in stark contrast to Iran.

So one ought not to be surprised that they're engaged in the kind of activities that they're engaged in. They're making a mistake, in my view. I think they're going to have to live with their neighbors like any country does over time.

Media: -- Iranian weapons on more than one occasion?

Rumsfeld: I've got another [inaudible] secure videoconference --

Media: These discoveries in the past couple of months -- What do you think it indicates?

Rumsfeld: What I just said.

Some Belmont Club readers have repeatedly written to ask why Secretary Rumsfeld would be at pains to downplay Iranian intervention in Iraq -- both before and after Operation Iraqi Freedom -- when these revelations would serve to strengthen the linkage between terrorism and it's state sponsors, a connection whose existence has been repeatedly denied. (Speculation alert) One possible reason for turning a public blind eye to Iranian belligerence is that any administration which very strongly emphasized it would logically be compelled to do something about it, a step which the Bush administration may be unprepared to take or believes cannot be sustained by domestic political consensus.

One interesting historical parallel to the refusal to acknowledge Iranian aggression was the ignorance feigned by Britain, France and Russia to Italy's torpedoing of neutral merchant shipping en route to Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War.  Both Germany and Italy operated U-Boats against shipping and one Italian submarine even sank a Republican warship, the submarine C3. Despite the fact that no major power would acknowledge belligerent acts by Italy and Germany against neutral shipping, the "international community" of the 1930s went on to negotiate the Treaty of Nyon proscribing acts of "piracy" without naming the pirates. The text of that treaty (which you can read by following the link) says:

Whereas arising out of the Spanish conflict attacks have been repeatedly committed in the Mediterranean by submarines against merchant ships not belonging to either of the conflicting Spanish parties; and

Whereas these attacks are violations of the rules of international law referred to in Part IV of the Treaty of London of 22 April 1930, with regard to the sinking of merchant ships and constitute acts contrary to the most elementary dictates of humanity, which should be justly treated as acts of piracy ... the British and French fleets will operate up to the entrance to the Dardanelles, in those areas where there is reason to apprehend danger to shipping in accordance with the division of the area agreed upon between the two Governments.

In order to prevent matters from being brought a to a head, Britain and France simply pretended they didn't know who was sinking neutral shipping and instructed their naval forces to conduct a secret war at sea against an enemy they would not acknowledge until two years later. Nor were they alone in this charade. The US Naval Institute has an interesting article describing FDR's undeclared naval war on Germany in 1940.

On the day of the 29 December 1940 "fireside chat," the world waited in anticipation of what the President of the United States would say about national security. Unknown to the public was that months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy was secretly hunting German and Italian warships in the North Atlantic.

Divided Western public opinion on the subject of Islamic terrorism has prevented the issues from being faced definitively. Neither the liberals nor the conservatives -- like the isolationists and interventionists of the 1930s -- have been able to establish a consensus for their point of view. Policy is consequently being made in fits and starts in the tug-o'-war between the sides, essentially awaiting events before taking a categorical direction. Whether that direction will be a genuine "peace for our time" or a new Pearl Harbor is unknown. Until history resolves the dilemma the twilight struggle will continue all over the world, from the Tri-Border area to the Iranian frontier.


Blogger 49erDweet said...

A telling commentary on why Bush's second term reputation is going into the toilet. If a warrior refuses to use his power to defend himself, and incapacitate his enemy, he will soon be a dead warrior. If we don't find a leader soon who has the courage to do the right thing in so many places around the globe, our days -amd those of our offspring - are duly numbered.

8/23/2005 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

Much as the same reason we officially haven't acknoledged the source of the fall 2001 Anthrax attacks. Our doctrine calls for a "response in kind" to WMD attacks. Having eschewed CHemical & bio-weapons, that leaves us with nukes. We weren't ready to glass Baghdad over a handful of deaths regardless of the mechanism being one that called for overwhelming response due to its potentials.

8/23/2005 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Good post, wretchard. The GWOT will have to be a twilight struggle indeed. Check out the current edition of Soldier of Fortune, American edition at least...it includes a chronology of the Cold War, everything from shoot-downs over Germany to telling incidents in hot wars such as Soviet pilots in Korea.

8/23/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

I spent some time trying to gather enough information on Al Qaeda in the tri-border area for a post, and couldn't do it. Googling turned up pretty much the same sources every time (the same ones you were using, Wretch), with the same skepticism about the actual existence of the problem.

I have been reading rumors for years about Al Qaeda in Paraguay, but have as yet to obtain any substantive information. I'll be interested to see Belmont Club track this topic in the future.

I wish we had as much information about Islamists in the tri-border area as we do about Hamas in Gaza.

8/23/2005 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...Bush's second term reputation

Isn't there a possibility that just as Britain and France (god, it's almost impossible to imagine France actually DOING something!) conducted a "shadow-war" in Wretchard's example, that the U.S. might be conducting a "shadow-war" against Iran currently?

Because sublime pessimists like 49erdweet take any opportunity to cast aspersions on Mr. Bush does *not* necessarily mean that nothing is being done.

Until we get to illegal immigration and border security, and then damned if I can see where *any* attention is being paid, let alone sufficient attention.

8/23/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

These undeclared, unacknowledged "shadow wars" are a perfect fit for special operations black ops. The learning curve in dealing with global islamist networks is steep, but the specops people are better learners than the criminal terror fanatics.

The Iraqi people are tired of living in limbo, but they are not ready to join the criminal/terrorist islamic coalition that is killing so many of them. Iraqis continue lining up for jobs in the security systems, and for positions in the newly refurbished schools. Most Iraqis are still looking to the future.

8/23/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bela_IV said...

If West[Germ.,France,UK,USA]do not wake up and do not start biggest ethnic migration in history humanity,humanity like we understand under this word in few years is gone.
Bush,"condi",& Co concentrate on one spot and 80 or so others are getting nice environment for evolution with final stage-revolution.

8/23/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The failure by the democracies in the 1930s to act decisively cost millions of lives in the 1940s. Historians have argued that neither FDR nor Chamberlain could have done much more, given the pacifist tide of the time. Even after Munich, Chamberlain continued to try to buy off Hitler with loans and disposable countries, the so-called "silver bullets". One wag retrospectively called the policy suicide committed out of the fear of death.

In the end it was not the Western politicians, not even FDR with his great skills that convinced the public to take up arms but the Fascists themselves. The democracies had to endure near-mortal hurt before awakening to the danger. Then, as now, it was largely the Left that plied the soporific, assisted ironically enough, by the extreme Right who peddled the 'Fortress America' line.

It's dangerous to draw too many parallels with the past, but perhaps it is even more dangerous to draw none at all.

8/23/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger marcus said...

Tri-border area? My son spent a Rotary exchange year there, and I visited there for several weeks. Nice people. Lots of informal economy on the Paraguay side. Quite a few Arab gruops, akin to ethnic clubs, and perhaps analogous to Irish organizations supporting IRA activities? Ciudad del Este is an interesting city, but it is hardly seems like the center of a lawless region, except in its very freewheeling economy, which specializes in contraband. The armed constabulary on streetcorners provides some appearance of order and security, especially in banks and other places of business.

8/23/2005 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

This quote from today's Washington Post:

The visit was Rumsfeld's fifth to the continent since late 2002 and the first time a U.S. defense secretary has landed in Paraguay, a country about the size of California landlocked in the "tri-border" area among Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia.

The tri-border area has teemed with cocaine traffickers and smugglers, and defense officials said it might also harbor groups that finance international terrorism. One defense official who briefed reporters Tuesday said Hezbollah and Hamas, radical Islamic groups in the Middle East, "get a lot of funding" from the tri-border area. The official said further unrest in the region could leave a political "black hole" that would erode other democratic efforts.

8/23/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In Bush's speach yesterday he failed, once again, to adequately identify the Enemy. Terrorists that have an Evil Ideology is quite broad.
They include the governments of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
They include Insurgents in Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia and Iraq
They include Mexicans and those other than Mexican crossing our Southern Frontier, in violation of US Law.
They include non-state networks operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Liberia, Congo, Algeria, Pakistan, Georgia, Russia, China, Tibet, Burma, Thailand and the list goes on.

Evil Ideology...
that says it ALL

8/23/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Correction: the quote above wasn't from today's Post, but dated August 17th.

8/23/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

One of the reasons for a lack of reporting from that region is it's geographic isolation. Another is that it really is "Bandit" country. There role of any Centralized Governments there is QUITE LIMITED.

8/23/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Heard on Fox News that Pat Robinson called for the US to assassinate Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez.
Guess he is tired of turning the other cheek.

8/23/2005 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

desert rat -- Yeah, but another reason is that the Jews can't be blamed for what goes on there. That's why the place holds no interest for the fourth estate (or should it be fifth column?).

8/23/2005 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

desert rat,

Normally I agree with a fair amount of what you have to say, but I must take extreme exception to your comparing Mexican immigrants with Islamic and narco-terrorists.

There is a wide, wide chasm between those who do things which are objectively illegal and those who do things subjectively immoral.

Crossing the US-Mexican border without going through the proper channels is illegal, but it is not immoral. They want to come here and work, to earn money, and to provide for their families. There is nothing immoral about that, and much that is laudable. It is more than many American "parents" manage.

I must say that I am very disappointed that you and many others cannot see this.

8/23/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...


"The failure by the democracies in the 1930s to act decisively cost millions of lives in the 1940s."

I think you are being a little unfair. As much as it is nessecary to put GWOT into historical context, it is also nessecary to put the 1930's in historical context. Countries were slow to go to war in the 1930's because they had an excellent and recent example of what happens when you go to war too quickly: World War I, just 20 year earlier.

Moral: either errors (going to war too slowly and going to war too quickly) can lead to catastrophe.

8/23/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

As I see it, the Iranian “situation” has four major components.

1. The dangerous nature of the Iranian regime -- i.e., aggressive, suicidal, religious, fanatics -- who already support terror; have tons of oil money; despise the West; believe they are destined to create a world-wide religious dictatorship (caliphate); and actively seek nukes to better push all these psychopathologies.

2. Bush knows -- and Henry Kissinger has publicly stated bluntly (several times) -- that if the Iranian regime gets nukes, the world will enter a cold-war-like period that will make the management of the communist cold war look like it was simple -- which it was not (and Kissinger oughtta know).

3. In order to have the resources/backing to tackle the Iranian threat in a more “comprehensive” way, Bush must politically “stabilize” the Iraq, the U.S. domestic, and international situations more fully.

4. He has only three more years to work in.


5. Preparation and timing are everything and we are now in an intensely active if mostly invisible “interregnum” between major GWOT campaigns.

8/23/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...


If you don't think that Mexican "Terrorists" are coming across the border, go to Larado, San Antonio,Dallas, Houston, and other cities in Texas,
(I don't know about New Mexico, Arizona, Calif, but I am sure they are just as bad) just place a call to any of the Law enforcement agencies of those cities.

There is an almost secret war going on in these states, that has garnered very little attention, except for people that live there.

Like Me.

The gangs of ex-para-military thugs are even in some northeast cities.

If you want to classify them as just "drug runners", dig a little deeper and you will find out that is only one thing they are interested and involved in.

Papa Ray
West Texas

8/23/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, i have to say that GWB's "evil ideology" characterization--which as you rightly say is a little short of practical direction due to its amorphous generality--is at least somewhat understandable when regarding that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nazis developed together in concert, and when the one was chased out of Europe (by a gentle prod called WWII), it went to the TriBorder area.

8/23/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...


Mr. Paine, you left out another reason Bush and Co. are not doing anything now or in the imediate future.

Israel. There is going to be major bloodletting there in the next year and
while that is happening we need to keep all options open.

Papa Ray
West Texas

8/23/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

cjr is quite right. In the 1930s, politicians and public alike were certain that the Next War would reprise the Great War, and that when the lamps went out all over Europe they would be out for good this time.

It's hard to get our minds around what it must have felt like in September 1939. It's no wonder the French were so passive: They lost 25% of their adult male population in WWI -- surely they would be exterminated in the next war!

It is similar to the primal dread we feel when confronting the idea of a possible nuclear war.

8/23/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Ciudad del Este is like a paddling duck. Placid above the surface, frantic motion underneath. I do like the term "informal economy". Tourists see only a small portion as when they shop for high tech toys.

It is this "informal economy" that provides the infrastructure for the even more informal activities. I have been in Latin American towns and cities with active Rotary, Lions and Chambers of Commerce. The tendency is to see the similarities since we normally don't see the smuggling and lawlessness.

We also tend to make distinctions without differences such as seeing illegal border crossers as basically "good people" seeking a better life. I look at them and I see a potential mule or courier.

The Rumsfeld trip is another example of things happening under the surface.

Baron, there isn't much on the tri-border area on the 'Net because the information that counts is still stamped top and bottom and comes with cover sheets. This trip is a signal; it broadcasts something to any number of receivers.

Personal to Wretchard: Parezco un danes.

8/23/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Don't forget MS 13, Mara Salvatrucha, Papa Ray, 700,000 members and rising.

Commenters ignore the tribal conflicts and paramilitaries south of the border at their own peril. We know nowadays that there is no 'over there' anymore, its all right here and now.

8/23/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Theresa Beck said...

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I have a credit repair site. It pretty much covers credit repair related stuff.

8/23/2005 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Baron: We always fight the last War at first. Remember, however, that our last real war was the Cold War which was an intelligence war with economic weapons.

Wretchard: I had to think about your aside about agreeing not to see certain things because acknowledging them would imply the need for overt action.

There are a lot of issues like this where options other than overt are being taken. Iran is one, the tri-border area another and the Malacca Straits yet a third. These days, the only time I wring my hands is to ease the arthritis. Be of good cheer.

8/23/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Near 75% of the cars in Paraguay are said to be 'hot.' That indicates more than a robust informal economy. The idea of a central government in Paraguay has been lost for a lost time. The country itself has never truly recovered from a war almost 150 years ago, when enthralled to a Hitler-like cult of personality it pursued a war against its neighbors that resulted in 2/3rds of its male citizens being killed.

That big informal economy, i.e. smuggling rings, creates a lot of untaxed, untarifed money; which has been flowing to Hezbollah (and Hamas), Noraid-style [help the home country]. However, that much money will have the capilary effect of pulling the terror-masters toward it, especially given the lawless, smuggling-experienced tenor of the area. If Al Queda isn't their, they should be; and that is why we must be there.

8/23/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Super 6 said...

Cardozo Bozo said...
Crossing the US-Mexican border without going through the proper channels is illegal, but it is not immoral. They want to come here and work, to earn money, and to provide for their families. There is nothing immoral about that, and much that is laudable.

This was true years ago and still true to a lesser degree. I, like Papa Ray, live in West Texas and the rural populace dares not leave home unarmed.

8/23/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger AcademicElephant said...

I'm getting the sense that the Paraguay base is already there but that the Paraguayans (?) are going to continue to officially deny it. That would be typical Rumsfeld. The PINR report was not to my eye their best piece ever--do they really think we can't bankroll what we need to in the region?

On a related regional note, can anyone help me with why Arlen Specter is getting chummy with Hugo Chavez? Talk about an odd couple.

8/23/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

al fin, regarding "shadow wars", I think it's a pretty safe bet that there are Iraqi Kurds operating in the Iranian Kurdish areas, with training from US SF units.

The Iranian situation is tailor-made for operations in the style of the Contras under Reagan and Ollie North. We'll know for sure when we start hearing about mullahs being assassinated

8/23/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

I think Fallujah I may be indicative of some future strategy in the GWOT. We learned that preemptive media coverage will quickly redline into the hysterical, and that can send even stalwart allies such as Blair reeling for political cover. The media spun Fallujah harder than they spun Jenin, and made it seem worse than Stalingrad, while the US was making steady, but measured progress. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say the media were calling an atrocity BEFORE the US really got started.

Fallujah II, the US learned that speed is important, even more important than it is for manuever warfare, because it keeps you ahead of the media cycle. We learned that the media was no friend and often an enemy.

Iranian involvement might just be sidelined because the most effective countermeasures might just be to contain the media (who will reveal details best kept hidden and revel in mistakes best left at peace) away from their natural ally in Iran, for the effectiveness of any countermove and to forestall any hysterical accusations of 'war mongering,' et. al. Again, silence may break the media cycle as effectively as speed, and that saves lives.

8/23/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Operating Space
“Goldberg once served in Israel’s armed forces, which may or may not be a guide to his political agenda.”

Sarcasm alert:
Where as we can explicitly trust the good intentions of those buoyed by the faith of Islam, we can be sure that if someone lived in Israel, served in its’ armed forces, they could not be trusted for anything, because as we all know, all joos are Zionists, and all Zionists are evil.

It seems the best way to leverage intelligence is to down play it in the NIE, leak ominous portions to the press, then wait for the press to raise the issue. The administrations ability to tout intelligence data has been sadly undermined. Ironically it is the juxtaposition of too little intelligence on 911 and too tenuous intelligence on WMD that plagues the current USG offices. When citizens like Joe Wilson use the CIA’s own faulty (but not incorrect) information to tar brush the current administration, we are all left weaker in a more dangerous world.

‘Are you aware of those kinds of reports?’

Oh hell yeah, we’re aware.

It is sad in this game of high stakes poker, the US is afforded but one bold move by it enemies abroad and it’s enemies within. In this vacuum of power created by the global left, Iran is free to pursue it’s nuclear interests without a modicom international oversight.

“Until history resolves the dilemma the twilight struggle will continue all over the world, from the Tri-Border area to the Iranian frontier.”

It is in the “Twilight Struggle” that the US allies are their strongest, in that world we are joined by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and even Belgium. Under the veil of dark shadows, the warriors of the night silently operate, waiting for the day to dawn in the unknown future.

8/23/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

By coming up with the otherwise absurd name 'War on Terror', GWB quite deliberately opened up a period in which Muslims everywhere can choose sides, as they are currently doing. This was both a sensible and a benevolent step by GWB, on our behalf.

As a result the precise extent to which the wider and more intense war which is coming will be a 'War against Islam' is being determined by Muslims themselves, which is as it should be. We are all sorting ourselves out in anticipation for the conflict, and will have to live or die with the responsibility for the choices we make (except for Western leftist survivors, who always clamor for and are always granted a free pass).

The next major atrocity, which is inevitable, will bring all this into focus in a single day.

8/23/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

While I have no doubt that we are causing trouble with the Kurds in N. Iran, I fear that we let the Mullahs gain far too much of a foothold in the south of Iraq. This morning on the news it was reported that the Chief of Police of Bagdad said that more and more bodies are being found that show signs of torture or of being bound and blind-folded. Recall, the discover of the macabre kangaroo-courts in Najaf, once Sadr was rousted from there last fall. Although he does not now open move for power, his minions still work behind the scenes; as well as those of SCIRI. Both of them recieve support from Iran.

I fear that our troops may find themselves caught in the middle of a civil war, or even odder, fighting with the Sunnis against the Iranian-backed Shiite religious parties.

8/23/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

All of Latin America is vulnerable to that same timing Tom Paine mentions in re Iran and GWoT II. The race is between the democratizing force veering leftward due to an under-developed middle class, and such initiatives as Nafta and Cafta building up that middle class to where it ouitnumbers (out-votes)the poor.

The commodities boom is a godsend. Latin American financial markets are in an accelerating long-boom. The whole land mass south of the Rio Grande has the resource wealth to short-curcuit the revolution of the have-nots, if only capitalism can function under a combined coordinated attack by master-race nazi/jihadi killer/narcotrafficantes, nationalist governments run by bandit megalomaniacs Castro and Chavez, global-game newbie enthusiast ChiComs, and of course as always the great enablers of the American left, led in the Latin American market by ex-president Jimmy Carter, and the great enablers of the American right, led by such as Ross Perot, whose fortress-America definition of the "giant sucking sound" on the American southern border wasn't empty brown bellies (which sooner or later might in the manner of the hungry become armed & dangerous), but merely obsolescent American "jobs going south" (a message which split the 92 election into awarding control of the decade to a global crime & appeasement syndicate).

Thus the 21st century begins a titanic restoration project, which may or may not succeed, depending as it does, as usual, on the American electorate. Will we meet the challenge, or does it make more sense to shuck all that sturm und drang and instead go to ground, among our electronic toys, and entertain ourselves in peace behind SSBN-locked doors? Are we our brother's keeper? Is our brother even worth keeping? And unable as we are to see the future, how can we ever know?

8/23/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

as to events on the ground in iraq, if you read michael yon's last post on Sunday--he's pretty upbeat. what's more he's hearing the spin on US and it just doesn't jibe with the reality that he's seeing. even obvious stuff. a letter by al zarkowi late last week surfaced. zarkowi said in the letter that terrorists in mosul were on the verge of collapse. But what was reported in the west had no resemblace to what the letter said.

It is in this context that events are more properly interpreted. everything from the shriek let out by saddam hussein last week that he was ready to be a martyr-- to the sunnis digging in on the federalism issue --to senator chuck hagel saying iraq is much like viet nam.

what we have is enother stone marker about to be laid down with the new constitution and all the dogs are barking.

there are several things to remember. one is that the entire left has the viet nam war playing in their heads as a script against which they read the current action. the msm as a seperate player and for seperate reasons plays to this.

and this cuts in ways that are both intentional and unintentional. it can't be repeated often enough for example, that the tet offensive in 1968 darn near completely wiped out the viet cong and decimated the north vietnamese. they thought they had lost in fact.

but the msm just shrieked. walter chronkheit got on the tube and came out against the war. LBJ is reported to have concluded the war was lost if it didn't have chronkheit's support. and the north vietnamese who --reacting to the objective facts on the ground--thought they'd lost the tet battle--seeing the way the USA reacted--concluded they won. Facts on the ground didn't matter.

Facts on the ground don't matter?This horns in the ground hooves in the air topsy turvy world was only possible because msm leftists controlled the media.

That facts on the ground don't matter remains the conceit of leftist the world over to their undoing.

that said we are undone too by facts on the ground coming over the US border. I think the upper level pubbies are way too smug about leaving the democratic governors of arizona and new mexico to twist alone after they've declared states of emergency over the border situation.

8/23/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

If you put the MSM in the little box marked OpFor - Ministry of Information and Propaganda a lot of the 'news' becomes more understandable.

Charles has it right - and the same situation pertained to much of the world press during the thirties. The Fabian Society and the Gramscians achieved much of their success in the aftermath of WWI - and we're still dealing with the results of that initial success.

This time, they lose.

8/23/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Buddy Larsen said...

Thus the 21st century begins a titanic restoration project, which may or may not succeed, depending as it does, as usual, on the American electorate.
its not about restoration in the 3rd world. its about the creation of wise leadership and a strong middle class in the formerly 3rd world.

because if we don't do that--they will do us with unwise leadership ruling an impoverished people.

and this combination in the context of 20th & now 21st century technologica power can have deadly consequences.

the wild and crazy idea that bush put forward in January of this year was that the world had become so closely connected that enslaved people anywhere threatened the freedom of people everywhere.
Transcript: 2005 State of the Union Address
FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Wednesday, February 2, 2005

In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder.

If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades.

The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror and replace hatred with hope is the force of human freedom.


Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the 'evil principle' of democracy.

And we've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.


The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one...


That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens and reflect their own cultures.

And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.


That advance has great momentum in our time, shown by women voting in Afghanistan, and Palestinians choosing a new direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic rights and electing a president.

We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty. And in the coming years, we will add to that story.


8/23/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

It's hard to do something, even black, when the country in question [Iran] has the majority of the leverage. Our hands are effectively tied by trying to get Iraq through. I don't think the Mullahs would shrink from war, it would kill our project in Iraq [a plus] and unite their citizenry behind them.

8/23/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

On first reading of Rumsfeld's (masterful, as almost always) answer, my thoughts mirrored yours that follow the speculation alert.
Kind of a true different POV from someone having none of your historical knowledge/analytical abilities, but some common sense from the time of my upbringing and it's strong "show me" roots.
Time and again, Rumsfeld has shown me that he has what it takes.
He just needs the circumstances.

My last post in the previous thread is:
"A Chorus of McClellans"

We ALL are responsible for either furthering the MSM/"Liberal" defeatist cause or aiding OUR cause.

And please, posters, cut down citations from KNOWN defeatists with well proven records of being wrong.

8/23/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's getting close, Cutler!

8/23/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

If a realistic and honest appraisal is defeatism, so be it. I may be wrong, but I did not say much more than Wretchard himself said.

8/23/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Other Than Mexican Flood Increasing At US-Mexican Border .

According to the Border Patrol, some 465,000 OTMs have taken advantage of this "catch and release" policy to settle here in the US. "It's an insane policy which encourages OTMs to come into the country illegally, and we shouldn't be shocked that they are coming in record numbers," says T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 9,000 agents.

I predict that until all OTMs caught on the border get held for deportation the number of OTMs crossing the border will continue to grow at double digit percentage rates each year.

The longer the problem goes unaddressed the bigger and more expensive the fix will become. Right now we need the ability to hold perhaps at most a half million OTMs at once in detention. Eventually we will need the ability to hold millions of them.

8/23/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I just find it hard to imagine Rummie has NOTHING up his sleeve.
He's yet to be found wanting in immagination, and W's post did NOT say they just continued to let the pirates fire at will.

8/23/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Great comment, Wretchard, that "one possible reason for turning a public blind eye to Iranian belligerence is that any administration which very strongly emphasized it would logically be compelled to do something about it".

Iran has been on my mind lately. I am concerned that the stronger words lately are hot air, and will only make us look more feeble.

8/23/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Milan Oskoryp Sr. said...

annoy mouse:
totaly right.I feel and 99% of us should feel the same:night,electric light on porch.I can see from that porch many things.What I do not see is all world full of people,events.......
How I can say something about any events,only echo is hitting mine ears.
Soldier who went through all WWII and
survived can describe The War?
His personal live-through.As a student I had an opportunity to go through pictures taken by mine relative,who served in Czech part of Red Army in special unit.Hundreds off pictures taken right after fighting.Unbelievable.Those were pictures taken only in two three days interwal from one spot.
We can try as much as we want to guess what`s going on.
We can.
What result with?

8/23/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Those two Hypocrites in AZ and NM need to hang out there long enough for their real records to be widely known.
That's in part our job.
WSJ has been doing a great job, as has SOME talk radio.
When their hypocrisy is known, time to drive home issues like photo id's being NOT required for voting and etc.
...and making necessary changes.

8/23/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

It is somewhat ironic that with the hemisphere's common problems, including narcotrafficking, money laundering, gun-running, people-smuggling and terrorism we're simultaneous trying to increase the ability to move people and goods throughout it. As Desert Rat says, there are many places we could label "bandit country" from the tiple frontier region to Columbia, the Darien region of Panama, and parts of Mexico. Some of these regions are run openly by organized criminal groups, others by paramilitary and guerilla armies. Or of course, a combination of both acting in tandem.

The Southern Cone of South America may be a success story, but much of "Middle America" is a failed region. I wonder if we'll find ourselves doing traffic stops and gunboat diplomacy again in the region sometime in the distant future.

8/23/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"INSANITY of requiring photo id's NOT be asked for."

8/23/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"He's yet to be found wanting in immagination, and W's post did NOT say they just continued to let the pirates fire at will."

That's precisely what the Western powers did, until the war was brought directly to them. Old Spanish Republicans are hard to find.

8/23/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutler 11:21
More of the accreted mass GWB has to deal w/left over from previous Admins, MANY from the recently departed one.

8/23/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Spainish or otherwise, Rummie won't pass on POSSIBLE alternatives unless otherwise overruled.
Eliminate State and the UN!

8/23/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/23/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

The difficulty of assessing the wider war - er, struggle - outside Iraq and Afghanistan is that there is much unseen, much unknown. Hell, this is true inside of OIF and OEF.

What's being done about Syria? What's being done about Iran?

We ourselves may never know.

I think this is a genuine problem when a vocal minority demands some kind of show - some reassurance, some concrete evidence, that you are indeed doing something - and you cannot give it to them.

8/23/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Shall we be like Clinton and declassify everything?

8/23/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I think this is a genuine problem when a vocal minority demands some kind of show - "
I agree that a seditious press and a know nothing self-loathing defeatist minority IS a problem.

8/23/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor © said...

Even if entrants on either border are coming "just to work," shouldn't we know who they are, where they are, and what they are doing and with whom. Liken to people coming into your home...to be with your children. Wouldn't you want this information...in advance? This isn't rocket science. We need to know for security and for our peace of mind.

8/23/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Profiling, even your kid's playmates, is to be frowned upon.
PC Uber Alles!

8/23/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Indeed, we elect representatives to make decisions based on information that we do not know and sometimes cannot know. There's classified information, information secret for matters of state, a gap in capability (cue jokes about our politicians), lack of access to informed advisers, etc. It is anti-Democratic, but we're not a democracy, we appoint representatives to act in our stead.

On another level, is almost an overflow of information. The 24/7 news cycle and increased capability of news media [to the point where the Pentagon sometimes gets the news from CNN] means that where 50 to 100 years ago we wouldn't even know about an event, we are now judging as voters things like individual IED attacks. We of course do this without the background information and context of our leadership, but the desire for any information about how things are going means that these events stand in for the efforts we do not and cannot know about. As voters, we're now dealing with the complexities of the world unfiltered and directly from the source.

8/23/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug, it's precisely because certain positive, and finally successful, actions CANNOT and OUGHT NOT be declassified (in our lifetimes, if ever) that it's a problem.

Everything was declassified under Clinton? In your alternate reality, perhaps.

8/23/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Will WAY TO MUCH suffice?

8/23/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Wretchard sayeth:
Historians have argued that neither FDR nor Chamberlain could have done much more, given the pacifist tide of the time. Even after Munich, Chamberlain continued to try to buy off Hitler with loans and disposable countries, the so-called "silver bullets". One wag retrospectively called the policy suicide committed out of the fear of death.

It is awful easy for us to see the seeds that sprouted into WWII now. I am reading John Meachem's book on the FDR-Churchill relationship at the moment and early on (in the book) well after the was was underway it is amazing how many people thought they could treat with Hitler.

Leadership is important and President Bush is doing that well. However, those being led have to follow and right now not enough people are following along to take on larger tasks.

Dinesh D'Souza reminds us prudence is also an important virtue.

8/23/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

We are the world, why should we have secrets, said MANY in his Admin.

8/23/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kari Penton said...

Financial feeds provides readers with sources that specializes in Payday Loans for times when money is short and payday is too far away. The special Cash Advance loans provides simple approvals for a Payday Loan without credit checks.
Debt Consolidation

8/23/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger luminary said...

'The unblogged life may not be worth living but the unlived life is not worth blogging.'

8/23/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger yahoo said...


8/23/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Marcus: You might find this interesting, I did.
. Australia’s 14th Prime Minister, John Curtin

8/23/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger AcademicElephant said...

I don't know that I'm convinced the Iran rhetoric is just so much hot air. The Pentagon has been asking people in my field about how to protect the cultural patrimony in case of an invasion. It's the only time we've ever been remotely useful.

Still wondering why Specter met with Chavez and felt compelled to chastise Rumsfeld for his use of the indendiary term "unhelpful" to describe Caracas.

8/23/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We of course do this without the background information and context of our leadership, but the desire for any information about how things are going means that these events stand in for the efforts we do not and cannot know about. As voters..."

we're rather in the dark.

We cannot weigh and judge, cannot take into account, that of which we are unaware - and often meant to be unaware.

It's a classified, compartmentalized war - made worse, public perception-wise, by unreliable or absent, reporting of that which can be known.

And any civilian leader is going to have a hell of a time compensating for these in his effort to keep support and confidence high.

8/23/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Marcus, 11:48 was to trish, about clinton, not your post!

8/23/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish 12:10 PM
Could not agree more!

8/23/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"by unreliable or absent, reporting of that which can be known."
Oddly, for about a week, NYT has been great in outing Clinton Admin on some central issues relating to his almost NEVER adressing crucial threats responsibly.

8/23/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Will WAY TO MUCH suffice?"

If it pleases you, Doug.

8/23/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Still wondering why Specter..."
A Reliably Seditious Jerk.

8/23/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger yahoo said...

YUP! Definitely the last throes!

8/23/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You didn't think outlawing security passes for a while in the nuke lab was a good idea, did you trish?
And my memory fails, but there WERE vast areas declassified that I thought went way too far.

8/23/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I guess the great Clinton Coverup Commission Coverup is getting on my nerves.
I'll try to restrain myself.

8/23/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug, I think you mistake me for a Clinton supporter - or apologist.

Desperate to see him go; glad he's gone; wasn't the antichrist.

Will that do?

8/23/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't be paranoid, Trish,
I don't suspect EVERYONE!

8/23/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Came as close as any CIC since Carter on what you say he wasn't!

8/23/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Cutler makes the point that we are a representative democracy. Good point. We the people own the ball team and we have hired the general manager. The general manager has hired the coaches and helped select members of the team. Now its fourth and inches and we demand from the high stadium seats: “What is the play?” Better yet, give us the damn playbook so we can nod our collective heads as the game unfolds.

But instead, we are left to look at the score on the board, the body counts, what 20lb explosive got flung into the sea, by whom, and ponder from these meager resources, the meaning of life from the shadows on the wall.

Where is Walter Cronkite to give us a daily dose paltry pablum? The sedating effects of the media has withered into obscurity with the innocence of that era, embodied in the nostalgia of simpler times, when people power was the answer and the press was our mentor. Now we the people demand answers and we must seek it ourselves because those we trusted to inform us are now corporate conglomerates that know their business is to entertain us. Bring us up and set us gently down again like a predictable weekly series that begins and ends with all things back in their place, only a shallow moral to carry us through the commercial break for Paxel. It is easy to offer solutions when you are the creator of the problem. The answer we seek;

“is blowing in the wind.”

8/23/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Yeah Trish, sorry if it seemed I was saying we are able to adjust. I meant more that in addition to our ignorance, what we know is also a distortion of the 24/7 news cycle.

8/23/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Annoy, I agree. Exactly what I was trying to get at.

8/23/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

just as an aside.

I recently bought a laptop with a big wide screen, plenty of battery power, ram memory galore, & high low speed internet access.

I enjoy bringing the thing into my local coffee shop & reading & posting to the blogs, doing business to pay the bills & what not. I was out in casper wyoming recently not too far from the cheney ranch and found a dairy queen right beside a kinkos that had high speed internet access. I was able to drink a rootbeer float in the dairy queen & log on to the internet. I just thought well this is ok.

8/23/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

o/t, but that National Geographic TV special--it replayed after midnight--"Inside 911" was stunning, really stunning. The fury came all back again. How dare they?

8/23/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

I am curious as to why Iran would be very engaged in Iraq. Is not our fight primarily with the Sunni? The Sunni led Iraq did attack Iran did they not. Why would the Iranians help them out? Maybe a little, just to keep us off balance but hardly much in common there. True the Iranians do not want anything good for the Kurds in the north to inspire their Kurdish population. The Shia however seem to hold much power and their leaders are pretty friendly with the Iranians. Why would Iran 'rock the boat' when OIF has helped their situation in Iraq as much as it has?

8/23/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rush has been repeatedly talking about a reporter that contacted AP because she/he keeps hearing reports from returning servicepeople that don't match AP's unending pessimism.
Ask's AP is it true what they say?
Reporter asks Fox how henhouse is REALLY doing!
...never considers doing the reporting work herself!

8/23/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If you had been paying attention instead of arguing, you would know.

8/23/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Thanks for the informed reply doug.

8/23/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Baron 8:02 AM,
I thought a bunch of them hid out there during and after WWII? ;-)

8/23/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ash, the desert heart. Friend and foe both have something you can use. Some help, perhaps, if needed, but afterwards, your belongings, the bread and water you consume, and the camel you rode in on. Same as us, before the Renaissance, the Magna Carta, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Constitution.

8/23/2005 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I fear that our troops may find themselves caught in the middle of a civil war"

I believe civil war's penciled in after our departure. In any event, that's not a war we'll be fighting.

Save, perhaps, by proxy.

8/23/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug "Reporter asks Fox how henhouse is REALLY doing!

Reporter looking for a pullet-surprise.

8/23/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Re: Civil War

Look for the Shiia to break up.

8/23/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Patterns are emerging in the statements and actions of the administration, and we may be close to predicting the next step in the GWOT.

Rumsfeld on August 11:
"It's a problem for the Iraqi government. It's a problem for the coalition forces. It's a problem for the international community. And ultimately, it's a problem for Iran," he said.

Asked if that amounted to an implied threat, Mr Rumsfeld said: "I don't imply threats. You know that."

Pressed on what he meant, Rumsfeld said, "Well, they live in the neighbourhood. The people in that region want this situation stabilised, with the exception of Iran and Syria."

Rumsfeld this week:
They're making a mistake, in my view. I think they're going to have to live with their neighbors like any country does over time.

Bush on August 11:
U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday he was "deeply suspicious" of Iran, but was not ready to seek United Nations sanctions against Tehran for its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Why is he not ready? There are many possible answers to this, and Wretchard hit on the most probable:

One possible reason for turning a public blind eye to Iranian belligerence is that any administration which very strongly emphasized it would logically be compelled to do something about it, a step which the Bush administration may be unprepared to take or believes cannot be sustained by domestic political consensus.

If Bush is waiting for something, the most obvious answer is that he is waiting for the true government of Iraq to stand up following the ratification of an Iraqi-created Constitution. If we are to assume that this is indeed what Bush is waiting for, then our inquiry moves forward into why.

The most obvious answer to "why" is that a stable Iraq will free US assets to better deal with Iran.

But look to Rumsfeld's statements. He consistently refers to Iran's problem as being regional, that Iran's "neighbors" will create an unattractive situation for her because of her intransigence.

I believe that Bush is waiting to gain a principal ally and a primary actor in this drama, which is what he will get when Iraq's government stands up on its own. With Iran's misbehavior in Afghanistan and Iraq added to the rap sheet of NPT violations, the case against Iran will certainly be improved from a media standpoint. Talk will shift from "Is Iran a danger?" to "What should we do about it."

From a purely political standpoint, Hawks (Republicans) will win the "What should we do about it" argument. Any Democrat that argues against punishing Iran will have to explain why a government can kill American troops with impunity. Dems will have to explain why they won't stand with our Iraqi friends when they plead for international help in dealing with Tehran. Perhaps most devastating for the doves, they will have to explain to the American people why they would allow the number one terrorist-supporting regime in the world to acquire nuclear weapons.

Michael Barone compared the Bush presidency to a pulsar: a star that goes dark for long periods and then bursts forth in a sudden spurt of activity. I think in the near future, say right before the 2006 elections, we will see another such burst.

Foreign policy is the weakness of the Democrats, and Iraq is the weakness of the Republicans. One of these weaknesses will eventually disappear, and one of them is terminal. I bet you can figure out which is terminal.

2006 will be all about foreign policy; Bush will make it so.

8/23/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Shiia Iraq is Arab, Shiia Iran is Persian, of course. Farsi and Arabic are from two different language bases. Used to hear that the divide would prevent a pan-Shiastan spanning the Caspian to the Euphrates. But also used to hear that the Mullahs were barely hanging onto power against a pro-western resistance.

8/23/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Buddy, the Iraqi Shiia are going to break apart.

Well, it's a good bet, anyway.

There goes the center of mass.

8/23/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Let me be more precise: The Iraqi Shiia are going to divide.

8/23/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

trish, you must mean the Sadr young hotheads vs the Sistani dignified old scholars.

8/23/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Trish, ash

One of you said yesterday that you didn't believe that Iran was in the cards, politically, for this admin. The other said I hope the first is right. Considering all that I've been hearing, I thought both of you, like me, were simply wishful thinking. After Aristo's comment, I'm more sure of it.

It's not a matter of 'if', but 'when'. 'Shoulda' will come after.

Did you see the Times article about another Able Danger witness saying he reported Atta before 9-11?


8/23/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

instabasket of links on the Constitution and side issues n' stuff.

8/23/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"I am curious as to why Iran would be very engaged in Iraq. Is not our fight primarily with the Sunni? The Sunni led Iraq did attack Iran did they not. Why would the Iranians help them out? Maybe a little, just to keep us off balance but hardly much in common there. True the Iranians do not want anything good for the Kurds in the north to inspire their Kurdish population. The Shia however seem to hold much power and their leaders are pretty friendly with the Iranians. Why would Iran 'rock the boat' when OIF has helped their situation in Iraq as much as it has?"

A. A democratic country sitting next door would make their own democrats unhappy and energized. Iranian candidates must be preapproved by the Mullah controlled Council of Guardians.

B. They'd also prefer to sabotage any venture that will give the Americans influence in the country next door to them, because they're currently our enemies.

C. They're also keeping their options open to dominate the Gulf and become a regional hegemon.

Believe it or not, white Europeans and Americans aren't the only people capable of imperialism.

8/23/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Marzo said...

>...one Italian submarine even sank a Republican warship, the submarine C3.

Just nitpicking here: C3 was sunk by a German U-boat, U34.

8/23/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

What a profound tragedy, should the good mullahs of Iran meet with abrupt or untimely deaths.

It falls to those of you who may vote in the US elections to see that a reasonable person, a friend of the mullahs, is elected in 2008. Preferably a democrat, from the party of peace, to liase with the religion of peace, in peace loving Iran.

8/23/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Col. Kurilla was wounded Friday (scroll down through Michael Yon's post to the bottom.) He is already back at the hospital at Ft. Lewis.

Best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery - and what a reminder of how small the world has become.

8/23/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It was down around #345 in previous thread, didn't you see it? :-)
Another Lying Navy Captain smears our faultless Coverup Commission:. . Navy Officer Affirms Assertions About Pre-9/11 Data on Atta
7:26 PM

8/23/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks for that.
Prayers indeed, and thank God for our Great Medical teams.
"He wrote Kurilla “was shot three times in combat yesterday in front of my eyes. Despite being seriously wounded, Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat.

“Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away.”

8/23/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yon, fits part of this discussion:
" "Why didn't you write about that?"

The answer is simple. Often I am asked to withhold information due to the immediate sensitivty. And so, I never release the slightest hint. But then somebody in Baghdad--three steps removed from the action here in Mosul-- releases it to CNN and the rest of the world. What is seen on television and in the papers is practically always inaccurate, or is at least poorly framed. But I rarely waste a breath trying to correct the information. It's too late. Life is busy here."

8/23/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Saw the increible Iguacu Falls years ago when the only terrorists in the area were white sock and sandal wearing tourists.

One possible reason for turning a public blind eye to Iranian belligerence is that any administration which very strongly emphasized it would logically be compelled to do something about it, a step which the Bush administration may be unprepared to take...

Yes, don't ask a question if you don't know the answer, and don't point to a problem if you're not ready to tackle it. A useful strategem. Probably needed in this case but it can be abused, as in the Clinton Doctrine on Terrorism-What-Terrorism of the 90s and kicking the can down the road and around the world and back into Berger's pants.

Re Iran, Wretchard's got the insight and Aristides has our sights properly targeted.

8/23/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yon's entire piece should be read for what it says about how info get distorted and ommitted, regularly.
...he then mentions possibility of his being silenced.
THAT would be a disaster!

8/23/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"trish, you must mean the Sadr young hotheads vs the Sistani dignified old scholars. "
Having hotheads in charge near oil country is not ideal.

8/23/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Iraq Exit Strategy

8/23/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Could ignite a conflagration without match.

8/23/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I disappointed that a punster like you didn't throw up on pullet-surprise.

8/23/2005 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraq exit strategy, nice one. Great stuff.

Did you guys catch Bush's pep talk in Idaho? I thought he came across pretty good. One of his better ones.

8/23/2005 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Punster the funster is worried today!
(about the msm/homefront, as always)
...maybe just because I'm contemplating a rei-nstall on this thing which has become a tortoise?
Hewitt claims he will next explain why he does not believe able danger.
...should be interesting.

8/23/2005 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hewitt quotes Pentagon Report.
I say big deal:
Why would a Navy Captain of 22 years join the big lie?
And why do we have 10 different versions of the "truth" from the commission?

8/23/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Captain was in charge of the program, btw.

8/23/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and then there's burglar and all the rest of the crooks still working there.
Rush predicted a Washington insider coverup.
Does that mean we have to believe it, Hugh?

8/23/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush warns against retreat from Iraq:

Bush said Iraq was a central front of the global war on terrorism he declared in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks by Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.

He said terrorists like bin Laden and Iraq's most-wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hoped to remake Iraq in the image of the Islamist Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan until U.S. forces and Afghan militias ousted them in 2001. Bush also warned that Islamist terrorists hoped "to drive nations into retreat so they can topple governments across the Middle East, establish Taliban-like regimes and turn that region into a launching pad for more attacks against our people."


8/23/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger david bennett said...

Iran is clearly heavily involved with Shiite militias. These are armed and prepared. Possibly more efficiently than the main forces which are also tend to be Shiite/Kurdish militias. The corruption level in procurement has been awesome.

There are strong indications that Iranian supplied bomb technologies have been used to fire warning shots off the bows of British and other roops in the south. The Shiites are trying to make it clear who is boss.

There have also been claims that some of these weapons have reached elements of the Sunni insurgency. They are questionable, but Iran does have interests in keeping disorder in some places at high levels and the topology of the insurgency is so twisted and varied that it is possible that pro unity Shiite factions such as Sadr could have ties with non Shiite hating factions among the Sunni.

Indeed connections of tribes and a variety of other interests groups are often so dynamic that just about everyone can have connections with everyone else and can even ally with sometime enemies against sometime friends.

Trying to gauge this is like trying to discern conspiracy among major players in let's say the United States. Everyone is so connected to every one else with just a few degrees of separation that based on contacts it is possible to create almost any pattern. Conspiracy theorists do that here. Over there just about everyone is a conspiracy theorists, strategies can get so wild that they defy not only common sense, but venture into surrealism. We are subject to the same sort of delusion when North, Ledden and others decided it would be a brilliant idea to sell weapons to those that blew up Marines. To show that we were totally driven to prove ourselves as 2 or 3 faced as the better mideastern players we extended these "negotiations with terrorists," something we publicly denied we'd ever do, to the release of hostages in Lebanon. To show how much they respected us Hezbilah quickly grabbed an equal number of US hostages after the deal was finalized.

These places are messy and everyone spouts disinformation.

Iran does have leverage, note how oil jumped with a one day disruption in Iraq. This makes attack on Iran very dangerous economically. As well as militarily since the Shiite militias lie on key communication lines.

On the big geopolitical issues:


It should also be noted that despite a post here lauding our capacity in the great game Uzbekistan did indeed throw us out. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization consisting of Russia, China and four central Asain states also seems to be inviting Iran into membership.

While the trend of these developments is of little interest because they could take years to evolve and don't evolve nifty electronic gadgets, strategicaaly they are of great importance.

And remember they are being deployed against a nation which was told it's patriotic duty was to buy in response to 9/11 and has heroically increased it's imports of oil. The later incidently is more of an expression of the Republican motive since they have tended to mock liberal pleas for conservation. The fact that the huge prices benefit enemies and rivals and allegdly friendly terrorist havens from the middle east to south America is considered no big deal.

8/23/2005 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Type “french military victories” in google and click on the "I'm feeling lucky" icon.

8/23/2005 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Whoa! Great thread.

I can't agree with W's supposition that this Administation "would logically be compelled to do something about it...."

Already the "Peace Movement" shouts "Why don't you invade Saudi Arabia?" Or - The asininity perigee - "What - are you afraid of North Korea?" The apogee - You sissy warmonger - "You can't do anything about Iran getting the Bomb."

The Peace Movement keeps strange bedfellows these days. If we follow the Peace Movement's suggestions on how to fight this war, someone's going to do a remake of Dr. Strangelove. The documentary.

The Peace Movement loves to advocate the impossible to justify doing nothing. The Opposition will revel in the Administration appearing impotent.

This bluff is already called, isn't it?

8/23/2005 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


No, missed it.
What the heck's going on there? Hewitt?!? I'da thunk Uncle Hughie would be pushing for full disclosure. Why tarnish witnesses with no apparent political agenda?

Doug, you oughta do a blog. Just a clearinghouse with links and maybe a side-by-side analysis of who says what. (like the Big Cat)You'd get lots of hits. There's something there. Too many people are acting weird. Like, what do you mean by 'big lie'? Where'd you find the stuff HH said? Do you have sources you'd go to jail for or something?

You got the energy, the interest, obviously the time. Everybody knows you. They'd wanna know what you found. Blogger makes 'em pretty easy to do. Are you waiting for a sign or something?

8/23/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?:

Arabs in general do not have a problem with democracy, although some Islamist ideologues do. The 2003 Pew Global Attitudes Project asked people in a number of Arab countries whether "democracy is a Western way of doing things that would not work here." Strong majorities of those surveyed in Kuwait (83 percent), Jordan (68 percent), and the Palestinian territories (53 percent) said democracy would work where they lived.

These pro-democracy views are borne out by behavior on the ground. Voter turnout in Arab states for legitimate elections is regularly very high.


The Bush administration's push for democracy in the Arab world is unlikely to have much effect on anti-American terrorism emanating from there; it could in fact help bring to power governments much less cooperative on a whole range of issues.

If Washington insists on promoting democracy in the Arab world, it should learn from the various electoral experiences in the region. Where there are strongly rooted non-Islamist parties, as in Morocco, the Islamists have a harder time dominating the field.


There are also logical problems with the argument supporting the U.S. push for democracy as part of the war on terrorism. Underlying the assertion that democracy will reduce terrorism is the belief that, able to participate openly in competitive politics and have their voices heard in the public square, potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers would not need to resort to violence to achieve their goals.

Well, maybe. But it is just as logical to assume that terrorists, who rarely represent political agendas that could mobilize electoral majorities, would reject the very principles of majority rule and minority rights on which liberal democracy is based.


It is highly unlikely that democratically elected Arab governments would be as cooperative with the United States as the current authoritarian regimes. To the extent that public opinion can be measured in these countries, research shows that Arabs strongly support democracy.


8/23/2005 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"patriotic duty was to buy in response to 9/11 and has heroically increased it's imports of oil. The later incidently is more of an expression of the Republican motive since they have tended to mock liberal pleas for conservation."
The liberals may PLEAD for conservation, but far be it from them being first to practice it, as they eulogize the most wasteful, decadent individuals on the planet. My favorite was Babs calling for hanging up cloths, but far be it from her to pay the maids to mar the beauty of her estate.
Not too many Jimmy Stewarts, Ted Williams, Red Skeltons, and etc setting great examples
Think we ALL could benefit by a little restraint in our Oil consumption.
And our consumption of Hollywood's latest Hate America First production.

8/23/2005 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/23/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, the idea is if I spent all my time linking to others, I could relieve the world of reading my own junk.
...I've been giving it a lot of thought.

8/23/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


Whatever WE do inside of Iran (loose definition of 'we') will be unseen, will be unheard, will be unknown, will be unspoken of.

Aristides has his own ideas, of course. Aristides dreams big.

8/23/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

the analysis stays w/ those w/the ability to do it!

8/23/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

HH said it on his Radio Show.

8/23/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

David, nice post, you often give the more liberal point of view a good telling, but the oil prices are arrived at through open auction of futures on the NYMEX floor--in full view, with all the traders well identified and openly representing their accounts. If tomorrow the bidding stops at 50, then oil will be "down" 15 bucks or so from where the bidding stopped (by the clock, as always) today. The price may indeed be puffed up by speculation--in fact there's no doubt that big hedge funds do often pile in and establish trading positions at higher prices than demand justifies. This is rank speculation, a bet the demand will catch up to the position. If the government were to firewall these auctions at more than the far-out curbs that are in to prevent runs, we could keep prices lower for awhile. This has been done before. The problem is that oil is non-renewable and moving rapidly toward scarcity. If we want to distort the market's ability to reflect that reality, we'd better get our ducks in a row, with rationing and subsidy and government commercial enterprise. Too, supply is via exploration and production, ever more expensive, requiring ever more incentive, as expensive dry holes have to come out of fewer, smaller, more difficult tp produce and deliver, discoveries. And insofar as demand, there's only price to rationalize it. and price is the form of conservation which big auto must--and thus is--already adapting. India and China and Latin America are the lifting globalizing economies that are putting so much 'new' demand pressure on price--and the bidders are going where their buyers will take them. This is of course a big topic, and can't be done justice with thumbnail 'oil business' descriptions. Yes, Big Oil is making a killing, riding the wave. They better do something with it or Jimmy Carter will come back and put that Windfall Profits Tax on them.

8/23/2005 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

One of the nice things about having Old Military Guys around is being able to ask questions such as, "Hey. War with Iran?" Sometimes the look is better than the answer.

Sometimes the look IS the answer.

8/23/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush Vows 'Total Victory' Over Terror:

"The generation of men and women who defend our freedom today is taking its rightful place among the heroes of our nation's history," he said, comparing today's soldiers to those who fought in World Wars I and II.

There has been recent concern that terrorists and criminals have infiltrated the police force the president hopes will help catch them. A report released in July from the inspector generals of the State Department and the Pentagon said, "Inducting criminals into the [Iraqi Police Service] is a continual concern. Even more troubling is infiltration by intending terrorists or insurgents. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that such persons indeed are among the ranks of the IPS."


8/23/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I forgot to close right, I meant to ask, what solution can exist when the sellers are 'clearing' markets daily, at open auction? The world's daily consumption equals the world's daily production nowadays, and tho rumors exist that PRC is doing a little hoarding (and we hoard openly with the now-full or near-full Strategic Rerserve), the days when the world produces 84 million barrels and only burns 83 are the current new normal.

8/23/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


That we're operating in Iran is the only logical conclusion. Especially with all the airborne intelligence gatherers.

Would-be should-be CMDR Rumsfeld is confirming Iran moving weapons onto our battlefield. We're at war.

There are no borders in the sky. We're building the shortest route to Peace over a bridge of War. Third parties are not allowed to arm our enemies, under penalty of becoming our enemy. We can see them.

Iran has a history of radical changes of government, maybe we're just waiting for that number to come up again.

But if Rummy says we know Iranian weapons "are not flying in" - I think that pretty much confirms that the war with Iran is ON in the background.

8/23/2005 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq:

“[T]his insurgency is not going to be settled, the terrorists and the terrorism in Iraq is not going to be settled, through military options or military operations.”

Look, you can't be any plainer than that.

Are we gonna hop on over to Teheran (or Damascus) to fix an insurgency in Iraq?

Pigs will fly.

8/23/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Buddy, is there a possibility of increasing the capacity of the reserve?

8/23/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

So Trish,

You're saying, rather than acting - we'll let the equivalent of a new Ho Chi Minh trail (from Iran / Syria / whatever) be set up to attack our troops? We'll make up a bunch of political ROE to avoid doing anything about this?

You can't be saying that. This is not the Johnson Administration.

8/23/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I think that pretty much confirms that the war with Iran is ON in the background."

Tony, all I'm sayin' is that that's where it'll stay.

8/23/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I hope so.

8/23/2005 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"You can't be saying that. This is not the Johnson Administration."

Uh-huh. Talk to Desert Rat.

8/23/2005 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


When oil hits $90 we invade Alberta and tell the ME to get bent.

8/23/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Rick, sounds good to me.

Here's the numbers on the oil as of the end of '04 in barrels as near as I can tell:

World production: 28.4 trillion
World consumption: 27.6 trillion

USA reserves: 29.4 billion
China reserves: 17.1 billion


8/23/2005 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

I know the prudent course is to ignore the little weasel,but I have a theory on why yahoo doesn't want war in the tri-border area.Might cutoff his supply of wacky-tobacky.
Buddy my response to "Inside 9/11" was the same as yours.I was dreaming about the joy of putting a bacon-coated hollow point in OBL's forehead.I was reminded again of my design for the rebuilt World Trade Center or at least the ground breaking.Set up a series of gallows and dispatch of Ramzi Yousef,the blind sheik,Ramsi Bin al Shib,Kalid Shaik Mohammed,Zaccarias Moussawi and most of the inmate population of Gitmo.These losers are using up way too much oxygen.

8/23/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


A lot of the analysis is a matter of reach. And common sense. Or maybe uncommon common sense. (say that three times!) Most of us don't have the time.(or the T1) But do have the interest to go where we know we can get good info. (and sometimes we're wrong about that - I'm gonna be watching Hugh closely. He's always been a little giddy. It'd be nice to know who's Kool-Aid he's drinking now days)

Heck, Wretchard'd probably back a spin-off. (he's tolerated you this long :) Try it. Short blurbs with links. Maybe with sarcasm. Kinda Nick Dangerface or something. The Garlic. No, -Cilantro. (no, tastes like soap) Underdoug. Houndoug. Crimedoug. Spydoug. I'll keep working on it.

You know, if there's a fissure in the VRWC, how would we know? Think about it.

8/23/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

cyberludite: Much as the same reason we officially haven't acknoledged the source of the fall 2001 Anthrax attacks. Our doctrine calls for a "response in kind" to WMD attacks. Having eschewed CHemical & bio-weapons, that leaves us with nukes. We weren't ready to glass Baghdad over a handful of deaths regardless of the mechanism being one that called for overwhelming response due to its potentials.

Poor soul appears to be caught in a 2002 time warp.

Iraq? "Vast stockpiles of WMD" Iraq?

No, if it was Iraq we would have said so as a reason to invade. No compulsion to nuke for just 9 deaths. But we didn't. Nor did we say it after we conquered them when proof of an anthrax attack on us would have given us beacoup support. Reason of course being not a gram was in Iraq.

Either we know who did it, or, not a shock - given past FBI performance, we don't.

If we do know, it was either a domestic player warning us or it was a false flag operation by a "friendly foreign country" wishing to make us even more pissed of at Muslims or one seeking to show our vulnerability to biowar. AQ? Hardly. It isn't in the practice of giving warnings to avoid needless American deaths.

If we do know, the reason why we haven't told the public is:

A. FBI is still trying to build a case against the domestic culprit.
B. The domestic culprit was an embarassment - knew too much and was quietly snuffed.
C. It was a "friendly foreign nation" that we don't wish to harm over 9 lousy lives. Only a few (3-5) "friendly nations" are known to have sophisticated biowar programs that use Ames strain, vs. the Old Soviet VOx strain of anthrax.

I do wish someone in the press would ask about anthrax and ride the Prez, Pentagon, Homeland Security to say flat-out if they know or not who did it.

8/23/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sam, sure, there's plenty of salt domes in southern Louisiana. The oil displaces the salt water when it's pumped in. The reserve is just a number that somebody set, I think six monthes (?)emergency supply. Long enough to bust up a blockade.

8/23/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

New York Woman Head to Texas:

It started as one woman's battle to talk to the President about her fallen son, it's now become a rallying cry for anti-war protestors across the country.

A syracuse activist is joining the fight against the war in iraq. Kathleen Rumpf is on her way to Crawford to join Cindy Sheehan. It's familiar territory for Rumpf. She's a convicted felon having served several stints in jail for protesting war.


8/23/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm with you, Tony.
I think it's a safe bet (leaving out timing) that something more will be done to address supply of weapons coming in from Iran.
Not only is it not LBJ admin, but W does not have to get re-elected.
(and he wastes all that time on his bike and his Bible, so he's in a bit better shape/has more reserve than LBJ)

8/23/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

those figures mean china has more reserves than us in terms of months supply?

8/23/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Now the elected dems will be running twice as fast AWAY from Crawford!

8/23/2005 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger metworth said...

Like your blog, ...better than mine.!!..lol... perhaps you may like my direct tv satellite internet related site..if your'e into direct tv satellite internet that is.

8/23/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cilantro and Coconuts?

8/23/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

It's nice that we are concerned about things down Paraguay Way, but because Bush is worried about politics and heavily bribed by business interests driving down wages to boost profits using cheap illegal labor - we have almost 6 thousand unknown people a day going across Bush's relatively unguarded Borders.

How many are OTM? (Other Than Mexican) Almost 20%. How many of that 20% are violent Muslims?

We don't know.

Even without the Muslim factor, we have illegals overrunning local services, 1/3rd of violent criminals in US jails are now illegal aliens, and the highest home & auto insurance costs for Americans neatly track where the illegals are because they have the pluck, energy and willingness to work hard to steal our cars and belongings.

How many

8/23/2005 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Doug, well I guess you have to work out US vs. China consumption to come up with months of supply. Hang on a sec.

8/23/2005 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Consumption end of '04 in barrels for the year:

USA: 6.9 billion
China: 2.3 billion

8/23/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger DW OFFERLE said...

During the 1st gulf war, a Seal team member had Hussain in his cross hairs for over two hours waiting for the order. None came, so he slipped back into the river and came on in.
Maybe the younger Bush will do what needs to be done both in Iran and the tri-border area.
The waitng period is about to start.

8/23/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wow, China is GROWING.
Then there's India and etc.
Someone mentioned this morning that unlike here, most of the others don't burn a high percentage in cars, but generating electricity.

8/23/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Don't know, Doug--raw numbers are only part of the story--lot of PRC's reserves are in the wilderness west, deliverability infrastructure tight, and are high sulphur (low quality, costly to refine). Saudi Light is perfume, almost ready to burn as it leaves the ground. PRC's oil, think 'tar'--a lot of it anyway. They're building ten--that's 10--new LPG plants along their coast right now--to liquify natural gas as it imports. We here are aven't built a rwefinery or lpg plant in twenty years, it takes an act of congress to get permission from the greens to even apply for the permit to make the study of how to apply for the permit to make the study of the enviromental (stress on 'mental') im-frickin'-pact. Only with the new energy bill have the feds retaken the power to override--after due process--NIMBY forces on LPG, refinery, and Nuke power plants. We have 100 nukes operating now, and permits for 60 new--much more efficient--plants are in-process at the moment, thanks to the energy bill that has been sitting forever waiting for a crisis so that the enviros can be kept from killing their Democrat pols for not blocking it.

8/23/2005 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Cedarford, how did the secret get out, that Col Sanders had bribed GWB so he could find him some Mexican chicken-pluckers?

8/23/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Monday and Tuesday developments:

A suicide bomber struck a government office Tuesday in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, killing seven people, including a U.S. soldier, an American civilian contractor and five Iraqis, the U.S. military said.

A roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine during combat operations Monday near Falluja, west of Baghdad, and a soldier died in a rocket attack in the Iraqi capital.

Gunmen in three cars opened fire Monday on a minivan in the northern Baghdad suburb of Tarmya, killing eight police officers and three civilians, police said.


8/23/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ohhh, my God...how badly this sh*t has to be stopped.

8/23/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks fall, oil back over $66:

Japanese government bonds were stronger on Wednesday, helped by the losses in the stock market. The key 10-year JGB futures contract was up 0.18 point at 138.63.

Gold traded either side of $439 an ounce in Asian trade, comfortably inside the range it has traded this week.


8/23/2005 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger MarkGoodfella said...

Baron B.,

I remember Vanity Fair had a Sebastian Junger piece on the Tri-Border a few years back. I don't know how much of their stuff is archived online. Might require a trip to the library ...

8/23/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger MarkGoodfella said...


8/23/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

dw offerle -

During the 1st gulf war, a Seal team member had Hussain in his cross hairs for over two hours waiting for the order. None came, so he slipped back into the river and came on in.

Sounds like a pile of crap.

Another SEAL tall tale. If you are doing high risk - sending in Special OPS to find and kill a well guarded leader in wartime, you don't dither for 2 hours deciding whether or not to kill the guy you sent them in to kill or capture while they are exposed to detection. And you would not do a sniper shot but drop several 2,000 lb lased precision bombs on his ass.

Maybe the younger Bush will do what needs to be done both in Iran and the tri-border area.
The waitng period is about to start.

You can stop holding your breath. Barring a military attack by Iran, nothing will be done militarily until the Iraq War is better managed and we have reasonable stability established. Even then - Iran is a matter for several nations to weigh in on, inc. Turkey, Pakistan, Russia. It's not just Israel oe Europe's call what the US military does. The tri-border area is a matter for our CIA and State Dept to be working with their Paraguayan, Brazilian, and Argentinian counterparts and assess the danger before any bad guys just head into Mexico and then walk across Bush's Open Borders.

8/23/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How much more capacity could we gain immediately by having only nationwide blends?
I know it would cure some bottlenecks and reduce prices, also increase capacity any?
(less waste starting and stopping and allocating, etc)
Just wondered if significant.

8/23/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Not only is it not LBJ admin, but W does not have to get re-elected."

No, he doesn't. But other Republicans do.

Doug, you don't say what "something more" might be. Might wanna stop and consider what "more" there is to devote to further conflicts.

We're maxed out right now. We can't cover all the bases in Iraq. We cannot pacify it, cannot secure it. These will not be accomplished before we leave.

But: We don't need to take on Iran militarily and - what's more - cannot manage it with what we've got. Couldn't manage it with what we had available before OIF. You don't start wars you can't finish -especially when you've already started one that, um, you can't finish.

Remember the line from Jaws, Doug.

We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Much, much bigger.

Talk to your Congressperson.

8/23/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Right-Wing Slacker said...

Regarding Iran...

Suppose the Israelis take out Iran's nuclear facility. How does Iran retaliate without violating Iraqi airspace?

Now if the Israelis can can sneak in from the south somehow and not use Iraqi airspace (in order to give us plausible deniability), then Israel can do our dirty work for us, and we can protect them from a full-scale war with Iran.

8/23/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We cannot pacify it..."

We CAN pacify limited areas for limited periods of time. Mosul, for instance, where Rangers quite literally cleaned the place out. But there's always going to be the whack-a-mole business, or scattering chickens - pick your animal.

We do not have enough troops to put the lids on and KEEP them on.

8/23/2005 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Key Provisions of Iraq's Draft Constitution:

Article One :

The Republic of Iraq is an independent state. The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.

Article Two:

Islam is the religion of the state and it is a main source for legislation.

Article Three

Iraq is multiethnic and multi-religious. It is part of the Islamic world, and the Arab people in it are part of the Arab nation.

Article Four

Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages, and Iraqis have the right to teach their sons their mother language, like Turcoman and Assyrian in the government educational institutes, according to the educational standards and in any language in the private educational institutes.

Article Five

Authority is for law, and people are the source of authority and its legitimacy and can practice it through direct, secret voting and through its federal institutions.

Article Six

Power is transferred peacefully through democratic ways mentioned in this constitution.

Article Seven

Any organization that follow a racist, terrorist, extremist, sectarian-cleansing ideology or circulates or justifies such beliefs is banned, especially Saddam's Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols under any name. And this should not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq. This should be organized by law.

Article Eight

Iraq should consider the principles of good neighboring and commit not to intervene in the internal affairs of the other countries and work to solve conflicts by peaceful means and establish its relations on basis of joint interests and reciprocity and respects its international commitments.

Article Nine

The Iraqi armed forces and security systems are formed from the Iraqi people . They should be under control of the civil authority and protect Iraq and not be a tool to oppress the Iraqi people and not intervene in the political issues, and take no role in power transmission.


8/23/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, hell at first, the blends and the back-distribution system--but like a new drug, where the first pill costs $50 million and the second costs three cents, the costs are in and there's just the distribution and storage de-facto tax. It's sort of like the enviros who only drink bottled water. It's the same stuff that comes from their home tap, but they buy it in polyethylene-tetrachloride bottles that never biodegrade,and had to be made out of imported oil and then trucked around the nation and dropped at a million stores so Earth-Lovers can fire up the Volvo and drive through traffic to the store and buy it, then drive home and drink it in the vicinity of the tap which produces in every city the same uncontaminated water, then throw the bottle in the trash where the city has to come pick it up and drive it around some more until it lands in a zone of untouchables where a Cat D-9 dozer can dig a deep hole and bury it. Corps of services paid in part by their taxes, which hurt a tad more due to the cash they've wasted on the drink of dummy-water.

8/23/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Does no one here recall that Iraq was a target of opportunity? That it was chosen, in part, because it was low-hanging fruit? It was do-able with the military we had.

Iran's considerably further up the tree and farther out on a limb. Someplace we, quite reasonably, do not wish to be.

One of the most irritating things about the Left is its hysterical insistence that Bush is aiming for a wider war in the ME - that he's a dangerous, war-happy dim-wit waiting, just waiting, for the moment to pounce upon [insert country here]. No amount of sweet reason will convince the paranoid otherwise.

Kinda the same here, only the dangerous, war-happy dim-wit is a gung-ho, steely-eyed CIC waiting, just waiting, to show [insert country here] a thing or two by way of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin.

Either way, there's no persuading otherwise.

8/23/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I know you're hurting Trish, and have family in the service--and at risk. I wish I could give you a big ole hug and make it better. But I can't, and it wouldn't. But you're earning points on that great abakus in the sky, tho, and come judgement day many years from now, you and yours will have earned.

8/23/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Zarqawi setting up bases in Jordan, Gaza Strip?:

Yaacov Amidror, former chief of research for Israeli military intelligence, told WND, "It's becoming clear Hamas will take over Gaza when Israel leaves. Today, one of the weaknesses of al-Qaida is its lack of a safe haven in the Middle East. The new realities in Gaza will make it one of the most convenient places for al-Qaida to base their global operations. The Gaza Strip will become a paradise because it will be area in which the population and the terror groups in power, especially Hamas, share the same ideology as al-Qaida."

Amidror said al-Qaida is not seen by Hamas as a threat to its dominance in Gaza.

"Al-Qaida isn't seeking control of Gaza. Hamas emphasizes the war against Israel before the struggle against the rest of the West, the Christians and the non-Islamist world. Al-Qaida would use its Gaza base to fight against infidels around the world."


8/23/2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Not hurting, Buddy - frustrated by my apparently quite poor persuasive powers here at BC - where, thankfully, I do have it on good authority, foreign and defense policy is not made - but examined and imagined.

8/23/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Orbit Rain said...

Iraq was shooting at us for a *while* before we went in...went in we did and the world changed for the better. Time is ticking for Iran, and they're just about out of timeouts.

8/23/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

the right-wing slacker -
Suppose the Israelis take out Iran's nuclear facility. How does Iran retaliate without violating Iraqi airspace?

You are aware that there is NO single Iranian nuclear facility located 600 KM farther away from Israel than Osirik, but some 90 facilities with disbursed assets. Which, even if the Israelis had refueling tankers - which they don't, assumes that the Saudis, Jordanians, and Iraqis would let the Zionists violate their sovereign airspace. And not on one quickstrike, but on a few weeks of sorties. And there is the matter of the Russians at work on the Bushar Reactors. And Iran if attacked doesn't really have to worry about violating Iraqi airspace. The Iraqis, reacting to a Zionist attack, would not interfere with revenge.

Now if the Israelis can can sneak in from the south somehow and not use Iraqi airspace (in order to give us plausible deniability), then Israel can do our dirty work for us, and we can protect them from a full-scale war with Iran.

Coming into Iran from the South from WHAT bases? Who in the region would let Zionist forces on their soil? And, there are no Israeli aircraft carriers. If they go over Iraq without US approval, as temporary enforcers of sovereign Iraq airspace, the Iraqi governing council may order the US to stop the Israelis - and rather than turning the whole country of Iraq against us by proving we are in cahoots with Zionist aggression - we likely would, even shooting down the IDF attackers.

Israel is a very small country with large undeclared WMD stockpiles of biowar agents, chemical, and especially nukes. Despite it's WMD stockpiles, it lacks the ability to project it's force very far in a conventional campaign and even has difficulty with a surprise one-time attack given the new radar systems Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran have, plus American radar coverage of the region and - yes - we would have to tell the Iraqi Governing Council if waves of Zionist warplanes entered sovereign Iraqi airspace. And the long distances to Iranian facilities would require the Israelis to transform their AF into a long-range one that could maintain mission strength while overflying several hostile countries to get to the targeted country.

About as difficult as China attacking France by overflying a few Central Asian 'Stans, Russia, Poland, and Germany when those nations aren't keen on a Chinese bombing campaign on France.


Other than a nuke strike with missiles, Israel is lacking in ability to attack targets on a sustained basis outside a 300KM radius. But pre-emptive nuke attack by Israel would have grave, possibly nation-ending consequences.

I understand our "special friend" is crapping bricks at the idea the WMD monopoly they thought was permanent, beyond the technical talent of their enemies is now threatened by a clear ability of many Muslim nations to achieve strategic parity if they are inclined to do so and are not attacked. Libya opted out - not inclined to go nuclear because they had no neighbors so capable. Iran though has nuclear armed America, Russia, Israel, and Pakistan with missiles and bombers capable of targeting Iran. They have a strategic need for parity unless an alternate treaty arrangement can be made...

But parity in weapons technology, throughout history, is always sought and usually gained. Technology is hard to block from the determined and educated..And it is difficult to see the American public willing to undertake several more wars to keep one nation's undisclosed WMD stockpile from competition from rival stockpiles.

The endpoint will be either a WMD-free ME, or a ME with opposing nuclear states.

8/23/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

That's not the point, Trish.

Never mistake response for results. People here know that our military, even right now, could make a shambles of Iran, - conventionally. The problem would come after. Like Iraq. (which I actually believe is getting better - but at what cost?)

We would create a far greater problem by going into Iran. Or throwing in. Which many kneejerks here advocate. Brave with other peoples' blood.

You had insight about the covert actions. There was an entire cold war of those. The citizens never knew. Maybe we don't want to either.

8/23/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

maybe it's just that there's always two of everything, Trish, including two ways for anyone to look at anything, and even two ways of looking at each of those: things are bad when they're good because they have to be good to go bad, and things are good when they're bad because only if they're bad can they can turn good. As in Wretchard's post, the guy who commits suicide to keep from getting killed, or the people we all know who're only happy when they're unhappy--or even those rarer bittersweet types who cry for happy. Sorry for the idiotic gibberish.

8/23/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Wretched brings up an intricate and uncomfortable subject of Narco-Terrorism in North Americas' back yard. How much ingenuity would it take to slip a nuke in a truck? For all we know some thug could put a suitcase nuke in a backpack and ride his motorcycle into Dallas and self-explode.

Some posters have made good points on the subject. The DEA is probably well aware of Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina tri-boarder issue. Not to mention the Peru cocaine industry. This goes back to the infamous Golick Wall issue - which still sticks the gut of the left-wing legal society. Were does the Justice Department stop - and the military start?

The narco-traffic problem has been around since WWII. Many have speculated that Japanese and German war criminals escaped prosecution by fleeing to said region are a major source of the problem. You know, they had no job but had to earn a living somehow (I am sure Wretchard can dig up interesting stories about said war criminals in South America).

The problem of terrorist's attacks from open boarders is real. Not to mention the clever immigration lawyers who constantly ply congressional staff members with special requests for less than perfect "immigration" subjects is a very real danger (most of the 9/11 terrorists had visas). How much of the 'Gorlick Wall' is still in place regarding the immigration system is up in the air (any lawyer in the field -either pro or con - feel free to comment). I suspect there are many on both sides.

But, let us look at the 'General Manuel Noriega' precedent. A certain judge in Florida indicated there was substantial evidence to indict Manuel Noriega on drug trafficking charges. This eventually lead to a military operation. Most feel the military operation was fully justified.

That said, why cannot the same procedure lead to a few high profile Naro-Terrorist being indicted - and, said Narco-Terrorists captured by military operations - similar to the Manuel Noriega legal-military precedent? One would guess (absent the Gorlick Wall) it could be done in many instances (where is Ashcroft when we need him).

We have suffered enough with the Naro-Traffickers. Let's not suffer more with Terrorists - name some names and take action.

8/23/2005 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Just for fun. From the Socialists:

Bush’s campaign on Iraq: more lies in defense of war:

The campaign launched by the Bush administration this week to boost public support for the war in Iraq is both reactionary and desperate. Reactionary, because it entails an escalation of the lies spewed forth to conceal the predatory aims of American imperialism in its conquest of Iraq. Desperate, because the White House imagines that official propaganda can offset the impact of the daily bloodshed in Iraq on American public opinion.

The “big lie” of 9/11

In both his Saturday radio address and his speech Monday to the VFW, Bush reiterated the principal theme of his “war on terror.” The United States was engaged in the “first war of the 21st century,” he said, one which began with the attacks of September 11, 2001 and will continue until “total victory” over the terrorists.

“Democracy” in Iraq

After Iraqi WMD proved to be non-existent, the Bush administration shifted its justification for the invasion to its alleged mission to establish democracy in Iraq. In his speech to the VFW, Bush portrayed all resistance to the US occupation of Iraq as opposition to democracy.

A government in crisis

The immediate cause of this hastily scheduled round of appearances was the presence of Cindy Sheehan outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Sheehan became an antiwar campaigner after her son Casey was killed on patrol in Baghdad last year.


8/23/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"The endpoint will be either a WMD-free ME, or a ME with opposing nuclear states."

Well, also possible is a ME with opposing radioactive smoking holes in the ground.

That's my prediction - but I've always been a pessimist.

8/23/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

hell, Cutler, that's the Biblical prediction.

8/23/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi envoy criticizes other Arab nations:

Iraq's envoy to the Arab League criticized other Arab states Tuesday for being slow to send ambassadors to Baghdad, despite the kidnapping and killing of three Arab diplomats in the city last month.

The Iraqi government will shortly define a secure area for embassies and diplomatic housing in Baghdad, Raad al-Alousi told reporters after a meeting at the league's headquarters in Cairo.


8/23/2005 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

No BL,

The biblical prediction is: 'they will all be gathered together at a place called Megiddo.'

Oh, and 'I will send fire on those who dwell carelessly in the isles (coastlands).'

8/23/2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We would create a far greater problem by going into Iran. Or throwing in."


I've argued that point on other threads. Sorry you weren't there to see the unimpressive results.

So let's just say this: Anyway you slice it, it's a no go.

8/23/2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Let me be more colorful.

Any way you slice it, it's still a sh*t sandwich. They're a hard sell to those who've gotta eat 'em.

8/23/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


Again, -never mistake response for results. I read many of those other threads :)

8/23/2005 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Something has to be done with Iran's duplicity. I'm glad I don't have to be the one to decide. I don't have the wide view. The best we can do is get informed however we can, vote in representatives who have a good head AND a conscience, and then back them.

Or send Jesse Jackson over.

8/23/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Rumsfeld says Iraqi constitution will not end all violence:

He rejected the idea that polls indicating growing dissatisfaction among American with the war might force the United States to give up the effort.

"That would be a return to darkness," he said.

Rumsfeld predicted that the base closing commission that will begin making its final decisions this week will "endorse the overwhelming majority" of the Pentagon's recommendations.


8/23/2005 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


I don't know any serious, informed person who will say that we can make a shambles of Iran given our present commitments - nor one who will say that we could've made a shambles of Iran before, or without the burden of, OIF without incurring an intolerable number of casualties.

It isn't simply occupation that's out of the question in Iran.

8/24/2005 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"maybe it's just that there's always two of everything, Trish, including two ways for anyone to look at anything, and even two ways of looking at each of those"

Right you are, buddy. Two ways and endlessly more.

When all the facts are (ideally) put before everyone, it is upon the differing evaluations of these same facts that people divide.

8/24/2005 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Care to give your opinion on other options available other than Invading Iran?
Special Ops, Attacking Supply lines, Aiding the Kurds, etc?

8/24/2005 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Powerline - Casualties in Peace and War .
...Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?

We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

8/24/2005 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Watch This Spy Story .
I can't understand Ignatius' logic here, but then I'm not an MSM reporter.
...seems like giving secrets to reporters means that others (including foreign govts) will usually find out about it. What do I know.
Any help appreciated.

8/24/2005 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The allegations against Rosen, Weissman and Franklin are serious. The government is right to protect sensitive intelligence about Iran and terrorism from disclosure to foreign countries, even close allies such as Israel. But the indictment of the AIPAC lobbyists crosses a subtle line. It moves beyond protecting information to chilling any discussion of it outside the government's tight circles. Stifling debate about foreign policy is the last thing America needs right now."
So anytime it might cause a chill, the secret info CAN'T BE protected?
That don't make sense to simple minded me.

8/24/2005 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger Balaji Srinivasan said...

My take on it:

8/24/2005 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Iran has a credible military compared to ours? Isn't that a little like thinking Saddam's army, "the world's 4th biggest," would last a little longer than 4 days?

Destroy their navy, destroy their air force and communications from the air... How much of their ground forces do you think they'd be willing to commit then?

Besides, every month Iran delays its Armageddon move in Iraq is a month the ISF becomes more capable of independent operation. I personally think this fear of Iran's influence there is overblown: we may be "leaving," but we'll be there; #2 oil capacity, partly liberated to remove the marekt's super-pathological dependency on exquisitely vulnerable Saudi oil; why would they want to become a puppet of their non-Arab neighbor right off the bat?

Please. We could F Iran up badly. We just couldn't manage the aftermath very well. Thee may come a time soon when we merely shrug and say "So what?"

Decapitating Damascus tomorrow and flinging down the gauntlet in the UN would go a long way toward pushing all of this to its inevitable crisis. Why anyone would suddenly want to have their world radically more influenced by, of all states, a nuclear-equipped IRAN--IRAN!--is not easy to answer. The Europeans, I think, could be persuaded. In any case, we've talked about it enough, and they're going the traditional Middle Eastern route: bad faith negotiations until you have what you want anyway. C'mon guys. Hasn't anyone here or their even SEEN Lawrence of Araboa?

8/24/2005 05:24:00 AM  

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