Thursday, September 08, 2005

Winners and Losers

The US has transferred security responsibility over Najaf to the Iraqi government. The US will continue to provide advisory and logistical help to the Iraqis however. According to the Washington Post:

NAJAF, Iraq, Sept. 6 -- The U.S. military pulled hundreds of troops out of the southern city of Najaf on Tuesday, transferring security duties to Iraqi forces and sticking to a schedule that the United States hopes will allow the withdrawal of tens of thousands of its forces by early spring. ... Other cities in the heavily Shiite south, and in the Kurdish north, are likely to be next.

In other developments, The New York Times reports that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in a televised interview that Saddam Hussein has confessed to ordering the massacre of Kurds in Anfal in 1988. Hussein's lawyer called Talibani's statement a fabrication. Talibani is an ethnic Kurd.

It has been the presumption by some writers that if the Iraqi insurgency was not losing, it was automatically winning. But there is an argument to made for asserting the alternative: that if the insurgency wasn't winning then it was losing. If it failed to stop the gradual formation of organs of governance in the Kurdish and Shi'ite areas it would find itself further and further away from its goal to restore the status quo ante. The insurgents may have entertained hopes of driving US forces from Najaf; the Left may have believed that they could: but what chance do they have of driving the largely Shi'ite security forces from Najaf now? As United States forces begin to withdraw from Iraq the process in Najaf will be repeated in other Shi'ite and Kurdish localities. At some point the new Iraq, the Iraq irretrievably severed from its Ba'athist past will acquire a momentum too great to reverse.

The forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein at the hands of a government which his own ethnic base has largely refused to join underscores this emerging reality. Saddam Hussein is the former President of Iraq. Jalal Talabani is the current President of that country. Neither Saddam nor the insurgency may like it; but there it is.

68 Comments:

Blogger al fin said...

The holy cities such as Najaf should be put under local indigenous control as soon as possible. But make sure the Iraqis are up to the task. It will take a lot of intestinal fortitude for the local Iraqi commanders to resist all the corrupting influences that suffuse Iraqi society.

The Iraqi security forces will need coalition help and guidance for years.

9/08/2005 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Sirc_Valence said...

Where do we go next?

9/08/2005 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

The sooner saddam hussein is tried and executed and said execution televised for the Iraqi people to see, the better. There will be no better symbol of the new government's ability to meet the needs of the people than the televised execution of the monster that killed and tormented them for years. The need of retribution is strong for them and the true post saddam era cannot truly begin until he swings from the gallows for all his victims to see. The delay in his trial and pending execution has cost countless lives.

9/08/2005 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

-and I wonder if our media will report the joyous celebrations that will erupt all over when the monster is killed??

9/08/2005 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The media will then cry foul because Iraq has the death penalty. Saddam's execution rooms open under different management.

We can't win, or don't ya know?

I think that cautious optimism is the order of the day. The burden of proof now lies with the quagmirists.

9/08/2005 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

sirc_valence,

The really hard part in Iraq may be yet to come. John Zvesper at Ashbrook recently wrote that many of the key conflicts in American politics happened after the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Now Iraq in the 21st century can hardly be compared to 18th century North America, but the point isn't totally invalidated. It is one thing to escape the yoke; another to come together again.

The Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunnis are potentially bound together by geography. Ports, oilfields, roads, a shared capital city etc mean that sooner or later, they'll have to put their Constitution into practice in the corrosive and often corrupt atmosphere of the Middle East. The US can at most midwife this process. But its eventual place is out of there: and that was explicit from the beginning.

World politics hasn't reached the point where people believe in voluntary withdrawals. Germany, Japan, Korea were historical exceptions to the normal rule that conquering armies must be expelled, until America changed the rulebook.

9/08/2005 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I wonder how much a global, mostly beneficent hegemon has further changed the rules.

In the past, leaders of men looked up into empty skies, fearing and receiving only the judgment of God. Not anymore.

9/08/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

When the only way to fight the United States is to become invisible, we are asking much of our enemies.

With heightened senses, we have entered a new age. A gift, though sorely received.

9/08/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

- yet underneath it all is an intrinsic desire among people to have peace and a degree of economic security and to see a better future for their children. This basic need and drive supercedes notions of nationalism and religion and I think we as a species adapt the latter to the former. It in my opinion is the foundation for compromise which will enable some form of participation on the part of the Iraqi people in their government. I see more hope than potential for failure.

9/08/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This story is evidence of obvious, pragmatic progress in this world-changing mission. Of course, our friends on the Left will refer to the new order in Najaf as "collaborators." We're still at war with Iraq, we're the occupying power, even though we are doing all we can to help them govern themselves. The examples of Germany, Japan and Korea don't hold for the lefties, even though they are historical proof of this process succeeding.

The Left can't let go of their hopes for defeat. Just a day or so ago our local paper published a letter lamenting our dearth of translators because of the hundreds of gays who left the military over the last few years under "Don't ask, don't tell." Ummm, how about millions of Iraqis on our side ... you think they can fill the gap?

9/08/2005 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Wretchard,

Be interested to hear your comments on this:

http://grimbeorn.blogspot.com/2005_09_04_grimbeorn_archive.html#112606078759488386

My first reaction: take it.

9/08/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

tony
we have not been at war AGAINST Iraq for years, now. We have been allied WITH Iraqis for well over two years.
That has always been part of the Administrations challenge, framing the debate and the perceptions of what and why we are doing in Iraq.

By putting a low priority on the training and "standing up" of the ISF in the first year of the Occupation we lost valuable time, that is only now beginning to be made up.

Faster, faster, faster.
Iraq for Iraqis

9/08/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

" they'll have to put their Constitution into practice in the corrosive and often corrupt atmosphere of the Middle East."
Doesn't that say it all?
Consider how often people seem to find it desirable to jettison our own First and Second Amendments, add new amendments to match the latest social fad, or promote absurd interpretations of basic provisions.
And during none of our history were we seriously threatened by Canada or Mexico, nor did we ever face a threat from an internal and widely promoted internal philosophy that was inmical to the very concept of democracy. Not even the CSA wanted to destroy the rest of the USA or change its form of government.
A challenge, indeed. If they can pull it off they really will have done something impressive.

9/08/2005 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Aristedes,

Part of America's strength is what it will not do, which arises directly from its Constitutional system. With respect to the China link you provided, it has the important effect of persuading them that America cannot be perceived as a traditional single mode hegemon, which has only one note: conquer and bully.

America is bi-modal. It's default mode is "let's do business". Only if you aggravate it, really aggravate it, will it morph into that other mode which you don't want to know about. The downside of this bi-modality, from my point of view is that America has become, as the Chinese article suggests, in certain respects the capital of world government. It keeps the peace, albeit because peace is good for business. But this means there will a growing and possibly unhealthy foreign interest in American domestic politics. Foreign populations who in some sense live under American rule will find ways to lobby "their" congressmen. And that can corrupt America.

One challenge of the 21st century is to find ways to channel foreign input into domestic policymaking. Setting up a world forum like the UN has failed dismally. In a way, it would have been better had it succeeded. It would have kept the bagmen from converging on Washington more frequently than they already do.

9/08/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Oh W,

"America has become, as the Chinese article suggests, in certain respects the capital of world government. It keeps the peace, albeit because peace is good for business.

"There comes my fit again. I had else been imperfect" should it have been otherwise.

But goesh, this is where it is at - compromise, and compromise - thy name is woman. If only we could get the women of the ME to speak, the arseholes of the Arab male culture could be so easily relegated to a failed evolutionary spur. Why won't they just die and make life so easy for the other 95%% of humanity?

ADE

9/08/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Wretchard, I have asked this before, but at that point I had not realised what a strong proponent of a unified Iraq you are. I think it would be better for the US to have a united Kurdistan, armed and allied to the US, under a non sharia law, than any possible Iraqi government with Shia Imam's sticking their fingers into government. The arguments against this seemed to me to be weak re-hashes of the current administrations views. I fully realize that they are operating with far better intelligence than I have access to (namely, only what I read here and in other blogs), but they should be able to frame the argument in terms that an ordinary person can understand. Frankly, the country of Iraq seems to me a monstrosity, better put out of its misery. Actually the countries of all the middle east could do with some boundary adjustments.

9/08/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...
Wretchard,

Be interested to hear your comments on this:

http://grimbeorn.blogspot.com/2005_09_04_grimbeorn_archive.html#112606078759488386

My first reaction: take it.

6:24 AM
//////////////////
Chuang Tzu
(The Inner Chapters)
When there is rise and fall, Chao Wen plays the lute. When there is no rise and fall, Chao Wen does not play the lute. Chao Wen played the lute, Shia Kuang kept time with a baton, and Hui Tzu leaned on a stump and debated.


.....
As the blogger mentions it IS a kingly document. And that is just its problem. Indeed, the document does a good job of jerrimanding off the table the role of democracy in china. What they want to do is make the ccp a permanent caste, nomenclatura, little prince system legitamized by the USA.

If the USA loses this point to the chinese then we will also lose this point to the Europeans--as they gear up to that brussels thing. That is, the europeans will build a nomenclatura/communist/little prince system there out of brussels--based on the Chinese model and not the US model. And we will have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to the terrible detriment of ourselves and all mankind.

The Chinese know something about dynastic cyles. What they havn't got through their heads is that democracy is a way of resolving the matter to the long term benefit of both the people and the rulers.

The whole point of democracy is to keep a party from morphing into a permanent caste system. (If you look inside the "party" in north korea this solidification of the caste system is far more advanced.)

When ya got a caste iron caste system the society has to rot down to its roots before there is change. This is what happens with the dynastic cycle.

Instead what they have in China are two rival bureaucracies in the PLA and the CCP. Nor is it entirely clear in the west that their rivalry is not dissimliar to that which marked the rivalries between the military and civilian bureaucracies in Japan before WWII.

The American relationship to the current drive to unify europe is a good model by which we should frame any deal on Taiwan. The USA is not taking sides. But we do believe in Democracy.

ie if the Mainland Chinese want Taiwan they have to become a true democracy. if the rulers want to serve both their people and their own children then they need to create a democracy.

9/08/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger PatCA said...

I'm just worried about the theocrats taking over.

9/08/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

The proposition that the 4th generation warriors win by not losing IS a loser of an argument; in no case, in the history of warfare, has anyone won by default unless the state blatantly failed. Cases made for Mao and Chiang Kai-shek dismiss Mao as a military commander; he was a good one, but he still won in much the old-fashioned way. He caused a defeat in detail on many fronts, survived, established strong points and began to expand into Kuomating territory. A different fashion, same idea.

The contention is really that 4th-geners can't be defeated because they won't mass in the traditional manner. But they can be pinned down, isolated, their infrastructure however distributed can be dismantled bit by bit, political agenda ignored or usurped, and much else done to them and their constituents that is devastating.

The internet and the technologies that make 4th generation war what it is will be brought to heel. Viruses and malware assure us that the techniques needed to safeguard users and business will be developed, and that technology will be used to search for, seek out, and destroy the one technological advantage of these groups.

9/08/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Look at the foot print that is in Iraq right now. Coalition Forces are made up of countless civil administrators, much of the Green Zone, Private Security Companies, contractors of all sorts, plus the media camp followers. Does the coalition become more internationalized, is it taken over by the UN, or does it melt away and cease to exist?

In times past, after the US civil war, the Calvary fanned out into Indian territory where it set up forts. I wonder if there will be SOF bases on the border lands. Is there a need for a US airbase out in the boonies? Wouldn’t that frost Iran and Syria.

I often envisioned a US military base in the outback of Iraq with a sign out front; “Call us if you need us, but when we come, we are going to kill people and break things”.

9/08/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger MrMyke said...

What about control of Qaim?

I've been expecting Wretchard to comment, and looking forward to analysis.

As I recall, the Qaim area was the subject of a series of past posts...now that Zarqawi owns it the silence is surprising.

When I read about the post-takeover executions of "US collaborator's" and "intellectuals" (along with sundry Sharia-violating beauticians) I have flashbacks to what we found on returning to Hue after it was lost.

Is our loss of Qaim to the terrorists significant? Did it happen at all? Am I the only one wondering??

9/08/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

On-topic, see this Neo-neocon post about Sadr City.

9/08/2005 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

mrmyke,
billroggio.com has been keeping a pretty good finger on the pulse of the action in Qaim.

“The strategic importance of Qaim, particularly with the northern ratline of Tal Afar being threatened, makes it a logical town for al Qaeda to regroup to attempt to maintain control of the border. As the Coalition continues to press, the enemy’s secure area in Anbar shrinks. The terrorists have two options to respond: stand and fight - and die, as several thousand did in Fallujah - or retreat and attempt to fight another day. If the choice is retreat, the places of refuge are increasingly becoming limited.”

There is a fight going on between disparate Iraqi forces and at the moment appears to be a fair amount of action. On going operations has al Qaeda on the run only to surface for brief and brutal attempts at local control.

With a substantial populace that wants AQ out or Iraq, and a tightening net of Coalition forces, looks like the enemy will become more brazen as its separate elements make a last stand for survival.

9/08/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Oh yeah, it's good to see youre back doing your perp' arm pump celebrating another hollow victory. Not much a surprise at all. It is all you've had to live for.

9/08/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

The president of Iraq is a ceremonial position. The PM is the executive.

9/08/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

Tony:

I think much of the left, center and right will consider your "friends" in Najaf Badr brigades with uncomfortably close ties to Iran.

As for who is running the show it became clear that the existing government knows we are desperate and had a good time humiliating our ambassador as he continually sought a constitution more closely approximating our needs.

Large parts of the south are under varying Shiite theocracies and e are willing to call them success so long as they don;t shot at us or blow things up. The bodies in back alleys can be ignored.

9/08/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The dramatic turnaround in Sadr city shows that the lesson, ‘No better friend, no worse’ enemy is starting to sink in. It also shows that some of the political maneuvering in regards to Sadr may be paying off. Let’s hope that those who are paid off remain paid off in the long run. Nonetheless, keeping one political opponent out of the fray for an extended period of time keeps the front lines more manageable.

Back room dealings and back alley brutality seems like a marked improvement in internal Iraqi affairs, unless you have come to rely upon suicide bombings and indiscriminate murder of women and children as a cause celebre.

9/08/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The Iraqis should use the US constitution... we aren't using it.
G. Carlin

9/08/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mouse,
Good point about Sadr City:
At one time that was the most explosive place in Iraq.
I haven't been keeping track, but seems much quieter.
...and thanks for the Myke Alert.
Ignorance is not bliss, Ignoring Ignorance Is.

9/08/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Desert Rat,

I know we're not at war with Iraq, I was speaking for our friends on the Left. Dincha notice I was talking out of the left side of my mouth saying "our friends on the Left will refer to the new order in Najaf as "collaborators." We're still at war with Iraq, we're the occupying power...."?

9/08/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

David Bennett,

Why do you think these guys are Badr Brigades? The same story Wretchard references points out the non-unity among Shiites: "Tensions surged again last month when clashes erupted between Sadr's men and Iraqi Interior Ministry forces seen as loyal to a rival Shiite bloc, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Nineteen died in those battles."

9/08/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ya gotta hand it to the MSM for not wasting much time on a minor victory like the one which is the subject of Neocons post.
Sounds like Baghdad is doing much better than reports, and lack of them, indicate.

9/08/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger German guy said...

@Wretchard,

A point of detail: Your text suggests that "Anfal" is a toponym, some place in Iraq where a massacre of Kurds took place ("Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in a[n] ... interview that Saddam Hussein has confessed to ordering the massacre of Kurds in Anfal in 1988").

Instead, "al-anfâl" was the name of the broad 1988 campaign against the Kurds. The distinction is significant because in Arabic "al-anfâl" is a highly charged and evocative term. Meaning literally "the booty/the spoils of war", it is at the same time the name of the eighth sura. Plus, this is one of not too frequent cases in which a sura's title is indeed indicative of its content.

"al-anfâl" is a martial sura which speaks at length about fighting the unbelievers, admonishes the Islamic fighters to be steadfast etc. The presumptive original audience were of course the early followers of Mohammed.

In calling his Kurdish campaign "al-anfâl", Saddam thus implicitly branded the Kurds as unbelievers/non-Muslims, while casting himself as successor to the Prophet. All this was of course not lost on all those concerned. It also serves to relativize the oft-heard claim that Saddam was a "secularist".

9/08/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ot
Tony,
If you haven't seen it before, be sure to check out Google SITEMAPS.
Keep getting better and better:
Now if we could just reform their politics.

9/08/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger MrMyke said...

Thanks for the point over to Bill Roggio, Mouse. I follow his site too.

He too, though, doesn't answer the question about whether the "takeover" even occurred. Only the WaPost article made that claim, as far as I can find, and Roggio doesn't really confirm or refute. One of my main points of curiosity then, was who to believe: The Marines or the Post report?

I was hoping to hear from Wretchard on the basic question, then get some further comment from him, as I find his analysis a step or two deeper than the level over at The Fourth Rail (though that site is great for the nuts and bolts of ongoing military doings).

Anyway, I agree with Roggio that if the AQ folks are going to establish a presence in a city again, it's good insofar as it presents a fat target. On the other hand, it makes me wonder what kind of wherewithal was involved in taking the town in the midst of the ongoing Anbar Campaign -- is the effort a sign the campaign has not impacted them as much as previously claimed?

I still hope Wretchard opines on this, or if not, that one of you can point me to some more information on the situation in Qaim and surrounding environs.

Oh, and as an aside, surely the "arm pumping" business wasn't directed at me? If it was (and Doug, your reference was also a little cryptic), you've got the wrong guy; I don't know how anyone could conclude from my message (or any other source) that I back the terrorist dog in this fight.

9/08/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Myke, maybe my memory is faulty.
---
I guess we all are observing the ever increasing negativity and lack of any positive input from the Dem/MSM Cabal?
. Terrorist Attack .
The Years long decline of the Democrats into nothing but blame gaming, and name calling, makes looking back to 9-11, and it's videos an even more surreal experience.
Will the public continue forever to tolerate the ever-increasing co-operation between the Dems, the MSM, and others desperately seeking and hoping for the worst for this country?
---
Every news item or tragedy is nothing but an opportunity for them to celebrate hoped for failure.

9/08/2005 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Zarqawi’s fighters soon to have a reckoning.
“Dozens of families were fleeing Qaim every day, Mahallawi said.
For local fighters now, "it would be insane to attack Zarqawi's people, even to shoot one bullet at them," the tribal leader said. "We hope the U.S. forces end this in the coming days. We want the city to go back to its normal situation."
Many of the towns along the river have been subject to domination by foreign-led fighters, despite repeated Marine offensives in the area since May. Residents and Marines have described insurgents escaping ahead of such drives, and returning when the offensives end. “

The good news is, is that these fighters are not lugging around howitzers with them. The best they can do is carry what they can with them and cash their extra weapons and retrieve them later. This may not sound like a big deal but it keeps the enemy on the move and separates them from the public, their primary source of victims, and it separates them from logistical support. This kind of interdiction, if it were to continue, is likely to attrit Coalition forces as well as the enemy forces. Nonetheless, Coalition forces are waiting out situation in Tal Afar where orders to evacuate are not being followed by local residents. As things heat up they may soon change their mind, at any rate, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment intends on staying put, thus denying the enemy in Qaim another safe haven.

“O beloved commander, your soldiers are, by the grace of God, writing remarkable chapters about sacrifice and the defense of religion and the honor of Muslims in the city of al-Qaim…Al-Qaim, is the battleground and arena of men; the legend of the Marines collapsed in it… The goals of their crusade vanished at the gates of al-Qaim”
al-Zarqawi

You got to love the guy, he sure has a flair for the dramatic.

9/08/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mouse, you'd be dramatic too if you were returning to Hue.

9/08/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

From The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (at
www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2363):

PolicyWatch #1029
Entering the 'Tipping Period' in Iraq

By Jeffrey White
August 31, 2005

Though armed insurgencies can last for a decade or more, they also can have decisive periods in which their paths are set, even if those paths do not become apparent for some time. Iraq appears to be entering just such a period of decision.

Starting Conditions

The process of political transformation has moved Iraq's Shiite Arabs and Kurds to within sight of their overarching political goals: a dominant political position for the Shiites and the functional equivalent of independence for the Kurds. Iraq's Sunni Arabs are the losers in this process, and they have not rushed to join the political process as legitimate partners. The overwhelming political expression of the Sunnis has been armed opposition to a process that could only ensure their permanent subordination to their hereditary antagonists. No grand political bargain has been struck between the Sunni Arabs and the political winners in Iraq.

The insurgency has become a pervasive and persistent phenomenon. It transformed the Iraqi story from reconstruction to armed conflict. It shows no signs of weakening. Insurgents have fought the coalition to a stalemate in some areas (such as Anbar and Northern Babil), and they are locked in bitter conflict with the Iraqi government and security forces for supremacy in nearly all the Sunni areas. The insurgency has been highly successful in its campaign to intimidate and persuade the Sunni Arab population.

For the first time, Iraq is witnessing the emergence of overt Sunni Arab political opposition on a significant scale. The political process, especially the drafting of Iraq's permanent constitution, has politically mobilized Sunnis, though not in the way many had hoped. Sunni delegates involved in the drafting process proved to be tough advocates for Sunni Arab interests. Though powerful Sunni political parties have yet to coalesce, the coming constitutional referendum and subsequent elections may provide the necessary impetus and mechanisms for a Sunni political movement. A Sunni Arab movement combining armed opposition with political organization may be forming.

[...]

One-page summary of what may lie ahead.

9/08/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"(I)t became clear that the existing government knows we are desperate and had a good time humiliating our ambassador as he continually sought a constitution more closely approximating our needs."

- david bennett

Our need with regard to the constitution, is for a document that can clear the hurdle of the October referendum. Desires there undoubtedly have been, but only a single true necessity.

9/08/2005 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"But this means there will a growing and possibly unhealthy foreign interest in American domestic politics. Foreign populations who in some sense live under American rule will find ways to lobby "their" congressmen. And that can corrupt America."

Indeed. It threatens to align domestic political groups with foreign interests.

9/08/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

*also

9/08/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"And that can corrupt America." Wretchard

It CAN, but America can choose honesty and integrity, thereby defeating the corrupting influence. Further, America can export "power to the people", and hence broaden the base of just governments serving their people and replacing the failed-states which today are "just people serving their governments."

"Chinese dynasty cycles" Charles

What China government has NOT internalized yet, (and this marks it like the Sadr folks, the resurgent socialists and communists and Hutu machete wielders, not to mention the Islamo-fascists around the world) is the REALITY of the change-cycle we're in today!

In the past, the Chinese (and Caliph and other empire-builders) could wait for a generation or two (40 years? +/- ) and presto! Problems have been dissolved by decimating the recalcitrant slave-states, or starving them, or interbreeding and absorbing them...

But today, we can't see 5 years into the future, let alone two generations! The Chinese are going to witness the massive re-alignment of their governments Goals, Options and Methods. The Chinese themselves will REQUIRE it, from inside to out.

9/08/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Four years after 9/11, no clear-cut US victories:

In Afghanistan, facing general elections Sep 18, the Taliban have enjoyed a minor military resurgence this year, despite US-backed President Hamid Karzai heading the war-wrecked country.

From the American perspective, the greatest achievement in the war on terrorism might be the absence of further strikes on US soil since 9/11. But it represents a victory only until the next major act of terrorism, which government officials have consistently described as inevitable.

http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=21137

9/08/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We have been allied WITH Iraqis for well over two years.
That has always been part of the Administrations challenge, framing the debate and the perceptions of what and why we are doing in Iraq."

- desert rat

I want the administration to "frame" Iraqi catch-and-release.

Waiting patiently.

9/08/2005 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al-Qaida's spectacular
'Ramadan Offensive':

At least half the nuclear weapons in the al-Qaida arsenal were obtained for cash from the Chechen terrorist allies.

The plans for the devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. have been under development for more than a decade. It is designed as a final deadly blow of defeat to the U.S., which is seen by al-Qaida and its allies as "the Great Satan."

http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46235

9/08/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey Doug,

Re: Google sitemaps - no thanks. I believe they have self-declared as having humans ranking web sites, rather than being a pure Information Retrieval engine. For us geeks, that's fatal.

Back in ancient Web times, 7 or 8 years ago, theorists wrote about how things might turn out. Here's something about "Thought Tubes" prophesized at PARC, that tracks not only Documents on the Web, but the Users byting them - and puts it all in spray graphs over a Time line. This is a PDF worth viewing for those curious about Web/blog patterns. It's old, but there's nothing new under the sun.

Visualizing the Evolution of Web Ecologies

9/08/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Report Warns of Terrorists' 'Great Ramadan Offensive':

Al Qaeda's plans for a series of spectacular terrorist strikes in October, targeting American interests as well as U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East and said to be coordinated by Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- are the subject of a non-public report issued by terrorism experts this week.

Piecing it all together

Details of the planned attacks were pieced together from intercepted communications between top al Qaeda leaders in the latter part of August, analysis of what counter- terrorism experts described as a dramatic increase in the volume of communication among jihad forces and the observation of an unprecedented movement of jihadists and messengers around the world apparently delivering instructions.

'The heart and lair of the Great Satan'

Bodansky's report states that "concrete preparations for the consolidation of Islamist-jihadist springboards against the heart and lair of the Great Satan are being completed -- for Western Europe in the Balkans, for Russian and Eastern Europe in Chechnya, and for the United States in the tri-border area in Latin America."

Hurricane Katrina's message

Terrorist leaders may also have taken the devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina as a symbol that God is pleased with their plans to launch the "Great Ramadan Offensive," according to the GIS report.

http://www.aina.org/news/20050908103903.htm

9/08/2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam,
(the great)
Battle of ... .......
(1964)
HT, Bill Bennet.

9/09/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony,
That will require a look in the morning, but thanks.
...reminds me that new Google Desktop Search reintroduces Windows bug that allows random displays of info you have deleted from your Hard Drive when document is opened in correct/incorrect Office Program.
Very Helpful, as long as you have NO Private Life/Thoughts!
(we probably don't anyway, like it or not)
Dr. Strangelove is tracking down everyone on the Island for my Kid's TS Clearance.
...I'd flunk for sure.
Or die of Shame and Paranoia.

9/09/2005 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam,
In Hawaii we have battles over Top Raman Chicken Cup Noodles Nissin.
...it's a local thing.

9/09/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I want the administration to "frame" Iraqi catch-and-release."
---
"New Tone,"
...a liberal thing:
(for someone ELSE to hear when the lead starts flying)

9/09/2005 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Carridine, 8:51 PM:
Closest thing we have to offer:
Gorelick/Burglar on 9-11/Able Danger "Commission."
---
Snowe/Lieberman on Katrina/Homeland Defense Dept "Commission."

9/09/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Does America Have a "Muslim Problem"? .
While American Muslims may indeed be role models in their wealth and high voter registration rate, it is not at all true that only ill-educated poor people actually commit terrorist atrocities. This has been disproved again and again. A forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Marc Sageman, recently conducted a study that led him to conclude that, in the words of the Times of London, “the typical recruit to Al-Qaeda…is upper middle class, has been educated in the West and is from a professional background.” Likewise, Princeton economist Claude Berrebi studied over twenty years of data on suicide bombers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, only to conclude, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, that “only 13 per cent” of the jihadists “were from a poor background, compared with 32 per cent of the Palestinian population in general,” and that “suicide bombers were also three times more likely to have gone on to higher education than the general population.”

We have witnessed the same phenomenon in the United States. Maher Hawash worked at Intel. He made $360,000 a year. He was in the U.S. legally — in fact, he was a naturalized citizen. I would be surprised if he had not been registered to vote. He married an American. Stephens and Rago would have confidently held him up as a role model and considered inconceivable the idea that he could turn out to be a jihad terrorist. And yet that is exactly what he turned out to be.

The WSJ article is yet another manifestation of a fundamental misunderstanding that blankets the public discourse about Islamic terrorism. Even at the Wall Street Journal they don’t understand that the primary motivation of the jihadists is a religious ideology, not resentment born of economic injustice or marginalization.

9/09/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Stephens and Rago do include a caveat: “neither a first-rate Western education nor economic affluence offers any inoculation against extremism: Just look at the careers of 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, educated at the Technical University of Hamburg, or Daniel Pearl killer Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who did undergraduate work at the London School of Economics.” One may hope that these Wall Street Journal reporters will one day undertake to find out why Atta and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh turned to jihad terrorism — if they aren’t too afraid of what they might find. That fear, and the general unwillingness to face the real causes of Islamic terrorism, is what constitutes America’s real “Muslim problem.”

9/09/2005 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pipes/Hawash link above:
"This all came as a particular shock, for Maher Mofeid "Mike" Hawash personified the American success story. A Palestinian born in Nablus in 1964 and reared in Kuwait, he arrived in the United States in 1984, earning degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Texas. He went on to work for Compaq in 1989 and became a U.S. citizen in 1990.

His career at Intel began in 1992, where he worked on video technologies. When his father fell ill, he got Intel to transfer him to its plant in Israel, where he lived for two years. He married Lisa Ryan in 1995 and fathered two children. In 1997 he published a well-received book on video graphic formats with the prestigious scientific press Addison-Wesley.

Hawash had achieved much by 2000. He worked at one of the world's greatest companies, earned nearly $360,000 a year, had a circle of friends, and was admired for his volunteer activities.

But that same year, neighbors reported to the FBI, he became noticeably more devout. He grew a beard, wore Arab clothing, prayed five times a day and regularly attended mosque. He also became noticeably less friendly.

Further inquiry found that Hawash paid up his house mortgage (interest payments go against Islamic law) and donated more than $10,000 to the Global Relief Foundation, an Islamic charity subsequently closed for financing terrorist groups. Early in 2001, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca. And "Middle Eastern males" were seen coming and going from his house.

Friends and co-workers condemned such information as "guilt by association." Nothing in Hawash's actions, they insisted, justified his incarceration, and they made their views known. They launched FreeMikeHawash.org and wrote letters to the editor. They set up a legal defense fund and staged protests on the streets of Portland, Ore.

Hawash's former boss at Intel, Steven McGeady, became his champion, portraying Hawash as an average "Arab-American with a job and a family." McGeady dubbed the arrest "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka" and dismissed the charges against Hawash as "baseless" or "completely insane."

Supporters filled Northwest newspapers with alarms. One professor portrayed Hawash's incarceration as "part of a consistent pattern of suppression of civil liberties." Columnists and letter writers compared the United States to a "Third World country," Orwell's "1984," Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Militant Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations saw in Hawash's arrest "serious damage" to the standing of American Muslims.

Hawash's high-powered career and supporters together turned him into the symbol of the pious Muslim victimized by a biased and overzealous justice system.

And then, on Aug. 6, this whole illusionary edifice came crashing down: Hawash pleaded guilty to conspiring to help the Taliban. He also agreed to cooperate fully with the prosecution and waived his right to appeal his conviction and sentence. In return, the government dismissed the other counts against Hawash.

How did his supporters take this news? A media search turns up not a single mea culpa. Instead, they responded with denial and silence.

"I don't know if I feel betrayed. I'm not dwelling on that now," said one of his staunchest sympathizers.
"I want to hear directly from him before I believe it," said another.
At the Aug. 6 hearing, reports the Oregonian newspaper, "The throngs of friends and supporters who publicly protested on Hawash's behalf at previous hearings" were noticeably absent.
Militant Islamic lobby groups lost their voice."

9/09/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But Satin was even more afraid of being denounced, for her pastry cook had proved blackguard enough to threaten to sell her when she had left him.
Yes, that was a fake by which men lived on their mistresses!
Then, too, there were the dirty women who delivered you up out of sheer treachery if you were prettier than they!
Nana listened to these recitals and felt her terrors growing upon her.
She had always trembled before the law, that unknown power, that form of revenge practiced by men able and willing to crush her in the certain absence of all defenders.
Saint-Lazare she pictured as a grave, a dark hole, in which they buried live women after they had cut off their hair.
She admitted that it was only necessary to leave Fontan and seek powerful protectors. But as matters stood it was in vain that Satin talked to her of certain lists of women's names, which it was the duty of the plainclothes men to consult, and of certain photographs accompanying the lists, the originals of which were on no account to be touched. The reassurance did not make her tremble the less, and she still saw herself hustled and dragged along and finally subjected to the official medical inspection. The thought of the official armchair filled her with shame and anguish, for had she not bade it defiance a score of times.
???
freemikehawash.org

9/09/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger PalaceRat said...

The CG in Iraq has directed MNF-I to tone down the reporting that the coalition has transferred security responsibility to Iraqi forces in Najaf. It's not that there's no change, but I think he's concerned the extent of the transfer has been exaggerated. The trend is in the right direction, but we're in early stages.

The trials of SH and his cronies feature slam-dunk, spectacular evidence and rickety, unsure process. The tribunal is like all new Iraqi institutions, perhaps even more so. Personal & tribal & political dynamics, lack of professional skills and attitudes. The "critics" (jealous and anti-US "human rights" outfits, self-promoting lawyers, and the understandable tactical maneuverings of defense counsel) will challenge the court's legitimacy, without much merit. Meanwhile, the court itself is taking a stab at sabotaging itself with leaks.

The documentation of the former regime's crimes will be unprecedented, not just in this region but in general. Many of us are eagerly anticipating the reaction in Cairo and Beirut and Damascus to the spectacle of accountability for one the dysfunctional Arab world's worst malefactors. The denial will be vigorous, but perhaps insufficient.

9/09/2005 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"The CG in Iraq has directed MNF-I to tone down the reporting that the coalition has transferred security responsibility to Iraqi forces in Najaf. It's not that there's no change, but I think he's concerned the extent of the transfer has been exaggerated. The trend is in the right direction, but we're in early stages."

And here we thought only bad news was ever exaggerated.

9/09/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

From Reuters:


BAGHDAD, Sept 8 - The United Nations said it refused to start printing Iraq's draft constitution on Thursday, delaying yet again efforts to get millions of copies to voters before a referendum now fixed for October 15.
One negotiator from the Sunni Arab minority which has been lobbying for changes to the text adopted by parliament on August 28 said non-Arab Kurdish leaders agreed to an amendment to the draft to strengthen wording on Iraq's nature as an Arab state.

Others involved were not available for comment.

"We haven't been given authority to print it," said Nicholas Haysom, a U.N. official in Baghdad, adding that he could not say whether the existing draft had been amended.

"From our perspective, and we are helping in printing and distribution, we are awaiting a text certified by the National Assembly. We don't expect that to happen before Sunday."

Iraqi parliamentary officials had said earlier in the week that printing would start on Thursday after last-minute efforts to fine-tune wording to appease Sunni leaders had failed.

Haysom said he could not say whether the difficulty with the text as it stood was that parliament had failed to approve the text properly last week or whether that text had changed.

[...]

(How many Iraqis who will vote in the referendum will actually read the draft constitution? Maybe as many as the Europeans who actually read the proposed EU constitution...Now THERE'S an unhappy parallel.)

9/09/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Heyhey - is Sadr still in Najaf? I believe he's sitting there somewhere with a glowing neon sign saying "Shoot me, you American idiots" aflame above him.

Let's throw him in the pit with Hussein, and then bomb the streets when his blackshirt monkeys come out to ululate.

Amen.

9/09/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kofi: Head of the World - Winner.
Brown: Head of FEMA - Loser.

---
(Kofi: Head of World's Largest Ripoff.)
(Brown: Head of World's Largest Non-First Responder Organization.)
---

Kofi: Tells the Right Lies.
Brown: Tells the Wrong Truths.

9/09/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

American Women is Losers. (Joplin)
---
. Don't go there, Mrs. Hughes .

Today, Sami al-Arian is on trial on over 40 counts of financing and running one of the most violent Islamofascist organizations in the world, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, from his professor’s post in Tampa.
In a particularly ironic twist, secret evidence of his organization’s intent to conduct attacks against Americans is being used by the prosecution. For his part, Al-Arian is using as part of his defense his past ties to Mr. Bush and his associates.

Now, Karen Hughes is set to address – and, thereby, to provide political cover to – yet another problematic Muslim-American organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), at its large annual convention in Chicago over Labor Day weekend.
As with the Bush Administration’s outreach to Alamoudi and the AMC and its endorsement of al-Arian’s campaign against secret evidence, Mrs. Hughes would make be making a first-order strategic error were she to embrace ISNA.

This is because the Islamic Society of North America is a front for the promotion of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi political, doctrinal and theological infrastructure in the United States and Canada. Established by the Saudi-funded Muslim Students Association, ISNA has for years sought to marginalize leaders of the Muslim faith who do not support the Wahhabists’ strain of Islamofascism, and, through sponsorship of propaganda and mosques, is pursuing a strategic goal of eventually dominating Islam in America.

9/09/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Corrected by Wife:
(Who Else?)
1964 Wrong, 1959 Right!
.Lyrics and Music
"The Battle of New Orleans," is about a battle in the War of 1812, and it became one of the biggest selling hits of 1959.
Jimmy Driftwood was a high school principal and history teacher who loved to sing, play instruments and write songs. Mr. Driftwood wrote many songs, all for the sole purpose of helping his students learn about this battle and other historical events. But this song turned out to be so popular that it won the 1959 Grammy Award for Song Of The Year (awarded in 1960 for musical accomplishments in 1959).
Johnny Horton also won the 1959 Grammy Award for Best Country And Western Performance for his recording of this song.

9/09/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dem 9/11 Commissioner Calls For Jimmy Carter To Head Rebuilding Of New Orleans...

9/09/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Doug,
It might keep Jimmah away from doing evil.

9/09/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

More than that Presby:
He Can Save the Evildoers!

9/09/2005 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

I can't see why it is such a bad thing if Iraq splits into three countries. Ethnic / Religious segregation, with big walls in between, may be what works best in the Middle East. Maybe it is not ideal from the perspective of many, but we should not let perfection be the enemy of the good.

9/10/2005 10:18:00 AM  

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