Sunday, November 27, 2005

Netwar

One of the coolest posts I've read in a long time is Chester's Globalization and War. His reference links to Philip Bobbitt's The Shield of Achilles and the really nifty eMachineShop alone are worth the read. The fundamental issue he discusses is whether nation-states are in some sense being replaced by distributed networks of people. Many activities, from community building to earning a living have jumped over traditional boundaries. Criminal and terrorist organizations have been among the first to exploit this fact. Viewed from one angle, modern Islamic terrorist cells are not so much a return to the forms of the 8th century as new structures made possible by 21st century technologies.

Attempts to develop "network-centric" methods of warfare in the service of a nation state are ultimately limited by their subordination to a highly centralized command and control system. They lack the final degree of freedom that terrorist organizations have, which is to take on a life of their own. However perfectly networked the US military battlespace ever becomes, it is still an instrumentality of a state, an organizational type that took form in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.  Joschka Fischer thought the sun had set on the Treaty of Westphalia but only because he predicted nations would superseded by the superstate. In his speech at the Humboldt University Fischer described the main European political trend since 1945 as "a rejection of ...  individual states that had emerged following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a rejection which took the form of ... the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions." For Fischer and the architects of the EU, not only was it unnecessary for to flatten national hierarchies, it was desirable to extend them to supranational heights.

That Islam traditionally had no fixed hierarchy helped it adapt more readily to networked war. For the Jihadi the requirements of public policy and international law not only proved no hindrance, in a fundamental sense they did not apply: things like the Geneva Convention were the impedimenta of nation-states. Holy warriors were accountable only to Allah, which in practice meant they answered to no one but themselves. This circumstance exculpated the Jihadists from a multitude of sins in the eyes of a Western media capable of recognizing only state actors. Attacks against hospitals, schools, churches; and the use of children as combatants excited no opprobrium because these were understood to be acts of individuals; unfortunate to be sure, but ultimately insubstantial. Only states could commit war crimes, so that Jihadi atrocities, even on the scale of September 11, were only the subject of police action.

History may some day record that Marxism was the cult of the state carried to its ultimate extreme. To the Communist True Believer no problem was so large that it could not be solved by a big enough Westphalian state. PBS ran a series called "The People's Century" in the late 1990s. In one episode, a Russian Stakhanovite worker named Tatiana Fedorova described the greatest thrill of her life as the moment "when the first train went by" in the Moscow Metro she helped build. "We built the metro, we built Magnetogorsk, we built the railway. We did it all with such comradeship, enthusiasm and happiness" that they must have gone to some communal cafeteria afterward to celebrate, before retiring to their Stalinist apartment block houses content in the knowledge that they had served the State.

But most States are an anti-network; in fact the ultimate hive, where drones swarm in vast pyramids around a Dear Leader, a Great Helmsman or a Driver of the Locomotive of History. And if the United States has one advantage over other states in an age of network warfare, it is because in some respects America is an anti-state; ideally, though not always in practice, a framework within which individuals can thrive. In this respect America was conceptually at variance with the scheme of Westphalia whose key precept was state sovereignty: in America sovereignty was useful mainly to allow the growth of individual freedom. For years European intellectuals have secretly suspected America of really being a religion masquerading as a country. And if that is true the First Republic is ironically well adapted to meet the Jihad on the intellectual battlefields of the 21st century.

The key challenge is whether America, in the sense of a shared idea, can be expansive enough to permit subordinate threads which can truly "take on a life of their own", and so become agile enough to engage the Jihadis at the lowest level. We are some of us familiar with the idea of multithreaded applications which can leave the main program and be re-entrant at an indeterminate point. Max Boot had hoped in 2003 that decentralized decision making would be part of the "new American way of war", multithreading within a larger architecture. Yet no sooner had those tendencies appeared when they were reined in by an American Left determined to impose all the blessings of the bureaucratic state upon networked warfare: oversight, endless hearings, legalisms -- the clanking apparatus of the unitary Sovereign -- to 'aid' in the pursuit of nimble bands of modern Mongols contemptuous of boundaries.

If technology has undermined the bureaucratic state, then the intellectual heirs of Westphalia, with their visions of supranational institutions will have truly confused the problem for the solution. In the face of increasing attacks by networks of criminals and terrorists, their answer will be bigger, more international bureaucracies. The United Nations will become the smallest unit capable of fighting modern terrorism. And some would call that good.

94 Comments:

Blogger Desi Pundit said...

As usual, business trumped the military in getting into practice the idea of 'competition between networks'. It has long been recognized that the era of the mega-corporation or the mega-conglomerate was over and the basic units of business competition were netwroks/transient alliances/ coalitions of convenience of individual (sub)businesses that were copeting with one another for market domination.

How this connects to the predatory tactics of islamism, I still gotta think about. (:-)

11/27/2005 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If there have been any lesssons of the Mohammedan Wars, learned to date, it is they have a fluid command and control system if they have a C&C system at all.

The terrorists that struck Madrid were a self contained cell. Mini Z, whose 'nework' in Iraq is running wild, takes no 'orders' from the Doctor. In fact it seems, from reading the Doc's letter, that mini Z won't take the Doc's call.

The London bombers, from the first Metro attack, were successful and it seems "independent".

We cannot even agree if the Francofada is part of the Mohammedan Campaign, let alone part of their C&C system.

Malvo & Mohammed certainly were not directed from aQ Central, but acted "alone" in terrorizing Washington's beltway.

It seems, from observation, that the Mohammedan "Network" is more like a virus, morphing and adapting with each new generation, rather than a system of routers, satellites, fiber optics and landlines in need of "managing".

The Mohameddans are advancing, independently, towards a common Goal. Without need of further direction, Command or Contol.

Theirs is a system, built on the 'strategic corporals' concept, but writ so large, the forest cannot be seen for the trees.

11/27/2005 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

When directions can be given in the broadest possible shared terms -- in terms of a culture -- then detailed instructions are unnecessary. Individual initiative can be given full scope.

However, when the first order of business is to destroy one's own culture then it necessarily becomes impossible, or at least very difficult, to exercise control through broad guidance. What multiculturalism does is reduce membership in a society to a legal relationship. All expectations are delimited; all responsibility is parsed. Nothing "goes without saying"; everything must be spelled out. The parts of the social organism which are not positively commanded will remain inert, or perhaps, even attack the main organism as part of its "democratic" duty. Not that any of this is objectionable, but it does characterize a mode of behavior and describe its limits.

11/27/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

There is, however, a notable disadvantage to the terrorist cell as independent military unit. They are out of control. We can see easily their advantage in fluidity of options and flexibility of action. However, what is less apparent, but equally significant is that they are out of command control and have no accountability. Therefore they can not be controlled by their sponsors. Their advantages serve well when the overall strategic objective is to destroy another civilization. In this case all they have to do is set up shop, do some surveillence, make some bombs, spread some propaganda, blow something up and either run or die. Easy stuff. The disadvantage is that they can be more easily redirected toward other goals through counter propaganda, misdirection, and subterfuge. Unlike other military units they are unlikely to be able to 'check in' with command control in order to get a reaffirmation of their original position with a cross check against reality. This is the benfit of command control.

For example, lets say we are tracking Cell X. We discover that they are very incensed, lets say, of some particular political action they read in the newspaper that day. Our guys then, insideously, plant a little addtional spin on the political situation by some tricky insinuation of false information into their mix (think Mission Impossible here). Our objective is to cause the cell's leader to get into a cat fight with a) another cell in the region, b) some foreign counter group (such as a competing mulla in another religious faction), c) each other (such as through a carefully crafted and destructive love triangle), d) motives and philosophy. In effect the idea is that we may find that the cell, once discovered, is relatively easy to break up because they have no central command, and therefore no accountability. If they lose morale, well they can just go home or disappear. Bye. Thus, when they veer wildly off track and blow up the office of their competeting Islamo-fascist rival instead of the number 43 bus... well, that's just too bad.

Of course what I am suggesting may not be easy to do because you'd have to know where the cells are which is obviously the challenge on our side. But lets say you could do this in some sort of mid-level general sense. Send cell-specific messages through a variety of means perhaps? The occasional false news reports that set their teeth on edge against each other, perhaps? Pepper them periodically and surrepticiously with information that simply makes them doubt the veracity of a given viewpoint that is crucial to their philosophic framework, maybe? This sort of thing perhaps might work - if it were carefully planned and judiciously exercised. The best thing to do, of course, would be to disable the cells by making them lose faith in their cause and simply disband before they do any damage. That would have to be a message that undercuts their insaniac philosophy that Isalmofascism is a good thing. How difficult can that be, really? One better would be to get some percent of them to convert over and realise that what they were about to do was evil, and thereby join the good fight and uncover any upper tier leads they may have.

I can only imagine that in isolation from any actual command and control it would be more possible to diminish the cells confidence and undermine their will to conflagurate. Well, just a thought, for the record. Who knows... it might help.

11/27/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

This is all starting to come together for me, and I suspect, many others.

When I first read Den Beste talking about hive minds, etc., I thought it was interesting but I wasn't sure of the real applicability.

Great post, Wretchard. I'm still not sure that multiculturalism is necessarily what you say it is. "What multiculturalism does is reduce membership in a society to a legal relationship."

I don't see mainstream black people understanding multiculturalism that way and I suspect we're in a situation where the same language is being spoken (e.g., American English vs. Dutch English) but there are crucial misunderstanings occurring in both directions. This is similar (it seems to me) to the whole anti-disco thing when it was very hard to determine if it was "disco" that was hated, or just black music.

It has been a revelation to me, this viewing of multiculturalism as some sort of proxy that leads back to Marx, etc. I don't know how to express this more succinctly so I'll just state it: this viewpoint seems so "white," if you know what I mean.

Does everything loop back through Europe?

Maybe Europeans have bastardized multiculturalism so much that within "their" concept, it is nothing but a proxy. However, does that settle the matter?

I'm not so sure about that. But I'm going to have to think about it later. Time to read about the Florida Gators smacking the Noles, 34-7 baby!

11/27/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Sardonic,

Of course you are right. Terrorist cells are out of control. This is why nuclear weapons in their hands are qualitatively different from those in the possession of states. That's why all the terms of classic deterrence fail to apply. Escalation has no limit. I exploited this observation in the Three Conjectures. Later, I understood there was a Fourth Conjecture, which arose from the same observation; that there was no reason in principle why anti-Islamic terrorist cells might not form, likewise free from scruple. The thing about this mode of war is that anyone can inherently play.

11/27/2005 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

Agreed. But I wonder if my observation has any legs - does the lack of C&C inidicate a fundamental weakness in the networked cell strategy? In other words, would you want to be part of Al Qaeda leadership sending out the message of 'do your own thing' when it turns out there is a 20-40% chance (engineered by our guys) that these same cells will show up with bombs at your own back office? The other point is that if the cells have light communcications with some sort of central command that gives them any sort of 'green light' to go, well if those links can be - not destroyed - but undermined - then the cell strategy may break down. In other words, by judicious use of counter espionage we might be able to cause the cells at large to distrust the viability of their position and break down their capacity to activate. "Amed, was that really a 'green light', or was it another trap from Uncle Sam?" "I don't know Akmed!" If the concept of the cell structure can be disrupted by undermining confidence in the cell system and its viability, somehow, then perhaps we can defeat it this way. That's what I'm trying to question/suggest. Again, as usual, I am trying to think about the problem in terms of potential solutions (being a programmer, of course).

11/27/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger tcobb said...

The 20th Century was characterized by the conflict of different political ideologies, but really all of the variant models still were based upon the pyramidal hierachy that dated back to the days of the Sumerian priest-kings. Perhaps the primary conflict of the 21st Century will be the struggle between the old hierarchical mode of societal governance versus the distributed decision making model that has become possible due to the advent of the mass tranfer of information that has come about through technology.

Those who currently occupy the tops of the pyramids today will surely resist the tide. The attempt to put the internet under "international control" may have been a prelude to the coming war.

We live in interesting times.

11/27/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly that
If Mr Perot had desired more than just the recovery of his employees from Iranian jail, just think of the havoc that could have been brought to the table.

Still could

and should

11/27/2005 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Rat,
Following up on that Perot thought, I suspect that international business organizations will end up with their own international,counter-terrorist, units. Terrorism is too bad for business, and national governments generally too slow to react, for that not to occur.

11/27/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Chester says:

Soon it became apparent that not just capital, but people, ideas, goods, services, and every manner of human transaction, physical or otherwise, was enabled by technology and the fall of the USSR to spread as never before. This entire phenomenon came to be known through the shorthand term of "globalization."

Wretchard says:

What multiculturalism does is reduce membership in a society to a legal relationship. All expectations are delimited; all responsibility is parsed. Nothing "goes without saying"; everything must be spelled out. The parts of the social organism which are not positively commanded will remain inert, or perhaps, even attack the main organism as part of its "democratic" duty. Not that any of this is objectionable, but it does characterize a mode of behavior and describe its limits.

Aren’t globalization and multi-culturalism the exact same phenomenon; with “globalization” the label employed when seen as positive and “multi-culturalism” when regarded as negative?

After all, is it really possible to have globalization without multi-culturalism?

11/27/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Screwball said...

sardonic:

What you're talking about is a virus within the communication framework of the cells. Of course, you're looking far too small, because what makes good TV doesn't make good strategy. Individual cells are extremely hard to influence, except by the individuals that have actual contact with them. It's also nearly impossible to stop all the individual cells.

But because of the fact that the cells are more influenced by eachother than their C&C, it's easier to change the entire movement into a self-destructive stance. Much easier.

It's already been done, afterall.

Desert Rat and Ex:

You're hitting the nail on the head here, when it comes down to the next few moves. The WTC had a terror expert as their SC -- he didn't prevent the attacks, but that doesn't mean the idea isn't sound. The trick will be to see just how much freedom these companies will have to actively deter terror.

If only because it would be interesting to see how Syria would go about wording the complaint that Iraq is passively helping Microsoft hired mercs to destroy Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon.

11/27/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Wretchard,

The police power is inherently un-networkable because of the 'out of control' nature of networked cells. Life in the Anglo-Saxon world has long been about free networks of individuals. Everything from local school boards to sister-cities are all about that. We understand networks quite well, which is why we understand that a network can not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon (which is another way of backing into the Three Conjectures).

The natural corollary is that we would have to give up our own nuclear weapons before we could fully devolve our military to a 100% networked force. You cannot say with absolute certainty that every single member of the US Military would use nuclear weapons with the same care and responsibility that they system as a whole has demonstrated for the last 60 years. Some hot-head, however well meaning, would do something really stupid. And that doesn't even touch the fact that the US Military is probably home to some Al Qaeda sympathizers (however few) or at least potential recruits.

We have been winning this fight for the last four years because there are always two jobs to do, and we have known well enough to use the right tools for the right jobs. Al Qaeda has two jobs as well: to destroy a social network (America) hostile to the civilization it wants to create (Global Caliphate), and to then create that civilization (Global Caliphate). It is lousy as both (the recent protests in Amman show just how lousy they are at the second). The US Military's purpose only resembles the first purpose: to clear away the old networks which were tolerant of Al Qaeda and inhospitable to Anglo-Saxon networks (e.g., the Taliban and the Baath).

The US Military doesn't need to be fully networked to do its job, because creating the Western lifestyle in the Middle East which will defeat Al Qaeda in detail is not its mission. The USA is a Super-Network within which millions of other networks thrive, and so is the British Commonwealth. Those networks are all capable of meeting Al Qaeda at the individual level. Even the incredibly stupid human shields from three years ago are an example of this, but so are Exxon investors and Hollywood talent scouts and Church out-reach programs and the friends made by Iraqi officers trained at West Point. These networks will sink into the middle east, like the roots of an oak, and over decades and centuries will become far too strong to uproot.

Wretchard, you seem concerned about the ‘blessings’ of the Left on the US Military, but they are not as dangerous as you fear. The restrictions placed on the US Military do not inhibits its ability to fulfill its primary mission: clearing away the cobwebs of Arab despotism. The second mission, of creating competing networks which will strangle Al Qaeda for new recruits, is primarily the responsibility of groups beyond the reach of Ted Kennedy. Because Al Qaeda is a networked force torturing captured terrorists is of limited value anyway; far, far less value than torturing a Nazi commander who might actually know something critical to winning the war as a whole. If the CIA is ever actually ‘inside’ the cell which is carrying out a mission at that moment (the ticking bomb problem), I suspect Glenn Reynolds is correct in surmising that they’ll torture him anyway, the Left be-damned. If the CIA doesn’t have someone inside that cell, torturing the people they do have is mostly useless.

If there is any one thing that will strangle our ability to compete with Al Qaeda, you are correct in assuming it is the reduction of human relatioships to legal responsibilities. I think though that you misdiagnose the source of the disease. As I see it, it's not multi-culturalism that reduces all relationships to a legal relationship, but rather some combination of Civil Law and litigants run amok. I was speaking with Lord Bhikhu Parekh a week or so ago (British House of Lords, Roytal Society philosopher) and while his politics were different from my own he correctly (IMO) diagnosed Britain's current legal culture as moving from one based on liberty to one based on rights, but not because of multiculturalism (a topic he knows quite a bit about). It's the EU's body of law, the Civil Law, which is doing it. It is the antithesis of the Common Law.

The Civil Law (and Civil Lawyers) are working their way deeper and deeper into many aspects of our Anglosphere culture. Our relationships are being stifled by legalisms while at the same time our freedoms are being surrendered to ignorant stewards. It’s much more than Justice Stevens looking to how ‘Europe’ is solving one legal problem or another. The informal networks and relationships of many networks (banking networks, vocational networks, charitable networks) gets sucked up and absorbed into the ever-growing body of law; frozen in time and burdened with ‘substantive rights’ while unchecked by due process or other democratic safeguards. At one time arbitration between peers possessed liberty and gave justice; now it does neither. Meanwhile our most cherished public freedoms, hard fought for, such as civil rights and commercial freedom from monopolistic thuggery, are entrusted to ‘arbitrators’ in Paris, Tokyo, and further abroad, without a hint of judicial review.

Meanwhile the effects our tort system have had on our society is the talk of newspaper columns, and well known to all. Our plethora of networked individuals will be quite reluctant to extend their hands to Iraqis and Afghans in need of aid if they fear they’ll just get sued for it later.

The reduction of networked relationships to written form is a long and sorry tradition. For centuries thousands of Roman networks, with noble families and rich merchants as their nodes, spread across the known world. The Legions cleared the way, yes, but the networks were what made it possible to import grain from Egypt to Rome, and send newspapers with the latest political gossip back to Egypt. It was only later, when the Emperor Justinian’s legal scholars thought they fully understood how the networked relationships functioned, did they try to reduce it all to writing. The Justinian Codex was seen as the ‘height’ of Roman Law, but of course Rome was already well into its decline by that time, and was no more shortly after its writing. Justinian was “the last Roman Emperor” after all.

That is the sorry history of the Roman Law: the death of liberty (the freedom to experiment with new relationships) and its progeny. If you want something to be afraid of, be afraid of this.

11/27/2005 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger rasqual said...

Wretchard:
"What multiculturalism does is reduce membership in a society to a legal relationship. All expectations are delimited; all responsibility is parsed. Nothing "goes without saying"; everything must be spelled out."

So said Miss Manners many moons ago:

"Many Americans came to believe-and to put into practice-the idea that any behavior not prohibited by law ought to be tolerated. As a result, people who found rude but legally permitted behavior intolerable have attempted to expand the law to outlaw rudeness. For this purpose, they escalated the consequences of rudeness to bring it into categories that were already given serious attention by the law. Thus, any insult became slander or libel, meanness became mental cruelty, and annoyances from tobacco smoke or noise became health hazards."

and so forth. One of the most brilliant essays I've ever read.

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9305/articles/martin.html

11/27/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Kevin said:
Aren’t globalization and multi-culturalism the exact same phenomenon.

No; absolutely not.

After all, is it really possible to have globalization without multi-culturalism?

Yes. In fact, to have globalization the idea of multi-culturalism must be destroyed. They are as compatible as matter and anti-matter.

M-C is a philosophy which posits that no culture is superior to any other culture. All lifestyles are just "different choices", and you cannot judge another person as having made the wrong one.

Globalization is based on the idea that my Western way of life is superior to your tribal way of life, and if you want to escape the endless cycles of famine and violence man was subject to for the first million years of its existence you must abandon the bad philosophies which your ancestors handed down to you.

M-C and Globalization as as different as night and day. One is a philosophy, and the other is an observed process which proves the philosophy wrong.

11/27/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

Kevin,

Multiculturalism <>globalism

globalism=immigration+assimilation

11/27/2005 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Cardoza Bozo

Chester tends to disagree, in fact he says your ideas are "leftist" Here he describes some myths about globalization:

1. Globalization will inevitably lead to Westernization. It's rather ironic that so many leftist academics espoused this theory, since it manages to embrace a sort of assumed Western superiority while at the same time turning the rest of the world's cultures into victims. Or maybe, Westernization would result because we in the West are so aggressive? No matter. The assumption is false. If there is any lesson to be learned these days from globalization's effects on people and cultures, it is that it transmits all of them, and transforms all of them. There is an process of give-and-take at play in nearly every place -- whether physically or in cyberspace, or other media -- where two or more cultures and peoples collide. In this way, we find radicalized Muslims as easily in Munich as we do in Mecca, and democrats as easily in Kabul as in Kansas. Moreover, the very cultures that were thought soon to be washed away by the onrush of global capitalism find themselves just as easily transmitted by it as those of the West. Witness the border region of the US and Mexico, which is a teeming hybrid of both Western and Latin cultures, or examine the growing influence of Chinese and Japanese pop culture upon the rest of Asia and even the United States. Western -- and American -- culture have influenced each of these others in turn, but by no means can be described as ascendant, and even less and less so, as dominant.

11/27/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

When a McDonalds opens in France, is that globalization or multi-culturalism?

When French peasants try to assert the supremacy of their culture and burn down a NcDonalds, are they attacking globalism or multi-culturalism?

11/27/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ed onWestSlope said...

CARDOZO BOZO brings up the everyday problem experienced by the individual, in the paragraphs preceding:

That is the sorry history of the Roman Law: the death of liberty (the freedom to experiment with new relationships) and its progeny. If you want something to be afraid of, be afraid of this.

The discussion of this thread has concentrated on larger units of people. The discussion appears to be converging on an accurate diagnosis. Let us also consider the individual.

As an Engineer (private practice, Geotechnical), I am constantly confronted with my 'Practice' being dictated by what will keep me out of court or at least limit the damages. The rules of the 'state' or the 'politically acceptable' are continually increasing.

This is almost as bad as being limited by what the engineers employed by 'the state' (city/county/state/federal) dictating what the Standard of Practice is to be. They really don't care for innovations because, how can these be reviewed and then approved? It seems the tremendous accomplishments of The Brooklyn Bridge are not possible at this time.

It is very difficult to maintain the innovative spirit when confronted with legalities and professional mediocrity being 'in charge'. In the future, it will be very difficult to compete with the 'unruled cells'.

11/27/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Ed onWestSlope said...

Now that I have posted as the defeated one, I need to see how this trend for more regulation of our culture is to be reversed.

I actually am quite optimistic this reversal will occur because ultimately, more regulation can not repair the problems we already have. Failures tend to focus the mind. The near failure of our (US) educational system is already creating some good reactions. Notice these reactions are occurring at the local level, exactly as the original 'Netwar' post presents.

11/27/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

assumed Western superiority

What is this assumed you speak of? The assumption that one society cannot be superior to another is multiculturalism. The proof that multiculturalism is wrong is found in that fact that some societies are superior to others. The Iraqi culture of 2005 is superior to the Iraq of 1997. Not for everyone (specifically not for Uday Hussein or Zarqawi), but for the majority of Iraqis it is far, far superior.

Why is it superior? Because it has adopted concepts of personal liberty, rule of law and democratic accountability of the police power first developed in Anglo, Germanic and Scandinavian Europe and practiced most extensively in Scandinavia, the UK and North America today.

This culture is not superior because it is Western, but because people desire these things. Is it a coincidence that they were invented in the West? Perhaps, perhaps not. The jury is still out on that one. Would they be any less desirable if they were invented in the Congo? They would not. They are the best combination of cultural traits we have yet to develop.

In this way, we find radicalized Muslims as easily in Munich as we do in Mecca, and democrats as easily in Kabul as in Kansas.

Bullshi1. It is far easier to find secular Muslims in Munich than Mecca, and far easier to find democrats in Kansas than Kabul. Cultures are real, and they effect how the human mind develops. To believe otherwise is the worst of multiculturalist claptrap. It sounds like Chester has fallen under its spell.

Chester is confusing cultural under-currents and deep structure with superficial memes or expressions. He correctly observes that the US absorbs the music and pop culture of Mexico and East Asia. Does he also notice that the US has no interest in adopting Mexican politics, and has abandoned the race consciousness still prevalent in Mexico and East Asia? Why is it that America is willing to adopt Mexican music, but that France fights against “cultural imperialism”? The same reason that French farmers attack McDonalds: they fear change. They don’t want their way of life to change. They know that Western culture, American culture, is more seductive than their own. They know that if given the choice French people will eat at McDonalds instead of the local bistros which buy vegetables from the farmers. They know that if the bistros stop buying vegetables they’ll go out of business and might have to change their way of life; maybe even get a job at McDonalds. Horrors. Rather than meet customer demands, their own lifestyle is more important to them, and they’ll strike and destroy private property to do it if they need to.

The Continental European “deep structural” focus on personal wants and universal fairness is an inferior organizational principle to the free market focus on customer wants and contractual agreement. It is inferior, and it will fail to propagate itself into the next generation in the face of superior ideologies. They know this, and they hate America because we are the messenger.

Attacking McDonalds has plenty to do with resisting globalization, and absolutely nothing to do with multiculturalism. MC posits that no culture is superior to any other; they’re all ‘just choices which cannot be judged or questioned by outsiders.’ Both American entrepreneurs and the French peasants ‘know’ that their culture is superior to the other; ergo, neither can be a multiculturalist. MC was invented solely to prevent people from trying to measure the ‘quality’ of socialist/ communist states. The Left believed that socialism was superior in some way, but they also know that by every measurable factor it is worse. The only way to protect the illusion is to prevent all judgments all-together.

Confusing the two is a clear demonstration of being ‘unclear on the concepts.’

11/27/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Ed,

There is hope, yes, and the experiments with local schools is a good example. For reform on some things though we must look beyond US borders. As one example, the FDA has claimed exclusive right to determine how drugs will reach market within the USA. There can be no local experiments. We must hope that another country, less afraid of pharmaceutical innovation than we, will improve what we will not.

11/27/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I see the biggest problem in all of this networkcentric approach is that there is a truly astonishing amount of bad information “out there.” Some of it is deliberate misinformation, some is driven by time-phased events, some by flawed logical reasoning, some by observer perceptions, some by omission, some by simple incompetence, and probably most importantly, by people’s “feelings.” Even more astonishing is the persistence of such false information.
And it is getting worse; check your spam filter.
A million monkeys banging on typewriters may indeed eventually produce the collected works of Shakespeare – but you can bet that first they will crank out the products of Adolph Hitler, Karl Marx, Groucho Marx and Michael Moore, among others.
The mythologies thus spawned will in turn spawn networks.
When the monkeys finally get around to the Shakespeare we may not care, or even be around to care.

11/27/2005 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The key challenge is whether America, in the sense of a shared idea, can be expansive enough to permit subordinate threads which can truly "take on a life of their own", and so become agile enough to engage the Jihadis at the lowest level.

Where is it written that it must be America that evolves into this expansive hive mind concept? Don't either England or Australia have the same sense of vigor and foundation of protecting the individual to do it on their own, and then lead the rest of the world?

MUST America do everything, and be everything to everyone, simply because it is commanded to do so by a thinker in Australia?

I'm getting tired of paying for it, for one thing. And then there's the bother of thinking up rules and regulations, mores and manners, and having to convince the "intellectuals" that they need to add another course-listing at the university level ...

It'd be so nice if another country, just once, led the way and handed us the manual on how to do it ourselves, all neatly written and pre-indexed.

11/27/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

Cardozo Bozo:

"I was speaking with Lord Bhikhu Parekh a week or so ago (British House of Lords, Roytal Society philosopher) and while his politics were different from my own he correctly (IMO) diagnosed Britain's current legal culture as moving from one based on liberty to one based on rights, but not because of multiculturalism (a topic he knows quite a bit about). It's the EU's body of law, the Civil Law, which is doing it. It is the antithesis of the Common Law."

A legal culture based on rights rather than liberties would put into opposition two political/legal realities that for Hobbes were two sides of the same coin.

Thus: in the (hypothetical) state of nature, everyone has a "right" to possession of everything and everyone; hence, total liberty and the resultant war of everyone with everyone.

But in such a situation, everyone's "liberty" to enjoy what he possesses "by right" is seriously circumscribed by the need for defense against the predations of "everyone" else. Answer? Keep the universal rapacity of "rights" alongside the absolute necessity of liberty to enjoy the fruits of one's own rapacity by incorporating both into a social contract embodying a crucial moment of reflection.

That reflection tells (supposedly) everyone that each person has his liberty circumscribed by the same force that powers his own rapacity.

The result is "human society," in which rapacity of rights and the equal rapacity of liberty lie down like the lion and the tiger.

Update to the marxist revolution:
rights get separated from liberty, because of inequality of distribution of the fruits of rapacity. "Whatever you possess that I don't possess is the result of your having greater power to exercise your rapacity than I do. Therefore, I'm going to force you to give up what I want from you, thereby curtailing your liberty in order to increase my rapacity."

What we have, in short, is Hobbes' state of nature again masquerading as Hobbes state of civil society. This is possible because Hobbes' "civil society" is--quite explicitly--nothing but what one might call "the state of nature" regulated by every citizen's learning the game theory templates that advantage him and disadvantage his neighbor.

The only difference between this form of Hobbesian dialectic and the one appearining the "The Leviathan" is the moral element, which depends on the commodification and politicizing of guilt. But Hobbes had little use for guilt--that is what the Puritans dealt in, and they were the reason why the "state of nature" had returned to England in the guise of the English Civil War.

11/27/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Quick observation on the run...

Re: The Withering away of the State and it's replacement by networks. There have been lively discussions at Albion's Seedlings that have included many references to Neil Stephenson's, Diamond Age. The weakening of the State and it's replacement by voluntary clades is a major theme of this book and a continuing theme throughout Stephenson's work as well as much of the writing characterized as "cyber-punk".

It may be that radical Islam is really a networked clade.

For more on this see Notes Toward a Post Cyberpunk Manifesto by Larry Person.

If every successful system eventualy develops parasite(s),radical Islam may be the first extra-territorial parasite. It is well to remember that a successful parasite not only depends upon its' host for sustenance, it is counter productive for the parasite to kill the host.

11/27/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

It seems to me that Islam does indeed have a series of networks, primarily operated by the imams in the tens of thousands of mosques in the West, and an untold number in the rest of the world. We have some 10,000 mosques in the US alone, some of which are merely storefront rental spaces, but mosques they are. Their messengers travel constantly from mosque to mosque, both in the US and Europe, inciting the faithful to action against the infidel. The web only amplifies this incitement and coordinates the messages being
inposed on the faithful at a higher speed.

If this turns into a jihad in the US directed at overthrowing the government and imposing Sharia on us, and dhimmitude or death, how do we thwart such a movement?

The tactics I have read about here seem far too slow and unreliable to cope with an all-out insurrection by some number of the six million Muslims in our country. It seems to call for rapid engagement of them on a very personal level, as well as a declaration of open season on jihadist Muslims before they can seize the reins of power, communication, police, etc, and consolidate their gains.

While we spend enormous energy and time to penetrate one or more cells, whole clusters of other cells could perform their tasks without warning.

But, unless they mark themselves as jihadists in some manner, how does one recognize them as the enemy walking down our streets?

11/27/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger David Davenport said...

Re: The Withering away of the State and it's replacement by networks.

This premise may be wrong, simply wrong if applied to non-Muslims. It may be true for the Muslims, but not for others. THEIR weak nation-states may be withering away.

The Taleban sure did seem to be stronger when they could hide within the borders of Afghanistan.
The Muslim foe in Iraq may be dependent on aid and safe havens in Iran, Syria, and Saudi A.

Most or much of the financing for Muslims in the US and Europe probably comes from the country of Saudi Arabia.

In the meantine, the demise of the USA, China, Japan, Germany and other great nations qua nations may be somewhat exaggerated.

By the way. I believe that the US Constitution still has a clause which allows privateers and letters of marque issued by Congress.

Also note that the early American militias such as Robert Ranger's Rangers had rather tenuous connections to the government of that time. I suppose the French and Indian War could be described as warfare by somewhat decentralized networks on both sides.

11/27/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

W,

From Jim Bennett's Anglosphere Challenge:

The Linux world runs what amounts to a parallel economy paying in reputation, rather than cash, linked loosely to the cash economy. It is a one-way linkage; reputation can be turned into cash, but cash cannot be turned into reputation...

[W]ould be actors perform for free or for minuscule reward to demonstrate their talents. Eventually they are accepted in a profit-making enterprise or band together with other would-be entrants to form a new company.

Once a certain breakthrough is made, the reputation of the actor becomes a reliable meal ticket, and often a means of wealth...


Bennett analogizes the Linux world to theater, but another analogy could be the Blogosphere. While many hope the Blogoshere will become an alternative media source, I think what it really is a farm club for talented opinion makers. The paradigm of big media is simply one manifestation of a natural tendency towards aggregation. Pajamas Media is another, except this one is built off of the Linux model.

Open Source Media indeed.

11/27/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Cardozo Bozo,

Thanks for your thoughtful explanation of multi-culturalism.

MC posits that no culture is superior to any other; they’re all ‘just choices which cannot be judged or questioned by outsiders.

Yes I was very confused because I took multi-culturalism to mean a situation in which one finds many cultures. In fact it means cultural-neutrality or cultural-egalitarianism. I take your word for that fact that such people exist but I have certainly never met any. I have met people who up to a certain point are tolerant of other cultures while still holding to the belief that their culture is superior or inferior to other cultures.

But your definition presents a few paradoxes. For instance, just as a person who has never seen anyone of another race cannot be a racist, a totally mono-cultural society would be “multi-cultural” by your definition because they would naturally be unable to make cultural judgments since they are completely ignorant of other cultures.

On the other hand a society with one hundred different cultures all living side by side would not be “multi-cultural” by your definition as long as everyone made cultural judgments, positive or negative, about theirs and others cultures.

In order to make informed judgments about other cultures, to avoid being “multi-cultural” by your definition, one would have to be multi-cultural in the sense of having a lot of knowledge about other cultures. Because how else would one know if their culture really was the best, middling or the worst unless they had multi-cultural knowledge. For instance how could an American be sure his health care system was the best unless he knew a lot about many other health systems?

I often hear on sites like these that all of France’s and Europe’s “problems” of having many cultures living together derives from “multi-culturalism”. I can assure you there is not a Frenchman (or European for that matter) that I have ever met that didn’t hold very strong opinions about the superiority of their culture. I would suspect the same thing about the rioters. I therefore cannot understand how this is an example of multi-culturalism.

Again, I'll take your word for it that such people exist.

11/27/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger David Davenport said...

Bennett analogizes the Linux world to theater, but another analogy could be the Blogosphere.

Another analogy for cyberpunk junk is the Mickey Mouse Club. ... "Cyberpunk": so dot.com, so 1990's.

On the other hand, sometimes reasonable persons such as myself do wonder if the majority of the planet's Muslims are members of a conspiracy against non-Muslims. That kind of trans-national networking may be going on.

11/27/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think that multi-culturalism in reality means "Cultural Marxism."
From each culture according to its ability.
To each culture according to its needs.
The productive, successful ones that operate IAW reality prop up the ones that cannot make it -
and all the while the productive ones get crticised by the welfare recipants for being too good at something, and not doing better job of propping up the losers.

11/27/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Parry said...

Wretchard, insightful as always, but I do not necessarily agree with your characterization of the Westphalian order as the exemplar of bureaucratic, hierarchical organization. Remember that the peace of Westphalia ended claims of hierarchical dominion of the nation states by the papacy. I think Joschka Fischer is hardy the intellectual heir of Westphalia, he is rather trying to return to the pre-Westphalian arrangement where an unelected, unaccountable priesthood held hierarchical sway over the nations. Westphalia is more of a line in the sand stating “here, but no further” with respect to hierarchical control, and thus leaves the sovereign states in a state of nature with respect to each other, a state where networked, non-hierarchical relationships may develop.

OBL has similarly expressed a desire to end the Westphalian order and establish a global caliphate. Do you really think that such a government would be anything if not an unelected, unaccountable, hierarchical priesthood? The fact that they are forced into using networked, decentralized tactics now does not abrogate the fact that their long range plans include brutal hierarchical dominion. I think that the world orders proposed by Fischer and bin Laden differ more in the colors of their standards than the form of their polity, and they are both anything but Westphalian.

11/27/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Screwball - The WTC had a terror expert as their SC -- he didn't prevent the attacks, but that doesn't mean the idea isn't sound. The trick will be to see just how much freedom these companies will have to actively deter terror.

The problem with one or two countries taking a "corporate security" approach to combating Islamoids is that some targets may very well rise to "hard target" status as the WTC was, but the Islamoids can simply select softer targets like Malls or elementary schools or use a destructive agent beyond the ability of private security to monitor or control...jets flying above the WTC for example, or hitting nodes of a business that can't easily be protected - elect utilities lines, substations, food supply distribution and processing points....

The caution of the WTC is that if you have an Islamoid army unidentified, merged in a larger population, free to scout out weaknesses and chinks in the armor, failure is inevitable.

The WTC was described as "The Gold Standard" of Corporate security in a 1999 Trade magazine. The article wrote that the awesome security investment was pervasive, state of the art - and that other businesses could at best only emulate pieces of it, since they likely lacked the lavish resources that Wall Street and the Port Authority threw into making a repeat of the 1993 bombing "unthinkable", as one security expert was quoted as saying.

If the Muslim enemy is unknown, can spring up spontaneously at the urging of internet Jihad sites seeking to inspire a British Muslim or an illegal immigrant black Jamaican kid with a sniper rifle - security is never going to be that effective. The Israelis tried by shielding restaurants and discos with security guards to stop suicide bombers. That worked until the Islamoids figured out that the establishments must be scouted and you simply had to shoot one guard at one entrance point then rush in and detonate before the other 2-5 guards could respond. One bomber with one pistol and all the security to prevent bombers was defeated....The Israelis of course responded with a fence to keep most Islamoids out and frequent ID checks and informant networks for the few Muslims left who were not carefully screened that had access to Jewish population gatherings.

In the end, no security can defeat an amorphous enemy allowed to live in a population's midst. The practice of terrorism goes back millenia. Why we do not live in anarchy and surrounded by possible terrorists with every possible target guarded by a public or private police state and nations and Empires arose instead of thousands of terror cells vying for wealth and power is organized society taking brutal measures on a population that excessive crime, terror, or insurrection arises from.

The Greeks killed the whole family of a murderer. The Romans would kill the family of a traitor and many times extend that to his clan. Other Empires or nation-states liquidated entire tribes or expelled them for acts of a few committing terror or insurrection.

And that is where we are with Islamoids. If they practice net-centric warfare, spontaneously arise with no command and control and cannot be deterred as individuals - no security will stop it - too many targets - and we take on huge security
overhead costs that make us uncompetitive with nations without an Islamist threat or nations already run by Islamists..

Since 9/11, we have spent 410 billion on security - most borrowed from China, Japan, or Saudi Arabia. We cannot keep that sort of security spending up forever. Especially when even so much of the DOD budget is being diverted to the high salaries necessary to draw recruits in and get Vets to stay in doing the very unappealing job of "evildoer fighting", the mission is diverted away from Transformation - so much that all stocks of warships, subs, warplanes, transports, tankers, and armored vehicles has declined since Bush has been in office...All while China spends nothing on Islamoid fighting and is rapidly building a great military soon capable of matching our forces in Asia as the WalMart ships head out and their trade money to buy the best Russian and Israeli and (hopefully for the French) French technology heads in...and the staggering array of military crown jewels of America their vast spy networks of immigrants and visiting scholars have stolen.

Eventually the West must come to a point of realizing that wealth and nice cars and a better life than back in Camel Land is not making the Islamoid threat any less destructive to our future. And go back to the tried and true expulsion, tribal slaughter techniques that enabled nation states and Empires to rise over the bands of tribal terrorists and bandits. No Muslims means no problem.

Kevin - Aren’t globalization and multi-culturalism the exact same phenomenon; with “globalization” the label employed when seen as positive and “multi-culturalism” when regarded as negative? After all, is it really possible to have globalization without multi-culturalism?

Good thought, Kevin. Add to it that globalization is pushed strongest by multinationals and "transnational elites" not fixed to or loyal to any nations or cultures interest. Groups and entities that only follow their own cliques drive find the place in the world where they can come in on a temporary basis to gain money or power, then move on to some new place more rewarding when the circumstances change. Their outlook is international and nay nation can be betrayed or bled if it means money to them, and citizenship purely is about a safe place to keep their money and possessions in until a better place is found...

11/27/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

Gee somewhile ago I posted similar thoughts here.

If interested see this post and follow the links to other thoughts [first link is now broken but the others work]

IACP'S NEW PUB ON HOMELAND SECURITY

11/27/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Interesting discussion.Let me add some dispatches from travel this week.I spent a week in west Africa with travel through France as part of said network of Christian outreach.I must say I came away from the experience much more optimistic about the relationship of western ideas to third world despair than beforehand.By western ideas I mean liberty,faith and enterprise not the sick "isms" that have been spawned in Europe.
Interesting contrast between a group of arrogant drunken fat toad French professors on my plane with the hungry,youthful dynamic I found among many Africans.These are people striving against the odds to climb out of poverty.I don't think even in this land with many Muslims,jihadism had much appeal.Christ and his call to world changing discipleship gains an easy audience.
Manning,you've got to be kidding if you think America is vulnerable to an Islamic insurrection.Take a deep breath,buddy.

11/27/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

It's the Iranians!

Jihadis today seems to owe a very close spiritual link to the cult of Hassan-i-Sabbah. A thousand years ago, the murderous cult of assassins terrorized the Sunni Middle East from Isfaham to Cairo. Yet, the techniques and stratagems used today by al-Qa'ida seem eerily the same to those used by the Tehran based cult of Hassan-i-Sabbah a thousand years ago.

A thousand years ago, orders to kill seemed to originate from mysterious places, encoded with a mysterious cause.

So let me ask. Who do we think is supplying al-Qa'ida with weapons and intelligence? The Saudis? And why is al-Qa'ida attacking Sunnis in Saudia and Shi'ites in Iraq? Who gets the advantage stemming from those actions? The Saudis?

Through dubious "religious" fanaticism, terror, intimidation, al-Qa'ida manages to destabilize states and regimes friendly to the Saudis. They build a parallel structure of political power, a pirate-state within a state. But to what end? How does Shi'ia-stan within Iraq, or an al-Qa'ida controlled Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of the Sunni Empire? Again, al-Qa'ida stated goal goes counter to actual cause and effect.

A thousand years ago, military conquest seemed almost unnecessary if nonexistent for Ishmaeli political success. A few hilltop fortresses was almost all it took..

But once it was discovered where the program of terrorism really originates, all the secret oaths, the mysterious rites, the fanatic indoctrination, the geographical isolation, the double discourse, all come to nought. The game was up.

11/27/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Arthur Perry,

Westphalia was a good idea for its time. It might even be that it remains the best idea for this time. However if we grant the premise that technological changes have changed the paradigm of social organization, the necessary question is whether the old state structure is still optimal.

One should recall that Westphalia was a new idea in its time, suitable for its circumstances. Whether it remains so today is the subject of discussion. I don't have the answer, but we shall see. We shall see.

11/27/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Trangbang

Think ahead perhaps 20 years. The Muslim population in the US will exceed about 15 to 20 million then, if there is no intervention.
They would then approach the fabled 10% of the population needed for success, as was the case in Russia.

I do not believe that Muslims will ever fully integrate into the US, and subordinate their allegiencies to Islam to the US. I do believe that Islam is determined to take the US down by one means or another. I believe that they are executing a very long-range plan to meet that objective.

I would love to be shown that I am dead wrong, and that Islam is no threat to us. Try to show that to us all!

11/27/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

A fascinating subject well presented with excellent commentary.

I’ve often thought as the GWOT unfolds, that it is America’s unique place in history that might enable it and other enclaves like it to persevere through the current crisis. The Islamic murderers, with their religious fervor and nothing-to lose mindset represent a most serious threat to civilization.

The idea of individual liberty adopted by the founding fathers from their English forbearers, with its accompanying constitution as a guarantor of rights and limited government, the opportunities manifest by a market economy and the resultant technology, the system of merit above privilege, a system of public education, the traditions of citizen soldiers willing to sacrifice all for their loved ones – underpinned by a faith stemming from a Judeo-Christian tradition; all are basic reasons to consider our culture superior – to the extent that it has, up to this point, shown itself to be.

As long as we continue to maintain these cornerstones of our culture we will be difficult to defeat. As long as we continue to be willing to act upon these core principles and beliefs and to get our noses bloodied, as few of our world leaders have been, we will persevere.

We are being attacked on two fronts, however. One being represented by the Islamic fascism that has arisen, and the other being the multiculturalists socialism talked about extensively here: Both being willing if unlikely allies in the face of their common enemy – US.

11/27/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Cedarford makes several interesting observations (as do many of the other posts.) Let me add a few observations of my own:

1. Jihadists operate with the full moral support of the Ummah (Islamic community). This is important as Mohammad said that “my community as a whole will never be wrong.” Thus, the vast majority of Muslims are complicit. Muslims, Arabs in particular, are a shame and humiliation culture. Without the condemnations of the world (which praised Arafat and has sympathy for the grievances of Islamists), there is no possibility of changing the Ummah. We need to abandon multi-cultural relativism and wage a moral/intellectual war. Obviously that won’t be enough but a “propaganda war” is a crucial component.

2. Muslims demonstrate what they fear most. When they target the families of Jews in Israel and civilians in all non-Muslim countries, they are projecting what they would fear most. They don’t fear death for themselves; but they do for their family. Remember Islam is a warrior religion that conquered most of the known world in its first 100 years. Bringing death and destruction to their families is the ultimate failure. Notice, for example, the quick response to the jihadist attacks on the Jordanian hotels. Muslims are very protective of family.

Obviously, we want to try everything else before we resort to the methods of our enemies. I’m still hopeful we can defeat the enemy with superior means of fighting. There are several things we could do immediately that would make a difference.

11/27/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Can anyone direct me to a good source covering the Iran Revolution - Saudi rivalry that emerged as an effect of the '79 revolution?

11/27/2005 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger David Davenport said...

Perhaps the primary conflict of the 21st Century will be the struggle between the old hierarchical mode of societal governance versus the distributed decision making model that has become possible due to the advent of the mass tranfer of information that has come about through technology.

But what about the decentralized government and distributed decision making model of early America, whose existence came about in the absence of advanced technology ... but in the presence of a very monocultural culture for white folks?

The point I'm poking at here is jejeune Internet Utopianism.
"[T]he old hierarchical mode of societal governance..." Should I translate that as, "Mom and Dad's rules?"

11/27/2005 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Parry said...

Wretchard – I wasn’t advocating Westphalia so much as trying to point out that it represents a point within the spectrum of centralization rather than an extreme. Personally I think that the trends of globalization, decentralized networks, and emergent order are mostly unalloyed goodness, though they are disruptive to formerly isolated cultures and economies. And to would-be mandarins and caliphs.

11/27/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

RE: Hobbesian balance between liberty and rights

This observation is not motivated by pressing need, other than to clarify the public debate between Left and Right ideologies, but classical liberalism is different from the liberalism that spawned the utopian vision of socialism, communism, and Marxism. It is a difference with a distinction. If the Democrats were to return to their classical liberal roots, they would present a more effective opposing ideology to the evolving strength of conservatism.

As best as I can tell, the Democrats, as a party, are being held hostage by the socialist liberals, in a case of political activism subsuming more moderate voices, many of which are either converted moderate Republicans or looking for a relevant platform.

If those whose views are more accurately described by classical liberal ideals, rather than utopian socialist ideals, then the challenge is balancing the equation between rights and liberties in a way that allows the participation of non-legal influences, such as culture and family structures. Removing such influences with the sweeping stroke of "all are equivalent" is not an effective rebuttal position to the conservative goal of preserving historical institutions at the expense of the experimental.

A net-centric organizational model would seem to favor experimentalism.

The issue will be moot if the party does not shed its socialist skin.

11/27/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

bob smith,
I don't think of them as socialists so much these days (tho they are) as wacko conspiracy nuts.
Seems more and more, the MSM and other media they follow simply repeats lie after lie about the administration until seemingly many of them believe it is true.
No better example than the "Truthteller Wilson" affair.

An on the record serial liar is still highly regarded by these people, as a potent weapon in the war on Bush.
I was not an early believer in the Bush Hatred Theory, but I accept it more each day as the only way to explain these people.

11/27/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Screwball said,
"The WTC had a terror expert as their SC -- he didn't prevent the attacks, but that doesn't mean the idea isn't sound."
---
Right, the reason "he" didn't prevent the attacks, is because THEY ignored him.
...in so many venues and in so many ways.

11/27/2005 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I do believe that Islam is determined to take the US down by one means or another. I believe that they are executing a very long-range plan to meet that objective.


This overlooks the fact that Islam is made up of millions of individuals, some smarter and some dumber, some more active and some less active. But they *are* individuals, even if they've been brainwashed by their local imam.

I think a fanatic like bin Laden or a Zarqawi may plan for a long-term objective but most PEOPLE concern themselves with getting up in the morning, going to work and providing for their family: a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.

It is absolutely inconceivable to me that the vast majority of Muslims are willing OR able to put off living their lives today, for some far-off Caliphate in a galaxy far far away if they're only willing to blow themselves up. And it seems to me that to overthrow the United States, at least, at a minimum the Islamists would have to have more suiciders than normal people, and I simply refuse to believe that.

It's just not natural.

11/27/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

bob smith:
The other component that neither the socialist left nor the traditional left has addressed is the hijacking of the idea of liberty. It has become for the modern left more of a yearning for total freedom. Rather than liberty for the oppressed, we have freedom from responsibility, accountability and all manner of things not traditionally associated with the idea of individual liberty.

The result of their failure to be germane within the war of ideas could mean the end of our heretofore successful two party system.

11/27/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bozo Said,
"The informal networks and relationships of many networks (banking networks, vocational networks, charitable networks) gets sucked up and absorbed into the ever-growing body of law; frozen in time and burdened with ‘substantive rights’ while unchecked by due process or other democratic safeguards."
---
Sowell wrote about this in one of his books.
In fact he used the example of banking in India, where decisions are made almost entirely on data gained from informal networks.

He contrasted this with the straightjacket of
"Down from on High" (Washington DC)law, court decisions, and edicts whose putative purpose is the protection of people's "Civil Rights."

One works and has worked for centuries, the other does not, in the long run.

11/27/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin,
I'm interested to see if Bozo takes the time to respond to you:
(I'm glad to let someone else try. ...and invest the time and effort.)
I hope he does, I find other people's attempts to communicate with you in a reality-based interchange worth my time.
It's as if you have teleported in from Pluto:
"In fact it means cultural-neutrality or cultural-egalitarianism. I take your word for that fact that such people exist but I have certainly never met any."
Seems to me whether such people exist or not is beside the point: Entire structures have been put in place AS IF such an outcome can be legislated. (More importantly: AS IF it is a good thing *To* legislate it.)
You and another commenter here have simply ignored something mentioned by Bozo which was an evolving reality for hundreds of years: Common Law.
Since this was an evolution based on REALITY, it became very finely tuned as compared to edicts coming down from "leaders" (elite) on high. Quite similar to the difference in complexity and efficiency of an open market as compared to a command driven economy.
...But since you have your own opinion/reality on these matters, I no longer expect to persuade, or even enlighten:
I await Lord Bozo, in vain hope that another approach might work.
Even if not, it will be worth the read:
The "Earth to Kevin Chronicles" will continue.

11/27/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

nahncee

I thought it inconceivable that men and women would strap on explosives, walk into crowded places and go boom. I was wrong.
I thought the Palestinian/Israeli conflict would be ended far, far short of 50 years-and still running! I thought that there was a moderate Islamic population, until I saw the documentary of a moderate young Palestinian from a stable home being coopted to become a bomber by the leaders of Hesballah. He did blow himself up!I thought that there were moderate Muslims in the US too, until I saw documentary evidence of their mosque activities, and realized just how quiet the US Muslims have been about the GWOT, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq, plus all the other bombing events, such as in Spain, Bali and London. No strident denunciations, no positive statements of allegience to the US, but rather children in DC area Muslim schools deriding the US and saying the US was evil. That is what is being taught the Muslim youngsters in the US: by adult Muslims, of course.

Yes, there are over a billion Muslims in the world, and for most of them, it is a daily fight to merely survive in harsh conditions. But the educated class, the relatively well-off Muslims, are the source of the problem, and the masses must follow--or else! Note the surfit of volunteers to fight in Iraq. And finally, take careful note of the various fatwas and general statements from Muslim leaders, not just OBL.

One would be very dense indeed, to put it mildly, to surmise that all of these outward signs of intent to bring us down are simply blowing smoke. 9/11 was not an accident, and not merely the plan of 20 Saudis.

What does it take to wake up America to the very real danger posed by Muslims--potentially ALL of them, coopted by their leaders.

11/27/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Finely Tuned to reality."
Thus the absurdity of one world government, given that India is not the USA, and the USA is not France.
---
Thus Justice Stevens is no more or less absurd than Kofi Annan in his contention that we may ignore our Constitution, our laws, and our traditions, as if...
---
But that is simply the BS:

In truth, they both see themselves as the enlightened elite, with the ability, nay the RESPONSIBILITY, to dictate to us, the lowly, the governed.

11/27/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mannning says,
"What does it take to wake up America to the very real danger posed by Muslims--potentially ALL of them, coopted by their leaders."
---
There is also the non-trivial problem of OUR leaders and institutions being co-opted by THEIR (Saudi) money.
Has happened, continues to happen.

11/27/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Manning,Been away from the discussion since my earlier post.I think Nahncee pretty much stated my view.I'm not saying that there is no ground for concern about mass casualty attacks or even low key threats like Malvo-Muhammed(we ought to fear the radicalized prison thug factor)I also agree from my readings that there is a strong Wahhabi-Salafist strain in American mosques.
Still big leap from there to a successful Islamist uprising.It would usher in Cedarford's sword of Damocles falling hard on our Muslims.9/11 caused a strong government response against Muslim charities who we're funding AQ and Hamas and locking up fire breathers like Al Arian in Florida.Another major attack would bring the bootheel,rightly or wrongly on middle easterners in the US.The only thing that changes that equation in 15 or 20 years is a widespread embrace of leftist appeasement.I don't see that happening especially with a generation of warriors home from Iraq to tell the truth.

11/27/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Doug

Agreed. Hard to see a clear path out of the whole mess, when we are unable to act intelligently because of undue influences on our Administration and Legislature.

11/27/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/27/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Trangbang

>>>>The only thing that changes that equation in 15 or 20 years is a widespread embrace of leftist appeasement.<<<

There IS that. Plus the gradual infiltration of Muslims into positions, in government, the military, the police, and other sensitive places, where they can do great harm to any responses to their eventual actions. Plus, the use of chaos-producing bomb, CBR or even nuclear attacks that would absorb our response forces for a long time. Plus the use of whole city populations as hostage to their designs. Inconceivable?

I have used the phrase "take us down" deliberately, because it just may not be simply an insurrection to take us over, but rather to destroy us, destroy our infrastructure, destroy our key people, and destroy our financial system for all time. If their faithful here are destroyed at the same time, that serves Allah. They get their vestal virgins. So much for their parasitic motivation to preserve their host.

I am reminded of the novel where the seven key rail bridges over the Mississippi River are threatened to be destroyed, thus freezing our train shipments in place, and bringing the economy down.

It doesn't take a great army to effect catastrophic damage to us.
One can think of many scenarios where we would be brought to our knees by a few thousand determined men assaulting our power stations and lines, our financial centers, our communications, and our leadership, all at the same time. Conventional explosives smuggled in by containers could be used to tie us in knots.

All of which is patently possible: if you witnessed the World Towers coming down, you can believe in such events happening all over the US.

But, I do hope I am wrong and you are right! Islam and Christianity will lie down together like lions with sheep in the next decade or two!

11/27/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraq Questions and Answers:

UPI's Pentagon correspondent Pamela Hess, recently returned from two months traveling in 13 provinces of Iraq. Here she replies to a reader's questions on the progress of the insurgency.

QUESTION: The Hamra hotel bombing targeted journalists who could actually give the Iraqi insurgency better public relations if their methods were different! Why did they do it.

ANSWER: If the goal is chaos, or to build an international reputation, or to harm the reputation of the United States, what better way than to target journalists? It serves the purposes of the insurgency and of its top leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's operational commander in Iraq, to convince journalists that Iraq is a place of violence and chaos and is uncontrollable.

Q: I just don't understand the motivation of the insurgents... Unless it is to cause total chaos or simply thoughtless Sunni versus Shiite vengeance.

A: Some think al-Zarqawi is after that civil war. It may be that he wants a war that drags all of the Arab world into its maw to set the stage for a caliphate.

Q: Iraq is going to be a really small state of those willing to live under the insurgents if they continue these tactics.

A: "Willing to live under them" is not the issue in Iraq. The question the practical dictator in training would ask is "can I make them scared enough that they don't challenge me?"

Iraq Questions

11/27/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger rasqual said...

Shrewd strategy, prowess in cruelty, delusion, and the will to power are famous bedfellows. But there's as much madness in their method as there is method in their madness.

Strip the insugents of the mythos lent them by the Western MSM, and you have merest thugs. Claiming pristine Islam makes them no greater figures than a two-bit thug except in consequence.

One must respect ones enemy, but one needn't dignify him -- not in the least. Some people mysteriously confuse the two.

11/27/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard,

The link to Chester's post is broken. Chester's perma links are not so permanent.

11/27/2005 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Some think al-Zarqawi is after that civil war."
---
Sam,
Mark Steyn thinks what's relevant is that al-Z has reached the end of his rope and his actions defy logical explanation.

In this particular Bombing for instance, he did not use some unfortunate retarded child, but one of his top lieutenants.

Hewitt likened it to eating the seed corn.
Steyn agreed.

11/27/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The problem of independent cells is that they can be defeated in detail by competent commanders with sufficiently trained troops.

Look no further than Hackworth's "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts" where he defeats the Vietnamese in his AOR despite them having support from the locals.

This has also been the risk with the Light Infantry Division concept. The line units trained to break up into 3-5 man groups then infiltrate the FEBA then mass behind enemy lines to seize and hold or destroy major objectives like bridges, airports, railroad junctions, and major command posts. The Russians, or any other opponent, could conduct armored sweeps and defeat each group of 3-5 men with platoon sized elements and artillery concentrations.

11/27/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Doug,

I must have missed that one. That he used one of his lieutenants on the last one. That is bizarre.

11/27/2005 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

manning - I have absolutely no problem with nuking the bunch of them on the grounds you have stated. To me, until and unless the Muslims renounce the Koran and agree to rewrite it, leaving out the "kill the infidel" parts, they are not to be trusted.

I'm just saying that the vast majority of them will likely be hunched down and silently praying not to get involved because, naturally in the human animal, there's a toggle switch that's clicked to "OFF" when it comes to suicide.

And when it comes right down to it, and we kick the front door in on their living room and demand an oath of fealty "for or against America? for or against Islam", I'll betcha the majority plunk for continued life as an American, and forgo their 72 virgins.

11/27/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mark Steyn on Z-Man, Hewitt Interview.

MS: Originally, these fellows were blowing up infidels. And from that point of view, that makes a lot of sense. Then they found it harder to blow up infidels, and they started blowing up their brother Muslims: Shiia and Kurds, and Muslims in other countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. And again, you could say well, these fellows, they're blowing up Shiia and Kurds, and that's not...if they want to have an Iraqi civil war, then blowing up Shiites is the way to go. Now, they're blowing up their brother Sunnis in Muslim weddings in Jordanian hotels. And this is a pathetic...where's the strategy in that? More to the point, he sent some of his most valued people to blow themselves up in this pointless, pathetic raid. I think he's a busted flush, this Zarqawi guy.
...
Now he's using his most valued...the guy who blew up this wedding in Amman, at the Radisson hotel, was one of his closest and most valued colleagues.
Why sacrifice a guy like that on a pointless operation, that all it did was drive nearly 200,000 people out into the streets of Amman to denounce you, and tell you to burn in hell?
It's a complete disaster for him.

11/27/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Thanks, Doug.

11/27/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Doug,

Cardozo Bozo clearly defined multi-culturalism as an ideology that seeks to destroy the will to render cultural judgments. What I was trying to point out was that there is one other condition sine quo non for rendering cultural judgments: knowledge. Therefore, very roughly, the more multi-cultural (in terms of a large diversity of cultures) a society is, the more able its citizens will be to render cultural judgments because they will have more knowledge of other cultures, assuming of course that they are not influenced by an ideology that forbids cultural judgments. Inversely a society that is strongly mono-cultural will be rendered functionally multi-cultural in Mr. Bozo’s sense, because they will tend to lack information about other cultures and will therefore be unable to render any cultural judgments irrespective of whether they do or do not posses the will to make judgments.

Ideologies can have unintended consequences. Marxism started as an ideology that looked to destroy the Westphalian state but paradoxically, its Eastern European version ended up creating an ubiquitous state. We will have to see how the Chinese version of communism develops as to whether it will be more successful. To me, Mr. Bozo’s definition of multi-culturalism is similarly paradoxical in that it is actually far more likely to occur in a mono-cultural society than in a society made up of many different cultures.

11/28/2005 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Doug's right. Kevin is from Pluto. I give up this round.

11/28/2005 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Sardonic,

A modern army's ability to move supplies to where they are needed is at least as important as its command and control structure. An army without food, ammo, and fuel is just a bunch of starving people stuck in the desert

Similarly, terrorist cells need a logistics network. Mainly they need cash, but they also need technical expertise and knowledge, as well as the ability to get certain supplies that are unobtainable on the open market without raising red flags

What Al Q appears to have been doing, was to function as a resource clearing house. They supplied training and finance to cells that then went off and did their thing. In some ways, Osama and Al Q functioned like a good venture capital firm, bankrolling groups that looked like they would be able to put out a product

It made life easier on the money-men of the Golden Chain -- they just needed to send cash to Osama, and he would distribute it for them, and act as a cut-out between the money men and the trigger-pullers

What we may start seeing, as central nodes become easy targets for the US, is a much more net-centric way of connecting operational cells with logistic/financial resources, which will be more robust, and less vulnerable to individual nodes being taken out

11/28/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

desert rat,

The Founders had built into the Constitution the idea of Congress being able to issue "Letters of Marque and Reprisal", essentially authorizing bounty hunters to go after the enemy. Perhaps we should go back to that

11/28/2005 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Papa bear,

Very insightful post @5:52. But who decides what operations receive the go ahead? Who for example, decides that targeting the Jordanian Egyptian Moroccan tourist industries (the only real hard currency maker in those countries) is a good idea?

11/28/2005 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

Thanks for the link!

11/28/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Nahncee,
And when it comes right down to it, and we kick the front door in on their living room and demand an oath of fealty "for or against America? for or against Islam", I'll betcha the majority plunk for continued life as an American, and forgo their 72 virgins.

The problem with that is the doctrine of
al-Taqiyya ( Dissimulation )


In a nutshell, a Muslim is allowed to lie about what his true beliefs are, if such lying protects him from discrimination or sanctions against Islamists, or if such lying confers a tactical advantage in jihaad activities.

This is one of the big reasons for the Spanish Inquisition after Christians reconquered Spain from the Muslims: there were a bunch of holdovers who claimed to have converted to Christianity, but were really Fifth Column agents

11/28/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

Cardozo Bozo is going to force me to rewrite part of my essay for clarity. In short, I have not fallen under the "spell" of multi-culturalism.

11/28/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Papa Bear - Similarly, terrorist cells need a logistics network. Mainly they need cash, but they also need technical expertise and knowledge, as well as the ability to get certain supplies that are unobtainable on the open market without raising red flags.

What Al Q appears to have been doing, was to function as a resource clearing house. They supplied training and finance to cells that then went off and did their thing. In some ways, Osama and Al Q functioned like a good venture capital firm, bankrolling groups that looked like they would be able to put out a product

It made life easier on the money-men of the Golden Chain -- they just needed to send cash to Osama, and he would distribute it for them, and act as a cut-out between the money men and the trigger-pullers.


That was how it once was. The explosive recipes were guarded, the way to conduct an ambush known to only those attending "terror camps", and money from the old "Golden Chain" that Saudi Arabia AND THE USA orginially set up to fund the "freedom-loving holy mujahadeen warriors" money dispensed by the likes of the CIA, ISI, and Binnie. Binnie just continued the practice after the Soviets left...

But that was then, this is now. While petro dollars help, and Binnies personal wealth helps - many of the terror ops are entirely locally funded, locally initiated, using money from Daddy's curry restaurants or drug dealing and theft. Maybe a shadowy "experienced operative" or two comes in for some advice or expertise....but Jihad and terror ops are death dealing at a pretty simple level. No rocket scientists or "Mr Big the Evil Mastermind" or Sheikh Moneybags necessarily need apply. The London bombers were self-financed. The Madrid bombers got their dynamite from a non-Islamoid in a explosives for drugs, drug money deal. John Mohammed and Sniper Boy Malvo had no external aid on their Jihad.

And now the Internet allows a wealth of "how to" info on terror ops to be disseminated through hundreds of websites.

It is a war against an ideology - radical Islam - not the "tactics" of terrorism, which are endlessly variable and sustainable without outside suport even down to the individual level - like the Egyptian that just declared personal Jihad and shot up an El Al ticket counter in LAX, or John Mohammed and sniper boy.

Our stupid President finally realized this after 4 years. To fight the bad guys, you have to fight a war of ideas with radical Islam, make radical Islam an unpleasant choice COLLECTIVELY for all it's practictioners compared to alternatives. And realize just going after the "tip of the radical Islamic spear - a constantly replenishing cadre to terror troops - doesn't bring us closer to victory. Nor do the stupid 25-40 million rewards we have futilely offered for "Head Evildoer Masterminds" for the last 4 years with no one willing to be Islamic Judas's.

What we may start seeing, as central nodes become easy targets for the US, is a much more net-centric way of connecting operational cells with logistic/financial resources, which will be more robust, and less vulnerable to individual nodes being taken out.

Unlikely. The cells can be de-linked so one cell doesn't fold up other cells. And instructed anonymously from the Internet or used a few times then chucked prepaid cell phones.

11/28/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Red State Ranger said...

This is definitely food for thought. It seems that what it boils down to is a War of Ideas, which is one that neither army can actually fight. A man with a suicide vest is still a man with a suicide vest - he's gaining no converts by using it. The infection is the mullah telling him, and a dozen of his buddies, that it is Right and Good to use it.

This fight will be the first truly ideological battle in history. The battleground is the minds of your potential soldiers. And the only way to achieve lasting victory is to have the stronger ideas.

Fortunately, the President stumbled on this concept relatively early in the war. The idea behind the Bush Doctrine is not that all terrorists must die, but that to truly defeat them for all time, we must introduce our own virus - the dogma of the supremacy of human liberty, as an antibody to the dogma of the supremacy of a militant Allah.

---

For the warriors themselves, while the troops of a sovereign state may not be truly cellular, they can come very close. A Forward Operating Base in a frontier city whose only link to the outside world is by satellite and radio communications is essentially calling its own plays. They talk to their Iraqi counterparts, and both talk to the locals, to develop a picture of their surrounding battlespace; then they act accordingly.

The advantage here is that when they find a successful method of operation, there is a built-in system by which they can communicate to other cells. A peer-to-peer network of shared tactics, as well as an ability to mix the local requirements to meet an overall command strategy, is the very definition of American warfare - it's termed in all the schools as "Centralized Command, Decentralized Execution," though that name is much more rigid still than the reality it represents.

In the end, both observations boil down to individual cells doing what they deem is Right and Just - blowing up hospitals, or building them. And the real battle is empowering the non-actors to agree with one side or the other.

11/28/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

I was not an early believer in the Bush Hatred Theory, but I accept it more each day as the only way to explain these people.

Late response and veering off-center so short version is this.

RE: the Democrat/Left coalition. Much of it is a puzzling combination of multi-vectoral cross-currents, if I can put it that way - from global politics to portable nuclear technology, to European devolution to well-financed and very serious Muslim intransigence in the face of progressive obstacles that defy their sense of historical determinism to modern communications, etc. etc. The early assessment fit the increasingly 'shrill' vocality to the stress fractures of a party in transition. I have been following blog space commentary since 2003 - which I claim as no record - but I have noticed the ebb and flow of dialogue. Based on that I must agree that a very personal Bush hatred is driving much of the current opposition and public discourse. How to distinguish that from the less personal but equally focused hatred of this country is another issue.

Last point relates to the large number of moderate Left-ish blog community who reject the socialist label. I wonder to what extent this disavowal reflects the current or emerging leadership within the Democratic Party. My radar suggests to me that the party activists are considerably less moderate than the average blog space participant, which implies a disconnect between the party leadership and the voters - one that may dwarf any analogous gap within the Republican Right. The failure of the Democratic Party leadership to effectively represent a large voting public could be fatal - to a very old and productive political philosophy that should not be allowed to expire before its time simply because a handful of die-hard berets could not let go.

11/28/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Although I believe in the importance of net-centric warfare, it is simply one more tactice in a quiver of tactics to be used. It certainly is no way to consolidate victory.
Indeed, Zaqari himself has attempted several times to established mini-states in his various Islamic Republic of [town name here]. Yes, he hopes to achieve chaos throughout the middle east, but that is so his base, the base [al aqueda, if you will] will be the only sane alternative. Eventually, to gain power he would require the trappings of a real military and real state. This has been true throughout time. Washington needed a real army to defeat Cornwalis. The NVA needed a real army to finally defeat the ROV (two years after the U.S. left and after one failed invasion).
There are examples of seemingly powerless and small forces taking over: Cuba, Iran (1979), the Bolsheviks. However, they simply stepped in to fill the void caused by the downfall of a brittle autocracy; and then rapidly conslidated power with powerful armed forced and security services aimed just as much inward as outward.


For the closest example in the area look at the founding of the state of Israel. Jewish cammodoes/guerillas/'terrorist' attacked British positions and posts of power throughout Palestine in order to encourage the Brits to give up and leave. However, once the Brits left, there was the need to fill the void with a single power. The famous incident is that of a barge of war material coming to Israel under the flag of an independant, but Jewish, group. They were told by the nacent state that they could not yet land. When thy tried they were shelled. [the Palestinians are going through a similar process now, I hope].

The jihadist have no means to consolidate a victory. We must fight them, in what they consider to be their backyard to prevent it. That is why attacking Iraq was a good choice. It was the most brittle of the middle east's autocracies, it offered the ripest fruit to pluck; so we plucked it first. As it stands now, the jihadist could increase their attacks in the west 100-fold. It would not result in the destruction of the West, which is inherently fluid and resilient; it would only bring the destruction of their homelands by encouraging the west to achieve its ends by rougher means.

11/28/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

nahncee-- My upbringing tells me I agree with you. But my observation tells me that the Muslim faith seems to have the same effect on people as we found in the Japanese
Kamikazee. They are far more dedicated than I can conceive to the proposition that dying in the furtherance of Islam gives them a first-class ticket to heaven.

Another factor besides their permission to lie, cheat, steal, and even kill the infidel, is that there is no turning back from their Muslim vows. They either submit to Muslim commands or face death. That is how a jihadist leader can command Muslims in the US to do his bidding, else he, and his family, are in jeopardy of execution.

The OFF switch you speak of can be readily turned ON by proper application of high-powered Muslim intimidation. That was the essence of the conversion of the moderate Muslim youth I spoke of into a bomber.

I do not believe that we have in the US a new and less bloodthirsty
Mahammadism, that would turn away from power leaders from the Middle East. Muslims is Muslims!

11/28/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger DJM said...

This is one of the big reasons for the Spanish Inquisition after Christians reconquered Spain from the Muslims: there were a bunch of holdovers who claimed to have converted to Christianity, but were really Fifth Column agents

As was demonstrated by the Massacre of Otranto, in 1480.

11/28/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Wretchard here's a geographing tool that gives a visual map of where all your visitors are coming in from around the world. Might be interesting to show where everyone is coming from.
http://www.zipwise.com/geomap/

11/28/2005 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Cedarfart: But that was then, this is now.

The same factors that necessitated al-Qa'ida (plausible denial) still are at play today. One can say that not all islamo terror attacks are the work of al-Qa'ida and its affiliates, but enough evidence is out there to indicate that a great many of them are, including the attack on the Madrid subway that killed 191 people.

What I find interesting is that al-Qa'ida has never in its history attacked Iranian interests/targets. Seems very strange that such an ideologically driven group, a group made up of Sunni activists, a group that professes that the threat of the Shi'a to the Sunna is "greater than the threat posed by the Jews and the Christians", would repeatedly attack US war ships, embassies, etc, yet leave Iranian assets, like Iranian oil tankers in the gulf, unmolested. There's something extremely strange in this.

11/28/2005 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Mika
There has been ample evidence, over many years that indicates that AQ and Iran have made common cause, despite their obvious eclessicatical differences. Robert Baer first brought it up in his book See No Evil, Dan Darling of Winds of Change/Regnum Crusis as highlighted it often and is a proponent of such a theory.
Notice, even, that OBL in his last appearance in 2004 was wearing Persian-style garment.
Personally, I consider Iran much more of a strategic threat to U.S. interest than I do the state-less, oil-less AQ. They have been waging war on us since the early eighties, often through their cat's-paws such as Hezballah. It is not so great a leap of logic to believe the Mullahs would balk at helping even the wahhabies as clients. It also gives you the Mullahs calculation of the Wahhabies ability to consolidate victory in the form of a state.

11/29/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Elam,

I'm not aware of these names, but I'm glad to see I'm not the only one having these suspicions. I was beginning to worry that this suggestion of an Iranian/al-Qa'ida relationship was going to score me a cone hat, since no one was willing to give it a positive response. Persians have always had a very rich history of dissimulation and clandestine operatives. Using Sunnis to effect Shi'a geostrategic goals is certainly a masterstroke, but it wouldn't be far afield their earlier accomplishments. It'd be interesting to have Wretchard weigh in on this.

11/29/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Persians have always had a very rich history of dissimulation and clandestine operatives."
---
...I thought that was the Joos! :-)
---
From the latest thread:
"...on one occasion he saw a VPAF MiG-19 so close that he could visually discriminate the pilot, who, he said, had the blondest hair and the bluest eyes, suggesting someone other than an Asian."
---
A Jew?

11/30/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Sorry Doug. Blond hair and bright green eyes. (Although my Lithuanian birth certificate does say they're blue). :P

And you're forgiven for thinking that the circus action in the Israeli Knesset is some kind of an act of dissimulation. But trust me, it's not. These people are for real. No deliberate acting on the part of these clowns.

11/30/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel Nexon said...

"This is one of the big reasons for the Spanish Inquisition after Christians reconquered Spain from the Muslims: there were a bunch of holdovers who claimed to have converted to Christianity, but were really Fifth Column agents"

The Inquisition was founded to deal with purported crypto-Jews (conversos), not real or imagined crypto-Muslims; only later did moriscos emerge as a major target of the Inquisition, IIRC.

By the sixteenth century the threat from elements of the morisco population was, however, quite real. They were generally badly treated under Castilian rule. Castile colonized Granada, in effect, displacing the wealth and livelihood of the morisco population. There were a lot of grounds for mutual hostility, which climaxed with an insurgecy - sponsored by the Ottomans and their allies - during 1569-1570.

The Habsburgs responded with a policy of ethnic cleansing: they scattered the morisco population throughout Castile. This, of course, made things worse by spreading a feared minority throughout the country.

12/07/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel Nexon said...

I should have added, but forgot to, that Spain expelled the Morisco population between 1609 and 1614.

12/07/2005 01:05:00 PM  
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