Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy smiling faces

Christopher Hitchens has an atmospheric piece in Vanity Fair about the Lord's Resistance Army -- a supposedly Christian gang -- and its symbiotic relationship with the Islamic theocracy in Khartoum.

Very few people, apart from his victims, have ever met or even seen the enslaving and child-stealing Joseph Kony, and the few pictures and films of him are amateur and indistinct. This very imprecision probably helps him to maintain his version of charisma. ... He goes into trances in which he speaks into a tape recorder and plays back the resulting words as commands. He has helped himself to about 50 captives as "wives," claiming Old Testament authority for this (King Solomon had 700 spouses), often insisting—partly for biblical reasons and partly for the more banal reason of AIDS dread—that they be virgins. ... Signs of his disapproval include the cutting off of lips, noses, and breasts in the villages he raids and, to deter informers, a padlock driven through the upper and lower lips. This is the sort of deranged gang—flagellant, hysterical, fanatical, lethal, under-age—that an unfortunate traveler might have encountered on the roads of Europe during the Thirty Years' War or the last Crusade.

In October, the Lord of the Flies was hit, in his medieval redoubt, by a message from the 21st century. Joseph Kony and four other leaders of the L.R.A. were named in the first arrest warrants ever issued by the new International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). If that sounds like progress to you, then consider this. The whereabouts of Kony are already known: he openly uses a satellite phone from a base across the Ugandan border in southern Sudan. Like the United States, Sudan is not a signatory to the treaty that set up the I.C.C. And it has sponsored the L.R.A. because the Ugandan government—which is an I.C.C. signatory—has helped the people of southern Sudan fight against the theocracy in Khartoum, the same theocracy that has been sponsoring the genocide against Muslim black Africans in Darfur. Arrest warrants look pretty flimsy when set against ruthless cynicism of this depth and intensity. Kony has evidently made some kind of peace with his Sudanese Islamist patrons: in addition to his proclamation of the Ten Commandments, he once banned alcohol and announced that all pigs were unclean and that those who farm them, let alone eat them, were subject to death. So, unless he has undergone a conversion to Judaism in the wilderness, we can probably assume that he is repaying his murderous armorers and protectors.


Hitchen's article reminded me of my slight and youthful acquaintance with the followers of Commander Toothpick in Mindanao. As I related in an earlier post, Tootpick was the nom de guerre of a man who had been left for dead by a marauding Muslim gang, and who, when dumped and left for dead in a well, in his delerium imagined that a bottle of merthiolate which he found there gave him supernatural powers. He survived, though whether through angelic or diabolical agencies I leave the reader to decide, and founded a gang which if not quite as bad as the Lord's Resistance Army, was cut from the same cloth. It featured the same mumbo jumbo. Pig Latin and liberal quantities of cheap gin were used to persuade largely illiterate followers that they would be rendered bulletproof by their amulets of consecrated oil of wintergreen. I believe that they would prep themselves for battle by improbably parading to the tune of Tony Orlando's Knock Three Times.

A couple of traces of Commander Toothpick's past existence still turn up on a Google Search but all of the links are dead as is presumably Commander Toothpick. But his mantle had apparently been taken up by Norberto Manero, who like Joseph Kony, found himself powerful protectors among the different factions jockeying for power. A stone killer is never idle in a lawless Third World country. Manero's greatest claim to notoriety lay in his brutal murder of Italian Catholic priest Father Tulio Favali, after which he consumed parts of the priest's brain. My path crossed Manero's but very indirectly, when I noticed that he had been awarded an Industrial Forest Plantation by the Philippine Government at a time when he should have been in jail while reviewing some documents in connection with a job. But to return to Hitchens' narrative.

The terrifying thing about such violence and cruelty is that only a few dedicated practitioners are required in order to paralyze everyone else with fear. I had a long meeting with Betty Bigombe, one of those staunch and beautiful women—it is so often the women—who have helped restore Uganda's pulse after decades of war and famine and tyranny and Ebola and West Nile fever and AIDS. She has been yelled at by Joseph Kony, humiliated by corrupt and hypocritical Sudanese "intermediaries," dissed by the Ugandan political elite, and shamefully ignored by the international "human rights" community. She still believes that an amnesty for Kony's unindicted commanders is possible, which will bring the L.R.A. children back from the bush, but she and thousands like her can always be outvoted by one brutalized schoolboy with a machete. We are being forced to watch yet another Darfur, in which the time supposedly set aside for negotiations is used by the killers and cleansers to complete their work.

We live in a world where Joseph Kony will be offered amnesty and Norberto Manero will be offered -- has been offered -- not only the chance to save Gaia, but to break the circle of violence. reports:

Now the local amnesty board in South Cotobato says his killers did it all in the name of politics and Manero and his gang are to be forgiven, pardoned, released. There was no crime, they say, it was not a vicious murder but perhaps a political and patriotic act. Next we will be asked to admire and applaud it as a heroic deed done to rid the country of the communist pests and save the nation.

Why not? After all Yasser Arafat got the Nobel Peace Prize and Tookie Williams had a shot at getting the Nobel Prize in Literature. Not a good shot, I'll admit, but a better chance than most of us. In my more cynical moments I'm convinced that nobody gives a damn about children or human rights or the environment in the wilder places of the world: just power. Out at the end of a dirt road there's just you, death, dope and dinero. And maybe the odd bottle of oil of wintergreen.


Blogger Meme chose said...

To urban liberals the people you describe are what Leona Helmsley called "the little people" (as in "only the little people pay taxes").

They live in a different world in which they are obliged to pay various forms of tribute for the privilege of continuing to draw breath. Their function is to be available to satisfy the liberals' vanity whenever needed for that purpose, and otherwise keep themselves out of sight and out of mind.

They are to be helped in ways which flatter liberal donors, spread corruption and corrode their social structures (aid) but not by allowing them the 'capitalism' (via unobstructed trade) which alone supports liberals in the style to which they have become accustomed.

It would still be difficult to combat poverty and ignorance in the third world without this kind of insouciant abuse, but for millions this is the element which seals their fate.

1/18/2006 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Doesn't eating Pork cause Puss on the Brain?

1/18/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

It was in learning about the LRA several years ago that I finally realized just how many places in the world are still Hobbesian — where life is poor, solitary, nasty, brutish and short. Unfortunately, as meme chose notes, our impulses are all opposite what helped the West to rise above that. We give aid rather than free trade, government power and control rather than individualistic capitalism, and we fail to kill the brutalizers that wreck any progress. Until we fix our own impulses so that we do what works, instead of what sounds nice in preliminary conversation at international conferences in swanky hotels, our only contribution to the plight of the world's worst-off will be to worsen it.

1/18/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The traditional instruments for dealing with Third World problems has been through "aid" packages, loans and more recently nongovernment organizations. The one thing none of these mechanisms can deal with is violence and coercion. In consequence these agencies work through local contacts, sometimes the local insurgents or government officials. On occasion they play both sides of the street as a means of getting protection. Not surprisingly international money is a cornucopia for all sides of a dispute. One wonders how much of the Intifada is ultimately funded from international largesse.

To protect field workers and supplies international organizations often employ the very thugs they want to guard against as logistics aids, security workers to gain safety. Or if that seems rather too much like paying protection there's always the dodge of hiring the militiamen's relatives. That can be plausibly be called 'involving the community'.

But "international development" or humanitarianism really doesn't work as advertised. Not in any meaningful sense. Embassy and international bank people can make project field trips on a weekly basis and never once inconvenience people like Manero or the Lord's Resistance Army nor make much of a difference one way or the other.

1/18/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

My early Christian education taught me the dreaded "P" sins. Reading your post reminds me that any person - be they Christian, Muslim, Jew or pagan - with adeqaute opportunity and resource may fall prey to them.

What are they? Pleasure, possessions, position and power. We are susceptable to any or all of them becoming our idol.

1/18/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

"Me, death, dope and dinero" The story of my life.

1/18/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger CPA said...

"My path crossed Manero's but very indirectly, when I noticed that he had been awarded an Industrial Forest Plantation by the Philippine Government at a time when he should have been in jail while reviewing some documents in connection with a job."

That's a dangling participle; it makes it sound like you want Manero to review gov't documents while sitting in jail. (Now THAT'S a novel form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment!)

1/18/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

"In my more cynical moments I'm convinced that nobody gives a damn about children or human rights or the environment in the wilder places of the world: just power."

Not sure if that's true only in the wilder places of the world. It appears to me that the people who shout loudest for children, human rights and the environment are often those most concerned with, and interested in, power.

Bandits Toothpick, Kony, Manero et al, don't need peace prizes and writs from the I.C.C., but what Tookie Williams got instead.

1/18/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger NickTheName said...

A dangling participle? The poor guy posted this at 4 AM! Sheesh.

1/18/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

At least Hitchens and Wretchard understand that this is not a racial phenomenon, but a cultural one. And that the culture is not unique or indigenous, but can arise in any power vacuum. That puts them 100% ahead of any liberal thought on the issue.

Some day, God willing, we'll go back to the ruthless extermination of any person who literally or figuratively practices cannibalism. Figurative cannibalism I am defining as the killing or maiming of another person (or people) to slake a lust whether sexual, mental, or emotional.

And no quarter for the followers either. Let the word get around that we've got enough pikes to mount the heads of the whole group. These men cannot survive long without their murderous sycophants.

1/18/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

It’s good to be Kony
The warrant of arrest for Joseph Kony lists thirty-three counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility:
crimes against humanity
sexual enslavement
inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering
war crimes
cruel treatment of civilians
intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population
inducing rape
forced enlisting of children

One must wonder if Kony’s or Manero’s victims were Muslim, if their ‘political’ actions would be viewed as excusable in the course of the ensuing millennia. Perhaps it is the oldest misconceptions about Christianity when it is said “one must turn the other cheek”. There those who say that it was meant as an insult, to ‘shame’ the wrong doer. This seems to be Amnesty Internationals’ stock in trade.

Amnesty International has called to join the campaign against:
Abolish the death penalty
Oppose abuses related to the "War on Terror"
Denounce Torture: Stop it now!
Stop violence against women
End the uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of arms
Encourage change in multinational corporations

It is interesting to note that of Amnesty International six goals, the first three seem to directly challenge the United States. Note the irony quotes on the "War on Terror". The last entry, ‘Encourage change in multinational corporations’, leaves me totally baffled. I’m all for it, don’t you know, but what in the hell does that have to do with ‘amnesty’?

Perhaps I can sum up their opposition with this sentence;
No death penalty for the armed torturers of female corporate terrorists.

Amnesty International seems intent on focusing the world’s attention on the only people who are paying attention and giving them what they want… more grist for the anti-Americanism mill. Perhaps we should ‘turn the other cheek’ as well.

1/18/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

It seems like the only thing that would work against the LRA would be if their prospective victims were sufficiently well armed and trained that preying on them was a losing proposition.

And arming the potential victims would only really work if the people had some productive work to do. Otherwise you only create another armed band.

1/18/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

well said: One wonders how much of the Intifada is ultimately funded from international largesse.

One really wonders at the amazing cultural pass time of funding jew murderers, after all, does anyone remember that the palestinians were offered a state?

how much money has been paid, and by whom, to murder jews (not talking about nazis or christian olde europe) just since 1948?

what an amazing waste.....

1/18/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

My early Christian education taught me the dreaded "P" sins. Reading your post reminds me that any person - be they Christian, Muslim, Jew or pagan - with adeqaute opportunity and resource may fall prey to them.

What are they? Pleasure, possessions, position and power. We are susceptable to any or all of them becoming our idol.

I'll take death by Pleasure, possessions, position and power verses death by palestinian hijacker, suicide bomber, firebomber, sniper or rock thrower!!!

1/18/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Outside the wire there is no law, justice or peace.

The solution is to extend the territory enclosed by the fence, or to abandon it to the evil that men do.

In the not so distant past the Europeans tried to expand Civilization into Africa, they have failed and retreated back to Europe.

Now the Keepers of Civilization ask the Murderers for permission to send in an adequate force to stop the Genocide in Darfur.

Permission denied, of course.

Without Police there is no law, without law there is no Civilization.

Whether in Paris or Darfur, Washington or Nogales, if the Law is not enforced it does not exist.

Warlords control large swaths of Africa and coyotes control the US Border.

But not to worry, the elites will not be hobbled, they hire illegals as nannies and gardeners, do not pay the taxes and insurances required by law, the worse that can happen is they will not be confirmed as an Asst Attorney General.

In the Salons of New York and Washington all is well. The little people just need to pay more in taxes and for gasoline. That is sure to solve the problems of the World, just ask C4.

1/18/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The wire protecting the US is frayed, we worry of Iran, Iraq & Israel and how to best defend our interests, all the while there is documented evidence the Mexican Army has entered the US 216 times since 1996.

The Federal Government has and is failing in it's Primary Responsibility. Until we can secure our own country's borders from Foreign Military incursions we had best leave Africa alone. Much as it pains me to say it.

Why have 140,000 troops defending the Iraqi Government from the Iraqis, when we cannot defend the territorial integrity of US from the Mexican Army. Where is President Polk when we need him.

I'm sorry that Mr Bush is so incompetent in defending US from the near enemy, his focus on the far enemy has warped the Administrations priorities in defense of the US beyond recognition.

Tony Blankley, Washington Times and the Dept. of Homeland Security

I'm embaressed to have voted for Mr Bush, twice.

1/18/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Where's Black Jack Pershing when you need him? P'raps the Army could do some "desert warfare simulation" in the border country between say, Yuma and Nogales.

I'm with you, whether these incursions be from current Mexican military or deserters, the US should tell Presidente Fox in no uncertain terms that he must stop them or we shall.

1/18/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Epimetheus, when grief and evils flew abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept hope in the bottom of the vessel... Francis Bacon

I think there is an acceptance emerging that we must address the third world to save our own.

As Bacon says, "The followers of Epimetheus are the improvident, who take no care of the future."

We must not keep hope to ourselves.

1/18/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mike O said...

As one recently returned from Uganda (didn't go into the Northern area and wouldn't unless armed), I can attest to the atrocities of Kony.

Frankly, I don't care if they offer him amnesty; just as long as someone gets a shot at him shortly thereafter. Kony is one mad dog that needs to be put down and put down publicly; otherwise, I suggest the Hollywood liberal elite set up a guns-free 'peace zone' in Northern Uganda and move there themselves.

1/18/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Motor 1560 said...

I always like to nudge the odds a bit when I'm out at the end of the dirt road. A well trained team, automatic weapons and air support for a start. Negotiations seem to go much faster when the other side is watching a couple of comrades bleed out in the dirt.

Fighting fast is to be preferred over fighting fair. But, then what do I know. I think trying to reason with rabid dogs is a waste of time.

1/18/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Amen, brother. Anyone who has ordered a maiming, or participated in one, on more than one occasion should be shot on sight without discussion or negotiation.

Whether the root cause of his affliction be nature or nurture, ending the genetic and memetic propigation of a guy like Kony shouldn't be a hard choice. This strategy would eventually lead to an environment free of such people.

1/18/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Papa Bear,

"arming the potential victims would only really work if the people had some productive work to do."

Well, subsistence agriculture is alive and well in Uganda and Sudan, once you get outside the major cities. No shortage of productive things for folks to do, that's for sure. Whether they want to do them after they've seen Paris, er, I mean, Kampala, is perhaps a different question.

1/18/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I apologize, this is off topic, but it is so emblematic of the Left, postmodernism, and moral equivalence that even to read it is to not believe:

Never pick a fight you know you cannot win. Or so I was told. Pick an argument if you must, but not a fight. Nothing I have read or heard in recent weeks suggests that fighting Iran over its nuclear enrichment programme makes any sense at all. The very talk of it - macho phrases about "all options open" - suggests an international community so crazed with video game enforcement as to have lost the power of coherent thought.

Iran is a serious country, not another two-bit post-imperial rogue waiting to be slapped about the head by a white man...

Of all the treaties passed in my lifetime the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) always seemed the most implausible. It was an insiders' club that any outsider could defy with a modicum of guile...

I would sleep happier if there were no Iranian bomb but a swamp of hypocrisy separates me from overly protesting it. Iran is a proud country that sits between nuclear Pakistan and India to its east, a nuclear Russia to its north and a nuclear Israel to its west...

Replace some names and this could have been written in 1936 by the British Left. Germany was a proud country too, with understandable reasons to rearm, was it not?

Of course, now we are macho racist imperialists, in addition to belligerent warmongers. No better than them, really. If we have nukes, why not Iran?

1/18/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Knucklehead said...


"Black Jack" Pershing and the Mexican Expedition. More here. It was Taft who first sent the US Military to secure the border. They weren't particularly successful so Wilson upped the ante and committed more troops as well as federalizing the National Guard. Hostilities were escalating, Pershing's incursion into Mexico accomplished nothing, the border was not secured, and WWI eventually required pulling the military off the border.

While I am not opposed to closing the border(s) to illegal immigration and blasting the, err..., stuff out of any banditos or Mexican military who cross it, I certainly don't hope for a repeat of the ineffective Mexican Expedition.

I suppose wishing for another Polk might be useful should we decide to "re-annex" Texas. Can we also "re-annex" Oregon while we're at it?

1/18/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

All summed up in this revealing closing sentence:

If you cannot stop a man buying a gun, the next best bet is to make him your friend, not your enemy.

And if you can't do that, it's better to kneel.

1/18/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...


You're right - that is a summation of all they don't know. Of course, I subscribe to the notion that a friend of mine codified:

"Being known as the guy in the neighborhood who likes to fire guns of multiple calibers at random times keeps the local troublemakers (and liberal neighbors) away. They will go somewhere else to make trouble. It works best with semi-automatic rifles, but shotguns are a close second."

That might get you in trouble in the city, but in flyover country it works like a charm.

1/18/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...


I would sleep happier if there were no Iranian bomb but a swamp of hypocrisy separates me from overly protesting it.

Comments like these make you wonder. The US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WII after attaining nuclear weapons. It would be ‘hypocrisy’ to discourage anyone from doing the same.

The German Nazis’ murdered 4 million Jews. What would give them the right to protest someone else doing the same?

We must not only be perfect in everything we do today, we must have been perfect from the beginning of time or go home.

“If you cannot stop a man buying a gun, the next best bet is to make him your friend, not your enemy.”

Perhaps the next best thing is to give them your gun and help them point it at your head.


1/18/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

re: hypocrisy...

To paraphrase a fine movie: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Every definition I've looked up (American Heritage, Oxford, and Princeton dictionaries) for hypocrisy describes being wilfully insincere - as distinct from an unexamined inconsistancy of behavior. Oxford says it derives from the greek hupokrisis - 'to act a theatrical part'.

Whenever I here a Leftist decrying hypocrisy, they seem to use it in the sense of people behaving inconsistantly - usually due to the other party drawing distinctions the Leftist deems inappropriate. (eg. "The gun owners' lobby is hypocritical because it supports gun control for convicted felons.")

A far better example of hypocrisy, which has "lip service" as a synonym, would be the "I support the troops but oppose the war" line thrown out by a person who once claimed to have witnessed US soldiers committing mass murder against civilians.

In fact, to say that you don't support the Iranian bomb, but can't protest the bomb 'because of the hypocrisy' fits the definition of hypocrisy to a 'T'.

1/18/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wretchard, et al --

You may enjoy this Acton Institute link re the fact that liberals think giving to private charities cheats the IRS. No, I'm not making this up.

Does American Charity Cheat the Tax Man?

Here's a recent poll from the article. Katrina victims rate the effectiveness of aid:

In a survey by Louisiana State University researchers, state residents were asked to rate the effectiveness of hurricane-recovery organizations on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being very effective. Church relief groups got the highest mark of 8.1. Next were nonprofits, the Salvation Army, and local community organizations, at 7.5. The Red Cross scored 7.5. Governments ranked lowest with Louisiana residents, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 5.3, the federal government at 5.1, and state and local governments at 4.6.

I am only surprised that local govt scored as well as it did. OTOH, these people would probably not give the Golden Goose a 10.

A small community near us has adopted one family-- a nuclear family + grandparents -- for the long haul. They were vetted carefully and are going to be helped to rebuild their homes and a business they had, all of which were vaporized. It will be several years' focus of private fund-raising, public benefits, etc.

If we would only get out of the aid biz and into capital formation in poor countries, things would change.

BTW, LGF has a link to an article about the EU suspending payments to the Palestinian Authority because of their lack of fiscal discipline. Is the EU coming out of its coma??

1/18/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Perhaps the next best thing is to give them your gun and help them point it at your head."
Or prosecute a man for shooting an "Endangered" Mountain Lion in his own back yard.

Or pay the Mexican Govt to have their Militia intrude into our country to intimidate and kill our government officials trying to enforce the law.

1/18/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I'm sorry that Mr Bush is so incompetent in defending US from the near enemy, his focus on the far enemy has warped the Administrations priorities in defense of the US beyond recognition"
If 9-11 had not occured, we'd be in even worse shape wrt Mexico.
Bush would have been unopposed except for Tancredo and a few others in his desire to eliminate differences in our 2 cultures and economies.

1/18/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

In my more cynical moments I'm convinced that nobody gives a damn about children or human rights or the environment in the wilder places of the world: just power.

Heck, I don't need a cynical moment to be convinced of that. I see evidence of that right here in the good old USofA where those who are even more cynical than I have no problem using children, human rights, the environment, whatever it takes, in their grab for power.

Foreign aid (like Milton Friedman, I'm agin it), just like domestic welfare, ultimately hurts the very people it purportedly was designed to help. This has been demonstrated over and over again, so often that a cynic might conclude that those who insist upon continuing down this destructive path have ulterior motives of the dastardly kind.

1/18/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

*sigh* "When I here a Leftist"...
There's something particularly embarrassing about using the wrong homophone in a rant about word usage... Pride goeth before a fall. Someday I'll larn me how tu spel.

Make that here=hear.

1/18/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Is the EU coming out of its coma??

And the unlikely trio UK, France, Germany are making the running on bringing Iran to the security council.

There is something going on in EU. Could it be fear of breeding (so to speak) their own home-grown Kony?


1/18/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: Did you hear that despite their attacking the "slow" response to Katrina as "racist", the charity set up by the Congressional Black Caucus finally had a meeting LAST WEEK to discuss how to allocate the Katrina relief money they had collected BUT HAVE NEVER DOLED OUT.

1/18/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

Sir, give the people guns.
Our founding fathers understood that well.

Have you read Cryptonomicon? I think you might enjoy it.
You can get a taste with this most habinar post from Joe Katzman.

1/18/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm sure the interest accrued has been put to a very good cause.

1/18/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here! Here! Brett!
We Here Ye.

1/18/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE, Had you heard that Vietnam Tale I linked at 12:19 AM in the previous thread?

1/18/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I plead guilty to the dangling participle and promise to do better next time.

Thinking back on OIF I began to understand that Saddam had indeed used poison as a weapon, but not in the obvious sense. It's the hundreds of thousands of people who have grown up bred to brutality and violence that constitutes the real danger in Third World interventions. All those kids who've been brought up by Kony, the disciples of Manero and the Tootpick wannabees -- maybe even the Crips -- they are the really lethal weapon. They'd wear a Ba'athist killer uniform just fine.

And what do we have to rein this manufactury of thuggism in? Amnesty International? Betty Bigombe? A few dudes from Medicins sans Frontieres? Some aid workers out on a day trip? It ain't gonna work.

I've often believed that the AQ are simply a subset of the great postcolonial phenomenon of chaos in the Third World. What's the difference between the AQ and Toothpick but a better and a classier sort of mystic mumbo jumbo? Instead of the brain eating you get the head, hand and foot chopping, but the differences are in the accidents not the essentials.

The instruments we have for going after them are better than Amnesty International's but they are too blunt. Armored divisions and bombardment aircraft aren't the optimal tools for the job.

1/18/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


Israel Facing Three Strategic Terror Threats
Israel is facing three of the most serious strategic threats it has known in the past 10 years:
Anarchy in the Palestinian Authority and continual strengthening of Hamas,
a steady flow of global jihadists into Israel and the territories,
and Iran's nuclear program, accompanied by explicit threats against Israel.
Boaz Ganor, Deputy Dean of the Lauder School of Government and Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, believes these threats have put Israel in danger , and that the temporary lull in violence presently being enjoyed is temporary at best - and won't extend into next week.

1/18/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

BILL ROGGIO notes that contrary to claims it killed innocent civilians, the U.S. airstrike in Pakistan took down some major terrorists.
- Instapundit

1/18/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The man who trained the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and Zacharias Mousssaoui
ABC is reporting that al Qaeda's top bombmaker and chemical weapons expert was killed in last week's Predator attack in Pakistan:

Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of three known al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit conference in the village of Damadola.
The United States had posted a $5 million reward for Mursi's capture. He is described by U.S. authorities as the man who ran al Qaeda's infamous Derunta training camp in Afghanistan, where he used dogs and other animals as subjects of experiments with poison and chemicals.
"This is extraordinarily important," said former FBI agent Jack Cloonan, an ABC News consultant, who was the senior agent on the FBI's al Qaeda squad. "He's the man who trained the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and Zacharias Mousssaoui, as well as hundreds of others."
- Powerline

1/18/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: No I had not heard that one. It was good; thanks for the link.
It reminds me of one of the best aviation lines I have ever heard - and the only one of those ever delivered directly to me:
"The landing looked good up until the point where the fire started."

Have heard a number of unpublished Vietnam air combat stores, but the wildest one was about a dogfight between a CIA Huey and a Soviet Spetnatz AN-2 Colt biplane, over Laos. I thnk they both lost.

My apologies for the OT.

Wretchard: I wonder if perhaps we are be returning the British Colonial practice of Air Policing, albeit, on a wider, more strategic scale. As you probably know, as an alternative to large standing armies to handle colonial insurrections in remains of the Ottoman Empire, when an attack occurred on some British outpost, the RAF would fly out with some DH9's or what have you and blow the crap out of a likely village - and not, mind you the definite home of the insurgents, but just some people who were thought to be sympathetic to the uprising. Did not work, and even worse, it seemed to at the time.
The Clinton Admin seeemed to almost use the same approach with their "Cruise Missile Diplomacy."

1/18/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, rwe, they no longer produce aspirin in that Sudanese factory, do they?

1/18/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Rice University scholar David Cook writes on "Islam and the Apocalyptic." (hat tip Rod Dreher, Corner).

OT, yet again, but pertinent.

1/18/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert rat: Precisely!

But in reality does this make sense? The Sudanese drug factory attack was a rather poor example of that kind of thing. The evidence was flimsy, the execution timid, and the logic flawed at best. And recall the response to the Serbs shooting down Scott O'Grady's F-16 was cratering a Serb runway while carefully avoiding hitting anyone or any thing of value - like the military airplanes on the same field. The Serbs laughed.

Are counter-value strikes effective against these kind of people? I think we do counter -value because we either are not willing to do what it takes to accomplish effective counter-force attacks - or else we don't know how to do them.
For Kosovo we tried attacking the Serb forces directly but were utterly ineffective. The French told the Serbs where the strikes would be, and no one thought the whole stupid thing was worth getting down in the weeds and slugging it out. Thus no bombs released below 15K ft; otherwise we might lose aircraft. I think that post-war analysis showed that we knocked out not one Serb tank.
So we switched to counter-value; bridges and power plants and the Chinese Embassy.
Is this a modern version of Sherman's "Make the South howl" and take the war to the enemy where it really hurts - or rather more like kicking your dog because your girl refused to kiss you goodnight?
Could we have stopped the slaughter in Ruwanda by blowing the crap out of something the butchers treasured?

Hope someone is thinking about this stuff.

1/18/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bring Back Richard Clarke!
Richard Clarke Is Inspector Clouseau
Richard Clarke,
former terrorism czar during the run up to 9-11 that saw us lose Able Danger leads on terrorists Atta, Midhar, Shehhi and Hadmi to some reactionary bureaucratic house cleaning and also lose the leads to Atta in Hamburg, has come out with another of his schizophrenic moments.
Clark is always saying how Bush did not do all he could to stop 9-11. Now Clarke adds that allowing NSA leads on terrorist contacts in the US to be provided to the FBI to follow up on is illegal.
- AJStrata

1/18/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

BILL ROGGIO notes that contrary to claims it killed innocent civilians, the U.S. airstrike in Pakistan took down some major terrorists.
- Instapundit

2:52 PM

'Seems, Doug, we've got a nice cascade going now.

1/18/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

White House Briefing, January 18:

MR. McCLELLAN: I have a few things to begin with. First of all, I want to update you on one world leader call from this morning. The President spoke with Chancellor Merkel this morning. This was a follow-up to their meeting last week, and they discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions and the way forward with recent developments there.

Today the Department of Treasury designated Assef Shawkat, pursuant to an executive order the President issued in May of '04. Among other things, this order allows the United States government to block the assets of individuals who play a role in Syria's support for terrorism.

QUESTION: Scott, can you just explain a little bit more about what Mr. Shawkat has done and what action the Treasury Department has taken, more specifically?

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. Well, back in May of '04, the President issued an executive order in response to the regime's continued support for terrorism and its interference inside Lebanon, and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its efforts to undermine the advance of freedom and peace in Iraq.

Q: And what specifically is the government doing, then?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this will block any assets that he might have in U.S. banks, and it will bar any American from doing business with this individual.

Q: What impact do you think that's going to have? What are his assets?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it sends an important signal that people are going to be held to account for their behavior. I think that's what it does.

White House

1/18/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

your link to The Historian as Soldier: Shadows and Fog is precisely what I have been saying for quite awhile.

The Army is top heavy and nonresponsive to facts on the ground. The Operation Anaconda that is described and the self imposed difficulties involved in fielding a Combat Force.

We have done very poorly in Iraq, I have thought that we have had the wrong Force in Iraq for abut 2 years now.

The Generals that were responsible for Operation Anaconda should have been relieved, they were, most likely promoted.

Jr is out of the Marines in September and I could not be happier about it. The Fools & Knaves will not get another chance to get him killed by their incompetency.

1/18/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We freeze the US assets of a man that, it seems, has no US assets.

That really sends a 'signal" all right.

Bet all the other Syrians are worried about their US IRAs, right about now.

1/18/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

All those kids who've been brought up by Kony, the disciples of Manero and the Tootpick wannabees -- maybe even the Crips -- they are the really lethal weapon.
sho, but a bullet fired from the gun of an armed citizen will finish them just the same.

1/18/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We can freeze the nonexistent assets of a Syrian spy but when a Foreign Army enters the US of 200 times in the past 10 years we get:

"... Q: Page one of yesterday's Washington Times reported that more than 200 suspected incursions of what are thought to be Mexican soldiers along our border with Mexico. And my question: Does the President believe there is no problem here, or does he believe and intend to enforce the protection of our borders?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has made a strong commitment to enforcing our borders and taking additional steps to do so. I don't know the specific reports you're referring to, it might be something better referred to the border security. I haven't looked into those specific reports, Les ... "

It is more then incompetent, it's treasonous behaviour.

1/18/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Yes, interesting question/answer session with Scott about Shawkat. Thought I'd share.

1/18/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"The Generals that were responsible for Operation Anaconda should have been relieved"

That would've been embarassing - think of THE MEDIA, Rat.

1/18/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Not having read the Hitchens piece,there is a cover article on the same atrocities in the current issue of Christianity Today.The emphasis is on the forced brutalization of children by Kony and his cadre of monsters to create more brutalizers.Its sort of like victims of child abuse acting in kind amped up a million time over.Hell has a special place for the Kony's of life.
I was in Burkina Faso,West Africa in December.It's a tranquil nation surrounded by off and on nations at war.I was overwhelmed by the need,the poverty,but also the many fine and hopeful people I met.The forces of disintegration crushing much of Africa are tragic beyond our ability to grasp,but really what can anyone this side of God do to right the ship?I guess it is the post colonial chaos Wretchard mentioned.

1/18/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"your link to The Historian as Soldier: Shadows and Fog is precisely what I have been saying for quite awhile."

I know, Rat.

1/18/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Iran is a serious country, not another two-bit post-imperial rogue waiting to be slapped about the head by a white man..."

No argument here. Especially when pistachios and hand weaved carpets are their largest exports following terrorism and oil-- oil being 85% of GDP.

1/18/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Two key al-Qaida militants missing:

Both Kunar and Bajaur have deeply rooted Islamic militant groups that help make the area a haven for guerrillas of various groups.

In Kunar, "I got them all," a U.S. Army commander, Lt. Col. Peter Munster, told the AP last summer. "Taliban, al-Qaida ... [Hezb-I-Islami, an Afghan guerrilla faction led by the the militant Gulbuddin Hekmatyar], foreign fighters, smugglers and other criminals. They are like the Mafia."

Militants Missing

1/18/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

You said once that their's is simply to do or die...

1/18/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Maybe I'm too obtuse.

Iran is actually a peripheral problem in the scheme of things. There's a fast breeder reaction (but not atomic) going in EU, and they now know it.

France must nip it at inception, if you get my drift.

What better way than to pick a fight. Allows you to identify the troublemakers and ship 'em out.

To where the US can deal with 'em.

"The exception proves the rule". We all know that that this expression is based on the olde English meaning of the word 'prove', meaning "to test".

So if there is an exception, it is testing your rule. If it doesn't fit, your rule is wrong.

France is now an exception to its past.

Factor that into your world view.


1/19/2006 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Take two:

Quay d'Orsay knows France is f***** if it doesn't do something. Washington knows it too.

How's your head for brinkmanship?


1/19/2006 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Final word,

The battlefield is France.


1/19/2006 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Final Final word.

Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, France.

How more succcesful could OIF be?

Just one - Europe.

Thanks? To forgive, divine.


1/19/2006 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And it is, trish, but not to be wasted by incompetent leadership.

It seems I was led astray by the propaganda of the "new' military.

The Military is more of a screwed up socialist system now than it was 25 years ago. I should have known, but hope sprung eternal.

1/19/2006 05:32:00 AM  

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