Monday, June 26, 2006

Be My Friend

Aesop's fable about the The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey is meant to bring home the point that it's impossible to please everyone -- and that it is useless to try. That ancient story anticipates the difficulty of trying to win friends in the Jihad. Marvin Katz, writing for the United Press International described how Russian efforts to placate Islamic anger over Chechnya by supporting Islamic causes everywhere else did not keep their diplomats from being kidnapped in Iraq.


One of Moscow's principal foreign policy aims has been to prevent opposition to Russian intervention in Chechnya from rising up in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world. ... And so Moscow, especially under Putin, has assiduously worked to convince the Muslim world that, unlike America, Russia is its friend. When America insisted on intervening in Iraq, Russia strenuously objected -- both at the time of the intervention and ever since. When the United States called for democratization in the Middle East, Russia indicated its willingness to work with existing authoritarian governments as they are. When the United States calls for sanctions or other strong measures in response to the Iranian nuclear program, Russia calls for restraint and even sticks up for Tehran. When the United States refused to talk to Hamas after it won the Palestinian parliamentary elections earlier this year, Russia hosted a Hamas delegation in Moscow.

Numerous other examples could be cited. Part of Moscow's aim in taking these actions seems to be to convey to Muslims that Russia supports so many causes dear to them that they should not concern themselves over what is happening in Chechnya. Moscow would prefer that Muslims actually support Russian actions there, but will be grateful if they are merely indifferent -- just as long as they do not actively support the Chechen rebels.

But Moscow's triangulation did not work as planned. The BBC recently reported the execution of four Russian diplomats in Iraq over Chechnya

Insurgents in Iraq say they have killed four Russian embassy workers kidnapped at the start of June. The Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group incorporating al-Qaeda in Iraq, released an internet video and a statement announcing their deaths. The video showed one man being beheaded and another shot dead, as well as the body of a third, but there was no sign of the fourth hostage. ... The men were seized in Baghdad on 3 June, and kidnappers said the executions were in revenge for "torture, killing and displacement by the infidel Russian government" in Chechnya. The Mujahideen Shura Council, which said it was holding the men, had threatened to kill them if Russia did not pull its troops out of Chechnya.

Nor did Sharon and Yehud Olmert's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza win any brownie points. The pathetic appeals by the Israeli government to the Palestinian authority to effect the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped in a Palestinian operation and now being held in Gaza also illustrates how the quid does not always bring the pro quo. The Toronto Star reports:

Frantic diplomatic efforts to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier were underway today as Israeli forces massed ominously on the Gaza Strip border, awaiting orders after a deadly Palestinian raid on an isolated military observation post. ... The fate of the bespectacled tank gunner, who is believed to have suffered chest injuries in the attack, constitutes "a crisis the likes of which we have not seen in a very long time," one Israeli official told the Toronto Star. "(Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas says he is a partner for peace: we say to him, `This is your moment of truth,'" said Mark Regev, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. "Bring about the immediate release of our serviceman. Do this and it will be an amazing confidence-builder. It will totally de-escalate the crisis and completely energize Israel's efforts toward the renewal of the peace process.

Any Russian or Israeli expectation of gratitude is probably doomed. When the Russians reminded the Iraqi kidnappers that Moscow was on their side the Shura cooly responded was that things could never reach a point where the Ummah felt it owned the infidel anything.

"[T]here can be no justification for the seizure of the representatives of a country energetically promoting the restoration of peace on Iraqi soil, and independence and well-being of the friendly Iraqi people," Mikhail Kamynin said. In other words: Why pick on Russians when it is the Americans, not us, who are occupying your country?

In its statement of June 19, however, the Mujahideen Shura Council indicated that, regardless of Russian opposition to the American occupation of Iraq, it still opposed Russian "aggression" both in Chechnya now and in Afghanistan in the past. "How can you ask us to forget what the weakened Muslims are encountering from the Russian government and its people?" the statement issued by the Council asked. Its June 21 statement announcing the decision to execute the four Russian diplomats declared that this was being done "in revenge for our brothers everywhere with whose blood the Russians' hands have been stained."

Part of the problem is that -- as in Aesop's fable -- there is always someone who thinks it is your fault. The ostensible reason for the IDF soldier's abduction was an explosion on a Gaza beach -- blamed on Israel but which may have actually been caused by Palestinian land mines -- although this has been disputed. But in whatever the cause of those blasts the Israelis were going to be punished anyway for an "international plot against the Palestinian nation", as the Toronto Star narrates:

Earlier, Hamas movement spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Al-Jazeera television the raid represented "a fulfillment of the duty to the girl Huda Ghalia, whose family was killed in front of her eyes." Abu Zuhri's reference relates to an explosion on a Gaza beach two weeks ago in which eight Palestinian civilians died. An Israeli army probe cleared itself of any responsibility for the incident, which Palestinians attribute to Israeli artillery shelling. "It was also carried out due to the international community's silence amid the international plot against the Palestinian nation," Abu Zuhri said.

Whatever Abbas thinks of Israel, there is someone in the Ummah who may still be convinced Israel should be destroyed. The New York Times, in an article entitled After Londonistan, claims what shocked British policy makers following the July 7, 2005 subway bombings was how in spite of every effort not to antagonize the Muslims by liberal immigration policy, political correctness and many other accomodations "normal English Muslim kids" learned to hate Britain so much they turned themselves into suicide bombers.

A few years ago, all of them would have been considered part of the new, multicultural England branded "Cool Britannia" in the press and bragged about by government and citizens alike. Especially demoralizing was the posthumous video message of 30-year-old Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader, which was broadcast on Al Jazeera two months after his death. His claims that Muslims were being mistreated throughout the world were familiar enough from other suicide-bomber videos. But Khan's thick, native Yorkshire accent — like something that had strayed out of a film adaptation of a Brontë novel, or a documentary about striking miners — was disheartening to British viewers. By then, Khan's white childhood friends had made it known that they had called him Sid and had been really fond of him. One told the BBC, "I just thought of him as a Beeston lad, and that's what he was — a Beeston lad, born and bred." ...

It is this apparent invariance to appeasement or resistance that is so dismaying. If Russia, Israel and Britain can still be regarded as hostile to Islam despite every conciliatory effort then what do they do next? Is the solution to get tough on Islam or conciliate it even further, on the theory that the past outreach has not been enough? The New York Times describes how the British political establishment has attempted to solve this problem by simultaneously toughening certain dealings with Muslim communities while becoming more conciliatory in others.

After the bombings, Blair warned that those who do not "share and support the values that sustain the British way of life," or who incite hatred against Britain and its people, "have no place here." In February, he added that Islamist preachers who condone terrorism "should not be in this country." It was tempting to assume that Blair was simply hardening his line, moving from Islam-Is-Peace to Love-It-or-Leave-It. But the government insists that it will do everything in consultation with the country's 1.6 million Muslims, half of whom are under 25, with the goal of winning their hearts and minds.

Whether that kind of outreach is compatible with a hard line depends, of course, on Muslim sentiments. Identifying and influencing those sentiments — promoting "moderate Muslims" is the way the challenge is usually framed — is trickier than it sounds. What is a moderate Muslim? It could mean someone who's not very serious about his religion or someone who's quite serious about his religion but not very political about it. What of the common formulation that terrorism is "not Islam"? This could be a politically correct dodge or a hardheaded diagnosis that something more unholy is at work. The mainstream Islamic organizations, which unite Muslims around political grievances, are certainly a useful route into the British political system, but maybe they are whipping up those grievances in the first place. And nonbelievers are so numerous among people of immigrant background that dealing with religious leaders may be a wrongheaded strategy in the first place. Britain is working out its answers to these questions by trial and error. ...

But community policing carries a big risk: in reaching out to people on the streets, the police may become overly dependent on them. At a local level, it can mean police collusion with whichever interest group makes the most credible threat of disruption. ... The legislative packet Tony Blair outlined last August tries to balance two things: the harder line demanded by the public after July 7 and an unwillingness — whether out of common decency, constitutional propriety or political correctness — to single out Muslims. ... The government also brought to a final vote a "law against incitement to religious hatred" that it had been discussing for five years. ... It was a sort of horse trading with the principles of free speech, and it drove much of the country into a fury. The Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips later told me: "The term 'politically correct' does not do justice to this sinister totalitarian project. It is against not just freedom of speech but also freedom of thought." She added that Britons were particularly vulnerable to such incursions: "It's very British not to want to give offense. And political Islam is the world grievance culture par excellence. It's a perfect fit." Rowan Atkinson, the comedian, said that the law, if passed, would make it impossible to crack jokes involving religion.

Tony Blair is willing to trade away the oldest and most cherished British freedoms in an attempt to please the Muslim community. Will he succeed? And if he doesn't what then?

104 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

Most of the kidnappings in Iraq are of Iraqis, and for ransom only, not political reasons. The Russians are now saying that the video supposedly showing the execution of their diplomats may be fake. So the situation is quite complicated.

A "moderate" middle east leader once said, "It is Al Qaeda against everyone". That seems to be their biggest weakness, that they cannot divide and conquer but instead attack everyone simultaneously with their fanaticism. Any Islamic law Sharia system, at least the Al Qaeda brand, seems to be self limiting because people end up hating the oppression so much they jump at the first chance to be free. I am thinking of the Afghans cheering when they finally could dance, play music, and trim their beards. Also the widespread Arab anger at Al Qaeda when they bombed an Arab wedding in Jordan.

So yes it is impossible for a western country to appease Al Qaeda and Islamists. Their goal is one world under Al Qaeda controlled Sharia law.

6/26/2006 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

And what of Maliki's "Reconciliation" plan that the US seems to be backing, a plan complete with an amnesty (see Iraq the Model) for jihadists?! What happened to trying defeat the insurgency, accepting from these “dead enders” only unconditional surrender instead of caving in to their terms? Iraq the Model writes (6/25/06):

“However, this honest will is not be enough to make this project succeed unless it's combined with a workable formula and here I think insisting on classifying armed groups and declaring some of them as "honorable resistance" and legitimizing their acts while they are yet to recognize the new political system and drop their weapons is totally wrong.”

We’re backing one set of radical Islamists, the UIA, which contains Sadrists that have killed scores of American soldiers, in an effort to make nice with other radical Islamists. This is a dumbing down of “victory” until it is essentially meaningless. Who to blame? Who lost Iraq?

6/26/2006 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The prior thread, "Iran in Iraq", goes into this in great detail. To summarize, this is the same thing we did in taking the unconditional surrender of the Japanese in World War II, we pardoned Japanese soldiers who killed US soldiers during the War.

Indeed, how could we not? It would be a war crime for us to slaughter them after they surrendered. I don't know of any war in history in which the losing soldiers were later tried as criminals for shooting at the winning ones.

If there is no amnesty for the Iraqis, I'm not sure how this will work. Is every Iraq soldier who ever fired at one of our troops during the initial invasion guilty of murder or attempted murder? Likewise anyone who fired an anti-aircraft or tank round? And everyone in their chain of command is an accomplice? Or are they all war criminals?

If someone says they had the right to fight for awhile then lost it, what is the magic cut off and did they know it at the time? That would also mean that there has to be a limited amnesty, for the time when they were allowed to fight.

If someone in Fallajah shot at foreign soldiers who came in their house without permission, is that illegal according to the law of war? Would we give them amnesty or charge them with attempted murder?

6/26/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger JP Phish said...

Wretchard,

I have a new post on the Maliki reconciliation plan/amnesty. There have been some more and confusing developments and I have tried to read through the confusion.

I am new to blogging. Please give me some critical comments.

JP Phish

6/26/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wu Wei said...
"The prior thread, "Iran in Iraq", goes into this in great detail. To summarize, this is the same thing we did in taking the unconditional surrender of the Japanese in World War II, we pardoned Japanese soldiers who killed US soldiers during the War."

The operative phrase here is "unconditional surrender". Maybe I missed something but I don't recall the insurgents making such a concession. Nor do I recall Moqtada al-Sadr doing so after two engagements with US forces.
In reading Micahel Fumento, it would appear, contra Wretchard, that the Sunni insurgency still has some fight in it:

http://www.fumento.com/military/ramadi.html

6/26/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Islamic Fascism may be the antidote to political correctness.

"PC" is based largely on appeasement of "legitimate" grievances. But the PC crowd can't tell the difference between legitimate grievances and "manufactured excuses" -- which is to say between actual justice and the evasion of justice. (And for its own selfish reasons, the PC crowd doesn't want to see this).

But the fascists can't be appeased -- they want power – politically INcorrect power -- and they're very good at manufacturing excuses for their bad behavior in pursuit of it.

Perhaps some in the PC crowd will come to see this – though that’s not certain – these are not perceptive people (though they think they are).

More likely the mechanism will be that the relatively uncontaminated will see that the PC attitude doesn’t work, and will cease adopting it.

That’ll take a decade or more to make much difference, of course.

6/26/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Amnesty for the insurgents is not a concession. It is the standard rules of war, and indeed the only option available. There is no other possible option. It is the way wars always end.

A so-called unconditional surrender includes the rules of war, that the losers won't be slaughtered or put in jail unfairly by having the war refought in the court room with them being punished by a bunch of new laws they never knew about.

6/26/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Link

Ted Stevens, however, was not affronted. Why treat all Iraqi insurgents differently than we treated Japanese soldiers after World War II, he asked on the Senate floor. “I believe we ought to try to find some way to encourage that country, to demonstrate to those people who have been opposed to what we are trying to do, that it is worthwhile for them and their children to come forward and support this democracy,” he said. “And if that is amnesty, I am for it.”

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who spent five years as a P.O.W. in North Vietnam, agreed. “The larger issue here is, I believe, that our goal is to bring an end to conflict as quickly as possible,” McCain said on the floor. “If that means, in return for laying down their arms, that some are allowed an amnesty or allowed to reenter the society of Iraq, in a peaceful manner, in a productive manner, as has happened in South Africa, El Salvador, and is happening in Colombia, and many other insurgencies throughout history, than I think, we should welcome it.”

6/26/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the Enemy surrenders, amnesty is granted. If the Enemy does not surrender, there should be no amnesty, offered.
If the Iraqi Enemy were to "fade away" that would be considered, by US, surrender.
Seems they will not be fading away, nor surrendering, enmass.

The detainees will be released that way, though.
Watch and see.

If any where near the 14,000 Iraqi that are now detained are released, we'll know what surrender looks like.

w.w. keeps trying to equate Iraq with Japan, so sorry, no can do.
Japan was not liberated by US,
it was conquered.

Not so Iraq, or the Sunni triangle.
Neither has been "liberated" or "conquered". Liberation is not anachry, which is what reigns in Iraq.
Matter of fact.

If the mohameddans are not physically defeated, we will have surrendered.
Anywhere, everywhere, around the World.
Matter of fact.

The US is not at war with Islam, radical or not. Mr al-Sadr is proof enough of that, as is the SCIRI position in Iraq's government.
Matter of fact.

6/26/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

It's the maths stupid.

The number of Muslims that think Muslims were not responsible for the 911 attack:

British Muslims: 56% No
French Muslims: 46% No
Indonesia: 65% No
Egypt: 59% No
Turkey: 59% No
Jordan: 53% No

(Source: Pew Center)

Any military or political model that ignores these figures will fail in a spectacular fashion. Please repeat after me; ISLAM IS THE PROBLEM>There is no moderate solution. They do not belong in the West and we do not belong there. Believe otherwise at your own grave peril.

6/26/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Seven Iraqi resistance groups have already said they are interested in the peace plan, and it just came out yesterday.


U.S. to retain Anbar presence for now
By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, Associated Press Writer

In a glimmer of hope for the region, a key Shiite legislator on Monday said seven Sunni Arab insurgent groups had contacted the government to declare their readiness to join efforts at national reconciliation.

The seven lesser groups, most of them believed populated by former members or backers of

Saddam Hussein's government, military or security agencies, have said they want a truce, Hassan al-Suneid, a lawmaker and member of the political bureau of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, told The Associated Press.

The contact by the insurgent organizations, which could not be independently verified, would mark an important potential shift and could stand as evidence of a growing divide between Iraqi insurgents and the more brutal and ideological fighters of al-Qaida in Iraq, who are believed to mainly be non-Iraqi Islamic militants.

6/26/2006 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I'm beginning to think that any negotiated solution expressed in the notation of Islam using its defined elements -- "Israel", "Sharia" -- and operations -- "respect", "acceptance" -- is doomed to failure because there are no solutions expressable in this system. That's why attempts to come to an understanding with Islamic fundamentalism using its own terms and in relation to it, i.e. "moderates", "radicals" are proving so frustrating. The problem of how to deal nonviolently with Islam is being stated incorrectly. Even if Israel were destroyed tomorrow it would bring an understanding between the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds not an inch closer.

What then? The first thing to do is to ignore Islam and all its terms. Not to be ignorant of them, but to abandon any illusion of crafting a rational settlement within its intellectual structure. That actually makes it impossible. Islam will think what it wants and often it will think contradictory things at the same time.

Rather than attempt to "appease" Islam, it might be more fruitful to clean up Western thinking; restore its cultural integrity, etc. That might actually produce some kind of tacit equilibrium with the Islamic world instead of hoping that more "dialogue" will attain it.

Consider the problem of reaching an agreement with someone so culturally different he thinks in radically terms from yourself. Explicit argument and negotiation may get you nowhere. Even agreement may get you nowhere. But if you simply order your affairs, the other party may in effect simply respect your space and go his own way.

We should stop trying to be cut-rate Islamic theologians and Arabists and start being first-rate citizens of our culture. It is better at any rate than appeals to "moderates" and coded denunciations of "extremists" which only reflect an imperfect understanding of the situation.

6/26/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Islam, 2164, is religion of peace, shame on you.
You are off course my friend, just for having such, such vile thoughts. Invite some Mohammedans over for dinner, an afternoon repast.
You'll find that 60% or so think you should convert or die.
They have yet to surrender, nor are they about to.

But fear not,
The humvees are rollin' home again
Hoorah! Hoorah!

We are staying the course,
stuck on a sand bar.
About to throw the boat in reverse.

I'll get you a paddle
cause we're up shit creek.

6/26/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Amen.

6/26/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Even our host, is willing to try the "Chamberlain Technique"

"...the other party may in effect simply respect your space and go his own way. ..."

Despite continued evidence to the contrary that this technique is ineffective, when the enemy's way is subjugation of all others.

6/26/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

The Aesop's fable reference reminds me of the advice Nancy Reagan gave Maria Shriver in regards to how she should conduct herself as the new First Lady of California. Nancy said that above all Maria should follow her heart and do what she felt was the right thing; for she would be critized regardless of what she did.
Mr. Blair should take that advice, unless of course he truly believes appeasement is the answer. Then somebody should remind him that unfortunately we live in a world where it seems a large number of people only understand the power of the fist.

6/26/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Maybe its the nature of Islam and Middle East life. On the one hand, they have a religion that professes peace and integrity, but they live in a world dominated by bribes and corruption. On the other hand they have Mohammed who was Chavez-like in his contradictory and outlandish comments, but most people would never want to lop off an infidels head or wear full burhka.

How to reconcile this?

It cannot be reconciled unless one's mind is also a mishmash of contradictions and impulses.

6/26/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

w.w.
As to the breakdown on the kidnappings in Iraq and the true cause of them, where does that data come from?
The Interior Ministry?
CentCom?
Where? same sourcing as the US was to aggresive in 'Nam, causing US to lose?

6/26/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Stated: Amnesty for the insurgents is not a concession. It is the standard rules of war, and indeed the only option available. There is no other possible option. It is the way wars always end.

The "insurgents" do not follow any understood rules of law...

They do not concede defeat, thus the "war" is not over, thus all future engagements with these "insurgents" should have the liberal usage of discharged ammo.

Thus we can grant amnesty to any "insurgents" left standing. Otherwise do not take insurgent prisoners, UNLESS they SIGN and swear to ALLAH the inferior status that they now will have as a DEFEATED, Allah PUNISHED, misguided soul.

If they convert upon surrender to Hindism, Christianity, Buddism. B'hai, Noachide or neo-wiccan they will receive extra rations as well.

6/26/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Nutter said...

The Russians used to know how to deal with islamic terrorists, if my recollections of a story from Lebanon in the 80's are accurate.

A Russian military officer attached to their embassy in Beiruit was captured by one of the major Muslim militias operating there, and demands were made. When it became obvious that negotiations were futile, the Russians worked with one of the Phalangist groups to kidnap the younger brother of the militia leader. When the militia did not release their captive, the Russians sent the leader a single testicle, gift wrapped. Their man was released immediately.

6/26/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

lots of articles can be found by doing a web search on

iraq kidnapping

6/26/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Good old Joe Klein has an article in Time, that proves that even Mr Klein and Time, like a broken clock, is sometimes "right"

when you're "right" you're "right", even if you're left

6/26/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/26/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger JP Phish said...

In my latest post, i describe what the amnesty will be. This is based on a review and analysis of multiple statements made by Maliki and his staff, which I describe in the post. And the conclusion is as follows:

In my opinion the amnesty will be for the rejectionists and saddam loyalists who have not killed or maimed Iraqi civilians; ISF casualties and Coalition casualties are fair game.

The analysis describes who the Rejectionists and Loyalists are, in addition to the other enemy elements we face in Iraq. I don't think we need worry about Islam being part of agreement because the rejectionists and Loyalists are not fighting for religious purposes.

6/26/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The Edge of Chaos:

It was 11 a.m. on a fine summer morning in Sarajevo, 28 June 1914, when the driver of an automobile carrying two passengers made a wrong turn. The car was not supposed to leave the main street, and yet it did, pulling up into a narrow passageway with no escape. It was an unremarkable mistake, easy enough to make in the crowded, dusty streets. But this mistake, made on this day and by this driver, would disrupt hundreds of millions of lives, and alter the course of world history.

The automobile stopped in front of a 19-year-old Bosnian Serb student, Gavrilo Princip. As a member of the Serbian terrorist organisation Black Hand, Princip couldn’t believe his luck. Striding forward, he reached the car. He drew a small pistol from his pocket. Pointed it. Pulled the trigger twice. Within thirty minutes, the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, the car’s passengers, were dead. Within hours the political fabric of Europe had begun to unravel.


Buchanan argues that history is not directed, predetermined or in any way predictable. Rather, it is capricious, unpredictable and often cataclysmic. Like earthquakes, avalanches, forest fires and the extinction of species, the course of human affairs can take a catastrophic turn without warning. And the trigger is often an apparently insignificant event.

Earthquakes, avalanches, forest fires and extinctions all show a similar mathematical pattern – a power law distribution. When the number of events is plotted against their size on a logarithmic scale, the result is a straight line. In a paper published in 1948, entitled “Variation of the Frequency of Fatal Quarrels with Magnitude,” English physicist Lewis Fry Richardson analyzed international conflicts occurring between 1820 and 1945 and showed that they followed the same pattern. Published posthumously in 1960, his book The Statistics of Deadly Quarrels examined more comprehensive data and came to the same conclusion.

The complex systems associated with these phenomena – wars included – exhibit what is called ‘self-organized criticality.’ They organize themselves into such a state that, even when disturbed only slightly, they can tip suddenly from stability to instability creating a major catastrophic event. The movement of a single grain of sand can set off an avalanche. A spark can ignite a major forest fire. An apparently insignificant action can trigger a global conflict. Such a system is said to exist in a critical state between order and chaos, poised at the ‘edge of chaos.’


The defininition of a system with self-organized criticality is a "class of dynamical systems which have a critical point as an attractor." Once you are in the vicinity of such an attractor--the point of phase-shift between states of the system--individual events no longer matter like they used to. If 'A' doesn't cause the catastrophe, then 'B' or 'C' or 'D' might.

Watching out the window, taking in the news of the day, my repeating thought is, "Have we arrived?"

6/26/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The key to a surrender is that both parties agree to stop fighting. If after the surrender the victor is going to continue to hurt the loser by using a courtroom to take his liberty and his life away, then the loser has no reason to surrender and he might as well keep fighting.

6/26/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The terrorists will continue to kill Iraqis and westerners long after any peace agreement is settled. Muslim clerics will egg them on to murder. The terrorists will not honour any peace treaty signed by their government, since Islam is above all governments.

Islam holds itself above every law, above every country. Islam is a totalitarian system of oppression that seeks to rule the world. This islamic supremacism is slowly but surely inducing an angry and deadly reaction against jihad and jihadis.

When jihadis do not abide by peace treaties, jihadis are fair game.

6/26/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No w.w., the "... key to a surrender is that both parties agree to stop fighting. ..."

That is a truce.
A Surrender is when one side admits defeat. Overtly or covertly.

No one, in the Maliki Plan, is called on to surrender. It is a truce that is being offered, along with participation in governing.

It is not a Surrender that is being demanded.
Big difference.
The Sunni are not asked to surrender, but to go along with the "new order".

They will or they will not, but make no mistake, they are not "surrendering", even if they go along.

6/26/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I don't buy it. Islam is not the enemy. Right now Shiites and Sunnis are fighting each other, as is often the case. Few Moslems agree with Al Qaeda. Islam has been around over 1500 years, with few Moslems being anything like bin Laden.

The idea that Al Qaeda represents Moslems is like saying Jim Jones and his kool aid is Christianity.

We need to know the true enemy, then divide and conquer. Al Qaeda would never sign any peace deal so their views on it are irrelevant. On the other hand many of Saddam's men are secular, no giving a damn about an Islamic state (which Iraq wasn't under Saddam). So many Sunnis and even Baathists could be lured into the government, leaving only a hard core of Saddam's inner circle plus Al Qaeda Islamists to fight.

Making everyone in the Islamic world our enemy would be a big mistake. Al Qaeda would like nothing more than for that to happen, for the "Crusader" west to take on Islam.

6/26/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Re 2164th's 6:44am post "It's the Math Stupid":

Fundamentally, what you describe is not obviously a Islamic problem; to me it looks like a failure of education: these people portray a poorly developed skill of critical discernment or, alternatively, its subjugation by a higher loyalty. And that particular problem can be found in any culture and under any belief system. An interesting comparison would be how many Americans, while not knowing all the facts, simply "know" that the Marines at Haditha are innocent (I'm assuming less than the numbers you cite, but still a statistically significant number -- why? -- they aren't Muslim).

Another thing, in response to Wretchard's post:

I think you might find it worth your while to sit through this 20 minute presentation by Marc Hauser, leading psychologist at Harvard's Cognitive Evolution Laboratory.

If you watch it, particularly the part about the "common moral instinct" present in all cultures, think to yourself a fact Hauser never accounts for:

The fact--the fact--that belief systems never create a universally valued "everyman." If the five men on the track were valued "Infidel", and the one man to the right valued "Muslim", an interlocutor with a self-value of Muslim would offer quite the anamoly to Hauser's data.

6/26/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The government is very much asking the Sunnis to surrender. Right now government death squads are slaughtering Sunnis, ethnic cleansing. The Sunnis are only 15-20% of the population and so cannot defend themselves via elections. Their country is occupied by foreign armies. Their only defense is their militias and insurgent groups. The Sunnis are being asked to disarm and submit to a government run by the other branch of Islam, a group which has been hostile towards them.

Of course the Sunnis "started it" and deserve it, but that doesn't change the point that they are definitely being asked to surrender.

6/26/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Therein lies the problem: artificial valuing systems for human life. It makes what could be universally understood moral arguments dead on arrival.

Now, this is not a Peter Singer point. It is simply an observation, perhaps an insurmountable one.

Leftists believe that treating everybody as they would want to be treated is the path to universal harmony, but they are ignoring the data.

Nobody who is self-defined as "other" will ever treat you as a moral equal. When Bush says "us or them", he is merely reiterating what nature has already determined.

6/26/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/26/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And w.w., the Chinese never fought the Soviets, because both were Communists?
That is fallacy.

Islam is not the enemy,
Mr Bush has said so numerous times, matter of fact.
We stay that course.

So we have 130,000 US troops and allies, along with 250,000 Federal Iraqis and we cannot contain or eliminate 2,000 foreigners and their Mohammedan Iraqi cousins?

They have fought US to a draw.
In Haditha, Ramadi, Taji, and Tikrit
We have reached the point where negotiation is the only path forward?
The Mohammedans have stopped US cold, with politics.

We do not have the WILL to win a ME war. In Iraq or Iran, the price is to high.
Matter of fact.

While we did defeat Saddam, we never defeated Iraq, nor liberated it.

We have not even made a dent in the Wahabbist movement, five years into the conflict. Killed some of their guys, took some desert, but lacked the WILL to finish the job.

The humvees are rolling home again
Hoorah, Hoorah!

6/26/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Why do muslims believe that Islam is destined to rule the world? Because this is what their mullahs and imams tell them. Being mostly uneducated they of course believe their imams.

Religious supremacism leads to violence. Not very different from the Nazis or the Communists, actually. Militant supremacy on the march, under the banner of Islam.

Any peace treaties that ignore the reality the marching religious supremacists will fail.

6/26/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Being mostly uneducated they of course believe their imams.

Yes, exactly. So we either aggressively take over the education of the next generation of Muslims, or we disabuse them of their notions of dominance with mind-changing deeds.

The nature of our Republic almost guarantees the former won't be tried, which, of course, guarantees the latter.

6/26/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wu wei 8:16

After Japan's surrender in WWII, it was abundantly clear that Japan actually did surrender. It wasn't a truce; it was a treaty of surrender.

The problem we are facing is that while amnesty is necessary to end a war, we need to know that the war is actually ended. It does us no good to give our enemies amnesty when they just go back to attacking us again. There is a clear difference between the conquest of Mecca and the Treaty of Hodobayya. A big difference.

Amnesty works for those who are sincerely interested in stopping the fight. It doesn't work for those who have no intention of stoppping fighting but are willing to take concessions from their enemies as "tribute" between battles.

We are not only facing asymmetric warfare; we are facing asymmetric diplomacy, diplomacy modeled upon the life of Mohammed.

Never forget that if someone says "if only you do this" or "if only you didn't do that" -- that's abuse. When an abusive spouse says an "if only", don't believe it, for he is not being sincere. It is merely an excuse to self-righteously get mad at someone, not a sincere desire to resolve a problem.

There are those who say what they do sincerely, mean what they say, and say what they mean. That is why giving a concession can separate the sincere from the insincere. I don't interpret the amnesty Prime Minister al-Maliki is proposing as a desire to let bygones be bygones. Instead, it is a declaration of war against those Sunnis who harbor al-Qaeda veiled within an offer of peace.

I think worse fighting in Iraq is yet to come.

6/26/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"...
The Sunday Times - World
The Sunday Times June 25, 2006

Key insurgents vow to reject Iraq peace plan
Ali Rifat and Hala Jaber, Baghdad

IRAQ’S main insurgent groups intend to reject a peace plan that Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, will present today in an attempt to halt the country’s spiral of violence.
Maliki is expected to go before parliament with a 28- point plan for national reconciliation aimed at defusing the Sunni insurgency and sectarian conflict in which thousands of people have died. ...

... Representatives of 11 Iraqi insurgent groups told The Sunday Times yesterday that they would reject the peace offer because they did not recognise the legitimacy of the government.

A senior commander authorised to speak on behalf of other groups warned that they would continue to fight. “As long as there is an occupation and an illegitimate government, the resistance and insurgency will continue,” he said.

Maliki’s plan follows talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the president, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.

However, the groups that have taken part in the negotiations are understood to be relatively small. Those rejecting the peace offer include larger organisations such as the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Ansar al-Sunna.

These bodies have drawn up a separate set of demands. They want a more rapid withdrawal of foreign troops, the release of all prisoners from American and Iraqi jails and compensation from the United States and other coalition countries to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure and homes destroyed in the war.

The 11 groups have indicated that any future talks should be conducted with American officials under UN or Arab League supervision, but not with the Iraqi government. ..."


From that old line British broadsheet
The Times of London

Speaking of those that signed onto the Maliki Plan this particular Sunni is reported to have said

"... “They are small groups both in numbers and military power, easy to reach because of the simplicity of their hierarchy and unable to sustain a long-term military confrontation for lack of finances, numbers and logistics,” he said.

“The government is very aware that those it says it is negotiating with are not representatives of the main organisations. This whole so-called reconciliation plan is being exaggerated as a breakthrough to help to promote Maliki and his government as well as to aid the Americans to find a face-saving way out of Iraq.”


The Times will tell, or some one else will.

6/26/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> We have not even made a dent in the Wahabbist movement, five years into the conflict. Killed some of their guys, took some desert, but lacked the WILL to finish the job.

That wasn't in the authorization of force resolution for Iraq, fighting Wahabbism. It was about weapons of mass destruction.

If we wanted to fight Islamic extremism why on earth would we pick a non-religious country like Iraq? The reality is that there are only a few thousand religion fanatics who are a threat, so invasions like Iraq are the wrong approach, hurting more than they help. We end up making extremists.

Fighting Islamic religious extremism is a job for special forces and propaganda, not 100,000 man armies.

6/26/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

The thing which makes Islamic communities unique in the modern world is that because of their culture the community's leaders feel no responsibility to take responsibility for the endless, and in the end aimless, murderous behavior of their young men. All the problems we are having flow from just that, plus the total number of Muslims.

We have encountered this phenomenon before, with the American Indians. We have our own culture, which in the end, informally but effectively, sent practically all of them to hell (or to reservations, where they at least rot by their own hand). It is by no means clear that our generation will find a solution more appealing to the vanity of the left.

As Wretchard suggests here though, whether we do or don't may in the end have little to do with our own moral character. If we can't find a better way then, as has occurred in the latter phases of most wars in history, the decision that they should die or lose their freedom rather than us will become just a practical issue because it will be widely accepted that "there is no alternative". Public opinion in the West will make the decision.

Bush has been Muslims' greatest friend, because he has sought so diligently and at such great cost for a positive alternative outcome. It is very possible that Muslims may never see another friend like him. If they pass up his offer (as, let's face it, there are many reasons to expect that large numbers of them will) then he will have paved the way for what comes next, by establishing the case that we did try very hard.

6/26/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One more thing. I'm inclined to agree with Iraq the Model. We need a status of forces agreement.

One of the biggest blunders of the entire war was to let the United Nations recognize the liberation of Iraq as the Coalition Occupation of Iraq. I know why it happened. Lots of Senators got greedy for Iraqi oil and demanded that Iraqi oil pay for the occupation. (Grrrrr.) Oil could have continued to flow with the proceeds put into an escrow account for the future Iraqi government to deal with. (And that would have undermined incentives to blow up pipelines.) But our Senators were idiots, absolute idiots.

Once a democratically elected Iraqi government makes a treaty (or even passes a law unilaterally) letting our troops stay in Iraq, it isn't an occupation anymore. At present, I would be willing to let an amnesty go through on condition that the Iraqi government formally sets conditions under which our forces would (or would not) operate within Iraq.

A formal Iraqi policy approved by Parliament making it legal for our forces to be there (under their conditions of course) would make attacking Coalition forces illegal under international law. (Otherwise, it would be completely legal for citizens from our NATO allies to murder American soldiers. Now think about that...)

6/26/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

2164th,

My problem with your "they don't belong here" and "we don't belong there" proposition is that they control/own an enormous amount of the world' oil, and would certainly use it as a weapon of Islam, if we left them alone.

6/26/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

No, Wu Wei, the purpose of OIF was to depose Saddam Hussein. The goal is to eradicate State sponsored terrorism. Saddam was low hanging fruit and WMD was only one of the reasons for the invasion.

6/26/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Anglo-Canadian said...

This reminds me of another of Aesops fables...

http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/521.htm

Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

521. HERMES AND THE ARABS
Perry 309 (Babrius 57)

Hermes filled a cart with lies and dishonesty and all sorts of wicked tricks, and he journeyed in this cart throughout the land, going hither and thither from one tribe to another, dispensing to each nation a small portion of his wares. When he reached the land of the Arabs, so the story goes, his cart suddenly broke down along the way and was stuck there. The Arabs seized the contents of the cart as if it were a merchant's valuable cargo, stripping the cart bare and preventing Hermes from continuing on his journey, although there were still some people he had not yet visited. As a result, Arabs are liars and charlatans, as I myself have learned from experience. There is not a word of truth that springs from their lips.

6/26/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I don't regret supporting the liberation of Iraq. Saddam Hussein celebrated the September 11 attacks. (So, he and his television station were a post facto accessories to the crime.) Saddam Hussein subsidized suicide bombers, thus enhancing the suicide bomber's cult status within the Islamic world.

Saddam Hussein may not have been Islamist by Wahhabi standards or Hezbollahi standards (but then, who is?). Still, he consistently couched his language in Islamist terminology (and this did not start in 1991...). And don't forget, when Saddam Hussein's entourage came into power in 1968, they declared a national holiday. The occasion for celebration? Lynching Jews in the streets.

WMD wasn't the only reason the United States went to war against Saddam Hussein's regime. It was the casus belli that was both most popular in the opinion polls and the one I was most morally opposed to. I support the liberation of Iraq for my reasons, not the reasons given by Tony Blair. We needed to overthrow governments that supported al-Qaeda (and yes, celebrating the September 11 attacks counts in my book). I preferred to overthrow the Iranian government or the Saudi monarchy first, but if the choice were between overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime and doing nothing as the anti-war protestors were demanding, the better option was supporting his overthrow.

Would some other option have been better? No shit, Sherlock. Where were the alternative suggestions in 2002 when the subject was being debated? When it comes to war strategy, we shouldn't assume that the Commander in Chief does all the strategy and rest of us just say "YES" or "NO". Specifically, where was Congress? All they could think of is forcing Iraqis to pay for their own occupation (like that is going to be popular over there).

The fact is, our Congress on both sides of the aisle has failed us. Our media has failed us. And the American people have failed the American people. Why? It's because instead of coming up with better strategies, alternative strategies, and more coherent strategies, our political system has devolved into idiotic sound bites that assume that most of the voters are a bunch of morons.

How many Democrats -- hell, how many Republicans -- would be willing to call for invading Pakistan right now? I hear all of this talk about how Iraq has undermined our ability to go after al-Qaeda. But if al-Qaeda is based in northwest Pakistan and we are unwilling to send our troops into northwest Pakistan, then that argument is complete garbage unless Congress starts demanding we invade Pakistan!

I think most of our elected officials are wimps.

6/26/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

geoffgo said...
"2164th,

My problem with your "they don't belong here" and "we don't belong there" proposition is that they control/own an enormous amount of the world' oil, and would certainly use it as a weapon of Islam, if we left them alone."

I am far more cynical about human behavior. They would sell all the oil for the highest price possible. That is what they do now and it would not change. They would have a far greater incentive as well since they are a one product nation and stuck with a growing unemployment problem which the West has helped alleviate with direct investment and allowing net migration from the Islamic countries to the West. That has stopped and investment would rapidly decline. You have as likely a possibility of oil prices declining as they scraamble to maintain revenues.

6/26/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Saddam was low hanging fruit and WMD was only one of the reasons for the invasion.

That is substantially correct, Whit.

Jon Stewart had great fun at the expense of Bush's "incoherent" foreign policy (his word), asking how we could be so aggressive with Iraq, a nation that was boxed in and was only thought to maybe be reconstituting a nuclear program; while being cautious with Iran, a declared enemy that we know is close to a nuclear weapon; while being dismissive of North Korea, a known and declared enemy that openly threatens the US with nuclear warfare.

The answer, of course, is that once a country gets to be a North Korea-sized problem, the situation is much more complex. As Kissinger states in his seminal book "Diplomacy", "Because complexity inhibits flexibility, early choices are especially crucial." Therefore, it is to our advantage to eliminate recalcitrant, self-declared enemies of the United States before they acquire weapons that inhibit our flexibility in dealing with them.

Saddam was on his way to being N. Korea, as is Iran. The difficulty of a North Korea, and the limiting of options it entails, is far and away the best argument for the removal of an advancing, but still low-hanging, threat.

6/26/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

There is an irony in your analysis aristides. Kissinger also once quipped about the Iraq - Iran war, that it was too bad they could not both lose. GWB defanged the only significant enemy that it faced and that was Saddam's Iraq. It is a good thing to eliminate enemies but what if they are the enemy of your enemy?

6/26/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Moderate Muslims do exist. Consider the Kurds, at least as described by Michael Totten. They promote women to positions of power, and they respect religious freedom. Lebanon seems to have a culture where religious groups can work together, certain exceptions noted. There are even freedom loving people in Wahabi Central. You can find them in blogs fairly easily.

Freedom of expression slowly undermined the Wahabi-like Puritans in the US. The most insistent Christianists today tend to be civilized. Like every place, we have our own barbarians and criminals, but they are controlled in most places by a very competent secular police force. Events like Waco and Ruby Ridge, not to mention Osage and Pine, are condemned by many, but those are places where the police were doing what had to be done. Dangerous memeplexes arise all the time and must be addressed like the Hot Zone. The real problems are where the cops are afraid to go.

IMO, the killing of the Archduke also led to Lawrence of Arabia and to the modern oil companies, which in turn led to these implacable jihadi infections. Think of it as a form of reproducing pollution spread by foolish policies and nurtured by appeasement.

The real cause of the forest fire is not the random spark, but the gradual accumulation of the underbrush fuel source that goes unnoticed and untreated for decades.

6/26/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Invasions are almost always a mistake. If we think the government of Pakistan is working with us, then there's no reason to invade. If they aren't and we know where bin Laden is then special forces could snatch him or we could bomb with a predator.

The problem with an invasion is that it only changes the government, all the people are still there. We got rid of some of Saddam's crew, the rest are in hiding, but the rest of the Iraqi gang is still there and will be after we leave.

The advantage of not invading is that since we're going to need to work with people anyway, that way we start out on the right foot instead of antagonizing them. (The small group we can't work with can be taken care of non-invasion means like bombing, special forces, surrogate forces fighting them, etc.)

6/26/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

I'm sure that the whole world knows that Russia is duplicitous and conniving and most likely Russia will not long claim altruistic motives in Iraq. But, hey, they had to give it a shot, if only for their fellow travelers.

At least, the Mujahideen Shura Council was principled enough to call the Russian spade, a Russian spade.

Here's a different and interesting twist on the Gaza beach bombing story.

Google "Sued Deutsche"

6/26/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"I think worse fighting in Iraq is yet to come."

Worse on whose part? It had better be on ours.

The only way an amnesty like this can be helpful in an active theater is if you make sure there is no one who can be granted it. No more captures. That would require a radical change in the way that we and the Iraqis do business.

Is such a change part of the Plan, do you think, alexis?

6/26/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The real cause of the forest fire is not the random spark, but the gradual accumulation of the underbrush fuel source that goes unnoticed and untreated for decades.

Yes, that's precisely the point. The "accumulation of underbrush" self-organizes right to the edge of chaos, where a spark, or a lightning strike, or some other unpredictable contingent event causes the exact same thing: a catastrophe, or, in the terms of the field, an avalanche. This is what is meant by a critical point as an attractor.

From 2164th: It is a good thing to eliminate enemies but what if they are the enemy of your enemy?

This is a legitimate concern, and one that does not have a ready answer. If you believe this report prepared by the US government in 1946 that the global threat of Islam is reduced by weakening Muslim unity, then "freeing" Iraq--the San Andreas fault of Sunni-Shia tension--is a profound strategic step towards a divide-and-conquer strategy. It also brings the Jihadist split to the fore (remember, Osama split from Azzam and MAK because he wanted to kill the far enemy first--i.e. Western presence--while other Jihadist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to kill the near enemy--i.e. apostate regimes.) So it is arguable that what we have done in Iraq is return the focus of "far-enemy-jihadists" back to their immediate territory, while stroking the historical fault-line between Sunni and Shia.

This doesn't take care of the Muslims-already-in-the-West problem, but we can deal with those through police action and vigilance.

All of this is theoretical, of course, but it is a powerful argument. If Iran tries to capitalize on its short-term strategic gain, Sunni countries in the region will respond accordingly, and Muslims will soon be embroiled in their own homespun conflicts and leave us substantially alone. And that is 'worst case scenario' in Iraq, what Abizaid called the "end of the beginning if we lose." If we win and a functional democracy arises in the heart of the Middle East, it is the beginning of the end.

Either way, our interests are protected. Of course, all we have to do is wean ourselves off of oil and...

6/26/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Of course, a lot of this optimism depends on America not bugging out of Iraq. If Iraq is to fall apart, it is much better that we be seen to have failed at a difficult task than to have caused chaos by quitting it.

6/26/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Ann Coulter was right. Deal with it.

6/26/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
"I'm beginning to think that any negotiated solution expressed in the notation of Islam using its defined elements -- "Israel", "Sharia" -- and operations -- "respect", "acceptance" -- is doomed to failure because there are no solutions expressable in this system. That's why attempts to come to an understanding with Islamic fundamentalism using its own terms and in relation to it, i.e. "moderates", "radicals" are proving so frustrating."

Wretchard, following this logic would make you very pessimistic about Maliki's "reconciliation" plan, no?
"No solutions expressable in this system. . ."respect", "acceptance" and a difficulty in discerning "radicals" and "moderates". If not a "negotiated solution" to the Sunni insurgency, then what? Total war?

6/26/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The reconciliation plan is a tremendous opportunity to kill terrorists because it could unite the Iraqis against the foreign terrorists, those who want to set up an Islamic state and kill civilians.

Up until now the Sunnis have been sheltering the foreign terrorists because they felt that Sunni rule would come back by default if they kept the killing and chaos going long enough, so that America left Iraq.

Now though the Shiites are fighting back with the same guerilla tactics and the Sunnis realize their reign is over. Plus the Sunni people wanted to vote and everyone in Iraq, the real Iraqi citizens, are getting sick of living in poverty and the wild west because terrorists keep destroying civilization.

An example of this already took place before the second election. Al Qaeda didn't want the Sunnis to vote, but the Sunni resistance guarded the polling places and told Al Qaeda they'd have to come through them to get to the voters.

So the reality is that if the locals can be turned against them, foreign Al Qaeda won't last long. The Sunni resistance is not going to put up with Al Qaeda shooting the government and police once they, the Sunni resistance, are wearing those uniforms.

6/26/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Two things seem painfully clear; 1) The true adherents of Islam will not play politics with anyone. They will liaison with none but their own. There is no brokering peace with them. 2) We should have given the Russians tacit support. That we could suffer the outrages of some two-bit thug like Sadr but will not reconcile with a once great, but still nuclear armed adversary is absurd. Our previous administration openly played footsy with lil Kim. It is frustrating.

6/26/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Most Moslems don't want to live in an Al Qaeda stone age dictatorship. For example, even though Al Qaeda told them not to, millions of Iraqis voted. They want to live in a democracy, not bin Laden world.

Others Moslems have said that the Taliban rules about beards, dancing, and music aren't even orthodox Islam, let alone something they want to follow.

6/26/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The Maliki plan, along with Rumseld's plan to deploy US troops in regional bases, could lead to the US having a terror fighting presence in Iraq forever. It is switching to asymmetric warfare in our favor, with local forces doing the day to day patrolling and providing intelligence information. US special forces and bombing will clean up larger operations.

6/26/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

We are going to have to both fight and negotiate with Islamic extremism. I don't advocate ignoring the enemy in the hopes that they "will go away". But the parts which include negotiation I don't think can be thought of as consisting of the usual elements. For example, a settlement in the Middle East is often thought of as consisting of permitting or allowing a Palestinian state and "withdrawing" infidel troops from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc. In the West it is sometimes phrased as recognizing and respecting certain practices, such as wearing the hijab or making Muslim holidays official.

I don't think concessions on any of these points will materially affect the negotiating part of the relationship. But often we have bought into the idea that it might. Hence, we suppress the Danish cartoons only to find it buys us nothing. Consider what would have happened if the West had simply published the Danish cartoons everywhere and plaster posters of it on every street corner. This is a form of negotiation too.

This is not appeasement. But it is a form of nonverbal communication.

6/26/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

trish 10:30

"The only way an amnesty like this can be helpful in an active theater is if you make sure there is no one who can be granted it. No more captures. That would require a radical change in the way that we and the Iraqis do business.

Is such a change part of the Plan, do you think, alexis?


Could be. I don't know yet.

What I do know is that the Iraqi government had better figure out what Coalition troops are supposed to be doing there. What I don't like is the local politicians telling us to stay and yet making it an official policy to let Iraqis use us as target practice.

I think there would be no loss of face for the United States if we make our future help for the elected Iraqi government conditional on Iraqi parliament passing a law, treaty, or "status of forces agreement" that would make killing our troops illegal.

6/26/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

Cultures with no threats, no NEED for internal cultural, political and moral discipline, usually develop moral and intellectual laxity. Freedom is of course good and to be desired but survival constrains freedom.

In one way, aggressive Islam is a blessing. It deliberately and openly challenges the West yet is so weak culturally and militarily that our challenges to victory are entirely moral.

It's an easy enemy.

In my most optimistic view, it's a tonic dose of strychnine - sublethal, bracing and revivifying. Of course, if we are REALLY that weak and corrupt, we might fail yet. The tough battles with be against internal foes - academia, mainstream media, and other foundations of liberal power structures and elites.

Fortunately, in the US, replacing failed or arrogant elites without bloodshed is a process built into the system.

6/26/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Whitehall, Nietzsche once observed that spirite and strength are restored by wounding.

I think you, and he, are correct.

6/26/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This has been widely quoted but apt from Winston Churchill, written in his 1899 book called The River War: ...

"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."

6/26/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wu wei 10:20

Ahem... So! What if it is the people of a region that are ardently supporting al-Qaeda?

Excuse me, but one of the main problems we have with the Saudi Kingdom is not that the heads of state are necessarily opposed to us (they are very venal, after all), but that the government bureaucracy is filled with vile bullies who are indoctrinated into hating us and desiring our extermination (although some think our enslavement is suitable enough).

What about situations where it is our very friendship with a nasty dictatorship that incites the local population against us and then gets exploited by al-Qaeda? We are then caught among propping up a local thug, letting the local thug use his opposition to us to "triangulate" between the US and al-Qaeda, or both.

Back to my point -- what about where it is the prevailing culture that is the problem? Not necessarily any one person, but a system of belief that doesn't advocate our extermination or enslavement, but assumes that our extermination or enslavement is the natural order of the universe.

As harsh as this may sound, I think it is absolutely necessary to ensure that there are negative consequences to supporting al-Qaeda and the ideology of suicide bombing in general. Saddam Hussein's celebration of the September 11 attacks created an opportunity to make an example out of him and his constituency.

"Winning hearts and minds" in this context is nonsense. President Bush may sincerely desire to bring hope to the Middle East, but our more important concern is to inspire dread -- dread of the consequences of supporting al-Qaeda.

We need a strategy that punishes that who support the root ideology of al-Qaeda and rewards those who oppose it. We may have disagreements on how best to punish al-Qaeda supporters, but anything other than some form of punishment will not get the point across that advocating genocide is not a tolerable behavior.

6/26/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

My answer to Iraq the Model is that the Iraqi government is inviting us to stay over there to fight a war, and the rules of war still apply. (That is simply affirming the rules we chose ourselves when we went into Iraq, against the will of Saddam's government.)

Yes, the rules of war mean that forces in Iraq can't legally be punished for attacking US & UK combatants. But our military gets a lot of benefits compared to the alternative, ways to protect themselves. Under the rules of war our troops have unlimited right to kill combatants, and even to take revenge. Justice with no courtroom delays. Privacy and search warrant laws don't apply either.

So some law protecting our troops sounds good on the surface but it would be important to make sure it wasn't a trap that actually made things worse because it had so many strings attached. I've never heard of a war where it was only legal for one side to shoot.

If Iraqis were violent anyway, and that could never be pardoned, then they would never have a reason to surrender or cease fire. If they kept fighting they might get put in jail or die, but if they stopped fighting then a judge might do the same thing, put them in jail or have them executed.

6/26/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

We face an enemy who doesn't envy our ability to create things. He simply wants to appropriate our productive capacity for himself. He doesn't want to be bothered with learning how to make a great sword. That's what servants are for. Instead, he desires to take our sword to kill some of us and threaten the rest of us with death.

These are people who enjoy killing. It's their pornography. So, it's not enough just to defeat this enemy; he must be, to quote the Communists, reeducated.

One of the problems we have in opposing al-Qaeda is that our enemy does not fight this battle geospatially. He doesn't seek to control our territory -- he seeks to control us.

The terrain he seeks to conquer is psychological terrain. It's the little things as much as the big things. It's telling us how to dress, defining what masculinity is, defining what femininity is, telling us how to lead our lives in every way all the way down to telling us how to wipe our rear ends when we are on the toilet.

Historically, most battles are over natural resources. But this presupposes that those who battle over resources can use them. We are facing an enemy that understands that in order to conquer natural resources, he must conquer us precisely because he sees us as suited to working for him without pay.

The ancestors of these guys are not farmers; they are pastoralists. A farmer seeks a good piece of land. Although pastoralists will fight over watering holes, they fight to control the animals too.

The internet is well suited to the pastoralist. The web site (or blog) is like a watering hole. And the psychological terrain the Islamist seeks to control finds its expression within the electronic universe of cyberspace.

The modern nation state presupposes national boundaries where people are defined geospatially. There may be disagreements over the exact geospatial boundaries, but the principle is understood. Our enemy seeks universal empire, and sees all people who don't bow down to them as rebels.

Within Islam, rival empires would each claim to be universal and regard the other as a "legitimate" rebel. Yet, this impulse predates Islam and goes back to least to the time of Hammurabi. As opposed to Greek city states that were firmly rooted in soil, the ideology of Alexander "the Great" was very oriental, for he sought to establish the "Ecumene" -- a world empire. Hellenistic kings based their legitimacy upon being the rightful successors to Alexander; rivalry among Hellenistic dynasties mirrors the style of rival Muslim dynasties centuries later.

Al-Qaeda embraces the "New World Order" -- that is how it regards itself.

6/26/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Reocon,
That system of reconciliation has been used in every other war the U.S. has fought in. The majority of the (formerly) armed opposition is allowed to go free.

6/26/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Alexis said...

"We face an enemy who doesn't envy our ability to create things. He simply wants to appropriate our productive capacity for himself. He doesn't want to be bothered with learning how to make a great sword. That's what servants are for. Instead, he desires to take our sword to kill some of us and threaten the rest of us with death.

These are people who enjoy killing. It's their pornography. So, it's not enough just to defeat this enemy; he must be, to quote the Communists, reeducated."

Very well said, except for the last word, unless of course you are taking artistic liberty. Can we change the last work to something less subtle?

6/26/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/26/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

D.R.;
"They have fought US to a draw."

That is like saying, in August, 1944, that Hitler had fought the Allies to a draw.

Clearly, at this point, the terrorists are being defeated. Because the defeat is not complete does not mean that no progress is being made in that direction.

6/26/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

ww:

So! Do the "laws of war" mean that I can murder the Saudi military attache, Saudi princes (as they are generals), and "religious affairs" officials anytime I want?

I do regard Saudi mosques and schools to be a de facto occupation, especially considering how they advocate the overthrow of our government and proclaim "jihad". Now, since they are occupiers, do I now have the right to kill them?

If soldiers from our NATO allies train in the United States, does that mean I have the right to kill Belgian soldiers here?

Is it legal for a German to murder an American soldier now? If not, why not? Is it legal for a Spaniard to kill American soldiers straying from a NATO base?

For that matter, since Mara Salvatrucha is an external army from El Salvador that is systematically invading the United States with illegal aliens, does that mean I have the right to kill any member of MS-13 anytime I want? Do Americans have the right to lynch members of Mexican prison/street gangs?

If not, why the hell do the "rules of war" only apply against Americans and never in our favor?

Iraq has a constitutional government now. So does the United States. If it is not illegal for Iraqis to kill Americans there, why would it not be illegal for Americans to kill Iraqis here?

6/26/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Al Qaeda is not 10 feet tall. They're not an all powerful James Bond super villain.

If they were bin Laden wouldn't have been cowering in a cave for five years, unable to respond with an attack against the US.

If al Qaeda were powerful, they wouldn't have lost Afghanistan, their training camps, and most of their leadership.

Al Qaeda leadership right now is producing a video from the cave every month or two.

6/26/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If Iraq is not a war zone, then we shouldn't need 130,000 troops along with tanks and artillery.

6/26/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you took the time to read the aQ battle plans, a second attack on the US was not in the cards.

A "tar-baby" war for the US was.
aQ has gotten two of those.
They have succeeded in their Strategic Operational planning.

They may not have done as well tactically as they had hoped, but they got what they asked for.

20,000 plus US casualties, $600 Billion USD spent by US, with no observable benefit worthy of the expeditures.
We control Kabul but do not control Baghdad. The US and it's allies are in both for the foreseeable future.

Osama is where ever he is, cave or villa. No one knows for sure, except Osama.
He is much like Teddy Roosevelt, whom Mr Rove has profiled in Time, today.
"He chose "the strenuous life" over comfort and ease. He was a loyal friend and faithful husband--and reveled in the company of his children. He encountered heartbreaking losses...
... yet his life was characterized by passion and zest and a drive to achieve great things. ..."


Teddy or Osama, both gave up a life of ease for that of strenuous excertions, tilting at windmills so to speak.

Do not judge Osama by your standard of success, w.w., because for Osama and his crew, life in the cave is the pinnicle of success. It is a matter of perspective.
The fact the US has spent $600 Billion and is no closer to an end of the "Long War", per Mr Bush, is Victory for Osama.

For a guy we wanted. dead or alive, life itself is victory, no matter how temporary either may be.

In the eyes of his people.

6/26/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

2164th:

These are people who enjoy killing. It's their pornography. So, it's not enough just to defeat this enemy; he must be, to quote the Communists, reeducated."

Very well said, except for the last word, unless of course you are taking artistic liberty. Can we change the last work to something less subtle?


Our task is not merely to defeat this enemy, but to transform him into someone he presently is not. Just as he seeks to transform us into his slaves, we must transform him into a different kind of man, the kind of man who doesn't seek to enslave other human beings.


(If our enemy stays who he is but espouses another ostensible ideology, this is not an improvement. I'm reminded of Steve Dallas from Bloom County. Aliens used a mind control ray to turn Steve Dallas from a conservative to a liberal. He was just as bad, just as stupid, and just as annoying. If our enemies "convert to Christianity" as Ann Coulter so strongly put it and then massacre us in the name of Christianity or kill us in the name of Scientology, or Ra, or Krishna, or Communism, or Baathism, or Buddhism, that is not an improvement. In Egypt, a lot of the Marxists who hated us in the name of Communism have become Islamists who now hate us in the name of Islam.)

6/26/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You are right, w.w., we do not need 100,000 troops, tanks and artillery in Iraq. Not to do battle with Iraqis or aQ, there.

Mini Z was brought down with Intelligence, not manpower.

That is why the humvees, they are rolling home. Regardless of what is said at a news briefings. The briefers will not announce that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

They've been burned on that, before.

6/26/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Bin Laden publicly said many times after 9/11 that he would attack us again in America, even saying that Moslems should avoid public places. The only reason it didn't happen is because Al Qaeda failed, because we're better than they are. Al Qaeda, bin Laden's Al Qaeda, has done nothing but lose since 9/11.

6/26/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Explaining this remark:

If Iraq is not a war zone, then we shouldn't need 130,000 troops along with tanks and artillery.

There was discussion of whether the rules of war should legally be applied in Iraq. My point is that we are certainly equipped to fight a war.

6/26/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Am I to believe that because we still have about 70,000 troops in Germany that Germany is still under occupation? Am I to believe that Germany is now a war zone because we have so many soldiers there?

There are about 29,000 American soldiers and marines in Okinawa, a much greater troop presence factored in for its population and territory than exists for Iraq. As far as I've been able to tell, the vast majority of Okinawans don't want American troops in Okinawa, never mind the basing agreements the U.S. has with Japan. And there are major anti-American riots there every so often. Now, do Okinawans have the right to attack American forces? I think some folks there would like to know. They certainly feel occupied...

6/26/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

jj mollo,

"Events like Waco and Ruby Ridge, not to mention Osage and Pine, are condemned by many, but those are places where the police were doing what had to be done."

That's despicably off the mark: Waco and Ruby Ridge are prime examples of out-of-control, militarized law enforcement harming the very citizens they are supposed to be protecting. You are aware that Weaver was not a member of any group, white supremacist or otherwise, and that he was acquitted of all serious charges by a jury of his peers (who rightly considered that the original charge against him consisted of simple entrapment)? And you're aware that Koresh frequently left his "compound" and could easily have been arrested without incident off-premises?

Or.... maybe you're not.

6/26/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If US troops in Iraq had the same rules as Japan and Germany, they would have no reason to have 130,000 troops in Iraq. US soldiers in Germany are not allowed to shoot someone for any reason besides self defense, even if the other guy is a German soldier. They're not allowed to bomb buildings. They can't search a building without local police present who have a warrant. Any violence or threat of violence would end up in a court room.

6/26/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If civilian law applies, it applies to everyone

6/26/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Wu Wei,

"If civilian law applies, it applies to everyone"

Umm, it seems you left out the important disclaimer, "Except for the ATF, US Marshals Service, and FBI."

6/26/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/26/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Moderate Muslims do exist. Consider the Kurds, at least as described by Michael Totten. They promote women to positions of power, and they respect religious freedom. Lebanon seems to have a culture where religious groups can work together, certain exceptions noted. There are even freedom loving people in Wahabi Central. You can find them in blogs fairly easily.

Freedom of expression slowly undermined the Wahabi-like Puritans in the US. The most insistent Christianists today tend to be civilized. Like every place, we have our own barbarians and criminals, but they are controlled in most places by a very competent secular police force. Events like Waco and Ruby Ridge, not to mention Osage and Pine, are condemned by many, but those are places where the police were doing what had to be done. Dangerous memeplexes arise all the time and must be addressed like the Hot Zone. The real problems are where the cops are afraid to go.

IMO, the killing of the Archduke also led to Lawrence of Arabia and to the modern oil companies, which in turn led to these implacable jihadi infections. Think of it as a form of reproducing pollution spread by foolish policies and nurtured by appeasement.

The real cause of the forest fire is not the random spark, but the gradual accumulation of the underbrush fuel source that goes unnoticed and untreated for decades.

6/26/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I'm aware only that the good guys screw up according to a normal distribution. Every action can be picked apart until is looks like a major screwup. The recent action picking up the 7 would be terrorists is now being presented as a screwup by some who say we should have waited a little longer. These guys were harmless. It was a kind of entrapment. Big picture. The good guys are not perfect. It would be better if they could admit it, shrug it off and move on. But they can't because of political nitpickers. If there's a problem with the big picture, that's where you should focus your effort.

6/26/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Smacko said...

DR

Perhaps you were not aware, but of the 20,000 casualties that you speak of, 11,000 returned to duty within 72 hours. Source

Still, 8000 WIA is quite a number, but sure does not have the 'ooompf' that your 20,000 number does.

Perhaps you were aware?

6/26/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

D.R. 2:07

I think you are 100%, bingo! spot-on correct.

6/26/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, smacko, just the raw numbers was I aware of.

Though the aprox 8,500 seriously wounded plus the 2,500 KIA still adds up to a bunch.

It still ooompfs if you're a friend or related to one of those 11,000.
Just are not so many as I had thought, thankfully.

6/26/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ex helo
Saddam fought US to a draw in Gulf War 1
The Warlords whipped US in Somalia.
etc., etc.

Whether they did, really, or not.
It spins that way, in that Region and the audience there.

The same folk that think Muslims did not participate in 9-11.
That is the audience and subject of the "Hearts and Minds" campaign, or it would not matter, much.

6/26/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Consider what would have happened if the West had simply published the Danish cartoons everywhere and plaster posters of it on every street corner. This is a form of negotiation too.

This is not appeasement. But it is a form of nonverbal communication.

Yep... that's what I have been saying!

6/26/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

D_R,
No one, at this point, thinks the situation in Iraq is a "draw." Not the terrorists, not the U.S. left, not Europe. It is obvious to all of them that the Bush plan is succeeding. And that is what scares them.

6/26/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

No one, at this point, thinks the situation in Iraq is a "draw."

- exhelo

So it's not a draw. Nor is it near its end.

We have, exhelo, such a long way to go.

6/26/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

jj mollo,

So which is it? The police doing what needs to be done, or the good guys screwing up? How can we tell which is which? You can't expect too many of us to go along with the suggestion that the same event could be both...

6/26/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Our task is not merely to defeat this enemy, but to transform him into someone he presently is not."

alexis,

WE are not going to achieve that transformation.

That cannot be stated too often.

Defeat of the enemy is difficult enough. Stick with it.

6/26/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Helo
They surely see it as a draw in Tehran and Damascus.

Tehran is running overt cross border ops into the Kurdistan region, so they are not "afraid" or "scared".

That cascade is not urine running down their leg.

6/26/2006 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger AMac said...

A typographical error in the first paragraph of the main post: The author of the quoted UPI piece is Mark Katz, not Marvin Katz.

6/27/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

trish:

"To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it."

-- Sun Tzu


The enemy seeks to indoctrinate the next generation into continuing this war. I seek to end this war to our favor so my great-great-grandchildren will neither need to fight this war nor live under their tyranny.

To fight this war effectively, we must conquer psychological terrain, not merely geospatial terrain. We are fighting a militarized educational system, not merely enemy soldiers.

Defeating the enemy in battle is not as important as showing him militarily and psychologically that his enemies have what the Chinese call the "Mandate of Heaven". This has not been accomplished yet.

6/27/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

alexis,
that may well be true, but as Ms Rice said so well, in 2000, that is not what the US Military does.

Building civil societies or acting as police is not in their Mission Statements.
While it could become so, it still has not. The Military has not revamped it's structure to fight a "militarized educational system" or a "cukture" and to expect it to engage in that fight, and win is oximoronic.
Our Sec of State knows the Military is not equipped for the task. As Mr Rumsfeld says the Military has the "wrong skill sets" for Iraq.

All of you are right.

The Military, as presently constituted, is ill suited for the War in Iraq. The Military has decided not to transform the Military to fight that War, it's a "one of" they say.

6/27/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Defeating the enemy in battle is not as important as showing him militarily and psychologically that his enemies have what the Chinese call the "Mandate of Heaven".

- alexis

Which requires actually defeating him.

Which requires actually killing him.

We are so long sunk in the notion of war as some kind of humanitariansim, alexis, as some kind of bloody good works project, that we've well-nigh lost the concepts of winning and losing - of fighting itself.

It has taken the Army years to even dimly remember what it exists for, what its job really is, and just as it has, it must be, once again, what it is not.

You wanna transform whole societies? Find yourself another organization.

You wanna win a war? Then we can talk.

6/27/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/27/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I'm not arguing that our Defense Department should do what our State Department ought to be doing. I am saying we need to fight this war on more than the geospatial military front. The question ought to be why our diplomatic corps has been so incompetent. (The answer should be obvious...)

For example, we should be having consulates in Basra, Mosul, Sulaymaniyah, and Najaf. (Just because terrorists want to blow up our consulates doesn't mean we shouldn't have them.) Instead, we have one gigantic fortress embassy in one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces. (MISTAKE...!) Now, how stupid do you have to be to come up with the own-goal public diplomacy of using one of Saddam Hussein's palaces? Not only is it needlessly offensive, but it is vulnerable to one big bomb going and KABOOM! -- there goes our embassy.

(This isn't much different historically from how the Army was brought in after the Bureau of Indian Affairs fouled up yet again...)

Our military should be working in tandem with other government agencies to accomplish victory. We didn't win our War of Independence on the battlefield alone, and we won't win this one if we act as though our military is the only weapon we have in our arsenal.

6/27/2006 02:21:00 PM  

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