Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Fourth Mutation

The Spectator reports that Al Qaeda has metamorphosed at least 4 times to cope with US challenges. But its last evolution may be the most alarming.

Over its nearly two-decade career, al Qaeda has proved highly adaptable, changing its modus operandi no fewer than four times since its attacks commenced in the early '90s. Indeed, the terrorists are now finding it necessary to change their operational model after every significant attack. ...

In 1996 a British gent named Babar Ahmad pioneered al Qaeda Online (a lovely site that showed beheadings, kidnapped victims' pleas and served as a fundraising mechanism for terror groups) from his comfy office at Imperial College in London. (My, terrorists do seem to have a strong affinity for Western universities.) U.S. prosecutors say they can link Ahmad to the Taliban and Shamil Basayev, the Chechen terrorist behind the Beslan school attack. He has since run for a seat in the British parliament, and, from behind the walls of a British prison, established another website to spread his anti-American tosh, while he fights extradition to the U.S.

Today's Al Qaedahas turned from employing sleepers and foreign students to recruiting young, homegrown, locally radicalized Muslims, as in the London bombings, and the Egyptian and Saudi Arabia attacks. "Previously, such a feat could only have been accomplished by the core al Qaeda organization," the report notes. "For a grassroots network to accomplish that feat, without direct involvement from the central leadership, would represent a generational leap forward in jihadist operations."

Coincidentally Pamela at Atlas Shrugs links to a news story about a random act of violence in Baltimore.

In what police described as a random attack, Paul Schrum, a 62-year-old medical supplies salesman from Pikesville, was shot dead while watching a movie at Loews Valley Center 9 in Owings Mills. About 20 minutes into the film, police said, the gunman stood, told everyone to get on the floor and fired four shots. The man then walked to the lobby, placed a handgun containing one unspent round on a counter and told theater management that he had shot someone. He waited for police to arrive. ...

The suspect is a 24-year-old man, a 2000 graduate of Mount Hebron High School in Howard County and a 2005 graduate of Loyola College, where he majored in biology. Mujtaba Rabbani Jabbar's family home is a house valued at more than $1 million in one of Baltimore County's most affluent neighborhoods. ... Jabbar's address is in Anton North, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Baltimore County, with million-dollar mansions hidden by trees and at the end of long, twisting driveways. A list of residents includes such Baltimore business names as Frankel and Luskin, and former Blue Cross/Blue Shield Chief Executive William L. Jews.

It probably really is a coincidence though the immortal words written at the Ace of Spades come to mind. "As police say when a man with a mistress winds up finding his wife "accidentally" drowned in the pool: No one gets that lucky." But if the Spectator is correct, the next time it won't be just happenstance. There may be enough hate lying around in the West to forge committed Jihadis even in say, Marin County, feats which previously required training camps in places like Afghanistan. Gates of Vienna and the Politics of CP have reported on the possible presence of the Jamaat ul-Fuqra in rural Virginia. And as the Spectator notes "My, terrorists do seem to have a strong affinity for Western universities."

A viable system of Jihadi force-generation within the West would have the effect of shifting the battlespace away from South Asia, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa and into mainstreet USA. It will have the further effect of shifting the mode of combat away from military operations to cultural, religious and political warfare. The Washington Post almost accidentally destroyed the Vietnam metaphor singlehandedly by noting that the number of airstrikes in support of military operations in Iraq was so low that it actually amounted to half the air support provided in Afghanistan.

US military airstrikes in Afghanistan outnumber those in Iraq By Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post | June 18, 2006

WASHINGTON -- As fighting in Afghanistan has intensified over the past three months, the US military has conducted 340 airstrikes there, more than twice the 160 carried out in the higher-profile war in Iraq, according to data from the Central Command, the US military headquarters for the Middle East.

Iraq is no doubt a war, but it's a different war from what it is imagined to be. One of these days the MSM is going to discover that neither OIF nor the War on Terror bears any but the most passing resemblance to Vietnam. That occurred on a different continent, against another enemy over another ideology with a different type of warfare and in another century. Once an aging generation stops looking for napalm, punji sticks, carpet bombing, air strikes and helicopters in the headlines they may realize that this war is being fought with propaganda, networks, educational systems, religion and nerve gas anywhere and everywhere. In word, it is being fought on a basis that the Western mind is not prepared to contemplate.

Time recently reported:

Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the New York subway system with a lethal gas similar to that used in Nazi death camps. They were stopped not by any intelligence breakthrough, but by an order from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri. And the U.S. learned of the plot from a CIA mole inside al-Qaeda. These are some of the more startling revelations by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, whose new book The One Percent Doctrine is excerpted in the forthcoming issue of TIME. It will appear on early Sunday morning.

It's nice to know that New York City was spared only by the generosity of Ayman Zawahiri and that the US has a mole inside al-Qaeda. It's not everyday you read an article that you want to both believe and disbelieve. But anyway it's only an article about information, news, perception, intelligence sources and nerve gas. Nothing to do with real warfare. Like airstrikes. Nothing at all.


Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Nichols & McVeigh along with Mohammed & Malvo should be on that asymetric "grassroots network" of violence list, as well.

The corralation with Vietnam is possible, only because of the size of the deployment.

Of all your commentaries, wretchard, this one:

"Once an aging generation stops looking for napalm, punji sticks, carpet bombing, air strikes and helicopters in the headlines they may realize that that this war is being fought with propaganda, networks, educational systems, religion and nerve gas anywhere and everywhere. In word, it is being fought on a basis that the Western mind is not prepared to contemplate. "

is amongst the finest.

The size of the US footprint may have been to small in Iraq, post Invasion, it is definately to large now. For all the reasons it's been to large for the past year. Wrong "skill sets". Trainers, much more so than troopers, were and still are needed to secure Iraq, for US and Iraqis.
Combat video teams, flooding the marketplace with the images that promote the Cause.
Private or Public, overt or covert.

6/18/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We have to mutate along with the Enemy.

That ever famous "curve",
it's always a challenge, to stay a step ahead of it, not a step behind.

6/18/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...


Your post deserves a far more thoughtful comment than this one, but...

I've been concerned about this sort of thing since before John Mohammed and Lee(?) Malvo shot up Virginia, and Hesham Mohamed Hadayat shot up the El-Al counter at LAX.

These actions weren't as horrific as watching fellow citizens jump from the towers... except for the unfortunates who were murdered and the devastated families and friends left behind.

We all wonder when the next big attack will come, but since we figure it's only one attack, i.e. just one big fat bullet, what are the odds of being in the wrong place at the right time? We rightly conclude that the odds are rather small.

By contrast, M&M committed a number of separate murders over a period of time. The odds of being a victim increased with each event.

I was on a plane to Toronto within a week of 9/11. If, however, my trip had occurred when M&M were on the loose and I'd been forced to drive to my destination, I'd have detoured around Virginia.

When I applied for a concealed carry permit back in the early 1990s, I did it primarily for protection while running in the iffy neighborhood in which I lived at the time. I didn't plan on shooting anyone. In fact, I never even had to show the steel to deter anybody.

If, however, we're about to see random jihadis murdering Americans in the heartland, I doubt that being armed will be much of a deterrent. Since death is merely a ticket to carnal bliss for these guys, we ordinary citizens might be obliged to punch those tickets with increasing frequency.

We haven't started playing Cowboys & Muslims yet... but God help'em if we're forced to start.

6/18/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

Daniel Pipes termed the phrase "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" for incidents like the shooting in Baltimore. If preventing and responding to these incidents is conceptualized as one front in a larger war--and not simply a problem of law enforcement--then does the US treat the perpetrators as terrorists and prisoners of war who ought not be accorded the due-process protections of the legal system? This seems a stretch. Perhaps the US ought to distinguish those perpetrators who are truly freelance and who confess, "The Devil made me do it," from those who, acting as part of a cell, admit, "The imam exhorted me to do it, and hooked me up with some guys who trained me to do it and paid for my weapon."

6/18/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


No doubt someone here has already pointed out this article in The American Thinker by J.R. Dunn, but just in case no one has, here is an excerpt. I thought this gentleman pointed out a most interesting weakness in this particular "4GW" approach:

Consider a situation where you have perfect knowledge of a particular target – plans, defenses, weak points, personnel, everything you need to know to get inside and destroy the place. Now give that information to an eight-year-old. Or a dull-normal, or a junkie, or a schizophrenic. Or the average teenager, for that matter.

This problem is insurmountable. It can be taken as given that there will be something wrong with fifth-column Jihadi volunteers. They will be either fanatics or misfits, both legendarily incapable of independent accomplishment. It’s true that these categories include both Zarqawi, very likely a clinical psychopath, and Nasar himself, who, with his 1600-page manuscripts and endless ranting about “the degeneracy of the West” is a representative obsessive-compulsive.

But fortunately, competent flakes of this type are the exception – John Walker Lindh is a more typical figure, as is the Toronto group’s oldest member Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who at 43 is said to have never held a regular job. This is the human material that the Jihadis have to mold and as a rule, they will exhibit certain characteristics.

They will not listen. They will ignore instructions. They will overlook details. They will be overemotional. They will sulk and feud. They will create a mental narrative, romantic and wild, a Bruce Willis feature with themselves in the starring role, and act on that rather than any stodgy plan. And when things go wrong, they will panic.

I’d hazard to guess (it’s hard to judge, considering the fog of political correctness that has been raised around the investigation) that this is what happened in Canada. And it can be depended on that, in most cases, it will happen again.

This is why there are such things as “noncoms” (sergeants in particular phlegmatic, no-nonsense types who have been around and know that things ain’t done the way they say in the book. Every organization has the equivalent of the sergeant rank, because every organization since the dawn of time has found them necessary to shepherd the less-than-capable. What Nasar’s “virtual networks” are attempting to do is operate without such a cadre of experienced low-level managers. And that’s just not possible.

As far as training goes, reading is not doing. The clearest instructions in the world won’t put across a thing to an individual who has never been involved in any comparable activity. We all recall the second London strike last summer, when the bombs failed to explode, resulting in badly-dressed mutts racing off in all directions. Zarqawi’s trainees in Iraq are unlikely to appear in any North American networks. In Canada, the only “training” the Toronto group got was running around in the woods in a kind of Jihadi paintball weekend.

A related issue is the difficulty of indoctrination. Such networks can only be recruited in already-prepared milieus, that is, Muslim communities. It’s unlikely that renegade imams will be allowed to preach from storefront mosques with quite the same abandon as occurred in the past. (In North America, in any case. Europe, as always, is another story.) Indoctrination by Internet being a doubtful proposition, this in itself should serve to limit drastically the scope of Nasar’s technique.

The problem of discipline is highlighted by Toronto as well. We have no idea how the group was organized, or whether they were part of Zarqawi’s network. What is clear is that there was little or no adult supervision (Jamal, despite his age, really doesn’t count). Those kids were chattering to people halfway across the North American continent. Word of their organization got at least as far as Georgia, prompting two would-be Jihadis to pay them a cross-border visit.

And when that pair was arrested, it did not occur to anyone to shut down operations, destroy all possible evidence, and scatter to the winds. No – they went on with their plans, utterly oblivious, until the Mounties kicked the door in.

Toronto is where Murphy caught up with Nasar. Everything that could go wrong – with experience, training, and discipline – went wrong with a vengeance. If the second wave of Jihadis were all of the caliber of the Toronto crew, we’d have nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. London and Madrid show us that Nasar networks are far from being only a paper threat. As time goes by, the Jihadis will get better at it, particularly since they have the entire subcontinent of Europe to use as a laboratory. While it will never be a war-winning strategy, it can serve to arouse confusion and fear, which have their uses. (It’s easy to picture an operation in which these networks soak up all security resources while a traditional Al-Queda team carries out an attack.)...

By the way, just speaking as a psychiatrist, Zarqawi was without question a "clinical psychopath" (more precisely, a sociopathic personality -- but virtually every criminal satisfies diagnostic criteria for that disorder), and being an obsessive-compulsive would not necessarily distract one from being an effective terrorist. In fact, a bit of OCD might enhance one's competence.

Jamie Irons

6/18/2006 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Also included among the trove of Iraqi documents is another interesting development that the US needs to adapt to: the active use of the US Media by Al Qaeda to advance their image and place in society, to "use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance."

The US & international media have always prided themselves on complete objectivity and refusing to take sides in conflicts, but they seem blind to the fact that Al Qaeda is attempting to leverage their editors' own bias into favorable coverage. Terrorism is as much of an information war as it is a military war. Until the media realizes that their goal of remaining completely outside the conflict they cover is a task that, in an information- & perception-based war, is no longer possible, this war is going to be much harder to win.

Bush's overly dramatic statement that you're either with us or you're with the terrorists comes to mind.

6/18/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

I am far more concerned with the reaction curve regarding the kidnapped Marines...

Could Zawahiri have been concerned about the possibility of a '2nd Conjecture'...

This is the one to watch. It will tell us a lot about al-Qaeda and America.

If al-Qaeda kidnapped (or purchased kidnapped) Marines and does something barbaric they are once again on one of two roads: Feeling their oats and thinking we will run, or flailing with little control of their misfits and about to do something they would rather not.

It is not just the American forces and military leadership and State Department and NeoCons and whatever that makes mistakes or loses some element on control - our enemy has as well. Did bin Laden really want a sociopath like al-Zarqawi running the show in Iraq - or did he use what he had? A media driven barbaric act by al-Qaeda will move the ball - forward, backward, or to the side.

They will be destroyed or we will be destroyed.

For them immediate, for us in a few years.

The choice is coming…

6/18/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

the new al Qaeda is more akin to the leaderless anarchist groups that blew onto the international scene in the late 19th century. It not only lacks Osama's quiet wisdom and guiding hand, but is younger, dumber, and motivated by factors quite distinct from those of its predecessor.

Defining terrorism down.

And what happened to those anarchists? True, they ignited WWI but that was only because the Austrians wanted to start it and no one wanted to stop them. But then the anarchists died off.

That is what victory in the war on terror will looklike if we can avoid letting them ignite a general war. And this time no one seems to want one.

It may be decades before it is over and they are all dead or grown old, and lots of innocent people will die in it. But this is how it will end.

6/18/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Mrs. Davis,

And what happened to those anarchists? True, they ignited WWI but that was only because the Austrians wanted to start it and no one wanted to stop them. But then the anarchists died off.

That is what we want the GWOT to look like - not how it is guaranteed to look like.

In this thing, we may think we have won the fight. We only win if there are no Islamist terror organizations left. Like the demise of the gangsters in Chicago, New York, or Las Vegas. No fights among the remainder, no extension of territory, no public following.

That would be a win - in a '3rd Conjecture' fashion.

Another, equally probable, scenario would be for us to run from the fight were it is at or think we have won and leave. If the terror organizations and the Islamist public feel they have not been beaten they will consolidate and return. At that point 9/11 and its aftermath will be remembered as we remember WWI and Vietnam. Inconclusive. And, in five or ten years terror sponsoring states will have indigenous WMD capability. They may also actually stop fighting each other. Then we do have Total War.

I think that we will see a glimpse of the future by looking at ALL the reactions to the Marine kidnapping. We still might keep this on a '2nd Conjecture' path - who would have thought Putin could be restrained - but that is not guaranteed.

6/18/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Keith said... Bush's overly dramatic statement that you're either with us or you're with the terrorists comes to mind.

I don't understand your view here, Keith. What is untrue about this statement? You say it is overly darmatic, to me that implies a desire on your part to downplay the treasonous efforts of the MSM to bring down the United States.

These people (MSM) may be stupid, misguided, criminally bribed or whatever. Their motivation does not matter to me. Do you think it is unutterably rude, or what, to take the view that their actions are calculated to destroy America, or if you prefer the USA? In my opinion their actions are seditious and treasonous, you have another view? How would you charcacterize the things they are doing?

6/18/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

A coupel of miles from where I sit two Vietnam era helicopters are displayed atop poles in a park, a UH-1D in Army colors and an AH-1 in Marine markings - a "slick" and a "snake" to use the combat slang of the time.

One wonders what will be the displays of this war, 30 years plus in the future. Back then, the idea of two of the hated symbols of the U.S. Military being on display in a public memorial setting was no doubt inconceiveable to some - they surely thought they had killed that kind of pride, once and for all.

Ironically, a mile past the two display choppers some genuine Vietnam veteran OH-58A's equip the Sheriff's Dept Air Wing. One was even shot down a rebuilt a couple of times back then. I guess they could be considered as symbols of both wars.

6/18/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

Don't forget that yahoo here in Chapel Hill who admittedly tried to kill some of his own UNC classmates.

6/18/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Using Straus and Howe's 'The Fourth Turning', I think al-Qaeda (and in fact Islamism) is in their death throws. It could last years, but they are losing their Nomad archetype rapidly while their Prophet archetype is being silenced.

We are at the beginning of this thing.

Other Islamist 'prophets' could arise. America could bail out of the region either through exhaustion or after a 'phony' victory - thus permitting an Islamist retrenchment. The Islamists could get a decisive strike. Or, we could be pushed into fighting a conflict in a fashion that will destroy our very own culture.

But, I think this is very unlikely. Huntington in 'The Clash of Civilizations' notes that the Islamist movement is very confrontational with all other civilizations. Thus, the very thing they need - allies - is the very thing they cannot attain.

It is very likely that they have morphed into lone gunmen, shaking with rage, but unable to coalesce into a movement.

But, we have to crush them.

There can be no other outcome if our culture is to prosper. They absolutely must know that their existing Islamist culture is decisively beaten and cannot be restored. This, however, does not require killing 1/6th of the World's population.

This conflict is being faught smartly - but not perfectly. Oh well - the other guy is on the court too.

We as a culture are ready - and getting readier as time goes on.

6/18/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

The Time article sounds fishy. I don't recall reading anything about NYPD preparing for something like this.

The whole thing may be a concocted story to find out a network of leakers.

6/18/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger emdfl said...

Considering the difficulty in obtaining a CCW in many of the more liberal bastions of the country, if this shooting is in fact the next phase of the "war", then these "bastions are going to reap the rewards of their history of GFWism.

Me, I'll just "carry" on... (P3AT)

6/18/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Dave H -

My point was not that the media's actions are not stupid or anything of that nature. Nor do I disagree with Bush's statement that you're with us or with the terrorists.

My point was that the media is still unwilling to accept that they are not an neutral observer, that they are, in fact, in the middle of Al Qaeda's tactical plans. The media here and on the international stage has always been quick to hide behind neutrality, not willing to pass judgement on who's right and who's wrong in any situation. But the fact that Al Qaeda is using that behavior in order to further their cause means that the media must come to realize that neutrality is not an option. They are, as Bush said, with us or with the terrorists. There is no middle ground for anyone as heavily involved as the media is.

My characterization of Bush's statement as overly dramatic is because I tend to wince when Bush attempts to reduce things to sound bites, especially when the issues are far more complex and nuanced than that.

I would disagree with your view that the media's actions are malicious attempts to bring down America. I do think they presume America's guilt and culpability far too readily in our dealings with external groups, but I wouldn't say they're being treasonous. More naive than anything, perhaps willingly blind (although differentiating between treason and willingful blindness becomes increasingly tough as they run together more and more).

6/18/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

The media is not neutral. They are with the NVA and they will pay for it before the war is out.

6/18/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...


My characterization of Bush's statement as overly dramatic is because I tend to wince when Bush attempts to reduce things to sound bites, especially when the issues are far more complex and nuanced than that.

The base issues are not complex, not nuanced, and can be reduced to sound bites.

The complexities that occurred revolve around how the situation arose.

But, the situation is as it is.

It must be dealt with and not studied. The time for studying was the last twenty years. We knew we had a nihilistic culture forming within Islam. We knew we had the potential to become nihilistic here. We did study the phenomena. We did try to ameliorate the issues. That game is over.

There will be one side left standing - civilization or barbarism.
I don't think - long term - that the barbarians will be erect.
That is very simple, direct, and distinct.

6/18/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Al-Qaeda. What is it? On one hand I am tempted to say that it is only a remnant of what it was during the Clinton years. But then, I think of the "tens of thousands" who were supposedly trained in Afghanistan and then redistributed throughout the world.

Somalia is a good example of the cancerous danger of Al-Qaeda. It is the "failed states" particularly Muslim countries or their neighbors who are most at risk. The refrain from Somalia has been the same as I have heard from Afghanistan and Iraq: "We just want security." I'm afraid that this is not something the West (I wish I could say "Christian world") will not be able to provide except at the traditional borders of the Christian and Muslim worlds. Thinking along these lines is depressing with regard to South Asia, the Middle East and Indonesia. In these areas, we don't have the numbers, the will or the fervor to "clear and hold."

The Islamist modus operandi seems to be 1. Identify areas likely to be sympathetic to Islamic beliefs and promises. 2. Insert advance agents to raise and train Muslim militias. 3. Engage in paramiltary activities against the ruling secularists while either administering to or intimidating locals until Sharia can be established.

A good exercise for Belmont would be to identify those areas most likely to be lost to this latest incarnation of fundamentalist Islam as well as establishing the time frame for future events.

6/18/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

[Vietnam] occurred on a different continent, against another enemy over another ideology with a different type of warfare and in another century.

All very true, except Vietnam and Iraq are both on the Asian continent.

6/18/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...


The west will not be able to provide security in the heart of the Muslim world or at its fringes.

What remains to be seen, is whether the Islamists will allow Iraq to develop without interference even if there is no Coalition presence.

I doubt it.

6/18/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

seems to me that the brits ran into one mahdi after another in the 19th century who led religious/military movements. when the military effort died the religious revival died as well.

6/18/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hope you have time to read this provocative piece by Joshua Landis:
Syria is being Set Up to Fail: A Leaked Letter from Washington
Syria is being set up to fail so that the US can isolate it and carry out a process of regime-change at the expense of Iraqi stability and the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
My skeptical eyebrow is raised by the mere fact that he has good things to say about Cole elsewhere!

6/18/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger hamint said...

Based on my reading of news reports concerning the Leeds jihadist cell, the recently convicted kid from Brooklyn charged with consiracy to bomb NYC subway stations, and an article produced last year by the Discovery Times channel regarding Al Qaeda's media division called "The Clouds", it is clear that Muslim kids living in Western countires can be and are regularly recruited into violent jihadist causes simply on the basis of their exposure to radical anti-Western and anti-Zionist media readily obtained in local bookstores and on the internet. The extremely appealing and persuasive nature (to them) of this dangerous message may have led to the formation of the recently discovered Ontario cell, but I have not been following the details of that story to know what has been published regarding the origins of this additinal home-grown group. Likewise, I have read no more than the first several basically unreadible pages of Updike's new novel Terrorist on his take concerning a home-grown Islamic terrorist (in New Jersey no less). An potential antidote to this proselytizing of Muslim youth in North America can be seen in today's (Jume 18) NYT's front page piece on the founders of a centrist (my word) Islamic seminary in LA and the beneficial influence they have had at least among middle-of-the-road Muslims. The unstated downside to the NYT's article, in my view, is that (i) the founders were born and raised American Christian (anotherwords, although they are today well-recognized Islamic scholars, they come from an entirely different background from most Islamic clerics in the US) and (ii) the founders of the American seminary appear to steer away from recruiting clerics who are not fully familiar with US customs; thus, they probably have substantial concern (as we probably all do) about clerics brought up in Wahabite and other similar traditions.

6/18/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

re: Updike here's a link to interview on Charlie Rose Show.
I haven't taken time/effort to see what is necessary to pay the 99cents.
Laura Ingraham says the Interview with John Burns was great, had soundbytes on her show.
John Burns on Charlie Rose

6/18/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Burns Money quote is shown for free in Preview.

6/18/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

"Today's terrorists are simply herds of rogue elephants fighting what they are convinced is a romantic and holy cause against the infidel

I don't buy this in it's stated form. There are different levels of education, commitment and if they can get the money from their parents or otherwise, a trip to protected training camps will take care of most of their field training.

Don't forget we are training future terrorists here in the United States. We are giving them the best educations, lab experience, field trips and even supplying the materials for them to either use to experiment or to make their weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, most of the recruits for the jihadis will be only good for cannon fodder or bomb carriers, but it only takes one fairly educated person to build a surprise in his apartment and to deliver it into the population to create "terror".

I read somewhere, that in the capitol of Iraq, there are most likely not over 5 teams of bomb makers.

They seem to be having no problem giving the media plenty of terror to spew out for public consumption.

The new terrorist thugs not only know how to use the media, they know how to use our weakness and our freedoms here at home.

And mark my words, they are taking full advantage of it as we type.

Money is no problem for them, they get it from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, all protected governments.

While we are the unprotected with open borders and immigration open to all.

Papa Ray
West Texas

6/18/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Them's fightn words at the Belmont Club Papa:
Folks in these parts don't see that threat you imagine coming north.
"Bush Blinders"

6/18/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/18/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Papa Ray,

Our first lines of defense are the port of entries in 'the new world'.

In general, those are airports in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Have your ears perked up every once in a while when Syrians, Saudis, Egyptions, Iranians, etc.. are sent back home after landing in Mexico. Hear the same from our friends to the north.

We do have to place a barrier on the border - maybe borders. But, I personally guess (and it is a guess) that our friends to the south do a better job than our friends to the north - regardless of recent news. Mexicans may simply be more ethnocentric than Canadians. Regardelss, a border barrier will slow the entry of people we really do not want and do not need. We do have the worlds third largest population, eh. It will also tell them - We do not want you and we do not need you. We will consider you a guest, or potentially family, if you enter through the front door though. Otherwise, uuuummmmm....

Additionally, lone gunmen are more remeniscient of GenXers shooting up schools. That tells you how far the mighty have fallen. Hopefully, this chap is a sleeper for al-Zarqawi or something. A bit despondent about getting his upline wiped out. Could be fun to watch.

6/18/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger hamint said...


I always get a bad feeling when I see John Burns on Charlie Rose (as I did last week) that we will someday read about a bad outcome for this courageous reporter. His interview last week indicates, however, that the situation may be improving for the government and the coalition forces (and hopefully for the safety and safe return of Mr. Burns).

6/18/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hamint, agreed.
Here's John Burn's view of the Media during reign of Saddam:
"Senior members of the information ministry took hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from these television correspondents who then behaved as if they were in Belgium,"
Burns said.
"They never mentioned the function of minders.
Never mentioned terror."

Burns said in one case, a correspondent with a major American newspaper printed out copies of his and other reporters' stories, "mine included," to present to Iraqi officials.

"He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state,"
said Burns, who did not name the correspondent.

Burns referred to the admission by CNN's chief new executive Eason Jordan earlier this year that CNN reporters practiced self-censoring in order to protect Iraqi lives.

6/18/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Christiane Amanpour's concern, otoh, was Media being cowed by Bush/Fox News regimes of terror!

6/18/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One key to defeating al-Qaeda will be to project what kind of mutation it turns into in the future, even engineer it.

It looks as though it will become increasingly possible to create a bogus terrorist organization that claims to be al-Qaeda and seems to kill people in terrorist attacks, yet its attacks are only for show and the casualties are fictitiously reported for the consumption of al-Qaeda's brass.

In the future, it should be possible to create fake jihadist web sites designed just like "roach motels". The idea in the long run is not merely to arrest the terrorists, but plant the idea among al-Qaeda's fellow travelers that any forum they use is so thoroughly infiltrated that it is futile to organize any violence at all.

There is a certain paradox to the Leftist/Islamist conspiracy theory that al-Qaeda is controlled by the Zionists, for although the comment is patently false, the very methods of al-Qaeda's attack necessitate the eventual infiltration of Western agents into its organization possibly to the extent where the majority of al-Qaeda consists of spies planted against it. (Think of how the Black Panthers got infiltrated, after all...)

The very fact that al-Qaeda mutates is not merely an expression of adaptability, but of its weakness and its inherent inability to win sufficient victories to maintain a coherent organization.

In the long run, the ideological key to defeating al-Qaeda is to create a persona and/or message so thoroughly insulting to al-Qaeda that it cannot afford to ignore its presence and yet so inherently monotheist that exposes the Islamists for the idiots they really are. Although our enemy seeks to use its hot temper as a weapon against us (much as a wife beater does), our best weapon against the Islamist is his own rage.

6/18/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Region: Zarqawi's anti-people war:

Two years ago, US intelligence intercepted a letter from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Iraq's al-Qaida branch who was killed recently, to Osama bin Laden. It gives a better sense than anything else I know of the ongoing strategy of the Iraqi insurgency.

Americans are, in short, a paper tiger. Or, in the words of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an imaginary superpower made of straw.

Bin Laden's innovation was not anti-American terrorism, as many think, or an ideology which so remarkably parallels that of Khomeini and others, but his transnational approach.

Anti-people War

6/18/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger fr33 sp33k said...

Based on simple googling, I have good reason to believe the Jabbar family's account of untreated mental illness. Simple googling will lead you to his own admission of psychological problems, and his aversion to antidepressants.
I didn't find any "jihad" in this guy's online information. Truth is, he seemed pretty normal, aside from the mental problems (and bad acne). If he was a jihadi, I rather suspect his domain would be hosting something other than an editorial service.
Yes, there are jihadis. Mujtaba Jabbar isn't one of them.

6/18/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


Interesting thought…

Can we splice a gene into the Terror Genome to force a mutation? A mutation that does not succeed. A mutation that feeds on itself...

Is the West Bank Wall inserting the self-murdering civil war gene into the DNA of the host – much of the Arab world?

Is the American presence in Iraq a virus that draws antibodies to the defense of the organ? Is the virus proving immune to the hosts antibodies? Does the virus decimate multitudes of defensive antibodies for each ‘victory’?

Is the American presence in Iraq blocking the flow of antibodies to other endangered parts of the Islamic world? Can the financial, personnel, and logistical antibodies flow were they are needed – from where they are produced?

What kind of transformation of Islam will kill Islamism – a highly malignant ideology – without destroying the host?

Define that and splice in the gene…

Interesting thought...

6/18/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Re: The Maryland killing and asymmetric warfare.

The only thing asymmetric about this type of warfare is our conscious decision to give the advantage to the evil or insane. Maryland rejects 999 out of 1000 concealed carry applications. And this despite the fact that Baltimore is more deadly for its residents than most every city in Iraq but Baghdad (and every city, save New Orleans of old, in the U.S.).

How many terrorists incidents would have been stopped cold (or with fewer deaths) if just a few percent of average citizens were trained and armed?

Tragedy (in the Greek sense) is defined to be those bad things we do to ourselves, wittingly.

Another case of the Lefts’ best-of-intentions (of babying the unwashed) leading to the worst possible outcomes. We could shut down the DHS and TSA if we armed the law-abiding and acknowledged that the 2nd amendment meant concealed carry was protected in every public setting (anytime two or more strangers were required to be together).

If we were a poorer country (and the involved guilds were not so strong) we'd do as Israel does.

6/18/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Great conceptualization, Boghie. You're on track.

6/18/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Oedipus unwittingly killed his father and married his mother, a Greek tragedy. My smoking this cigarette isn't a tragedy, it's foolishness. It is time for all Americans to read "More Guns, Less Crime" by John Lott.

6/18/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I will make a prediction. Should Islamists morph into an organized or disorganized random hit squad against ordinary Americans, the government will not have to do anything, no more than air marshals would have to do anything on any US plane being hijacked by Islamists. I would not worry about lack of permits to carry either. All it will take is for ordinary Americans to recognize what is happening. Gentleman, start your engines.

6/18/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al-Zarqawi's death puts Iraq one step closer to freedom:

They tell me that we made al-Zarqawi a martyr, and they tell me he believed that, since he died a martyr's death, he would be welcomed in heaven by 72 virgins.

I don't believe that, but what I believe is not important. I obviously don't know what awaited al-Zarqawi when he crossed over to the other side.

But I know the last thing he saw in this world. It was a United States soldier. That's good enough for me.

Al-Zarqawi's Death

6/18/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sonspot said...

We're the hepatitis C to the Jihadi liver!

6/18/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Damnation, Alexis! You done gone and figgured out exactly what I was about to suggest, only I couldn't get a handle on it!

In certain battlefield tactical manuals, I’ve run across the concept of “channelizing” your opponent’s movements through prepared lanes that have been either pre-sighted or mined, to maximize the effectiveness of your weapons systems.

In some cases, this means baiting a trap or ambush, by inducing the opponent to believe they’re pursuing easy prey into a killing field of their choice, when in fact they’re being lured themselves. In other cases, it just means making a careful tactical assessment of the terrain, and anticipating where the opponent’s transport can be convinced to avoid all paths but the one you have reckoned to give your own offensive moves the greatest lethality.

I would like to think there are ways to apply this thinking to our struggle with Jihadi terrorists, but it really depends on having a lot more arabic speakers, with a fairly deep understanding of the cultures we’re confronting.

All Hail Alexis, for outlining a few possible tactical tricks.

6/18/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Put LSD in al-Qaeda's water supply.

Nah, they probably drink each other's urine already.

Remember the suicide cult that fixated on the approach of a comet a few years ago...

Or the Reverend Jim Jones in Guyana.

"JihadiCola — a Tingling New Beverage to refresh the fascist in YOU!"

There was a news item back in the invasion that evil (i.e., "anti-american") Russkis had sold a bunch of electronic devices to the Iraqi Army that could scramble the GPS signal used by JDAM smart bombs so they would miss.

Later, an alternative story appeared in the news that maybe our FRIENDS the Russians had sold a bunch of electronic devices to the Iraqis by telling them that story, but in fact they were homing devices that helped the smart bombs zero in on their targets...

Sounds like a stimulating challenge, working out these intrigues.

6/18/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Just seeing what the left is up to these days:

The American people can smell and feel fear -- and they feel that the Democrats fear the power of Rove to define the issues. And because of that, they fear that the Dems aren't as strong at protecting them.

That's a formula to fear come the fall elections. Because it is a winning formula for the Republicans, yet again.

And the saddest irony is that the Busheviks are making America weaker everyday.

All the Democrats have to do is expose the truth.

Truth to Power

6/18/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the inspiration of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, has broken a three-year silence to back the United States military to overthrow the country's clerical regime.

Hossein Khomeini's call is all the more startling as he made it from Qom, the spiritual home of Iran's Shia strand of Islam, during an interview to mark the 17th anniversary of the ayatollah's death.

6/18/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Keith said... Bush's overly dramatic statement that you're either with us or you're with the terrorists comes to mind."

Osama said it also in his fatawa declaring war against the USA and both are correct. This wasn't a dramatic statement but a fact of Guerrilla war. Different forms of war have different basic factors that define them. One that anybody who has studied the subject is aware of. In a sea war, you need water. In an air war, you need planes that can fly and bases to fly them from. In a Mech war, you need OIL, for Cavalry wars, you need horses. For guerrilla war, you need a population that will hide the guerrilla. That means no neutrals.
So whenever you hear of sombody who discounts that FACT that there are NO neutrals in a guerrilla (small war), you know you are dealing with the clueless. For the insurgant or guerrilla fighter, silence is aid, neutrality is co-operation. Conversly, anyone who isn't activly fighting them is aiding them. There are NO neutrals.
Think on it this way. If you see a crook running from the police and do not tell the police when asked which way he went, you have committed a crime. You cannot be neutral, you either help the police by saying which way he went or you help the crook but NOT saying which way he went.
Make your choice. If you choose neutral, you have joined the guerrillas and are a legitimate target for the anti-guerrila forces.

6/18/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Raids cast light on insurgency:

During a speech in April, Gen. Michael Hayden, the newly appointed CIA director, said the war in Iraq motivates jihadists, but their failure there would weaken the movement globally.

"The loss of key leaders like bin Laden, Zawahri and Zarqawi - especially if they were lost in rapid succession - could cause the jihadist movement to fracture even more into smaller groups and would probably lead to strains and disagreements," said Hayden, who at the time was the No. 2 U.S. intelligence official.

Raids Cast Light

6/18/2006 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Moderate Muslims?
A Goal for America
Support Your Local Moderate Muslim:
While leading a mosque in New Haven in 1992, Mr. Shakir wrote a pamphlet that cautioned Muslims not to be co-opted by American politics. He wrote, "Islam presents an absolutist political agenda, or one which doesn't lend itself to compromise, nor to coalition building."

While he did not denounce Muslims who take part in politics, he pointed out the effectiveness of "extrasystemic political action" — like the "armed struggle" that brought about the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. A copy of the pamphlet was found in the apartment of a suspect in the first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993. Mr. Shakir says he was questioned by the F.B.I., but had no link to the man, and that was the end of it.

Asked now about his past, he said, "To be perfectly honest, I don't regret anything I've done or said."
He added, "I had to go through that stage to become the person that I am, and I'm not willing to negate my past."

He said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law, "not by violent means, but by persuasion."

"Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a Muslim country," he said. "I think it would help people, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be a Muslim. Because Islam helped me as a person, and it's helped a lot of people in my community."

Sam's Link:
Zarqawi's anti-people war

"The same applies to al-Qaida's tactical inflexibility that accepts only armed struggle as legitimate. What if al-Qaida depended (as the Palestinian movement and other Islamists generally do) on American naivete rather than alleged cowardice?

A May 2006 report by the US Institute of Peace, entitled,
"What Do Islamists Really Want?"
provides a wonderful example of this approach.
The institute, a semi-governmental organization, conducted a round-table meeting of several Islamist leaders who explained that they were really quite moderate.

The institute then concluded that since these people could not possibly lie about such a thing, the US should start providing them with training so they could organize more effectively and do better in elections."

6/19/2006 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You Gotta Love this Hate Crime Commission:

"The Illinois Governor’s Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes is shamed by the ongoing presence of commissioner Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, appointed her to the position last August. He now claims that he didn’t know about her affiliation back then, but he certainly knew of it earlier this year, after Muhammad invited several of her fellow commissioners to attend a speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan..."

6/19/2006 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Snake Oil - 50% Off!
Pick your Playmate
The New Taliban
We ignore Somalia's radical Islamists at our own peril.

6/19/2006 02:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"... The Iraq war has rekindled myriad old resentments toward the United States, a thousand different complaints, each one specific to a time and place far removed from the present conflict. It has united a diverse spectrum of anti-American views in common solidarity -- the Marxist Africans still angry over American policy in the 1960s and '70s, the Pakistanis still furious at America's (bipartisan) support for the dictator Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq in the 1970s and '80s, the French theoreticians who started railing against the American "hyperpower" in the 1990s, the Latin ex-guerrillas still waging their decades-old struggle against North American imperialism, the Arab activists still angry about 1948. At a conference in the Middle East a few months ago, I heard a moderate Arab scholar complaining bitterly about how American policy had alienated the Arab peoples in recent years. A former Clinton official sitting next to him was nodding vigorously but then suddenly stopped when the Arab scholar made clear that by "recent years" he meant ever since 1967. ..."

From a piece by Robert Kaganin the WaPo

Perspective and timelines
Not everyone's are the same

6/19/2006 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

2164th: I have to agree with you. The Concealed Carry permits are for hidden guns. So carry then openly. I would hate to have to tuck my Ruger Mini-14 into my pants anyway. That 40 round magazine alone would make things a bit uncomfortable.

And if we get Malvos and Mohhameds all over the place, people will feel uncomfortable if they can't see some protection around. And the Natila Rifle Assn will probably be able to dumb the Dems and Republicans and run their own candidates for office. Admitteldy, we would probably ebd up reopening palces like Manazanr and filling them with different people than WWII Niesi.

Little known fact: When that nut walked into that Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX in 1991, oen of the customers there had a concealed carry permit - and had left her handgun in the car...

6/19/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

Last week on my own blog I ruminated on the recent development of Dutch pedophiles becoming organized and politically active, and its ominous implications with respect to other kinds of troublemakers. If al Qaeda is indeed evolving in the opposite direction, that's a very good sign. It's like a Category 5 hurricane dissolving into a thousand thunderstorms.

6/19/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Good thoughts, Alexis.

My reaction to the Spec's article was the same. If Al'Qaeda has gone through 4 evolutions, that means it has experienced four environmental crises for which it was, at the time, insufficiently or inappropriately organized to overcome.

It's important to recognize the other side of this coin: Al'Qaeda's environmental dangers are evolving, too, and the adaptations are additive instead of subtractive (as they are for Al'Qaeda). Al'Qaeda is losing ground in design space, discarding operational and organizational possibilities in response to the immunological progression of its target.

Al'Qaeda evolved from A to B to C to D because we evolved non-A, non-B, non-C, etc. Al'Qaeda can no longer successfully function at design space A, B, or C, while we retain our non-A, non-B, and non-C responses as (in evolutionary terms) frozen accidents. For Al'Qaeda there is no going back; they can only go forward into an ever more circumscribed arena of existence while we stay fast on their heels closing doors and burning bridges.

As Alexis noted, Al'Qaeda will continue to evolve away from their environmental pressure along the path of least resistance. Once they can no longer plan and incite except anonymously on the internet, we will be able to pour so much uncertainty into their existence that they will no longer be a threat. It seems we are close, and as long as we don't give up the ground we have gained, I might start calling Al'Qaeda our erstwhile enemy of yesteryear.

6/19/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Diana Irey Attains Babe Status -Limbaugh
Money pours in from Iraqi Servicemen
Lee Harvey Oswald was an ex-Marine.
(Kerry served in Vietnam)
Murtha approaches Gore Levels of Insanity.

6/19/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Watch Connie Chung in action, white dress and all, singing "Thanks for the Memories" on top of a piano, on the series finale of MSNBC's "Weekends with Maury and Connie."
WARNING: This may be the most bizarre (and painful) thing we've ever seen.

"[W]hat was undoubtedly the most important news story of the last week [was] a report that was all but buried by the mainstream media."
Read it here.

The Washington Post shows just how badly we're falling down on the job of penalizing those who hire illegals. .

Well, the cat's out of the bag--Dems have a plan for Iraq--cut and run! Read about it.

6/19/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The administration only discovered immigration enforcement over the past few months, FIVE YEARS into its existence, and only then because they realized that a pro-enforcement pose was necessary to get their amnesty plan approved."

Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, which supports immigrant rights, agreed that enforcement has been "woefully tiny."

"Why should the public believe it, because the government hasn't done it before?" Kelley asked.

6/19/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

Some have mentioned a lack of training as a large barrier to the success of Al Queda. This is not insurmountable and the US military has shown the way. A remarkably small number of jihadist programers, musicians, and artists can gin up a series of training sims and simply release them on the Internet. Just toss them onto the P2P networks via compromised servers (easily purchased via criminal hackers) and your little cell training classes can circulate around the world. Package enough production value in them and you can sell them for profit and have enough innocent users that mere possession and use cannot be used to convict in 1st world court systems.

Personality testing over the net can statistically move leadership away from the unstable types that will panic and blow an op. And operations do not have to be big or be suicide operations to create big chaos effects and large amounts of economic energy wasted on hardening all infrastructure.

The ultimate solution is for radical islam to be repudiated as religious deviation from the true path and to sell that hard across the entirety of Islam. When being a bomber, sniper, or head sawer is universally recognized as a ticket to Hell, the war will quickly end.

6/19/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Have the Dept of Homeland Security Flood the World with Millions of Registered Professional Head Sawyers, thereby destroying the compensation package for amature Sawers.
Similar to
"The Immigration Model" of wage restructuring.

6/19/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: Alternative approach, frequently raised as a solution in DoD logistics circles:

Assign Islamic Jihadists a National Stock Number and put a Fed Govt agancy in charge of producing and distributing them.

In short order they will becme as scarce as hen's teeth....

6/19/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Nuclear Distraction:

There are two primary reasons that Iran is not interested in flinging ICBMs at the Great Satan anytime in the near future:

First, any political power gained by Tehran would be lost about 5 minutes after they launched the opening nuclear salvo. The resulting retaliatory strike by the United States would turn Iran into a mirror large enough to be seen from space.

The second reason is that Iran is about to open an oil pipeline to India and has also become involved in an emerging security partnership with China. China and India, the greyhounds of modernization and development in East Asia, need as much oil as Iran is willing to sell.

Nuclear Distraction

6/19/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

In Islam why do you have to wait three years from marriage to consumation? Because sex with six year olds is considered bad form.

6/24/2006 05:55:00 AM  

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