Friday, August 11, 2006

The Beginning and the End

News items which may or may not be related.

Faith shaken in UN, for failure to stop the Lebanon bloodshed quickly, says Kofi Annan. 

Ehud Olmert accepts the ceasefire resolution proposed by the UN Security CouncilReuters says "world powers agreed on Friday on a U.N. resolution to end four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hizbollah.... Draft resolution was set to be unanimously approved by the Security Council later on Friday.... Lebanese government accepted the draft.... Israeli official said the Israeli army would not stop its offensive until the [Israeli] cabinet met on Sunday to consider the resolution..... Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would ask his cabinet to accept the document."

The Security Council calls for an end to the war and authorizes 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israel withdraws.

Secretary Rice to Wolf Blitzer on the International Force: "it has a mandate that will allow it to defend itself and to defend that mandate. But it's never been the expectation that this force is going to disarm Hezbollah. That will have to be done by the Lebanese." 

A Haaretz op-ed sarcastically asks, "after all, why did we embark on the war, if not to ensure that French soldiers will protect Israel from the Hezbollah rocket battery."

Wikipedia's official entry for Benjamin Netanyahu says it is "widely anticipated that a no-confidence vote will lead to new elections with Netanyahu becoming the next Prime Minister of Israel." Note: Wikipedia have since taken this phrase off their entry. And rightly so, it's too speculative. However, the point which the citation is intended to make, which is that Ehud Olmert's position has become tenuous, is probably still a valid one to make.

Who knows?


Blogger Achilles Jones said...

It's clear that Olmert is history. But did we just see the end of any chance for a Condi presidency?

8/11/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

For as long as I have been hanging out here, at the Club, Mr Netanyahu has been staged for a "come back".
Israeli politics I leave to Israelis, but if now is not his time, he should retire from public life.

8/11/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger DaMav said...

Why would this adversely impact Rice? She gave Olmert 30 days to launch a serious offensive against Hizbollah and it didn't happen. At some point about a week ago it seems the US got tired of holding the door open.

I'd love to know whether the recent IDF call up came as a result of Bush/Rice telling Olmert, "At least get some troops on the border so we have some leverage at the UN to make the best of a bad situation".

8/11/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Netanyahu is no old retired retread. As Finance Minister he has pulled off some great historic reforms in the system, away from socialism and toward free-market capitalism, and has doubled the value of Israeli financial assets. He's a can-do feller.

8/11/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...'s never been the expectation that this force is going to disarm Hezbollah. That will have to be done by the Lebanese.

Should we laugh or cry?

We are right back where we started, except now there is apparently no stipulation (as was the case with 1559) that Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias be disbanded.

Maybe by the time the next resolution is passed, even the stipulation that Hezbollah be disarmed will be shelved.

8/11/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...

What a colossal charlie-foxtrot ...

8/11/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

Does it feel like the Sudetenland in here to anyone?

It sure does me...

8/11/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

From the end point we've reached -- based on this ceasefire -- it's hard to regard the outcome as anything other than an overwhelming Hezbollah victory. Tactically they've lost a great deal. But strategically they are unhurt. They can always recover the lost tactical ground because nothing in the ceasefire agreement obviously prevents it. In fact, one might say the ceasefire positively invites it.

Nor is it clear, with the French augmented UNIFIL in the picture that the Israelis can restart hostilities should Hezbollah attack again. Even the return of Netanyahu can do little to redress the possible catastrophe.

8/11/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

My first reaction to the news was that this seems to be clear proof that there is a commanding constintuency in our government that unashamedly desires for Hizb’allah to survive and prosper.

I want to thank all the posters at Belmont for their wisdom and thoughts.

The distilled wisdom of your comments has reminded me that there’s much more to all of this than I will ever get my puny brain around, but that there are people a lot wiser than I am devoting their grey matter to sorting things out.

8/11/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Donald Sensing said...

Yep, Olmert is on the way out, Natanyahu is on the way in. But, paradoxically, Amir Peretz's star will shine more brightly. Here's why.

8/11/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

No one can get their heads around this because as Wretchard said, "Who knows?" Well, no one.

It's all a joke! The UN, Hamas in Palestine, Hesbollah in Lebanon; both Islamist militias in league with duplicitous governments answering to the puppet master in Iran. Meanwhile, al-Maliki fiddles while Iraq burns and the UN keeps on giving.

This is a setback, the consequences and costs of which remain to be seen and paid.

So much for bringing freedom to the Muslim world.

Cry Havoc!

8/11/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

What went wrong was a fundamental recognition that once one wounds and angers a wild beast, it must be killed immediately. Let us remember and pray for the many Lebanese who deliberatly failed to support Hezbullah, hoping for Israel to remove the cancer. Now they can only await the reprisals reserved for traitors and collaborators. Those were the Lebanese upon whom a future could have been built.

A decisive victory would have pruned forth the flower of future Lebanon. Now Israel will be remembered for creating Hezbullastan under the rubble of Lebanese hopes. AFter the humiliation of a hostage exchange, what clout will be left even to deal with Hamas? THis is a victory for them too. I grieve over the wasted lives on all sides.

8/11/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Talking to Sunny Buddy in previous thread, I said,
"I was all in favor of taking down the bridges, but that was so the operation could continue and starve out the Hezzies.
If they stop now, we'll just pay to rebuild the bridges!"

8/11/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Achilles: Not on your life. Bush and Condi will make sure that Olmert takes early retirement. The leaking from State Department and White House sources about Olmert's indecisiveness, especially in light of the boffo amphibious landing plan that the IDF presented him, will begin rather shortly.

Olmert needs to settle his affairs and get back to the business of litigation. Condi did the best she could for the most inept Israeli government in the history of the State. There will be a vote of No Confidence, and fortunately, Bibi will be the next PM.

There will also be a next war, only this time with Iran. Fortunately, Bibi will be PM. Now THAT will be a Prime Minister worth having as an ally.

8/11/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Britain's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said. "The question is, has everybody got enough for this to stick and for it to be enforceable? Nobody wants to go back to where we were before this last episode started."

I dare say that is wrong. I think Hezbollah would actually be quite happy "to go back where we were before this last episode started."

They are, in fact, almost home free. All that's left is for this agreement to take hold, and they can begin to regain any ground that they've lost and be bigger and better for it.

The really sad thing is that the Israelis spent so much political and moral capital clearing and shaping the battleground, only to relinquish it all without achieving any tangible objective. That, I think, is immoral on its face. On both sides, so many lives lost for no good end.

8/11/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mr Sensing has some immediate advice for us keyboard warriors:

8/11/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sensing Update:
Update: The opposition Likud party has already promised, “”We will work to bring down the government.” Israeli military officers cited at the link are being quite public about their dissatisfaction with Olmert.

8/11/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz deserves the blame in my book.

8/11/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Well, g-dang-it, it just ticks old bob off. I was hoping the Israelis would clean their clock. I have always been for Bibi King of Israel and maybe he will get in there now. All these dead people and for what gain? Dang, in one way I've got no dog in the fight, my ancestors having come here to get away from non-sense, but dang, I'm going to bed down tonight. Well, they are still living and can defend themselves(I think) but dang, it is kind of a bummer tonight. Goodnight.

8/11/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Glad I wasn't around when that dang Combine Broke!

8/11/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


I agree completely with your assesment of the strategic victory and Netanyahu's unlikelihood of being able to change it. I'm skeptical that Olmert is to blame, although I'm sure he'll be the fall guy and that naturally his opponents will take advantage of it. I suspect the truth is more alarming: Israel was outsmarted, took the bait for a fight that their opponent was better prepared, and ended up suffering a strategic loss by engaging in a failed attack that resulted in the perception of gratuitous attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Israel has expended a lot of bombs and blood for no strategic gain.

8/11/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

Doug 09:45:59 PM

Not only Halutz, but the whole government is to be blamed, without exception! The degree of incompetence exhibited in the conduct of this war is too great to be attributable to one person only. This is the result of a cooperative work, like the camel being the design of a horse drawn by a committee

8/11/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/11/2006 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Hezbollah’s defeat of Israel has a silver lining.

Few events lead to defeat more than military victory that does not vanquish one’s enemy. This may be Israel’s mistake, but it is also the mistake of Hezbollah. Victors in warfare rarely learn from what they did wrong in their victories, whereas losers tend to learn from their defeats. Hezbollah will be tempted to sit on its laurels and crow. Let them crow, for their crowing will make their destruction all the more likely. The mightier Hezbollah’s reputation, the more it will be set up for a fall.

Mr. Nasrallah will be tempted to aggressively attack his political enemies in Lebanon. This is an opportunity, for every enemy he makes in Lebanon becomes our potential ally.

Hezbollah is a secretive organization, and it is not accustomed to having its worldview questioned. Hassan Nasrallah is accustomed to self-hagiography. His portrait is carefully crafted with a subliminal halo. If Mr. Nasrallah were wise, he would regard any attention at all as a form of flattery, he is not as wise as he thinks he is. While he is adept at manipulating the media, he doesn’t know how to handle the glare of hostile media attention from people he can neither bully nor flatter.

This is an opportunity to discover what went wrong, and to make sure the mistakes of this war are not repeated. In the meantime, it’s time for cartoonists to have fun lampooning Mr. Nasrallah.

8/11/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mollie said...

of course the Israeli govt will be 'blamed' by their fellow citizens: they have LOST A WAR. And the first job of a government is to WIN A WAR.

As to the US... well, apparently Peretz was mooning on about Israel's 'friends' (ie, Clinton and Abbas). To think that such a ninny could be leader of a country! PEOPLE have friends. COUNTRIES have ALLIES.

And by lollygagging around and whimpering about 'losses' and conducting the war like a bunch of loser peaceniks...

Imagine if the US were being run by Kerry and Cohort right now!

Anyway, the US has to think of Iraq; and the oncoming Iranian train. The Israeli leadership thought it was in Berkeley...where it probably will be, after they are turfed out of their Israeli jobs.

8/11/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/11/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry to get repetitious, but the main failure so far is the rockets still coming in.
That is because of Halutz' Bunker Buster screwup.

8/11/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Is Olmert still in the game, was he ever, and will the Israelis under whoever's leadership join us in an Iranian strike? Perhaps what we're overlooking is how this UN brokered agreement would be rendered somewhat moot, if Iran is hit hard and destabilized. Were action simultaneously to be taken against Syria, too, Hezbollah would lose its lifelines faster.

The question remains, will Bush or won't he? Either he's waiting till he can see the whites of their eyes and not giving away his position, has determined a strike is not militarily or politically feasible and has accepted the fact of Iranian nuclearization, or there are back-channel assurances that suitcase nukes strategically located in an American city or two will be triggered if the US acts against Iranian interests. No doubt we've been promised swift retribution of some form or another. Since my one and only lives in Manhattan, I'm praying Mahmoud and the Mullahs limit their bombing to First and 46th.

8/11/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Assuming that the situation has been correctly assessed: i.e., Bush and his advisors first attempted to buy time for Israel to kick HB’s ass, which Olmert squandered so ineptly that they finally decided to broker a UN ceasefire to end the hostilities prior to (well, to pick a date completely at random) 22 August to clear the decks for action...

I imagine this scenario:

• The ceasefire takes effect and the belligerent parties are separated.
• Hizb’allah gets to strut and posture for a short time
It seems extremely unlikely that either Hizb’allah or its sponsor Iran will suddenly retire from the field and let Israel live in peace.

If the Hizb’allah adventurism that ignited this particular round was NOT ordered/approved by Iran, then we deeply misunderstand the relationship between the two of them. So, as some others here (forgive my sloppy scholarship) have surmised, Iran simply wanted the most current battlefield data on their rockets’ performance, as well as testing the responses of Israel and the U.S. This would be like Hitler’s sending the “Condor Legions” to aid Generalissimo Franco in the Spanish Civil War. It was the first blooding of the troops, and the first real-world test of many new German weapons.

• On the date he has specified Ahmadinejad gives the Western powers the reply he has promised regarding his country’s efforts to develop capabilities derived from the forces bound up in the atomic nucleus. (Only ten more shopping days...)

Many of us anticipate this may feature the detonation of a device they already have, in a place designed to produce mass casualties among infidels, but more importantly, selected and timed to send a shockwave through Dar-al-Harb, hoping to persuade them of the benefits of dhimmitude compared to alternatives.

It is possible Ahmadinejad intends a saturation attack using conventional weapons on several major cities of Israel.

Call me Crazy, but I continue to have confidence that our government has a longer-range plan which has not been abandoned. As I laid out in an earlier post, there’s not much chance Iran can militarily overwhelm the United States, but it can certainly test its will. The Iranians are not stupid or without bravery. The Mullahs and the Jihadis are out of their depth, though, if they think the U.S. will just roll over for them.

8/11/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Forty eight hours is a long time these days. Cast your mind over the past month. Mumbai was forgotten in 48 hours. The war in Lebanon happened literally overnight. The sky terror attack occurred over hours.

Things can change rapidly, as long as one is prepared to act when the change comes. And what's most important, as Olmert has demonstrated, isn't the strength of your muscles, it's the clarity and power of your mind. The enemy has the will to win. And the West is looking for any excuse to blame itself.

What happens next? I don't know.

8/11/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The good news is that Olmert will be gone.

The bad news is that the Knesset does not reconvene until 16 Oct.

Therefore, Mr. Olmert will have plenty of time for further mischief.

Who is to blame for the fiasco? The Israeli public would be a good first start. Olmert came to power on the wishful thinking of a foolish electorate, who bought into the Faustian myth.

Given the horrors of the past month and the bitter taste of defeat, perhaps, that public will regain its senses.

What should worry everyone here is the very distinct possibility of an ill conceived vendetta.

"La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid" - Vengeance is a dish best served cold.

8/11/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Doug, maybe the Israelis will find another use for those bunker busters. Who knows?

8/11/2006 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Mad Fiddler wrote:

"Many of us anticipate this may feature the detonation of a device they already have, in a place designed to produce mass casualties among infidels. . . "

Do you have any evidence to support this contention? What would be Iran's strategic gain in their annihilation?

8/11/2006 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Well Fiddler I wish it were so, but I must take you at your word "call you crazy".

8/11/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Fiddler I wish it were so, however I am going to take you at your word "call you crazy".

8/11/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

the mad fiddler,

Why must Iran attack anyone with a nuclear device, when a simple test detenation (or two) would have the desired effect on Russia, China, the EU, and the UN?

8/11/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

President Bush talked to PM Olmert for the first time since the fighting began as the PM thanked him for the US effort.

I had thought they were talking all along.

8/11/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Allen asked:

"Why must Iran attack anyone with a nuclear device, when a simple test detenation (or two) would have the desired effect on Russia, China..."

Why, indeed? I'm glad you brought Russia or China into this, considering the doubts some have about the West. If Iran is really the threat to infidels that some assert, I'm sure that both Russia and China would have some degree of concern as well as the ability to address it. They both seem remarkably calm with a threat which is much closer to their neighborhood. Perhaps we should be as calm, as well.

8/11/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We still have Iraq on our plate:
Michael Yon's recent is anything but optimistic.
When they start censoring important info, we should worry.

8/11/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Who is to blame for this fiasco? Olmert of course. But if the ministers vote 10-0 or 9-1 or whatever they did to take it further and it don't happen, who is to blame? Who is Commander in Chief in their way of doing things, Olmert, or the Miinisters? Here we blame the President. Just asking. Seems they are all to blame. Can Olmert over-ride an overwhelming vote?

8/11/2006 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I'm asking, did not the Ministers vote to take it further, and how was it stopped? I know I am not up to speed.

8/11/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

this is but a battle in the game...

i dont count this as over yet.

call me stupid...

but i do see how hezbollah has shot it's "wad" and the truth is they are not ace up the sleeve that iran has threatened

let's see how the next 36 hours plays out before counting israel dead

8/11/2006 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

james kielland,

I hope I have not misled you.

Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear for the simple reason that control of the Straight of Hormuz then falls to it by default. While not dispositive, it will suffice for the sake of this post.

It did not matter to me personally whether Iraq had WMD. I supported the invasion and continue to support the VERY long-term occupation of some portion of Iraq because it is the strategically most important piece of real estate in the world. This is not lost on China or the EU.

8/11/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


Regarding Mr. Yon, could you please provide a link and elaborate on your thoughts?

8/11/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Achilles Jones said: It's clear that Olmert is history. But did we just see the end of any chance for a Condi presidency?

I think Wretchard's title will answer that in good time. All depends on how we decide to perceive reality. Is this Act I or Act III. The difference between winners and losers is how they face temporary defeat. Mr Rat has already written our political and military echelons as losers. I think that is more a reflection on his psyche. Reality is yet to realize itself. For me, it is Act I. We still have a way to Act III. If Olmert and Rice can not redeem themselves they will be replaced. Because ultimately these figures are a reflection of ourselves. And we are going to see to it that we get to close Act III on our terms.

8/11/2006 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Doug-who is to blame here-Olmert, the Ministers, or all of them. Got to go to bed. Thanks.

8/11/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...

Speaking of historical analogies: How about Israel as Constantinople of 1453 overrun by the jihadi Turks? Blood streamed over the cobblestones in the name of Allah, etc. The Emperor Constantine's second Roman capital, founded in 330 AD on the site of a Greek town called Byzantium, had been under Islamic threat for decades. Finally, the west simply gave the ancient city to the Turks. The west was sick of a continually howling Byzantium anyway. Why did the city go and isolate itself in the middle of a bunch of crazy Islamists in the first place? The fools. What can we do about it? The pope sent out a few bulls, a few pleas for help; formalities. France gladly begged off; Spain and Portugal could argue that they were involved in their own Islamic mop ups. Italy always resented the other so-called capital of Rome. Christendom said: screw it. Good riddance. Pain in the ass. Never could stand those screwy Greek-speaking cats anyway. Rather man the phones at a Public TV fundraiser. The upshot of course was that jihad Islam got up close and personal - and bloody - in Europe for the next three centuries.

8/11/2006 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


Thank you for your response.

I suppose I remain unconvinced that Iranian possession of a nuclear device equals strategic control of the straights of Hormuz. The actual use of such a device on a ship that violated an Iranian embargo of the straits would be sufficient justification in the eyes of the world for an incredibly harsh response. Even the threat of the use of such device would be regarded as extremely unfavorable.

I'm sincerely unconvinced of the value of an Iranian nuclear device to shut down the straights for any apppreciable length of time. The US would certainly get very upset. As would China. As would India. As low as my confidence is in the European Union, I have to retain at least some confidence.

Perhaps I'm wrong. I don't have the strategic wisdom nor experience of many here.

But what do we know? If Iran has a device (which seems doubtful) there is a considerable degree of doubt about its reliability and its yield. And we can safely assume that they have no more than a very few; certainly not enough to overcome an overwhelming campaign of US air assets.

And what could we do about it? Attack Iran? We could certainly knock their program back a few years with an extensive series of attacks on their scientific facilities, provided we have good intel which I have every reason to completely doubt. Facilities can easily be rebuilt and in a few years we'd be back to the exact same position.

Regime change? I have less confidence in our success to pull that off. That could get really ugly and would be yet another "pre-emptive war" that has not gone over very well in the past. Arguing for it on the basis of WMD and suggesting we're going to deliver democracy would be embarassing, to say the least.

The consequence, as I see it at this point, is an extreme shedding of blood and an even further destruction of America's reputation and influence. All in order to protect the Straights of Hormuz, an extremely important strategic point for many other countries who have yet to express any real concerns on the matter.

8/11/2006 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger saus | said...

The 1st intimate look into Olmert's psyche as a leader, and his government as a whole in war does not bode well at a crucial time in regards to the conflict in Iran.

I regarded this conflict as a pre-cursor to the showdown with Iran, any retaliation from Iran against moves vis a vis its nuclear program by the US and or Israel or anyone else for that matter will be on Israel, Hussein did the same.

There are many talking of the removal of this government for political reasons (withdrawal) which is self serving and no better than the crud Olmert has delivered thus far. The strategic threat is the important factor.

This man will not make the hard decisions, trial by fire. He is now a danger to the State of Israel solely based on the Iranian threat. His coalition, its key players in key positions, are a strategic liability for Israel - an existential threat.

8/11/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

Ah James,

Your optimism is grand.

We've gone back and forth for a while. Please, explain to me, as clearly and briefly as you can, your strategy for victory over Jihad.

How do you define it and how would you seek to achieve it?

8/11/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I have to think we're all watching kabuki theater, to include Bush's taking a beating by his base over what's going on with Israel and Iran, Rice's really busy negotiations and seeming concessions, France's posturing and US/Israeli willingness to accede to French "help", and now the information that Bush and Olmert talked for the first time yesterday since the fighting began. Couldn't this all be misdirection over joint war plans that are imminent, thanks be to Ahmadbadnad and his August calendar?

8/11/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My two Yon comments in the previous thread are 05:26:45 PM and
05:13:04 PM.
Yon article referenced is here.

8/11/2006 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Israel exposed her weakness to Hezbollah and that is the Western reluctance to take casualties. She went to technology and air power. When the US went into Iraq, the US Army got to Bahgdad without the loss of a single M1A1 / M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (maybe one). In short order, Iran helped balance that with very effective use of IED's. Israel got a taste of that. Shortly after the Iraq invasion, the Afghans started modeling the use of suicide bombers.

The jihadis have new tactics, methods and tools to make a very effective resistance to Western armies. How can anyone expect Hezbollah not to become the dominant power in Lebanon? They have the coin to lead and it was minted for them in Israel.

The US occupation or lack thereof in Iraq and the Israeli disaster in Lebanon has given the jihadis and Islamic nationalists back their manhood. It comes down to low tech inexpensive defensive weaponry, suicide bombers and the patient use of attrition. The failure to destroy Hezbollah is a calamity, not easily undone.

8/11/2006 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Mr. Kielland (and others),

My only evidence for my conjecture above is the unslaked thirst shown by a wide range of Islamic leaders and regimes attempting over several decades to acquire nuclear weapons. One can understand a number of reasons they would like to have them...

...Be the FIRST Arab Leader with NUKES on YOUR block...

... Bully your Neighbors!

... Impress your mates!

... Kill For Once and ALL [inserted your most hated infidel group]!

... Why should only the INFIDELS have’em?

It would take an uncommonly obtuse mind to deny all the evidence that nuclear weapons are eagerly sought by Islamic Jihadists. I have no evidence that anyone actually has ‘em, just speculating that it’s possible.

In a number of other posts I’ve cited several examples of nuclear contamination that occured in the 1980’s, involving in each case, the release of lethal materials from junked oncology diagnostic / treatment equipment. I don’t want to say any more about that in this discussion.

Iran’s strategic gain, in either case, I can only guess would be

• the fulfillment of a military attack they have contemplated for some time, reassuring themselves they are on track...


• A further test to gauge the reaction of the West to a series of increasingly extreme provocations...


• Kill lots of Israelis, and see if anyone is brave enough to do a damn thing about it.

The least likely response I expect from Ahmadinejad — Mr. Wallace’s assurances notwithstanding — is a mild and contrite offer to allow international inspection teams to circulate in Iran and certify that their Nuclear development program is nothing but peaceful.

The Mullahs are full of good Jihadi Jism*, fresh from a string of diplomatic and proxy-mil victories. I think they regard the West in general and the U.S. in particular as a pack of gutless whores who will sell their own children to save their asses. Hey! We’ve done a mighty convincing act so far, with a few spasms of brave resistance here and there to throw the rest into sharp relief.

I don’t think Iran will provide a TEST detonation for the world to witness, for pretty much the same reasons that the United States rejected that option. It would tip their hand, and give a chance to their adversaries to make a final attempt to destroy their capabilities.

I am one of those people that do not assume the Iranian Mullahs are bound in their calculations by anything that equates to a Western set of values, goals, or priorities. I’ve seen many commenters deride the leaders of various Islamic Jihadist groups and suggest they do not have the guts to die for their cause, but instead send out the stupid ones to blow themselves up. This is, I am increasingly persuaded, a very grave misunderstanding of the soul of the Ayutollah. In the decades leading up to our conflict with Japan, a lot of Americans were pleased to dismiss the race as a bunch of near-sighted, buck-toothed clowns who were both technically incompetent and cowardly. We paid a dear price for that delusion.

* JISM- Jordan Institute for Standards and Metrology. Look it up.

8/11/2006 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Er..what about the two kidnapped soldiers? What fate befalls them?

8/11/2006 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...

Catherine this isn't personal - I like your posts and value your contributions here - I just want to put on my schoolmaster sash for a second. **inappropriate journalistic cliche alert ***

Everybody let's stop using "kabuki play" for characters or - in this case politicians - going through predictably set and rigid stage motions, i.e. lack of creative flexible or dynamic movement. In reality Japanese kabuki is filled with interesting variation and novel swings of interpretation (within limits but still not all that limited).

The Japanese theatrical simile you seek is "Noh". It is in Noh theater that the actors' movements strike the western audience as inert unchanging ridgid, etc...There are even entire "Noh families" in Japan going back centuries and passing down stage lore from one generation to the next.

8/11/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Israel lost more than two corporals.

8/11/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

I knew this was over for good when I saw Israel and the IDF apologize for Qana.

What was with that?

Has the UK ever apologized for Dresden?

Did the US apologize for any of the millions of civilians we've killed in wars?

Israel should have said "If Hassan Nasrallah really cares about Lebanon, he should have thought ove that before he signed the death warrant for thousands of her citizens"
In any event, it will take some time before the full implications of this are clear. It's way too early to make a prediction.

8/11/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Doug @ 09:45:59 PM

I don’t buy it. The political prescription was already determined, Olmert and Halutz knew this, and played the game accordingly. Sorry, but it doesn’t take a month to ship over munitions, assuming Israel doesn’t have those munitions already.

8/11/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Noh kidding?

Sorry , I could not resist. No malice intended. I wanted to get it in before Doug.

8/11/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

james kielland,

The value of nuclear capability lies not in use but in the threat of use.

Why would the Iranians ever use nuclear weapons to close the Straight?

A nuclear Iran forces the US into conventional confrontation via proxies. In SW Asia, Iran wins that war.

There is little likelihood of the US mounting a ground campaign against a non-nuclear Iran. The Iranians believe, with some justification I think, that the West has no stomach for the casualties such a confrontation would entail. Looking to our excessive caution in Iraq and that of the Israelis in Lebanon, their point may be well taken.

Logically, then, it is we who would benefit from the first strike use of nuclear weapons of a tactical nature against a non-nuclear Iran. And the defeat of Iran may call forth just such a necessity.

Despite our difference with the Chinese and the Russians, we have a decades’ long relationship with them. We are a known commodity. The current Iranian government is a dubious ally at best.

The spice must flow.

Oh, there is one other possibility. The US will abandon the enterprise and, like Dr. Rice, hope for the best. Obviously, Israel will be destroyed in time by the death of a thousand cease-fires.

8/11/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

James, 09:52:58 PM.
Be sure to read my link at 09:45:59 PM.

To me, it explains how a more impressive result would have easily obtained.
They had faith in weapons that were not up to the task.
Lacking that, many good works went to waste.

8/11/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

At 6 Friday night, Stratfor ended a special report on Israel's war effort by saying:

"The increasing confusion and even paralysis of the Israeli government could be explained simply by division and poor leadership. But we increasingly have the feeling that there is an aspect to Israeli thinking that we do not understand, some concern that is not apparent that is holding them back from doing what they would normally do."

I don't remember George ever saying anything like this before, about just not understanding.

Could he be right? Are the governments of Israel and maybe the U.S. perhaps expecting something that we don't know about? Something that would explain this better? What could it be?

8/11/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


I honestly think we've already won. Islamism, as I've explained here repeatedly, has been a failed ideology and is dying.

Is there going to continue to be episodes of violence. Yes, most certainly. But as was the administration's talking points in late 2001, there will be no "moment of victory" and no victory parades. The idea of decisive battles that definitively mark the end of conflicts is a part of the Western mind-set and to a large degree a part of our mythology and literature. I'll refer you to Victor Hanson's work for more on this.

Why were Zawarhi and Bin Laden in Afghanistan? Because their attempts at violent Islamisist revolution had failed throughout north africa and the middle east. It was the last place they had to go: one of the most backward, failed states in the world. They'd realized their inefficacy and decided that all was left was to attempt to try to take some blows at the US. It was their last, desperate gasps. That gave us September 11, 2001.

The result of that attack was the obliteration of Al Qaida in Afghanistan. The Islamists misjudged their capabilities and our will. Al Qaida in Afghanistan was destroyed by early 2002.

Since that time, there have been no convictions of authentic jihadis in the West. At most, we have a few various neurotics and losers that have tried some goofy crap. Spain got hit from some Moroccans. the UK got hit by some domestically produced clowns.

This latest thing in the UK, if it's at all as has been presented in the media, marks a major victory for the British authorities, and yet another substantial blow to the jihadis.

Every single indicator shows that attitudes in the Muslim world continue to turn even further against the jihadis. In the last five years, it is MUSLIMS who've bled more as a result of the jihadis than infidels.

We're winning in just about every way and in every theatre. The biggest problem right now appears to be domestically produced jihadis in the UK, which is problem that will be solved by domestic intelligence and domestic policy.. there's not a single reason to believe it will be improved by attacking Iran.

Strategy for defeating Jihad? It is being defeated. Clearly and unambiguously. I want to stay on a winning course. Some seem to want to put aside victory for the sake of invading Iran, all for benefits they seem completely unable to articulate.

8/11/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...


Israel exposed her reluctance to take casualties for Lebanon. That’s about it. The failure to destroy Hezbollah is a calamity, to be undone by the Lebanese and the French. More than anything, this is THEIR ceasefire agreement.

8/11/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The article says Bush shipped the weapons, but the Israelis did not yet have the planes fitted to carry them.
I believe they would have used them if they could have.
Even Olmert is not THAT screwed up, when the missiles that will destroy his career continue to rain down.

8/11/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

Well, it ain't over 'til its over, and I'm not so sure resolution 1701 means its over.

There's enough wiggle room in this thing to allow Israel to keep on fighting for a substantial amount of time, and it looks less and less like it will stop until, at a minimum, it reaches the Litani. As a practical matter, there's no way to make it stop until the French blue helmets arrive. That could take a while, if for no other reason that it's going to be tough to find a functioning airport in Lebanon.

I don't think the IDF will continue to be held up by Hez. If you look closely, it seems to be adopting new tactics. Judging by the tape of men going into battle the IDF is using infantry instead of armor. Since the Hez cells seem to be organized to stop armor and mechanized infantry, this could be a vulnerability. It would be interesting to know if Hez cells have medium machine guns. If they don't they might be at something of a disadvantage against dismounted infrantry. (The very heavy artillery barrages that are being reported may be the IDF walking infantry into battle.) All this is important, because nothing changes perceptions and the political balance of force than success on the battle field.

I think it's highly likely the war will end with the IDF on the Litani if not somewhat beyond and that the New Improved UNIFIL may not deploy for a long time. Truth is neither the French nor any other Euros are much interested in dying in order to keep Arabs and Jews from killing each other. They are not going to show up until everyone is ready to stop fighting, and they're not going to try very hard to force anyone to.

Resolution 1701 is a Chapter 6 resolution. That makes compliance and enforcement pretty flaccid. (It kinda reminds of the old Cold War joke told by workers in Communist Countries: "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."
Interestingly, it was turned into a Chapter 6 at the insistance of the Lebanese government. That is being widely taken to mean that the Lebanese wanted to prevent anyone from getting in the way of Hezbollah attacking Israel, but it could just as easily mean that it was because the Lebanese government wanted to prevent anyone from getting in the way of Israel attacking Hezbollah. Unintended or not, that's a pretty unavoidable consequence of it.

It may be that 1701, borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, is like Wagner's music. It's better than it sounds.

8/11/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


Thank you for the links to Yon and your comments.

I found this interesting video on Yon's site, and I thought it was worth sharing:

It's an Arab woman making a passionate case for modernity and against Islamism, on Arab TV.

Allen and Mad Fiddler,

Thank you both for your lengthy comments. I regret I cannot answer all points at this time... I hope to get to them tomorrow.

8/11/2006 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...


I just have to laugh. Even if I was to buy that nonsense, you talk as if Israeli pilots cannot fly American F16s.

8/11/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

you act like you cannot read!
"In 2002, the Pentagon offered to supply Israel with "bunker-buster" bombs, capable of punching deep into the enemy's underground defenses.
Israel's air force chief at the time, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, — who, as Chief of Staff, is currently commanding Israel's air, sea and land strikes in Lebanon — rejected Washington's offer, claiming that Israel had its own superb weapons. But with the "bunker-busters", says a senior Tel Aviv intelligence source, Israel could have knocked out most of Hizballah's rocket-launchers and possibly brought the war to an early close.

Instead, as the war drags into a fifth week, Hizballah is still pounding Israel's northern cities with over 150 rockets a day. Though Israeli intelligence determined early on exactly where most of those rockets were being fired from — launchers hidden in 38 underground bunkers, burrowed 6 yards down on rocky hilltops across southern Lebanon — Halutz's vaunted Israeli-made "air fuel" bombs have failed to destroy them. So last month, a top intelligence source told TIME, Israel put in an urgent request for precision-guided, 5,000 lb "bunker-buster" bombs.
The Bush Administration complied, but it will take several weeks for the bombs to be fitted onto Israeli jets;
Israel has also requested an urgent delivery of short-range rockets armed with cluster bombs from the U.S., according to the New York Times. But by the time any of this advanced arsenal arrives, a United Nations cease-fire will probably be imposed banning Israeli air strikes. "If we'd had the bunker-busters in the first few days," laments this senior intelligence officer, "We'd be in an entirely different situation today against Hizballah."

8/12/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...


Again, I can assure you that Israeli pilots are quite capable of flying *American* F16s. ;)

8/12/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I assumed their American F-16's are not fitted for the gbu.

Otherwise I must assume that they have the busters ready to drop and don't, just for the thrill of watching half of Israel be paralyzed by the continuing barrage.
Somehow that does not add up.

8/12/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...


If it were vital, one or two USAF jets fitted to carry these weapons would have been loaned for the mission. This whole story is a canard. So is the nonsense about Israel not having cluster bomb munitions.

8/12/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Btw, Halutz prides himself on being thrifty. He wouldn’t have wasted time and money on military solutions that don’t work.

8/12/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I believe the story, you don't.
The missiles continue to fall.
The reports were that they were dug in and the bombs were not effective.
We will see.

In a new iniative to restore law and order in Iraq, the U.S government has today launched a major offensive, spearheaded in person by Vice President, Dick Cheney.

8/12/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

How about we all read some good books and get the good out of life instead of thinking we all are so important. That's to you Doug.

8/12/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Bint Jamil was never cleared. It was leveled, but when the video crews arrived, during the first "mini cease fire", the women and children were still there, climbing out of the rubble. Saw it on my own TV.
Reports were that the fighting there continues.
This was the high ground, as I recall, that the IDF would control from afar.

So now the idea is that after the "Cease Fire" the IDF will continue to advance, regardless?

Truly doubt they will, in any meaningful way. They did not, or could not, when they had ample opportunity, why do it now, when it is not in the US interest for them to?
It has not been in the Israeli interest to advance to the Litani, or they would have, already. Either that or they physically could not break the HB villages. Two days ago the word was the IDF would bypass the strong points and race north, they did or could not.

Most here seem to think the lack of success on the IDF's part a failure of Mr Olmert's political will, not a failure of the IDF.

Perhaps that is the missing reality that folks are looking for, but do not want to see.
The HB, on their own ground, has achieved military parity.

Headlines and fun for everyone!

8/12/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Somehow you ignored your own vow of 09:49:33 PM!
...easier said than done!

8/12/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Israel asks U.S. to expedite delivery of anti-missile rockets

8/12/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Mr Rat,

Bint Jbeil was’t cleared, and wasn’t leveled. Bint Jbeil, Marun al Ras, Debel, Marjayoun, all are intact and standing. In my estimation, Israel was more interested in securing intelligence from inside the towns then securing the towns themselves. What damage done was done by Hizbollah and not by Israeli artillery. This I can assure you.

8/12/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

The Enemy Within? The Ordinary Men in the Midst of an Extraordinary Plot

By Jonathan Brown Geneviève Roberts and Cahal Milmo
Published: 12 August 2006

"One is a taxi-driver, another delivers pizzas, one group buys and sells used cars. They earn their livings in unremarkable ways.

They are family types, with young children and pregnant wives. They live in typical suburbs and ordinary towns. To relax, they watch cricket and football, meet their friends and pray at the local mosque. On the surface, their lives are unexceptional.

But in the early hours of Thursday morning, 23 young men and one woman were arrested in a series of raids in connection with an alleged plot to bring down five airliners packed with passengers."...

8/12/2006 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

And here, when Egyptian "Exchange Students" turn out to be something else, the FBI did not disclose their pictures for days, and most of the MSM STILL don't!
War? What War?
Those who don’t learn from history …
Bush Doctrine Out, Democracy Project In
The Honest Broker - An attitude to lose by.
Andrew C. McCarthy

8/12/2006 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


Thanks for your response. You wrote:

"Logically, then, it is we who would benefit from the first strike use of nuclear weapons of a tactical nature against a non-nuclear Iran."

I must respectfully disagree vehemently with you. If the United States uses a nuclear weapon on Iran in an attack or in retaliation to a non-nuclear/WMD attack, I strongly believe that the consequences on the United States of America would be more destructive and costly than any harm that the US could suffer at the hands of the Iranian military.

Those are some strong words, let me explain.

First, you use the words "nuclear weapons of a tactical nature." You and I might be able to speak abstractly or theoretically about tactical nuclear or bunker-buster style nukes in such a way that allows us to think that they are somehow meaningfully different from what the world thinks of when they think "nuclear bomb." But our ability to think in these terms does not mean that the rest of the world would see them in such terms.

A nuclear attack on Iran, no matter what the technical specifications of the weapons would be seen as what it is: an unprovoked nuclear attack on a considerably weaker nation by the world's lone superpower.

I have every reason to believe that the vast majority of the world would be horrified by this. No amount of technical talk about the limited fallout or reduced power of the weapon would suffice. This is, essentially, a taboo. Taboos seem irrational, but there are immense social consequences for breaking them.

That might not seem such a big deal. What's anyone gonna do about it? Well, I know people from all over the world, from across the political spectrum. I'm sure that virtually all of them would immediately and permanently boycott the United States and its businesses. I see mass protests occurring outside US embassies and riots in America's streets. I see American businesses being torched in foreign countries.

Latin America, of which I know something about, would be thrown into a state of revulsion. There would be a definite swing to the left, as well as increased power for the likes of Hugo Chavez. I would also see Latin America making moves to establish further and deeper relationships with other world powers. None of this would be in the best interests of the United States.

The European boycott of US businesses would be strong. There would be a call for the removal of US bases from many countries. Many pro US politicians would lose their elections.

The population of the United Kingdom, already strongly divided over their involvement in Iraq, even more strongly divided.

We can assume that Japan would be horrified.

China and Russia would undoubtedly do booming business in defense systems designed to thwart US forces.

The Islamism that has been dying throughout muslim countries could be expected to make a strong comeback.

I believe that's the least of it.

I also believe that you could see coalitions of other countries seeking to wage war on the United States through the manipulation of currencies and financial markets. There would be a strong motivation by many nations to attempt to isolate and reign in such a state.

I would expect considerably more than this. I would expect it would cost the US economy billions upon billions of dollars. And the worst thing is, there's no reason to suspect that dropping a nuke on some Iranian facility would even appreciably slow down their development of nuclear weapons. In fact, the targeting could be completely off.

I sincerely think you're not looking at the complete consequences of such an action. The consequences are not "do we shut down the program?" The consequences are all the things we have to live with for much, much longer than Iran's program would be degraded.

Attacking Iran with nuclear weapons because they may have the capacity to make their own is absolutely strategically unsound.

Lastly you conclude: "Oh, there is one other possibility. The US will abandon the enterprise and, like Dr. Rice, hope for the best. Obviously, Israel will be destroyed in time by the death of a thousand cease-fires."

I believe that this is false. It is the fallacy of the false alternative. In between nuking Iran and "abandon and hope" there are a full spectrum of possibilities. If I understand your approach it seems to be, "nuke Iran, hope it works, hope no one cares."

8/12/2006 02:37:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

There's no putting lipstick on this pig.

The Olmert government's timidity and indecisiveness on the battlefield and at the negotiating table may have dealt Israel a near mortal wound. Hezbollah probed for weakness and found a gaping hole.

I don't know how big Hezbollah is. I would guess the size of an IRG infantry division with the same organizational structure. Double or triple that now as Iran will seek to exploit its advantage. The Hezbollah raiding party that started this dustup was about company size. The next one will be a battalion.

As soon as next week we will see the start of a major effort to disestablish Israel. First by demand for war reparations, then by war crimes prosecutions, and finally by legal maneuvering to discredit the 1948 decision that legitimized the nation.

I hope there is a way to bring a no confidence vote prior to October. Olmert saved a few soldiers' lives but it may be at the cost of the nation.

8/12/2006 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

BAGHDAD: Faced with a make or break struggle to wrest control of Baghdad from insurgents and sectarian death squads, US and Iraqi commanders plan an ambitious strategy to take back the Iraqi capital street by street, district by district.
Gulf Daily News

8/12/2006 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Db2m said...


Good response on Olmert last night.

Time to stop & reflect with an olmert, koffi and rice krispies this morning!

8/12/2006 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Paul Danish, 11:55

That's what I want to hear! Thanks for pointing that out. That makes a lot of sense and it fills in some blanks.

8/12/2006 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Db2m said...

I'm way ahead of you this morning, Doug...5 time zones!


8/12/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Db2m said...


Looks like the UN is still on the throne this morning, but I gotta run,

Koff be da same!

8/12/2006 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli electorate. They are the ones who supported Olmert & his crazy ideas. They knew what they were getting and went ahead anyway.

This should be a lesson for voters everywhere. In these dangerous times, you don't hand the helm over to a middie.

This makes the overall picture a little scarier and the "Long War" a bit longer - but nevertheless enevitable.

Bring on Bibi. There's a time for every season.

8/12/2006 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

James Kielland 8/11/2006 11:51:39 PM:

A couple of days ago I posted that I believed you were a well educated man with a PATINA of intelligence. You immediately wrote back that I was wrong regarding your education; in your response to Sarah you disabused me of the notion concerning the patina of intelligence: it is actually completely non existent.

8/12/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Yes, there is a UNSC resolution now calling for a "full cessation" of hostilities. However, Israel is continuing offensive military operations and has reportedly dispatched 30,000 troops into south Lebanon.

Bottomline: The war is not over and may continue for days, especially given the fact that the specific terms of any ceasefire have not yet been negotiated between the parties.

It would not surprise me to learn, after all is said and done, that Israel first wanted international guarantees (in resolution form) that a multinational force would be dispatched to south Lebanon, essentially giving Israel something of a viable "exit strategy" from Lebanon, before ramping up offensive operations.

In addition, military requirements may have also dictated the relatively slow pace of ground combat operations up to this point. Reinforced by the political need to keep casualties down, the IDF has pursued a cautious, systematic approach to rooting out Hezbollah from its well-prepared and hardened defensive positions.

If my overall hypothesis is correct, we should expect to see the Israeli military soon get serious about sweeping Hezbollah out of south Lebanon--thus clearing the region for the anticipated U.N. force that is supposed deploy in South Lebanon along with the Lebanese Army.

This hypothesis could of course be wrong. Time will tell.

8/12/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Faced with a make or break struggle to wrest control of Baghdad from insurgents and sectarian death squads, US and Iraqi commanders plan an ambitious strategy to take back the Iraqi capital street by street, district by district."

Funny, we were discussing this last week: What to do about Iraq? Why, take Baghdad. Again. (We owe it to them, quite frankly.) Divide it up into grid squares and do one police call after another, grid by grid. Three months from start to finish. The rest of the plan is simple: Promptly hand over the f-ing keys with a smile and a hearty handshake and march on out.

Something tells me the second part of the plan just isn't in the works. That's a shame because it's the only way we get anything out of the first part, given that squeezing Baghdad without also embarking on a long, wide counterinsurgency can only provide a mild respite for a nation circling the drain.

Take back the capitol. Give back the capitol. Get your sorry ass out.

But then Bush would have to listen to the howls of outrage from those of his supporters who have been led to believe that, rather than simply having failed at every turn to find a graceful exit out of increasing chaos, we have parked our big, fat, pricey butt in Iraq so that we can go on to park it in Iran. Or Syria. Or wherever. And who wants to listen to that?

8/12/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...

Israel lost. Here is what they did:

1) They spent their "withdrawal dividend" (the small amount of political cover that their earlier withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza had given them to respond aggressively to provocations).

2) They did not destroy Hizbollah. By slowly escalating, and not inserting a blocking force, they allowed Hizbollah's troops in the south to simply retreat north. Those in the Bekka Valley were largely untouched. Further, by stopping now they forfeit the only advantage of slow escalations (the ability to seriously degrade an enemy force once they run out of munitions).

3) They gave Hizbollah invaluable battlefield experience. And bigtime cred in the Arab world. What is going to happen to Lebanon's non-Hizbollah politicians now? They will switch to pro-Hizbollah positions or be liquidated.

4) The only thing Israel gets for giving up all three of the above is an international force with no mandate to destroy Hizbollah. Even worse, as Wretchard points out, the international force WILL make it even more difficult for Israel to destroy Hizbollah in the future.

I don't see how this is anything but an unmitigated disaster for Israel. They suffered nearly all of the costs of a full scale war and reaped none of the benefits.

8/12/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Whatever the effect of the last minute push by the IDF the final result in Lebanon will most likely be Hezbollah's consolidation of power.

I have no clue what Israel hoped to accomplish with a 3, 5 or even a 20 mile push into South Lebanon. The Bekaa is 95 miles long.

With such limited objectives, whatever materiel and personnel losses Hezbollah may have suffered in the South would have been replaced in a hundred places across the Syrian border.

Whatever happens from here is inconsequential. The opportunity to cripple Hezbollah is long gone.

The chance of the French or Lebanese forces confronting Hezbollah is near zero.

8/12/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger just a marine said...

The Unthinkable - A nuclear attack on Israel or the Navy

A recent WSJ article on August 8th by Bernard Lewis, a professor emeritus of Princeton, suggested Iran may have some Armageddon-like event planned around August 22nd, involving an Islamic end of time type event hinted at by the Iranians, and initiated by them. Here is a link to his article:

The article is an attention gainer in its frightening prospects. Mr. Lewis implies to me a good guess is that such an event would be a nuclear explosion in Israel. The source of such a device could be Iran, Russia or one of its former states, or North Korea. In the latter two cases, Iran would have bought the weapon or materials.

This article has had me stewing for the last few days. Here is my speculation. While the date may be wrong, the implications of such an attack seem too possible to me.

Such a device would be the size of a Hiroshima bomb (20 KT). It would be one bomb with a ground detonation or very nearby ocean detonation.

While one bomb would not blow up the entire nation, its devastation would be enormous in or near a population center, probably Tel Aviv. The downwind contamination effects in Jordon, and probably Saudi Arabia would be terrible depending on the weather at the time. The prevailing weather patterns should protect both Syria and Iran.

The political prospect of a shooting world war coming out of this attack are too obvious. Once things spin out of control, who knows what to speculate about. It is almost certain to me that the United States will be caught up in all this.

Mr. Lewis’s article also suggests retaliation by Israel is probably preplanned should political and military command and control be lost. I would agree, and almost certainly Israel has nuclear weapons. The VELA event in the Indian Ocean in 1979 is good evidence. See this link for details:

What scares me the most is the pattern of behavior of Iranian leaders since the Shah was thrown out, what the Iranian theocrats and politicians have gotten away with internationally (beginning with the Marine and French bombings in the early 1980‘s) , and the probable resulting overconfidence and misjudgments that always result. Now I add Mr. Lewis’s article suggesting the religious aspect, and I am scared.

I imagine Israel and all other concerned nations have government people that have already thought about this possibility, and what to do.

The obvious effort is to stop the delivery of the bomb. Iran is 1,000 miles away from Israel, and the land and sea in between is not friendly to Iran. So I suspect the device would come in by air to Syria and then to be flown or smuggled in to Israel. Since all this is too obvious to the Israelis and the Europeans and the Americans and the Syrians, I suspect this path is being monitored very well.

Iran does suffer from divided interests. The Persians and the conservative military have to tolerate and even compete with the more Arab-like theocrats and politicians and their Army of God (250,000 strong). In my mind, the theocrats and ruling politicians and their Army of God are the ones I worry about. This friction line between the two elements does provide another possible way to prevent delivery of a bomb.

Plan B for the Iranians is to achieve their tactical mission in their local area. This means closing off middle east oil through the Straits of Hormuz (and trying to make it permanent) most likely using cruise missiles from various Iranian coastal areas, primarily Busheur and Bandar Abbas. In my speculation, this Plan B lacks the end of the world aspects Mr. Lewis’s article guesses at.

Plan C for the Iranians is more likely than Plan B, and maybe concurrent with a Plan B. I would expect the Iranians to use a nuclear weapon delivered by a bought and paid for European built diesel submarine (their Russian diesel submarines are too noisy to do the delivery). The nuclear device would take out a US Navy aircraft carrier, or perhaps an amphibious carrier. In either case, the intent would be to prompt the shooting world war mentioned earlier.

The most thoughtful articles recently by Victor Davis Hanson about today and the 1930’s come to mind right now. I always wondered what my ancestors and others thought about events as Hitler and the Japanese told us what they were going to do. Here is a link to one article:

It seems much the same today as the theocrats in Iran, the president of Iran, and many other aggressive mullahs tell me they are going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, destroy my western culture, convert me to their religion, and assume dictator like powers. I don’t think they are fooling.

8/12/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I came to the conclusion (before the Lewis article) that the ultimate Iranian objective was martyrdom by thermonuclear device. The former president of Iran, Rafsanjani, several years ago made the public statement that Iran would nuke Israel and even when Israel responded that although Iran would die that Islam would survive.

The current president of Iran continues to say the same thing. I believe that he is building the historical record. Why should we not believe them?

What tripped me off was an Iranian blogger who commented that "things were crazy around here." He said that outside his window he could see a mural painted on the side of a building. The image - a young mother with her babies. The caption - I love my children but I love martyrdom more.

These are the same people who rounded up thousands of preteen boys from the streets of Teheran and marched them across mine fields into the guns of the Iraqi army.

8/12/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/12/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Just a marine referred to a 1979 VELA event where either an Israeli or South African nuclear weapon was tested . The article contains the following: ..."More evidence came from a Los Alamos researcher using a radio telescope for an unrelated project in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, detected a traveling ionospheric disturbance - a ripple in Earth's upper atmosphere - moving south to north during the early morning hours of September 22, 1979, something researchers had never before witnessed"...

This is not quite true. While on an assignment in 1969, monitoring Soviet missile launches using a similar ionoshpheric RF detection system, we detected a Chinese nuclear weapon test at Lop Nor. This was quite unexpected and was initially reported to NORAD as a high confidence multiple missile launch from multiple launch sites in the Soviet Union. Although our focal point of interest was not on China, we recorded massive amounts of data on an ionospheric event that lasted for more than an hour. It became obvious that this was not the feared and reported attack, but it was a very interesting morning. A comparison of recorded RF data disturbance between the Lop Nor event of 1969 and VELA event, ten years later, would be immediatley recognizable if the event actually occurred.

8/12/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Promethea said...

OK, I'm about halfway through this thread, and I just don't get it--many of you Belmont Clubbers need to get a grip! Go, get some coffee. Now!

Why all this amazing gloom and doom. "Hezbollah has won." "Israel has lost." Unbelievable pessimism.

However, one writer, "What is Occupation" said--it's a move on a gameboard.

A few thoughts of my own:

1. Although it would nice if Israel could crush Hez., maybe that's hard to do. Maybe the game is to prevent it from taking over Lebanon. Maybe having French troops would help keep Lebanon from becoming a total Iranian puppet. Just thinking out loud here....

2. Why should Israel go on a total war basis now, at this time? Wasn't the goal to get Hez. to stop sending rockets across the border and to identify various weapons sites? Has this happened?

3. Someone on another site used a cockroach analogy--how to get rid of cockroaches. In case Hez. is reading this, I won't tell how, but it's a good analogy. Anyway, another positive way to look at things.

It's time to all remind ourselves that this is a Long War, and we aren't going to see things resolved to our satisfaction for a long long time, if ever. Those of you who expected Israel to take over Lebanon and turn it into a well-run country full of Cedar Revolution babes were bound to be disappointed.

I don't think Hezbollah won. I'm surprised so many of you do.

8/12/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Promethea said...

allen . . .

You said--"Oh, there is one other possibility. The US will abandon the enterprise and, like Dr. Rice, hope for the best. Obviously, Israel will be destroyed in time by the death of a thousand cease-fires."

This is just so ridiculous! Have any of you ever been to Israel? If not, go and check it out. Sure they just suffered a bunch of casualties, but they are far far from going down.

Get a grip!

8/12/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


re: "Wasn't the goal to get Hez. to stop sending rockets across the border and to identify various weapons sites? Has this happened?"


8/12/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When bringing either side to the question, "Are we winning?"
The answer from both the IDF and HB would be the same,
"Well, we are not losing."

Same as US in Iraq.

So from the combatants perspectives, who "wins" most from "not losing"? That answer seems quite obvious, at least to me.

The underdog, which is neither Israel nor US.

I think PB is right, payments, war crime accusations and an attempt to "delegitamize" Israel are next in the Mohammedan battle plan.

Live by the UN Resolution, die by it, as well. As that Lebanonese, the PM or President, forget which, said a couple of weeks ago, it's all about the Palistinians and their "Right of Return", as promised by the UN at Israel's founding, back in '48 or so.

How can later Resolutions be enforced, when the eariler ones are ignored? In the real world, they cannot. "Right of Return" destroys Israel as a jewish state.

Which would be one of the Mohammedans intermediate objectives.

8/12/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Das, re your 11:42 PM:

Thanks for the excellent explanation between the two types of Japanese theater-- you certainly noh your subject! I mistakenly thought I meant kabuki in this case, since the actor-pols seem to be playing out a bizarre and quite creative production for our benefit. I don't see their actions as at all predictable or rigid, as is usual for politicians, say in Congress, posturing before the microphone and going through the stylized, expected motions.

In fact, their audience is completely taken in, up in arms over what Bush, Rice and Olmert have been doing/ not doing. They are playing us well, imo. Look at all the hand-wringing here over our "doing nothing" or nothing right. I'm saving my hand-wringing for when the plot thickens (OK, here's where you can explain whether either theatrical form uses plot development the way western plays do. I have no idea nor time to look into it, so thanks!)

I suppose I'm the only one here who thinks she's watching some amazing theater being staged, lots of flare, tension, swings of interpretation, if you will, and dynamic movement. Not sure I look forward to the culminating action, however.

8/12/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

promethea, when you say
"Sure they just suffered a bunch of casualties"
by what standard do you judge?
A couple of dozen soldiers, out of a 600,000 man force, about 40% of the US strength, is not a "bunch" it's a drop in the bucket.

As US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have been, inconsequential, militarily.
It is only in a political realm that the casualties could be considered a "bunch" and then only if the War had no National purpose.

That is what the debate, in the US is about, the continued purpose of of fighting the War in Iraq.
Mr Bush's popularity and that of his Party are mirrored in Israel and Mr Olmert. For much the same reasons.

Mr Olmert's "no confidence" vote will come in October, Mr Bush's in November.

8/12/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr VDH, hits the nail on the head, about winners and losers and other things.
Surreal Rules
The difficulties of fighting in an absurdly complicated region.

8/12/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then that other fellow, Ralph Peters weighs in, he is in Israel now and his report, about the IDF, is not what I'd call optomistic,
Mr Peters, well he's not walkin' on the sunnyside.
The Fighting Never Stops

"... The Israeli Defense Forces are good - great at some things - but their reserve system is growing obsolete. As a former soldier, it pains me to see combat vehicles just behind the front lines crowded together as if the front were a Manhattan parking garage. One lucky rocket strike could cause a tactical catastrophe.

And not one unit - not one - has security out. Maintenance seems poor, with too many tank engines being replaced by the roadside (a nasty job even in peacetime). Israel's best combat outfits are superb - but these reservists don't look ready by American standards.

Allowed to fight, they'll beat Hezbollah. An army only has to be better than its enemy. But the IDF needs to think harder about its future foes. The neighborhood gets tougher every decade ..."

8/12/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

If this deal is the end of Olmert, doesn't that imply that the US was foolish to push the deal?

While it's true that Olmert should have done more sooner, that is hardly an excuse for stopping him now when he finally got to doing what he should have done all along.

Better late than never, and we have pushed him away from late and toward never.

8/12/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger geoffb5 said...

From The Jerusalem Post

"The resolution authorizes the deployment of 15,000 UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon in support of Lebanese army forces, which are to move into the region and replace Hizbullah in parallel with a withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Israel is not required to withdraw until the deployment of UN and Lebanese forces begins.

The new UN peacekeeping force, still under the auspices of UNIFIL, will, according to the resolution, be enhanced "in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations." The 15,000-strong force will be charged with helping the Lebanese government to implement its sovereignty "over all Lebanese territory," including that previously been under the de facto authority of Hizbullah.

It explicitly requires Hizbullah to be disarmed south of the Litani River, and imposes an arms embargo on the organization, to be enforced by the strengthened UNIFIL force.

It also calls for the "unconditional release" of the two IDF soldiers captured July 12, but does not make a direct demand for their freedom."
I can see why Israel would agree to this as it gives them, at least in "theory" everything they say they are fighting for, Hizbullah disarmed and their captured soldiers back.

Now why would Hizbullah agree to this? If they do, I expect it will be just to break the ceasefire as soon as Israel withdraws. I don't expect they will ever turn over the two soldiers they captured in the raid that started this phase of the war. That will be enough to make the resolution fail if the US will hold Hizbullah to the terms. Not allowing the groups attacking Israel to slide on agreements, and punishing them when they do, will be the way to get off this cycle of ceasefire-war-ceasefire that has been going on for years.

8/12/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


...the Palistinians and their "Right of Return", as promised by the UN at Israel's founding
, back in '48 or so.

This is flat out wrong. Look back at the relevant resolutions.

There is no "right of return."

Jamie Irons

8/12/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Remember Iraq?

Using the method pioneered by that old dear Yasser Arafat, Mr. al-Sadr denies responsibility for the attacks on Coalition forces by "splinter" groups attached to his party.

Like the world-wide Islamic "community", poor Mr. al-Sadr just has no control whatsoever over those old meanies who abuse his good name.

Mr. al-Sadr has not promised to find and punish the malefactors. That could be "destabilizing", no doubt.

There is no word yet on the number of Americans and Iraqis killed today.

Meanwhile, the IDF continues its fight against another wholly misunderstood militia attached to Iran.

Faster, please, diplomats!

8/12/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger eatyourbeans said...

Actually, Israel is more useful to Iran alive than dead, at least for now. It gives the moslem world, which they plan to lead, a common enemy. So a bloodied, shaken, but not vanquished Israel is exactly what they want.
As for nukes, I don't think they want to launch them unless they have to; they have bigger fish to fry. Nukes give them the ultimate cover while they prosecute other projects, namely, bit by bit, skirmish by skirmish, to acquire the mid-east' soil reserves. And then shut off the tap, choke the Great Satan dead.
As for the rest of the world, want to fill up? Kneel, dhimmies.
If the thankless job of being President were on my shoulders right now, I'd be schmoozing up China, India, the EU, Japan, all the oil-needing countries to the end of dividing up the whole middle east and taking the damn oil.
Why should a swarm of mediaeval nutcases hold 4 billion people hostage?

8/12/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Resolution 194 does state, in Article 11, which resolved:

... that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Article 11 also instructed the Conciliation Commission:

... to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.

The site from which this was taken goes on to explain why we should "forget about it". Which from some perspectives may be well and good.
But the Arabs, they keep bringing it up, they are not about to stop.
Which is really the point, aye?

8/12/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

jamie irons,

re: right of return

Thanks! That was my next post.

Instead, I'll try explaining that there really are no "occupied" territories because no final agreement among the region's various players has been reached after nearly 60 years.

Think anyone will hear this time?


Colonel Peter’s observations about the sorry state of IDF “Reserve” readiness and discipline are right on. Do remember, however, that you heard it hear first, e.g. rufus has been pressing the point hard for weeks.

8/12/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

I just don't think it's over yet.

Iran is pissed (and surrounded)

Not ONE islamic nation (including any arab army (including the lebonese that were RIGHT THERE) lifted a finger

Calls for a "ceasefire" at the UN came after a MONTH, compare and contrast 56, 67, 73 & 82...

The UN has issued hundreds of resolutions against Israel for literally farting, interesting Israel has flown 5000 sorties without anything like the universal UN screaming about "israeli's bulldozing an empty house"

No, things are changing, the west is being DRAGGED into waking up about islamic facists.

This is not wwIII as Newt says, this is still ww2!

Bernard Lewis writes that the French by turning Vichy thus allowed the nazis and thier ideology to spread into iraq, egypt (alexandria), syria, lebanon etc.

This is still ww2 and fighting nazism. Just read the PA, Hamas & Hezbollah's charters, Listen to Iran's statements, Listen to the chants of the arab/islamic masses... "death to america" "death to Israel", look at the laws that are on the books in the arab world, it's a death penalty CRIME to sell land to a Jew!

No, this is nazi germany, without the military industrial complex (thank g-d).

The war is ongoing with many battles, these battles can be anything from the foiled British plane attack, to the Indian Trains just 5 weeks ago.

Make no mistake, this is MUCH broader than Israel and Hezbollah.

One other point which i keep saying:

Iran's trump card of hezbollah has been shown to be a weak army. Yes Israel did NOT destroy hezbollah, but look at this ONE point:

Hezbollah shot almost 4000 rockets at israel, and killed 50 people, they were TRYING to kill civilians.

From a military POV this shows that Hezbollah is not power they claim to be. They have shot their wad.

8/12/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rufus did say that from his TV observations, cammo, gear checks, etc that the IDF was less than the best.

When Mr Yon wrote of LTC Kurilla, in Mosul, the same type points were raised. Beyond "Catch and Release".

As I recall the story the LTC was down, two FNGs along with Mr Yon were on the scene, but carried no frag or concussion grenades. They were ill equipped and unprepared for the fight. That was US, in a shooting war, as well.

The trends continue.

8/12/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...


Resolution 194 does state, in Article 11, which resolved:

... that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Article 11 also instructed the Conciliation Commission:

... to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.

this also applied to the jews that were expelled from the arab countries...

opps dont tell the arab this...

8/12/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Mr Rat

Resolution 194 is UN General Assembly Resolution. UN General Assembly Resolutions have only a recommendatory character, and are basically meaningless.

Nice try.

8/12/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I am not promoting 194 as binding or legitimate. It exists and is used as a talking point.
The Resolution is ignored, as 1559 was and 1701 will be.
The point that I was making is that the background is there, has been for 60 years and that is not about to change.

PB was discussing the "delegitimizing" of Israel. 194 is part of their arsenal in that effort.
The quick response, here, in an effort to "delegitmize" 194, when it is even mentioned, shows the tenderness of the issue to Israeli supporters.

8/12/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

what is "occupation",

Accepting as accurate your claim of 5000 Israeli sorties over Lebanon, how many aircraft were lost to the hostile fire of a supposedly well trained and very well armed Hezbollah?

Some here claimed that the skies over Lebanon would be filled with the chaff of disintegrating Israeli aircraft, the targets of expertly placed and manned MANPADs. I haven't heard much about that recently, have you?

Israel coulda been a contenda.

We could have met next year in Damascus or Beirut for a taste of wine from the Bekaa. But, no, thanks to diplomacy.

8/12/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Allen -

you are correct

which also proves my point...

aside from those 2 helios that crashed bumping into each other i have heard of ZERO losses to the IDF air arm

Is iran and syria listening?

8/12/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat,

Re: "rufus did say that from his TV observations"

DR, then maybe rufus should be moved to the big seat in front of the big screens at CIA or State.

With respect, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The difference here is that rufus knew what he was looking for and saw it early on.

8/12/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/12/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

VDH and Ralph Peters seem to be going through the same kind of catharsis that many of us have. Killing off Hezbollah's military would have been a big time outcome. Olmert's timidity is a great disappointment

8/12/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 was a resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council. That’s a whole different kettle of fish.

8/12/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is certainly a viable point.
I can think of reasons the SAMs were not used against the fast movers, but the copters in that raid into the Bakaa should have drawn a response.
An IAF general reported that SAMs were fired daily against the fast movers, to no effect.
Which is great news.

8/12/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Since way back when my definition of the end of the WOT is an Israeli dude ranch in the Bekaa.

8/12/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


I saw an article quoting an IAF officer that they took at least one SAM shot a day.

8/12/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...


That wasn't in the cards. This political outcome was predetermined pretty much from day one.

8/12/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

It comes down to this:

1. Iran gets nukes. Iran uses nukes. Israel and US retaliates. Millions killed. World criticises US.

2. US launches preemptive strike against Iran nuclear facilities. Several hundred thousand killed. World criticises US.

What's the difference?

If the world thinks it can do without the US, then fine. My gut feeling is that the Americans will be more than happy to go back to their pre-20th century isolation after the madness of the past century.

Good thing is, world opinion is gradually turning. It'll take a few more incidents, but patience is limited. I give it another ten years before a final reckoning.

8/12/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I disagree that the political outcome was predetermined from day one. At the beginning the only unknown variable in my mind was how Israel was going to aggregate large numbers of HB fighters into killing zones. I never imagined that the IDF would stay on the bench for a month.

The dynamic of the WOT would have change significantly if HB were degraded to the point of impotency in Lebanese politics, and if Syria's offensive military capability and air defenses were taken down. That would have left Iran hanging out on a limb in its own little part of the world. Not defeated but not planning any victory parties either.

8/12/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

My son drove a truck as part of the US Army participation in the UN mission in Kosovo. There was a certain amount of low-intensity fighting going on at that time but the combatants were careful not do do anything when the UN forces were there to see it. The main signs of the conflict were the guys who would pop out from behind bushes when they saw a UN convoy approaching. They would run out into the road with construction baracades, complete with flashing lights, and with shovels. They put the baracades around the spots in the road where the land mines were hidden and then stood, leaning on their shovels, pretending to be a road construction crew, until the UN forces were out of site. Then the men, the shovels and the baracades would all disappear back into the bushes.

Israel's strategy with the ceasefire resolution should be to keep up the tempo while waiting for the French to arrive so that Hezbollah doesn't have the time, or a face-saving excuse, to stand down and hide. If the Lebanese and French forces arrive to find Israel as the only visible combattant force then they can easily see their mandate as escorting the IDF back to the border and resuming the status-pro-ante. But if they arrive in the middle of a shooting war, Israel can call their bluff by treating them as reinforcements.

The key to this, of course, is for the IDF to take as much ground in southern Lebanon as possible before the new forces arrive and the cease-fire begins. Then the IDF should huddle up with the UN forces, following them around to "verify this and that before they withdraw". This will prevent Hezbollah from using the French as human shields and has the potential to get the French a bit more invested in the idea of creating a real security zone, especially if Hezbollah continues fighting while the IDF is "trying to work with the UN." This last bit is based on the dubious premise that the French are capable of shame. I am talking about the French here -- not the UN -- because the UN has proven themselves over and over to be incapable of shame -- but the French might be.

8/12/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

An ignored Resolution is an ignored Resolution, regardless of who passed it, or who ignored it.
The Israeli are past masters of ignoring UN Resolutions, when they were not in Israel's best interest.

1559 was of the same worth as 194, none. 1701 will be paid in the same currency.

8/12/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The most intriguing post so far has been Gerry's at 8/11/2006 11:48:34 PM.

Stratfor admitting that things simply don't make sense, that there is some variable at work in Israeli/US decision-making that has not been publically accounted for.

You know what I think. If Iran is the center of gravity, which most here believe, it makes sense that it exerts a warping effect on Israel's strategy in Lebanon and ours at the UN. Straight lines become curved, etc. etc.

8/12/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The following is a list of UN resolutions that concern Palestine (Arab and Jewish land), Israel only or bordering states (such as Lebanon).[1][2] From 1967 to 1988 the UN Security Council passed 88 resolutions directly against Israel and during that span, Israel was condemned 43 times. During this time, in the UN General Assembly, 429 resolutions against Israel were passed, and Israel was condemned 321 times.

From the data base at Wikipedia.

Law with out enforcement is no Law at all. So redacktor, fish rot from the head, no matter the kettle they are in

8/12/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


re: dude ranch

Gentrification, ay?

The Napa of the Orient. Jamie Irons might dig that. And doug, well that's a no brainer.

What a waste of prime real estate. But until the coming of the Zionists, it was ever thus.

Mount Zion Realty, Inc. "A little bit of heaven on earth."

8/12/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Also, 2164th, I was immensely curious about something you posted on the last thread. I didn't get back until 4 this morning, and therefore didn't get a chance to comment on it before. I wrote up a response before I went to bed, and then shelved it until today to see if it makes sense. It still does make sense, so here it is:

2164th, re: Bush reading Camus.

He experiences the "divine irresponsibility" of the condemned man."

I just read your post from the last thread. I spent all night outside a delivery room (not mine!), and I was trying to catch up on the conversation.

Now, I tend to see patterns even in the most tenuous of connections, but hear me out.

I think that was diplomatic psyops. I really, really do. I'm also a little drunk. (Okay, I'm drunk.)

But I think Snow's statement was psyops on the French.

I think the near goal was to send a message to the French that Bush is really, really going to do it. I think the far goal was to make them stand firm on Iran diplomatically (Kissinger once said that the art of policy is to make calculations that change the calculations of your adversary).

The Argument:
I don't think Bush would be lounging around reading fucking Albert Camus during such a time of crisis.

I think that even if he had a small amount of freetime, which is unlikely, he would use it exercising:

Mr Bush's daily schedule is a secret, for obvious reasons; but whenever a calamity throws light on his routine he is invariably exercising. Earlier this year the White House was evacuated when an aeroplane wandered into restricted air space. Mr Bush was off mountain biking. In 2001, a lunatic fired shots at the White House. The president was working-out. In the morning before tragedy struck on September 11th Mr Bush had been running with a journalist who also happened to be a former All-American long-distance runner.

Bush is the most physically active President we've ever had. Every thing I've read about him suggests that he wakes up early, exercises, works, exercises, works, then goes to bed early. So it's very unlikely that Bush would even be reading. And if he was reading, why in the hell would Bush choose the Stranger. I'm not sure if you've read it, but it doesn't correlate with Bush's persona. You might say it's the wrong book, the wrong war, the wrong place, and the wrong time. I really doubt he was reading it. And even if he was, why make such a point about it? To impress people?

So we have to think about it like this: the statement that Bush was reading Camus is either True or Untrue. Unlike True, the only explanation for Untrue is that it was Purposefully Untrue. And if it was Purposefully Untrue, it was psyops.

And if it was psyops, it was aimed at the French. No way that message was sent to Iran. I really doubt it was aimed at China and Russia. Definitely not Blair. It has message written all over it, and it's not particularly well-honed for Iranian, Chinese, and Russian leaders. No, if Snow's statement is Untrue, if Bush was, in fact, not reading Camus, then this thing is addressed, "Dear France."

It's exactly the kind of plan you would come up with if you had successfully psychoanalyzed the French Bureaucracy -- hitting all the major nodes:

De Villepin is the PM of France. This from NYTimes:

In replying to his critics, Mr. De Villepin quoted from Albert Camus's description of Prometheus, saying, "He is harder than his rock and more patient than his vulture."

Camus is huge over there. It's very important to the French to know and be able to discuss the thematic consonance of Camus with everything that happens in the Universe. Oh no, this was aimed at the French.

And the only explanation for doing so is the message itself:

He experiences the "divine irresponsibility" of the condemned man."

If I'm right, then this was a signal sent to the French that if they want to stop another exercise of unilateral American power, they better make an effort to become part of the solution.

If I'm wrong, then Bush is reading The Stranger. Weird would be the word for that.

Either way, it's fun to think about how many different ways signals can be sent over noisy channels.

8/12/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat; 10:17 AM

The numbers you cite explain the sensitivity of pro-Israel advocates for the greatest possible precision referencing UN bulls. The Pals and EU have been serial malapropists.

I would be very surprised if anyone here would disagree with your implicit observation that UN resolutions (binding or otherwise) are not worth the paper they are written on.

8/12/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Mr Rat

There are no laws between states. The state if the highest sovereign, even in the UN. Bangladesh is welcome to try its luck enforcing its General Assembly "Law".

8/12/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A piece from the JPost is interesting.
Is the JPost a left, right or down the middle part of the MSM?

8/12/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


(I hope all went well at the OB ward?)

Speaking of the French, this is one of a series of remarks I made over at LGF this morning, quand j'étais dans une humeur philo-francaise...

Foreign Minister Douche-Blasé continues:

Maintenant, si vous me permettez, mesdames et gentilhommes, I would like to address the question of where la France stands in respect of the viability of the state vous m'aidez...l'etat...that one with an unusual concentration of nos amis juifs...ah, in the back, merci!...l'Israel...Oui, continuons...we feel that, backed by what we here en la France like to call notre "force de frappe," (vous vous souvenez notre General DeGaulle, c'est entendu) and a strong French "fighting force" right there as it were en teatre, and the continuing efforts at stabilization by nos amis les Mullards of Iran, that l'Israel is, en effet, comment dit-on en anglais? sitting pretty, and has, really, nothing about which to worry...

Jamie Irons

8/12/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...


Oh yeah, everything went fine. The baby was, ah, reticent to enter the world (I think she's been reading D'Rat's posts).

8/12/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That has been my point. You said that 149 was "different" than 1559 & 1701.
I summit they are not.
None are enforced, all can be ignored by any or all parties with little ill effect.

The relative strength of each Resolution is the about same.
They are or at least can be effective propaganda tools, and that's about it.

Whether in Bangladesh, Sudan, Palistine, Lebanon, Israel or Iran.

8/12/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...


Compare Olmert's knowledge base to someone like, say Winston Churchill, or even someone like Donald Rumsfeld. Olmert has no experience in war. He has no experience running war departments and likely knows few people in them that he can count on. He doesn't know his generals' weaknesses and strengths. Even if he had all the certainty in the world, he doesn't have the experience to know HOW to do what needs to be done. Does the rest of his cabinet?

We Americans tend to believe that mistakes early on in wars are not fatal. I believe this is due to the fact that we typically had more troops and resources than our enemies. We tended to get stronger as conflicts continued. I am not sure this is the case between Israel and its enemies.

8/12/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...


Our true achilles heel.

Other than the nattering nabobs of negativity. Look, if Bill Clinton were President, Albright at State, and some like-minded Democrat at the U.N., then I might be worried.

But with Bush at the helm, Dr. Rice at State, and Bolton at the U.N. -- damn, some of y'all are relentlessly negative. I understand some of the disappointment from the Israelis -- they are invested in the myth of the IDF. But does anyone remember the stupidity of a certain set of USMC types bitching from the safety of their California base about U.S. Army ineptitude in Iraq, after the initial war phase was completed but early on in our ongoing "winning the peace" phase -- anybody remember that? The USMC's vaunted "velvet glove" stupidity?

Which was completely oblivious of the Fedayeen and still stuck thinking about the damn Vietnamese? Well, that's what the hell some of y'all want with the Hez in Lebanon. Some of y'all want the IDF to be stupid and walk right into the Hezbollah's military and propaganda preparations. You think the Hez (just like the Fedayeen) haven't studied the strengths of the IDF -- and prepared for them? These Iranians are not buck-tooth idiots, man! But y'all bitch and moan on here like wenches on the rag.

There's an obvious disinformation campaign going on, obvious probing going on, obvious attempts to make the other side show their hand. Patience is on our side, and impatience works to the benefit of the Islamists. Which is why we're so lucky to have Bush at the helm. The Democrats would have been spooked stupid by 9-11 and all of y'all know it.

Though people still haven't figured it out, the Bush Administration forcing a pullback from the first Fallujah assault in Iraq was a brilliant move -- otherwise, the propaganda gift to the Islamists would have been Qana times ten. They were all set and ready for their own version of Hezbollywood. For any serious-minded person, the Islamist playbook is being made very, very plain. And limited.

Patience, patience, patience. We have no choice but to play chess. Let the professionals do their damn job. Iran has already screwed up, so has Syria; both are already boxed in but there are certain required steps that must be followed. Just let the denouement of this kabuki (who was that -- Catherine?) play itself out.

8/12/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

This is how to use infantry.

Israel to halt attacks on Monday morning (2400, Sunday, EST)

Who gets the honor of being the last Israeli to die before the halt? No volunteers? It’s just so darn'd hard to find patriots these days.

8/12/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Mr Rat says: You said that 149 was "different" than 1559 & 1701. I summit they are not. None are enforced, all can be ignored by any or all parties with little ill effect.

What can I say. I'm glad Saddam Hussein took your counsel. I hope Nazirallah does as well.

8/12/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...

"Rice Tells Israel She Hopes Fighting Will Stop in Next Day or Two."

Rattlegator, I sure hope you're right. You must admit though that sometimes apparent failure is not simply a cover for a brilliant plan.

8/12/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, redaktor, I do not see the US fleet off Lebanonese shores, or the 4th ID enroute.
No build up of Coalition troops on the border of HBland, just the IDF, alone.
The Francs may arrive, enmass, or not. When and if they do, you expect them to save the future of the Jewish state?

Have you no historical appreciation of Vichy? Didn't you read wi"o" and the aspect that this is WWII redux?

The only player in the Game with more UN censure than Saddam's Iraq is Israel. Plain as day.
And it was not the UN that took down Saddam, now was it?
As I recall the UN bugged out of Iraq early, before Saddam was even in a jail cell.

I do not think Mr Bush will enforce those UN Resolutions towards Israel or Lebanon, do you?
Who else would, or even could?

8/12/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Even for Mr Bush, those UN Resoultions were used as political cover, for their propaganda purposes.
Even at that, the Administration did not fully utilize them. If they had the WMD meme would have been less intense, both pre and post Invasion.

8/12/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


The difference between Fallujah I and Fallujah II was that the enemy was much better prepared for Fallujah II. The city was cleared regardless with the ragheads pushed into a killing zone in the outskirts. If the enemy's defenses are the standard for an absolute bar to engaging them then don't even bother fielding an army.

Fallujah I was called off because the Fallujah tribal chieftans said they could handle the "outsiders" and the decision was taken to let them try. That's a hazard of the Nanny War.

8/12/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"The US occupation or lack thereof in Iraq and the Israeli disaster in Lebanon has given the jihadis and Islamic nationalists back their manhood. It comes down to low tech inexpensive defensive weaponry, suicide bombers and the patient use of attrition. The failure to destroy Hezbollah is a calamity, not easily undone."

The weakness of the West is NOT the weakness that this quote reflects; i.e. the fascists are strengthened because the West has not destroyed them quick enough.

The weakness of the West IS that SO MANY within it DO NOT understand that hunting down and destroying a determined enemy, NO MATTER what your technological superiority may be, takes MORE THAN 3 weeks. Uncle Ho and the VC boys understood that. ObL and the aQ boys and their fascist buddies learned and understand that.

IMO, the godhead of the West's weakness is Robert McNamara, who seemed to convince LBJ that a U.S. corporatist production mindset could prevail pushing forward to the Generals and the Troops what it (the government/corporatist elite) thought the Generals and the Troops needed to win within the corporate flow-charted time.

It has always seemed to me that history proves that winning on the battlefield flowed from the Generals looking forward toward the enemy and engaging them with what came up through their armies' logistical tail, which was a product of what the government and the corporations could produce in response to the requests of the Generals and their staffs.

As I have said before, to think that the IDF could defeat HB in a month on ground that HB had been hardening for 6 years is folly of the highest order; for the IDF to have rushed onto that ground would have resulted in some large amount of slaughter of the IDF, which would have been FAR more damaging to Israel than the PR blitz the Turtle Bay Grifters are frontin' for the HB now.

Anybody got the over/under for how long before the first rocket flies from S. Lebanon into Israel after the supposed start of this ceasefire?

8/12/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


You have to buy better tequila. It get's too wierd when you start channeling Nancy Pelosi.

8/12/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

At last, someone asks the obvious:

“Regev family: Why weren't kidnapped soldiers mentioned in operative section of resolution?”,7340,L-3290217,00.html

Some here may recall that Mr. Olmert went to war to gain the “unconditional” release of two soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah.

Until day 31, Mr. Olmert publicly refused to consider any cease-fire absent the prior “unconditional” release of the two soldiers.

This is day “32”.

What a difference a day makes.

How many days until the Knesset returns from its summer recess?

No doubt, there is some master strategy involved. This couldn’t possibly be another case of an Israeli government and the State Department kowtowing to the Islamic “community” and the Frogards?

Dr. Rice and the Frogards are masterdebaters.

8/12/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

Boys (and girls)...the fat lady ain't yet come on stage for her part in this song and dance routine. Lots of negativity here in the BC. Recalls the phrase "victory has a thousand mothers but defeat is an orphan." Watch the IDF's recent moves post announcement of the cease fire...I don't see a lot of Hez being around for their big victory party.

8/12/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

The US and Israel are working in tandem, according to a plan and a schedule. Iran tried to force its own schedule, but it has only made life more complicated for itself.

8/12/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What other US politico will the delegitimize movement channel?

What other avenue will they take, but the "New World Order"?

As you say, if the World does not end on 22 Aug, that is the Mohammedan's next play. Off the battlefield and into the birthplace of Israel, the "EU community" and it's collective guilt.
As President Abracadabra keeps saying. Give the guy credit, he does stay on message. That message, it seems to find an audience.

"... "He's actually, in a strange way, he's a rather attractive man, very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way," Wallace said. "He's very, very short but he's comfortable in his own skin." ..."

If Mike Wallace says it, well, it must be "true", no?

8/12/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger saus | said...

Hi Desert Rat, I am frustrated when you talk of these resolutions. I think the point was made clearly that General Assembly resolutions are NON BINDING. Nothing more than the majority of the World's desposts airing their despotic views & opinions. If nations choose to highlight for propaganda that is wonderful, Israel can & does choose to ignore them totally.

Regarding security council resolutions which are binding, they are not one sided all Israel affairs, they require moves by Israel's enemies to be put in effect, the 'Binding by UN law' resolutions Israel is accused of not filling are equally unfilled by the applicable surrounding nations.

There were no sam hits on those Baalbek raid choppers because they came in from the coast, they did not fly in across Lebanon South to North. The same has happened in the last 24 hours. I appreciate very much people's interests in these matters and applaud with vigor those that seek to be as informed as possible. But please, no wild speculation, if you need facts please consider emailing me and I will always try to give you the facts as best as possible - better this than to go wild on speculation! Regards!

On Reserves, also much speculation. Yes there are reserve general units that are called up that are just general forces, not equipped with high tech best weapons etc. Many of these reserves that we are denigrating here are in fact 2 or 3 year out Elite Paratrooper and Combat Units, these are the reserves doing much of the fighting. They are fully equipped and would mop up against 95% of the world's fighting forces. There is no problem with the IDF I am pleased to report. Keeep in mind that after age 21 you are reserves in Israel, these are combat hardened highly trained troops.

Cheers, saus

8/12/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

If anybody wants to analyze the UN Resolution in terms of our Iran strategy, I've whittled down the issues into questions that I have not seen asked by anybody anywhere except at this blog.

Go here if you're interested. Marc Schulman from American Future has chimed in already, and he poses additional considerations.

I've also sent these questions to Powerline and the Corner, to see if they can catalyze some thoughts on the subject.

8/12/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why don't other countries have time limits measured in weeks for winning/losing wars of self-defense?

8/12/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

""He's very, very short but he's comfortable in his own skin." ..."
That could and should be fixed.

8/12/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

As Wretchard says -- Who knows?

The simplest explanation of events is What You See Is What You Get – hate-filled Hezballoids with no plan beyond hitting their enemy; self-deluded “peace children” politicians in Israel & Europe; an ISF that has become slack from sitting on its laurels for too long; a US Administration that is tired & disengaged.

But there could be wheels within wheels. Perhaps Iran wanted to know how well its deep bunkers would do versus current US bombs, before initiating other actions that might trigger a direct US attack on Iran? Perhaps the principal US objective once fighting started was simply to make sure that the Iranians learn as little as possible about US weapons? Perhaps the whole Israeli campaign so far has been an expensive feint? But for what?

The entrails of this particular chicken are hard to read. Or maybe they are simply spilled guts.

8/12/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: "we've already won" wrt defeating the fascists.

Mr. Fallows in the Atlantic Monthly has the same thesis. Let's declare victory and get back to treating the fascists like criminals (and working on root causes). (Until when? I suspect these elites would be willing to sacrifice up, say, as many citizens as are murdered in the U.S. yearly - about 20,000. That's big of them).

According to Mr. Fallows we should have declared victory back in 1994 when the Manila plot to destroy a number of trans-pacific flights was disrupted. Silly man.

I thought Mr. Fallows was better than this. People need to acknowledge that the act of war stands independent of its success or failure. We need to react to each of these provocations (as if they succeeded to their full extent) using all our power, not using just police - who tend to, are constrained by law, to acting generally after the fact. Which reminds me that we really do need an MI5-ish organization (like every other first world country) separate from the FBI that lacks the power to arrest and convict, or use the information they gather to do same, but are licensed to do everything short of physical violence to collect the intelligence they need to disrupt and prevent the fascists from achieving their objectives. Yes, even if it means a loss of some personal privacy, including information that is otherwise known by people and companies that I/we interact with. We should look to the courts to protect us ("is this evidence admissible?") rather than handcuff the executive with prior restraints.

The next election will be telling. In a democracy a leader cannot get very far out in front of the people. And given how far we've moved from the fractional democracy of the Founders towards one-man-one vote in all things, the leash is tighter than ever. Chamberlain was nothing more than a reflection of the majority of the British people's unwillingness to trade butter for guns. We see in the recent histories and personal letters of that epoch that he and the British cabinet largely agreed with Churchill but knew that they'd shortly be out of power if they talked war. The British people had to experience a Poland before they could act. Which also means there's little reason to criticize Mr. Bush or Mr. Blair for not doing a better job convincing the majority that a war must be fought, given that the eloquent Mr. Churchill was unable to move the Brits with arguably a more immediate existential threat looming.

November 7th can't come too soon. To date most of us have only had to sacrifice a few tax dollars - defense comes off the top (right?), everything else (including butter) can be (granted, selfishly) borrowed from the future because only the existence and demonstration of a punitive offense can assure a tomorrow. And only a blessed few of us have had to make the ultimate sacrifice. And it is guaranteed to get worse before it will get better.

8/12/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

pauldanish said... Well, it ain't over 'til its over, and I'm not so sure resolution 1701 means its over.

I can't imagine, as intermingled as the IDF and Hezb'Allah are in the south, how anybody seriously expects this cease-fire to take hold in Southern Lebanon.

It looks more like an effort to limit the size of the battle area -- no rockets into Northern Israel traded for no air raids north of the Litani.

The fighting will continue in the south, with both sides pointing their fingers at the other as the "truce" breakers.

8/12/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In merry old England

Tony Blair has been warned by leading British Muslims that the Iraq war and the UK's failure to use its influence to end Israeli attacks on civilians are fuelling extremism at home. Their views are set out in a letter as a full-page advertisement in newspapers.

The letter warns: "The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all."

It was signed by three of the four Muslim MPs - Sadiq Khan, Shahid Malik and Mohammed Sarwar - as well as three of the four Muslim members of the House of Lords - Lord Patel of Blackburn, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham and Baroness Uddin. It was also backed by 38 Muslim groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain, the British Muslim Forum and the British Muslim Forum.

Mr Khan said the Government's Middle East policy was seen as "unfair and unjust" by many people. "Whether we like it or not, such a sense of injustice plays into the hands of extremists," he said.

You see, it's all on Mr Blair and Bush, Israel and a sense of injustice.

Home - News - UK - UK Politics

Gotta get to the "root cause".
Some will say that the root was planted in 1948. Others will tell us the root cause is in the Koran, which is my own opinion.

8/12/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Yes, Buddy--thinking about Hills Like White Elephants--it seems like what they are talking about is whether or not to go on with life-whether it is worth it or not--a good question--a razors edge of differnce maybe--I chose yes, maybe I was wrong--the stars still seem so beautiful to me.

8/12/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

luc said...
James Kielland 8/11/2006 11:51:39 PM:

" you disabused me of the notion concerning the patina of intelligence: it is actually completely non existent."

Wow, Luc, the facts you present are so compelling, the arguments so persuasive, the conclusions so absolutely clarion!

As to my response to Sarah, which you claimed provoked your new insight, I suppose you could prove me wrong. I suppose, for example, you could provide some evidence that there is a vast Al Qaida network. I suppose, for example, you could provide some evidence that every muslim is a crazed jihadi who wants to destroy the infidels. I suppose, for example, you could provide some evidence that the west is losing the war against militant islam.

And after all of that, I suppose the best way to reveal my complete lack of intelligence would be to provide a compelling argument that a nuclear attack on Iran would somehow improve things.

8/12/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Ari Tai,

Personally, I think James Fallow article is moving in the right direction... I just don't think he makes nearly as compelling a case as can be made. I believe Adam Curtis makes a far more compelling case in his documentary, "The Power of Nightmares"

Secondly, I believe that you've mis-quoted Mr. Fallows in a very critical way. You wrote:

"According to Mr. Fallows we should have declared victory back in 1994 when the Manila plot to destroy a number of trans-pacific flights was disrupted. Silly man."

Looking at Mr. Fallows article which you provided the link to, I'm unable to find the words "1994" or "Manila."

8/12/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think we turned the tide when the New Jersey shelled Lebanon in response to the barracks atrocity!

8/12/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

bobalharb, not to interrupt the thread, but on the same theme as "Hills", there is a talmudic dictum that in the days of the messiah, the present order of things will be transformed, but only slightly. The conditions of our existence might be separated from redemption by nothing more than a hair’s breadth, but that minuscule distance makes all the difference in the world.

(italics paraphrased from David Kaufmann here)

8/12/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

OT, out of context, day late and my bucks always stop short, but this bud’s for you Buddy Larsen. My Diction hurts. I laughed so hard my dhimmi-manner meter cracked.. And I will never be the same again. Sell ‘n Bait! Dance to the music. Seal ‘n break! Dance to the music. In a weird kind of way, I think that is what Habu is talking about. “It’s the dance, stupid.” A never-ending apostralypse - like a calypso conga line that snakes around the edge of eternity and back.

It was either Rowan or Martin who said that if you cracked open the head of Goldie Hawn, flowers would come spilling out. Some of you folks have some unique wiring.

Over and out. Until I escape from my 'they're just nuts' phase.

8/12/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

New Jersey, Iowa class Battleship, the other three were Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri. 33 knots, nine 16" rifles which could put a one-ton shell on a tennis court 30 miles away.

8/12/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Bob--thanks--all ya gotta be is shameless and some fool somewhere will get a laff out of it!

8/12/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger saus | said...

Hi Doug, it's a good question.. I think we both know the answer. It won't be changing any time soon.

The challenge for Israel will be adapting, very much the challenge facing all the West. How you fight with legitimacy forces that shield themselves behind civilians, legitimacy I add in the eyes of the world, for me it is perfectly legitimate to defend against this sickness.

We have seen this time frame issue in a number of Israeli wars. In '67 Israel played 'the phone is not working' getting another 48 hours in which the whole Golan Heights were taken. The amount of firepower, napalm and armamemts pounding the golan in that 48 hours is the most lethal outlet of force ever unleashed by the IDF.

I might argue this 'time pressure' causes more death than less, the IDF would prefer to operate surgically, the planet does not allow us. In this case, the govt did not allow it or buck the trend. Regards.

After cease fire, this conflict will flare again, we all know it, more people will be killed instead of taking care of it once & for all - not too mention freeing the poor Lebanese from 60 years now of this nonesense!

8/12/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...


If that is your feeling that there really is no Islamic threat, not a serious one anyway, and that whatever war there was was won by the West, then you and I will just have to agree to disagree.

You won't move me and I won't move you. There's no more need to waste bandwith.

I'd only suggest you read a NYT op-ed with a viewpoint similar to yours by a State Dept CounterTerrorism official. It pretty much repeats your points in toto.

The title, "The Declining Terrorist Threat". The date, July 10, 2001.

8/12/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Saus, don't forget to mention the infantry unit that took almost 100% casualties in that last timed-out push up the Golan. There was nobody left to do it, and the few left standing planted the flag at the last moment. Helluva story, helluva story.

8/12/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Richard in Zurich writes: "Bert [1]. How long have you been out to lunch for? ID cards will do nothing in themselves to prevent a terrorist from boarding a plane. The whole point is that these people are suicide bombers. It's a one way trip. If the person is not being actively sought by the security services no amount of ID cards will circumvent boarding."

Privacy rights fanatics opposed to ID cards neglect that if you cannot establish ID on boarding - link to crime or anti-terror databases or suspicious activities that should trigger more security measures ---the only alternative to (ha! ha!) "preserve liberty" since you have no idea who is presenting for a flight is to treat passengers ALL as potential nefarious suicidal monsters out to do mass murder.

It has been commented on by people analyzing terror's broader impact on society that we split and defer to either the mindless libertarians/victim group advocates that insist no scrutiny should mar our utopia-- and those that genuflect to "security experts" who wish to progressively relieve the population of their right to do previously innocuous activities and possess various innocent belongings on grounds that "an evildoer" could use normal human conduct or possessions "to do something bad".

Right now, we have a particularly noxious mix of minority rights advocates insisting that the population enemy terrorists come from cannot be singled out, cannot be barred from flight if concerns exist - joining with Gestapo-like "security experts" out to make air travel a maximally miserable experience and treat each passenger as untrustworthy, subhuman pieces of sh*t.

Wait 'till the air gestapo realizes that intelligent Islamic terrorists know about impregnating clothing with undetectable explosives - they just don't have the technique perfected....or that Islamists know all about drug smugglers packing a "drug mule" with 5-6 pounds of heroin or cocaine.

If the future of air travel is doubled ticket prices to pay for extra security goons with "exciting new high tech search devices", people in hospital gowns, preflight enemas, body cavity searches pre and on any connecting flight - The sheep formerly known as citizens dribbling K-Y and allowed no possessions in flight, forbidden to talk in flight in case there is a terrorist plot to strangle people with their gowns?

Count me out.

The sight of the "sheep" certainly would be quite amusing to all the Muslim baggage handlers, food and beverage stockers, and plane cleaners carrying gallons of unsearched stuff onboard within the security area after being hired with just a minimal criminal background check.

And amusing to the wealthy and high government officials spared such indignities by flying private jets and government transport.

8/12/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Wow, reading all these posts is an education.

I think PeterBoston said it best when he said something on the order of, " You can't put lipstck on this pig"

I also beleive it was Buddy Larsen that earlier this week used the word ...interstitial..this qualifies Buddy or whomever to have their name placed in the Wm. F. Buckley Writing Award contest.

I don't really recall clearly but did our host offer the free use of a Bentley convertible and free gas for a year to the winner?

Anyway I had an old football coach or manicurist, I can't remember which, who said,
"If you ain't winn'in, you're los'in"
Israel is looking like a weak marsupial and Hezbollah is looking like a big red 'roo, as the say at Alice Springs. Aus.

8/12/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh! The Inanity!
"One of the men alleged that police pushed him and targeted him with racial abuse, the lawyer said.

Irani said that the men were upset and had been crying.

She said her clients are shocked at what is happening, and were concerned about their families, whom police have moved from their homes into hotels.
And I suppose you're gonna try to tell us there was rockets under them tennis courts?

8/12/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

I went to bed last night thinking that the best explanation for what has happened since Hizballah captured the Israeli soldiers is that Israel's reponse was accidentally a huge strategic mistake. Everything that has happened since has been an attempt by the US and its allies to recover.

Specifically, while the attention of the US and the UK were focussed on the train bombings in Mumbai, Rice's tour, and the upcoming G-8 meeting, Israel retaliated against Lebanon instead of Syria as the US would have wanted. US desires were made clear by Bush when he assigned blame to Iran and Syria in both his public and contrived open mike statements. Official US statements also insisted that Israel not do anything to destabilize the fledgling Lebanese democracy. It sounded to me at the time like the US was saying lay off Lebanon and break Syria.

What is occupation's gameboard analogy helped me to clarify my thoughts. Imagine a game, it could be an odd form of chess, where the opponents form teams. One team includes Iran, Syria, Hizballah, Hamas, Sadr's legion, North Korea and Russia -- yes Russia, I think her relationship with Iran is more than commercial. On the other side is the US, the UK, Australia, Japan and Israel.

There are also kibbutzers. On a third side of the board are France, KSA, Jordan, Egypt, etc. On the fourth side are China and India. At any time players can become kibbutzers or switch sides. Also, kibbutzers can become players if accepted by their chosen team.

The game proceeds with each of the two opponents taking their turns. A move can be made by any player on a team, but not all of the players on either team are fully aware of their team's strategy.

Hizballah made a move and before consulting with her team mates, Israel countered. It was the wrong move, i.e, it was somehow potentially fatal to US grand strategy. All moves since then have been an attempt to recover from Israel's blunder.

8/12/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The only reason that pig is stickless is that the gloss was confiscated by Homeland Security!

8/12/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Cedarford (02:53:17):

Great post!

(And no mention of Neocons or Jews!)


Jamie Irons

8/12/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Fox has just reported that the three gentlemen in Michigan, who went on a 1000+ cell-phone buying spree, have just been arraigned for aiding terrorism.

Bond has been set a $750,000.00 each.

Once again, the Islamic "community" has failed us.

These guys are, I believe, naturalized Americans, whether pre- or post-911 I cannot say.

8/12/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

DR 8/12/2006 01:23:36 PM
“Others will tell us the root cause is in the Koran, which is my own opinion.”

That is a terrible thing to say!

But, unfortunately, it is true and I agree with it ;)
Doug said... 8/12/2006 12:58:58 PM
""He's very, very short but he's comfortable in his own skin." ..."
That could and should be fixed.

I agree with that too ;)

8/12/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Very good post, and a most suggestive hypothesis.

Jamie Irons

8/12/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger just a marine said...

Islam - A religion or an ancient desert mafia guised in the name of a religion?

That Islam spread from a bunch of desert tribes and Mohammed to become the 1.4 billion strong religion it is today says legions. One blogger asked a good question recently. Is it them or us? What made the desert origin of Islam as taught by Mohammed spread over much of the world? That it did spread implies acceptance by those who converted. How did this happen? The implication is that this is good because people accepted it. The swath of Islam from Spain to the Philippines says much.

My answer to my homework assignment is like a multiple choice question on a test. The answers are:
1) Military conquer of weak tribes
2) Astute rule of some of the conquered tribes
3) Assimilation into the local tribe/culture primarily through marriage
4) Criminals wrapping themselves in revolutionary clothes
5) All of the above

The history of Islam as I study it shows it to be people-oriented. That says it all! Some people are better or worse than others.

The worlds history is full of megalomaniacs. This applies to Islam as well. The spread of Islam was an “all of the above”. So there are both good and bad impacts.

Take all this to today’s times. Many bandits often guise themselves in the name of revolutionaries or guerillas. This principle has applied throughout history.

When Muhammad died in 632, he left a raft of religious problems which we still suffer from today. While I doubt he might recognize much of what is happening in the name of Islam today, I think he did leave a political and military organization adrift, to include succession and even the vision of his revelations.

Fast forward.

Many of us in the world are under attack by mullahs and politicians from a small portion of the Islam religion. By attack I mean some of us will die. Over time, I expect the vast Muslim population will kill this minority. In the meantime, this very minority group, this desert mafia, this band of criminals guised as mullahs and revolutionaries, will continue to implement “answer one” above.

8/12/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

James Kielland said... 8/12/2006 01:40:07 PM

“provide a compelling argument that a nuclear attack on Iran would somehow improve things.” Cars would be easier to park on a smooth surface and because it would glow in the dark there would be no problem if you forgot to turn on the headlights at dusk. ;)

However, if Sarah could not convince you with her intelligent answer delivered with wit and charm, I will pull an Olmert and withdraw from the argument.

8/12/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Great post!

You may have noticed that some here have counseled the route through Syria to destroy Hezbollah, from the outset of hostilities.

While one man's opinion, it was the only move that offered any chance of strategic success.

Some here, after analyzing the Israeli response, predicted pretty much what we see today.

It will not be long in the finding Mr. Olmert's folly. People within the US and Israeli governments are going to seek cover.

Despite all this, I think we will discover that the State Department is not disappointed in the survival of Syria.

What is to be made of Mr. Bush's not having spoken to Mr. Olmert until today?

8/12/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's easy, Allen--part of the foot-dragging.

8/12/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Do any BC contributors know of any rally held by "moderate" Muslims for the purpose of condeming the radical elements of Islam?

I would support a candidate who introduced a bill in congress saying that Islam is not a religion recognized by the United States, but rather a "philosophy" and thus not protected under the 501 tax code section, be it 501c3 or whatever.
Then I would encourage the congress to remove the hate crime laws relevant to Muslims.
Then we could all follow our conscience on how to deal with them.
Whup comes to mind.

8/12/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: ...according to Mr. Fallows...

A little too literal perhaps. Mr. Fallows words suggests that we are done with the tools of war and we need to focus our efforts on policing - that the making of war and its necessary setbacks and failures both leave the appearance of (PR) victories for the other side and creates more jihadis and jihadi-wanabees than the 30-60k fascists that came thru the Afghan and related training camps (including some thru Baghdad) - of which Afghanistan sent half to their maker and Iraq half of the remaining - and lately a few more every day. Granted, at the rate of a few a day we and the Afghan and Iraqi governments will be another decade cleaning up last century's mess (of which OBL and AQ are just one symptom).

I may not understand Fallows, perhaps he is suggesting we stop using the word "war" while keeping (1) the Congressional authorization in place, (2) the Iraq campaign war goals as stated in support of the national security strategy, (3) our options open for quick (i.e. based-in-the-region) offensive action against those who harbor or support terror, as well as (4) expanding our military presence across the troubled areas (but just fib about it).

However I expect not. I suspect he believes we should point to a success and announce our "retirement" to defensive (not punitive offense, "in-your-face") measures. The Manila bombing disruption is an example of such a success - at a time when provocations were increasing. Granted that we only hear of a small fraction of various government successes in these efforts (so it'll be some time before we understand causality).

Provocations are increasing today as the proxy masters in (all) the arab states, Iran and beyond are beginning to show their (bloody) hands. Which is why now is NOT the time to declare success and retreat behind our own version of a Maginot line, putting more effort into the palliative of surveiling of our own citizens than killing those who make us do so.

But I won't be terribly unhappy to be in the minority if November 7th decides otherwise by a definitive vote. Then we'll see if the Left can do any better (and watch how they react to, say, a Los Angeles-sized ruin on the west coast after declaring victory and depending on others' (esp. the tyrants) motivations to deal with these problems within their own borders). I remember us abandoning the field in Vietnam and the millions of deaths in the region that followed. Including our backing out on a promise to fund and supply the South who up to that point were holding their own. A promise that a Democratic Congress reneged on.

I'm also reminded of how upset many citizens were when FDR went to fight the Germans and deferred dealing with the Japanese. FDR defined the enemy and victory correctly then, and I believe Mr. Bush has done the same now. But it'll be 30-40 years before we'll know the truth of it.

In the meantime the harder path is likely the right path. And there's nothing easy about the path the current administration has taken. They have nearly always turned into the wind.

8/12/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/12/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

just a marine asked:

"What made the desert origin of Islam as taught by Mohammed spread over much of the world?

Because it's easier to stay stupid and lazy that to create a civilization like the USA. There's only one spot at the top of the pyramid and that's us right now. They had a shot but for the same reasons they will ultimately lose this world war is because their philosophy is too bellicose for mankind to swallow.
We need to simply erase them.

8/12/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I had to smile when I read:
"some here have counseled the route through Syria to destroy Hezbollah, from the outset of hostilities."

Then I out right laughed when I read:
"it was the only move that offered any chance of strategic success"

Just because I remembered all those that disagreed. HB was going to be "Eliminated" and "Destroyed" at least "Disarmed".

The Cedar Revolution has been burnt in the fire, hopes for a secular democratic society in Lebanon, up in smoke along with the corner stone of US foreign policy. The Twin Towers of the Democracy Project, pancaking like the World Trade Center.

The HB supporters, those that had been living in the south, are now firmly entrenched in Beirut, the Christians and Sunni having left town for the mountain lodges.
The refugees are reported to have taken occuppancy in the empty dwellings of the vacationing Beirut refugees. The Shia will not be heading back south, to their rubbled villages. Wonder if they'll give up their quarters to the returning Beiruti, possession being 9/10's of the Law.

The Lebanonese Army is 31% Shia, or shall we say HB sympathizers. The French, another laugh, if security for Israel is considered a humorous matter.

Mr Bush had no reason to speak to Mr Olmert. Ms Rice is many things, a skilled communicator amongst them. Each Principle knew full well the position of other. Ms Rice being no renegade "free agent", IMO.

8/12/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/12/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

Jamie, Allen thanks.

What is to be made of Mr. Bush's not having spoken to Mr. Olmert until today?

I'd like to say uncontrollable temper, but I have a hunch that, if true, it's more than that. Still, it may just be a way of saying telling the world, "We're not as close as we look."

The Syria route still looks good, but I don't see how to get there from here. If there is a path from the cease fire resolution, I don't see it.

Spengler thinks that Syria has been destabilized by the Lebanese refugees. He thinks the effect on the struggling Syrian economy will be significant.

8/12/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

loud and clear

8/12/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ask Spengler --advice to the certitude-lorn.

8/12/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

According to security sources, "several" of the 23 people still in custody over the alleged plot last week are suspected of links to universities, appearing to confirm growing fears that campuses are providing Britain's biggest security threat.

Intelligence analysts warned Britain in the aftermath of September 11 that British Muslims of student age were being drawn to the cause of fundamentalism. Many of these men, often from middle-class families, are believed to have infiltrated British universities to recruit terrorists.

Although the security services in Britain are convinced that they have arrested the "main players" in the airline plot, officials in the US say that at least five suspects are still being hunted.

8/12/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


One interpretation of the following could be that the President is still pitching during extra innings:

"These steps are designed to stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state, and put an end to Iran and Syria's efforts to hold the Lebanese people hostage to their own extremist agenda,"

Israel surges into Lebanon, despite vote

8/12/2006 04:54:00 PM  

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