Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Al-Qaeda from the inside out

Lawrence Wright traces the intellectual history of al-Qaeda in a marvellous article for the New Yorker. The view looking out from within al-Qaeda is completely different from the standard narrative provided by the newspapers. We learn about a man who converted Bin Laden to Salafism and who later accused him of leading the Jihad to catastrophe -- a man who is in US custody. Wright describes the pivotal role of Afghanistan in creating a place for Jihad to train and formulate its plans, and why September 11 is regarded by some Islamic radicals as a complete mistake.


From hiding places in Iran, Yemen, Iraq, and the tribal areas of western Pakistan, Al Qaeda’s survivors lamented their failed strategy. Abu al-Walid al-Masri, a senior leader of Al Qaeda’s inner council, later wrote that Al Qaeda’s experience in Afghanistan was "a tragic example of an Islamic movement managed in an alarmingly meaningless way.” He went on, “Everyone knew that their leader was leading them to the abyss and even leading the entire country to utter destruction, but they continued to carry out his orders faithfully and with bitterness."

In June, 2002, bin Laden’s son Hamzah posted a message on an Al Qaeda Web site: "Oh, Father! Where is the escape and when will we have a home? Oh, Father! I see spheres of danger everywhere I look. . . . Tell me, Father, something useful about what I see."

A picture emerges of a movement which experienced catastrophe in precisely the places the media declared them triumphant: in the shadow world in which American secret agents pursue them and in Iraq. A movement that is fragmented and held together only by thinkers who analyzed each catastrophe to find in them the seeds of victory, never losing sight of their goal: to rouse the whole Muslim world under one banner. Al-Qaeda looked at their efforts in Iraq and saw only catastrophe:

Zarqawi angrily refuted Maqdisi’s remarks, saying that he took orders only from God; however, he was beginning to realize that his efforts in Iraq were another dead end for jihad. “The space of movement is starting to get smaller,” he had written to bin Laden in June. “The grip is starting to be tightened on the holy warriors’ necks and, with the spread of soldiers and police, the future is becoming frightening.” Finally, bin Laden agreed to lend his influence to assist Zarqawi in drawing recruits to his cause. In October, 2004, Zarqawi announced his new job title: emir of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

From that time until he was killed by American bombs, in June, 2006, Zarqawi led a murderous campaign unmatched in the history of Al Qaeda. Before Zarqawi became a member, Al Qaeda had killed some thirty-two hundred people. Zarqawi’s forces probably killed twice that number. In July, 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s chief ideologue and second-in-command, attempted to steer the nihilistic Zarqawi closer to the founders’ original course.

The problem for al-Qaeda was how to get things back on track. Zarqawi refused to listen. He had another idea: he would conjure victory from chaos. He would make people so weary of bloodshed that they would turn in desperation to the certainty of sharia as an alternative to unending turmoil. Gradually his ideas were accepted as having a certain logic after all, and were joined to an earlier  intellectual thread within al-Qaeda, which saw the road to the Caliphate sojourning temporarily through barbarism, or as they termed it, a period of "savagery". The trick was to manage savagery.

Zarqawi did not heed Al Qaeda’s requests. As the Iraqi jihad fell into barbarism, Al Qaeda’s leaders began advising their followers to go to Sudan or Kashmir, where the chances of victory seemed more promising. Al Qaeda, meanwhile, was confronting a new problem, which one of its prime thinkers, Abu Bakr Naji, had already anticipated, in an Internet document titled “The Management of Savagery.”

The theoretical basis for this strategy, an al-Qaeda document called the "Management of Savagery", has been the subject of study at West Point. It was anonymously authored by the mysterious Abu Bakr Naji, who anticipates the fact that while the Jihad will be everywhere tactically defeated by American forces, the necessary fate of each battlefield would be ruin and chaos; and it would not be an unfavorable outcome because chaos is on Allah's side. As the world's system administrator, America would be tied down attempting to restore order everywhere. The dilemma the US could not avoid was that to rule was to maintain order; but to fight the Jihad was to foul its own nest.

... the thesis of "The Management of Savagery" is drawn from the observation of the Yale historian Paul Kennedy, in his book "Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" (1987), that imperial overreach leads to the downfall of empires. Naji began writing his study in 1998, when the jihad movement’s most promising targets appeared to be Jordan, the countries of North Africa, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen .... Naji recommended that jihadis continually attack the vital economic centers of these countries, such as tourist sites and oil refineries, in order to make the regimes concentrate their forces, leaving their peripheries unprotected. Sensing weakness, Naji predicts, the people will lose confidence in their governments, which will respond with increasingly ineffective acts of repression. Eventually, the governments will lose control. Savagery will naturally follow, offering Islamists the opportunity to capture the allegiance of a population that is desperate for order. (Naji cites Afghanistan before the Taliban as an example.) Even though the jihadis will have caused the chaos, that fact will be forgotten as the fighters impose security, provide food and medical treatment, and establish Islamic courts of justice.

In response to criticisms he was sowing barbarism in Iraq, Zarqawi shrewedly offered al-Qaeda leadership a strategy based on chaos. Expand the war to include Iran by attacking the Shi'ites, he argued, create enough trouble and America will recoil in disgust and horror.

...dragging Iran into conflict with the United States is key to Al Qaeda’s strategy. Expanding the area of conflict in the Middle East will cause the U.S. to overextend its forces ... Al Qaeda believes that Iran expects to be attacked by the U.S., because of its interest in building a nuclear weapon. "Accordingly, Iran is preparing to retaliate for or abort this strike by means of using powerful cards in its hand," he writes. These tactics include targeting oil installations in the Persian Gulf, which could cut off sixty per cent of the world’s oil supplies, destabilizing Western economies. In an ominous passage, [the writer] Hussein notes that "for fifteen years—or since the end of the first Gulf War—Iran has been busy building a secret global army of highly trained personnel and the necessary financial and technological capabilities to carry out any kind of mission." He is clearly referring to Hezbollah, which has so far focussed its attention on Israel.

Commentary

As a model of directness, the idea of creating enough chaos to collapse the current world system has few peers. Overload the system administrator and the system crashes. But the path al-Qaeda's ideology took to reach this stunning conclusion is even more instructive. Al-Qaeda's own beginnings had its roots in the pre-OIF, pre-September 11 world. It was in the first instance a rebellion against the corruption and despotism in countries like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Gulf States. Ironically, al-Qaeda was a defiance to the very same pillars of "stability" that critics of OIF now hanker to return to; those pillars which to al-Qaeda were the walls imprisoning the Muslim world.

In a world where any deviation from an American war plan three years old is seized upon as evidence of defeat, it is instructive to see the dynamic nature of enemy thinking; an enemy lacking in everything but the self-imposed taboo against adaptation. An America which once prided itself in a "can do" attitude has by comparison become a hidebound giant manacled by mealy-minded legalistic thinking; making the cardinal error of believing that its foe is simply an exotically caparisoned but mirror image of itself.

40 Comments:

Blogger Kvta said...

A fascinating insight into a very disturbing subject. Thanks.

9/13/2006 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

Nice Wretch, that last paragraph is intense!

9/13/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

MICHAEL YON: If killing bad guys is all we do, we will be spending a lot of money to lose a war. “ Stagnation
---
Michael Yon - Getting Stronger

We are seeing the results on the battlefields of Afghanistan.
Instead of the planned shift toward stability that was expected to be far enough along to enable us to draw down U.S. troops and turn over the security operations to NATO forces, the Taliban has resurged, re-armed, regrouped, and re-emerged as a serious military threat.

According to retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey, who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan:

"In my view, there is little question that the level of fighting has intensified rapidly in the past year. Three years ago the Taliban operated in squad sized units. Last year they operated in company sized units (100+ men). This year the Taliban are operating in battalion sized units (400+) men."

Afghanistan is the new hot war — and it’s getting hotter.

9/13/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Skimming through "Imperial Hubris" I encountered the argument that Afghanistan may inherently be unstable because the Karzai government is based on a narrow faction. In contrast, the Shi'ite dominated Iraqi government may be inherently stable because Iraq itself is Shi'ite majority country. Between opium, its proximity to Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia and its forbidding terrain, there are as many reasons to object to Afghanistan as to Iraq, except of course the fact that European allies are involved. That makes it all OK.

A lot of the conventional wisdom may actually be wrong. Reading through Osama Bin Laden's litany of whereases for the Jihad, I was struck by the fact that his casus belli is rooted entirely in the pre-September 11 world. Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Kashmir, the American defense of Saudi Arabia against Saddam -- are all mentioned as specific outrages. They were the reason America had to be destroyed. The notion that Iraq somehow provoked al-Qaeda into existence is an argument for time travel. Leave Iraq and we will be back in exactly the same world that created al-Qaeda. A world in which, to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, America was at war without realizing that it was.

Yet none of these considerations is reflected in the public debate, which has become reduced to brand competition between "stay the course" and "bring the boys home now", neither of which makes any sense in and of itself unless it were in pursuit of a larger strategy. The Democrats have succesfully made Iraq the issue. And the Republicans have successfully made Iraq the issue. And to a certain extent, this kind of head-butting has left the enemy more freedom of action than we have allowed ourselves.

9/13/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Intelligence Irony [Michael Rubin]
Intelligence analysts and regional specialists often do intellectual somersaults to downplay Islamism and the threat from those acting in the name of Islam. This was especially true before 9/11 (Byron York highlighted one case here ;
another case is here ), but it’s becoming trendy yet again.
How ironic, then, that back in 1946, the predecessor of today’s Defense Intelligence Agency didn’t hesitate to identify radical Islam as a chief-over-the-horizon threat facing the United States. Not only does some analyst deserve a posthumous medal—he correctly nailed the weakness of pan-Arabism—but this declassified article shows by comparison just how constrained contemporary intelligence analysis has become by inside-the-box thinking, bureaucracy and multi-layered clearance processes, and political correctness.

9/13/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

190 taliban fellas gather in tight formation in Afghanistan, a US drone spots them from the air, sednding realtime video back to the Command Center.

The perfect target for hellfire?
nah, seems the Taliban had gathered for a funeral, and being on hallowed ground, have Sanctuary there, as well as in Warizistan.

Seems the US RoEs will not allow killing the enemy while they are at funerals, to disrespectful of the dead. So when some of those 190 Taliban fighters happen to kill or wound a US or NATO trooper, remember to thank Mr Bush and his Generals for a job well done.
Respecting the Mohammedan dead, that's the priority, not killing the enemy or achieving victory, we can do that, later.

As reported on FOX News.

9/13/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

stated: Iran has been busy building a secret global army of highly trained personnel and the necessary financial and technological capabilities to carry out any kind of mission.” He is clearly referring to Hezbollah, which has so far focussed its attention on Israel.

the hezbollah card has been played on israel, 4200 rockets shot and 44 people killed. This is not for lack of trying, a strategic threat anymore. The "threat" of hezbollah has been quantified and now israel is turning it's attention to iran's longer range larger missiles that can hit tel aviv. Iran lost a HUGH "ace up their sleeve", they pulled it out and it was not the "ace" that was threatened. now iran will need to turn to other acts of terror to threaten the west....

but the good news? iran lost a major asset in hezbollah in lebanon... it aint what it used to be..

9/13/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Vintage, W, at your best.

To your post: there is the old saying "The greatest trick the devil played on humanity was to convince humanity that he didn't exist."

The greatest trick the devil played on the Jihadis was to get them to try to convince humanity that their message was from a Religion of Peace.

Only to have Islam subject to a (quintessential) western analysis, and its consequential recoil. New words to the English language - jihad, taquya, dhimmi - now standard around the watercooler. What used to be "he's just an arse-licker" is now "he's just a dhimmi".

Al Qaeda? The death spasms of a dying culture, a dying meme.

They can't kill each other fast enough.

ADE

9/13/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Kashmir, the American defense of Saudi Arabia against Saddam -- are all mentioned as specific outrages. They were the reason America had to be destroyed.

The thing with the box cutters five years ago was a cheap shot. It they want to destroy America they should come out of the corner swinging. But no, they want the whole match to be Rocky in the ring with his red white & blue shorts, and Apollo Creed standing out among the crowd talking trash.

9/13/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard commented:

"The notion that Iraq somehow provoked al-Qaeda into existence is an argument for time travel."

and similarily, the whole meme about 'we must continue the fight in Iraq because we are fighting terror (read al-Qaeda) is one big red herring. The whole conflict in Iraq is much more about Shiite/Sunni/Kurd/Iran/Tribal conflicts and OIL. Terror is but a tactic used by many and al-Qaeda's involvement is a sideshow - except in the US political theater.

9/13/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I don't think the devil is working against the Jihadis.

desert rat said...

maybe they fear the beast, only it's mark may be MSM. (just keeping with the devil motif).

9/13/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When did I ever say that?
Surely do not recall it

9/13/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

desert rat said... Seems the US RoEs will not allow killing the enemy while they are at funerals, to disrespectful of the dead. So when some of those 190 Taliban fighters happen to kill or wound a US or NATO trooper, remember to thank Mr Bush and his Generals for a job well done.

just referring to this. the publicity would bad i guess.

9/13/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

slim,

The devil appears in the form you most fear him.

There is no devil, 'cept you're afraid.

What is the West afraid of? Why, that we are Gods. Hence the Left.

Hard to believe, isn't it? You, me, our gracious host, Doug. Gods, the lot of us.

What is Islam afraid of? You, me, our gracious host, Doug.

Because to them, we are Gods. We know it's a load of crap - but they don't.

There's the challenge to AQ, to Islam. Their way of life is all over.

I'm a non-believer, BTW.

ADE

9/13/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Sort of related, BC'ers, I 'spose you've all seen this post from Spengler on the

end of Islam

Heavy in spots, and without the joyous English of W, but he's in the zone.

ADE

9/13/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger j willie said...

Wretchard, your recent blogging pace suggests that you may have adopted a Boyd srategem to get inside chatty commenters OODA loops? And, the results appears to confirm Boyd's thinking!

9/13/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger j willie said...

Of course, the "enemy" will hunker down to await the inevitable break in your pace of operations, and will also utilize assymetrical tactics to win off the battlefield (e.g., 2164's Bar). Soon, one of the Lefties will want to know when you will retire, as they will fantasize that they forced Den Beste off the ideological battlefield, and will dream of doing likewise with the Belmont Club. Nevertheless, you can rest well knowing that the faithful will outlast the faithless, and with Habu leading us, will wreak just havoc upon those trolls and jihadis who will hide behind (images) of women to attack you. Of course, none of them would dare to take you on directly, as they would have less head left than the Australian dude that interviewed Hitchens! Onward!

9/13/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

As a model of directness, the idea of creating enough chaos to collapse the current world system has few peers. Overload the system administrator and the system crashes.

But the "world system" is not directed from the top down. It is competitive, experimental, evolutionary. Strike one component of it (the Pentagon or the World Trade Center, say) and the system (or more accurately its constituents) figures out ways to work around and cauterize the damage.

Al Qaeda, in contrast, seeking to create a centralized caliphate, faces a much tougher problem. The more territory it controls (especially if it controls it, Taliban-style, by terror), the more difficult it becomes to maintain control against any constituency that doesn't favor living in the eighth century.

It's not impossible -- Stalin and Mao did it, after all. But that was in a world where sealing off a country from everywhere else was more feasible than it is now.

None of this is to say that they can't cause a lot of destruction on their way down.

9/13/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

I pulled the post below from the comments section of the Belmont Club from several months ago. I think it shows good reasoning as to the connection between the transnational nazis and the terrorists.
.....................

How does one define terrorism? When drafting my Goals on the Global War on Terror document, that definition needed to be done and to separate terrorism and give it a more coherent view as to what it is all about.

Well, looking at the major goals across terrorist organizations, as opposed to standard Nation based insurgencies, the broad swath of terrorist organizations have no standard set of goals, save that they are international in flavor. Islamofascist types seek to install a Caliphate, while the old fashioned Communist International version would prefer that sort of system and your plain old narcotics trafficker version is just looking to get some sort of dissolution of State to State police and military activities against it to help further its commerce. Not a perfect grouping, but its not a perfect world.

Their end state goals, however, have a common means: degrade the Nation State and the validity of the State to act in its own defense. Once that is achieved, domination through terror will get the end goals installed. This means, however, has another international version to it: Transnational Progressivism. The Transnational Progressivists also want to diminish the power of Nation States, degrade their ability to rule, remove their ability to fight and, generally, end them. In their place will be 'group rule' in which individuals only get cumulative rights from the groups that they are born into. Over all of those groups will be a ruling elite.

Terrorists picked up on this at some point and now use the same group-based identity concept and have added *that* to their weaponry. Their goal is now identical to Transnational Progressivists, save that they operate in the interstices of the Nation State system while the Progressivists work within the system. Once the Nation State is removed as an effective concept both internally and externally, group-based rule will happen and the differences are only on *which* group gets supremacy.

Thematically this is a return to Empire as the highest form of governance, and various arguments have been made on all sides of *that* question before. Very few of those arguments actually apply it to the modern era and formulate how it can be done. The Transnationalist conception is the leading way in this both in its internally corrosive concept of group/ethnic/ideology based ruling and refusal to support National identity and the externally terroristic side which aims to delegitimize the monopoly of States on military power. Gwynn Dyer noted in the 1970's that the US and USSR would finally need to come to some form of cooperation against terrorism because of this inherently delegitimization of State based military systems.

Transnational Terrorists of all stripes and kinds have recognized this commonality of method, although differing on end status, and have internetworked to form a system of sharing tactics, plans and actually cross-planning between groups. They are, of course, aided by various States that use terrorists to their own ends. Iran, by training Hezbollah better than their internal Revolutionary/Special Guards, Basij, Police and Military have effectively created a highly capable Foreign Legion which they support and direct, but do not directly control. The ruling regime in Tehran is using the Nation as a basis for supporting the removal of the Nation State concept via the fostering of a strong external terrorist presence and itself looks towards the Transnational dissolution of the Nation to work its goals.

It is a long road ahead of us if this is not stopped.

9/13/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

j willie, LOL. You caught that, didja? Wretchard the Wise.

Now we can state an opinion here, in the showroom, and then go outback to join the elephant stampede.

9/13/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
" The notion that Iraq somehow provoked al-Qaeda into existence is an argument for time travel. "

Lawrence Wright, in a recent radio interview, stated that the Iraq war gave Al-Qaeda second life. AQ was reeling after OEF, but the killing blow was not launched: either in Tora Bora or through pursuit into Waziristan. Iraq became a great recruiting and funding tool, while AQ and the Taliban reformed in the safe haven provided by Musharraf. This was predicted by many critics of OIF.

9/13/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

The Maliki-Ahmadinejad lovefest continues. Would any Belmonter care to explain to me why American lives should be wasted to prop up a Shiite Islamist, pro-Iranian, deeply corrupt Iraqi government? Read it a weep:

September 13, 2006
New Wave of Violence Flares Across Baghdad
By EDWARD WONG and NAZILA FATHI
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 13 — V

iolence flared across Baghdad today, as 60 bodies were reported found and at least 18 people died in attacks on the police, a day after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki traveled to Iran to seek support in quelling the conflicts that threaten to fracture his country.
. . .
In Tehran, Mr. Maliki met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and declared afterwards that “even in security issues, there is no barrier in the way of cooperation.”
For his part, Mr. Ahmadinejad said, “Iran will give its assistance to establish complete security in Iraq, because Iraq’s security is Iran’s security.” It was not clear what form Iranian support on security would take, or how it would be regarded by the American authorities here.

Mr. Maliki’s visit occurred against a backdrop of increasing accusations from the American ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, and from American military commanders, that some elements in Iran are stoking the violence in Iraq.

American generals have said that people or groups in Iran are providing training and financing to Shiite militias in Iraq. Mr. Khalilzad said last month that Iran was urging Shiite militias to step up attacks on the American-led forces in retaliation for the Israeli assault on Lebanon.
. . .
In addition to the American charges of Iranian complicity in violence, many Sunni Arab leaders in the region fear that Iraqi Shiite politicians are increasingly being drawn into the Iranian sphere of influence. More broadly, they fear the emergence of a “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran. through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon — all nations that have significant Shiite populations.

Mr. Maliki’s visit to Tehran, however, was not the first time since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein that an Iraqi prime minister visited Iran. His predecessor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, made the trip in July 2005.
For Mr. Maliki, as for Mr. Jaafari, the visit was a kind of homecoming, because they both spent parts of their exile years during Saddam Hussein’s rule living here. Many members of Mr. Maliki’s Shiite political group, the Islamic Dawa Party, fled to Iran to escape Mr. Hussein’s security forces. Mr. Maliki said the American accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq will have no effect on existing agreements between the countries.

“All the political, security and economic accords that have been signed with the Islamic republic’s officials will be carried out,” he said.

9/13/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Wretchard,

Israelis are the vanguard force facing Jihad. Unfortunately, many of them have not learnt to think past the information gate keepers. Why not help them and try and publish your thoughts in the Jerusalem Post for example?

9/13/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Don't forget that these other nations/politicians are going to do what they perceive to be in their own best interests, and generally the short term outweighs the long term. Which is why all the talk about leaving Iraq ASAP is so dangerous to the prospects of long term success. There is an election coming up soon, and a Presidential election in 2008. With all the ridiculous talk from the Democrats over the past several years, if you were the leader of a nation in the Middle East, would you bet your life (literally) and your country's future on the U.S. being steadfast in this endeavor?

9/13/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nice ending by Wretchard - An America which once prided itself in a "can do" attitude has by comparison become a hidebound giant manacled by mealy-minded legalistic thinking; making the cardinal error of believing that its foe is simply an exotically caparisoned but mirror image of itself.

We are indeed slower and more locked into paradigms, legalistic and not - than our nimble foe. My only real criticism of Wrtechard in this post is he lapses back into the thinking that the struggle with radical Islam is still all about Al Qaeda and bin Laden rather than the larger ideology encompassing some 60 different terrorist groups and any number of "self-motivated" independent terrorist cells and individuals now spontaneously rising independent of AQ.

**************

Reocon adds important perspective about Wright's thinking:

Lawrence Wright, in a recent radio interview, stated that the Iraq war gave Al-Qaeda second life. AQ was reeling after OEF, but the killing blow was not launched: either in Tora Bora or through pursuit into Waziristan. Iraq became a great recruiting and funding tool, while AQ and the Taliban reformed in the safe haven provided by Musharraf. This was predicted by many critics of OIF.

We didn't finish the job. That appears to be true both in the mysterious blunder at Tora Bora and the foolish lack of attention to the battle still underway in Afghanistan to focus on "nation building and giving the noble, friendly Iraqi people the democracy they deserve". That allowed the Taliban to regroup and the Arabs to establish Pakistani sanctuary.
***************
Desert Rat - Seems the US RoEs will not allow killing the enemy while they are at funerals, to disrespectful of the dead. So when some of those 190 Taliban fighters happen to kill or wound a US or NATO trooper, remember to thank Mr Bush and his Generals for a job well done.

Thanks, Rat, for sharing that latest bit of disgusting cluelessness by Team Bush and the Pentagon.

As bad as the deceit the Pentagon tried to run on claiming success with their operation in Baghdad cutting sectarian deaths in half only to find deaths in July were actually higher than in June and the deception was by Pentagon officers preparing the stats deliberately removing deaths from bombings, rockets, and blunt trauma from the total. August deaths were up from July, in September they are tracking at almost 250% of early spring numbers, and Al-Sistsani is saying that true civil war is likely.

And most worrisome are signs that the senior Pentagon's reflexive deference and covering for civilian political leadership has once again put them in a Vietnam-like position of apparantly lying to the Congress and the people that their field commanders "have all the troops they need". Field commanders, after 3 years of stalemate in Iraq and with Afghanistan reversing, now are rethinking their obligation to salute and be good team players in that other deception. They are saying now that they need at least another Division to break stalemate in the Al Tafar battlespace and to have any shot at achieving the Baghdad objectives. NATO, not bound by loyalty to Bush, is saying Afghanistan desperately needs another 3-5,000 troops immediately.

Why? This all relates to Bush resisting any effort to halt the decline of America's AF and Navy strength or build the Army and Marines to a force level that matches America's present and expected future commitments. Because any permanent budget item to increase military spending on personnel or infrastructure would be outside the Supplementals, and put enormous pressure on his tax cuts for his wealthy corporate and private individual benefactors. Even while he was talking out of one side of his mouth that this would be a long war, out the other, he was talking as if convinced that Sharansky "democracy" would fix all his problems within months.
Instead, we have the deception that seems to be following the Vietnam template emerging, and now three years of shortsighted burning out of Reservist eligibility and counting on the troops patriotism to keep them in reenlisting to be in the uniform they wear with pride - despite enduring a deliberate Bush strategy of 3 years of short-cycling combat units back into theater and issuing stop loss orders to preserve his tax cuts for people who have for the most part not sacrificed in any way for the war, but only seek to get even richer.

For the last of the neocon idiots that talk of invading Iran tomorrow to "save our special friend" from "another Munich" - I say fine. With what money if you reject ending Bush's tax cuts? With what troops if you think asking of further sacrifice by the American people is "unthinkable"?

I agree that America does need it's patience and I think we should not suddenly leave Iraq. But the American people will not stand for being lied to by the Bushies or the Pentagon, Vietnam-style. Nor can we win without strengthening America and fixing the festering big problems we face domestically and internationally while we ignore strategic thinking, diplomacy, and strategic communications in seeking a military-only solution to the radical Islamist
enemy from a military that is being allowed to weaken outside the part seen in Bush's Iraq tunnel vision.

9/13/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

exhelodrvr has just put his finger on the center of the center of what does most to hearten our enemies and dishearten our friends.

9/13/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Sounds like a Denial of Service attack. Creating chaos is a simple goal in theory, simpler than creating order. In a sense, the Jihadi’s strategy works because of the anemic response of Western powers. The more surgical, precision we are in prosecution of this war the more it costs, the lower the results, and the higher the expectations of the Liberal anti-Western hate mongers.

Chaos=Opportunity

9/13/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Doug,
Outside the box? The Clintonista arm of the CIA doesn’t think out side of the party. They are the militant wing of the DNC.

9/13/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

annoy mouse said:

The more surgical, precision we are in prosecution of this war the more it costs, the lower the results, and the higher the expectations of the Liberal anti-Western hate mongers.

By the same token, a free oak tree and a seven dollar rope from a hardware store would be cheaper than $2 million dollars worth of appeals after a couple decades on death row with three hots and a cot. But that is not the kind of society we want to be. Most of us.

9/13/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

My point, Teresita, is that our benevolence makes for an expensive response to Jihadi’s ‘low-tech’ terror methodology. There goals are to run out our wallet at the least expense to themselves. Sounds like Reagan’s approach with the Soviets.

As far as majority are concerned, the majority of people I know would have pamphleted Falluja, Mosques, et al, then carpet bombed them. The only way to win a war is to convince your enemy they are beaten. This tit-for-tat war of attrition will not favor us in the end. Win the war or go home.

9/13/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

reocon said,
"Lawrence Wright, in a recent radio interview, stated that the Iraq war gave Al-Qaeda second life. AQ was reeling after OEF, but the killing blow was not launched: either in Tora Bora or through pursuit into Waziristan.
Iraq became a great recruiting and funding tool, while AQ and the Taliban reformed in the safe haven provided by Musharraf.
This was predicted by many critics of OIF.
"
---
The Elephant in the room:
Who woulda thought allowing safe havens at the periphery of the battle might result in a less than optimum outcome?
Syria and Iran would be great examples except that they were outshone by the premiere one in Warizistan, since the essence of the maneuver was to simply relocate the enemy enterprise a hundred kilometers East, set up shop, and rebuild, retrain, and re-arm, virtually unmolested, for years..
---
No doubt much of the training involves skill sets to neutralize the enemy offense with moves like "the old funeral procession gambit," and etc.
While you and those around you may get it, ADE, a large portion of the population, and an even larger proportion of the leadership become increasingly clueless over time.
And Peters makes a great example of Michael Rubin's point, that of explaining the enemy away, as do some posters here.

9/13/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ralph Peter's Portrayals of the Peaceful Muslims Among us, and around the globe:
Peters wrote,
We write off the suicide bomber as a criminal, a wanton butcher, a terrorist. Yet, within his spiritual universe, he’s more heroic than the American soldier who throws himself atop a grenade to spare his comrades:
He isn’t merely protecting other men, but defending his god.


Peters comparison of jihad terrorists and American soldiers in this thoughtless essay is dangerously unhinged—about as unhinged as the crude innuendos in his New York Post piece ,
which the Council on American-Islamic Relations enjoyed enough to include in its “American Muslim New Briefs” of 9/8/06.
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad .

Petering Out Mark Levin
I don't know very much about Ralph Peters.
He occasionally writes an insightful column, but I never thought he deserved the kind praise that some truly outstanding thinkers/writers have received.
Now I'm certain of it.
Read this ,
this ,
and this .
--- During his interview with Ms. Ingraham, Peters held up Indonesia “the world’s most populous Muslim country” as a paragon of moderate Islam. This is the same Indonesia that in the mid-1960s, Sukarno fatwa in hand, waged a murderous jihad against its own Chinese non-Muslim population which killed at least 100,000 ethnic Chinese. In the 1980s a frankly genocidal jihad was waged by the Indonesian government against the Christians of East Timor, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. For at least the past decade, there have been intermittent Indonesian jihadist pogroms against the Christians of the Moluccas which have also killed thousands.

9/13/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger putnam said...

If America is the sysadmin then the world would be the IT department. If that is the case, then why in world are do so many people/countries think so illogically?

That is one of the great things about working in IT: most of the people (programmers anyway) think logically and can be rationed with.

9/13/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, the fact that they become control freaks in their real lives causes some problems for others, however.
(Just a generalization based on personal experience!)

9/13/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/13/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger ganzo azul said...

manacled by mealy-minded legalistic thinking

Maybe it's not legalistic thinking but it does appear to define manacled by the mealy-minded: the rules of engagement on the ground in Afghanistan blocked the U.S. from mounting a missile or bomb strike in a cemetery. NY Post "Taliban Gets Bury Luck

I'd like to think there was good reason for not taking out "Taliban terror leaders who had gathered for a funeral."

9/13/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

annoy mouse said:

There goals are to run out our wallet at the least expense to themselves. Sounds like Reagan’s approach with the Soviets.

Reagan's approach was to ramp spending up to the point where the USSR had to concede it could not maintain parity and therefore approach the negotiating table. However, it is a myth that we can "run out our wallet" doing anything. For instance, we spent $24 billion dollars on the Apollo program, but that doesn't mean there's 24 billion dollars in nice neat stacks on the Sea of Tranquility. That money paid civilian employees and contractors, and went right back into our economy, along with the technological boost that went with it. If the Islamoids can shoot down a multi-million dollar unmanned reconnaisance vehicle with a $5,000 rocket, that's a shame, but at least they can't make any videos threatening to chop off its head, which is capable of changing the public's willingness to stay in the fight.

9/13/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

My impression is that A-Q is a beat team. While still capable of damage, they are no longer the prime player and primary threat to Western Civ.

The role of main opponent has been assumed by Iran.

To state this within the excellent point provided by Charles, Iran is now attempting to weaken the "system" to build, like A-Q, a Muslim theocracy in the region and perhaps beyond.

Iran is being supported by peripheral players within the "system" such as Russia and China and maybe Europe who expect that they will gain in power and dominance from the weakening of America. The will to power is not solely within the Muslim world!

The question is, do the secondary players within the system have more to gain or to lose by increased chaos? Do any think they can supplement America within a new system and what would they gain in absolute terms? Do they understand that the same forces hoping to dissolve the nation-state will someday be turned against them?

9/13/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

A couple of years ago, on a flight in the Middle East, I met a really interesting gentleman -- a westerner who spoke Farsi & Arabic fluently, and commuted between the Middle East and the Left Coast.

Al Quaeda had blown it -- he said. In Arab culture, winners go from big to bigger, otherwise they are seen as losers. Problem was, Al Quaeda could not top 9/11.

Nowadays, I am not as reassured by that insight as I was back then. If Al Quaeda has been replaced by sixty or more jostling terrorist groups (as someone on this thread suggests), those groups face the same challenge -- they have to top 9/11 to be seen as the Next Big Thing. The implication is the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, coming from an unexpected direction.

And that is worrying because of the theme that underlies domestic US opposition to a policy of pre-emption -- whether it is Pearl Harbor or 9/11, every new opponent should be allowed to take one free shot.

9/13/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Lone Star said...

"As far as majority are concerned, the majority of people I know would have pamphleted Falluja, Mosques, et al, then carpet bombed them. The only way to win a war is to convince your enemy they are beaten."

Taking Falluja with an all out ground assault like we did was the most effective display of military power ever displayed and much more devastating to the morale of our enemy then a carpet bombing campaign would have been. Even though the carpet bombing would have succeeded in destroying the entrenched enemy, it would have reinforced the perception that we are afraid to fight and our enemy would have only felt contempt for us.
In Falluja, we faced the most hardened fighters they had to offer after giving them months to dig in and prepare for us and our soldiers and marines destroyed them with apparent ease.
Much more damaging to their psyches.
Our warriors over there now have a well earned aura of invincibility because of Falluja and Najaf.
It is just a shame that our politicians at home have such a well earned aura of indecisiveness and cowardice. That, combined with the fact that our media is our enemies greatest weapon, has just about eliminated all the hard earned gains of our military.

9/13/2006 08:00:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger