Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The declassified NIE excerpts

Now that parts of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) have been declassified for the public they highlight not only the physical battlefields of the War on Terror but also their propaganda effects. For example, the potential growth in the Jihad comes from perceptions which create "self radicalized cells"; just another name for men whipped into a rage based upon what they hear or read about American's evil actions in the world.


  • Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion. (page 1)
  • We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalized cells will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad but also in the Homeland. (page 1)

Therefore the greatest threats come not from the battlefield but from places that read about the battlefield, and in particular the Muslim populations of Western Europe who are steadily angered by what they read about Iraq.

  • The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings. (page 1)

Although Afghanistan is the battlefield closest to al-Qaeda cells believed to be hiding along the Pakistani border, it has a relatively low value as an inflammatory issue. What drives Jihadis into action is outrage over Iraq. However, not Iraq by itself but rather two out three possible perceptions about Iraq. The NIE excerpt specifically suggests that two perceptions: that America is oppressing Muslims and/or "losing" in Iraq would inflame Jihadis. The third perception -- an Iraq viewed as a victory for US policy would actually dampen down the Jihad.

  • The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight. (page 2)
  • We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.

The reason that a successful effort in Iraq would have such a damaging effect on the Jihadi cause goes beyond the "strong horse" effect. A working democratic Muslim state (one both democratic and Muslim and different from a Western democracy) would strategically damage the Jihad because it has no proven program for social, political and economic advancement. Sharia law is -- get this -- "unpopular" with Muslims, except perhaps with extremists in Western Europe. The greatest fear of Islamic extremists is that Iraq might succeed. Therefore on no account must it succeed or be perceived as succeeding.

  •  The jihadists. greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution.an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari.a-based governance spanning the Muslim world.is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists. propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade. (page 2)

Thus, the vulnerabilities of both America and the Islamists are largely in the realms of perception. Insofar as the kinetic battlefield are concerned, the contest seems to have been one sided. The al-Qaeda has been taken to the cleaners. Their top echelons in particular have been decimated. They therefore have turned to Iraq to find a new lease on life, something that has been highlighted by critics. Without Iraq, so the argument goes, the Jihad would already have been history. The counterargument lurking in the NIE is that defeating the Jihad involves more than liquidating al-Qaeda; it critically requires a demonstration that democratic Islamic progress is a superior alternative to Sharia law.

The other issue raised by the NIE is the danger that the "self radicalized" Western Muslims may be empowered by the technology and battlefield methods developed in Iraq for possible application in their home cities.

  • We judge that most jihadist groups.both well-known and newly formed.will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics. (page 3)

The threatened spread of battlefield technology is real. But there is worse to come. Because even IEDs lack sufficient punch, the Western Jihadis aim to inflict real damage on the West by aiming to acquire terrorist WMDs. And the suggestion is that Islamic militants radicalized by Iraq may then be used by hostile nations as proxies to attack Western Europe or America.

  • CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups. While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists. (page 3)

Commentary

It is curious that Afghanistan, which once roused a worldwide Jihad against the Soviets in the 1980s (attracing Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri) has been overshadowed by Iraq, despite the fact that it is the "home" of al-Qaeda. This is probably because Iraq is the "big news". But there's no reason why Afghanistan shouldn't regain its status as cause celebre once Iraq leaves the news. Iraq is a cause celebre because it is the plat du jour. It seems implausible that the Jihad's list of causes should be so short. In fact, as we will see later, the invasion of Iraq was not necessary at all to provoke the attack of September the 11th.

Nor is Iraq the only place where the Jihad can obtain combat experience for use against Western targets. While there is no denying Iraq is a valuable source of combat experience, in the past such training was provided in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo and Lebanon. And it still is. In fact, Afghanistan threatens to reprise its role another school for Jihadi combat experience independent and concurrently with Iraq. Unless combat between the Islamic rebels and US-led forces were to cease altogether, there is no reason to think the supply of trained fighters would dry up if Iraq were not available.

It is worth mentioning that Iraq was a cause celebre before it was a cause celebre. What motivated Osama Bin Laden to order the destruction of America in 1996 was the UN sanctions and the No-fly zone put in place by George H. Bush and William J. Clinton. Osama's fatwa specifically condemns William Perry! not Donald Rumsfeld in what was effectively the death warrant of the World Trade Center and the USS Cole. Among the grievances cited in his Fatwa was the defilement of Saudi soil by the American force gathered to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. In short, the provocation that brought down the World Trade Center was not Operation Iraqi Freedom but Operation Desert Storm.

Those youths will not ask you (William Perry) for explanations, they will tell you singing there is nothing between us need to be explained, there is only killing and neck smiting. ... O William, tomorrow you will know which young man is confronting your misguided brethren! A youth fighting in smile, returning with the spear coloured red. ...

The crusader army became dust when we detonated al-Khobar With courageous youth of Islam fearing no danger If (they are) threatened: The tyrants will kill you, they reply my death is a victory I did not betrayed that king, he did betray our Qiblah And he permitted in the holy country the most filthy sort of humans. I have made an oath by Allah, the Great, to fight who ever rejected the faith ...

The youths hold you responsible for all of the killings and evictions of the Muslims and the violation of the sanctities, carried out by your Zionist brothers in Lebanon; you openly supplied them with arms and finance. More than 600,000 Iraqi children have died due to lack of food and medicine and as a result of the unjustifiable aggression (sanction) imposed on Iraq and its nation. The children of Iraq are our children. You, the USA, together with the Saudi regime are responsible for the shedding of the blood of these innocent children.

It may be that no adequate substitute can be found for Iraq, either as a propaganda cause or a training ground for Jihadis; and that therefore it would be in American national interest to withdraw from it, on the argument that no alternative cause celebre can be found. Against that proposition should be set the NIE judgement that success in Iraq would weaken the radical Islamist cause and that therefore an American failure would boost the Jihad. This reveals the deep interplay between perception and battlefield kinetics that runs through the NIE excerpts. As a kinetic battlefield Iraq is neither the first nor the last over which America and its enemies will struggle. There is nothing inherently unique about it. What is singular is the mechanism that generates favorable perceptions for the Jihad from any battlefield. The system that energizes the Jihad from any battlefield that is input into it; that turns every battle against radical Islamism into a cause celebre is a much more general threat. Unless some means is found for delinking the process of fighting terrorism from the process of radicalizing Western Muslims, there is no particular gain from abandoning Iraq, unless one were prepared to abandon every other active battlefield. What is the sense of removing one load of grist if the mill keeps on running? Consequently the one thing the Press left out of discussing the NIE, which heavily emphasizes the role of perception, is the role of the Press itself. Iraq the battlefield -- with its success and failures -- is largely what the combatants have made it. Iraq the symbol is largely the manufacture of observers. Both are factors in the War on Terror.

In judging the effects of perception versus reality the key issue is which is controlling, perception or reality? Because if perceptions can be formed independent of reality, then it really doesn't matter what you do: the only thing that matters is what people present. In this specific case, Osama bin Laden explicitly accuses American-enforced UN sanctions in the nostalgic era of containment of killing 600,000 Iraqi children. Whatever one may think of Kofi Annan, the Oil for Food Program or the sagacity of President Bill Clinton, it is doubtful whether those sanctions caused the death of 600,000 children. Because if that were true, then obviously OIF, if it achieved nothing else, stopped a genocide of historic proportions. But despite the fact that nothing of those sort of deaths happened, reality didn't matter. That Osama bin Laden perceived 600,000 children to have died in Iraq was enough reason to condemn America to death. Osama's fatwa is a clear example of perception making reality unnecessary. No adjustment in policy, no alteration of reality could have changed the picture for Osama because he was receiving his transmissions from an alternate universe. And for so long as he believed that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were being starved by America, that perception was enough to cause September 11 no matter what anyone did. Hence, any solution to the problem of the chronic and seething anger of the Islamic world has to address the question of how perception can depart so completely from actuality. If reality by itself doesn't matter, then the root of today's world crisis must partially lie in the way we generate our perceptions.

46 Comments:

Blogger sam said...

I don't think it would be a net gain for us if we withdraw. A withdrawal is a handover to the terrorists. Giving them a secure base to plan and launch attacks. I think that's a net loss.

9/26/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

The NIE and Wretchard's subsequent analysis focus on Iraq as a recruitment tool for foreign Jihadis. What of indigenous recruitment within Iraq, not only of the Sunni variety, but the Shiite as well?

What if the majority of Iraqis wanted the US to withdraw, and the US did not? Would that inspire more indigenous recruitment? What does the latest State Dep't poll have to say?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/26/AR2006092601721.html

BAGHDAD, Sept. 26 -- A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers.

In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post.

Another new poll, scheduled to be released on Wednesday by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found that 71 percent of Iraqis questioned want the Iraqi government to ask foreign forces to depart within a year. By large margins, though, Iraqis believed that the U.S. government would refuse the request, with 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends keep permanent military bases in the country.


I've read that Iraq is now a "democratic" country. Will the US honor all of its democratic requests?

9/26/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

if what jihadis read/hear about the gwot/iraq is what REALLY motivates them, then the REAL culprit ain't Bush or Rummy and the Iraq War but .... THE MSM.

the msm which INCESSANTLY publishes ABOO GRAYB photos, and the like.

Traitors who aid the enemy.

9/26/2006 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...

If we can hold steady in Iraq & Afghanistan the blow to Islamic Radicalism I believe will be mortal. The draw down will come as IA & IP take over the security from US and we fall into a much smaller force ala S. Korea were we are basically a trip wire force to slow foreign enemy advance and ensure our required rush to aid.

Success will result in multiple results as follows:

1) The US “paper tiger” image made in Vietnam and Somalia will be destroyed and replaced with broken jihadi’s stories of our horrific abilities and unstoppable military prowess with a new proven fight till the death will.
2) Like Wretched mentioned the Muslims will finally have a 3rd option a real Democratic model Arab Muslim style in Iraq & Afghanistan.
3) Iraq definitely and maybe even Afghanistan will as they stabilize in time will pull out ahead in undeniable ways with their Economic prosperity and capitalist economy.
4) Something many of the Rumsfield haters to ponder on here. Like it or not our small foot print has exploited the Jihadi’s “greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution.an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari.a-based governance spanning the Muslim world.is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims “ very simply we allowed Anbar and the Sunni’s to see up close and personally this reality. I was one who was infuriated by our inaction in Falluja and sweeping early on of Anbar but looking back waiting until the Sunni tribes had reached their limit was genius proven by the today’s tribes not so much support as opposition to the radicals. Winning the hearts and minds by simply allowing your enemy to lose them very odd indeed.

Of course it is still too early to know for sure after all if we in WW2 had stopped at the Rhine and accepted a negotiated truce to get our boys home by Christmas what would the world look like today? After all beyond the Rhine the fighting really got bloody and the Bulge something that nearly turned the tide alone still loomed ahead.

The wild card not mentioned is Iran. Sadr/Mehdi/Badgr all Iranian proxies currently running some very effective deterrence (stirring the sectarian violence pot of tit for tat) for Iran is still their. Iran itself is still a major problem if they wont flinch we will have to at a minimum launch a major air campaign to set back their nuke program to buy the time needed for the above mentioned circumstances to take effect. Depending on how that plays out will truly be the Wild Card.

We truly live in interesting times. These first few decades of the 21st century look to be at least as important as the middle few decades of the 20th were they will be written and reviewed for generations to come.

9/26/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Detainee Measure to Have Fewer Restrictions:

Under a separate provision, those held by the CIA or the U.S. military as an unlawful enemy combatant would be barred from challenging their detention or the conditions of their treatment in U.S. courts unless they were first tried, convicted and appealed their conviction.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) yesterday assailed the provision as an unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus, which he said was allowable only "in time of rebellion or in time of invasion. And neither is present here."

Detainee Measure

9/26/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger DaMav said...

There is a missing dimension to the quoted claim that 600,000 were killed by sanctions that appears to have fallen through the memory hole. This was a very prominent claim of numerous left wing groups during the sanctions era, an assertion that is easily proven by googling "500000 sanctions Iraq" which immediately returns about 500000 hits, with most of them traceable to left wing sources, including some by Chomsky claiming the number is closer to one million. The BBC quotes UNICEF as one of the sources for the number.

This is of interest for two reasons. One is the ongoing demonstrable shared propaganda and alliance of sorts between the left and the Jihadi. The other is the complete absence of consideration of this number in determining impact of the end of sanctions after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It raises the question of whether they were lying then, or lying now, when they report Iraq casualties with a zero pre-invasion base.

The sanctions were in place roughly ten years, which would indicate 50,000 children (alone and at a minimum) killed in Iraq by sanctions. This dwarfs current casualty figures coming from Iraq, even in the worst of months. Yet these casualty figures are being waved around by the same groups ignoring their previous propaganda, and ironically now arguing that sanctions were an adequate means of "keeping Hussein in a box".

Indeed, if one were to accept the original numbers, the American invasion was one of the great humanitarian acts of history, having already saved tens of thousands of lives of children when netted out against war casualties. A useful exercise in answering those purporting to decry the inhumanity of OIF.

I would agree with Wretchard that the 500K-1000K claims are wildly out of line. Nevertheless they were perceived by many leftists and Jihadists as accurate in the sanctions era. We should not be so quick to discard them today, as they expose the hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty driving both wings of the movement to defeat America in Iraq today.

If perceptions matter, than there ought to be penalty exacted when the enemy uses a demonstrably specious construct to change those perceptions.

9/27/2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger DaMav said...

errata my last post: s/b: "50000 children a year"

9/27/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"I've read that Iraq is now a "democratic" country. Will the US honor all of its democratic requests?"

Sounds like an easy way out to me, perhaps we could redeploy to Kurdistan and Kuwait and hit on the head whoever pops up that we don't like. Make deals on the side with whatever tribes in Iraq we do like and give them the finger when they complain about sovereignty, since Islamic democracy isn't exactly something we really care about perpetuating.

As a bonus, Sadr becomes a little bit more vulnerable when angry Shi'ites are no longer our problem.

9/27/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

The 500,000 claim is a bunch of BS, that was unfortunately given credit when an unsuspecting Madeleine Albright accepted an interviewer's question at face value without even considering the numbers they used. From then on, it took a life of its own.

9/27/2006 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I think the report shows that the NYT can't be trusted. In fact, the report shows the NYT lied.

9/27/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The greatest fear of Islamic extremists is that Iraq might succeed.

Yet another emotion Jihadis share in common with Democrats. Explains much of the media's manufacturing of pessimism, despair and BDS.

9/27/2006 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Buckhead said...

The grievances identified by Osama include the Reconquista of "al Andalus," which, having occurred in 1492, considerably predates even Gulf War I.

Al Qaida is plain about the choices they offer: conversion or the sword, and this is entirely independent of any particular historical grievance. It is not about particular events; any reference to particular events is merely a pretext. It is about spreading Islam by the sword, which they perceive to be the duty of all pious muslims. It is literally impossible to appease their grievances, because the grievances they cite are just window dressing for the underlying unappeasable quest.

9/27/2006 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Mother of All Grievances
---
From the New York Times' Linda Greenhouse (hat tip to J-Pod):
In June, Linda Greenhouse returned to Cambridge, Mass., to be honored at Harvard. Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, reminisced a bit about the 1960s idealism that defined her college years, and told an audience of 800 she had wept at a Simon and Garfunkel concert when she was struck by the unfulfilled promise of her own generation.

Greenhouse went on to charge that since then, the U.S. government had "turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places around the world -- [such as] the U.S. Congress."

She also observed a "sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism. To say that these last few years have been dispiriting is an understatement."
- Hewitt

9/27/2006 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Nobody Knows da Trouble I Seen..."

9/27/2006 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From the Horses...
Waging the War on Terror: Report Belies Optimistic View
By DAVID E. SANGER
A newly declassified report describes a jihadist movement that, for now, is simply outpacing President Bush’s counterattacks.
Backing Policy, President Issues Terror Estimate
Text: Declassified Report (pdf)
Back Story: The Times's David Sanger (mp3)

9/27/2006 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Odd the TIMES left this out completely:
---
The jihadists greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution—an
ultra-conservative interpretation of shari’a-based governance spanning the
Muslim world is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims.

Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists’ propaganda
would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.

• Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few
notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a
constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism.
---




Opera cancelled over fear of angering Muslims

9/27/2006 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Merkel warns on bowing to radicals

9/27/2006 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Reocon,

Your post is a perfect example of someone reading Wretchard’s post and apparently understanding nothing. I say apparently because there is always the possibility of crass dishonesty!

At the same time as the Post article you quote, there was also this article in Japan Today which a Google search brought forth:

“Iraqi president wants two permanent U.S. military bases
Monday, September 25, 2006 at 17:24 EDT
WASHINGTON — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in an interview with the Washington Post, asked for a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq, saying his country will need two permanent U.S. air bases to deter "foreign interference."

Wretchard,

If you just take as an example my reply to “reocon”, it is hard to escape the observation that the conclusion of your post: “If reality by itself doesn't matter, then the root of today's world crisis must partially lie in the way we generate our perceptions.” is correct.
Here you have an example of perception generated not from reality, which is two opposing news reports, but from one person’s desire to find the news that suits them. A similar situation occurred with the perception of Clinton’s comments on the FNS show; Clinton’s supporters perceived his performance as more than acceptable.

If one accepts that perception of reality is shaped by personal “desires”, than it becomes obvious that early education will have a significant impact on the news we chose to believe. In this respect I cannot help but think of the madrasses financed by KSA and the sort of teaching they provide, and also of how little impact fear of physical harm has on the self-preservation instinct of suicide bombers.

9/27/2006 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

luc! Crass Dishonesty?
How about Ironic Humor?
Or Toilet Humor?
---
Nordlinger On Clinton
I thought that this legendarily brainy man had gone cuckoo. But the Democratic party has been like that, since about the election of George W. Bush. Recall how many of their leading figures — Daschle, McAuliffe, et al. — attended the Washington premiere of Moore’s movie.

Finally, Clinton didn’t really comport himself much like a democratic politician. I have noticed that at Davos, too. Clinton goes around like a king, more than like a democrat, shielded from anything unpleasant, not facing any disagreement. I imagine he hadn’t been put in an uncomfortable position in a long, long time.

And democratic politicians are supposed to be masters of this — piece o’ cake, no big deal, goes with the territory. I mean, does a conservative throw a fit every time George Stephanopoulos asks something challenging?

Oh, one last thing: Sandy Berger might try to slide the Clinton terror record down his pants. But the rest of the world, while focused steadily on the present and future, should not forget. Otherwise, learning, for one thing, is more difficult.

9/27/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ralph Peters: Secrets For Sale - Cheap

9/27/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

Doug,
Thanks for the link to the Peter's oped. It is refreshing to read opinions from those few still in the press that have their head on straight and know something of "honor".

9/27/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

test

9/27/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Anyone know whats going on with the new rules at the Elephant Bar?

9/27/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

habu said:

Anyone know whats going on with the new rules at the Elephant Bar?

Well, habu, first posting was disabled, but that was dialed back to just moderated posting, where the team leaders have to approve of new posts. I wish 2164th and Whit fair winds and following seas with their tidy new blog.

9/27/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

Everyone has different perceptions - those are inside each person's head. How well that matches what is necessary for survival and reproduction is tested by reality.

For too long we in the West have not really had those tests to sort out the necessary ideas from the bad ones. Life's been too easy!

Wretchard had it mostly right - "If reality by itself doesn't matter, then the root of today's world crisis must partially lie in the way we generate our perceptions."

War is a blunt instrument for making reality matter once again.

9/27/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

The Elephant is being hacked. I am trying to fix it. Anyone want to help?

9/27/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

That Osama bin Laden perceived 600,000 children to have died in Iraq was enough reason to condemn America to death.

It's no wonder that OBL perceived such a thing. We in the West are sometimes more adept than Al Jazeera could ever hope to be at propagating anti-American perceptions. As Cutler has already observed, Madeleine Albright not only accepted but reinforced just such a perception about U.S. culpability when she replied to a 60 Minutes interview question about the sanctions--one which posited as fact our direct complicity in the deaths of over a half million Iraqi children--by saying, "'It's a hard choice, but I think, we, think, it's worth it."

Bad enough that any supposed news organization would elevate this urban myth to the level of fact, but to have a reigning Secretary of State accept and endorse it is maddening. And all the while Saddam got a free pass because, apparently, he had no control over who lived or died during his reign in Iraq.

9/27/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Sorry, there are no new rules at the Elephant Bar. Someone hacked in and deleted comments and installed themselves as an administrator. I hope I have it fixed.

9/27/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger TOR Hershman said...

& then I wrote
(To the tune of "Oh, Susanna")

"Oh, Osama
there's no need for Jihad
there ain't a heaven with virgins
and there ain't a god"


google

tor hershman oh osama

if'in ya wants to hear it.

I tïnk moi's parody may have killed Osama, but, I was only tryin' to put the Scarcrow out.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,
TOR

9/27/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

OT

Remember the poor innocent youth buying large numbers of cell phones for so-called later resale?

Debkafile reports that the source of 350 multiple attacks in Bangladesh on Aug. 17, 2005, was traced to Tripoli, Lebanon.

French counter-terror experts leading an international inquiry into the attacks discovered that a facility, set up there by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s late Iraq commander, had developed the new design which works through Internet messengers like Skype or MSN.

Network-connected mobile phones can remotely detonate over the Internet simultaneous explosions hundreds of miles apart, anywhere on the world. This system, seen only in Bangladesh so far, is more complex than any used by al Qaeda before. A year ago, some 350 explosions in quick succession in 36 districts hit government facilities and hotels in Dhaka and 16 other Bangladeshi towns.

Now it is easy to understand why the cell phones seized in the US had the battery chargers removed; the phones were not only disposable but intended for single use!

9/27/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

No BS. I think the elephant is being attacked by muzzies. Blogger Problem


This server is currently experiencing a problem. An engineer has been notified and will investigate.

Status code: 1-500-26

Please visit the Blogger status page or the Blogger Knowledge Base for further assistance.

9/27/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Off topic:

There's a very interesting article over on Bill Roggio's site concerning analysis of a captured letter from a high ranking al Qaeda member to the late al Zarqawi. A theory in the comments section proposes that top leaders of al Qaeda may have tipped off Iraqi government security about Zarq because he had become a liability...

That idea hadn't occurred to me but it has a ring of truth.

9/27/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Congratulations to Wretchard and the Belmont club for receiving a complementary credit in Tony Blankley’s Latest column = Linked text
With little reporting, and almost without media or governmental comment, the United States has suffered a substantial defeat in the war against radical Islam. Three weeks ago, Pakistan signed the terms of the Waziristan Accord with the northern region of its country called North Waziristan. It was, effectively, the terms of surrender by Pakistan to the Taliban and al Qaeda, which dominate North Waziristan. Pakistan has negotiated a separate peace -- the eternal danger to any wartime alliance.
With the exception of a superb article in the Weekly Standard by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and the redoubtable Bill Roggio and a few blogs, such as Flopping Aces, The Fourth Rail and The Belmont Club (apologies to some other blogs I surely have missed) there has been little comment. This column is based largely on the reporting from those sources.

9/27/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Thank You Wretchard for allowing posts regarding the Elephant Bar during its recent technical difficulties. I think they may have been Blogger problems as much as anything.

9/27/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

luc said...
Reocon,

Your post is a perfect example of someone reading Wretchard’s post and apparently understanding nothing. I say apparently because there is always the possibility of crass dishonesty!


Luc, read carefully.
Q: Where did the polling data come from?
A: The State Dep't and two other polling orgs. If you don't like reading it in WaPo you can read it elsewhere:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2497076

Q: Is it "crass dishonesty" to cite a poll from the US State Dep't?
A: ?

Lastly Luc, just because Maliki wants the US to stay doesn't mean the vast majority of the Iraqi people want us to stay. Read the WaPo article for more on this disjuncture, then answer the question: what if the democratic majority of the Iraqi people want the US to withdraw? I trust anyone who is so quick to deploy the term "crass dishonest" won't shirk the question.

9/27/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Whit,

The abandonment of sovereignty by Pakistan of North Waziristan might(?) be a blessing in disguise. Musharraf is nominally an ally and therefore we're obliged not to attack Pakistani territory. However if North Waziristan becomes autonomous then we can bomb it into oblivion without seriously hurting Musharraf (no doubt that prospect was discussed during Musharraf's recent visit with the President).

However, it is obvious that Musharraf should have kept his own house in order.

9/27/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not Mr Maliki, he is the PM of Iraq. The President of Iraq, the man that thinks two US airbases in Iraq would be a "good thing", is a Kurd, Mr Talibani.
The President hold little power, in Iraq. That is vested in the PM, A Dawa Party member, the man that was once considered to "secterian" a Shia to hold the position, Mr Maliki.

9/27/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I read somewhere that there is speculation that Musharraf may be stepping down.

I agree that Pakistan has been somewhat of a hindrance. I suspect that as long as we get nominal cooperation, they'll get a pass from us but on the other hand, if Musharraf and Karzai continue thier public feuding, who knows?

9/27/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

Reocon said... 9/27/2006 12:19:18 PM

“Lastly Luc, just because Maliki wants the US to stay doesn't mean the vast majority of the Iraqi people want us to stay. Read the WaPo article for more on this disjuncture, then answer the question: what if the democratic majority of the Iraqi people want the US to withdraw? I trust anyone who is so quick to deploy the term "crass dishonest" won't shirk the question.

Q: Is it "crass dishonesty" to cite a poll from the US State Dep't?”
A: No

However, the question at the end of your earlier post:

“I've read that Iraq is now a "democratic" country. Will the US honor all of its democratic requests?”

Indicates in my opinion the strong possibility that it may be of the same type EXQUISITELY GENUINE HONESTY as that shown by President Clinton during his interview on FNS. To answer your question more fully, I will add that although I did not shirk the question, I expect that you may not like my answer?

9/27/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Wretchard, thank you as well, If I can return the favor, do not hesitate to ask.

9/27/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

luc said...
However, the question at the end of your earlier post . . .
Indicates in my opinion the strong possibility that it may be of the same type EXQUISITELY GENUINE HONESTY as that shown by President Clinton during his interview on FNS. To answer your question more fully, I will add that although I did not shirk the question, I expect that you may not like my answer?


'Tis indeed a shirk, for it answers neither the spirit nor substance of the question, but questions my "honesty" for even asking it. So is it always with the March of Folly: those fools gleefully playing the sackbutt can never hear the query as to whether they are headed off a cliff.

It looks bad for you Luc, and I "feel your pain". The State Dep't poll is all over the media, mainstream or otherwise, including the State apparatus, Voice of America. Good thing you (partially) retracted your "crass dishonesty" jibe when you did, eh? White House spokesman Tony Snow has had to weigh in:

"... Nobody wants to have an occupying army," Snow said during a White House briefing. "It is understandable that when you have an army on your soil, that you want them out".

Snow noted that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouril al-Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani have recently said they do not want U.S. forces to pull out of Iraq until "the job is done," Snow said.

"We understand the sentiments of the Iraqi people, and we would love to be out of there as soon as possible," he added.


So let me rephrase the question to allow you less weasel room, for indeed, We are all unsatisfied with your answer: If, in response to mounting popular pressure, the Iraqi government asks the US to leave very soon, do you think we should abide by their decision?

I ask not out of sadistic pleasure in taunting you, but out of a hunch that popular ill will in Iraq towards the US troops will translate into an official disinviiation. Isn't that how it's supposed to work in a democracy?

9/27/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger woof22 said...

Yes, that was quite a poll. The lefties must be dancing that Iraqi's want us to leave....


But here's a counter poll from George Mason University


http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/30289.html my emphasis in red....
POLL: AL QAEDA LOST IRAQ

Al Qaeda has desicively lost the Iraqi battlefield.

Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very).

Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable. Very unfavorable views are expressed by 87 percent of Kurds and 94 percent of Shias. Here again, the Sunnis are negative, but less unequivocally—71 percent have an unfavorable view (23% very), and 29 percent a favorable view (3% very).

Iraqi confidence in Iraqi forces (as opposed to militias) is increasing while its confidence in US forces is decreasing. Given US policies there can be little doubt but that US forces have lost significant Shia support and gained some Sunni support. I suspect increasing number of Shia no longer believe that American forces are capable of protecting them and with increased confidence in their government's capabilities no longer fear the consequences of an American withdrawal.

It should be noted that Ayatolla Sistani retains his overwhelming popularity amongst the Shia. 95% approve of him. PM Maliki is running a strong second with 86% but al Sadr is trailing far behind with 51%. Nor are Iraqis interested in following Iran's lead.

Asked whether Iran is having a mostly positive or negative influence on the situation in Iraq, just 45 percent of Shias say it is having a positive influence (negative 28%, neutral 27%), while Iran's influence is viewed a mostly negative by the Kurds (79%) and the Sunnis (94%).

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does a bit better among Shias, with 64 percent having a very (28%) or somewhat (36%) favorable view. But Kurds have a largely unfavorable view (very 43%, somewhat 34%) and the Sunnis an exceedingly unfavorable view (very 80%, somewhat 17%).

Syria is fairing even worse:

Most Shias (68%) think Syria is having a negative influence on Iraq's situation, as do most Kurds (63%). Sunnis are only mildly positive, with 41 percent having a favorable view (17% negative, 43% neutral).

The most worrisome is the popularity of Hezbollah though luckily it is confined to the Shia.

Hezbollah elicits highly polarized views. An overwhelming 91 percent of Shias have a very (50%) or somewhat favorable (41%) view of Hezbollah, while an equally large 93 percent of Kurds have a very (64%) or somewhat (29%) unfavorable view. Sunnis are also fairly negative, with 59 percent having a very (10%) or somewhat (49%) unfavorable view.

To sum up - Iraq is coming along better than the news project. Indeed, more and more Iraqis believe that they will be soon ready to stand on their own two feet. This optimistic assessment may to a large degree reflect their disappointment in the efficacy of the American forces but, all in all it is a positive development.

9/27/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger DaMav said...

Might I point out that Iraq has a duly elected government and does not operate on the basis of polls any more than the United States does, unless such polls are actual elections.

A poll is not a "democratic request". In fact it is simply a poll which may or may not reflect the opinion of the voters at the next election. Just in case there is confusion about this matter.

9/27/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

I apologize to Wretchard and the other BC members for answering reocon’s post one more, and this time certainly, last time.

1. My first post suggested that you may not have understood the meaning of Wretchard’s article. Failing a lack of understanding on your part I posited the possibility of dishonesty in your post.
2. My second post clearly answered your question: “Q: Is it "crass dishonesty" to cite a poll from the US State Dep't?” with a clear and simple word “No”
3. You completely ignored my clear and unequivocal answer to your question and then proceeded to provide further evidence of your personal problems by confabulating about heading off a cliff, things looking bad for me, “feeling my pain”, and retracting my jibe.
4. You showed also something of your character by using the Royal We as in “We are all unsatisfied with your answer”, mentioning the lack of sadistic pleasure in taunting me, and provided further evidence of your political stripe, not that it was needed, by the frequent use of the word “popular” like in the Popular Republic of Algeria, China, Congo, etc. All bastions of freedom and human dignity.
5. Congratulations and speedy recovery from whatever ails you.

9/27/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger nonomous said...

woof22,

Thank you. Excellent article.

9/27/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

luc said...

4. You showed also something of your character by using the Royal We as in “We are all unsatisfied with your answer”, mentioning the lack of sadistic pleasure in taunting me, and provided further evidence of your political stripe, not that it was needed, by the frequent use of the word “popular” like in the Popular Republic of Algeria, China, Congo, etc. All bastions of freedom and human dignity.


Note the difference between the lower case popular and the upper, as you use it. I disdain the governmental forms of the examples you listed . . . but would further correct your many errors in noting that these are not "Popular Repulics" but soi disant "People's Republics".

5. Congratulations and speedy recovery from whatever ails you.

What ails me is the hijacking of my political movement, the conservative movement, by a bunch of stealth liberals: messianic "neocons" preaching democratic globalism. There is nothing conservative in preaching global revolution through democracy, and this project is self-destructing from its own contradictions.

Your avoidance of the question: "Should the US withdraw from Iraq in the Iraqi people ask us to?" is evidence of that. We can not defeat Islamofascism when Arab cultures elect Islamofascists.

If elections = democracy then Hamas is democratic. SCIRI is democratic. Hezbollah is democratic. Chavez is democratic. We can not win allies through democracy when "popular" anti-Americanism become a legitimated governing platform. If you believe we can then there is no hope for your recovery.

9/27/2006 07:17:00 PM  

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