Monday, September 11, 2006

How not to hunt a tiger

One of the reasons people like Christopher Hitchens do so well in talk show interviews is that they are utterly unintimidated by media personalities. Not that they'll get up and throw a chair at their interviewer, which has happened on some occasions on the cheesier shows, but that they'll verbally reach out and pull their interlocutors ideas out of the speech bubble, twist them into pretzels and hand them back for the whole audience to see. After this treatment , their interviewers, who are normally accustomed to controlling the discussion by and by find themselves, in spite of everything, on the wrong end of the microphone. Here's Christopher Hitchens being grilled by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Tony Jones. (Hat tip: Tim Blair)

The interview starts with a soft setup for a spike over the net, except Hitchens reads the play and hammers it back so fast that the serve changes sides.


TONY JONES: It seems that the United States, and much of the Western world, is still learning the lessons of 9/11. After reflecting on this for five years now, what did we get right and what did we get wrong?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Mmm. Well I think we found out that we were at war, which was better than being at war and not knowing it, which was the case until five years and about five minutes ago. Until five years and five minutes ago, for example, we didn't know the name AQ Khan. We didn't know that Pakistan was being Talibanised from within, that there were al-Qaeda sympathisers in its nuclear program - and we weren't doing anything about that either. We didn't know, incidentally, that international black market of rogue states: North Korea, Libya and Iran, linked by AQ Khan and exchanging nuclear and other technologies, formed the corners of the box in which we thought had Saddam Hussein. When people talk about the box he was in, that box included AQ Khan and the North Koreans and the nuclear black market. So that goes also partly to the point that keeps coming up of whether or not we are safer. I always think that's a contemptible question. Not just because it can't be answered, but because it seems to demand that our governments exist to give us a sense of security, rather than a sense of our duties in the case of a war. ...

Plan B is an appeal to authority against which Hitchens will vainly dash himself to pieces. Except that Hitchens drops the authority over the cliff, but not before hooking his interviewer to the plummeting mass.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Mr Clarke, I should add, since this is apparently the 'Richard Clarke Show' was the leading ornament of the Clinton Administration that utterly failed to confront bin Laden at all. Mr Clarke was also the man who said when his government, his president, ordered the bombing of Sudan without even calling for an inspection of the relevant sites, or consulting the UN in the least, probably hitting the wrong factory, chemical factory, but the pretext for that, if you remember, is that Osama bin Laden owned that factory and that it was mixing chemical weaponry for Saddam Hussein. So Mr Clarke made the Saddam-bin Laden connection before anybody else did. I'm afraid to say, since you keep asking my opinion of him, I think what he says now is the result of partisanship. He would not be making these criticisms if he was on the inside and I think it's shabby that people will put their party first on these occasions. But Mr Clarke is the source of a lot of useful information. And if what he says, or alleges, is true about the Saddam-al-Qaeda connection then it would be impeachably delinquent of any government attacked on American soil with such massive force, not to ask is there a Saddam Hussein role in this? Because the likelihood that there could be would have to be very high? To say let's not think about Saddam, which is the only alternative, would be absolutely pathetic.

TONY JONES: Alright, let's go beyond Richard Clarke and...

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Are you sure you want to do this?

TONY JONES: Yes, of course. And we'll go to the...

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It's like letting go of your blanket.

Mr. Jones gamely keeps trying to the end, but they are blows without force and by the end he drops all pretense of being anything else than a partisan for one side, because Hitchens has left him with no ability to argue the middle. It's an amazing technical demonstration; but no one who doesn't command the topic or the language should try such a high wire interviewing style.

63 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

Cofer Black did precisely this on the annoying O'Reilly show tonight. When Bill interrupted him for the final time, Cofer cut back with "Precisely the point you are making..." and O'Reilly never regained the serve.

9/11/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The Left doesn't know what to do with Hitchens. He was a hardcore socialist who woke up on 9/11, and now finds himself disgusted by the knee-jerk irrational sort of liberalism that is all about snickering on cue whenever, as he puts it, a host says "Bush" and "IQ" in the same sentence. He retains his liberal politics but supports Operation Iraqi Freedom because he's a self-described "one issue voter" now, and that issue is secularism vs. theocracy. P.J. O'Rourke would call him the archetypical extremely smart person who got into liberal politics anyway.

9/11/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Last week, National Public Radio (NPR) had a funny little example of attack journalism where Wayne Slater was interviewed about his latest anti-Karl Rove book. Slater apparently makes his living as a political hatchet man for the Democrats. It was entertaining listening to this hatchet man attacking Rove for being Bush's hatchet man. Slater kept calling Mr. Rove "Karl" like he and Rove were old chums (sort of like refering to bin Laden as "Osama"). What really tickled me was Slater's bald face fabrication that Karl Rove had cooked up the expression "Islamic Fascist" after exploring the concept through various focus groups for political effectiveness. If I'm not mistaken, it was Christopher Hitchens who first invented the term "Iislamic fascist" (it's been in use for so long that it's hard to say who first coined the expression). Naturally, Slater is clueless about this (he probably gets all his information from the Daily Kos when he isn't dreaming stuff up on his own).

9/11/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: mirror imaging.

Intel analysts write that they worry about and try to compensate for this natural human instinct, the built-in bias we have to "mirror image" - because we believe that the people involved in the issue we are concerned about are just like us, and have the same motivations and behaviors.

I think we are seeing a lot of mirror imaging by the left (and right). And for reasons apparent and not the damage this does to the left (when they write or speak) is leading to their defeat at the polls. And the right's mirror imaging helps them at the polls. Why? What is this magic formula?

A tragedy in the classic sense, those bad things that we bring on ourselves, wittingly.

9/11/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Ari Tai,

Mirror imaging - Not only does it lead to the defeat of the left and help the right but it is also compounding. Things are getting better all the time.

9/12/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cheney Takes On Russert Interrogation
A great performance by the veep...

President Bush Destroys Matt Lauer's Moral Equivalence Winning interview strategery: Don't accept the premise of the question...
---
---
RUSH: You know what gets me, this continual moral equivalence.
Well, you know, if we torture these guys, or if we water board 'em, we're just becoming them, and aren't they winning? It is so stupid! Two atomic bombs in Japan, numerous civilians killed in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II. What is this?
What is this silly notion that we're going to become like the bad guys if we fight them?

9/12/2006 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/12/2006 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Path to 9/11 Edits Were Minor, Irrelevant;
Bob Iger Stood Firm In Face of Pressure
Bob Iger deserves praise for standing up to Bill Clinton and his many minions. ..
Clinton Claimed "Virtual Obsession" With Bin Laden But the audio proves otherwise...
Byron York: Facts on Clinton & Terror
Buzz Patterson: 9/11 Film "Correct"
book

Bush's Letter to Keller vs. Clinton's Letter to Iger
A telling comparison, you'll only find here...
Democrats Have Lied Every Day Since 9/11
---
"But the Democratic co-head of the 9/11 commission, former Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, said he agreed with the Clinton administration critics, although he acknowledged not watching it Sunday."
---
Clinton didn't see it, Lileks didn't watch it, JPod trashed it, Soxblog wasn't gonna watch it, on and on...
but they all "know" it unfairly defames the good names of fine folks like Sandy Bergler, Maddie Notbright, Bubba, et al.
"Conservatives" so eager to be accepted by the MSM/seaboard corridor crowd are a pathetic lot indeed.
ABC should be getting universal praise for putting the lie to the Clinton Mythology,
With FACTS!

9/12/2006 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(JPod, like Schumer, et al "knew" it was defamatory.
...from the hearsay of proven liars and their hired guns.
And proved their sophistication by not watching it.)

9/12/2006 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Two atomic bombs in Japan, numerous civilians killed in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II. What is this?
What is this silly notion that we're going to become like the bad guys if we fight them?


Doug, not only did we not "become like the bad guys" but as a result of our fighting and killing them--and yes, even killing civilians--in droves, they became like us instead. To everyone's benefit, I'd say.

9/12/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

doug linked:

President Bush Destroys Matt Lauer's Moral Equivalence Winning interview strategery: Don't accept the premise of the question...

That's a neat parlor trick that also allows the white hats (Republicans) to spend more of the taxpayers' money then the black hats (Democrats) and still claim moral superiority because historically the GOP has always been about self-reliance, fiscal restraint and small government. Don't accept the premise. Eventually, whether it be on spending or killing or interrogations or supporting evil dictatorships around the world because they're on board the War on Communism or the War on Terrorism or whatever the current War is, your misdeeds accumilate to the point where you can't make them go away by just sticking your head in the sand.

9/12/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

I'm sure Hitchens intelligence network is far superior to that of the CIA, which can find no collaborative link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. I guess that the Hitchens network is also superior to the DIA, NSA, FBI and any other intel service that the President can draw upon, because twice in the last two weeks the President has denied that there was an Iraq/AQ alliance. Once in a press conference last week and yesterday during his speech at the World Trade Center. Remarkable. Bush was once deeply convinced of such a "linkage" but now publically refutes it.
Hitchens should look at the President's statements and refamiliarize himself with Bertrand Russel's concept of "evidence against interests".

9/12/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Reocon, your argument is with Richard Clark, not Hitchens.

You go to war with the evidence and assertions you've got. It would now seem Mr Clark provided too much of one and not enough of the other for your taste. But you 'know' this only in retrospect, right? Or do you claim you were in posession of some special knowledge at the time that no-one else was aware of?

9/12/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

Reocon,

There is a difference between saying that al Qaida and Saddam were linked, and saying that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. You are conflating the two. The President said (for the nth time) that there is no evidence that Saddam was involved in 9/11. And he has also repeatedly said that there is ample evidence that Saddam and al Qaida had contacts and worked together on some things.

9/12/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Fenrisulven said...

Yes. There were links between Al Queda and Iraq, but not re 9-11.

That bears repeating. The Left has deliberately conflated the two in their talking points. We're at war and their playing word games to get political traction...

9/12/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

September 11, 2006: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the primary Islamic terrorist leader in Afghanistan before the Taliban and al Qaeda showed up, was captured just across the border from his Pakistani hideout. Someone gave him up, as Afghan and U.S. forces surrounded the rural compound where he was staying, and captured Hekmatyar and half a dozen followers without firing a shot. Operating from his base in Pakistan, Hekmatyar's terrorists were responsible for much of the violence in eastern Afghanistan. Hekmatyar never got along well with the Taliban, and has been in exile in Pakistan for over a decade.

9/12/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Teresita said...
doug linked:

President Bush Destroys Matt Lauer's Moral Equivalence Winning interview strategery: Don't accept the premise of the question...

That's a neat parlor trick that also allows the white hats (Republicans) to spend more of the taxpayers' money then the black hats (Democrats) and still claim moral superiority because historically the GOP has always been about self-reliance, fiscal restraint and small government. Don't accept the premise. Eventually, whether it be on spending or killing or interrogations or supporting evil dictatorships around the world because they're on board the War on Communism or the War on Terrorism or whatever the current War is, your misdeeds accumilate to the point where you can't make them go away by just sticking your head in the sand.
///////////////
The republicans lost their moral voice when they jumped the shark with prohibition in the 1920's. The democrats have jumped the shark and lost their moral voice by their stands on sodomy and abortion-ie the culture of death --in recent decades.

9/12/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Fenrisulven,

Precisely.

Yes. There were links between Al Queda and Iraq, but not re 9-11.

But, the Pres might have said:

There were many links between Al Queda and Iraq; but they were working in secret, so there's a lot we may never know.

Re 9-11. We decided to permit the new Iraqi government to deal with Saddam and his pals, for crimes against Iraqis, rather than to have to put panties on the heads of this unwholesome group.

In this case, the information collection effort isn't worth it.

Some weeks before their executions, the Baath party members might give more detail, just for posterity's sake. One of those known unknowns.

9/12/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

charles wrote:

The democrats have jumped the shark and lost their moral voice by their stands on sodomy and abortion-ie the culture of death --in recent decades.

Admittedly, abortion is part of a "culture of death" but lesbians do not have 3,000 year old books that tell them to execute straight people so your objection is not so clear to me.

9/12/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Teresita said...

charles wrote:

The democrats have jumped the shark and lost their moral voice by their stands on sodomy and abortion-ie the culture of death --in recent decades.

Admittedly, abortion is part of a "culture of death" but lesbians do not have 3,000 year old books that tell them to execute straight people so your objection is not so clear to me.
///////////////////
homosexuality and infanticide have always been part of the same culture of death. Its no coincidence that the rise in power of homosexuals has coincided with the legalization of abortion. after all you can control a population by killing its eggs or by promoting sterile couplings or both.

9/12/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

: ) 911 was lame.

9/12/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
"Reocon, your argument is with Richard Clark, not Hitchens.

You go to war with the evidence and assertions you've got. It would now seem Mr Clark provided too much of one and not enough of the other for your taste. But you 'know' this only in retrospect, right? Or do you claim you were in posession of some special knowledge at the time that no-one else was aware of? "

No, my argument is with the Neocon/Trotskyist Hitchens and the ultra Leftist capture of the conservative movement he represents. I was agnostic on the operational links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and very skeptical of WMD evidence. In sum I did not believe that these thin assertions met the very high standards for preventative war or just war. I believe this as a conservative who has always taken Eisenhower's distaste of "preventative war" to heart:

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing." --President Eisenhower, 1953

I also believe, as a Christian (Lutheran, Missouri Synod) that the Iraq war failed to meet the basic requirements of a just war theory, as elucidated from Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. It has failed as a cassus belli, jus in bello and jus post bellum.

And now? The President, CIA and Senate all say that there were no operational links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. We have found no WMDs. Elections have put power in the hands of SHIITE ISLAMIST PARTIES (SCIRI, Dawa, Fadhila and Sadr). The Iraq War is a completely failed policy and "staying the course" means propping up and turning more power over to the elected Iraqi government, one that is composed of SHIITE ISLAMISTS. Absurd. Eisenhower's ethical realism is holding up quite nicely for me.

Jeff Medcalf said...
"Reocon,

There is a difference between saying that al Qaida and Saddam were linked, and saying that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. You are conflating the two."

From what I've read it seems that AQ and Saddam were constantly sniffing each other out in mutual distrust and never established an alliance or shared policy agenda. Bin Laden frequently lambasted Hussein as an "infidel" well before the invasion. He also predicted that the US would invade Iraq as far back as '98, and we seemed to have obliged him on that one. I'm still waiting for the evidence that "one-legged" Zarqawi, who supposedly received medical treatment for that amputation in Iraq, had firm ties with the Iraqi government.

On the other hand, we have Musharraf and his deep ties, through the Pakistani ISI, with the Taliban. A couple days ago he established a truce with the secessionist movement in the Pakistani province of Waziristan where AQ and the Taliban are based. As long as they don't attack the Pakistani government, Musharraf doesn't care what sort of hell they unleash in Afghanistan or upon US and NATO soldiers. (Does that make Musharraf one of Rumsfeld's "Nazi appeasers"?) That is an open operational linkage of a kind that has never been verified between Iraq and AQ. Perhaps, Mr. Medcalf, your focus should be on our soi disant ally, Pakistan?

9/12/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"There were many links between Al Queda and Iraq; but they were working in secret, so there's a lot we may never know."
---
Geof,
Why not have Pinch set up a Baghdad Office and put out the Tigris Times?
Pinch brings transparency in Govt Covert Ops to Iraq.

9/12/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I still don't get the reason AQ Khan has not received the Gerald Bull treatment. His security expenses must be considerable.

9/12/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/12/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing." --President Eisenhower, 1953

That's nice. Pity we can't all go back to the days when Massive Retaliation and the gutting of the Army was supposed to be a workable national strategy.

9/12/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"Why not have Pinch set up a Baghdad Office and put out the Tigris Times?"

Doug,

Will he be serving swwet mint tea?

;-)

9/12/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing." --President Eisenhower, 1953

Reocon, so I take it you would not have been in favor of a preventive war against Saddam regardless of any relationship with bin Laden or possession of WMD?

Well, why didn't you just come out and say so and save what by your lights is an unnecessary discussion? And why, pray tell, continue on about Musharraf and his alleged coddling of al Qaeda as if, to your thinking, it matters?

9/12/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

You know most heated debates on blogs are nothing more than a slow-motion form of this.

Perhaps the next big thing will be bloggers in a semi-formal cage/deathmatch debate.

And the prize? Perhaps your domain?

Now that'll get the blood flowing. :)

9/12/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

cutler said:

That's nice. Pity we can't all go back to the days when Massive Retaliation and the gutting of the Army was supposed to be a workable national strategy.

Yeah, 2003 and Bush-43 going into Iraq with 1/3 of the ground forces that General Eric Shinseki said (and history later proved) that we needed. No, I meant 1992 and Bush-41's post Cold-War draw-down, those were the good old days. No, wait, I meant 1974 and Nixon in the aftermath of Vietnam...Uh oh, I can't say this stuff, only Democrats slash defense. That's the ticket.

9/12/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

Alex said...
: ) 911 was lame.
---
Please Explain:
I don't have a TV, just checked out the facts on ALL of the Clinton Gang's complaints:
ABC ended up having to take out ONE MINUTE,
...details like Berger Hang Up.
Albright's bogus complaint was about something out of Blitzer's mouth which was NOT IN THE MOVIE, etc etc.
Are your complaints artistic, ie it sucked as a movie?
I'm thrilled the facts get out about the lying years.
And all the "sophisticated" arguments like Lileks and the rest leave me saddened:
It IS HISTORY, even if recent, and rewriting history always brings misery in the future.

9/12/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Christopher Hitchens has the requisite qualifications to inspire common courtesy in the host. I can’t imagine Al Franken being as kind or articulate in his response.

Tony Jones the inquisitor needs to get to the bottom of the question: “that history will primarily judge President Bush's reaction to September 11 by his decision to go to war with Iraq and the linkage he made between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein?”

History is being written by the likes of Tony Jones and the Liberal brain-trust. They concede that they’d of gone along and supported the administration, but Bush’s attitude was way too arrogant for Liberals to play along with; “If Bush only…”

Hell of a way to play both sides of the D-fence; We’d be better off if we’d run on my play book.

9/12/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Teresita deliberately stirring crap up:

Don't accept the premise. Eventually, whether it be on spending or killing or interrogations or supporting evil dictatorships around the world because they're on board the War on Communism or the War on Terrorism or whatever the current War is, your misdeeds accumilate to the point where you can't make them go away by just sticking your head in the sand.

Lets see, besides our "misdeeds accumlating" from the war on radical Islam or the struggle with Communism (which killed 95 million people - four times as many as Hitler - though Hollywood and the media prefer to gloss that over given the people involved). Well, we also interrogated and killed in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexian War, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI. Then in WWII, allied with the evil dictatorship of the 2nd greatest Democide (next to Chicoms) against the 3rd greatest Democide (the Nazis).

My gosh Teresita, if all our terrible misdeeds have accumulated at such a level that the Islamic terrorists and Iraqi insurgents represent less than 1/2 of 1% of the people we have killed and interrogated in past wars....

Whats the difference?

America is awful.

Move.

9/12/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

"Reocon, so I take it you would not have been in favor of a preventive war against Saddam regardless of any relationship with bin Laden or possession of WMD?"

As I stated earlier, I do not believe that Iraq in '03 met any stringent criteria for war. The results of this war have certainly born out my opposition and I don't see you arguing otherwise.


"Well, why didn't you just come out and say so and save what by your lights is an unnecessary discussion? And why, pray tell, continue on about Musharraf and his alleged coddling of al Qaeda as if, to your thinking, it matters?"

I "continue on" about Musharraf because he meets the very criteria that the Neocon camp set for the invasion of Iraq. He is a dictator with an atomic bomb who is allied with Jihadist in his own territory. His branch of the military and the ISI were deeply allied with -- indeed, helped to found -- the Taliban. He has allowed the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to flourish on his territory, recentlty signing a truce with the affiliated triabal leaders of Waziristan. So, if you buy into the Neocon rational for invading Iraq, why so silent on Musharraf? What do you think Sirius Sir?

If it isn't clear enough, I "continue on" with the Musharraf example to show the organized hypocrisy and exhaustion of the Neocon Agenda/Bush Doctrine. We can start repairing the damage by asking how we got here. Let's hope James Baker's not-so-secret commission on how to pull out of Iraq comes up with some bright ideas.

9/12/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

“On the other hand, we have Musharraf and his deep ties, through the Pakistani ISI, with the Taliban. A couple days ago he established a truce with the secessionist movement in the Pakistani province of Waziristan where AQ and the Taliban are based. As long as they don't attack the Pakistani government, Musharraf doesn't care what sort of hell they unleash in Afghanistan or upon US and NATO soldiers.”

It may be wishful thinking, but Musharraf may have blunted his sword in Waziristan, and, like a recently “liberated” Gaza, may open up for a free fire zone and a U.S. intervention. Nonetheless, it seems likely to open up the possibility for covert action.

9/12/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Annoy mouse, that's what I suspect too.

But then we'll still have to endure the disappointment and/or feigned outrage of those who have so patiently waited and hoped for the exhaustion of the Neo/Bushcon Agenda.

9/12/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The sovereign Pakistani government, friend or foe, has made nice with tribes of Waziristan, probably, at least, with “moderates”. Musharraf can treaty with the tribes, and, ostensibly, NATO can agree to try not to kill “moderates”, and the whole show can focus on radicals, could make for a huge shift in focus in the “forgotten” war.

Meanwhile, our enemies, the socialist Greek Government has stopped a Korean ship, loaded with weapons, from unloading in Syria.

9/12/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agree w/Mouse and Sirius:
All that's needed now is action.
Overt, Covert, or Whatever the USAF needs to apply.

9/12/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I do not believe that Iraq in '03 met any stringent criteria for war.

Sorry, I missed that tidbit. (I'm not reading you closely anymore. Barely, in fact, able to read you at all.)

Well, let's see... Criteria for war... You won't like it, of course, but since you brought it up originally, I might try to convince you that Hitler's flouting of the Versailles Treaty bears some relation to what happened later, no matter what your opinion on the concept of 'preventive war' might or might not be. I will only make the rather neutral observation that Saddam appeared to have little interest in abiding by the terms of the first Gulf War ceasefire. And, in fact, Saddam fired upon our aircraft numerous times while they were engaged in enforcing the no-fly zone. (At what point do you suppose does such belligerent behaviour serve as a cassus belli? Or does it never? In which case, why don't we all just go home and leave the Saddams of the world to their varied devices?) I might also make the neutral observation that Saddam showed little interest in abiding by the terms of numerous UN Resolutions that dealt with attempting to make sure--rather than just hoping--he would not develop certain forbidden weapons capabilities--all attempts which he resolutely resisted and, finally, thwarted. Again, what is your answer to that, other than, I hope, simply to let him do what he likes? And if that is your answer, is it the same answer when it comes to the relentless murder of Kurds and Marsh Arabs, even to the point of genocide?

Seriously, I'd be interested to know.

9/12/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

While the pakis have backed out of direct conflict the US now has clearance for hot pursuit.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003253171_911binladen11.html
McChrystal's troops have shuttled between Afghanistan and Iraq, where they succeeded in killing al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and killed or captured dozens of his followers.

Under McChrystal, JSOC has improved its ability to quickly turn captured documents, computers and cellphones into new leads and then to act upon them, while waiting for more analysis from CIA or SOCOM headquarters.

Industry experts and military officers say they are being aided by computer forensic field kits that let technicians "freeze" information contained on surviving hard drives, cellphones, answering machines and other electronic devices while others unload them for valuable information, as was the case in the al-Zarqawi strike.

McChrystal now has the authority to go after bin Laden inside Pakistan without having to seek permission first, said two U.S. officials.

"The authority," said one knowledgeable person, "follows the target," meaning if the target is bin Laden, the stakes are high enough for McChrystal to decide on his own. The understanding is that U.S. units will not enter Pakistan except under extreme circumstances, and that Pakistan will deny giving them permission.

9/12/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

charles said:

McChrystal now has the authority to go after bin Laden inside Pakistan without having to seek permission first, said two U.S. officials.

First they needed permission from Don Clinton to whack OBL, then Don Musharraf. Can we push da button on da guy now boss?

9/12/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, when the boys had al-Zarqawi in the house General Casey had to be roused from his sleep, to approve the strike. Heard him say it himself during the news conference.
To paraphrase "They woke me and I okayed the strike".
So even with the #1 target in Iraq, the shooters could not take the inititive. There had to be "higher" approval.

No one is entering Pakistan without very, very senior approval, at the moment of incursion.

9/12/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Makes me) Ralph Peters just now on Medved Show:
No American Muslim has strapped on a vest and walked into a Wal-Mart.
Right:
Seattle Jewish Center was NOT Walmart.
DC attacks were NOT at Walmarts.
San Fran attacks were NOT at Walmarts.
LAX attack was NOT at Walmart.
---
Ralph Peters has put himslf in Andy Sullivan's league.
To be ridiculed.

9/12/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

DR,
Opportunity is something you make and mix with the luck you get. Implementation… well that is quite another thing. Opportunity is nothin’ if you don’t take it.

9/12/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

desert rat wrote:

So even with the #1 target in Iraq, the shooters could not take the inititive. There had to be "higher" approval.

I know the U.S. military has incredible discipline, but sometimes I think it would be better for a major or sergeant to accept a court martial for killing OBL without permission than to get that permission in the first place. After he got out of Leavenworth he would get a ticker tape parade on any red state main street.

9/12/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Terisita,
One of Kaplan's concerns with running wars from Las Vegas results in the same problem:
Indecision by CYA Masters up the chain of command.

9/12/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Senior administration officials, including President Bush, suspected that Iraq was involved in 9/11, as Richard Clarke made clear. There was, however, enormous bureaucratic resistance, particularly from the CIA, to even recognizing the information that would permit such a conclusion to be reached. If it were true, it would mean that they had made the most serious, most terrible error in the Agency's history, and there were CIA officials who were just not prepared to acknowledge that, even indirectly.

Read more here.

Some particulars to consider:

--"Ramzi Yousef is the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center."

--"Yousef entered the United States on an Iraqi passport with stamps showing a journey beginning in Baghdad."

--"The mastermind of the 9/11 strikes is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), and US authorities believe KSM is Yousef's uncle."

9/12/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

The news for JSOC is, to put it mildly, great. And a long time in coming. There is a universe of difference between calling McChrystal for go-ahead and calling Rumsfeld for go-ahead. (Under the latter's authority, the certainty threshold was constantly raised, making strikes for the most part impossible.)

Obviously, Musharraf was put on warninng.

Eeeeeeggcellent.

9/12/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"That's nice. Pity we can't all go back to the days when Massive Retaliation and the gutting of the Army was supposed to be a workable national strategy."

Yeah, 2003 and Bush-43 going into Iraq with 1/3 of the ground forces that General Eric Shinseki said (and history later proved) that we needed. No, I meant 1992 and Bush-41's post Cold-War draw-down, those were the good old days. No, wait, I meant 1974 and Nixon in the aftermath of Vietnam...Uh oh, I can't say this stuff, only Democrats slash defense. That's the ticket.


I was talking about Eisenhower, a Republican.

Pick someone else to use as a crutch to assert your political independence, oh non-partisan one.

9/12/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

In retrospect that was a bit harsh, my apologies.

9/12/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger John J. Coupal said...

Tony Jones of the Australian version of the ABC now rues going into that intellectual hatchet fight with Hitchens, knowing that Jones' intelligence had been left at home.

9/12/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Hunting tigers, are we? Well, ok. The sure way of killing the beasts is by destroying their habitat. How that applies to the likes of Christopher Hitchens, I leave to you.

9/12/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Charles,the capture of Hekmatyer is good news.He was definitely a bad actor whether aligned with the Taliban or not.
Recommend an essay by Bret Stephens in today's Wall Street Journal on why the left should be eager advocates of the war against the Islamists as their heads would be the first on the chopping block(at least the deviant left)

9/12/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

" And, in fact, Saddam fired upon our aircraft numerous times while they were engaged in enforcing the no-fly zone. (At what point do you suppose does such belligerent behaviour serve as a cassus belli?"

When it actually results in American dead or wounded. Saddam's AA proved ineffective.

"Or does it never? In which case, why don't we all just go home and leave the Saddams of the world to their varied devices?"

We have. We do. If you think that America is supposed to be the world's saviour then you're more deluded than I feared. It is no where written on our constitution that we've a duty to rid the world of tyranny, and few in history up til know have ever seriously considered such a messianic crusade for our nation.

"I might also make the neutral observation that Saddam showed little interest in abiding by the terms of numerous UN Resolutions that dealt with attempting to make sure--rather than just hoping--he would not develop certain forbidden weapons capabilities--all attempts which he resolutely resisted and, finally, thwarted.
Again, what is your answer to that, other than, I hope, simply to let him do what he likes?"

Please. If thwarting UN resolutions was a legitimate cassus belli we would have invaded Israel long ago. As to Saddam's "forbidden weapons capabilities", please remind me what those were once again. Or better yet, please tell the Iraqi Survey Team tasked with finding them. Have you read any newspapers since '03?

"And if that is your answer, is it the same answer when it comes to the relentless murder of Kurds and Marsh Arabs, even to the point of genocide?"

We tolerate genocides all the time when intervening is not in our national interest. Indeed, Saddam was still something of an ally when he perpetuated the Halabja massacre, and the Reagan administration took a realist pass in condemning him. His tendencies were quite well known when Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand in '83. Perhaps you want to invade Sudan, Somalia and the Congo to stop the genocides there? Did you learn nothing from Mogadishu in '93?

"Seriously, I'd be interested to know."

Now you do. Let me return the volley, and since I've deigned to answer you, perhaps you'll oblige me:

1. What are the limits on the Neocon plan of democratic globalism when Arab "democracies" have exhibited a trend toward electing ISLAMISTS (see Palestine, Iraq, and Southern Lebanon).

2. Are mere elections the real solution to Islamofascism? Weren't fascist parties able to easily subvert or win elections in the 20s and 30s? When do elections EMPOWER fascists?

3. Why in the world should we support an openly anti-Israeli Iraqi government composed of SHIITE ISLAMISTS that are allied with Iran? SHIITE ISLAMISTS that include Sadr in their governing coalition! How many US soldiers and Marines has he killed and why do you support a government that he is a legitimate part of?

4. Since you are evidently a Troskyite dedicated to saving the world, what are the parameters of your mission? The whole globe? Don't you think you should prepare the American public for the costs of this grand adventure?

9/12/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

What are the limits on the Neocon plan of democratic globalism...?

I don't know, other than to say that in my estimation it is better for people to have a say in how they are governed than to deny that possibility. Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, it makes no difference. I would say the same applies to N. Korea. On the other hand, there is nothing that says we have to approve, support or accept the outcome of bad choices or the actual subversion of the democratic process. That applies whether we are discussing Palestine or 1930s Germany. I would think that answer is obvious, and it absolutely astounds me that you would regard Hezbollah's attempts to subvert the democratic process in Lebanon to bolster whatever argument it is you are trying to make.

Are mere elections...?

I believe I've already answered that too.

Why in the world should we support an openly anti-Israeli Iraqi government composed of SHIITE ISLAMISTS that are allied with Iran? SHIITE ISLAMISTS that include Sadr...

Apparently you are unaware of al-Malaki's pledge to disarm and disband Sadr's forces. Sadr is just as much a threat to the Iraqi democrats as he is to American soldiers, arguably more so. I'm no more happy with Iraqi antipathy towards Israel than you, but one hallmark of democracy is the ability to present alternative ideas and views and carry on an argument, if not a civilized discussion. Perhaps there are Iraqis who can moderate opinion concerning Israel, but under Saddam that wasn't ever going to happen, was it?

Since you are evidently a Troskyite...

Entirely wrong and, if I may so, presumptious to assert. But the world is what it is, whether we engage it or not. I contend it is better to try to influence people to act in their own best interests. That is what the democracy agenda hopes to accomplish, I think, although as with anything there are bound to be failures as well as successes. I'm not sure why you would assume it is ultimately cheaper, in any way you would like to measure, to accept tyranny when freedom could serve as an alternative. Even if the odds are long, it still seems to me a worthwhile bet.

9/12/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

If thwarting UN resolutions was a legitimate cassus belli we would have invaded Israel long ago.

I apologize to our host for the multiple comments, but I just can't let this statement go unchallenged. First, I find it interesting that you would both attack and ostensibly defend Israel on the same page. You would be less transparent if such inconsistencies were kept farther apart. Second, you might also like to revisit your argument about intervening in our national interest. I doubt that Israel poses nearly the threat that Saddam's intransigence might have. Could have? Please, help me out here. What words should I use to fully convey how silly it was to take him seriously?

9/12/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Hitchens now has at least two notches in his revolver.

If the sound of crunching and gnawing of bones is your cup of tea please visit my archive:

Victor Davis Hanson (VDH/Huffington)
Hitchens (Hitchens/Galloway)
Perle (Perle/Dean)


Do not view, listen, or read these 'debates' if you are a peace loving appeaser!!!

9/12/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

"Apparently you are unaware of al-Malaki's pledge to disarm and disband Sadr's forces."

Oh yes, I'm watching that campaign quite carefully, and to date, I'm not impressed. It remains an open question as to whether Maliki, already weak, wants to further fracture his ruling coalition and I think I'd be more heartened if Maliki resolved to disband his OWN MILITIA, that of his political party Dawa. Or for that matter, the SCIRI and Fadhila militia. The Iraqi army is not plugged into the command and control of the Iraqi state. One ineffectual division was recently turned over and nine more remain under Coalition control.


"I apologize to our host for the multiple comments, but I just can't let this statement go unchallenged. First, I find it interesting that you would both attack and ostensibly defend Israel on the same page. You would be less transparent if such inconsistencies were kept farther apart. Second, you might also like to revisit your argument about intervening in our national interest. I doubt that Israel poses nearly the threat that Saddam's intransigence might have. Could have? Please, help me out here. What words should I use to fully convey how silly it was to take him seriously? "

Only an avowed globalist could be so dense. I care not one wit for UN resolutions and bring up Israel's repeated violations of them to show how utterly false it is to base any argument for the invasion of Iraq on violations of UN resolutions. If you wish to actually maintain the intergrity of that august UN body then certainly you will condemn Israel. I will not. Israel's repeated violations of UN resolutions for their own self-defense is not an attack, it is a fact. Are you really not aware of this?

"I don't know, other than to say that in my estimation it is better for people to have a say in how they are governed than to deny that possibility. Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, it makes no difference."

I'm too tired to continue this debate because I've already done it for too many decades. We'll end up discussing political culture and whether Arab societies have the liberal sensibilities and Tocquevillian mores to run a modern democracy. I say no. q.v.: Iran's elections since the fall of the Shah. Iraq's recent elections. Lebanon's elections. Palestine's elections, etc. ad nauseaum.

9/12/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Only an avowed globalist could be so dense.

And yet, you honestly do not understand that I am not arguing for a blind allegiance to the UN but rather an informed allegiance to our own best interests.

The UN Resolutions pertaining to Saddam meet that criterion. The many assinine resolutions against Israel do not. Do you honestly not see that difference? And if not, I find it merely amusing that you dare call anyone else dense.

9/12/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

"And yet, you honestly do not understand that I am not arguing for a blind allegiance to the UN but rather an informed allegiance to our own best interests.

The UN Resolutions pertaining to Saddam meet that criterion. The many assinine resolutions against Israel do not. Do you honestly not see that difference? And if not, I find it merely amusing that you dare call anyone else dense."

In Iraq we accomplished what we wanted through containment. Saddam did not rearm with WMD. The other UN resolutions were violations of state soveriegnty which no nation would tolerate. Saddam charged that the UN survey teams were crawling with CIA inspectors and he was right. Scott Ritter confirmed that is exactly was he was assigned to do when he toured with the UN inspectors.

The UN resolutions were designed to achieve the impossible, to bring about a peaceful, neutered Iraq. Peace, it that region, is only a period of cheating between periods of war. A regional war involving Iraq was inevitable, and the trick -- which would not have been too difficult -- would be to ensure that Iraq once more fought our REAL ENEMY, Iran. That is why Bush 41 pulled back from overthrowing Saddam in '91 and history had clearly validated that choice. To have overthrown Saddam then would have been to tilt Shiite Iraq into an alliance with Iran. That is exactly what Bush 43 has managed to do. Surely you can see logic of having Iran and Iraq bleed each other instead of allying to bleed us. Surely?

9/12/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Yes, I can see that logic all too clearly. It was by our abiding just such logic for far too long that earned us the enmity in that region we are only now beginning to overcome.

Your prescription is madness, frankly. I would rather hold to mine, which at least allows for the possiblity that the Iraqis will align with us to exert a positve influence on their neighbors.

Ours is a difference of opinion which colors our respective outlooks. You see Iraq as a dismal failure and cauldron of future trouble. I see it as a noble effort to change a dynamic that was always going to lead to failure and trouble regardless, unless the very fabric of those societies be changed.

Foud Ajami has written about this very issue, and Victor Hanson paraphrases, here:

What brought George W. Bush to Iraq, he writes, was a belief in the ability of America to do something about a longstanding evil, along with a post-9/11 determination to stop appeasing terror-sponsoring regimes. That the United States knew very little about the bloodthirsty undercurrents of Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish sectarianism, for years cloaked by Saddam’s barbaric rule — the dictator “had given the Arabs a cruel view of history,” one saturated in “iron and fire and bigotry” — did not necessarily doom the effort to failure. The idealism and skill of American soldiers, and the enormous power and capital that stood behind them, counted, and still count, for a great deal.

Not a roadmap to easy victory, perhaps, but still an avenue of hope.

As to your fears about a Shia majority radicalized by al-Sadr, Ajami addresses that too:

The worst part of the story, in Ajami’s estimation, is that the intensity of the Sunni resistance has fooled some Americans into thinking that we cannot work with the Shiites — or that our continuing to do so will result in empowering the Khomeinists in nearby Iran or its Hizballah ganglia in Lebanon. Ajami has little use for this notion. He dismisses the view that, within Iraq, a single volatile figure like Moqtadar al-Sadr is capable of sabotaging the new democracy (“a Shia community groping for a way out would not give itself over to this kind of radicalism”). Much less does he see Iraq’s Shiites as the religious henchmen of Iran, or consider Iraqi holy men like Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani or Sheikh Humam Hamoudi to be intent on establishing a theocracy. In common with the now demonized Ahmad Chalabi, Ajami is convinced that Iraqi Shiites will not slavishly follow their Khomeinist brethren but instead may actually subvert them by creating a loud democracy on their doorstep.

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

sirius_sir said...
"Yes, I can see that logic all too clearly. It was by our abiding just such logic for far too long that earned us the enmity in that region we are only now beginning to overcome."

We are overcoming "enmity" in the region?! I'm sorry, Sir, that seems delusional to me. You can not seriously read today's headlines and tell me that America is now more loved in that benighted part of the world.

During the Iraq/Iran war we had secret relations with both sides and were able to use much more political leverage in the region. We can not go back, but we can play both sides off once another again to our benefit. We could start by giving up this illusion that we're prepared to socially engineer a New England township out of the tattered chaos of Arab culture.

"I see it as a noble effort to change a dynamic that was always going to lead to failure and trouble regardless, unless the very fabric of those societies be changed."

Liberal internationalism at its most insidious. Perhaps if a Democrat were in charge of this big government crusade of yours, but the rub is that a conservative coalition neither understands how to go about it nor are they really willing to fund it. Especially if it means building up a SHIITE ISLAMIST government that is allied with Iran. The clock is ticking on this idiocy.

Fouad Ajami is part of the scoundrel cabal of exiles that convinced Bush and Cheney that the Iraqi people would be liberal and secular. His cohorts were Chalabi and Makiya and they are thoroughly discredited. You can't take them seriously after the past Iraqi election results. They should all be imprisoned for their treachery.

Victor Hanson is a psuedo-conservative and erudite fool who's never heard of illiberal democracy. His writing are stuck in an '04 time warp in which ISLAMISTS never won the elections of '05, which makes his analysis worse than useless. He once to stay the course, as if the present course is not heading off a cliff of ELECTED Islamofascism.

9/13/2006 10:17:00 AM  

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