Friday, October 20, 2006

The battle of Sangin

The Guardian has a long and detailed account of a British paratroop unit's attempt to hold a base in Afghanistan called Sangin. They had lived in peace with their locals until something unexpected set them off against the Paras. Then they were in a battle for their lives. (Hat tip: Chester)


Don't be put off by the fact that the article is from the Guardian. There's good information in it. This is an account about Afghanistan and not Iraq. Yet even there all NATO is striving is the chance for "a beginning". As Major Loden is quoted as saying: the West has to fight to reform Islam. That's a radical thought. It is a Long War to which everyone wants Short War solutions.


Blogger trangbang68 said...

That is a very powerful account of that mysterious ,almost indescribable experience of men at war.It very vividly captured the men's conflicting emotions such as fear,exhilaration and pride.
Past all the endless hum of political spin and analysis;history will remember these brave men who went to war.

10/20/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

As Major Loden is quoted as saying: the West had to fight to reform Islam.

Yet it seems Islam is fighting to reform Christianity, and in Europe, at least, is winning.

10/20/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Perhaps the most telling part of that good article was Major Loden's commentary. Beyond "brave lads" facing down other brave lads, aided by expensive wonder toys Loden admires - he nevertheless has come to the conclusion that the Bush-Blair strategy is wrong from the foundations up. I happen to agree.

What started after 9/11 was go with your best knowledge at the time. But Bush in particular seems to have learned nothing. He was just seen commenting on Ramadan and announcing on radio Islam being the Religion of Peace. On O'Reilly, he was back on the "noble Iraqi people" and his belief that any person of Faith was fundamentally good and had the same values, he the President did..

I'm sorry, but it's been 5 years and the Idiot-in-Chief still doesn't seem to understand it is an ideological war and cannot be won through several hundred thousand "Battles of Sangin" taking place while B-1 bombers and high-tech infrastructure and soldiers costing a million to train and field effectively "spending" 10 million dollars for whacking each 400 dollar a year Talibani armed with a 100 dollar AK-47 who comes to fight - rather than be a Talibani teaching 300 new boy recruits at a Madrassah.

His discussion of Muslim "sacred space" is very good, too. The media has not given much coverage to the Muslim belief of "irreversable conquest" - that once a land is conquered by Islam, it is rendered forever Muslim --and the same with a conquered people. Once a Dhimmi, by rights, always a Dhimmi.

Hopefully this isn't too long a quote for copyright - I thought it was good enough that I couldn't abridge it:

Sitting at the trestle table with the sound of gunfire in the distance, he began a disquisition on the history of Islamic philosophy. Loden is unusual: an intellectual with an automatic rifle. Two years ago he wrote a 25,000-word master's thesis on The Need For An Ideological Response To Islamic Extremism. He talked to me about the radical thinker Sayyid Qutb, about shariah law, about the difference between Shia and Sunni jurisprudence. Having addressed Islamic extremism through the library and through the bullet, he believes that US and British strategy is wrong from the foundations up.

"You can improve homeland security from a purely physical point of view, you can increase security at airports, but that isn't exactly addressing the issue. Yes, it's making terrorist attacks harder to conduct... It's not addressing the rationale for it."

The west had to give more support and publicity to Muslims who were trying to reform Islam from within, he said. The implications of extremism spread way beyond the Middle East. He talked of the notion of "sacred space", the notion that land conquered by Muslims in God's name must remain Muslim and, if lost, recovered. "That means Spain, bits of France... all over the place."

Loden said there was a more risky interpretation of the sacred space doctrine which said that land where Muslims had a political majority was actually Muslim land. "So when you have the debate in Leicester and Bradford about separate education, separate areas of the town, you know, communities being allowed to apply their own law - then you are in fact going down a fairly dangerous path."

Well, soon Bush will once again host his little Eid Feast, once again celebrate his fellow believers in God, and commend them for the wonderful progress they have made against a few "evildoers" - and another 180-200,000 Muslims will have arrived in the USA that year. Most legally. Many though, several thousand - crossing Bush's Open Borders.

Perhaps the next President will finally address the real war - the ideological one...and not put 99% of the nations money, energy, and deliberations effort - to play "defense" against Jihad though physical attack and defense in an expensive, unsustainable manner. (America's debt inc. future unfunded liabilities, has gone from 20 trillion to 42 trillion in the 6 years Bush has been in office. Nearly 3 trillion is "counter evildoer" expenses. Less than 10 million has gone for ideological and propaganda efforts)

10/20/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

trangbang - Past all the endless hum of political spin and analysis;history will remember these brave men who went to war.

Perhaps organizationally. But if we were just pissing in the wind in "the Battle of Sangin"? If "The Heroes Who Won the Fight for Fallujah" didn't make the "key for success" that American leaders told them they accomplished - to create a stable, secular, democratic Iraq for the noble purple-fingered Iraqis...

No, history won't remember them. Not if the battles were futile.

If we are failing to address the rationale for Jihad, if our whole post-9/11 strategy has been wrong "from the foundations up"...and we expended soldiers in wrong strategy...they will be remembered in some cumulative casualty records historians have, and perhaps for bravery in situations where their skill and bravery made no difference...but worth a "bravery kudo footnote" in the same sense as SS troops at Kursk deserve mention, Bull Run Confederates do, brave British Redcoats who left anonymous bones in Afghanistan 200 years earlier.

10/20/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Bush probably knows the truth, but he can't say it out publicly. The pervasive politically correct atmosphere created by the leftoids have made it impossible for any politician to say the truth and avoid impeachment or dismissal.

Bush isn't just beholden to himself; he has to consider the fortunes of his own Republican Party. If he comes right out and admits Islam for what it is, what happens next? The republicans can forget about reelection and the insane Dems in power will probably drive the US to the precipice.

There simply isn't enough political support from voters to stomach the truth. Other than scattered atheist libertarians and some Christians, who else will agree?

It won't be about courage; it'll be about stupidity. You mentioned some of the factors yourself: the media doesn't see the truth either. Or it does but doesn't say it, happy to be complicit in the Gramscian plot against civilization.

10/21/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

"It is a Long War to which everyone wants Short War solutions."

And C4 is leading the parade. "it's been 5 years" Ummm, the American Revolution took eight years. Then there was the French and Indian War (nine years) King Williams War (eight years), Queen Anne's War (eleven years), not to mention the Thirty Years and Hundred Years Wars. Let me also remind you that the United States “liberated” the Philippines in 1898 and then spent the next five years putting down a rebellion that had started two years earlier. In fighting the Spanish, just 385 Americans died, but in the next five years of battling the insurrectos, a total of 4,234 Americans died (more than we've lost in WoT not counting 9/11). Oh, and by the way, 200,000 Filipinos were killed too. AND we didn’t turn over the “keys” to the country until 1946. At least in Iraq and Afghanistan the United States is attempting to give the people of those countries the chance the take control of their countries without substituting one dictator for another.

That said, the choices before the West are simple and straightforward:

1.)Annihilate Islam
2.)Reform Islam
3.)Ignore Islam
4.)Submit to Islam

Choice #1 is one that the West can do "overnight" with little fuss. We have the weapons and technology. We just don't have the will, yet. Seems C4 has decided that after five years it's time to "nuke 'em".

Choice #2 is much, much harder. It will take time, patience and lots of blood and treasure. It requires "kid gloves". It requires "nursing" and "nuturing", with the occasional "surgery". Progress is bound to be slow, and there will setbacks. Question is will the West have the will and patience to see it through, or will it make the third choice and hope the problem just "goes away"

Choice #3 is what we did in the 1990s and the result was 9/11 and all the rest. The West made the same choice in the 30's in response to the rise of facism. The result was a little fight to the death called World War II. Islam isn't going away. It isn't content with co-existant, at least in its present form.

Choice #4 will be the result of making Choice #3. Either that, or we park a couple Ohio-class submarines in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf and be done with it by making Choice #1.

Bush has made the second choice. It really was the only "moral" choice available to him. It is the right choice if we are not willing to go "Roman", "Mongol Horde", "Nazi" or whatever you want to call it. There is no easy solution other than the wholesale slaughter of "bad guys" and innocents. And throwing more money and effort into "ideological and propaganda efforts" is not going change that equation. "If we are failing to address the rationale for Jihad" Radical Islam is the result of what many in the ME believe is the West's ongoing "ideological and propaganda efforts" to subvert their religion and culture. Add in the fact that their religion calls for the forced conversion or death of unbelievers and you have why there is Jihad. Simple.
But what I really want to know from one of the chief whiners and complainers on this site is what exactly does this mythical all-solving "dealing with Jihad" plan look like? What are the details? It is one thing to criticize the efforts, plans, and attempts of the Bush Administration, it’s another to present a plan that was makes sense given the four choices presented above.

10/21/2006 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Choice #3 is what we did in the 1990s and the result was 9/11 and all the rest. The West made the same choice in the 30's in response to the rise of facism. The result was a little fight to the death called World War II. Islam isn't going away. It isn't content with co-existant, at least in its present form.

By ignoring Islam, we mean turning away Muslims at the ticket counter. No more 9-11's.

10/21/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"The media has not given much coverage to the Muslim belief of "irreversable conquest" - that once a land is conquered by Islam, it is rendered forever Muslim --and the same with a conquered people. Once a Dhimmi, by rights, always a Dhimmi."

Imagine that! I guess they figure they'll be "special" under Sharia and will stioll have Freedom of the Press.

"...or we park a couple Ohio-class submarines in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf...." They don't have to be that close. From a tactical perspective, I would prefer them parked out on the far side of Diego Garcia, if they're not there already. With them in the PG or RS, there'd be believers in fishing boats all over the place tryin' to get would also make it easier for the Russians or Chinese to aid the jihadi-fascists.

10/21/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

There are several sites tracking casualties (Mostly our side) in Iraq. Are there any that track casulaties in Afghanistan?

10/21/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,My commendation of these brave paratroopers is maybe on an ethical or metaphysical plane.It's sort of something we've lost in this cynical age.Cities cancel Veteran's Day parades for lack of interest.Maybe it's good Loden as a warrior/philosopher is rare.Most brave soldiers don't do a geo-political inquiry before they go over the top into no man's land.They reach down deep and fight for their comrades and their personal honor.
The paratroopers at Dien Ben Phu who jumped into the dying cauldron were heroic even if the mission was hopelessly flawed.When this war with the Islamists is done,either with a bang or a whimper and the smoke clears;some tattooed kid from Toledo who caught an RPG in Ramadi or Kandehar will have acquitted himself better than the carping critics on the sidelines.

10/21/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

I'm a little worried about you Wretchard. First you kind of sort of back off from your once unequivocal support for The Decider's Excellent Adventure in Mesopotamia (which has been duely noted on some liberal blogs) and now you're recommending an article from that filthy rotten liberal rag The Guardian!

It was indeed a great piece, just the latest of many. Sadly, The Guardian is one of the few MSM publications that continues to cover both wars in depth, and not merely through embeds and CENTCOM press releases. Once you filter out its political predispositions, you can actually learn a whole lot about what's going on on the ground that too few people from the other side of the spectrum (Bill Roggio comes to mind) can offer.

10/21/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Seems the U.S. bleeds all over the world for its friends, its enemies, and perhaps for its own conscience as it takes each step up the stairs of escalation.

Amazing how this good man seems always to take the difficult path, turning the ship of state into the wind at the every opportunity to advance the well-being of the least-of-us, the most defenseless of us, including those who claim to hate us, even when it most helps his political opponents.

I envy his strength. I wish I could say the same of any of his opposition now that they've cast out old Joe. Even Sam Nunn and Bill Perry have been a disappointment.

The voters I know sense this. They grit their teeth at every transparent ploy by the MSM. They are looking forward to November. I wager we will be surprised (again) by the coattails of this honest man of faith from Texas.

I do wonder if the left is capable of factoring out the mirror imaging they do of their opponents (where they believe and depend on the right doing as they do, having the same strengths and weaknesses as they do). How else could they condemn Mr. Foley will celebrating their own molester of pages. Until they can do this (become a party of realists), they will lose far more contests than they win. Lies eventually fall to the light of truth focused by time. Even the largest fall (Vietnam, communism as utopia, socialism as a better leveler than free enterprise by a free people... global warming as a threat rather than a great good.. as can only be seen in hindsight.. :-).

10/21/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I must be losing it, I find myself partially agreeing with Shaun Mullen. I better take a walk.

10/21/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Ok, did anyone actually read the whole article?

I am not sure how anyone got "Bush is an idiot" or "we are going to be defeated" out of it.

Basically it described a town in the middle of a province the Taliban are fighting hard for. In this town is a city hall like complex that is in a horrible defensive position (surrounded by high ground, high cover locations). Into this town a Brit para unit set up a little base to help protect the civilian authorities. After a non-related spec ops group shot up a location during the night the locals turned on the Brits and allowed the Taliban to attack them with "everything they had". And the Taliban lost. They lost huge numbers of men and spent tons of ammo and the Brits are still there, able to come and go as they please (with heavy security, duh). Meanwhile, after this show of stick-to-it-ness the locals are begining to realize that the Brits (and Nato and the civie govmnt) are the correct horse to bet on.

ok, so where is the big "oh my gawd, look at the bad news from Afghanistan" here, exactly? Am I missing something?

10/21/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

2164, the Shaun Mullen and C4 position will always be truthful--hindsight always is, by definition.

But, imho, the sort of thinking that will save our ass--if our ass will be saved at all--comes from the likes of Tarnsman and Ari Tai.

10/21/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

both ari and the man from Gor have a point.

The question is how to reform Islam then?
Aristide wanted to translate and distribute "Moby Dick" across Arabia. Others wish to use TV.

Mr Assad of Syria had the way and showed it to the World in Hama.

He showed capacity for 1.)Annihilate Islam or Sunni radicals at least, then moved onto 2.)Reform Islam

Which has worked for the Assads ever since. There is still, to this day, few Sunni jihadists operate in Syria that are not State approved.

So historicly proven Regional annihilation & reformation results can be extrapulated.

In Iraq the US never tried Annihilation, moving to post war reconstruction before the Enemy had been either "Annihilated" or "Reformed".

10/21/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Annihilation of some leads to Reformation of those that remain, at least for a while.

10/21/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Right, rat--had the MNF been the House of Assad (Iraqi model), the correct OIF strategy would have been much clarified.

10/21/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US Strategy followed had no historical precedent.
Why would success have been assumed?
How many copies of the Federalist Papers were translated and distributed to the Iraqi?

How many newspapers was it printed in? Bet not a one.

I'll bet on Jefferson and Madison everytime, but we have to put them in the Game.
We never did.

Where have disfunctional Societies migrated to Liberty, Freedom & Democracy in modern times, without a period to benign Authority? Like the Greeks Juntas and Pinchoet, Korea under the Generals, even Turkey.
By far Turkey provides the model we should have followed. Not a mad dash to Wilsonian utopia of democratic Sectarians.

10/21/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good examples, rat--but remember, this petro-funded, globalism-enabled, digitally-revolutionized world murder-suicide movement has thrown away all the books and is everywhere new ground.

Present company has two choices: encourage our side along the learning curve, or judge harshly from unassailable hindsight.

Wonder which, in the end, will have been the most helpful?

10/21/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is not hindsight, buddy.
Perhaps it is for you, but this drum has been beaten for a long time.

The beat was there all along, if it had just been listened to.

Now, you ask, where to next, with the Religion of Peace?

Again the real question goes unanswered
Who is the Enemy?

10/21/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

While the beat goes on

10/21/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger José Joseph said...

A few MSM authors have noted the results of a recent US study that shows increased well-being amongst societies that have spent time under colonial rule. The longer the time spent under colonial rule, the more the society has succeeded.

Some authors have speculated that the success was due to learning English or European languages, but most appear to ignore the most likely reason: Christian missionaries. Regardless, time spent under colonial rule was always a gift. More info at

It looks to me like our efforts to encourage democracy within loser cultures are going to be a waste of time until we learn to hammer home some vigorous colonial procedures.

10/21/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Where to next?" is a good question. But first, "Who will decide that question?"

The quorem convenes in two weeks plus.

GWB makes a 'policy speech' wherein he frankly admits that the influence of OIF is pressuring the election away from the critical economic policy debate without which the nation will be soon in great peril.

"Therefore," he says, "I will remove the uncertainty driving the angst, by asking for a congressional resolution to remain in Iraq until the year 2010. By then, we will have beaten the jihad down, or not, but either way, we will depart."

then, he walks off the podium. The left has its "date-certain", and can claim that victory, and the right has a clear four years to fix the place, without the continual acid corossion. The jihad masterminds have a long stretch of time in front of them, to deal with, and Iraqi liberal nationalists have a clear mission and time to accomplish it.

There ya go, rat--there's my answer. A compromise, which is not an automatic loss.

And, Pelosi and Reid, et al, fall on Nov 07. And then we can perhaps get onto Social Security, Medicare, and IRS reform--now, while we have an economic surge upon which to capitalize.

Save the country, so that in time it may yet save the world.

10/21/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And Mr Maliki and Company say:
No Way GI Joe. You got 12 more months, like we said in March. That timeline stays in place.

18 months from when I, Mr Maliki, Leader of the free purple fingered people, said 18 months, you've got to Nov '07.

Then, buddy, who is the enemy?

Mr Maliki, he's never been with US, never vactioned here, went to school here, lived here.
No he was always in Iran, Syria & France while exiled from Iraq.

The Game is beyond the US's borders, as well as within.

10/21/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Funny, the further we've gotten from Mr Allawi, Chilabi and Talabani being in charge of Iraq, the worse Iraqt has become.

Fancy that.
The Liberal Nationalists were not empowered by US, buddy.
The Sectarian Nationalists were. And with those guys, Sectarionism comes before Nationalism.

10/21/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"The question is how to reform Islam then?"


10/21/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I'm going out on a limb and say that I still think that the forward strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan were good moves but not for the obvious reasons; not for the Sangins or the Fallujas or even the Tal Afars, but for the human impact of it. Three come to mind.

First is the impact on us (and that includes the Brits and the Australians) in understanding the problem; developing the intelligence contacts; learning the language and developing the combat capability.

Second is the impact on Muslims. There are genuinely many Muslims, who for religious or secular reasons are genuinely moved and inspired to oppose Islamic extremism. We have created a movement in the Muslim world; and are by default the leaders. Certainly the leader is not Europe, Russia or China. During the Cold War, though the newspapers poo-poohed the idea, there were many behind the Iron Curtain who looked at America for inspiration. We had friends where we did not suspect we had them.

Third is the impact on the world. This is the greatest impact of all. In the last four years the entire planet, with the exception of a few antideluvian liberals, has woken up to the danger. Even Europe, I daresay, is stirring.

I will make the case that if we had not engaged the enemy and isntead followed the counsel of doing things the same old way -- through diplomats, NGOs and blockades -- we could have achieved none of these effects.

That's why even Loden does not counsel going back. If you take his words seriously, he would conceptually expand the war beyond anything know today. Not perhaps in terms of bombs and bullets, but into spheres where the politically correct says we should never go.

I don't know nor claim to know what the President thinks. But there is at least the small possibility that like Roosevelt he understands that we all of us -- including him -- had to simply go forward on a somewhat halfway basis (The Arsenal of Democracy was only a pit stop) before we could nerve ourselves to go the whole hog. If the ability to act, rather than mumble comforting old nostrums is the mark of leadership, then GWB was a better leader than his rivals. Not the best leader, but the best available under the circumstances.

10/21/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The best leader, that's the one we all deserve. GWB ain't him, and we are really, super p'o'd. The best leader would have won by now, regardless of the naure and power and configuration of the enemy. I know that because we are so powerful, we can throw ourselves under a train or a bus and only the train or the bus will suffer. We can even commit suicide over and over and never get hurt. Whatever is not perfect is a big mistake and somebody around here is to blame.

10/21/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Tarnsman, great comment, but its hard to agree that President Bush has really chosen option #2. The attempt to impose democracy on Iraq without the slightest attempt to address or understand the actual nature of that society is very much de facto in the #3 Ignore Islam category.

The Palestinian election of Hamas debacle is another symptom of the aforementioned false assumption. The (neocon) administration may think that they are trying to conduct reform, but the reforms are made while ignoring, or even in defiance of, Islam.

What surprises me is that anyone is surprised when democracy and enlightenment comes a cropper when applied to backwards, Islamic and tribal socities without a 50 year reeduction. Star example : the Russian Empire/USSR never completely got on top of the Central Asians despite unconstrained occupation and reeducation and 150 years. Russian clueless had a hand in that of course, but my point is reform needs to be talked about not in the temporal and effort terms of war, but in the timescale ad effort of colonization.

Third is the impact on the world. This is the greatest impact of all. In the last four years the entire planet, with the exception of a few antideluvian liberals, has woken up to the danger. Even Europe, I daresay, is stirring.


10/21/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger m al-content said...

thanks very much for that link. a very well-written and poweful piece, and another surprise from The Guardian.

10/22/2006 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The left has its "date-certain", and can claim that victory, and the right has a clear four years to fix the place, without the continual acid corossion

That would be nice, if Bush had another four years. But he's got another two years, and the next President is gonna order a retreat to fulfill 2008 campaign promises, and nothing he and Congress cooks up will tie that President's hands.

10/22/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...a few(?!?) antideluvian liberals,...."

Other than that, Right/Write On, Wretchard!

10/22/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...

First is the impact on us (and that includes the Brits and the Australians) in understanding the problem; developing the intelligence contacts; learning the language and developing the combat capability.

We have not attained an understanding of the problem, certainly not one that will show us how to win. Wretchard, you provide an example of this when you wrote of our misadventure in Iraq: Our goals are something we will have to discover.

You don't know why we are in Iraq . . . sure you can tell how we got there, but you don't know the conditions for victory. This is not understanding.

How many Americans are you willing to see killed until we "discover" a goal in Iraq. Maybe that's too ambitious . . . how many Americans are you willing to see killed in Iraq until we discover a clue?

Second is the impact on Muslims. There are genuinely many Muslims, who for religious or secular reasons are genuinely moved and inspired to oppose Islamic extremism.

Really. Could you please tell us the political party these anti-Extremist Muslims belong to in Iraq? It ain't any of the Sunni ones, nor any of the five different Shiite parties that make up the bulk of the Iraqi government. How about in Palestine? Hamas or the PLO? Where is this secular mass in the Muslim world on which we are going to build a "New Middle East". This is a poor time for jokes and a worse time for fantasies.

Third is the impact on the world. This is the greatest impact of all. In the last four years the entire planet, with the exception of a few antideluvian liberals, has woken up to the danger. Even Europe, I daresay, is stirring.

I think you're conflating two different phenomena here. The impact of the Iraq War around the world has been terrible for us, and Europe is indeed stirring against the Islamic threat, which was bound to happen regardless of the war. The world knows that Iraq was a mistake, that it has weakened us and increased terrorism.

I will make the case that if we had not engaged the enemy and isntead followed the counsel of doing things the same old way -- through diplomats, NGOs and blockades -- we could have achieved none of these effects.

As Desert Rat noted, our once and future ally, Syria, killed over 50,000 Jihadis in the city of Hama in the 1980s. Syria was our ally in the War on Terror, handling many of our "extraordinary renditions" for us, until we stupidly decided to topple Iraq and then them. We will rely of dictatorhsips to crush extremism because democracy in the Middle East results in more Islamofascims! Exapmles: Iraq (The Shiite Islamist WHO RUN THE IRAQI GOV'T), Hamas in Palestin and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Wretchard, if you disagree and still hew to the antiquated "Belmont Consensus" on global democracy, then maybe you can tell us where these liberal, secular masses of reformist Muslims are, who are their leaders, what are their parties?

If the ability to act, rather than mumble comforting old nostrums is the mark of leadership, then GWB was a better leader than his rivals. Not the best leader, but the best available under the circumstances.

It is not the ability to act that is the criteria for success, it is the ability to succeed. Any fool can act, and "any fool" has. Bush has cost us too much, he has committed the greatest sin which is to diminish our power in the face of an enemy. That is why the old guard has finally turned against him, his father's friends who are fed up with his errors.

If you think this wrong, then perhaps you can cite a success? Iraq? Lebanon? Afghanistan? Palestine?

10/22/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Success, compared to what, reocon?

Somewhere among 1955 Connecticut and 1975 Cambodia and 1940 Germany there must be an apt comparison.

In what sort of shape were the year 2000 versions of the nations you mentioned (and the UN, btw)?

Times are grim enough indeed, but how grim were the times in the year 2000? Does it still count when we don't know?

Or, re-phrase, are the times less grim if you don't know how grim they are?

10/22/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Reminded by Bulgaria's elections in the news, we should remember the world-shaking adoption of free-markets in politics and economics that, ongoing in an eastern Europe that had so recently seemed permanently under the boot of despotism, fed so naturally an expectation that the liberalization of political structure would continue apace wherever it could be kick-started.

I mean, Bulgaria is joining the EU. If this can be, why not Iraq?

It still makes sense. The problem is the enemy. He's good, and has parlayed America's Hamlet act into an impossible decision for every Iraqi to face daily: whether to side with USA (and maybe get yourself & the family beheaded by any next USA election), or to hold back, and shut up, and wait.

The news is saying right now that another busload of Iraqi police recruits has been ambushed, 15 or so killed. Who were these police recruits, and where did they get such courage?

10/22/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Iraq, buddy?

The French have stymied the Turkish attempt to enter the EU.
Turkey, NATO member, that some what secular democratic Islamic Republic.

They'd be in better shape if the PKK quit raiding Turkey from Iraq.

But even Turkey has gotten on board the Mohammedan Experess, of late.

Who is the Enemy, buddy, and where are they? What are they?
The Government of Iraq IS Mr al-Sadr and his crew. It is the SCIRI and Dawa. It is Islamo-fascist in it's core.

They're not joinin' the EU. They are part and parcel of the Mohammedan Axis.

10/22/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Since we passed the "Election" goal post, last January, Iraq has bled US for almost another 300 days, well over a thousand cuts.

Mr Maliki unable to perform to US expectations, but what does he care of US expectations?

10/22/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yep--I realize that the original assumptions have turned out to have been wrong.

I was speaking to the meme that somehow our leadership merely pulled some bizzare notion out of the air, and went with it.

Trying to suggest that perhaps the original assumptions counted on more domestic support for OIF than it turned out to have, and that the enemy has responded in kind, in a perfect reciprocal movement that reinforces itself from both directions with every turn of the screw.

Who is the enemy, you ask? Well, I guess it's everybody who doesn't want a westernized middle east. Everybody from the masters of the gunmen killing Iraqi troops and civilians, to your next-door neighbors who vote for an elite which believes that western values--or maybe just GWB--suck.

10/22/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Who is the enemy, addendum:

Proximate enemy: jihadists and their direct allies, the militant wing of the international left.

Underlying enemy:
Any American voter who takes no account of the global energy situation, and is thus perhaps 'for getting out of Iraq' for all the usual, and credible, reasons, but who avoids, for whatever reason, learning a little about the likely OPEC scenario following in due time. KSA as the swing producer merely has to decide to work a little less closely with USA and a little more closely with Iran (and Moscow & PRC), and the cascade will begin--a flight from the dollar, rising interest rates, oil at confiscatory prices (regardless of lowered sales volumes--as a nonrenewable resource, what the hell, it'll just last longer), threats and blackmail with the oil weapon to effect west-detrimental changes all over the globe --a beginning of a gradual but accelerating wholesale devaluation and/or transfer of a millenium's worth of accumulated western capital of every sort, to the east.

Can you say "Depression, for the kids and grandkids"?

10/22/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


I've explained myself many times re: bringing the novel to the Muslim world. It has nothing to do with translating Moby Dick. It has everything to do with consciousness.

Here's M.M. Bakhtin:

In the presence of the novel, all other genres somehow have a different resonance...The novel, after all, has no canon of its own. It is, by its very nature, not canonic. It is plasticity itself.Of particular interest are those eras when the novel becomes the dominant genre. All literature is then caught up in the process of "becoming," and in a special kind of generic criticism. In an era when the novel reigns supreme, almost all the remaining genres are to a greater or lesser extent "novelized."

Those genres that stubbornly preserve their old canonic nature begin to appear stylized. In general any strict adherence to a genre begins to feel like a stylization...In an environment where the novel is the dominant genre, the conventional languages of strictly canonical genres begin to sound in new ways, which are quite different from the ways they sounded in those eras when the novel was not included in "high" literature. [...]

Thus, an illiterate peasant, miles away from any urban center, naively immersed in an unmoving and for him unshakeable everyday world, nevertheless lived in several language systems: he prayed to God in one language [the "language" of the Koran, e.g.], sang songs in another, spoke to his family in a third, and, when he began to dictate petitions to the local authorities through a scribe, he tried speaking yet a fourth language (the official-literate language, "paper" language). All these are different languages, even from the point of view of abstract socio-dialectological markers. But these languages were not dialogically coordinated in the linguistic consciousness of the peasant; he passed from one to the other without thinking, automatically: each was indisputably in its own place, and the place of each was indisputable. He was not yet able to regard one language through the eyes of another.

As soon as a critical interanimation of languages began to occur in the consciousness of our peasant, as soon as it became clear...that the these ideological systems and approaches to the world that were indissolubly connected with these languages contradicted each other and in no way could live in peace and quiet with one another--then the inviolability and predetermined quality of these languages came to an end, and the necessity of actively choosing one's orientation among them began.

In other words, by novelizing the Muslim world, we spread the Great Schizophrenia.

As Bakhtin says, the "epic wholeness of an individual disintegrates in a novel." Disintegrating the young Muslim's self-regarding "epic wholeness"--where the Koran's language comes to feel stylized--is exactly how to defeat Radical Islam.

10/22/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Norman Freeman's Blog said...

It is hard to imagine what happens in the world sometimes.

Germany - where I am - and most other "indutrial countries" have no picture.

Have a good day every day,

Norman's Internet Marketing for Fun

10/23/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger TonyGuitar said...

As things stand now, Cedarford is correct to lament the losing of hero lives and the wringing-of-hands over trillions being pissed away in the wind.

However let us now turn to Tarnesman and refine number #2 of his four approaches to ending our dilemma.

A friend and I were musing about what military thinking may be like in the Pentagon.

Do not judge me as unfeeling and heartless as these are just speculations of possible actions looking forward.

I  wonder,  as  your  general  direction  is  similar  to  mine,  about  the  refining  of  our  approach. How to go about this.

North Korea  will  not  do  anything.  Kim  will  get  the crushed  cockroach  treatment  from  China  or  if  not,  Japan ,  and  he  knows  it.  [with  Japan*s  wealth - she, no doubt has  arms, ]

Iran  though,  has  already  declared  war  and  is  carrying  it  on  with  Muqtada Al-Sadr*s  black  headbands in  Iraq and  the  Hez  all  along  Israel*s  northern  border.

Badmood Ahmadinejeans  has  teamed  with  Taliban-Osama, [ if  Osama  is  still  breathing]  and  is  trying  to  take  over  Iraq  first,  just  as  the  Osama  tape  declared they  would  before  spreading  to Europe and N. America.

So  Iran  is  a  deserving  target  anytime, but  careful;  The  majority in  Iran want  to  keep  their  freedoms and western  dress  lifestyle.  So  we  have  to  avoid  the people,  and precision  nail  Madmud*s  24   Nuke  bunkers  first  and  make  sure  that  Israel   is  prepared  to  intercept, and is  defense  ready  to  minimize  losses.

Its  a  stiff  order  to  hit  the  target  and  avoid  the  people  and  try  not  to  damage  their  oil  infrastructure. The  majority  of  Iranians  hate  the  US  because  of  US  past support  of  the  pompous  Shaw.  The  Shaw  was  a  certified  prick,  so  you  can*t  blame  Iranians  but  they  are  very  loyal  to  Iran, . . not  the  Mullahs,  just  Iran.

If  done  quickly  and  professionally,  it  could  set  the  mullusks  back  and  avoid  any  Nuke  action,  but  there  would  be  a  swarm  of  locusts  to  put  down  to  be  sure.  Precision Bunker Busters  or  cartoons;  would  the  Jihad street  riots  be  much  different?

Anyhow,  that*s  a   rough  sketching  of  one  approach.   Bringing  the  fight  out  of  Lebanon*s  back  yard,  out  of  Iraq  and  Afghanistan  to  Iran*s  back  yard  seems  very  justifiable to me,  and  its  about  time.

A more informed approach to damage control is welcome. Not *I hate this idea*, but how your idea is far better and why.= TG

10/23/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...


A belated thank you for your thoughtful reply.

You are quite right in saying (I think) that Iraq was the wrong war for the right reasons, and as agonizing as the last three and a half years has been, there almost always have been aspects of "rightness" in my eyes.

Another liberal rag, the WaPo, had a terribly depressing piece the other day on the cleansing of Balad of Sunnis. The moral is that at this stage of the Great Iraqi Unraveling even moderates have to seek the protection of extremists.


10/24/2006 02:31:00 AM  

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