Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Love and Death

The Christian Science Monitor describes the gradual handover to Iraqi forces in Fallujah and worries that the Iraqis will drop the ball.


  • "It is no secret," Col. Lawrence Nicholson told the Fallujah City Council during their regular Tuesday meeting. "My mission is to do less, every single day, as Iraqi forces do more."
  • "As soon as we leave, I'm afraid that the insurgents will take over.... They watch us, as we watch them," says Mattice, echoing the fears of Fallujans who, while unhappy with the marine presence, are far more worried that a hurried US departure will leave them vulnerable to Sunni militants, and exposed to sectarian killings..
  • Many prisoners were released by the Iraqi government in August amnesties, notes Major O'Neill, and the rules are changing: Even if someone is found with a sack full of washing machine timers that could be used to trigger bombs, unless explosives and a black mask are found too, it may not be enough for an arrest.
  • Since August, an assassination and intimidation campaign here has also killed the head of the city council and another prominent member; numerous policemen - including the deputy police chief - and contractors and workers on US-funded projects have also been murdered.

Commentary

Redressing the asymmetry of fear is one of key problems whose solution is required to win the War on Terror. It's often forgotten that the principle goal of a terrorist war is not simply to kill, but to do so in the most horrible possible way. It is the "terror" in terrorism that gives that mode of warfare its power. Fallujah provides a pointed contrast between an American approach that would release a man found with a bagful of washing machine timers because explosives are not present to prove he is an insurgent, with the ruthless campaign of murder and assassination waged against anyone who remotely cooperates with Americans. But the problem is not limited to Iraq. Withdrawing from Fallujah or Iraq won't mean an escape from the necessity to solve the problem of the asymmetry of fear. It only means changing the time and place when it must finally be faced.

Syria has recently rolled back much of the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon by killing its opponents in the most public possible way. With huge car bombs or entire clips of armor-piercing bullets fired through the window of a car. Across the world, Reuters reported that Philippine security forces seized improvised bombs hidden in thermos and lunch boxes in a hideout abandoned by Muslim militants on southwestern island of Jolo. One of the thermos jugs was stuffed with dynamite sticks, nitric acid and rigged with 4-inch nails while some lunch boxes were found with similar explosives and ball bearings. The bombs were electronically triggered and powered by two 9-volt batteries. As artifacts the lunch box bombs are the perfect embodiment of terrorism. They are constructed of ordinary, wholesome things. Batteries. Child's lunchboxes. And they are intended for the most horrible purposes; not simply to kill but to intentionally kill children. Not to kill them cleanly, but with the maximum of degradation: what better way to transform children than with acid and 4-inch nails. And one of the ironies of the age is that often the media culture which prides itself in sensitivity cannot help but gasp in admiration at the strength of a culture which so carelessly transgresses the boundaries of Good and Evil.

Russia, probably because of its long history of experience with the brutalities of Central Asia, is psychologically familiar with the atmospherics of terror. It's secret service poisons handsome Heads of State with dioxin to disfigure them before death; or dopes it critics with Thallium, not simply to kill them, but that condemn them first to living death. The asymmetry of fear is the message in Fallujah, Lebanon, Jolo and London. Our satchels are full of death and yours full of Miranda Warnings. We are Gory Death and you are dusty Procedure. And that is why we call it asymmetrical warfare.

It is at heart a struggle between good and evil; and must begin with an understanding of what is good. Many liberal commentators mistakenly argue that "catch and release", and strict adherence to the letter of the Geneva Convention and international rules of evidence are necessary to attain the Moral High Ground; and thereby overawe the world with an admiration for America's shining moral superiority. But no one is impressed, not our friends nor our enemies. Because those pretensions to superiority based on legalisms are undermined at every turn by actual betrayals. The liberals have identified the wrong moral high ground, because a more convincing demonstration of moral superiority lies not in ostentatious adherence to often incomprehensible Western ceremonies but a sincere commitment to stand with and protect anyone who stands for good against evil.. In the Third World especially, America's moral quality will be judged more by its willingness to keep its word of honor than in any self-absorbed liturgy to the gods of political correctness. Moral superiority must first of all begin with a determination not to sacrifice men who have decided to fight on the American side; because without the ability to stand by those who have risked their lives for us, no sweet words, no fastidiousness references to law will adequately substitute. Against fear we must set not Moral Superiority, but love. Fear is the lunchbox bomb; yet our love is that we should lay our lives for our friends until the lunchbox bomb is no more. Down that road of love the road to winning over terrorism lies; down that path and not the path of Judas.

23 Comments:

Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/22/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard writes, "And one of the ironies of the age is that often the media culture which prides itself in sensitivity cannot help but gasp in admiration at the strength of a culture which so carelessly transgresses the boundaries of Good and Evil."

It recalls the soliloquy delivered by the rebel Major Kurtz -- his astonishment at the willpower of guerillas who would hack the arms off children who'd been innoculated against disease by American medics.

Are we up to dealing with this sort of evil? Few of us can even imagine it.

11/22/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

Oh worry worry worry dont worry

Old Black Joe
Stephen Foster, 1860 (1826-1864)

Gone are the days
When my heart was young and gay.
Gone are my friends
From the cotton fields away.
Gone from this place,
To a better land I know.
I hear their gentle voices calling:
Old Black Joe

Chorus:
I'm coming, I'm coming
For my head is bending low
I hear their gentle voices calling
Old Black Joe.
Why do I weep
When my heart should feel no pain
Why do I sigh
That my friends come not again
Grieving for forms
Now departed long ago
I hear their gentle voices calling:
Old Black Joe.
Chorus:

Where are the hearts
Once so happy and so free
The children so dear
That I held upon my knee
Gone to the shore
Where my soul has longed to go
I hear their gentle voices calling:
Old Black Joe.

11/22/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Sometimes I think we should start a legal fund for people like this waitress. Or would that be to lose the "moral high ground"?

A Filipino Muslim Congressman slapped a catering staff member and then pulled a knife on her after discovering the Chinese dish he had eaten contained pork. Faysah Dumarpa said "it is forbidden in Islam for a believer to eat pork or its derivatives. To do so is a grievous sin." The catering staff member, Virginia Fernando Altamirano, filed a complaint against Dumarpa with the police. (Manila Times)

Let the law decide whether a man can slap a woman around and pull cutlery just because he doesn't like the food. Most waitresses in Manila aren't very well educated and in my opinion Dumarpa had no reasonable expectation of expecting a catering lady to enforce his dietary rules for him. He could have asked what the dishes contained. Vegetarians do that all the time. Even people with allergies should not expect people to automatically know that they are not to eat certain things.

11/22/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger IceCold said...

But Wretchard, please don't help perpetuate a central misunderstanding of the times:

"strict adherence to the letter of the Geneva Convention"

We already go far beyond strict adherence - we and the Iraqi government would be fully within Geneva bounds to deal with almost all Iraqi criminals/insurgents/terrorists in a harsh and summary way.

You know this, but it would appear that many do not: the Conventions actually contain lots of detail - concrete, specific, and with a negotiating history as well as in many cases a history of interpretation - they are not generalized expressions of good intentions. In the carefully constructed and quite logical interlocking set of obligations and privileges of the Conventions, our current enemies get nada, zilch, bupkis.

No ridiculous, even perverse "rulings" by a few SCOTUS justices can change the clear meaning and limitations of the Conventions. Nor can bland, and utterly baseless, assertions by ICRC lawyers. Applying the Conventions means doing what the US has been doing - or, in Iraq, could mean much harsher measures entirely.

Haven't done the research to confirm, but I believe more time has passed since the last full-blown Geneva round (1949 - I don't count 1977 as that was quite circumscribed in its agenda) than passed from the first through the fourth sessions. Yet we are to believe that no modifications are required, that the Conventions as written adequately to cover the current situation WRT stateless global terrorists, a concept that was utterly unknown when the negotiations were conducted. (I believe this may be the most spectacular example of the brain-dead, and quite pernicious, guarding of "the legal museum" you once wrote about).

The views of Europeans in general, or Latin Americans, are of minor importance. Iraqis are part of that region that is so disfigured by self-loathing and insecurity - masquerading as pride - that they could pretend to be outraged by 4 hours of minor mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by American guards, while the barbarous slaughter of tens of thousands of Shi'a civilians draws not the slightest notice. Anyone who thinks that this sort of audience is rational and can be won over by reason or facts is foolish, clueless, or both.

11/22/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Ah, but Wretchard the Muslim is never at fault. It is the woman's fault she was raped for dressing seductively. It's the kaffir's fault because if she wasn't a kaffir she would have known she wasn't to serve him pork.

Effing ridiculous! The man lives (being a Filipino) in the Philippines he should know how aboslutely positively pervasive the consumption of pork is.

Hehehehe, we had an incident like this at the our (that of the Empress & myself) pre-wedding banquet. We had lechon (Kano style) and some other pork dishes. Two of our friends from the UAE (Filipinos recently converted to Islam, job had something to do with it) were there and they had some of the pork. No knives were pulled.

Anyway, question for you all. The lowest pit of Hell (from Dante's Inferno) is reserved for those who commit which sin?

11/22/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Effing ridiculous! The man lives (being a Filipino) in the Philippines he should know how aboslutely positively pervasive the consumption of pork is.

Good thing he didn't order dinuguan, made from pork blood, which breaks two of Allah's no-nos in one dish.

11/22/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Good thing he didn't order dinuguan, made from pork blood, which breaks two of Allah's no-nos in one dish. Hmmmm, sarap-sarap!

11/22/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our reply to these killers and their masters should be some "christian" terrorism.

The kind found on re-entry vehicles which worked incredibly well the only time it was ever used.

It will come to that, it should be obvious.

11/22/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

A Marine lance corporal willingly participated in the kidnapping and shooting death of an Iraqi civilian and should spend 10 years behind bars, a military prosecutor charged Tuesday.

The prosecutor, Capt. Nicholas Gannon, said that Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., could have stopped the April 26 slaying of Hashim Ibrahim Awad but failed to act.


Hamdania Killing

11/22/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It wasn't love that defeated the Khanate of Kazan. It was the army of Ivan Grozny.

It wasn't love that defeated Granada. It was the army of a united Spain.

It wasn't love that ended the Nazi death camps. It was American and Soviet armies marching into Germany and Poland.

11/22/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/22/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Consider this.

The only way the United States could ever negotiate with the present Iranian regime on an equal footing (at least an equal moral footing) is if we torture their diplomats!

If Joseph Biden and Jim Baker believe so much in negotiating with Iran, perhaps they should be the ones sent to listen to Iran's dictation of terms of our capitulation. And if they are held hostage by our enemies, let there be no ransom to secure their release. If they are held hostage, they will have brought it upon themselves.

11/22/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Thanks Wretchard, the last paragraph of this post was edifying in a way that post such as(for instance) 'Three Conjectures' could not be.

And these three remain...
seems we have need of all three.

11/22/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/23/2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Child's lunchboxes. And they are intended for the most horrible purposes; not simply to kill but to intentionally kill children

Says who? The lunch boxes were found in a terrorist hide out, not anywhere near children.

> Moral superiority must first of all begin with a determination not to sacrifice men who have decided to fight on the American side

This is about the only part of the article I agreed with. We should not sacrifice additional men in Fallujah since our mission is accomplished. Our goals were to take down Saddam Hussein and remove potential for weapons of mass destruction, not to take sides in the Iraqi civil war.

> As soon as we leave, I'm afraid that the insurgents will take over.... They watch us, as we watch them," says Mattice, echoing the fears of Fallujans

How many insurgents has Mattice killed? How many did he report to the US? There is no reason for US troops to keep dying just because some Iraqis are too weak to fight for themselves. Eventually they'll figure it out.

> yet our love is that we should lay our lives for our friends until the lunchbox bomb is no more

There is no reason to lay down US lives because the Philippine government is too weak to fight terror. They are the ones who paid ransom to Iraqi terrorists, then ran out of Iraq, leaving our soldier's backs unprotected, just because thugs took a few of their citizens hostage. They don't want Americans fighting on their soil, and threw us out of there.

We have no moral right to fight "terror" the world over. We are not the kings of the earth.

In most cases there is no clear good and evil. In Iraq both Sunnis and Shiites are using terrorist tactics, killing civilians. If Al-Maliki supports Shiite death squads and protects Shiites who snatch US citizens, he is not "good".

A friend of mine killed a Nazi sniper in World War II. When he rolled the body over, he saw the belt buckle saying, in German, "God with us".

From the Christian Science Monitor article:
> "Fallujah has an iconic value to the Marine Corps," says Colonel Nicholson... "Fallujah falling [to insurgents] would be like Iwo Jima falling to the Japanese again after World War II - it would be intolerable."

Well, the Japanese DO have control of Iwo Jima now. We gave it back to them. All wars must end.

11/23/2006 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

So Wu Wei,

The terrorists pack lunch boxes full of explosive, acid, and nails because it is a chock full o' fun activity?

Like shuffleboard, but different?

11/23/2006 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The terrorists pack lunch boxes full of explosive, acid, and nails because

Lots of things like weapons and drugs are smuggled in children's toys, but that doesn't mean that children snort the cocaine or are victims of the explosives.

11/23/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

So, its okay if the bombs were intended for adults?

11/23/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wu wei said:

Well, the Japanese DO have control of Iwo Jima now. We gave it back to them. All wars must end.

Except the War on Crime, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Cancer and the War on Terror.

11/23/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wu Wei,

The lunchboxes were fused to detonate.

They were not to carry or store material.

What would happen to an American unit or serviceman who placed primed explosives in lunchboxes with Daffy Duck on them?

This war ain't over till its over. It did not end with the destruction of Hussein. It won't end with the destruction of al Qaeda. It will only end when the barbarians are destroyed or assimilated.

11/23/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

From this comment proves to me things can be won!


"A lot of us feel like we have our hands tied behind our back," says Cpl. Peter Mattice, of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. "In Fallujah, [insurgents] know our [rules of engagement] - they know when to stop, just before we engage."

So when we the "good guys" (or pussies) hand things over to the Iraqis, they will not have our "rules of engagement" this is the problem all over the world. we have rules of engagement, when we should have ten fold auto shoot..

think of it, if the palestinians shoot one rocket over the border and israel responded with 20 all NOT aimed but rather just at the closest arab town the palestinians would never allow rockets to be fired...

if in iraq, the american forces could simply fire back in overwhelming force at the slightest threat, the iraqi might not like it, but so what?

Once the Iraqis have power again, they will use force since nowwhere in the arab world do they have our "rules of engagement" they will kill the enemy as the enemy has no problem killing them...

we must cut and run, to our new bases in the iraqi desert and allow the new Iraqi army to start killing scores to create their power base..

11/23/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Respect never defeated any enemy.

Fear does.

Are we going to wind up fearing any battle? Or are we going to make our enemies fear doing battle with us?

So far, they don't fear us or respect us. I think that is a losing situation for us.

No, it's not our right to fight terror all over this world, it is our duty.

Why? because it is the right thing to do. Doing right is often much harder than doing nothing.

Unless your a liberal socialist isolationist.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

11/23/2006 08:24:00 PM  

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