Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Our stolen future

Newt Gingrich argues that if the next terrorist mega-attack destroys an American city, the first casualty will be the First Amendment, followed possibly by the Internet. It's important to realize that Gingrich isn't arguing that restrictions on free speech are good. He is arguing that restrictions on free speech are inevitable if millions of people are killed in another terrorist attack. The problem is how to prevent both.


And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

He suggests the way to preventing the loss of liberty to a  future attack is by re-examining how we fight the war today.

This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to proactively, now, develop the appropriate rules of engagement.

And, I further think that we should propose a Genève convention for fighting terrorism which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous.

This is a sober topic, but I think it is a topic we need a national dialogue about, and we need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait until actually we literary lose a city which could literally happen within the next decade if we are unfortunate.

Commentary

Structurally Gingrich's argument sounds a lot like the Three Conjectures which argues that once terrorists acquire the ability to make WMDs no stable condition of deterrence can be achieved; and hence an annihilating nuclear exchange becomes the sole remaining option. In plain language it means that once the destruction of Western cities and the deaths of millions becomes a regularly repeatable event, necessity will compel societies to do very ugly things to put a stop to it. The solution in both Gingrich's argument and my own, is to prevent the fatal premise from eventuating in order to forestall the necessary yet unthinkable conclusion. That is, to do everything possible to defeat terrorism now rather than later, when the cost of doing so later will simply be inhumanly high. But let the situation get to the precipice and we will go over the cliff. Gingrich says the slide towards the loss of liberty has already begun in Europe, where antiterrorism laws authorize detentions of long duration without bringing formal charges. Hate speech codes have already been enacted effectively curtailing expression. And the video camera, once a device confined to sensitive installations, has begun its inexorable march toward ubiquity. Airline security procedures, bag searches, background checks -- all have now become a part of daily lives. How much worse will it get? The Left's proposal for phasing out these measures mollify terrorists to stop them from attacking us. But what if civilization's enemies have a limitless list of root causes or worse, what if they are prepared to kill without provocation?

However one chooses to regard Gingrich's argument one thing may fairly be conceded. It is important to talk about this issue now while the skies are blue and winds are soft rather than on a night of blood and darkness, stumbling through the cinders with our glass-lacerated eyes.

79 Comments:

Blogger 2164th said...

The most sacred human law is above any court, convention or treaty. It is the Law of Survival. It is the ultimate form of justice and it is time to engage. We know who the enemy is. They told us. We know where they meet. We know a lot about them. It is time to go silent and go dark. No speeches, no threats, no lawyers, no mercy. Isolate and eliminate the radical clerics, financial supporters, politicians, tacticians, academics, theorists, and all supporters of radical Islam. We will find Islamic friends and allies to do most of the work. There is no other way to win this war."

11/29/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

2164th,

That's perilously close to the line there and I remember thinking the same thing about myself when I wrote 3 Conjectures. It's an dark future. I know a Muslim victim of Bali, another who guided me through Sulu, and really grand Turkish air force officer who is a prince among men. And many others. What the hell happens to people like that in the Valley of Ugly? What the heck happens to me? I live in Oz and can easily be mistaken for an Indonesian.

Trust me. I don't want this to happen. At the same time I think Newt is right when he argues all the bets will be off in a radioactive Washington DC. And yeah, the only law on the battlefield is the law of physics of which ballistics is an application. So what the heck do we do about these golden hours? We fritter them away, that's what.

The last months have convinced me that nobody can be counted on to save myself but myself. Anything else is a maybe. And that by definition means that civilization's guarantee has ever so slightly been debased. I still hope but I no longer expect.

11/29/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

"This is a sober topic, but I think it is a topic we need a national dialogue about"

A few pols might dialogue about this in private to a mirror, but who sees even Republicans publicly calling for "repressive" measures to stop an enemy who only speaks against us or who quietly sympathizes with terror radicals, but who hasn't specifically been caught plotting against us? It is political plutonium to talk of reining in civil rights in America, especially when it comes to unequal treatment towards people of a creed and often color.

Dems would demagogue any attempt to debate instituting restrictions aimed at forestalling large-scale atrocity. Our politics are set up to react, not act, especially in our 24-7 media age. Newt is a maverick, that's his schtik or heart, but even he must know that onerous preventive measures will never be enacted. They are always painted as unnecessary and reactionary. Until too late.

11/29/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard said, "The last months have convinced me that nobody can be counted on to save myself but myself. Anything else is a maybe. And that by definition means that civilization's guarantee has ever so slightly been debased. I still hope but I no longer expect."

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" -- The Savior

11/29/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Mr. Gingrich is a smart guy but I think he understates the effects of losing a city by a country mile.Look what 9/11 briefly did to us and multiply the casualties a thousandfold and cave in the house of cards that is the world economy.Lose the Second Amendment,hell.We'll lose all the amendments,the Ten Commandments,David Letterman's ten funny reasons because nobody will be able to laugh anymore.2164th is correct.This enemy must be ground to powder before we all are.

11/29/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

The first step in solving a problem is to formulate it correctly.

In the case of the Islamism problem, the formulation should not be in religious terms, but in terms of its impact on the American public. Specifically, what's in it for me.

Newt Gingrich has made an excellent start. No crap about democratising the ME. No RoP.

It's a good start. It explains why the US is in Iraq, as oui oui said it is political plutonium to talk of reining in civil rights in America. It will explain why Iran and Syria will need to be attacked, why parts of Pakistan had to be nuked.

It will lay the groundwork for the winner to hold its head high later, after dirty deeds have to be done.

W, I think you need a bit more detail from Woman Catholic before you adopt her strategy of Go Lucky.

ADE

11/29/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Bilgeman said...

wretchard asks of 2164th:

"What the hell happens to people like that in the Valley of Ugly?"

Precisely what you fear may happen to them, chum.

That's what makes war a tragedy.

"What the heck happens to me? I live in Oz and can easily be mistaken for an Indonesian."-W

Did you not read this part of 2164th's post?:

"We will find Islamic friends and allies to do most of the work."

and:

"There is no other way to win this war."

He's right, you know.

The only victory the US had on September 11th was due to individual sovereign citizens acting in concert for their common well-being...UA Flight 93.

The war will not be won by the government(s), it will be won by the people.Because that is the nature of the enemy that attacks us.

In the US, there are over 250 million firearms in the hands of over 65 million private citizens.

Meet the Militia.

Lead, Follow, or Make Way.

Regards;

11/29/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Wretchard I don't think that 2164 was calling for the wholesale slaughter of anyone looking like a muslim...however that could be determined. To me he is calling for a simple and rational response to terror. Find the Imams that are spouting that nonsense and simply make them vanish. No muss or fuss...no courts or ACLU. Then don't stop with them but proceed apace with their students their financial backers...

Stop US Presidents from holding hand with Saudi murderers. Stop asking for permission for defending ourselves...eliminate the UN. Show the world we are serious but make sure we direct our blows, not so we make NBC News happy but so we make the enemy fear us. We have foregotten that fear drives the enemy to beat his swords to plowshares...and no enemy is immune to fear.

The Japanese perhaps the most fearless warriors of modern times learned to fear. And they learned to join the rest of us. We must spread fear before we can spread anything else. Respect is not gained by weakness but by strength.

2164th I am sorry for jumping in but you gave words to my thoughts.

More thoughts on the War against Islamic Terror

11/29/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I was thinking about what Gingrich said when I read today that YouTube was posting a series of videos on how to pick locks and break into houses.

And the usual ACLU types saying that 1st Amendment Rights meant they should stay up unless "actual harm is established".

I think we have gone far enough.
The people that established the 1st never imagined the peril of instantaneous modern communications that can draw the ones with criminal, child molesting, terrorist tendencies in, recruit, train, and establish a criminal or terrorist "recipe" of tools, weapons, and operational techniques needed. The Founders would have been mighty afraid of the French or British being able to reach in and communicate directly with our citizenry...cull responses for possible spies and saboteurs.

It's not just the Muslims I worry about, it is a disbursed spy network of over 50,000 Chinese amateur agents sending bits and pieces enough back to China that they got the complete design to many military and commercial secrets. It's gay childmolesters (or pederasts) getting to know other molesters in the area by chatroom then working on strategies of luring the boys in...and those ACLU types defending it as 1st-Amendment protected as long as "no boy complains, no conviction is obtained" as protected free speech.

While Gingrich is right about censorship and a new Geneva Convention that deals with terror being direly needed, I'm afraid Wretchard underestimates the power of the secular Jewish progressives and Gentile Leftists in using the media and legal systems of the USA and Europe to block any defense. That IMO, censoring the Internet to not just block but find and prosecute dangerous people - and other public electronic forums will have to wait for more blood to be shed.

It will take lots more innocent blood to convince people that 9/11 and other sporadic attacks of very low casualties as far wars go are not going to diminish, but escalate...and affect our national security and vital interests. It may not be a nuclear bomb - hopefully it isn't - but enough of an attack that we do not go after the terrorists....but 1st deal with the enemy within that handcuffs our beating the terrorists. We cannot defeat Radical Islam while the secular Jewish progressives and Gentiles (50% of each) [and only 1-2% of the US population] have such enormous power over our society and our media and legal systems. They must be removed from power, laws changed and THEN - we can either boot the Islamoids or have measures of war and peace that would make any sane Muslim fearing repercussions oppose any other Muslim from butchering infidels.

I think if it is done right, there will not be howling mobs in Australia looking for any Indonesian types after Canberra was anthraxed...not if measures are agreed to that Muslims are protected in their persons, but given the heave-ho back to the Ummah collectively, or in select radical Mosques full of them, if they become an unacceptable internal menace.

11/29/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mr.Atos said...

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron—without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.

"But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call 'human nature,' the open secret you live with, yet dread to name, is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival—so that for you, who are a human being, the question 'to be or not to be' is the question 'to' think or not to think.'" - John Galt

What is it exactly, that we have chosen to do?

... so far?

11/29/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot

11/29/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

What is it exactly, that we have chosen to do?

Most of us have chosen not to believe that Islamism and terrorism are current or future threats. We choose to enjoy our cushy lives with only occasional worries when boarding planes and complaints about the inconvenience of airport security. We do business with the friendly local Paki convenience store owner who probably launders money for religious "projects" or gives profit to Islamic "charities." We take pride in our multiculti sensibilities and are tired of watching the post-modern post-war on TV.

Even so, some of us have chosen to shoot at the range a couple of times a month. Just to cover all bets.

Even better, some of the best of us have chosen to join the armed forces.

11/29/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

oui oui said:

"Dems would demagogue any attempt to debate instituting restrictions aimed at forestalling large-scale atrocity. Our politics are set up to react, not act, especially in our 24-7 media age."

The real winner in the mid-term election was not the Democratic Party but the MSM. That last election was brilliantly stage managed by our media elite who for their own incomprehensible reasons were driven more by their hatred of President Bush than the national security threat of Islamic fascism.

We are screwed!!

I had hoped the Internet might have prevented this but I was wrong. The 24-7 media using Goebbels' propaganda method of constant reptition can not be beaten.

Things won't change until we lose a city. After the state of emergency has been declared, we'll lose our constitutional system of government. Soon afterwards, an awful lot of people are going to die very suddenly. In the end, we the people of North America (the United States will no longer exist) will be the worst murders in human history.

The only thing that can save us from this dishonor is if the Israelis get attacked first and end up doing the filthy atrocity of nuclear genocide.

11/29/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Cedarford -

I have my doubts that anyone will have enough control over institutions, etc, to prevent a massive US response to a second mass casualty event on US soil.

As I posted back in August:

"Consider a hypothetical -

It's February 2007 - a heavily loaded container ship moves slowly up the Hudson.

At 12:10 pm, with nearby streets full of people heading out for lunch, a fission device hidden in one of the containers detonates.

The blast wave kills anyone outdoors within a half mile radius. The immediate death toll would run into the tens of thousands at minimum.

The associated EM pulse would render all unshielded electronics useless for miles around, effectively cutting off Manhattan and its surroundings from the outside world.

The days that follow would be gradually filled with images of unsurpassed horror as survivors begin to make contact with family, friends, etc.

Considering all the businesses that headquarter in NY (stock market, for example), it's not hard to imagine the entire country grinding to a halt.... if for no other reason than a significant loss of confidence in the ultimate stability of the nation. "Why," a trucker might reason, "should I continue to deliver the goods I carry if they (and I) might be vaporized in a second WMD attack? I should go home and stock the storm cellar with drinking water."

The President, regardless of political affiliation, will not be afforded the option of failing to respond in kind. Failure to hit back swiftly, and in overwhelming fashion, would only further erode citizens' confidence in national stability, while at the same time it would so inflame the population that the President would be forced to step down, or quite possibly (for the first time in history) be removed by a citizen coup.

The gloves would have to come off.

The only viable response to a nuke on the Hudson would be multiple nuclear strikes at targets of great importance to Islam... starting, for example, with an obliterating strike against Qom and against Medina... and possibly an arab capital. And yes, innocents would die... by the thousands. But it's the only "language" islamists understand.

The immediate result in the US would be a significant stabilization of the populace ("Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!" The President is taking it to'em!!!!! Maybe we'll come out of this ok after all!").

This should be followed up with a prime time television address, stating the following non-negotiables (in response to islamic terrorism):

1. If, from this moment until the end of time, a nuclear device (or some other WMD) is detonated in an American city, America's response will be to wipe three Arab/Islamic cities from the face of the earth, starting with Mecca, and including an as-yet untouched Arab/Persian capital.

2. Every islamic state, including Pakistan, will either declare their possession of nuclear weapons (or technology), or declare that they have none. Those that have will IMMEDIATELY dismantle everything pertaining to it, right down to the last hex nut. We will be coming to your doorstep to collect every last piece - have it ready before we arrive. If......... if a state declares it has no nuclear weapons/technology, and is later found to have lied, this will trigger the nuclear destruction of that state's capital city. This cycle will repeat itself until everything nuclear is accounted for.

3. Every islamic terrorist organization will immediately and completely disarm. Then, they shall disband, never to reconstitute. Leaders will be handed over to US military custody. Failure to comply will result in additional strikes against the country/countries that provide terrorist organizations safe harbor. Additionally, you will be invaded, deposed, and if not killed outright, brought safely to a war crimes trial as expeditiously as possible.

Will something like this happen? It's possible, I suppose.

This scenario could one day unfold before our eyes if we fail to crush this enemy NOW... but the Left opposes decisive action at every turn.

Yes, some innocents (on both sides) would be killed if we bit the bullet and performed a 21st century General Sherman across the arab world. However, I believe the number of innocents such an action would cost pales in comparison to the vastly larger number that would die if the above nuclear scenario actually plays out.

The Left, in its rabid commitment to ruining everything in which George Bush is involved, may very well open the window of opportunity for a nuke on the Hudson... and instead of suffering losses of 5 to 10k overseas to go with the 3,000 lost on 9/11, we might lose 100k in Manhattan alone... along with how many thousands upon thousands of muslim children who have nowhere to flee as a MIRV pops open high over Medina....

////////////////

As scenarios go, this seemed over the top to me, even as I wrote it... but no doubt I'd have felt similarly to the suggestion that someone would fly airliners into the towers.

We will eventually win this war... but because of the failure of our government to pull together and do what needs to be done, we won't start kicking some serious @ss until a 2nd mass casualty event is delivered to our backyard. Many more will die on both sides as a result of the dithering of our leadership.

In the aftermath, someone will say "It didn't have to be this way..." "

11/29/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we lose a city and millions of our people in a fiery blast. We will go into a frenzy of a fight mode, and work 24/7 to prepare our revenge. We will mobalize, and we will be under some form of martial law.

It won't matter which of our announced enemies actually did this to us, we will go for them all, sooner or later. Yes, I do remember Pearl Harbor, and how we all did our thing to win.

Our internal enemies, or who we think are enemies, will lose their freedom, if not their lives. When the dust settles the Islamic threat and the North Korean threat will be history as well.

Historically, the US has been through periods of martial law before, and one of the paramount virtues of our system is its ability to shed martial law and return swiftly to our usual modes of governance once the threat has been delt with completely.

We will be stupid enough to wait for the blast, I believe, unless it occurs very soon now, before Hillary or one of her ilk gets in power.

11/29/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

I might add that at the moment, I'm not too encouraged with the dithering of the leadership of The Right, such as it is...

Newt seems to see this thing clearly, but I suspect he's still too much damaged goods to ever hold high office again.

11/29/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garble correction: What I meant was, our hope is that Bush commits us to eradicating Islamic radicals before a blast can occur. This, of course, is not going to happen.

11/29/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Buddy Larson -

Just picked up your email - thanks!

Triton

11/29/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yeh--sorry tardy, triton--that box is not used much by the Flares crew--spammy--

11/29/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

A Quinnipiac University poll of likely presidential contenders, released Tuesday, showed Frist ranked 18th out of 20 candidates, ahead of 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry but behind former vice president Al Gore, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and far behind former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Frist won the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll in Memphis in March, with the help of voters bused in from Middle Tennessee. That victory came despite news reports he was being investigated for sales of stock in HCA Inc., the for-profit hospital chain his brother and father founded.


Presidency in '08

11/29/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Westhawk has up a thread speaking to the big snub, i.e. Maliki's insult to the people of the United States. Since Bush's wheels remain parked in Amman, he was not insulted - no surprise there.

This morning, within minutes of the climax of the Bush grovel, the international media will have a field day. This act of submission will define the Bush presidency, with Bush being portrayed as a cringing cur.

Please, spare me any talk of some master plan. There is none. After 27 years, Mr. Carter has found his equal.

In a time not so long ago, the American public would by now have been calling for the hide of Bush. That this violation of national honor goes unremarked shows the flacid state of so-called patriotism.

Men capable of ignoring the disgrace of their country are men to impotent to avenge the disgrace of their wives and daughters.

11/29/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let History and Human Nature be our guide.

History - Before WW II, Churchill was regarded as something of a crack pot. If Newt calls things correctly and has some solutions, few will complain of his past baggage.

Human Nature - not changed since recorded history, veneered but not changed. Beginning WW I German zeppelin commanders ordered to restrict bombing to industrial areas. There were instances of both sides singing Christmas Carols during Christmas. End -- Germans dropping bombs everywhere. No mercy on the battle field.
Beginning WW II -- We only bombed German industrial facilities. End -- Dresden. There is no need to discuss Japan's fate.

Currently in U.S., we have endless tolerance for those that use political correctness to "thought control" others. We have no political belly to do what needs to be done militarily. Most of the previous posters agree that we will be reactive, not proactive, in reference to a nuclear incident against us. After our third or fourth "hit", we as a people will be brutalized. At that time, we need first to cleanse ourselves, and then deal with the enemy without.

11/29/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Open your eyes folks! If you haven’t noticed the new leadership that was elected by the majority has put into place their leadership which does not believe in AQ or even that there is anybody evil in the world except the US Military first and Republicans second.

Newt is major brains but very few listen to brains when fun and sun is in their eyes, because we have not suffered a repeat of 9-11 most want reality to leave and just go back to the party days of 1999 as Prince the singer with no name sung.

The US as a free nation is dieing and the cold war losers of the last century have been resurrected, are much smarter now and understand our weaknesses because they have the very tool that created us under their fundamental control, this while our social class elites have gone the way of the Euro-elitist and our political leadership chase them.

The US is being destroyed from the top and bottom and it isn’t even a foreign enemy killing us (yet!)

11/30/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This may be the biggest disconnect of all time between the American people and a war government.

In the wake of 9/11, the American people did not care about democratizing the Muslim world. Or, for that matter, about the Muslim world in general. They still don’t. They want Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors crushed. As for the aftermath, they want something stable that no longer threatens our interests; they care not a wit whether Baghdad’s new government looks like Teaneck’s.

To the contrary, Bush-administration officials — notwithstanding goo-gobs of evidence that terrorists have used the freedoms of Western democracies, including our own, the better to plot mass murder — have conned themselves into believing that democracy, not decisive force, is the key to conquering this enemy.

So deeply have they gulped the Kool-Aid that, to this day, they refuse to acknowledge what is plain to see: While only a small number of the world’s billion-plus Muslims (though a far larger number than we’d like to believe) is willing to commit acts of terrorism, a substantial percentage — meaning tens of millions — supports the terrorists’ anti-West, anti-democratic agenda.

While our rhetoric blathers that we’ll never let them have a nuke, our talk begs them, pretty-please, to stop building one. And our actions all but hand them one. If all that makes you wonder who’s the superpower, what do you suppose they’re thinking?

That’s talking with an enemy that has us pretty well pegged, while we stubbornly resist even thinking about what motivates him. We wouldn’t want to question his ideology. After all, what would CAIR say?

The democracy project tells Islamists that we don’t understand them — or care to try understanding them. The “let’s talk” gambit confirms that we’re not just studiously ignorant; we’re ripe for the taking.

For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.

Rejecting the democracy project is about respecting the enemy. Declining to talk to the enemy is about respecting ourselves.

— Andrew C. McCarthy

11/30/2006 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Isolate and eliminate the radical clerics, financial supporters, politicians, tacticians, academics, theorists, and all supporters of radical Islam.

This is not possible. We have to win hearts and minds or we fail. The assumption seems to be that there are a specific number of dangerous Islamists, say 12,374 of them. As soon as we kill all 12,374, then the threat is gone forever.

That is not the way it works. In fact if the US uses brutal tactics, the backlash is likely to create many, many more dangerous Islamists. That is one of bin Laden's recruiting tactics, to point to what he claims is US brutality.

Imagine if we tried to win the Cold War by killing every communist on earth.

11/30/2006 02:51:00 AM  
Blogger dune runner said...

Without slighting the hard work that many truly dedicated professionals are doing to prevent another 9/11 style attack here, I can't help but wonder if the real reason we haven't seen a repeat is that the brains directing the terrorists realized it was a strategic error.

As satisfying as it may be to their rank and file to kill Americans, the real goal is to defeat America. 9/11 woke the American people up for a brief time. They supported the President by large majorities in crushing a fundamentalist regime in Afganistan. They supported the President, although to a lesser degree, in crushing an Arab leader in Iraq. This was not the effect the Islamists wanted.

Since then, they have seen that by shifting the majority of the terror attacks away from America and Americans and to their own people (a vastly easier target), they have had much more success at defeating us. All they had to do was convince the world, including the apparent majority of our own country, that the WE were the reason they had to slaughter their own people.

Since they have made that shift, we have seen the President's approval ratings plunge, a strong revival of anti-war and isolationist feelings in the US, and a Democratic Congress elected mostly on a platform of disengagement in Iraq and negotiation with Iran and Syria.

Frankly, things are going well enough for them now that they would be crazy to launch another attack on our mainland. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing that. They are achieving their goals much more quickly by setting up the conditions where we will destroy ourselves. The loose cannons among them will still kill Americans if they have the chance, but their leadership is not going to risk waking America up again with a large scale attack on our mainland.

It seems to me that instead of thinking about how it is going to affect our constitutional rights when they drop a nuke on us, we should be thinking of how we are going to muster the national will to defeat them when they don't.

11/30/2006 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

too bad the media won't allow a churchillian return of the Newtster..

Newt's put his finger on the first baby step of what's really needed...

...up to now, epitomized by the 911 commission, this war has been about not pointing fingers, embarassing anyone (Gorelick a committee member? - come on), or identifying the real problems...

...yes it's about intelligence failure; but, has nothing to do with WMD - it is more structural than that...

the quality of our intelligence needs to be examined, and a corrective course of action plotted...

Remember the good old days? When Smokin' Joe and Ali were the two big guy's?? Those were the days...predictable; smokin' joe would be bobbin & weavin and going after Ali...Ali would be jabbin and counterpunching and staying away...life was good; you had those that loved Frazier and those that admired Ali, that anti establishment, draft dodging, muslim convert...best of all, everyone paid attention and was able to keep up with the rivalry...

Similarly, our CIA was built up during the predictable days of the cold war; when most of the world could be split into one of two camps...this scene was both predictable and easier to keep up with...

however, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the world has changed; but, our intelligence agency did not (sufficiently).

The world has been changing ever so rapidly in the last twenty years; so much, that the way we do intelligence needs to be totally re-shaped...

Our intelligence grew up during the age of the military-industrial complex and was geared towards keeping tabs on military might; however, we are faced with a world where industrial-economic might has become paramount; but I digress...

With the end of the cold war, there came an end to the world wide rivalry we could all pay attention to...we all became complacent, and few of us paid attention to boxing enough to catch Weaver's 15th round knock-out of Tate; there were no superstars involved, we had our own indulgences to keep up with (remember the 80's?), so why bother?

The Central Intelligence Agency became characterized by a Central Bureaucracy...

...our intelligence became too two dimensional geared towards providing filtered black and white analysis to decision makers rather than providing a full spectrum view of the the world as it truly existed...
When there's no bogeyman out there, why bother with boots on the ground, human assets, when you can easily eavesdrop from above and monitor dissident groups from afar? (we became too dependent on satellite photos and 2nd hand intel from the likes of "oddball", chalabi, et al)


We need to take the Central out of the Intelligence Agency, and streamline the good that we've developed over these years; but, put a new emphasis on human mosaic intelligence, characterized by first hand human intelligence reports. We should not only deploy dispersed human assets (mostly in areas dominated by despodic oligarchies / closed economies); but also, as Cedarford has pointed out, take a lesson from the Chinese and gather intelligence from a broad spectrum of sources, starting with the sharpest minds out there - our businessmen travelling and interacting with the sharpest minds of the countries with relatively open economies, through voluntary intelligence gathering/interviews, perhaps through blogs?!
to create a patchwork picture, to be combined with a superier electronic intelligence, to provide a truer, more three dimensional picture of the true landscape out there!! (not simply letting our arm chair quarterbacks in DC listen to ex-patriot armchair quarterbacks in London, to decide the fate of a country they themselves left twenty years hence!)

But, to get back to Newt's point...the first and most vital step is to more fully articulate what a "Long War" means...
...namely, that war means that extraordinary sacrifices will be required (in this case, suspension of certain rights), and secondly, that long is long, but does not mean indefinately...
...the big brother argument needs to be taken away in a delicate manner, and a series of sunshine type laws allowing the extraordinary means necessary in a time of war are needed to open up some breathing room for our intelligence to operate and do what it must do in order to protect our people...
...by setting up laws that allow the intelligence gathering and perhaps infringement of the rights of those with known association with those on terrorist lists, for a definate period, say twenty years, until these whirling dervishes quit spinning, we can keep politicos from interfering with the way the war needs to be fought...

and, for those of us that remember the popularity of Ali, the US needs to remember that image counts; it might be said that the turning point in the cold war was typified by the popularity of JFK, the Peace Corps and USAID - the world looked up to us then...

11/30/2006 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

dune runner is right. the enemy is adapting. i dont believe either that they will be stupid enough (again) to unit us with a WMD attack now. i get the sense they have inventoried and acknowledge that the "return of the Mahdi" will happen only at the perfect (a word ahmedinajad likes to use a lot)time and now is not it. I think the best way to handle it right now is to undertake the most massive Spec. ops we have ever done. that plane that recently crashed in iran carrying all those revolutionary guards, increase that exponentially.

11/30/2006 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger BoonDoggie said...

Not to worry, there is no terrorist threat. It's all a huge overstatement in order to garner political capital for the neocons.

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060901facomment85501-p0/john-mueller/is-there-still-a-terrorist-threat.html

My guess that if there is an attack, the Dems will put Mueller on a 9/11 Commission type panel to determine why we let it happen.

11/30/2006 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Yes I came to the same conclusion some time ago. Why hit us again when you are getting our retreat and surrender so easily. But what may save us is the desire to kill us in spectacular fashion since we need to be awakened again. It might be possible that they would make the ulitimate mistake and hit Wash DC and by doing so eliminate the last buffer between them and their 72 virgins. I have come to believe that among Bush's goals on 9/12 was to moderate our blood lust for Islam. You know calm us down...mollify our desire for revenge...revenge is such an unchristian thing.

It seems to me that instead of thinking about how it is going to affect our constitutional rights when they drop a nuke on us, we should be thinking of how we are going to muster the national will to defeat them when they don't.

That is the most important question because it is just possible that instead of losing their heads and attacking us they will be patient.

From an article where I was a bit more awake.
Put simply if we are fighting Al Qaeda to prevent them from forcing their way of life upon us how do we stand allies who already accomplish either all or much of that crime against their own people? Are we merely fighting a method or an end state? Is it only the fact that Al Qaeda engages in wholesale murder that causes us to reject their demands or do we reject their view of the world? Could we accept their view of the world if they did not engage in murder to achieve it?

We are at war with those in Islam who believe it is their duty to convert by sword or word the entire world. We are at war with the idea that any religion can take the place of a government by the people where the rights of the individual are guaranteed by law and that is understood to be inviolable by any religion. Perhaps Islam can stand beside Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism in our world but can it accept that all of them stand to the side of any government which guards against the depredations of any single religion declaring it has the right to guide in every detail?.


Firing anyone in the US Government that believes this is the way to win wars would be a terrific start to ending our slide into horror.
That is not the way it works. In fact if the US uses brutal tactics, the backlash is likely to create many, many more dangerous Islamists. That is one of bin Laden's recruiting tactics, to point to what he claims is US brutality.

Imagine if we tried to win the Cold War by killing every communist on earth.


We didn't have to kill all of them we just had to make them understand that we would if they tried to kill us. Their philsophy was corrupt enough that their people simply did't believe in communism. Put simply there weren't that many hardcore communists that we had to "kill all of them".

In Japan we fought a much more fanatical and dedicated enemy and killing them did in fact produce more of them for a time. Then we got ahead of the curve and it started reducing their numbers either through outright death or simply accepting that believing in their cause was dumb. Eventually we killed enough of them that they came to believe we would not stop unless they did.

In Indonesia in 2003 56% of the people believed that Bin Laden was a hero. This was before we attacked Iraq and after we had "liberated" Afghanistan and after we had suffered the most horrific terrorist attack in history. Islam has a problem with us.

Among that 56% a vast majority would not want to be a suicide bomber...but perhaps they donate money to Al Qaeda, perhaps they would hide bombers, maybe they would not call the authorities if they saw something suspecious. They do not respect us and bowing and scraping will not gain their respect.

But I bet that if we get attacked again and millions die we will gain their respect. Because at that time the firebombing of Japan will look like a walk in the park compared to the woe and misery that will befall much of the Islamic world. And any US Politicians unwilling to spread woe and misery will be dragged out of town on a rail.

11/30/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

One big target is the set of wealthy Muslims who are the financial backers for terrorism. The members of the Golden Chain need to be targeted. It needs to be understood that, if you give support (financial or otherwise) to people who kill Americans, then you personally become a target for a US-sponsored hit-team, and that we won't care how prominent you are, we won't care which royal family you are a member of, and we won't care which foreign governments get their noses out of joint over it. You finance people who kill Americans, you die, end of story.

We also need to have a long talk with the Saudis, telling them that their financing of radical imams worldwide needs to end. Now.

11/30/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I don't buy the theory that the US can be secretly nuked, that terrorists could sneak nukes in here and we would never discover who did it. There are radiation trails all over from the spy who just died.

I also don't buy the fear theory, that we kill a bunch of people so the rest of the world govels and does whatever we say. Most people are not that weak. But lets say both theories were possible. That slaughter still wouldn't protect the US because all it would take was a few terrorist who weren't scared to deliver the nukes. Either we would have to kill or scare absolutely 100% or that approach fails.

Also if it were true that we could get secretly nuked, then why didn't the Soviet Union do it during the Cold War? And right now there is no reason that only Islamists would target the US. Russia was our mortal enemy and lots of people there still hate us. China is an emerging power and they see us as the #1 threat to them.

The reality is that we need to deter nukes the way we successfully have done it for decades. That's with a combination of mutual assured destruction, propaganda war, diplomacy, alliances, covert and special forces fighting, and conventional war.

11/30/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Bilgeman said...

Boy, some folks don't see a winning hand when it stares them in the face...

Has anyone noted that terrorism has evolved into Arab and Muslims killing OTHER Arabs and Muslims?

They're so busy killing each other that there is precious little energy or resources left for any of 'em to do more than babble about killing Americans...and, as always, the Jooooos.

THAT, friends, is the REAL aim of the GWOT.

The "democratization" bit is ancillary.

It would be groovy if those good folks could conduct their affairs in a peaceful and democratic fashion, but if not, who really GAS?

As long as they ain't killing US, see?


Now, as for killing us, Mao once wrote that the "People's Army is like the fish in the sea of the People." (or W2TE)

True enough.

But you don't have any "fish" if someone removes the "sea".

And domestically speaking, at least in America, where the citizenry that wishes to be is armed, such a notion is very "do-able".

Not a pretty picture, but don't fool yourselves into thinking that it couldn't happen.

The Arabs and Muslims among us sure aren't fooled.

Poor bastards, (the good ones..."the normal Alis"), imagine going through your day knowing that there are countless deer rifles and duck guns aimed at you and your family.

Enough to make a fella uncommonly well-mannered and well-behaved.

That's REAL "Homeland Security", lads.

Regards;

11/30/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Soviets, w.w., knew we strike them back, in the event of a "secret nuke".

Over 300 metric tons of cocaine and an untold amount of pot enter the country annually, without sanction from the Federals. Anyone with the desire and capacity could transport multiple 200 lb nuclear devices into the US.

Would we "know" who did it?
What difference would it make, the specific source of the devices?

You are looking at a nuclear or biological attack as a "criminal action" where only those responsible would pay a price. Which is not what War is about. Which is why War should be avoided, if possible.

Who provided the Anthrax in those post 9-11 incidents? How do you trace biological agents "back to their source"? If it is possible why was it not done.

The Russian spy death case exemplifies the problem of "sourcing". Did a freelancer steal the Polonium or was there State sponsorship?
And by what State?

What is the signature on the Polonium, if it is so easy to distinguish?

11/30/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

Considering this interpretation of the letter the discussion is timely as is usually the case here at TBC.
I have been trying hard lately to "live in the moment" and short of acting out of fear of what may lay ahead these thoughts have crossed my mind:
1.) home should be upwind and outside of the blast radius of the major metro areas.
2.) apply for work at an underground installation and hope that detonation occurs on "bring your family to work day"....
3.) Help in any way possible to more aggressively and accurately execute the GWOT.

11/30/2006 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The Soviets, w.w., knew we strike them back, in the event of a "secret nuke".

Any nation who harbors terrorists today knows the same thing, so it is the same deterrance.

If we could have tracked nuclear terrorist back to the Soviet Union back then, then we could track them today.

11/30/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Wu Wei said:

"In fact if the US uses brutal tactics, the backlash is likely to create many, many more dangerous Islamists. That is one of bin Laden's recruiting tactics, to point to what he claims is US brutality."

How can we know what sort of backlash our brutal tactics would provoke? We haven't even started to use any yet. This whole thread seems to be about whether it's time to consider starting with them. The key part of your statement is "what he CLAIMS". What evil deed of ours provoked the embassy bombings in the 90s or the Cole attack in 2000? What did we do in response? It wasn't very "brutal" in any case, I don't think.

I find myself (almost against my will) beginning to agree that we may have to do things that up until now have been unthinkable. We've tried the touchy-feely stuff for a long time, and it doesn't seem very effective so far.

The US was just finally getting good and ramped up for a fight when WWII ended. Nobody in history, including us, has any idea what atrocities this country might be capable of if we get up a good head of steam and have solid reasons.

I think we should probably do what's necessary to deny ourselves those reasons. I don't want to think about what the world would look like afterward if the US decided that we had to unleash everything we've got.

11/30/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Bilgeman said...

joe buzz:

"Considering this interpretation of the letter the discussion is timely as is usually the case here at TBC."

And what do you wager me that, for all Ahmenidjad's preachifyin', his first target for his new toy will be Riyadh?

Making anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric, in the Arab world's politics, is akin to Congress labeling all spending bills as "Security", "Protection", or "Reform".

Often just a word game so that no-one looks too closely at the boxcar-lots of swag being legislated away and into backer's coffers.

Ahmenidjad may be screaming and pointing at Israel and the USA from his plutonium "hot tub", but you can bet your sweet bippie that he's programming his GPS for the House of Saud.

Regards;

11/30/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mannning said, "Historically, the US has been through periods of martial law before, and one of the paramount virtues of our system is its ability to shed martial law and return swiftly to our usual modes of governance once the threat has been delt with completely."

Only the territory of Hawaii in World War II, various states occupied in the civil war, and a number of individual cities have been under martial law, but never the US as a whole.

11/30/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Some drive-by-voters who believed Bush and Rummy had a torture policy toward "helpless" terrorist suspects heartily welcome "our new Democrat overlords" to make us a moral nation, again. Presumably, rude phone eavesdropping and distasteful profiling will be curtailed, as well.

Better dead than ill-bred, yes?

11/30/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Begin by declaring Islam a competitive form of GOVERNMENT, which our Constitution prohibits. Quit regarding it as a religion; period.
Remove all Muslim proselytizers from our prisons, schools and universities. Just make it illegal.
Deport all non-citizen Muslims post haste.
Then, as 2164th indicated, go silent & go dark in the ME. Something we should have done immediately after 911.

11/30/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

From the WaPo Pelosi article next thread up:

The Democrat controlled 110th Congress will likely “establish a civil-liberties board to protect the public against intelligence agencies expanding their reach.”

Yes, the public is threatened by bureaucracy-bound not even zealous intel agencies who are charged with protecting us from terrorist threat from abroad and at home. Aren't we fortunate to have the Dems look out for us by spanking down the true bad guys- our own agencies?

11/30/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bilgeman said...

oui oui:

"The Democrat controlled 110th Congress will likely “establish a civil-liberties board to protect the public against intelligence agencies expanding their reach.”"

Ahhh, true to form for the Dem leadership.

The government threatens our civil liberties?

So the "cure" is MORE of the "disease".

Give 'em more government.

Allah is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

Regards;

11/30/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard, after reading your first line:

"Newt Gingrich argues that if the next terrorist mega-attack destroys an American city"

my immediate thought was *sigh* here we go with the fear mongering. The implication in that line, by using "the next terrorist mega-attack", is that they've already done a mega-attack and it is only a matter of time until a city is taken out. That is quite the leap from the attacks have occurred to date.

But you do realize this in the body of your post, that it is best to contemplate it now then after (which again presupposes that it will happen). Which brings me to fear, terror.

Yes the thought of "what if's" can be nightmarish but we've lived with "what if's" for a long time and acting as if every possiblity were going to happen does not make for a very good life. If you really believe that it is inevitable that it will happen why aren't you building yourself a bomb shelter with air purification systems and just basically never leaving? Because it isn't really worth it. You gotta live, and you gotta live with your fear of "what if". Sure we can and should contemplate the "what if's" but to base our actions, especially when it comes to all that is involved in war fighting, incarceration ect. based on our fear of a "what if" is not rational behavior. We'll be locking most everyone up, or just killing them, because they 'might' do us harm.

Instead we need to be congnizant of the possiblilites, 'wargame' them if you will, but give up our 'freedom' (isn't that what makes America great?) based on our fear of 'what if's' is not worth it. Live life, love life, the sky may be falling, or it may not.

11/30/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

enscout said: "Then, as 2164th indicated, go silent & go dark in the ME."

'Going silent' would have to mean that US bureaucrats would stop slipping operational details to the New York Times, and the NYT would stop printing them. Not going to happen! At least, not until we have some summary executions of treasonous bureaucrats, and military censorship of the NYT & CNN. Make Islamists afraid of the US? Hell, the US government can't even put fear into its own employees!

The collective wisdom here seems to be that the US will flounder unless/until there is another attack on the Continental US; and that the Islamists are now too smart to provide that provocation.

I can't shake the thought that, given the highly undesireable way the cookie has crumbled, the smartest strategy now for the US would be to feign weakness (with plentiful help from useful idiots within the US in politics & the media who would not realize that they were being played by BOTH sides). Perhaps only that weakness can encourage the Islamists to make their fatal provocation. A danger, of course, is that the weakness is real, not simply feigned.

That strategy would also let the Enemy Within self-identify, which would provide the justification for rounding them up after the Islamists big provocation.

This is not a great strategy, but given everything else that has happened, it may be the most practical remaining approach.

11/30/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

ash:
Great sentiments. However, we must connect some dots. Islamic terrorists have repeatedly attacked us and our interests whenever and wherever they were allowed an opportunity. They have stated many times over that it is their wish to see us converted to their suicidal worldview or killed. They are on the threshold of acquiring nuclear weapons and have already demonstrated an uncanny ability to use our open society to creatively attack us with impunity. They are plotting our destruction as we plan our defense.
We all, I have no doubt, intend to live this life as best we know how. But to do nothing about the imminent threat these enemies pose is irresponsible.

11/30/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

enscout, I agree, the devil is in the details and that revolves around the particulars of what we should do. I have argued that the Iraq invasion and occupation was a poorly considered response to terrorist attacks, I believe escalating the Iraq confilict is would also be a poor choice and counterproductive in our fight against terrorism. Similarily attacking Iran would be counterproductive in this fight.

Wiretapping is one productive method of countering the threat (judicial oversight is required though). Addressing our oil consumption would be another. There are many options short of bombing, invading and occupying places.

11/30/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Bilgeman said...

Kinuachdrach:

"'Going silent' would have to mean that US bureaucrats would stop slipping operational details to the New York Times, and the NYT would stop printing them."

I don't really think that 2164th was talking about government action.

Why do you?

"We know who the enemy is. They told us. We know where they meet. We know a lot about them. It is time to go silent and go dark. No speeches, no threats, no lawyers, no mercy."

If you cling to the government for your freedom, you'd better see your haberdasher for your new keffiyeh and know more than a few words of Arabic.

"Isolate and eliminate the radical clerics, financial supporters, politicians, tacticians, academics, theorists, and all supporters of radical Islam."

Regards;

11/30/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

ash: You said: "There are many options short of bombing, invading and occupying places."

Indeed. This, I think, is what Gingrich refers to when he suggests rolling back some of our "assumed" rights, freedoms, etc. It shouldn't take another strike but clearly, given the politcal climate here as demonstrated in the recent election results, we - collectively - are not ready to make those concessions.
The problem, clearly, is that, domestically, we don't have leaders with the courage to implement measures to make a difference in the struggle. They don't get elected or they get tossed out of Congress due to ACLU/Pelosi types, our la-la land friends on the left and the MSM.

11/30/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the BC Archives are available from '03 go back, bilgeman, and read how those exact sentiments are stated often, your's is an echo of past discussions.

The Golden Chain, the Imams, the Financiers ...
Even "Going Native"

Ignored then, ignored now.

Get on board the Peace Train.

11/30/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu Wei said, "If we could have tracked nuclear terrorist back to the Soviet Union back then, then we could track them today."

They've already tracked the nuclear assassination back to planes which traveled between London and Moscow, but nothing more will come of it than a frown, possibly a little scorn, but definitely not a shunning.

11/30/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

There’s always drive-by complacency: positing that love of Kaaba will keep the Islamist terrorists from using WMD on us and that MAD will ensure our safety wrt enemies old and new. And then voting Dem to make America good, again.

11/30/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard's comments left out a key point. Most of us are only one generation away from a United States that cheered the use of fire bombing and nuking Japan. Our parents approved the fire bombing of Dresden. To get to that layer again is not a big scratch.

If the scenarios proposed by Wretchard or Gringrich come about I see a response that will take a century or more to recover from.

Because of the current political situation in the U.S. I do not think we can do anything now but stockpile emergency equipment and lead lined coffins.

11/30/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

but nothing more will come of it than a frown, possibly a little scorn, but definitely not a shunning.

So, what's the point, drive-by-blogger? The science and intel isn't there to verify 100% the provenance of nukes used in terror strikes against the US, but even if it were, that's simply a reactive insight to perhaps help us retaliate against this Muslim city versus that one. Of course, terrorists could intentionally use materiel from a certain place to discredit and ruin another's regime.

The point today is how to prevent WMD being used on us, not whether someone can further bash Bush, America et al for not accusing the Kremlim of assassinating his critics. Besides, on another thread Woman Catholic thought poisoning opponents a "deterrence" device that Bush and Olmert should keep in mind. Remember?

Let us now enjoy our Dem overlords who will, of course, condemn Putin and get tough on Islamists. In our dreams

11/30/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

I don't see a nuke in our cities - at first.

I see destruction of Abqaiq and Ras Turna in KSA and other targets of opportunity in the Middle East.

As far as al-Q is concerned, if the global economy collapses, that's good, we're all infidels anyway and deserve it. If the KSA collapses, that's better, so their guys control the oil.

al-Q learned the hard way that we still - at least when we temporarily have the will - can bring the pain when we get pissed off.

They know it's in their long-term interest to screw with the systems that supply our economy first.

As Katrina and last summer's oil hyping (no thanks to speculators shows), if you want to knock out the Great Satan, deny him the oil to fuel his fire.

If al-Q can get gas to $10/gal in the USA, our country will start to eat itself as the economy violently retracts.

If the global price for a barrel of oil is $300, and that can be sustained for six to eight months, every modern economy on earth will stop - at least temporarily.

The savage elements in the cities will begin their rampaging for food, supplies, drugs and guns. Civil unrest will be the phrase of the day.

THEN you hit our financial centers with a bug or nuke.

Now that will be a party.

11/30/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Gingrich is talking about two things: 1) urging a national policy to eliminate this mortal threat to us; 2) describing what would happen were there a successful nuclear or biological attack on us.

After an attack, we all know sort of what will happen: severely curtailed civil liberties; a very unstable political/governmental situation; doubtless large-scale reprisals, even if we are not 100% certain who the perpetrators are (think Iranian supplied terrorist groups). In the midst of all this, I doubt, given the bellicose statements by numerous Muslim groups in the West that there will be any significant Muslim presence left. The public will demand they be rounded up and they will be, if only for their own protection. Anyone who "looks" Muslim will have a very hard time of it for a long time to come.

If and when this happens, it will be partly their own fault. They do not inspire confidence. There will be no distinction (if there is one; I for one doubt there is) between "ordinary" Muslims and Islamists. The law of survival: there is nothing to be gained by erring on the side of generousity. What was that phrase? "Kill them all and let God sort them out". Better be safe than sorry.

Yes, once the EMP passes and our electrical systems start up, we will see a pale version of today's internet.

We will probably level Saudi Arabia, along with Pakistan and Iran and doubtless destroy many other places, assuming that we come to believe THEY are all connected.

Our government will doubtless make very severe demands on our allies and they will be forced to get in line or become enemies of us. For sure, any executive who acts weak in that time will be removed from office. So, in some sense, even if it is only the US that is attacked, we will force much of Europe to live in a type of martial law, as will we.

Frankly, I don't see us making any effort to address this horror. If we are lucky, our enemies will do it for us by attacking, on a smaller scale, some Western sites and forcing our political leaders into recognizing the danger we face.

Currently, none of them do. All we can do is hope and pray that the cost of such an awakening will not be too horrible.

11/30/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Woman Catholic/Terrisita said...


Wretchard said, "The last months have convinced me that nobody can be counted on to save myself but myself. Anything else is a maybe. And that by definition means that civilization's guarantee has ever so slightly been debased. I still hope but I no longer expect."

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" -- The Savior
///////////////////////////
Matthew 6:27-29 (King James Version)
27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
//////////////////
Matthew 6:27-29 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

11/30/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Br'er D-Day said, "If al-Q can get gas to $10/gal in the USA, our country will start to eat itself as the economy violently retracts."

Ah, but as soon as gas gets up to a sustained $4-$5 a gallon level it becomes cheaper to burn vegetable oil or liquefied coal.

11/30/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Lilies of the Field": Homer Smith is an itinerant handyman/jack-of-all trades who stops at a farm in the Arizona desert to replenish his water supply. He is persuaded to do a small roofing repair and stays overnight, believing that he will be paid in the morning. (snip)

Check it out for a reminder why early 60s liberalism had, in the peoples' mind, no connection to Big Brother.

11/30/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Br'er D-Day said, "If the global price for a barrel of oil is $300, and that can be sustained for six to eight months, every modern economy on earth will stop - at least temporarily."

I suppose when the world economy suddenly stops, the oil sheiks will be puzzled why suddenly no one is paying $300 for their oil anymore, and might even think about selling it for less.

11/30/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Triton'sPolarTiger said...
Cedarford -

I have my doubts that anyone will have enough control over institutions, etc, to prevent a massive US response to a second mass casualty event on US soil.


I agreed in my post.

The point was the progressive secular Jews and Gentiles, a very small portion of our population, do indeed have control over our media and legal systems and much of academia and the Democratic Party in the interim.

So they can checkmate us and discredit and slur America's policies and image and our "Abu Ghraib, not compassionate enough on enemy rights military" all they want in the meantime....Because to such powerful, wealthy progressive Jews and Gentiles....America and the West are a greater problem than Islam and need to be destroyed and deconstructed so a better transnational system with the best elements of Communism, PC, progressivism, and secular multiculti can take it's place.

It requires lots, and lots of infidel blood to be shed and some counterintuitive thinking..if a US city is nuked...questions will be asked, like why it is imperative to destroy the power of the ACLU when it is dominated by radical progressive Jews the radical Islamist hate? But it will be needed. Along with many other sacred cows...to get to a point where the measures Newt mentions as critical to defend America can be enacted over their weakened opposion for protecting enemy rights..

It sure didn't help that after 9/11 we had a corporate crony Republican Administration dedicated to further enriching the wealthy by giving them most the tax cuts and directing all the gains of globalization, the China trade, illegal immigration, oil price increases, and outsourcing to their small ranks. Their lofty rhetoric about 9/11 being the start of "defining times" was belied by an attritting military capacity and determination not to ask the US public to sacrifice. All the "Bush as Churchill" rhetoric was faux. Underlying it was a basic incompetency of the Bushies revealed not just with Iraq, but dramatic dysfunctions in ability to communicate with Congress or the public, the Schiavo & Miers Fiascos, and Katrina.

Then, to compound the damage - those Republican corporate cronies hooked up with neocons and their strange, confident vision that US blood and treasure could force the nations threatening Israel to become moderate, secular democracies - and remade what was initially a sensible 9/11 reaction into the neocon-Sharansky Wilsonian image. Where Bush was not only to be the Churchill of our times sans the sacrificial stuff CHurchill said about the "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" that would hinder Americans from shopping...but also Wilson crusading for Democracy in the same Great Man idealized by by his loyal inner circle so much...

Again, lots of blood more than (the small as wars go) one-time event of 9/11. It takes at least 100,000 coffins filled by an enemy before people really harden up (Civil War, allies in WWI, WWII).

Or it could be reckless, wasteful deficit spending on the rich and the "War on Terror" combined with a loss of our ability to compete in the world market - that wrecks the US dollar and causes a major economic crisis that could substitute for enemy bloodshed as an imperative to finally reclaim America from the Ruling Elites.

****************
Orlandoslug - Nice post.
You sort of knew the Ruling Elites had put the "fix in" by not reprimanding a single FBI or CIA official for 9/11 lapses, appointed Gorelick to the panel weighing her "Wall's" effects. How their solution to terror was to appoint hundreds of thousands of McDonald's rejects to grope business travelers and confiscate their toothpaste at random. And agitate for the same futile Federal job security system for inspecting shipping containers arriving at Ground Zero.
*******************
On nukes, Rat is correct that tracibility is not a given. He points out we can't trace the anthrax or the exotic Polonium 210. Wu Wei thinks: If we could have tracked nuclear terrorist back to the Soviet Union back then, then we could track them today.

For most of the Cold War, we had only one nation - the USSR - that would have motive to deploy a nuke in one or more US cities or in proximity to key US military centers. The others were our allies, or we were their sugar daddy (Israel) or they counted on us to keep Russia off their backs.

Now we live in a multipolar world and not only do we have Islamic enemies, but we have other countries that would love us to go all avenging nuclear mass death bringer TO the Islamoids. So the finger would be far harder to point.

Especially when an HEU gun type bomb design is well-understood, and it's components are not affected by reactor trace contaminents. Other than HEU, the bomb components are commonly available materials with no provenence tracked. As for HEU, there isn't an iota of difference between Russian HEU, Belgian HEU, Chinese HEU discernable by analysis. It's tracibility would be problematic.

11/30/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

Drive By Blogger said...
Ah, but as soon as gas gets up to a sustained $4-$5 a gallon level it becomes cheaper to burn vegetable oil or liquefied coal.

In theory, yes. The US guzzles 25 million bpd with our refineries running near capacity today.

If you can build the infrastructure to produce ethanol and Fischer-Tropsch coal syngas at the same rate that we currently produce refined gasoline for $4-$5 a gallon, lots of luck to you.

The reality is, we won't have the infrastructure in place until we have a near meltdown on the petro front. The grip of the enviros on the fedgov must be broken, and can only be broken when middle America is forced to choose between spotted owls and the American Lifestyle.

The Air Force just flew a B-52 on syngas, (www.syntroleum.com) and it came to about $30/gal. There's still work to be done before we just switch it over in the US.

Drive By Blogger said...
I suppose when the world economy suddenly stops, the oil sheiks will be puzzled why suddenly no one is paying $300 for their oil anymore, and might even think about selling it for less.

Unless said sheiks aren't in control any more. al-Q has made it no secret that it wants the current crop of the house of Saud to be overthrown and its oil to belong to the Ummah.

Furthermore, guys who have lived in caves and eaten ratmeat for years won't sweat the loss of revenue while the Great Satan collapses. Self-sacrifice is one of their strengths. If they lose 1/3 of the Ummah in the process, they don't care as long as InfidelLand implodes in the process.

11/30/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

dune runner said...

"Without slighting the hard work that many truly dedicated professionals are doing to prevent another 9/11 style attack here, I can't help but wonder if the real reason we haven't seen a repeat is that the brains directing the terrorists realized it was a strategic error..."

The problem with this theory is that many of the Islamic fascists hate us more than they love their own lives (this is the basic psychology of the suicide bomber). Assuming some sort of rationality in their style of attack ignores that they are driven by irrational hatred.

Kinuachdrach said...

"I can't shake the thought that, given the highly undesireable way the cookie has crumbled, the smartest strategy now for the US would be to feign weakness... That strategy would also let the Enemy Within self-identify, which would provide the justification for rounding them up after the Islamists big provocation."

The "Enemy Within" (moonbats) are symbiotic to the Islamic fascists. President Bush exhausted his political coin by fighting the Islamic fascists with his right hand while fending off the moonbats with his left. After the next major attack, the MSM will need to be controlled by some sort of military censor or anti-sedition legislation. I'm not happy about this but recent events leads to no other conclusion.

11/30/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

Coincidentally, I just watched Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for the first time last night. The lack of fossil fuels *as seen in Road Warrior* makes people turn to alternative sources, for instance, the pig-derived methane which fuels Bartertown. Wouldn't that be the best way to replace our dependency on oil from the Middle East? Another article I saw (posted on Tim Blair's blog) referred to the glut of fine wines in France (doubtlessly due to global warming and their subsidy-enhanced overproduction) being distilled into ethanol. There was even a recent Cafe Hayek post about how US Sugar subsidies prevent the cheap importation of sugar to enable cheap ethanol. Sugar is a much more efficient source of ethanol than corn is. Finally, I'm sure the net is full of hemp advocates who will tell us of the miraculous powers of hemp oil. Lifting the artificial restrictions on our pig-methane, booze fuel, sugar snacks and hemp boosters will be an inevitable and decisive response to the Middle East's petrol price shenanigans.

Anyway, other places (such as Canada, my home and native land) have oil too. A price increase makes distillation of shale oil and tar sands that much more practicable. OPEC can price itself out of the market all it likes.

11/30/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

Link Bonanza:

Pig Fuel

Sugar

Booze

Hemp Car

Speaking of hemp, that is also one of the chief exports of our fine province.

11/30/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Any nation who harbors terrorists today knows the same thing, so it is the same deterrance.

If we could have tracked nuclear terrorist back to the Soviet Union back then, then we could track them today.


You are not serious eh? After the foolishness we went through trying to link Saddam to terrorism. The cowards in the Democratic and Republican parties who look for any reason to not cut off the gravy trains of ME Sheiks who spread money like water will never allow them to be taken to account.

Saddam was absolutely intricately locked into world wide terror. He used it as a tool and understood its value against a people like us so afraid of our power.

11/30/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

need to keep two things in mind; 1) the BTU efficiency of oil may never be beat (with that constellation of economic consequences, beginning with the pace of changeover, leading the question, "what about the interim?"), and 2), related to the observations re the jihadis above, the economics of non-renewable resources present these jihadis with a continuum that reads "sell it all now cheap, or sell it all later dear". Imagine yourself with a hundred gold bars. You need to sell only a few at a time to live, and the price goes up the fewer you sell, and goes down the more you sell.

So, what's the rush? Especially if you have 'century-sight', and can hurt your enemy badly by extorting?

Just two things to keep in mind, before popping off facile verbal solutions to the mess.

11/30/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

The idea that if we lose our dependence on oil everything will get better is laughable. The Islamists don't hate us because we use their oil they hate us because we exist. If you are saying that we wouldn't have any interest in the Middle East anymore without the oil dependency then you are advocating a policy of letting the crocidile eat you last. So we let Israel be bombed into extinction, peachy, then we let Europe get overun....then what?

We fight now. This far and no farther...we can live in peace as long as they decide to love their children as much as we love ours. But I will sacrifice untold numbers of them to save one of my children. I have done a little mental exercise and there is no number of Islamists dead that I reach where I say that I would rather sacrifice one of my children than one more of them.

This far, no farther, and if it takes me doing it then fine, show me the button. I will live with my shame to allow my children to live...simple as that!

11/30/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Assuming some sort of rationality in their style of attack ignores that they are driven by irrational hatred.

Their hatreds are only irrational from a Western perspective. Their hatreds are perfectly rational in their own tribal society and culture.

I remember reading an interview with a US sergeant a couple years ago. He said that he understood the Iraqi mentality completely. It was the same as the mentality of gang members he knew from the projects he grew up in in Chicago.

If you took someone like Saddam Hussein or his two sons and placed them into American culture and they acted in the US as they had acted in Iraq they would be put into an insane asylum or given the electric chair. They could be considered clinically insane by our standards. Yet they were the rulers of a pretty big country and they still have many supporters there.

One of the disadvantages that the enemy has in this war is that he doesn't understand us very well. We need to make sure that we understand him well.

11/30/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

Actually, I was trying to say that by turning to haraam sources of energy such as pigs, wine and pot we can piss them off even more. I'm tired of trying to be conciliatory to perpetually 'outraged' Middle Eastern despots, inflammatory imams and psychotic mobs.

Pig Power for the win!

11/30/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Br'er D-Day said, "Furthermore, guys who have lived in caves and eaten ratmeat for years won't sweat the loss of revenue while the Great Satan collapses."

Considering the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the aircraft carriers in the Gulf, and the trillions of dollars of wealth the US can liquidate to bid for fungible oil, I would bank on the oil sheiks folding first.

11/30/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger dune runner said...

Assuming some sort of rationality in their style of attack ignores that they are driven by irrational hatred

I think this demonstrates a dangerous tendency in many people's thinking in the west. We want to see our enemy in the wild eyed terrorist screaming "Allahu Akbar" before he pulls the trigger on the explosives vest. That terrorist is our enemy's soldier, but he is not the real enemey.

The people who create that terrorist have shown a great deal of sophistication in their attack on us. They use media, strategic thinking and tactical operations in a clearly well planned and thought out way. They have, in fact, managed to fight a superpower first to a standstill, and just lately to what seems to be headed for defeat not only in Iraq, but the ME in general.

These are not the achievements of simple bloodthirsty thugs hellbent only on murder and rapine. There is a very determined, intelligent and well thought out plan at work here.

One of the disadvantages that the enemy has in this war is that he doesn't understand us very well.

I would argue just the opposite. I think our enemy understands us far better than we do him. He knows how to work the vulnerabilities in our democratic system of government in a very effective way. He has been able to control the battlefield, keep us on the defensive, and manipulate media to the point where world opinion now just assumes that terms like 'aggressor' and 'occupier' correctly describe both Israel and the United States.

Simply classifying our enemy as a group of bloodthirsty terrorist thugs vastly underestimates him. And we underestimate this enemy at our extreme peril.

11/30/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a strategic error on behalf of OBL. There were some immediate PR benefits in the Moslem world but the price they had to pay was severe.

I think they may change tactics to smaller suicide attacks ala Palastinians. Although it hasn't been effective against the Israelis, could it work against Americans? Our experience in Iraq may encouage the terrorists.

Could a series of suicide bombers in American shopping centers, schools, etc. destroy American support for Israel and turn America isolationist (get the US out of the Middle East and other Moslem lands)?

11/30/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

As regards MAD the Soviets didn't/don't worship death. IOW, they still wanted something left to rule.

As regards a nuclear attack anywhere, the minute we go below a discernable inventory we suddenly have two new players with more clout. Something about let those two duke it out and take over the winner. We had better be in the manufacturing mode when that happens.

11/30/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

utopia parkway wrote: One of the disadvantages that the enemy has in this war is that he doesn't understand us very well. We need to make sure that we understand him well.

Does he not understand us well enough? What capabilities does our side have that he has not already exploited?

Our obsession with universalism, of upholding human rights and morality such that we are too afraid to inflict necessary collateral damage in order to get to these minions - the terrorist employs human shields, because to them sacrifice is natural and necessary in their objective to bring down the Western infidels.

Our supposedly efficient, lethal conventional fighting forces on the battlefield - that had indeed translated into easy military victories in the optimistic heyday of the aftermath of the Iraqi war. But the terrorists have exploited our inability to cope with asymmetrical warfare - decentralised, independent militias and cell groups that answer to nobody but know exactly how to inflict serious harm on our troops.

And if we ever corner them with their backs to the wall via conventional forces, don't think they'll willingly surrender or even simply blow themselves up - the firefights with Hezbollah surprised even the most battle-hardened commanders on the field.

As dune runner suggested, our enemy is not this suicide bomber, but the devious, diabolical masterminds - the Iranian mullahs and their goal of establishing a Shia Crescent/Caliphate, instigating a global jihad against their fellow Sunnis as well as ultimately annihilating every single trace of Israel and the Western world. Whomever they cannot convert, they kill.

Ask yourself this question: when have we seen supposedly "noble" leaders like Nasrallah or Meshaal strap on suicide vests or even pick up a weapon to fight beside their zealous underlings? If you knew of Zarqawi's weapons-handling skills (or lack of it thereof), you might see why. But the fact is that we should be hunting these men down, for they are the ones propagating a seemingly inclusive, nihilistic, glorified ideology of death and martyrdom - not only that but surreptitiously self-serving and elitist as well - that allows them to wage war on their enemies without getting blood on their hands.

More so than ever, the enemy has exploited our ignorance in identifying and confronting our adversary. Our reluctance to muster the will necessary to deal with this threat decisively has even spawned internal foes such as the MSM who advocate defeatism and surrender - tragically enough, the terrorists are adequately savvy in manipulating and broadcasting propagandistic rhetoric that blames us for all the carnage and mindless violence they have single-handedly perpetuated.

The worst thing is, the MSM doesn't even know it's being exploited. And a significant proportion of the public choose to accept such news passively without understanding just how potent, rational and intellectually ingenious our adversaries are.

Their intentions are as clear as crystal. What we have failed to do is to articulate ours.

11/30/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pierre legrand wrote: The idea that if we lose our dependence on oil everything will get better is laughable.

Agreed. Note that the main exporters of oil are countries whom we have had less-than-cordial relations with. Russia. Iran. The Saudis are probably the only exception, but only because they know we can only depend on them, and our money is financing their Wahhabist terrorist cells everywhere in the region and beyond.

Even if we end our dependence on oil and switch to alternative sources, these countries are simply going to find new patrons, which are by no means lacking.

The emergence of these new patrons signal new challenges to our sovereignty. China, for example, invests in Africa, Sudan even - neutralising any sanctions the international community may have imposed. Our disengagement will prove to be deleterious as Iran and Russia would have even more oil-induced allies on its side to engage in obstructionism against us.

In truth, this has already begun to take place, and we can no longer blame our dependency on oil as an excuse for our intransigence in dealing with our foes.

11/30/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul said, "Could a series of suicide bombers in American shopping centers, schools, etc. destroy American support for Israel and turn America isolationist (get the US out of the Middle East and other Moslem lands)?"

No, Americans are fearless in a tussle, but one more instance of Israel spying on us, ala Jonathan Pollard, and we'll take away their allowance.

11/30/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

No one said the Palmer Raids were inneffective.

12/01/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see now. Islamic militiants destroy American cities... Millions of people killed... People in the heartland are asked to aid and reconstruct.

Let's see it this way. Islamic militiants destroy American cities, causing a political realignment in the United States. Democrats are the big losers and both States and the Democratic party lose representation in Washington!

Okay, a silver lining in every storm cloud. Since it is inevitable, lets look at the bright side (no nuclear pun intended).

12/01/2006 08:11:00 PM  

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