Monday, December 11, 2006

Into the Heart of Chaos

As noted in an earlier post describing the takeover of Pakistan's Western provinces by the Taliban, a sanctuary from which they can continue their attacks the Coalition in  Afghanistan, the West must accept it cannot expect full military access to the sources of terrorism. Whether terrorists shelter behind international borders, the politically correct rules of Western countries, or simply behind a wall of innocent women and children, the West must find other ways to "get at them" apart from traditional kinetic combat. One possible approach is to empower terrorism's natural enemies, which in the complex ecosystem of the Third World means strengthing forces which have a vested interest in making things work. This can lead to counterintuitive policies. Here's a video, for example, from Economics with a Face, which suggests that in certain situations, smooth traffic flows depend on having no formal rules. But I think the better description is "having the variable rules".


As the veteran of many a Third World traffic jam, I think the vehicular flow situation is a little more complex than Economics with a Face suggests. But he may be correct in thinking that under certain circumstances and in particular cultures fewer rules or perhaps the appropriate rules make more sense than the overly regulated forms the First World is used to.

If you look repeatedly at the video you'll notice that it isn't as chaotic as it seems. Traffic flow is actually regulated by an unstated traffic code. See if you can figure out what it is.

87 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard said, "Here's a video, for example, from Economics with a Face, which suggests that in certain situations, smooth traffic flows depend on having no formal rules."

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 57

Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

12/11/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Everyone stays on their right side of the street like in the USA and passes oncoming traffic on the left.

whoever gets to the intersection first has the right of way

pedestrians crossing the street have two inches of clearance in front and behind. that would be +-1 inch. anyhow that was my comfort zone in the years I lived in Manhattan. Manhattan had redlights at intersections and more cars. the rule at the intersections was when the green light turned orange the cars should speed up to get through intersection. and if you ran a red light there was always another light you could stop at.

I'm not sure what this has to do with terrorists activity. however , there are a couple US agencies working on discovering and mapping afghan natural resources and investing in alternative afghan crops so that the afghanistan can have a real mining and agricultural sector that generates cash for the afghan economy -- instead of growing poppies that also subsidize the local banditos and the taliban.

12/11/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Red A said...

In Taiwan, my wife says traffic lanes are "optional, or suggestions."

We recently changed our scooter left turn system to reflect what many were doing illegally - cross the intersection, and make a little u turn to join the other street's normal traffic and wait for green.

12/11/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rule is simle; make only the deviation required not to run into anybody. Everything else falls into place. The unregulated flow also seems to limit speed.

When traffic lights fail in North America, the same kind of self regulating "chaos" kicks in and traffic seems to move just as well.

12/11/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Now imagine you were sent into some country to advise the locals on ways to hunt down terrorists. And close behind you was a man from the UN with a 2,000 page booklet on traffic rules. How would a car chase between you and the terrorists look? And who would wind up with the most UN traffic tickets?

Maybe the real opposing sides in this world crisis are globalization, and one of its military manifestations, terrorism -- on the one hand -- and transnationalism on the other. The first is about empowering local institutions. The other is about creating supranational institutions and mandatory standards. And the real policy dilemma is how to fight a phenomenon like terrorism with a transnational rule book, presided over by distant gods in some marble palace in Brussels. Recently it's been all the rage to declare national constitutions, like the US Constitution, subordinate to some "international law". But maybe the better way to judge legitimacy is more local, according to a jury of peers.

I don't want to take this comparison too far, but maybe arriving in a foreign situation -- truly arriving -- is half the job of getting there.

12/11/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

In both cases, the rules are known, either encoded in black-letter law, or encoded in local habit.

The real issue is what happens when the rules are broken.

In some societies, the cops take over. In others, the AK47.

When international rules are broken, it all depends on who broke the rules, as you pointed out recently, W.

And of course international rules only apply when they harm the West.

ADE

12/11/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Chinese, Pakistani troops start anti-terror exercise
Daily Times, Pakistan ^

Posted on 12/11/2006 4:46:02 PM PST by milestogo

Chinese, Pakistani troops start anti-terror exercise

ABBOTABAD: More than 200 Chinese troops headed to the mountainous northern region on Monday at the start of the first-ever joint military exercise held here by Pakistan and China.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and their Pakistani counterparts raised flags and played their national anthems at a special ceremony in Abbotabad. Two guns boomed to herald the start of the exercise and paragliders showered fresh rose petals over the parade ground, before soldiers took part in a folk dancing display.

The Chinese contingent flew in to Rawalpindi on Sunday to take part in the 10-day exercise dubbed “Friendship 2006”.

PLA Major General Liu Minjiang said at the ceremony that the exercises would foster “a joint strategy and tactics to fight terrorism”. Pakistani Major General Mohsin Kamal said the manoeuvres would strengthen cooperation. The exercise comes around two weeks after Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to take strategic ties with Pakistan to a “new level” during his first ever visit to the South Asian country. “This is the first time that a PLA contingent has arrived in Pakistan” on an exercise, a senior Pakistani military official said, adding that Pakistani troops visited China for joint exercises in 2004. afp

12/11/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Well, they have to be nations with constitutions before they can be subordinated to the UN's...

By the way, support for and encouragement of democracy/representaive government is the explicit purpose of the UN, right in its Charter.

Why only today Kofi said we can't want peace more than the Iraqis themselves want peace; we can't "impose" peace.

Ah no. We can't. That would be such a terrible thing to do, impose peace. I myself write rhapsodic poems in my garret here lamenting the lack of anxiety that comes from the absence of 20 year olds in white pick up trucks with ak-47s shrieking allahu akbar; I tear out my hair that no RPGs explode nearby: they are so thrilling.

And so on.

It would be nice if we could encourage the people with ideas of order. How about that Nobel Prize winner this year, the microcredit guy? Maybe he has a good idea or two. Seriously.

I still think the problem (in Central Asian; not in London) gets down to: would you rather herd goats and gather in the winter wool, or would you rather get into the tribal extortion racket and go with a band of brothers with ak-47s and Allah's halo warmly embracing you? C'mon, tell me you wouldn't pick the AK.

All this wonderful technology sets the Romantic core of whatever civilization absolutely on fire when it first really sets in.

12/11/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

In many ways the "noble laws" the Euro Left and powerful secular progressive Jews have hamstringed the West with - has turned the whole equation into a false one...

That we must invade, occupy, and reform our attackers as the only solution to them - in places like Taliban Afghanistan, Hez hideouts, Waziristan - plotting to take their violence to more peaceful locales. That stern proclaimations from Kofi, advice from ACLU lawyers, and court writs obtained by NGOs will morally persuade people in unstable, violent places to behave better

This strategy has failed badly in our attempts to "nation-build" locales whose people strong resist our foreign solutions.

Suggesting we may have to go back to what works.

Let the enemy know that if they attack, none of them, not even their children or prize goat, are safe.

Before the days of transnational law, the supreme sanctity of enemy civilian lives, and the "moral authority of Kofi"...people with lusty, vigorous hatreds for other people had to weigh the consequences. More often than not, the idea of dead children and raped mothers from enemy reprisals kept hotheads (who may have not feared their own fates) in check.

You may wish to invade and kill and plunder, but had to consider the enemy could directly retaliate or join alliances and the outcome could be your cities burned, retaliatory massacres, your properties looted, women raped.

Knowledge of this possibility tended to discourage the mass of citizenry and the leaders from allowing or following the hotheads that advocated violence of opportunity (as well as inhibited the hotheads themselves). Yes, it would be easy for a squad of 11th century young men to sally forth from Turin to kill and pillage in despised Venice, but the retaliation could well be mountains of dead civilians piled up and Turin burned to the ground with no effort to spare all but the "hotheads" or strive to some sort of tit-for-tat proportionality.

The irony of the legal and treaty restrictions stuck on us all by the EuroLeft and the progressive Jewish lawyers and global financiers backing them - is that while intended to usher in a new mandated age of compassion and humanity - it has has the opposite effect.

There is little deterrent if the people know they can send the hotheads out to kill, loot, and rape the enemy...but the enemy is too soft, too legalistic to respond in kind. No matter what you do - you know the enemy holds your civilian lives more precious than doing actions necessary to protect their own. That is only a motivator.

To get back to a more safe position so the Waziristans and young Saudi hotheads and the angry Muslims of London and Paris aren't nearly the threat they currently are means the laws and covenents must change.

1. Towards Reciprocity. If you treat our prisoners well, we treat yours well. You kill our civilians, we can kill yours.
2. Towards defining the lines between dissent/sedition/treason We currently allow too much.
3. Less on proportionality All nations recognize the need for "penalty factors". If someone steals money, restitution is pay back money stolen, plus a penalty. When attecked by another nation, the goal is not to match the toll the enemy took, but to either defeat them or take a far heavier toll as punishment.
4. Less lawyers We see how much weaker and ineffectual the Israelis have become as lawyers like Olmert have come to dominate Israel and become responsible for the country's defense. America has become similarly crippled and institutions ossified and actions hindered - by the lawyers and the moneymen behind them.
5. Clarify Spell out consequences that could exist to locals taking violence to other lands. Consequences for feeding, comforting, housing the hotheads.

12/11/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I wonder whether, in addition to the idea of a "market state", which some political theorists argue is supplanting the "nation state" there is also a concept of the "market peace", a situation in which subnational groups are empowered to create the peace. Or at least nurture it. Such a peace might look a little different from Kofi Annan's idea of peace as conformity to the UN as the sole "source of legitimacy". That kind of peace is not only unattainable, but really uninteresting. The workings of that model create paradoxes where Darfur-like events are logically guaranteed to exist within his system.

The peace I have in mind is some process by which the global system works without catastrophic perturbation. Radical Islam, though exploiting certain aspects of Globalization, like the Tranzi vision wishes to end the system which allows it to thrive. That was famously expressed in the formula, "one man, one vote, one time". Islam doesn't want things to work, and neither, when you come right down to it, does Tranzism, except to the degree that it remains dominant.

But how does a world, optimized for maximizing the opportunities of individuals, maintain the peace? And returning to the video of traffic in Hanoi, achieving that goal could involve some way of creating transactions that work on the fly. If you look at the Hanoi video, there's a sophisticated implied system of 'Let me pass. I'll let you pass.' Radical Islamism has no place in such a world of consensual rules. It's first instinct is to detonate a car bomb in the traffic. The second would be to outlaw the cars. My guess that the way to destroying the enemy lies in somehow exploiting the structure of our globalized world and using at against the new fascism.

12/11/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Quantity becomes Quality - Hegel (I believe).

As the scale of the problem increases, the nature of the problem changes.

W: "If you look at the Hanoi video, there's a sophisticated implied system of 'Let me pass. I'll let you pass.' " is small scale, one on one.

W:"But how does a world, optimized for maximizing the opportunities of individuals, maintain the peace

Scale is now way up, so the problem has changed. First we have to agree that maximizing the opportunities of individuals is a good thing, that maintaining peace is a good thing; Then we have to define optimisation.

As n tends to infinity, there are only God-like solutions. Step forward two of them: Islamism and the UN (and C4's lawyers).

ADE

12/11/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

They've tried it a couple of times in Baghdad, ban cars and then highly regulate them. No cars, no car bombs. No instant access to new target populations, no massacres. When dealing with a population with a group case of PTSD maybe that's what is needed.

12/11/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The article published today, the US Military says that "concerns that al Qaeda could strike the United States in the future with some type of nuclear device" are "not a worry". The article totally rejects the notion that Al Qaeda is capable of destroying an entire city with a large nuke, even though that bizarre idea is taken as the gospel truth on the web. Instead the only scenario discussed is Al Qaeda launching a tiny one-kiloton nuke, which would cause "thousands" of casualties, no worse than 9/11 and conventional explosives. Even the use of such a small nuke is unlikely: "On a scale of one to 10, this is around one or two", and even in their wargame scenario of that tiny nuke damaging the Pentagon, the government kept running "unabated".

The Admiral in charge of US defense is dealing with real possibilities, not the internet fantasy that a few nomads living in tents in the desert will develop lunch box sized nukes and destroy US cities with them.

A surprise attack on the United States by terrorists is the most worrying threat facing the country, while a nuclear detonation by al Qaeda here remains a low probability, the admiral in charge of the U.S. Northern Command says.
"We're trying to think through the unknown unknowns," Adm. Timothy J. Keating, the Northcom leader, said in a telephone interview with reporters.
Adm. Keating made the remarks in commenting on a nationwide, multiple-incident exercise that yesterday included a simulated nuclear terrorist attack that destroyed the Pentagon.
The exercise was designed to test continuity of government and emergency response after a one-kiloton nuclear blast was set off, and Adm. Keating said preliminary indications showed that despite the attack, government continued "unabated."
Casualties from the simulated blast were in the "thousands" and a radioactive plume traveled south through Crystal City and Alexandria based on weather computer models.
Asked about government concerns that al Qaeda could strike the United States in the future with some type of nuclear device, Adm. Keating said on Friday it is something to think about but not a worry.
"On a scale of one to 10, this is around one or two for the likelihood of terrorists to a) get the material, b) assemble the weapon, c) learn how to operate it, d) transport it, and e) use it," Adm. Keating said yesterday in a second telephone press conference with reporters from Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs.
"We still have no more reason today than we did last week to think that it is more likely but that does not stop us from being required to work through the 'what ifs,' " he said.


Link

12/11/2006 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/12/2006 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

H's talking about now, when the only nuclear Sunni power is Pakistan, under Musharraf.

Hence his presupposition that they would have to build one:
"On a scale of one to 10, this is around one or two for the likelihood of terrorists to a) get the material, b) assemble the weapon, c) learn how to operate it, d) transport it, and e) use it"

In related news the Gulf Powers (and Saudis) are going nuclear and Japan is not an airpower, nevermind the planes over Pearl.

12/12/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wu - in the previous thread I suggested you learn something of the nature and effects of nuclear weapons, because what you write does not match reality.

A "tiny" 1KT device set off in Midtown Manhattan would not be "the same or less deadly than 9/11" but 10 to 40 times greater in immediate deaths and a zone of destruction of several hundred yards in diameter.
And groundburst contamination using the 1.6 million curies of radiactive contaminants produced per KT of explosive yield from fission would mean much of the Boroughs would be contaminated and unlivable in for years.

The same "tiny" nuke would not "damage" the Pentagon. It would destroy much of it and end it as a functioning military command center. Government would continue as military functions were simply passed onto other centers with succession & survivorship designation.

However, the same "tiny" bomb set off on Capital Hill would end the functioning of Congress and the SCOTUS for several months - because of flawed sections in the US Constitution impairing continuity of gov't.

What the Admiral is saying in war-gaming is that currently, he assigns low probability to a high consequence event.

And much of the talk of "tiny" , man-portable nukes omits you need the same amount of uranium or plutonium for a 1KT device as a 80 KT boosted one - the same critical mass. It is just how efficiently you fission, tamp the mass, add extra neutrons and conserve the ones in the reaction that determines yield.

With the easiest weapons to make not the 1KT or 80KT device but ones in the 12-20KT range of the 1st 3 tested and used. All of which would have been transportable by panel truck or pickup truck. (So why would Islamoids want to take the extra effort to make a "tiny nuke" likely to kill only 30,000 infidels when the easier to make and easily transported one could kill
100,000 to 300,000 people and release 32 million curies or so rather than 1.6 million curies?)

For now, Islamoid terrorists with a nuke are still a low risk threat. But the risk could go up if Iran, KSA, Egypt go nuclear. In any event, dispense with the meme that a mini-nuke is the preferred and most likely nuke weapon of Islamoid terrorists.

12/12/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger weswinger said...

Wu Wei and others who would like to get us to stop worrying about an A Q nuke need to understand the probabalities they're throwing around a little better. Somehow I don't think they've spent any time in the finance or trading worlds. The real world does not conform to a normal distribution. Fat tails wave around and black swans swim in to disrupt the complacent trader.

We are all traders here, in a way, because we either support or reject our governments' attempts to disrupt the black market nuclear material supply chain.

We traders use probababilities in addition to discount rates to weight the payoff of outcomes, not just the binary will it or won't it. Check Nassim Talebi on the relative value of the 'bleed' in carrying a long deep out of the money put position. If it comes into the money because an individual stock or the whole market craters, the payoff is BIG. Just so are the calculations we should anticipate A Q is making. It is unlikely, and the effort is great, but the payoff to them, even after the discount is still huge and would be motivation enough. So the gambler and the trader and maybe even the politician thinks.

Similarly, if you are unlucky enough to have you or your family vaporized or poisoned by even a one kiloton device, disaster is total.

So Wu, I will authorize my government to spend dollar amount totally disproportionate to the overall economic impact of a small device, on the effort to reduce the likelihood of such an event.

12/12/2006 02:03:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.
~ William T. Sherman

Add in there "every attempt to fight a war on the cheap.....", Mr. Wu

12/12/2006 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

If it is found that certain states have squandered their oil wealth on building terror groups then said states have been poor stewards of their oil wealth - and should be removed from the playing field.

I think the same goes for rich members of said states who have squandered their personal wealth on funding terror gangs. They should be neutralized quickly and efficiently.

12/12/2006 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The key point that is being missed is that because Al Qaeda, living in their tents and caves, cannot create nuclear weapons, they add no additional risk. This means that all nukes launched against the United States would be created by and the responsibility of, a foreign government. We can deter them the way we always have, with mutual assured destruction.

If we say that the nukes cannot be traced back to their source, then any nuclear power could strike the US with their lunch box sized bombs. Some have suggested that we need to occupy the whole Middle East to reduce the terrorist threat. But if nukes are undetectable, then we would need to conquer and occupy Red China, Russia, and all other nuclear powers.

If on the other hand, we say that nukes can be traced back to their source, then we can deter them with mutual assured destruction, like we've been doing it for the last 50 years.

12/12/2006 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

OT, from Jihadwatch:

2006 Dhimmi and Anti-Dhimmi Awards:

Anti-Dhimmi Internationale 2006...John Howard!

W, isn't he one of your lot?

ADE

12/12/2006 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Was that really Sherman? Most of my male ancestors were probably Confederate soldiers and I love that sonofabitch. Where, oh where is his great-great grandson.

12/12/2006 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Adam Smith's invisible hand (on the steering wheel) comes to mind.

12/12/2006 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Weswinger:

"if you are unlucky enough to have you or your family vaporized or poisoned by even a one kiloton device, disaster is total."

The true misfortune may lay with those who survive such an event, only to fall victim to a societal collapse such an event could trigger if the right (few) dominos are tipped.

One hopes that our government will, if the time comes, have the stones to go to the mattresses for those who have elected them.

The most recent election doesn't fill me with hope in this regard.

12/12/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

The rule in operation is that everyone looks out for and reacts autonomously to everyone else's moves, which results in a stable, functioning and expeditious system (everyone gets where they want to go in a time frame which is reasonably foreseeable).

Transnational Progressives want to prohibit a whole series of responses, basically anything which either produces consequences they don't want or (much more typically) anything which generates consequences with moral characteristics they can't calculate in advance.

It is because of this that they usually end up instructing people, like the Israelis for example, to in effect put up with rockets raining indefinitely from the sky. 'Your actions must meet my criteria, but I can't think of any adequate ones, so just stand there'.

The result defies reason and logic, like instructing pedestrians in the video never to look to their left, and results in a scene of carnage and chaos as some people comply, others don't, people can't signal where they are going, signals sent are not received, fights start, etc. Just as one would expect.

If a crazy old grandma walked into the middle of the street and started issuing absurd instructions like this nobody would listen to her for an instant. What is amazing is that when somebody from the government or an NGO does it we pay any attention at all. Especially since grandma is so often phoning in her wacky instructions between bon-bons, from some comfortable sofa thousands of miles away in the EU or Vermont.

12/12/2006 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wu - More basic nuke facts:

1. A sophisticated thermonuclear device can be tracked to 1-2 originating countries. Not so certainly crude weapons.

2. Contrary to your assertion, most radical Islamists do not live in caves or tent. There are thousands of nuclear-trained Muslims with degrees and plenty of experience. Iranians in exile are common in US and Euro vendor service companies.

4. Nor is it the exclusive provinence of nations to have the ability to recreate 60-year old technology. High school students have come up with designs for "gun-type" HEU devices evaluated as workable and producing a yield of 3-20 KT if the design was executed with precision...which computer-controlled milling machines do.

Even PU, HEU implosion devices - beyond high schoolers - are not necessarily past the capability of NGOs like Hezbollah. If the AQ Khan network was not stopped, radical Islamists would have had working designs for Chinese implosion devices. Ayman al-Zawahiri was in negotiations with two of Khan's associates prior to 9/11. There are thousands of nuclear trained Muslims with degrees and plenty of experience. Iranians in exile are common in US and Euro vendor service companies.

You just need the fissile material. Hard to get, but as more Muslim nations start nuclear programs, that material will be harder to control.

5. The only real solutions are deterrance or ending nuclear proliferation. Deterrance is not MAD - there would not be mutual destruction if Muslims hit America or Europe. It would be a one-sided destruction. Ending nuclear proliferation would require the imposition of final borders in the ME and creating a nuclear weapons-free region.

12/12/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike h said, "They've tried it a couple of times in Baghdad, ban cars and then highly regulate them. No cars, no car bombs."

That sounds like a fuzzy headed liberal solution. Cars don't kill people, terrorists kill people. Outlaw automobiles, and only outlaws will drive automobiles.

12/12/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

cedarford wrote:

"Knowledge of this possibility tended to discourage the mass of citizenry and the leaders from allowing or following the hotheads that advocated violence of opportunity"

Mankinds long and violent history implies the opposite is true.

12/12/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Maybe the real opposing sides in this world crisis are globalization, and one of its military manifestations, terrorism -- on the one hand -- and transnationalism on the other. The first is about empowering local institutions.

That's not quite how I would put it. Globalization is simply a set of new possibilities (for good or ill) opened up by technological progress, while transnationalism is an ideology. But the good news is that globalization makes it possible to draw more people away from the culture of violent disorder that is currently so prominent in the Islamic societies.

The economist Amartya Sen has a new book out which, while full of a lot of fluff, also makes the interesting point that our identities are not fixed in stone. It is possible to give people who otherwise might become sympathetic to the jihad out of a feeling of Islamic solidarity stakes in cultivating aspects of their identity portfolio other than the "Muslim" part -- as scientists, businessmen, etc. if they define themselves in ways that give them a stake in open societies and order, they have an incentive to come up with ways to solve their own fanaticism problems that would never occur to a diplomat or an activist or a military commander.

12/12/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

But how does a world, optimized for maximizing the opportunities of individuals, maintain the peace?

Wretchard, this is a very interesting proposition. There is some historical precedent for non-state actors acting like states; the question is the extent to which they would work to maintain peace and order because it's good for business (or whatever other objectives they are pursuing).

For many decades the British East India Company operated essentially independently of the British government. In South Asia, they established courts and enforced laws of their own making. I confess I don't really know how peaceful things were during their reign. I know that they and the Dutch East India Company were deeply involved in (and may have started) numerous wars in what is now Indonesia, but I wonder if, relative to what was going on in that part of the world therwise, the arrival of their forces there and in the subcontinent promoted peace.

I suspect that mining companies are providing a significant amount of order in resource-rich but governance-poor regions of Africa. Chinese companies in particular are now investing heavily in Sierra Leone, building significant modern housing projects and otherwise providing much better living conditions for many who otherwise might gravitate toward armed gangs and private militias. They obviously do this not out of the goodness of their heart, but because they need order to extract resources.

To grope toward answering your question, people with an incentive to maintain order would have to have the ability to maintain order. They will never get that through a nation-state dominated system, which has no incentive at all to privatize its monopoly on violence. But in some parts of the world that are most prone to chaos, companies and other transnational organizations may eventually began operating without going through governments - either the local one or the more advanced one in their home country - first.

12/12/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Evan,

My guess is that "globalization" while part of the problem is, as you suggest, part of the solution. However, the property you mention -- that of being able to construct a more complex identity than that of a radical Islamist -- is potential rather than a fully actualized.

Islam and Marxism, both militant religions, would be natural first adopters of the technological and especially the memetic aspects of globalization. The rest of us with day jobs will lag. But we need not lag forever.

But once we make the decision to engage radical Islamists on the ground of the globalized world we need to go native within the rulebook of that world. Recalling the first European efforts to reach the Poles, I was struck by how some of the first explorers behaved as if no one knew anything about living in cold climates. In just the same way one of the keys to the European establishment in the New World was the decision to borrow the methods they found that worked.

The more UN-type literature I read the more I am struck by the absolute mediocrity of it. And at some point I wonder whether intellectual honesty won't really compel us to accept, that yes, it is mediocre and that we are better off thinking originally.

12/12/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

-and lets teach 'em how to pet whales and hug trees while we are at it. It seems one problem with jihadists and implimenters of shariah law is they kill people when things don't go their way. They are not 'wired' to compromise and negotiate, not when religious mandates are foundation of all actions. Secondly, islam is totally Paternal to the almost total exclusion of women in any kind of power and economic sharing. There can be no inroads into this half of the islamic world because the gate is closed and may never open.

12/12/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...

Another Sherman quote that is relevent today:

An Army is a collection of armed men obliged to obey one man.
Every change in the rules which impairs the principle weakens the army

12/12/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Wu Wei I have concluded that you must be a troll. Or else a person who has been educated but never asked any critical questions of the information various misguided Professors provided.

For instance this latest gem:
The article published today, the US Military says that "concerns that al Qaeda could strike the United States in the future with some type of nuclear device" are "not a worry". The article totally rejects the notion that Al Qaeda is capable of destroying an entire city with a large nuke, even though that bizarre idea is taken as the gospel truth on the web.

Lets set aside the United States Governments poor record of prognostication regarding terrorist capabilities...9/11 anyone? And address the idiocy of believing a Gun Type Weapon cannot be created by a terrorist group.

NTI does not agree with what you say the US Military declares. Though I will say that I am deeply skeptical of your interpretation of anything to do with the US Military. (Meaning provide a link)

From the NTI Website
Setting off a nuclear explosion with HEU is simple enough that DOE internal security regulations envision the possibility of an "improvised nuclear device"—a nuclear bomb the terrorists might be able to put together while they were still inside the facility where they stole the HEU.[8]

For a terrorist group to make a nuclear bomb, it would be helpful to have help from individuals with experience in the design and construction of nuclear weapons. But this would not be essential, particularly in the case of a gun-type bomb. A group of U.S. nuclear weapons designers has estimated that a team of 3-4 people, or possibly more, with some knowledge of physics, machining, explosives, and the chemical and physical properties of the nuclear material to be used—all of which is available in the unclassified literature, but not all of which would be easy for a terrorist group to put together—could potentially accomplish the job of building a nuclear bomb from stolen nuclear material, without anyone on the team with prior nuclear weapons experience.[9]


The Genie in the bottle is the Nuclear Material itself...notice though that the DOE considers it possible that a simple nuclear device could be constructed in the facility where the material was being stolen from....

So living in a cave is not a limitation. Now if the US Military actually declares that terrorists living in caves are unsophisticated then that group of people need to be fired. So far that unsophisticated group of "towel heads" to follow their prejudice has accomplished what no one else since the British in 1812 managed, attack our major cities and kill thousands of our citizens.

Finally Wu Wei you have never responded to this exchange.

Wu Wei said...
If Christians are peaceful and Muslims are bad, then why are Christians supporting the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon?


Pierre said...
No one said Christians are peaceful. We said that Jesus was peaceful and Mohammed was not, that is the issue you must address if you are trying so hard to find some equivilancy between Christainity and the violent religion known as Islam.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

12/12/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Wretchard said

The peace I have in mind is some process by which the global system works without catastrophic perturbation.

But how does a world, optimized for maximizing the opportunities of individuals, maintain the peace? And returning to the video of traffic in Hanoi, achieving that goal could involve some way of creating transactions that work on the fly. If you look at the Hanoi video, there's a sophisticated implied system of 'Let me pass. I'll let you pass.' Radical Islamism has no place in such a world of consensual rules. It's first instinct is to detonate a car bomb in the traffic. The second would be to outlaw the cars. My guess that the way to destroying the enemy lies in somehow exploiting the structure of our globalized world and using at against the new fascism.
/////////////////////
The key to understanding this is oil.

Oil is capital intensive, operates as a regressive tax system and concentrates wealth into the hands of the few. Oil is the ground of moslem power and confusion. Oil is not as bad as electricity when it comes to making people reliant on the grid. Nevertheless there is that.

The solution here is technological. The answer will come from a number of directions. Here's one.

December 08, 2006
Superefficient, Cost-Effective Solar Cell Breaks Conversion Records
A tiny solar cell doubles the efficiency of common photovoltaics' conversion of sunlight to electricity by capturing the energy from a broader spectrum of light.

"This is not a technology that is 10 years away," Kazmerski adds. "This is a technology that we are going to see out working next year."

And the triple-junction solar cell may not hold the efficiency record for long. "We are also looking at four-, five-, even six-junction solar cells," Lillington notes. "There are at least three or four different approaches to take the efficiency into the 45 percent range." And that means the price of energy harvested directly from the sun will continue to drop.

12/12/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

There never will a be a world without occasional catastrophic perturbations.

This pathetic post-WWI (well, pre-WWI, but let's not get into details) theme must be assassinated. It warps all expectations; it stymies education and critical thought; it reinforces bureaucratic malaise; it is a weapon against virility; it is a laughing stock and provocation for barbarism. It promotes nothing but solipsism. It is Christianity without the Original Sin, which of course is the purpose of all hippyisms.

Enough of this. This is not a goal, this is not a coherent concept.

12/12/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> No one said Christians are peaceful. We said that Jesus was peaceful and Mohammed was not

That is irrelevant to the discussion, since no one was suggesting that either Jesus or Mohammed would launch terrorist attacks in 2006.

12/12/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

No one said Christians are peaceful. We said that Jesus was peaceful and Mohammed was not

That is irrelevant to the discussion, since no one was suggesting that either Jesus or Mohammed would launch terrorist attacks in 2006.

No you wish it to be irrelevent but it is not. We were discussing your attempt to find some moral equivilancy between the two religions. There is none. The two founders were as different as night and day...one covered in blood the other not.

12/12/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

Both were covered in blood but only one rose from the dead on the third day to sit at the right hand of his father.

12/12/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I have to ditto Pierre Legrand's criticism of Wu Wei's naive view about a nuclear attack against the U.S.

Wu Wei's comment was:

"The article totally rejects the notion that Al Qaeda is capable of destroying an entire city with a large nuke, even though that bizarre idea is taken as the gospel truth on the web. Instead the only scenario discussed is Al Qaeda launching a tiny one-kiloton nuke, which would cause "thousands" of casualties, no worse than 9/11 and conventional explosives."

I agree that a one-kiloton nuke would cause damage roughly equivalent to what 9/11 caused (which was obviously not enough to get the US fully mobilized). However the Islamic fascist enemy will not use a one-kiloton nuke (those sorts of weapons are actually quite sophisticated). As Pierre Legrand correctly said, a simple gun-type nuke (like the Hiroshima little boy) is relatively low-tech and yields about 15 kilotons. As is well known, the technological challenge is in acquiring the U-235 bomb pit. The bomb pit would have to be of ex-Soviet origin or manufactured in China, North Korea, Pakistan or Iran. The bomb pit could be smuggled into the US in multiple pieces. The rest of the weapon would be constructed here using local materials.

Truth to tell, the worst thing the enemy could do is use an ocean freighter as a giant version of a truck bomb. They could convert a ballast tank in the freighter to hold the weapon. The water in the tank would provide radiation shielding against remote detection. The weapon itself could be something really huge like the Tsar Bomba, refer to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_bomba
http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba.html
http://www.atomicforum.org/russia/tsarbomba.html

By definition the people doing this would be savage monsters (Al Qaeda or radical Shiite fanatics). Most likely they would replace the lead tamp on the original Tsar Bomba design with a U-238 tamp thus bumping the yield up to 100 megatons (lots of fallout). To make it extra nasty they could wrap it with cobalt. Now you have the Al Qaeda variation of the USMC sniper slogan of "one bullet - one kill", i.e. "one bomb - one nation".

Again the islamic fascist enemy would not hesitate to use this weapon if they could get their hands on it (they hate us more than they love their own children). I believe most experts would agree that the enemy will have their hands on one within 10 years.

Truth to tell, I think the only way that we will avoid this fate is if the enemy attacks Israel first thus providing the Casus belli to wipe out the fascist threat. I don't envy the Israelis. They are definitely the "canary in a coal mine".

12/12/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eggplant wrote, "Truth to tell, I think the only way that we will avoid this fate is if the enemy attacks Israel first thus providing the Casus belli to wipe out the fascist threat."

No doubt there are many who are quietly hoping for that, because it would eliminate that Shi'ity little 62 year old country in the bargain.

12/12/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morality is inhibitory. Its evolutionary utility (enabling ordered complexity) derives entirely from this fundamental fact.

Sometimes rational analyses fail precisely because they do not take into account the effect of morality as an enabler of organization. This is because morality's systemic effects are incredibly difficult to predict, measure and attribute. Watershed moments are sudden and seemingly unexplainable, guided as they are by the invisible hands of aggregated psychology. And much of the benefit of morality is negative--i.e. the biggest benefit of morality is the non-actualized event.

But all utility diminishes at the margins, and we've long since passed the inflection point in our dealings in the Middle East. Instead of enabling ordered complexity, our moralism has enabled the forces of dissolution and disorder. And whenever that happens, it's only a matter of time before the point of criticality is reached, the fire starts, and we all, once again, become pre-moral in our outer strategies (i.e. our strategies versus the out-group). When that happens, capability and will are all.

When that happens, we will win. But not before, I think.

12/12/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morality is inhibitory. Its evolutionary utility (enabling ordered complexity) derives entirely from this fundamental fact.

Sometimes rational analyses fail precisely because they do not take into account the effect of morality as an enabler of organization. This is because morality's systemic effects are incredibly difficult to predict, measure and attribute. Watershed moments are sudden and seemingly unexplainable, guided as they are by the invisible hands of aggregated psychology. And much of the benefit of morality is negative--i.e. the biggest benefit of morality is the non-actualized event.

But all utility diminishes at the margins, and we've long since passed the inflection point in our dealings in the Middle East. Instead of enabling ordered complexity, our timid moralism has enabled the forces of dissolution and disorder. And whenever that happens, it's only a matter of time before a point of criticality is reached, a fire starts, and we all, once again, become pre-moral in our outer strategies (i.e. our strategies versus the out-group). When that happens, capability and will are all.

When that happens, we will win. But not before, I think.

12/12/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Roderick said...

Until Rudy Giuliani stuck his nose in, pedestrian vs. car traffic on Manhattan thoroughfares was a sight to behold, worthy of precision drill teams. No one crossed at the lights.

12/12/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The two founders were as different as night and day...one covered in blood the other not.

Christianity is just as blood covered as Islam. Not just the Crusades, but the Inquisition and the constant killing of heretics. So we have the same hope that as Islamic nations improve economically, they will grow out of the violence as Christian countries did.

This article from a conservative web site gives just a few examples of Christian violence.
Link

In the 11th century, after Pope Gregory VII fought worldliness in the Church, and Pope Urban II proclaimed the Crusade to conquer the Holy Land, countless self-appointed Propheta preached a gospel of redemption: The poor, because of their purity, were to take the lead in the destruction of God's enemies. Those who followed these calls set about destroying Jews in Europe as well as bishops and clergy who got in their way, before streaming eastward to fall upon Eastern Christians. A small minority ever got to fight the Muslims. This was not lost on nobles, some of whom harnessed this frenzy, and one of whom made himself its king, living in luxury and feared by all.

The subsequent would-be Crusaders, fewer and fewer of whom expended less and less effort actually to get to the Holy Land, slaughtered Europe's rich because they were rich, expecting thereafter to live in plenty...


The flagellant movement involved Propheta who led masses of people on processions in which they would purify themselves and the world by whipping their bodies. But of course, once pure, most of these flagellants would start purifying the world by murdering the usual suspects while themselves enjoying the spoils. Their leaders became the terrorist chieftains of their day...

In 1533-35 the Anabaptist sect took over the German city of Munster. Its leaders, including a Dutchman, Jan Bockelson, proclaimed the usual message of purification -- knowledge that this was the last of three ages that would end in the destruction of a sinful world, with the exception of the elect. They filled the city with people drawn by the twin promises of loot and salvation, cleansed the churches of books and ornaments, despoiled the rich, enforced polygamy on the women who could not flee, established a reign of terror, and made war on the outside -- only to be crushed by it.

When the princes of the affected areas realized that they too would be involved in the heresy's endless wars they decided to become defenders of orthodoxy and join to destroy the heresy's host regime. That destruction, however, had to be accomplished in a manner that discredited both regime and ideas. This always involved humiliating as well as killing the leaders.

The princes who captured Munster's Bockelson exhibited him as a dancing bear, tortured him, and hauled his body in a cage to the top of the cathedral. The cage remained there for centuries...


[Here is a picture of the cages, which are still there today, part of a cathedral in Munster, Germany, although they eventually removed the bones. Perhaps the cages add to the atmosphere of the church services.]
Link

Between the 11th and the 17th centuries, Europe suffered arguably more from heresies than from plagues.

12/12/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

In war there are no rules and laws. That's why it's called war. You want to wage war? Kill the lawyers.

12/12/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Here are some quotes from the Army's counter insurgency manual, which I think will be critical to overcoming terrorist dangers.

Link

The More Force Used, the Less Effective It Is

Any use of force produces many effects, not all of which can be foreseen. The more force applied,
the greater the chance of collateral damage and mistakes. It also increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda to portray lethal military activities as brutal.

The Best Weapons for COIN Do Not Shoot

Counterinsurgents achieve the most meaningful success by gaining popular support and legitimacy
for the host government, not by killing insurgents... Often dollars and ballots have a more important impact than bombs and bullets.

Sometimes Doing Nothing is the Best Reaction

Often an insurgent carries out a terrorist act or guerrilla raid with the primary purpose of enticing
the counterinsurgent to overreact, or at least to react in a way that can then be exploited.

Tactical Success Guarantees Nothing

When COL Harry Summers allegedly told a North Vietnamese counterpart in 1975 that “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,” the reply supposedly was, “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.” Military actions by themselves cannot achieve success in COIN. Tactical actions must not only
be linked to operational and strategic military objectives, but also to the essential political goals of COIN.
Without those connections, lives and resources may be wasted for no real gain.

Successful practices:

Focus on the population, their needs, and security.

Conduct effective, pervasive psychological
operations.

Provide amnesty and rehabilitation for insurgents.

Unsuccessful practices:
Place priority on killing and capturing the enemy, not on engaging the population.

12/12/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

No doubt there are many who are quietly hoping for [an attack on Israel first], because it would eliminate that Shi'ity little 62 year old country in the bargain.

Woman Catholic, you know good and well that Eggplant and 98% of the posters here support Israel, as do most Americans. Who is it who would hope for the elimination of Israel besides the far Left, some far Right, and millions of Muslims?

There is a reason many of us are frustrated in the fight against radicalizing Islam- there simply are too many people in denial that it's a widespread problem needing to be dealt with aggressively and on many fronts. Israel is likely to bear the brunt of that denial, of the liberal tolerance for the intolerant, and of international law think.

Take for instance what you said to Pierre Legrand who said, "The enemy is not sects within Islam but Islam itself."

You replied, “No, the enemy are violent men who have hijacked a monotheistic religion as moral cover for murder.”

By contrast, others of us see violent men and (now) women trying to hijack western planes and ME peace processes, rather than hijacking a religion that allows them to kill for their prophet and god on the basis of scripture and to be hailed as heroes by both clerics and the man in the street. Muslims by the millions are joining in solidarity in the Islamic slide toward oppressive fundamentalism, both radical and militant. Only briefly had the Muslim world seemed more peaceable and less radicalized- was it a mirage or a lull- when western ways held some sway and modernism encroached like a stealth thief until dogmatists started sounding the alarm.

It stands to reason a few violent men can’t hijack an enormously large religion without the consent and agreement of the many. As President, Bush had to say otherwise, so as to not whip up further anti-western Islamism and also since he stands accused of being a born-again Crusader-ruler. But why in the world would lefties believe a religion which encourages the second-class standing and abuse of women (often with their consent) and the hypocritical use and persecution of homosexuals and which condones autocracy, slavery, lying, stoning, punitive amputations, female mutilations, stifling tradition over innovation, Koranic literalism, rote religious schooling, Jew hatred, clerical social law, and bloody jihad is a moral ideology, much less god-inspired?

What does Islam being a single god-centered belief matter, as you point out, if that one god is believed by multiple millions to support conquest and an intolerant dominion over the earth? When it serves less like a religion than it does a regressive social template and extremist political outlook/ movement? Monotheistic- so what. Lapsed Presbyterians, peaceable polytheists and pagans should be insulted.

12/12/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Wu woo said,

"That is irrelevant to the discussion, since no one was suggesting that either Jesus or Mohammed would launch terrorist attacks in 2006."

How about the truth? Mohammed commands it of all Moslems.

12/12/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Catherine said...

"Woman Catholic, you know good and well that Eggplant and 98% of the posters here support Israel, as do most Americans."

I fully support Israel and admire their courage. I don't understand how the Israelis keep their sanity (and maintain their restraint) with this Moslem Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. The Islamic world will need all of Allah's help (and the tooth fairy's) when the Israelis finally lose patience.

12/12/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Christianity is just as blood covered as Islam. Not just the Crusades, but the Inquisition and the constant killing of heretics. So we have the same hope that as Islamic nations improve economically, they will grow out of the violence as Christian countries did.

You again deliberately miss the point. Islam encourages violence because of its founder, while Christainity is condemned for its violence because of the man who founded it.

Furthermore the Crusades were indeed a reaction against Islamic imperialism. From both East and West the onslaught came and who are we to argue with the methods used to defeat it.

The Inquisition was simply another part of cleansing Spain from those Muslims who attempted a guerilla war. Really this is not that obscure...

12/12/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eggplant said, " The Islamic world will need all of Allah's help (and the tooth fairy's) when the Israelis finally lose patience."

Don't make Olmert mad. Boy! You don't want to see him when he really gets mad. He's going to write some very severe rules of engagement when he gets mad, see if he don't!

12/12/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoffgo said, "How about the truth? Mohammed commands it of all Moslems."

No one blames the passengers on the three planes that hit their targets on 9-11, they blame the jerks that hijacked them. So why are we being asked to blame all adherents of a hijacked religion?

12/12/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Hijacking?

Where are the moderate Muslim voices in support of Israel’s right to exist? Out of a billion Muslims, some here, a few there. Where are the moderate voices in full-throated opposition to terrorism against the US and the West? Out of a billion Muslims, there are some loyal Muslim-Americans, pro-West European Muslims and some brave Iraqi Muslims unequivocally standing with us, but precious few others.

More to the point, where the Left and far Right in the West would sympathize with those wishing the destruction of Israel, and even aid them in some ways, it is the monotheistic Muslims who would do the destroying. Sh*tty little French ambassadors who say ugly things about Israel being a shi*tty little country are almost beside the point in a time and place where Progressive international law, cultural moral equivalence, affluence and paralysis keep the West from slowing a muscular Islam. Islam is now nuclear-arming, wrecking future prosperity in Iraq and elsewhere, and acting upon genocidal dreams of wiping out populations in Africa and now targeting Israel for annihilation, etc. Where is the moderate Muslim outrage over Darfur or over Ahmadinejad's pronouncements about Israel's destruction?

Today the good Muslim is virtually the non-practicing one, for even those observant “moderate” Muslims who don’t advocate terrorism or indulge in obsessive Jew-hatred daren’t speak out against Muslims who do, and as they should in order to demonstrate a moral basis to their religion of “peace”. Some do protest the violence and destructive values of Islam’s trend today, but they’re the brave ones who are often threatened with foul consequences. Those Muslims have the deepest admiration of us all, but little chance of stopping Islamic radicalization, given their meek numbers and small voice. They must keep trying, of course, if they believe in the best of their religion and not the worst, as others are hell-bent on showing the world.

12/12/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

No one blames the passengers on the three planes that hit their targets on 9-11, they blame the jerks that hijacked them. So why are we being asked to blame all adherents of a hijacked religion?

Who is blaming all muslims? I blame the 56% of Indonesians who when polled thought well of Bin Laden a mere year and a half after 3,000 of my countrymen were murdered. More to the point I blame a religion that does not condemn that sort of behavior.

Right now a startling 36% of Muslims in Indonesia think well of Bin Laden...what exactly is their excuse? Israel???

Sooner or later we will understand that it isn't the people but the philosophy they are taught that causes that sort of behavior. Sooner or later we will understand that Mohammed was a fundementalist. Sooner or later we will understand that we need to kill a lot more people before they understand that killing us is a bad idea.

I am all for you convincing them not to anyway you know how. But I observe that if they go ahead and murder hundreds of thousands of us that the death and murder that follows will make WW1 & WW2 look like walks in the park. I believe they are too fanatical to care and that furthermore a significant portion of them believe that Death is better than life.

This has been a tremendously difficult thing to accept on my part since it foreshadows a terrible day sometime in the future when we fulfill their death fantasies.

12/12/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One wonders when moderate Muslims will finally break out of this deafening silence. Why are they allowing their fellow fundamentalist co-religionists to monopolise the interviews, news channels, newspapers and the MSM?

If they truly desire peace with our communities, they have to be the ones to prove it. We don't have to prove to them that we are submissive and weak enough to submit to Islam - which is exactly what Islamofascists want us to do. Right now, the moderates are kind of half-heartedly going along with the plan: convert or die. It's more of indifferent nonchalance with a modicum of wishful thinking that hopes that we will "come to our senses" and convert. Otherwise, they will turn a blind eye while their co-religionists slaughter our kin.

Inaction is also a form of action, and indifference is nonetheless a complicit act. If moderate Muslims think that it is our fault that fundamentalists are allowed to propagate their nihilistic outlook and act upon those tendencies, if they expect us to discipline their co-religionists for them, then I'm afraid - but not hesitant - that brute force is necessary for them to learn the hard way.

12/12/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I liken Western approach to law & morality to that of simple mechanics. Our legal system is to operate like a machine. Break the law the machine shunts you into the lawbreaker line where you are sifted & sorted and then an inspection engine determines your guilt. The punishment engine then takes over and processes the guilty. Justice in the west isn't so much as a blind woman but a mindless machine.

If it isn't built into the mechanics of the machine it is legal. So too exceptions, if exceptions are not built into the mechanistic framework of laws then acting contrary to the law when it makes perfect sense is not recognized by the machine.

This is why much of the Western world is so hip on transnational institutions it is just the mechanization of international relations. Of course, allowing the Mugabes, the Ahmednuttyjihads, the Saddam Husseins, et al is a built in exception to the machine.

12/12/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pierre LeGrand said, "Right now a startling 36% of Muslims in Indonesia think well of Bin Laden...what exactly is their excuse? Israel???"

Right now evem the senior Senator from my state thinks well of Bin Laden:

"We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty? He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that." -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash)

12/12/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We haven't done a lot of things too.

We have not convinced Muslims and Arabs that to protect themselves, they should sacrifice themselves and kill as many of their perverted, warp-minded co-religionists.

We also have not put Muslims and Arabs in front of our institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan as human shields to prevent terrorists from attacking them.

We have not attempted to convince them that death is a better option than life.

bin Laden has done all that for them, and they reward him with praises and showers of flowers.

What haven't we been doing?

12/12/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harrison said, "We also have not put Muslims and Arabs in front of our institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan as human shields to prevent terrorists from attacking them."

Oh, yeah, that will work real good. We never see Muslims killing other Muslims.

12/12/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WC, that was me being sarcastic.

;)

12/12/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcus Aurelius said, "I liken Western approach to law & morality to that of simple mechanics. Our legal system is to operate like a machine. Break the law the machine shunts you into the lawbreaker line where you are sifted & sorted and then an inspection engine determines your guilt. The punishment engine then takes over and processes the guilty."

This is the season when many of us mark the coming of the one who will substitute his own clean punchcard for our spindled, folded, and mutilated one into the divine retributive mechanism.

12/12/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

This is the season when many of us mark the coming of the one who will substitute his own clean punchcard for our spindled, folded, and mutilated one into the divine retributive mechanism. I dispute the thesis here. Jesus did not come to lay down punchcard law.

He came to urge us all to thoughtful law and action. The problem is too many of us want the amoral engine determining what is right and wrong rather than having to think about it.

12/12/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're saying that we need to abandon the hope of ever eradicating the opium crops of central Asia, esp. Afghanistan, I agree.

It is utterly counter-productive, and self-defeating.

12/12/2006 09:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wretchard: Pakistan's Western provinces [are] a sanctuary from which [the Taliban] can continue their attacks the Coalition in Afghanistan.

Speaking in terms of raw war, I think we should have redrawn the Pakistani border in late 2001. (It can still be done even now, but I think the US presently has bigger fish to fry in neighboring Iran.)

As regards the delicate Waziristani traffic rules, one might just say with Cartman, "Respect my authori-tay!"

12/12/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now, the transnational progressivist laws and code of morality is anything but amoral - therein lies surreptitious attempts to infuse Western laws with tribal, primitive, sharia laws under the guise of cultural relativism.

Citizens should have the courage and determination to use their intellect and reason (pardon the Enlightenment trip down Memory Lane), but it seems that people are more inclined to remain ignorant, parochial and indifferent - basically, the herd mentality. And wherever the MSM goes, they follow obediently without question.

>tex

Though it seems to me that we are too preoccupied with Iraq as of now, we must tackle the Pakistani question as soon as possible. The resurgence of Sunni Wahhabism cannot be allowed to gather momentum and result in yet another Afghanistan, or worse, Lebanon.

Tragically, there is no space for a trade-off of priorities. The ISG report came under fire for such a blatant transgression as recommending that Iran be given carte blanche to develop its nuclear program in exchange for help in Iraq, or that Syria be accorded hegemony over Lebanon (again) in exchange for stabilisation of Iraq. If we are to acquiesce or even bolster Sunni fundamentalism as a countervailing force against the Shiites, it will lead to history repeating itself.

12/12/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

"That sounds like a fuzzy headed liberal solution. Cars don't kill people, terrorists kill people. Outlaw automobiles, and only outlaws will drive automobiles."

I really hope that you were being sarcastic WC, although I suppose that you weren't. Cars don't kill people, in that you are correct, but cars do transport people from, say, al-Anbar province to, say Baghdad to kill people. At the same time these innocent cars are transporting killers they are also transporting VBIEDs which kill innocent bystanders in addition to innocent cars. So if we regulate cars we make it just a bit harder for the bad people to spread the killing, and by the way, terrorists won't get to drive cars or they'll be shot. Do you think that it might have a chance? Or is it too liberal.

12/12/2006 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

buck smith: "Where oh where is (Sherman's) great-grandson?

He was selected for extra sensitivity training as a light colonel and is now in charge of administering Army benefits for single mothers who cannot deploy because they are pregnant again.

12/13/2006 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

eggplant "they hate us more than they love their own children", a common conceptual error originating with Golda Mier.

NO THEY DON'T. They LOVE their own children, they love them SO MUCH that they wish for them to become shahids, so that they can get to paradise faster.

Golda's presumption was that they are just like us, so that the problem is getting them to see the error of their ways so they can live in peace with us.

gokart-mozart, on the other hand, presumes that they are orcs, not at all like us, that common words like "love your children" mean something totally different in their universe, and that altering their way of apprehending reality is beyond our ability, while sending them to the paradise they so earnestly desire for themselves and their beloved children is not.

12/13/2006 03:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gokart-mozart said, "They LOVE their own children, they love them SO MUCH that they wish for them to become shahids, so that they can get to paradise faster."

Funny how Osama and Zawahiri and President Ineedanewjob and the Ayatollahs and Mullahs and Emirs and Princes don't want to become shahids as badly as they want Mo-Blow on the Arab Street to be one.

12/13/2006 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Bin Laden is not popular. If he were, then he'd be running a country instead of hiding in a cave. Just as we see the Sunnis and Shiites fighting each other in Iraq, lots of Muslims disagree with bin Laden. Even fewer want to live under his tyranny.

Sad to say, there were people world wide who cheered 9/11. The premier of China watched the tape again and again laughing, and he's not Islamist. No doubt some of the socialist fanatics in Latin America cheered too. Their reaction was out of fear of the US, not wanted to serve bin Laden or to live under Sharia law.

12/13/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ww
How humorous.

Osama is an icon, dead or alive.
Fighting on from a Cave is much better for the story than living in a Palace. Like Che, Zapata or Zorro. Osama is now a mythic figure of legend.

The people of Warizistan have rebirthed the Caliphate you say no one will choose. Like a cancer, it will continue it's spread, in a land of nuclear capability.

12/13/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/13/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Fighting on from a Cave is much better for the story than living in a Palace.

Osama said people prefer the strong horse. Is he the strong horse, living in hiding for over five years? Afraid to even record a video tape? Unable to launch an attack on the united states during all that time despite repeated threats of doing so?

Osama hides because no country wants him, because their people don't.

12/13/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And that, ww, builds the Legend.
As with Zapata and Che, even Zorro the Fox.
To come out of the mountains, for another round, when the time comes. Another fanciful form of 12th Imam story for the imagination of the faithful.

The Hearts and Minds message is that Osama and the faithful carry on the battle, that the Crusaders are tired and dispirited. Looking for "Peace with Honor" and a much smaller footprint.

As your Air Force General said, they are in for the multi Generational War. The US is not.

12/13/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> the Caliphate you say no one will choose.

History shows that those who choose it end up rebelling against it. Not only the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, but those in Taliban territory who rejoiced that they could dance and shave their beards now that the tyrant was gone.

We saw the same thing in the Sunnis of Iraq, who even though they have an alliance of convenience with Al Qaeda constantly pushed back on their tyranny:

Telling Al Qaeda in the second election that the Sunni people will vote without terrorist attacks, even if they have to kill Al Qaeda to do it

Making Al Qaeda stop killing police in their areas.

Some Sunni groups fought Al Qaeda and threw them out.

12/13/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> As your Air Force General said, they are in for the multi Generational War. The US is not.

I agree that we aren't now, but I think the vote in November was the citizens pushing President Bush to start fighting the way we need to for a 50 year war. They are pushing him to lead by communicating intead of being silent. They are pushing him to win by fighting like the Cold War, counter insurgency, instead of like WWII and getting trapped in Iraqi civil wars.

12/13/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Tribes are not united, ww.
Not in Iraq, where the Six Sunni Enemy Tribes of Anbar comprise about 300,000 folks. Out of a base Sunni population of about 4 million, now. What with the Exodus.

So about 8% of the areas population is enough for the fish to swim in.

Those 300,000 Six Tribers have been at odds with the balance of the Tribes for years, well beyond the scope of the US occupation.

Nor in Afghanistan or Warizistan. Some tribes cede authority, others do not. But even the 19 Allied Tribes of Anbar do not support the Iraqi Federal Government, as it exists today.

12/13/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The Hearts and Minds message is that Osama and the faithful carry on the battle,

If that's the message, then Osama & company did a worse job communicating about Iraq than the Bush Administration.

The average Islamic viewer had these takeaways from watching Osama's man in Iraq, Zarkawi:

We in Al Qaeda don't support democracy and elections. If you try to vote, fellow Muslim, we will kill you.

We in Al Qaeda think all of you Shiite Muslims are infidels and will kill you all, including blowing up civilians and destroying your mosques.

You, fellow Sunni Muslim, will some day live under Al Qaeda's version of Sharia law. We will tell your how to cut your beard and what you can and can't do. If you break any rules we'll beat you up or kill you.

Bin Laden has also disagreed with practically every political and religious leader in Islam, and threatened to overthrow them.

Bin Laden as a political leader is dead. He is nothing but a source of money, and if he can still control it at all, a few terrorists. He is a would be strong man who is now weak and in hiding.

12/13/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ww, Osama is no longer a man.
He is an Icon

Magnitudes greater than any man.
A Legend born in his own time and grown beyond reality.

It's the infrastructure, not the individual men that sustain the enemy. There is an ever growing mass of Mohammedan Jihadi to send off as Mohammed's foot soldiers.

12/13/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The President has made his mind up:

U.S. troops will stay in Iraq until "the job is done" and Iraq is democratic and stable, U.S. President George Bush said at the Pentagon.
"We're not going to give up," Bush said in a Wednesday news conference after discussing the Iraq situation with senior military leaders. "The stakes are too high and the consequences too grave to turn Iraq over to extremists who want to do the American people and the Iraqi people harm."
...
President Bush said Wednesday he would "not be rushed" into a decision on a strategy change for Iraq, saying that in a round of consultations he heard both some interesting ideas and some "ideas that would lead to defeat."

"And I reject those ideas," Bush said after meeting with top generals and Defense Department officials at the Pentagon. He said those ideas included "leaving before the job is done, ideas such as not helping this (Iraqi) government take the necessary and hard steps to be able to do its job."


He also is starting to realize how to get there:

Bush also said he thought the military alone could not resolve the Iraq crisis.
"Our military needs a political strategy that is effective," he said.


I hope he means politics in the US as well as Iraq, that he will defend the war instead of letting the Democrats and Cindy Sheehan control the debate.

12/13/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> A Legend born in his own time and grown beyond reality.

Bin Laden is to the Muslims as Jim Jones was to Christianity. He is way, way out of the mainstream.

Since Bin Laden wants to kill them, it seems very unlikely that he is a hero to the major Shiite terrorist / Islamist groups like Iran, Hezbollah, Al-Sadr, SICRI.

12/13/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Again, ww, you miss the point.
Che rules no where.
Zapata is long in the ground
Each are Icons of revolution

So is Osama

More dangerous in a Pakistani cave than in an Afghan Palace.

So simple, even you should understand.

12/14/2006 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Zapata is long in the ground

If bin Laden had died a martyr at Tora Bora, then he might have been a symbol to some Muslims. But he still lives, cowering in a cave, and since then has said he will kill any Muslim who tries to vote, and wants to kill the Shiites, a large percentage of the Muslim population.

No one becomes an icon by turning on his own.

12/14/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But there are no videos
only a voice

Read up on how the voice is the thing, not the image.

Callings are more prevalent then are Visions.

There is no proof that Osama lived or died at Tora Bora, as noted earlier in the thread. He lives in the minds of the Jihadists. In London, Madrid and points unknown.

Like Che or Zapata an Icon in the mountains. Never waivering in the pursuit of justice. Che now adorns the breasts of US tourists in Costa Rica. Osama will not be far behind.
BANGKOK - The Osama bin Laden cigarette lighter is adorned with his raised, chrome portrait, an embossed "9-11", sketches of the New York World Trade Center, an approaching airplane, and a big red splotch. When you flick the sleek, metal lighter open, a light-emitting diode illuminates the splotch so it glows bright red on one of the buildings, emphasizing the site of the first crash. Loud, computerized music beeps out a loop of Mozart.

Made in China - as are many of the latest gimmicky Osama bin Laden souvenirs - the butane lighter recently showed up in Cambodia.

"I paid US$2 for it, in the old Soviet market in Phnom Penh," a Canadian traveler, who asked not to be identified, said in an interview after visiting the Cambodian capital. "One man's catastrophe is another man's cheesy souvenir," he said. "I bought three, for the novelty. I'll give them to people who would appreciate the irony that they even exist. When you open it, it plays a classical tune. It's quite freaky, eh?"

The lighter came boxed with a gold-and-black cigarette holder, and was manufactured by Boerda Smoking Set Co Ltd. An Internet search indicated the Chinese company makes various lighters for domestic use and export.

In a crammed, middle-class shopping mall in Bangkok, other bin Laden souvenirs are also currently on sale. A Thai shop selling lava lamps, magic tricks and embarrassing gifts to surprise recipients, offers a small, inexpensive hand puppet of bin Laden wearing boxing gloves. Stick your fingers inside and wiggle them, and little Osama punches the air.

12/14/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger GeorgeD said...

Wu Wei,

Nonsense. Jim Jones was an unknown until they day he died. Muslims have danced in the streets across the world over Osama's antics.

I am afraid that I have to believe that Islam is incipiently evil and that Osama is a prime and central manifestation of the evil.

.

12/15/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we all drove mopeds for few blocks of urban commute, there’d be to traffic lights here either.

12/16/2006 01:54:00 PM  

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