Friday, May 04, 2007

Retreat

The Winograd post-mortem as described by the Jerusalem Post of the Israel's poorly executed war against Hezbollah last summer indicts not only Olmert, but the policies leading up to the war. The most fundamental reason for the failure was that the IDF had been told to adopt a passive posture everywhere and to respond to each enemy provocation with retreat. And in the end, Israel's inaction bought her not safety but danger. Here are some of the criticisms as summarized by the David Horovitz:

In its sections on the six years preceding the conflict, the commission tracks a process in which the IDF concedes sovereignty at the Lebanon border to Hizbullah. Nothing less. ... The policies of containment and restraint followed by every government since 2000 "essentially enabled Hizbullah to strengthen militarily, without any significant disturbance by Israel."

Conceding "sovereignty at the Lebanon border to Hizbullah" was not hyperbole. The IDF actually retreated from the Israeli border to save themselves because they could not effectively fire back on Hezbollah for political reasons, and hence dug in further back.


Hizbullah amassed its arsenal of missiles and rockets. It deployed along the border. ... There is the detailing of border incidents in which the IDF was consequently refused permission to tackle overt terrorist threats, like the case in November 2005 "when the then-OC Northern Command approved the opening of fire to destroy a terror cell that had emplaced itself along the border." The chief of General Staff overruled him emphatically.

Since its soldiers weren't being allowed to fire back, and their deterrent capability was necessarily disappearing, the IDF protected them by pulling away physically from the commanding position it had been expected to maintain at the border after May 2000's unilateral withdrawal. It tried to protect its silenced soldiers, relocating their bases and lookout points to less exposed positions even as Hizbullah dug in at the fence. One of these abandoned lookout positions, the report documents, had overseen the very scene of the July 12 incursion and kidnapping that sparked the war.

Even Israeli intelligence warnings that the Hezbollah were preparing an incursion failed to awaken the leadership from its accustomed stupor. Having lapsed into a coma, nothing short of the electric shock of open and large scale attack would rouse it again.

On the night of July 11, Winograd reports, there was clear evidence of Hizbullah activity at the border fence itself in what would next day be the kidnap zone. "Despite this, the orders were given to return to routine procedures." ... And when Goldwasser's patrol, oh so inevitably, was indeed attacked, it caught the IDF hopelessly off-guard. The gradual escalation of Hizbullah action had been registered, but no effective procedures had been drawn up to respond.

And when war finally broke out, Israeli political leadership ordered operations which required the very skills which they had made the IDF forget. All the instincts which they had previously condemned were now instantly rehabilitated and grandly conjured into existence, now that the politicians needed them. Having dulled their sword but now under political pressure to use it, Israeli politicians ordered an attack, little reckoning that press releases could not undo in an instant what years of neglect had so thoroughly achieved. The ultimate cost of living by the media cycle is that politicians become accustomed to interchanging reality with perception. Had Arthur C. Clarke been a politician he might have written that any sufficiently media-fied politics was indistinguishable from magic. But Hezbollah would not be conjured, and PR amulets would not stop Katyushas, as Olmert was about to find out.

The individual politicians' culpability has been thoroughly documented in the past few days, and none more so than that of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Paraphrasing Winograd, he made up his mind hastily, didn't explore alternatives and didn't consult. He's heavily to blame for the unclear goals of the military response, and "made a personal contribution to the fact that the declared goals were over-ambitious and not feasible." He didn't adapt those plans when it became clear they weren't working. All in all, he was guilty of "a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence." Criticism of a national leader doesn't get much more brutal than that.

The value of the past is that it can sometimes prepare us for the future. The debacle experienced by Israel last summer was consequent to two fundamental mistakes. The first is that ceding the initiative to the enemy and withdrawing from contact while he is still advancing increases rather than decreases vulnerability. It does not "take troops out of harms' way". It sets them up for the slaughter. The second error is more fundamental. Disengagement is an act in which the enemy gets a vote. The Israeli public's desire for peace, which manifested itself in unilateral withdrawal, the abandonment of its allies and in the reluctance to give the give the slightest offense to its enemies could only have succeeded in ending the fighting if it had been matched by a similar desire on the part of its enemies.

It is not for nothing that retreat in the face of a still-active enemy is considered the most dangerous of military operations. Only among Western politicians is such an operation synonymous with safety.

As it was, Israeli passivity only encouraged enemy boldness while it withered the sinews of the IDF. The crisis, when it came, consisted of a rain of unstoppable missiles deep within the territory of Israel itself. Not only was Israel sucked back into Lebanon, from which it had hoped never to return; but it was drawn back under conditions of the enemy's own choosing. Far from removing its soldiers the battlefield, the retreat had brought the battlefield back to its soldier's homes: to Israel itself. Most ironical of all, the appeasement, the concession, the attempts to win "world opinion" to Israel's side brought it no sympathy in the end. All it purchased was contempt for Israel and admiration for its enemies.

What lessons does the Winograd report have for America? None, I suspect. In Israel as in America, there are none so blind as those will not see.

48 Comments:

Blogger hamint said...

Israel has increasingly become exposed to the risks of asymetical warfare, which over time may produce an adverse strategic outcome for Israel. Israel's retreat from Lebanon in the face of several years of asymetric conflict with Hezbollah encouraged Palestinians to engage in a second Intafada. Indeed, the second Palestinian rising started almost immediately after Israel pulled its troops out of Lebanon, several months in advance of the date that Barak had announced. Israel's adversaries' extensive use of rockets in last year's conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza, and Israel's failure of nerve to route out its adversaries in Lebanon through Iwo Jima or Okinawa type sacrifice of its own troops (vis-a-vis Hezbollah's tunneling and use of Russian anti-tank weapons) show that these adversaries have the ability to wage such asymetical warfare over many years without serious interruption by Israel, and they are likely to get better at this type of conflict in the future. At some point, many years from now, the borders of all of these countries will need to be redrawn, and hundreds of thousands of people (Israelis, Palestinians) will need to be resettled to create a contiguous Palestinian state (and buffer with Lebanon), enabling Israel to grant Palestininans air and water rights, and ensure Israel with a permanent peace. If this means that some Israelis may feel the need to move a few miles into finally established Israeli territory, that would be a lot better that what the Greeks and Turks went through in the 1920s when hundreds of thousands of them were moved from, and to Western Turkey (under the auspices of the League of Nations, without any further bloodshed, except in what was then British controlled Cyprus).

5/04/2007 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

wretchard,

It is my understanding that the report will not be released in the entirety until summer! That portion now published may be the most flattering!!!

What can Olmert be thinking?

Rumor has it that he is considering bringing Barak back into the government. This would be the same Barak who orchestrated the initiation of the disaster you cite.

Can the "peace process" save Olmert, as he seems to think?

5/04/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

If you watch the latest Corn and Miniter show on Pajamas Media the interplay between strategy and reality is evident. We may want the US to hold the line in Iraq, but the issue of bureaucratic capability, or lack thereof, is a factor that enters into the calculation. On the other side of the ideological fence, David Corn emphasizes that the Democrats want Bush, not them, to wind down the war. And the reason, as I've pointed out earlier, is probably because they know what horros will follow when he does. And better that the onus falls on GWB rather than them. The worst thing that could happen to Hillary or Obama is to get to the White House and find the war still there. Then they'll either have to keep fighting and validate the Bush policy or take their own withdrawal medicine and suffer the consequences on their own watch. War is often a choice of evils, and no one wants to be the bringer of bad news.

But to return to Israel. Last summer has shown that Israel has no exit door from history except the suicide pill. For it to survive it has to fight. War, war which it does not want, which it frankly abhors, because most Israelis really want the same stupid things we do -- the same simple human things -- threatens to become a precondition for existence. Peace is not an option for Israel. And this is in fact the intent of the Arabs. They may not be able to defeat the Israelis, but they will deny them victory. They may not win any war against Israel, but they will keep it from achieving peace. Sometimes I wonder if the radical Arabs really want peace? What they be without the ability to wage endless war but forgotten and dysfunctional nonentities in the modern world?

The most terrifying thing about the Arab way of war is that they can threaten to make you live like them. And they say this openly. They say, 'we want Israel to experience what Palestine experiences'. The part they leave out is that Palestine would experience the same horror at Muslim hands anyway even if the Jews never existed. But the Jews are a convenient alibi.

America and the world is going to be gradually Israelified. The war with radical Islam will stretch on and spread until technology or history provide an opportunity to escape from the mud-puddle that radical Islam loves to splash in. Until then, there will be no peace, no disengagement. Even in retreat.

5/04/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"The debacle experienced by Israel last summer was consequent to two fundamental mistakes. The first is that ceding the initiative to the enemy and withdrawing from contact while he is still advancing increases rather than decreases vulnerability."

Both polemically and politically, the demand for a "Calculated Risk For Peace" has long been forced on the Israelis. It was inevitable that eventually an Israeli government will emerge that, if it does not actually believe in this deadly canard, at the very least will not be able to withstand the political pressure applied to resist it. In my opinion, Israel would have done well to have already destroyed both the Iranian and Saudi oil related facilities, and give the American farmer and American industry a leg up in cornering the biofuel economy.

5/04/2007 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

America and the world is going to be gradually Israelified.

I love this concept. You'd think so, wouldn't you, in deference to self-defense.

However, what seems to be happening in Europe (and here I include England) is that they are *so* paranoid about another Holocaust that they can't bear the thought of defending themselves; that rather than actually take up guns and fighting (like the Israeli's or the Americans will do) the Yurps are fully prepared to learn to accommodate Islam up to and including living under Sharia law.

I'm hopeful that countries that weren't directly involved in WW2 like Canada and Australia will continue to rage against the machine of Islam, alongside America and Israel.

Russia is too dysfunctional in its own way to make much difference either for or against the war on jihadists and their -isms. China is still hiding behind its wall and I just don't seeing it ever commit to anything other than possibly reining in North Korea, but India seems to be nicely caught up in going toe-to-toe with Pakistan and its terrorists.

Malaysia, the Phillippines and Indonesia all of their own problems that would make behaving more like the Israeli's seem like a good plan, but I sort of think they won't. The culture may be too different or maybe they can't for financial or economic reasons. In any case, that part of the world will be more of Australia's problem to tend to.

But I truly begin to believe that all of Europe is a lost cause, and the best we can hope of our former allies is benign neglect as we defend ourselves.

5/04/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"What lessons does the Winograd report have for America? None, I suspect. In Israel as in America, there are none so blind as those will not see."

It the recent mass demonstrations are any example, I think Israel will com back much stronger. But until there are massive demonstrations in support of proactive military action against Islamic fundamentalism in the Washington mall, I think that the sleeping giant will slumber on. Better that than to be deemed on the wrong side of history or, in this case, politically incorrect.

5/04/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"America and the world is going to be gradually Israelified."

We have perhaps drawn the wrong lessons from WWII, that some peace is not worth the cost, and genocide is the darkest of all evils. In the end, it may be the only reasonable remedy.

5/04/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The problem with using World War 2 as a model of warfare is that it was a contest between industrial nations. The conflict today is between two civilizations, of which religion serves as a convenient shorthand. When we say "Muslim" or "Christian" we are using these as proxy identifiers for something even more basic.

The current tools available to the US military and diplomatic establishments cannot come near to touching the roots of the enemy's power. Pakistan alone has 30,000 madrassas with 1.5 million religious students. These provide a steady pool of people committed, not simply to the sharp end of the stick, the phenomenon we call terrorism, but to providing the "tail" to the teeth. We keep slicing off the the sharp end, but like a sharpener gnawing at an endless pencil, there's always more lead to come. The sharpener gets worn out, but the pencil remains.

The argument that the enemy production line can be stopped by merely remaining inoffensive is a dubious one. Israel tried it. Hello Olmert.

At the very minimum, even if one were inclined to be unaggressive, the current world crisis requires the creation of a kind of resistance culture within the West against the the attacking culture for it to survive. Like the Muslim with her hijab the time must come when we all wear our national costumes not simply out of custom, but out of defiance, for example.

It is a mistake to think the war against terrorism will be won in places like Iraq. It will be won in the schools and debating forums of the West long before the intellectual action even begins to shift to places like Pakistan. In a war of ideas, those institutions are the equivalent of the factories which produce victory. In a war of ideas we cannot continue the luxury of mental disarmament while the enemy goes from strength to strength.

The mental rearmament will take a long time. And it is an open question whether we can still come from behind, because we are way behind. But if there is to be any hope we must start now. The hour is desperately late.

5/04/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Panama Ed said...

"Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion."
Remarks by President George W. Bush

5/04/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

"Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion."

Most of the Muslims I have personally met have been good, decent people. Many of the Japanese I've personally met have been absolutely wonderful human beings. Yet I know from my own family history what monsters the Japanese were in World War 2. Most civilizations consist of ordinary people no different from you or I. This, I think, is a fact.

But how civilizations of ordinary people choose their leaders; choose the things they embark upon -- this is where the difference lies. My deceased uncle who was in on the Liberation of Paris got along better with his German prisoners than the Frenchmen. He had a group of 200 under his custody "with just one machinegun" to guard them and told the Germans if they behaved themselves he'd make sure he kept the Frenchmen off their backs. And they behaved. World War 2 was not about how much better the Frenchmen were than the Germans, it was about how the Germans selected their leaders and their policies. The problem with Islam is the same. It consists in how the ummah selects its predominant meme; what it chooses to be today, in this moment of history.

And how do we affect this? One way is to keep validating the militant's claims that we are corrupt, degenerate, cowardly and spineless. But that only makes the hold of evil men upon the Muslim mind even stronger. Or we can tell them to mind their own business. Paddle their own canoe. Butt out. We need to defend ourselves not merely with guns but with a superiority of civilization. They must be convinced beyond question that this civilization will survive and that it will reach the stars.

And I think the average Muslim man will find no glory in Jihad unless we can let the enemy trick it out in spangles. If they see us and respect us; marvel at us; see us unapologetically reach for a greatness they can only dream of, then the jihadi message will wither. But to do this, we must first rediscover what once made the West great. Or accept that the jihadis may be right, after all.

5/04/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Yoni is reporting that Olmert's approval rating is 2% with an error rate of +/-5%.

Poll on Olmert

"Ya got trouble, - my friend, Right here, I say trouble right here in River City."

5/04/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Two enemies with one cry: "You will be assimilated, resistance is futile."

In "There Is No God but Politics", Theodore Dalrymple describes Marxism as religion. In "Are You There, God?", Christopher Hitchens describes in Islam religion as politics. "You notice how liberals keep saying, "If only Islam would have a Reformation”—it can’t have one. It says it can’t. It’s extremely dangerous in that way."

5/04/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

wretchard wrote,

"If they see us and respect us; marvel at us; see us unapologetically reach for a greatness they can only dream of, then the jihadi message will wither."

This article at Power Line suggests why the United States is not making progress in this regard. It has generous helpings of John Bolton and Caroline Glick.

Condi Goes Native

***

5/04/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

The thing that amazes me the most about the Winograd report is that the IDF had no real plans to attack HB in case of a kidnapping or other provocation. Everyone in the IDF had to know that HB had threatened kidnappings and had attempted them. The fact that there were no contingency plans is criminal.

Olmert and Peretz's weaknesses were mostly clear from their backgrounds. Halutz and the IDF generals had no excuse.

The limited responses to HB in the years from 2000 to 2006 is mostly Sharon's fault.

5/04/2007 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One of the reasons I think the Israel and other civilizations have become vulnerable to terrorists is because of an overreliance upon sympathetic magic for self-defense.

I'll explain. A common conservative critique of the Cold War assumes that American perserverence, and "Peace through Strength", and the Presidency of Ronald Reagan led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Yet, let's assume (for the sake of argument) this was not so. Instead, let's assume that it was the cultural example of jazz, the Beatles, the Civil Rights Movement, hippies, and the counterculture in general that led to imitative ferment in the Eastern Bloc. In the world of sympathetic magic, the act of demonstrating against the government was an example for people on the other side of the Iron Curtain to follow. So, in this universe, the ideas of America's cultural Left led to the subversion and downfall of the Soviet system, not the ideas of the American cultural Right.

If one accepts that the meme of cultural revolution led to the downfall of the Eastern Bloc, one could easily be intoxicated by the power of sympathetic magic in world politics. If you are upset about an atrocity in another country, protest against a minor insult in your own. If you seek to overthrow the Iranian government, overthrow your own. If you seek to convince Muslims to turn against Islamists, condemn any devout non-Muslim in your midst. And this mindset of using domestic protest as a means to induce others to overthrow their governments does much to explain the actions of the Left since September 11.

The problem with sympathetic magic is that it doesn't always work. It only works against those who look to you for guidance, not against those who see you as their dinner. No amount of sympathetic magic will keep a snake from seeing a rodent as dinner, and no amount of sympathetic magic will keep an Islamist from seeing the non-Muslim as either a slave or a feral slave.

During the Cold War, there was a cultural common ground between the Communist East and the Capitalist West; it was effectively a civil war within one greater cultural ecumene. Most people, whether from the East or the West, were not raised to see the other side as those whose only reason for existence is to be beaten, robbed, and raped. The Prophet Isaiah may have referred to a time when the wolf would lie down with the lamb, but that is only possible if the wolf is raised like a sheepdog to regard the sheep as part of his pack, not when the wolf is taught from infancy to see all animals other than wolves as prey to feast upon.

Against the Islamists, all free people are maroons. To be free of the power of the Islamists, we must be free. Fighting against the jihadist may feel like defending one's self from a pig lunging out from the mud. Yet, this realization may lead us yet to victory if we can take a cultural shower to wash that jihadist out of our hair. Whatever it is about the Islamist we don't like, we should seek to become as unlike him as we can.

5/04/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/04/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Dalrymple writes,

“Qutb believes (much less excusably or plausibly) that the first generations after Mohammed lived in a perfectly functioning Islamic society.”

“Greek philosophy and other innovations come and spoil the perfect Islamic society.”

Certainly, then, Qutb sought a return to a Golden Age of Islamic conformity to its roots, utilizing a fixed text, subject to contemporary interpretation by Imams.

___Reformation

Much like the Christian Reformers, Qutb looked for a system of practices that would return Islam to its “Golden Age” of religious purity. Just as with Hitchens, a “friendlier” emphasis or interpretation of the fixed text can make this possible.




Hitchens writes,

“You notice how liberals keep saying, ‘If only Islam would have a Reformation’—it can’t have one. It says it can’t. It’s extremely dangerous in that way.”

___Reformation
While Hitchens seems to believe that because the text of the Koran is unalterably fixed, Reformaiton is impossible. What I see happening with jihadis is a change of emphasis, avoiding conflict with text. Imam shopping can garner whatever interpretation is desired. Therefore, Reformation of practice is possible even while working with the same text. The relatively recent approval of killing innocent Muslim bystanders is an example.

___Reformation is possible from both the understandings of Dalrymple and Hitchens. Both understand the absolute necessitly of the maintanence of the God given, fixed text. Both seem to see the possibility of a change of emphasis in practice while technically staying within the limits imposed by the text. Because imams have considerable leeway in pronouncements of orthodoxy, textual issues are relatively easily overcome. Hitchens’ reluctant to see the possibility of Reformation may be informed by his well known distrust of religion generally.

___Reformation
I think Islam IS undergoing a Reformation as this is written. Ben Ladden might argue that Islam is being reformed and al-Qaeda’s jihad is the instrument of Reformation. What confuses Westerners is the ignorance of the death and destruction accompanying the Protestant Reformation; that is, many Westerns see their Reformation as a pacific event, while Muslims act as though it must be violent.

5/04/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The common assumption is that a national leader with an impeccable background would "never betray" the nation. But sometimes their egos can become so big that the distinction between the nation and themselves disappears. Petain ran Vichy; de Gaulle abandoned Algeria and in Israel, perhaps it was Sharon who thought that he and he alone knew what could bring Israel safety.

But in the end, even men with vast combat experience are just men. The future is as obscured from them as it is to us. MacArthur never saw the Chinese attack across the Yalu coming. The Yom Kippur war was a surprise pulled off against a pretty experienced IDF command team.

Luck plays a big part in the outcome of a struggle. And the reason the Jihadis sometimes do so well is that they keep rolling the dice, their losses be damned. And one day, they luck out. And this kind of swarming, endless attack can beat even the Sharons of the world. One man can't stand against a horde. To win, a leader must mobilize and inspire his nation. A commander can never be so alone as to be truly alone.

5/04/2007 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

The major flaw in the idea that it was the Israeli withdrawal in 2000 that led to her defeat in 2006 is that it sets the lens of history at too narrow of a view. Was there not an invasion and occupation of Lebanon in the 18 years prior to the Israeli pullout in 2000? Why leave that whole episode in deep shadow? Surely we need to shine a spotlight on the first invasion and occupation of Lebanon to see what we can learn by analogy about what is going on in Iraq today..

In 1982 the PLO, surely the most inept revolutionary group in world history, were installed in Lebanon and causing huge problems for the local population, and were a minor irritant to the Israelis. On a strategic level the PLO (and the alphabet-soup of similarly inept factions that kept spilting off from the main group) were the best public relations agents Israel ever had. With these incompetent clowns leading the Palestinian effort to rollback the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israel was guaranteed at least a 100 years of near resistance-free control over these territories conquered in 1967. Eventually the term “occupied” would have been an historical foot note since at some point (surely after a 100 years) if an occupier is not evicted, the occupation becomes permanent. So in 1982, Israeli grand strategy should have favoured keeping the useful idiots of the PLO in charge of the “resistance” movement assuring their eventual annexation of the territories. But instead they cranked their propaganda machine up full blast and made super-villains out of the super-losers in the PLO.

The Israelis foolishly pursued an absolutist agenda of zero-tolerance to resistance – even when such resistance played into their favour on the international stage. So they invaded Lebanon and in short order evicted the PLO. The dirt-poor Shia of southern Lebanon (now known as Hezbollah-land) who hated the PLO, actually lined the streets and threw flowers at the invading Israeli troops. At this point Israel could have withdrawn and claimed a legitimate tactical victory (while still leaving the open question as to who would replace the PLO). But no, they decided to stay on and to eventually occupy southern Lebanon. And what was the obvious reaction going to be to this foolhardy policy? Why resistance of course. Now perhaps after twenty years of pathetic PLO resistance Israel concluded that any Arab resistance groups would be weak. But Hezbollah which rose in response to the Israeli occupation and for whatever reason are much more effective that the PLO ever was. And every year that Israel stayed on in southern Lebanon was another year for Hezbollah to grow stronger and stronger and for their organization to get tighter and tighter. Israel was unable to impose its will in Hezbollah; the inability to kill it only made Hezbollah stronger and now, more than 25 years later, Hezbollah is a serious force to be reckoned with and it is just a matter of time before they control all of Lebanon, despite US efforts to check them by supporting Al Qaida groups in Lebanon.


There are certain parallels between the PLO and Saddam Hussein. Strategically Saddam played a key role in the Middle East by pushing far to the east the dividing line which has always existed between the westernized Arab remnants of the former Roman Empire and the Persian (the former Sassanid Empire) elements that are traditionally hostile to the west Not only that, his incompetent military adventures assured that a great power would never arise along the banks of the Euphrates to threaten US interests in the Persian Gulf region. But his powers were exaggerated and he was eventually taken out which necessarily leads to the dividing line of the Persian east to move westward, which is surely not in the interests of the US or her Arab and Jewish allies. Worst still, a weak US occupation followed in Iraq which serves as an incubator for far worse groups to coalesce But wise men in the US insist they are “fighting” terrorism instead of growing it on an industrial level. In ten to twenty years we will see a truly evil empire rise in the ashes of the foolhardy invasion and flaccid occupation of Iraq.

But this is in direct contrast to right wing dogma which states that only good can flow from war; that if there is a problem give war a chance. Of course even a cursory glance at history shows this to be hogswash but dogma is dogma, the communists had theirs, Islam has theirs and the US right wing has it in spades. The paradoxical nature of war makes it the highest and most difficult of human arts; and when put into the hands of cretins it becomes a tool of self-destruction.

The creeping cultural Islamization of the American right, that is the rejection of intellectualism and the adoption of simplistic absolutist dogma (i.e ignorance of military strategy, mono-culturalism, hostility to progress, and the total rejection of rational contemplation) , is the greatest threat facing America. Islam suffered this fate in the 12th and 13th centuries after its “Golden Age” as ijtihad independent reasoning was replaced by taqleed imitation. The ijtihadists on the right are doing their best to destroy US universities and intellectual activity in general by promoting an ignorant taqleedist dogma that is ruthlessly dished out and enforced by the right wing media propaganda machine.

The right must reject the close-minded ways of the Allah worshipers and start using their god-given intellects.

5/05/2007 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Kevin,

Congratulations, you've made my watch list. Consider it a little anti intellectual jihadist exercise.

5/05/2007 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

kevin

I suppose I should first congratulate you for writing more than 25 words without once adopting an hysterical BDR screed. That in itself is somewhat of an accomplishment nowadays.

Other than that I have no clue what you are talking about. Obtuse phrases like "creeping cultural Islamization of the American right" tell me that you do not either.

5/05/2007 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Kevin,

See the comment by Alexis a couple of post up to see what I think of your comment.

No decision is good enough for you unless you can look at it through a 20/20 hindsight historical lens.

The PLO was just a flunky, incapable organization. Yup... And one that killed many Israelis on a routine basis. They were, and are, barbarians. What sovereign nation can accept a growing terrorist threat squatting on their border and under the protection of a state sponsor of terrorism (Syria)?

5/05/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Wretchard said: Pakistan alone has 30,000 madrassas with 1.5 million religious students. These provide a steady pool of people committed, not simply to the sharp end of the stick, the phenomenon we call terrorism, but to providing the "tail" to the teeth. We keep slicing off the the sharp end, but like a sharpener gnawing at an endless pencil, there's always more lead to come. The argument that the enemy production line can be stopped by merely remaining inoffensive is a dubious one.

Fortunately for us, our friends the Saudis are hard at work reducing the appeal of jihadism among would-be replacement killers, especially those who spent time at Gitmo.
If You Can't Beat Them, Enjoin Them

5/05/2007 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Mətušélaḥ

re: Allen,

dRat is correct.

If the Racist French can openly admit to their Racism and Jihadi phobia, so can the Americans (and Israelis, btw). I think we'd all be better for it.

5/04/2007 09:32:00 AM

Sorry, Mat, you have me at a loss. What are you referencing?

5/05/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen,

Sorry if I was unclear. I'm saying our politicians have fallen into a psychological trap Islamists are extremely comfortable having them in. Obviously I was being sarcastic when I was referring to the new French attitude towards Islamists, calling it Racist. Basically, I'm saying we could do with more of this kind of "Racism". This, I think, is what dRat was trying to get at, when he pointed out the lack of straight talk coming from the highest levels of our political class.

5/05/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Oengus Moonbones said...

The Perspicacious Wretchard: "America and the world is going to be gradually Israelified."

This is an aphorism that is worthy of being written in gold and framed in silver. And it is the reason why Wretchard is indeed one of the most clear-sighted bloggers around today.

5/05/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

mat,

Thanks for the reply.

Since I believe that the opinions cited here by the poster you reference form part of a long-term, multi-blogsite pattern of Jew-hating and Jew-baiting, we will have to agree to disagree. Had I the time and inclination, with the sense that the weak minded could be persuaded to abandon bigotry, I could provide links.

As to the French and other anti-Semites “coming” out of the closet, I believe there is nothing new: Europeans “came” out of the closet ages ago –

“Zionism sprouted from the modern political judgment that anti-Semitism was endemic to European regimes and could not be solved through attempts at societal reform…” ___David Ariel

While just my opinion, mind you, Israel would be well advised to emblazon its flag with the motto, “NEVER AGAIN”, encapsulated within a mushroom cloud.

With all due respect, please consider: despite my keeping Kosher, I know a swine when I smell one.

5/05/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen,

I think that Oengus Moonbones (just above) is a much better candidate, and it only took me one post and one paragraph to make that call. ;) dRat was/is being a provocateur, more than anything else. dRat needs to try and put a more positive spin on reality, just for his own personal mental health, but all he does is Copy & Paste small snippets from the garbage that the Jihadi sponsored MSM puts out there in the thousands of tons.

5/05/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger ricpic said...

Weren't the Germans and the Japanese true believers? They were. They were true believers until they were demoralized by a tremendous beating. Why should Muslims be any different. America has an arsenal of truly monstrous proportions. After the next catastrophe that the Islamists are able to pull off, be it by nuclear bomb or poison agent, America will launch. The Muslims will recieve a tremendous beating. They will be demoralized. That is how we will beat Islam. The only alternative is that we accept enslavement. I don't think America is that far gone.

5/05/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

ricpic,

At the end of WWII the Germans and the Japanese had no friends. There are over 1 Billion Muslims. They always have friends. While they hate each other and fight amonst themselves they hate the infidels more. There always seems to be some oil money to be sent clandestinely to help out other Muslims. The 30,000 Madrassas in Pakistan are mostly funded by KSA. This helps them not to become demoralized.

There also seem to be aspects of their belief system that tend to make them ignore failure and make them keep coming. See loving death more than life. Having an almost unlimited supply of cannon foddor also seems to help the Arab way of war.

The fact that there are so many of them and our hesitancy to attack them en masse have brought us to this stage.

The three conjectures also is relevant to your post.

5/05/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Wretchard

I think WWII is a completely apt analogy. At the start of the war the British wouldn’t bomb the munitions factories because they were on private land yet by the end Dresden wasn’t an aberration but rather the objective. At some point we will destroy the madrassas in unison with the pencil lead.

“This war differs from other wars in this particular: We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make young and old, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.”
General Sherman 1864

5/05/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

mat,

Wretchard has done considerable commentary on the passing of the nation state. Will the Quartet make of Israel the first example of the New World Order in action?

It is my sense that the Quartet will pull out all stops to save Olmert long enough to get his signature on the surrender to the Palestinians. From your vantage point, have you any thoughts on the matter?

While I hope to be proven wrong, tomorrow, I think reports of Olmert’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

5/05/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Clash of Civilizations, if you will, but I can't get over the thought that the danger to the West/Israel is borne of Bureaucratic Failure. Politicians aren't politicians any longer. They do not seek to be Leaders.

They areelected bureaucrats...and nothing more. They fat their installed bureaucracies, their families and themselves and leave behind their duties to the people who elected them and from whom they (the bureaucrats) fat themselves. All is cloaked in interlocking morasses of legislation and regulation, which lead to endless quibbling over form.

When the wicked days come, it is not the bureaucrats (elected, installed or related) who pay the price with life and limb. It is the people upon whom they have fatted themselves. Lost in the turmoil of the wicked days is that the bureaucracy has failed to protect the people and at a great price, to boot; what did America spend on it's bureaucracy between 10/23/1983 and 9/11/2001?...$25-30T??!!...and we spent another $12-15T! Are our bureaucrats making us safer?...our grandchildren? We should get that, at least, for their getting fatted.

5/05/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen,

My vantage point is about 7 time zones away. Has been so for a while now. ;) As for signatures on pieces of paper, they're as binding as one cares to have them be.

The real problem is that of a psychological mindset. Young Israelis, as others elsewhere, aren't taught to be independent minded. They are taught to be followers of the latest trends, and swim with the current.

5/05/2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

3case,

Your link was a tour de force. Thanks!

In an otherwise flawless essay, only one sentence stands out as discordant:

“As an endless parade of pacifists, philosophers, and diplomats have told us, nothing is more irrational than warfare.”

While the “truth” of this statement has become the conventional wisdom, archaeology and history, stripped of current politically correct interpretation, prove otherwise. The ubiquitous marks of war and armed conflict are evidenced on human remains and occupation sites the world over, going back tens of millennia. Indeed, the vast majority of digs invariably unearth the tools of war, in quantity. Again, from the evidence, war is as integral to the nature of man as sex; and unsurprisingly, the two are often found in concert.

I raise this complaint not to detract from an excellent piece of writing but, rather, to point out that as long as we are saddled with the self-doubt engendered by this misapprehension of our nature, our energies will be hindered. War is many things, but its universal constancy, necessity, does not persuade me of its irrationality.

Again, thanks

War Before Civilization

PS: The title was very poorly chosen. Dr. Keeley examines modern warfare in considerable depth.

5/05/2007 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

If the growing militancy of one religion continues, it almost certainly will compel others to follow suit. People will be driven to defend their ideals and way of life, and their physical existence, and this they will be able to do only under the banner of some great and powerful idea. That idea may be secular by origin; however, the very fact that it is fought for will cause it to acquire religious overtones and be adhered to with something like religious fervor. Thus Muhammed's recent revival may yet bring on that of the Christian Lord, and He will be not the Lord of love but of battles.

As it relates to asymmetric war, Israel should have learned her lessons and Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria (Iran) better proceed cautiously.

The Hama model refers to what
Syrian President Hafez al-Assad did to the city of Hama in Syria when a non-state entity there,
the Moslem Brotherhood, rebelled against his rule.

On February 2, 1982, the Syrian Army was deployed into the area surrounding Hama. Within three weeks, the Syrian Army had completely devastated the city of Hama, resulting in the deaths of between 10,000 and 25,000 people, depending on the source. The use of heavy artillery, armored forces and possibly poison gas resulted in large-scale destruction and an end to the Moslem Brotherhood’s desires to overthrow the Baath Party and Hafez El-Assad. After the
operation was finished, one surviving citizen of Hama stated, “We don’t do politics here
anymore, we just do religion.”
The results of the destruction of Hama were clear to the survivors. As the June 20, 2000 Christian Science Monitor wrote, “Syria has been vilified in the West for the atrocities at Hama. But many Syrians – including a Sunni merchant class that has thrived under Alawite rule – also note that the result has been years of stability.”

The most important single demand that any political community
must meet is the demand for protection. A community which cannot safeguard the lives of its members, subjects, citizens, comrades, brothers, or whatever they are called is unlikely either to command their loyalty or to survive for very long. The opposite is also correct: any
community able and, more importantly, willing to exert itself to protect its members will be able to call on those members' loyalty even to the point where they are prepared to die for it. The rise of the modern state
is explicable largely in terms of its military effectiveness vis-à-vis other warmaking organizations. If, as seems to be the case, that state cannot defend itself effectively against internal or external low-intensity conflict, then clearly it does not have a future in front of it.

If the state does take on such conflict in earnest then it will have to win quickly and decisively

5/05/2007 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/06/2007 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

You're welcome, allen.

As to the "...endless parade of pacifists, philosophers, and diplomats...", I count them among the bureaucrats. The "pacifists" are NGO/527 bureaucrats, the "philosophers" are academic bureaucrats, and the diplomats are straight-out governmental bureaucrats with pretensions to the philosophical. The advanced state of their fattedness is visible in their belief that "...nothing is more irrational than warfare." Their indolence sails them quickly and completely by the irrationality of a failure of a sense of self-preservation. Their fattedness is of such scope and depth that they have no sense of fighting to stay alive.

Perhaps that is how they can diddle and twitter as Darfur, Rwanda, etc. (over the last 100 years) go on on their watch. The ME rich kids ObL and his sidekick, the genocidal Egyptian munchkin, perceive this as softness, which it is, and they act true to their predatory nature, exploiting that softness and comforted by the knowledge that those of us among the fatted sheep who would find them (ObL and munchkin) and kill them must first fight our way through the fatted bureaucrats and their minions. That process is visible right now in the fight over the "war funding" bill. The vetoed bill is a beautiful exemplar of how the bureaucrats are killing us; $24B of fat just to get votes to further the political purposes of one set of elected bureaucrats...and the "pacifist", "philosopher" and diplomat supplicants.

5/06/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

"...and let me say to our American friends, they can count on our friendship."
___French President (elect) Sarkosy
NRO with H/T Instapundit

Mr. Sarkosy did not mention the French friendship with Israel. Will his election mandate change the RoE in Lebanon?

5/06/2007 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's a Plan: Let's Cool the Planet!

The Kennedy School is spending $1.5 million over two years to study why governments across the world have failed to act on threats such as heat waves and hurricanes, even when they know they are coming.

From looking back at Hurricane Katrina and forward to the absence of firm plans to cool the planet or stem malaria, some of the school's top researchers will study the roots of government inaction.

5/06/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

To summarise the report: allowing Hezbollah to build strength on the border it took an inevitable major incursion for Israel to do anything about it. And for this Olmert rightfully is criticised.

In comparison: Iraq suffers continual major incursions from Syria and Iran. What is al-Malaki doing? Why in the face of such blatant attacks is he not mounting offensives against Syria and Iran?

5/06/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clinton added:
"He said the next president should solve the "biggest, baddest problems"; take small action when the whole problem cannot be addressed;
never appoint incompetent political allies to positions of disaster response;
never let political ideology blur scientific evidence; and cooperate nationally and internationally.
"
---
"We are the World,
We are the Children..."

5/06/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Christopher Stone, a Kennedy School professor and head of the initiative said,

"Each of these are threats that we know are going to happen. This is not like saying, 'What do we do if the president of China is kidnapped tomorrow,'" Stone said.
*"It's not even that there is really technical disagreement about these things.*
It's just a matter of figuring how we can get governments to act."

5/06/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh! The Humanity!
At some point during his ramblings, we became heartbroken to think that the President of the United States and his top advisers have partially built a career on global warming not being real. We have been telling college students across the country for the past two weeks that government does not change until people demand it... well, listen up folks, everyone had better get a lot louder because the message clearly is not getting through.

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."

At that point Mr. Rove apparently decided he had had enough. Like a groundhog fearful of his own shadow, he scurried to his table in an attempt to hibernate for another year from his responsibility to address global warming.
---
G_d, how did he tear himself away?

5/06/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow?"
---
You mean THE Sheryl Suzzane Crow?

Can I have another question?

5/06/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He then called on the United States "not to impede" in the fight against global warming.
"On the contrary, they must lead this fight because humanity's fate is at stake here."
Watch Sarkozy's victory speech

5/06/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why Asia Is Ignoring Global Warming

5/06/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Wow. Kevin manages to talk about Hezbollah in Lebanon without mention of Syria and Iran. Kind of like talking about Communism while avoiding Lenin and Trotsky: You miss the fundamental driving force and what made it so bad all in one shot.

But of course, his whole argument is about Israel's culpability in the rise of Hezbollah. Mission accomplished, and at the bargain price of merely ignoring the most relevant parts of that history.

5/07/2007 11:33:00 AM  

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