Thursday, October 25, 2007

"What Can Men Do Against Such Reckless Hate?"

The joint FBI-Homeland Security bulletin, obtained by CBS News today, bluntly warns that terrorists are still working to use "modified footwear as a concealment method for explosive devices," CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports.

experts worry that a team of terrorists could beat security by carrying unassembled parts of a bomb past a checkpoint. "Where one person will carry component A, the next person will carry component B, and they will meet together past the safety point, past the checkpoint and reassemble," explained Mike White, the director of training for Michael Stapleton Associates and a former head of the NYPD bomb squad.

If one those shoebombs go off, the average victim will probably a manager or a professional; a little older than most. Women will be in the slight majority. One third will have children under 18. In short the victim will probably not be a military person. He or she will probably be a poor working stiff trying to pay off a mortgage and the last thoughts before the crisis comes will probably include what gifts to bring home to the kids.


Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Such an action would give an existential choice to the average air traveler:

Use Vigilante Action to deter all Muslims from public spaces PARTICULARY Airports.

Or Die. Hideously.

Clearly the government will value PC (since the Left has seized control of it and uses Muslims as shock troops against their own people) over public safety.

The Shoe Bomb tactic could be easily defeated by zilch tolerance for Muslims and strip search of all Muslims who enter airports, minute examination of shoes (yes this would include women).

For Muslims who object, well they would be free not to fly. Until such time as Muslims stop blowing stuff up. That would be the sensible response, but it will never happen.

So we will have vigilante action. This much has been clear to me for a long time. ALL conflicts escalate into a total existential struggle and this is no exception.

10/25/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Something like al-Qaeda is resistant to action against random nodes but very vulnerable to action against highly connected nodes. That's to say that prohibitions against the average Muslim, even if he were an al-Qaeda sympathizer, would have little effect. But drastic effects could be obtained by capturing high value targets.

Much of the recent success in Iraq comes from enlisting Muslims in the fight against al-Qaeda. That way we can "get inside" the network. Identify the nodes. Take them down. Intel is the key. Without intel our actions have uncertain effects. With intel those effects are certain.

My own inclination would be to create quick response teams to get right on top of enemy dry-run teams. That's beyond the average TSA worker's ability. Every probe of airline defenses is an opportunity to reverse the hunt.

What can men do against such reckless hate? Exploit the recklessness.

10/25/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- that won't ever happen.

1. We live in an over-lawyered world, and THAT is not going back into the bottle, either. No one is going to do anything other than what regulations state, and follow PC rules because to fail to do so will land one in jail and ruin one financially.

We did not shoot bin Laden, reportedly, in August of this year because there was only "70%" certainty it was him and people feared being tried for war crimes ala Haditha, or the SF snipers brought up on charges twice for killing a Taliban (under orders!)

2. You overestimate what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and try to apply it here. People in both nations have their own local reasons for turning against AQ (mostly AQ stupidity) and are happy to USE the Americans to their own very limited ends. They are not our friends, never will be, and have zilch value in stopping 9/11 type plots.

That's not to say the locals there don't have value, or should be thrown away, but they are very limited in utility, cannot fundamentally be trusted, and are alien to Westerners in every particular way (another excellent reason to not trust them).

3. I don't believe my predictions are a "good thing" but a very likely thing. It's an appalling tragedy in my view that we will be left with no other choice but to make the West largely absent of Muslims, with the remainder under close watch and suspicion, but that is the way it is.

4. Your idea of "reversing the hunt" and "quick reaction teams" is (sorry to be blunt) a fantasy. It simply is not possible.

Hypothetical: we learn of some impending plot, based on analysis of jihadi comms and various other means. What can we do?


There are too many air travelers. Too many nexus points for conspirators to arrange meetings. Too many legalistic restrictions to find even one conspirator and track back his accomplices. Imagine a plot similar in scope and resources to 9/11. How would Atta and friends be tracked? The Germans can't even keep up with their own domestic concerns over jihadis. Any reports of "suspicious behavior" by Muslim men would be cast as "Islamaphobia" and the reporter sued, possibly imprisoned for a "hate crime."

By contrast if every Muslim looking person faced violent, vigilante action for appearing to be a threat, Muslims would largely cease travel and other activities in the US. Most would leave if they could. Others would simply not fly. They'd have themselves partly to blame anyway, for not policing their own. And patronizing CAIR and the other jihad fronts.

IF no Muslims can move around at all in the US, or other Western Countries, based on the reasonable suspicion that they are terrorists or sympathizers or logistics help and face vigilante action, well the violence would cease in it's present form. If survival is at stake we will see that. Particularly as the PC-Multi-culti world collapses in hard times and people look to the Nation-state once again.

Israel has used a wall and essentially, replacement of Palestinians with Eastern Europeans to cut down terrorism dramatically. Suicide bombings are rare now because Muslims simply are not allowed in.

[Muslims of course in the US and the West only make this WORSE by demanding and end to Western Culture and adoption of Islam -- footbaths, which don't exist in Muslim countries are demanded here. Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving have to go because Muslims object. So too Jello in schools. The lesson for most Americans is that Muslims = loss of your culture.]

10/26/2007 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...


You made two incorrect comments which I feel need addressed:

You said: "They [Iraqi and Afghani Muslims] are very limited in utility, cannot fundamentally be trusted, and are alien to Westerners in every particular way."

I've seen the exact opposite in my interactions in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There are cultural differences, but they are not that much different from us. I've been on patrols with the police volunteers (which are former insurgents) and I've watched US soldiers put their trust in these Iraqis, after they watched the Iraqis risk their very lives for them by digging up IEDs with their own hands, walking point, ID'ing AQI and other acts. I've been in Iraq twice in December and have had Iraqis in Fallujah wish me a Merry Christmas. Now THAT was alien to me...

You said: "Israel has used a wall and essentially, replacement of Palestinians with Eastern Europeans to cut down terrorism dramatically. Suicide bombings are rare now because Muslims simply are not allowed in."

I suggest you go to Israel, particularly Jerusalem, and see how many Palestinians live in the country. There are large communities of Palestinians and Bedouins.

10/26/2007 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jim in Virginia said...

What is a Muslim looking person?
Islam is a religion, not a race.
How do you identify John Walker Lindh or Adam Gadahn?

10/26/2007 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

If we win in Iraq or anywhere else it will be because of Muslim allies. There is no way around that. The President's line since 2001 has been that Islam is not the threat, but people who hijack it are. That's received a lot of criticism, but let's look at what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we were fighting all the Muslims in those countries, could we possibly win?

The actual events, reality, seem to bear out the claim that not all Muslims are the enemy. It really is the case that Muslims are not all terrorist sympathizers, and that terrorist organizations living among them can be erradicated without punishing all Muslims. Since there are a billion Muslims, we really should take a hard look at that rather than set a course that truly does doom us to decades or centuries of conflict.

The unique ability of democratic and liberal ideas to transcend religious and national lines is our biggest asset. Let's not throw that away.

10/26/2007 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger The Duck said...

Make everyone eat a vienna sausage before they board a flight.

10/26/2007 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I think it fair to say that Islam as reported in its wisdom documents is as lethal to humanity as any virus but that individual Muslims can have any possible value system. For example, Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim and still may consider herself Muslim but was personally horrified to learn for herself that what Al Qaeda was preaching is straight out of the Koran and the biographies.

The philosophical failing of the Left is to categorize people by the broadest possible strokes and there is no value in adopting the error.

However, it gets more difficult to apply lofty principles with respect to individuals when people operate in groups. Is it fair to say that the group's ethos should override our generous perception of the individual? I think so. I do not feel conflicted saying that every member or supporter of CAIR or the Muslim Student Association, among many other Muslim organizations, is the enemy. Not because they identify as Muslim but because they have demonstrated allegiance to an organization destructive of American values.

I think it wrong to deny travel to Muslims qua Muslims but would have no problem making life as difficult as possible for CAIR or MSA Muslims, and think it our obligation to do so.

10/26/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

I'll point out that CAIR has a seriously declining membership.

It's claim to represent Muslims, pre se, is bogus, and more and more Muslims are figuring this out. Now if only our politicians would.

10/26/2007 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...


As much as I utterly disagree with whiskey's comments, he inadvertently illustrates a principal problem we face in this war. The greater the distance one feels from another culture, the lower the resolution one will perceive. Al-Qaeda thrives on low resolution conflict based on simplified identity; this is ironically a function of its westernization. In contrast, ordinary people in Iraq and Afghanistan care about differences between, say, the Hamza tribe and the Hamra tribe, just as the Irish care about the differences between County Donegal and County Cork.

One can reasonably assume that whiskey can't tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shi'ite, or a Turk and a Kurd. That's normal; most Americans can't. Despite the bitter rivalry between Gapuchines and Creoles in colonial Mexico, Indians often couldn't tell the difference either -- both factions were white and hated. Sadly, it is difficult to maintain popular stateside support for a war where ordinary people can't tell the difference between our allies and our enemies. One of the reasons why it was easier to maintain support for WWII than for the present war was precisely because of low resolution hostility -- at that time, it can accurately be called racism.

10/26/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Bill -- I think your comments if anything strengthen my assertion that Iraqis and Afghanis are alien and fundamentally cannot be trusted.

In their own countries against dangerous rivals, certainly Iraqis and Afghanis can cooperate and act with stunning bravery alongside US troops. If anything once the situation is stabilized in both nations, things will get far worse in terms of cooperation with those nations in things the US needs, which is principally intelligence and/or disruption of plots originating there to kill Americans elsewhere.

Can Iraqis and Afghanis be trusted to turn in cousins, neighbors, fellow soldiers or policemen who have extensive kin and patronage networks for being part of a terror network aimed at the US and not themselves? Particularly when simply doing nothing will bring them no harm and considerable advantages?


The ties of polygamy, tribalism, kinship networks, patronage networks, and everything else that works currently FOR us in efforts to root out local AQ/Taliban forces in those nations will work AGAINST us in rooting out cells that merely use those areas for staging, planning, and logistics. Those men helping us are doing so for their own self-interest. They would and will turn on us in a heart beat if it suited their tribal-kinship network interests.

They are NOT like us. They live lives of incredible hardship and brutality. Often characterized by the ugliness of polygamy. Dominated by kinship/tribal patronage networks. I doubt you achieved your position by being a "Big Man's" son or nephew, or that the "Big Man" can literally decide life-or-death issues about people around him based on whims. The Muslims you witness working alongside Soldiers and Marines are alien in orientation and belief structure. They would have no problem killing the same Soldiers and Marines brutally if it served their tribal interests (and as you note, did so previously).

And yes the wall is incomplete in Israel. But it's construction and the accompanying kicking out of Palestinians as day-laborers has seriously reduced the daily suicide bombings to a rarity. There are few Palestinians in say, Tel Aviv or Haifa.

You and Wretchard are just wrong.

Jim -- you identify "Azzam the American" by his Islamic dress and garb, refusal to eat pork, hostility to women, hostility/avoidance of dogs, beard, robes, and Koran.

John Lynch -- OF COURSE a billion or so Muslims are our enemy dedicated to destroying us. How could they not be? Only one system will rule the globe: America and the West's or Islam's. THAT much is certain as technology shrinks the distance and makes everyone more connected to each other.

Alexis -- of course I can tell the differences between the ethnic and sectarian divisions among Muslims. However, the one thing that unites the Ummah is the desire to destroy America (before it destroys the Ummah). Fundamentally you can't have individual freedom, liberties, a modern way of living based on free thought, technology, science, and continual improvement, and the absolute unchanging received wisdom of Allah at the same time. One must vanish. Osama has been VERY successful in uniting Muslims of all ethnicities and sects under his leadership to destroy America. For his part, Ahmadinejad has been recevied like a Rock Star in Sunni Indonesia, Malaysia, and in very Catholic Venezeula.

In 1914, the Allies had limited objectives: kick the Germans out of Belgium and Holland, restore Alsace-Lorraine. By 1916 so much blood had been shed that their objectives balloned to all sorts of other things, and the same for the Axis. Neither side could afford a truce, much less a settlement. Things HAD to be settled on the battlefield.

Muslims want to remain Muslims. Live by polygamy, controlling the lives of their women, death to apostates, everything else to keep their tribal-kinship based societies intact. They can't do that with America existing as an example that perhaps, Allah and Mohammed were lies. Since the obviously wicked infidel prospers while they remain poor and disorganized and their societies total failures. At the same time Westerners understand that Muslim claims to abolish their culture cannot go unanswered either. Why else the campaigns to do away with American culture by Muslims in this country? Which of course will be answered, as will the drip-drip-drip of "sudden jihad."

10/26/2007 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Muslims want to remain Muslims. Live by polygamy, controlling the lives of their women, death to apostates, everything else to keep their tribal-kinship based societies intact. They can't do that with America existing as an example that perhaps, Allah and Mohammed were lies.

So, were Isolationists justified when they pushed to keep Jewish refugees from coming into the United States in the 1930's? After all, Jews have historically had different marriage customs from Christians. For that matter, why wouldn't the existence of the United States undermine the existence of Israel by being a place where Jews can live in freedom?

Not all Muslims are polygamist; some Muslim states such as Tunisia ban the practice. Furthermore, are you prepared to declare every Muslim the enemy? Are you prepared to forfeit the alliances we do have with various Muslims so that you can live in a cocoon hermetically sealed against Islam?

The argument between high resolution warfare and low resolution warfare is valid. Richard Fernandez argues in favor of high resolution warfare, which has a higher likelihood of destroying al-Qaeda but a lower ability to sustain popular support. You argue in favor of low resolution warfare, which is less likely to defeat al-Qaeda but is more likely to sustain popular support. For the time being, I would rather support high resolution warfare because it shows a chance for victory within my lifetime. Besides, I dislike low resolution warfare. However, I do sadly realize that a few more attacks against us will lead inevitably to a real war against Islam which is nothing like what has happened in the past decade -- a real war against Islam would be a war of annihilation.

10/26/2007 07:19:00 PM  

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