Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Car Bombs in Shia South Kill Many

Bill Roggio looks at the apparently coordinated car bomb attacks in Iraq's Shi'ite south. Nobody knows who did it or why yet. But the perpetrators of past attacks are better known.

The Special Groups recently attacked Shia civilians, using the same tactics as al Qaeda in Iraq. On November 24, the Special Groups bombed a busy pet market in Baghdad. The Special Groups used a "ball-bearing laden bomb" to simulate an al Qaeda in Iraq attack in order to increase Shia dependency on militias, Iraqi and US forces learned after capturing members of the network behind the attack.



"Based on subsequent confessions, forensics and other intelligence, the bombing was the work of an Iranian-backed special group cell operating here in Baghdad," Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, the Deputy Spokesman for Multinational Corps Iraq said in a press briefing on November 25. "The group’s purpose was to make it appear al-Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack. Despite killing innocent Shia and Sunni, the special groups aim was to demonstrate to Baghdadis the need for militia groups to continue providing for their security."

In some crazy way car bombings are marketing campaigns by terrorist organizations in order to convince people they must affiliate with insurgent groups to survive. Terrorism, despite it's fancy name, is just a political term for the more familiar extortion and intimidation rackets of criminals.

The blasts are a reminder that the insurgents, though beaten down, are not beaten. It's also a timely reminder that the regime in Teheran is limited by what it can do that is to say by capability, rather than limited by any inherent moral compass. Asks yourself: if they could get a hold of a nuclear weapon would they?

69 Comments:

Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Of course they would. Iran's focus on HEU suggests that they want the quickest way to nuke the US.

Israel is not really vulnerable to the Uranium based "gun-type" bomb, because they don't have that much shipping container trade. The US certainly IS vulnerable and of course hitting US cities and then demanding the US Navy retreat from the Gulf and Med are obvious.

It is not as if Iran has any reason to FEAR US response in such a case. No one has articulated who would get hit, and how severely, if a terrorist nuke went off in a US city (or that of an ally).

The most sensible thing would be for GWB to detail which nations would be WIPED OUT TO THE LAST MAN WOMAN AND CHILD in any such event, and include Iran on the list (as well as Pakistan and North Korea). Set that as policy and let Iran determine if it's worth it.

If nuclear weapons possession by hostile nations playing footsie with terrorists (Iran, North Korea, Pakistan) makes them a target their choices are to a. get rid of their nukes or b. do everything they can to prevent an attack on the US knowing they will be wiped out to the last person.

12/12/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Of course they would.

And for that reason it's necessary to keep verifying the situation in Iran on a frequent basis. I don't think it makes any sense to argue "they've stopped their weaponization program and therefore they don't want a nuclear weapon.

It may be that some constraint: fear, lack of money an engineering difficulty or whatever, has stopped the weaponization. I can accept that. But to argue "oh we've misunderstood the Ayatollahs" seems to me folly. Once those constraints are gone and the means are again available the process will restart if the basic desire is there.

Therefore prudence demands we have to keep looking, not take them off the list of usual suspects.

12/12/2007 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: The most sensible thing would be for GWB to detail which nations would be WIPED OUT TO THE LAST MAN WOMAN AND CHILD in any such event, and include Iran on the list (as well as Pakistan and North Korea). Set that as policy and let Iran determine if it's worth it.

Most of the men, women, and children in Iran are already held hostage by the fundamentalist regime, and you want hold them doubly hostage to some batch of idiots who hit the US with a nuclear 9-11, as if the Mullahs in Iran give a crap about their own people! Instead of posting this "nuke em all" crap like Habu, how about announcing a policy of automatic regime change if Iran tries to cut off the straits of Hormuz or makes any other such provocative act?

12/12/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

W: And for that reason it's necessary to keep verifying the situation in Iran on a frequent basis. I don't think it makes any sense to argue "they've stopped their weaponization program and therefore they don't want a nuclear weapon.

The World has gotten used to opposing everything the US wants as a matter of course, because it's fun to hamstring a hyperpower. Well the NIE, whether it is true or not, has already wiped the smirk off a number of European countries and gotten them to make statements that appear hawkish in comparision, because with the NIE America is saying to Europe, "Your energy overlord Russia and your chief export competitor China were right, Iran isn't the threat we made them out to be." This has the effect of focusing minds back on the things that matter, much like a threat of standing down in Iraq would focus the minds of the Shia on the Sunni minority they've been ethnically cleansing.

12/12/2007 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita -- regime change is neither a believable threat (after Iraq) nor something that Iranian or Pakistani or North Korean leadership would fear. At the most they'd lose a few palaces. A mere bagatelle.

Meanwhile the atomic carbomb means American cities can be destroyed with impunity. Unless the likely suspects are AUTOMATICALLY destroyed there is no other course of events OTHER than the US losing cities until they wipe out peoples anyway.

Teresita your problem is that you want WAR to be kind and gentle. It is not. Sherman captured the idiocy of that thinking quite well. Unless the credible threat of wiping out all the likely nations is believed, it is too easy for rulers to deceive themselves that the tactic of nuclear carbombs will bring them no real consequences.

Liberal AND Conservative weakness has encouraged this, not the least Code Pink, Moveon, Dems in Congress, the media, etc. Along with responding to truck bombs in Beirut, Khobar Towers, Buenos Aires with doing what Iran wanted. Rewarding violence gets more of it.

You have not given me a logical argument as to why spelling out WHICH nations would be nuked out of existence is unwise. Instead you use emotion and pretension that war can be "prettified" as your argument.

The Mullahs give a damn about maintaining power. If not only themselves but their entire tribe are wiped out (as the Mongols did) they will fall in line. The Mongol solution (or essentially what Ferdinand and Isabella did -- using force to expel them) is the only one that history has found to work when confronting Islamic groups.

MAD was no less ruthless and threatening to the Soviet Peoples. It's a proven model. Why not?

Emotional responses do you no credit.

12/12/2007 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Thank you for the discussion -

1
"Most of the men, women, and children in Iran are already held hostage by the fundamentalist regime"

Is "held hostage" defined as receiving over 61% the vote in the 2005 Iranian national elections?

As little as 5 days ago, others provide evidence disputing your perspective...
Ahmadinejad: rock star in rural Iran

2
"how about announcing a policy of automatic regime change"

Excluding the use of force, please precisely describe how this regime change would occur.

3
"because with the NIE America is saying to Europe"
A smart side to US intelligence


“Iran's stance has always been clear on this ugly phenomenon [i.e., Israel]. We have repeatedly said that this cancerous tumor of a state should be removed from the region.”
- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, December 15, 2000

“If one day, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession -- on that day this method of global arrogance would come to an end. This is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”
- Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Former Iranian President, December 14, 2001

“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world... those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

“We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.”
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, October 26, 2005

“The message of the (Islamic) Revolution is global, and is not restricted to a specific place or time. It is a human message, and it will move forward. Have no doubt ... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, July 25, 2005

12/12/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Elijah: Excluding the use of force, please precisely describe how this regime change would occur.

I'm not advocating the US eschew force, I'm advocating the US eschew nuking 100% of the Iranian population, as Habu and Whiskey_199 call for (they may be the same jerk for all I know). At any rate, regime change in Iran requires the same tactics that regime change was accomplished in Afghanistan in late 2001, with a very small CIA and special forces footprint in the back country recruiting rebels, accompanied by relentless airstrikes on military assets from the Air Force and Navy, which are not nearly as fully engaged as the Army and Marine Corps are in Iraq.

12/12/2007 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: Emotional responses do you no credit.

Ironic that you say this, when earlier you said, "The most sensible thing would be for GWB to detail which nations would be WIPED OUT TO THE LAST MAN WOMAN AND CHILD"

12/12/2007 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

It is not as if Iran has any reason to FEAR US response in such a case.

Anybody who seriously thinks that hasn't been paying the slightest bit of attention to the last six years. Two buildings were brought down and our response was to bring down two countries.

I doubt anybody in power doubts that we would respond with a massive retaliation to a nuclear strike against an American, and likely even a European, city.

The danger is a miscalculation on their side -- on them some how convincing themselves that they could economically cripple us enough that their religious purity and fervor would trump our decadence.

At any rate, why stand on a balcony and be a blowhard about what our response would be? That's the stuff of tinpot dictators.

If, God forbid the day ever comes, let them sweat bullets as they wait for the counterstrike, because on that day the time for talk will be past.

12/12/2007 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The ugliest phenomenon for our enemies is Bush's bloody determination to stay the course. Our troops are all volunteers, there was never any question about their determination.

Our enemies, external and internal, put all their chips on a Democratic-majority US Congress to finally make Iraq another Vietnam.

The Bush Administration responded with the Surge. Checkmate.

Even militaristic mullahs understand that the USAF and US Navy haven't even entered the fight yet. Peace is at hand.

12/12/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

If nuclear weapons possession by hostile nations playing footsie with terrorists (Iran, North Korea, Pakistan) makes them a target their choices are to a. get rid of their nukes or b. do everything they can to prevent an attack on the US knowing they will be wiped out to the last person.

This is a reasonable idea that has been knocking around for a while. What it needs is a good name -- an updated form of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).

Back in the Cold War, MAD was official policy. Nuking us will be the last thing you ever do -- guaranteed. And it was successful in preventing nuclear war -- something that seemed very close for many years.

Now what happens when a country like Libya gives up its nuclear weapons program? Wouldn't it be more effective if the President could pull out the official list of countries that have been guaranteed to be destroyed in event of a nuclear blast in the US and strike Libya off the list? Send Ghaddafi an official letter thanking him and letting him know Libya is off the list.

Current members of the list would be Iran, North Korea, Pakistan. How about calling this the END list -- Ensured Nuclear Destruction. Only way to get off the list would be to open up to intrusive inspections and cooperate fully. Ultimately leading, one hopes, to the end of END.

12/12/2007 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Current members of the list would be Iran, North Korea, Pakistan. How about calling this the END list -- Ensured Nuclear Destruction. Only way to get off the list would be to open up to intrusive inspections and cooperate fully.

Q. Which United Nations resolution sets up the END list and the stipulations thereof?

Q. Why wouldn't the world community enact sanctions against America for rhetoric befitting a rogue nuclear regime attempting to extort cooperation by threatening a first strike?

12/12/2007 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

What the moslem world showed on 9/11 is that unlike the Russians, the chinese, the europeans--even the Indians--all places that aspire to be peer rivals of the USA and all places with nukes--the Moslems are undisciplined--as well as ambitious.

Ambition is ok. But lack of discipline is not ok.

Why not?

We live in a world where friend foe and bystander are required exhibit a great deal of discipline.

Why?

Because all the great powers have the ability to destroy each other to one degree or another. As well they have to exhibit some measure of internal restraint such that their citizens don't go nuts and bomb other countries.

This is what happened on 9/11

The Arabs have never seen the Israeli nukes as a cause for building a bombs of their own. But the iranian nuclear program has prompted all of them initiate nuclear programs of their own in the last year--because the Sunni moslems consider the shia moslems to be peer rivals. If the Iranians succeed in getting the bomb then the rest of the moslem world will have to have one too.

It is not wise to let unstable people/nations get nukes.

12/12/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

The Mullahs of Iran have little to gain really yet everything to lose if a democratic and stable Iraq is successful without the influence of the clerics trained in Iran with religious ties to Iranian Mosques. The thing that is going on now and has been is an awakening in the heart of the Shi'ah neighborhoods, a turning away from radical clerical madness and an embrace of tribal and secular living.

The chaos that was AlQ, and the chaos of the Militias is seen more and more by Iraqi's as inspired by the Iranians cousins. The Mullah's are overplaying the hand, because they cannot help themselves. So consumed by a blood lust for power, just as with AlQ, they can do no less. They are not unaware that the people they repress and with the threat of torture and violent painful death are going to choose a different way.

How is this projected in Iran, and how do Iranian news outlets play the story for people of Iran? Is the chaos in Iraq somehow helping the Mullahs to achieve national unity in Iran against their cousin the Iraqi. If Syria flips, or even splits, Hezbollah folds or is even rebuffed, and Afghanistan shows AlQ and the Taliban the door, then the twelve r's are isolated and left to face their constituents. How will that play out?
Can we not keep the up the pressure long enough to even see? Egypt and Jordan both have found accommodation with Israel is to their benefit. The democracy movement in the ME stalled, as the Antiwar elements and insurgents gained momentum. They can be reignited with the momentum in Iraq, and the resolution of the Kurd's dilemma in Turkey.

The car bombs tell folks what they have to look forward to if they fail. The Nuke question lends some urgency to the view.

12/12/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita -- I fail to see why announcing publicly the same sort of MAD strategy would be "emotional." It is reasonable, logical, and rational. Any nation contemplating a roll of the dice that attacking America would (under Liberals) result in just another Clintonian sand dune blasting with a few cruise missiles or even nothing (as in the Cole) would rethink that assumption.

PUBLICLY committing to what amounts (lets not beat about the bush) wiping out whole nations FORCES the issue. There would be no doubt about the US response which is the most dangerous. Also, it would trump the decapitation argument. If the policy was public, well understood, even Ahmadinejad would rethink the assumption that wiping out DC would bring in a more compliant regime (as has been the case in Lebanon, slow-motion).

Nor should or could the UN be involved in anything. They were not in MAD which was the creation of the US and USSR. No need for a useless talk shop. That you would suggest it shows a fundamentally unserious person.

Regime change is an empty threat. What Democratic President or Congress UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE would support it? Air strikes on Iran with a Mullah force well established for nearly 30 years is not the same as getting rid of a weak ethnic based coalition that lost Pakistan's support (for a while, anyway). Saddam disproved the folly of using air power alone to get rid of even a weak regime. Regime Change would require nearly the entire US Army and Marines, most of the US Navy and Air Force. There is currently not enough force to do it (shameful I know) or political will (also shameful). But that is reality, not your fantasies of the UN issuing a firm letter of regret and the Mullahs trembling.

----------------
Q. Which United Nations resolution sets up the END list and the stipulations thereof?

Q. Why wouldn't the world community enact sanctions against America for rhetoric befitting a rogue nuclear regime attempting to extort cooperation by threatening a first strike?
---------------------
These are both "fantasy" questions not conversant with reality. Who cares about the UN? What did it have to do with Cuban Missile Crisis or resolution? Or the publicly announced MAD. The UN absent the US Military enforcing it's dictates has no power whatsoever.

The world enact sanctions on the US? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's a good one. I'm sure China, India, Europe all want to forgo the US market and see their economies collapse with lots of angry young men with nothing to do. Oh yes.

Moreover you missed my point. It's not a first strike. It's an automatic retaliation. Very likely China, Russia, and other nations would announce it in their own versions. France has toyed with it.

After all, mysteriously during the riots Chirac (of all people) announced his nuclear forces were "ready" to deal with any situation (translation: the Iranians without the bomb threatened him as the rioters protector, and he threatened back).

The question is: how does the US prevent a nuclear carbomb from devastating one or more US cities?

You offer UN resolutions, fantasies about painless regime change and more fantasies of war without death, killing, destruction and misery. Nothing in the way of serious proposals.

I offer a proven model (MAD) that reduces any uncertainty of US response, and uses fear but not unrestrained fear. Avoiding getting nuked into oblivion means insuring your nukes are never used against the US. It's that simple and the stick is automatic, even if the President and Congress are dead

You certainly have offered no rebuttal to the argument that failing to massively retaliate only guarantees more atomic car bombs [as Wretchard noted a few years earlier.]

I most certainly am not Habu.

12/12/2007 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Nice rant Whiskey. I so often disagree with you but this time I found myself agreeing with much of what you wrote.

I see two problems though with END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction). First the day after we announce such a list, those countries will scamper over to either Moscow or Beijing and beg to be placed under their nuclear umbrella. The second problem is that being on the END list may very well work as a deterrent for some countries but may actually serve as an inducement to attack us by enemies of those countries who are not on the END list. For example suppose an extreme element in Israel decides that Iran (who is on our END list) poses a mortal danger to Israel but are frustrated that the US won’t do anything about it. What’s to stop them exploding a device (perhaps outside of an urban center) in order to induce the US to attack Iran?

My point is that after a nuclear attack of unknown origin the US President will need some strategic manoeuvrability in order to access responsibility and to respond accordingly What should be non-negotitable however is that our response will be brutal, nuclear, and unilateral.

12/13/2007 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

To echo Whisky's fine response to Teresita, there is no need for UN involvement -- in END or indeed in anything else.

That issue about whether a declared policy of END would leave the US open to being manipulated is a serious one. It requires some thought. However, if Iran is afraid that the devious Israelis will pop a nuke in DC to trigger a massive US assault on Iran, the resolution of that fear is simple -- iran simply follows the same path as Libya and lays down its nuclear weapons program -- get themselves off the END list. Their choice.

There might be a huge value in having the US Congress debate the idea of END. Remind the rest of the world of what is at stake. Maybe even encourage at-risk countries like France to develop their own version.

Whole lot better to have that discussion now than when there is a great steaming hole in DC where the Democrat Party HQ used to be.

12/13/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

teresita: At any rate, regime change in Iran requires the same tactics that regime change was accomplished in Afghanistan in late 2001, with a very small CIA and special forces footprint in the back country recruiting rebels, accompanied by relentless air strikes on military assets from the Air Force and Navy, which are not nearly as fully engaged as the Army and Marine Corps are in Iraq.

In Afghanistan, we joined forces with the internal resistance to the Taliban. Resistance which was already in the field and fighting.

There is no such resistance in Iran. Do you propose we start one? Do you really think the modern CIA is still capable of doing this sort of thing, successfully? Or would be allowed to?

Remember, Title VI of Higher Education Act was passed to increase the government's resource of ME language speakers. And, instead, it's been converted into a funding stream for radical professors.

12/13/2007 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

What are the Muslims going to use to chop off people's heads in Britain now?

12/13/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

As it relates to current discussion

Controversial policy

12/13/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

whiskey_199: Nor should or could the UN be involved in anything. They were not in MAD which was the creation of the US and USSR. No need for a useless talk shop. That you would suggest it shows a fundamentally unserious person.

Once again, right on the money, w_199. teresita dwells in the a fantasy world better known as cloud cuckoo land.

I have studied numerous strategies aimed at deterring terrorism. Previously, I detailed holding the shrines at Medina and Mecca physical hostage against attacks.

One of the only other suggested policies that made any sense was to simply inform all rogue nuclear regimes and terrorist sponsors how every single one of them would perish immediately subsequent to a terrorist nuclear attack upon American soil.

kevin: I see two problems though with END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction). First the day after we announce such a list, those countries will scamper over to either Moscow or Beijing and beg to be placed under their nuclear umbrella.

Who's to say that Russia or China would be so foolish as to allow themselves to be used as a human shield by terrorist sponsors. Sure, they have lots of fun playing them as pawns in triangulation against America. Swearing to go up in nuclear plasma because one of these lunatic Islamic regimes just couldn't keep their finger off of the trigger is another matter entirely.

There is also a little matter of the bad PR that would come for openly allying themselves with terrorist sponsors in a mutual defense pact. Selling them arms and dual-use technology is one thing. Ripping the mask off and flagrantly supporting these nut jobs is another matter entirely. Such brazen acts could lead to nasty sanctions and other such unplesantness.

kevin: The second problem is that being on the END list may very well work as a deterrent for some countries but may actually serve as an inducement to attack us by enemies of those countries who are not on the END list. For example suppose an extreme element in Israel decides that Iran (who is on our END list) poses a mortal danger to Israel but are frustrated that the US won’t do anything about it. What’s to stop them exploding a device (perhaps outside of an urban center) in order to induce the US to attack Iran?

You really haven't been paying attention after all, have you? Remember the lengthy explanation of isotopic fingerprints and microassay from the other day? If such subterfuge was suspected, America could demand a sample of fissile material and if Israel refused to comply, that could serve as sufficient indicator of guilt to justify a retaliatory strike. Israel knows this damn well and that fairly well precludes your untoward scenario.

America has gone to exceptional lengths in obtaining representative samples of fissile material from nearly every single nuclear armed nation on earth. Within less than 24 hours we would know exactly who it was that provided the HEU or plutonium used against us.

This is one reason why the USA has shown such keen interest in securing ex-Soviet era nuclear weapons. It would be a truly sticky situation if the assay showed Russian origin. What then, initiate WWIII with a massive first strike? I do believe that Russia knows this as well and understands the ramifications of releasing nuclear weapons into terrorist hands. There would most certainly be hell to pay for such duplicity.

END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction) is one of the only ways of motivating rogue regimes to begin changing their course. It is the best response to Khan's proliferation network and represents an appropriate response to the nuclear ratlines that have evolved in the MME (Muslim Middle East).

I have repeatedly stated how it is Islam that must clean its own house. America, in its benign foolishness has taken this task upon itself, much to Islam's hilarity. Only Muslims can sort out the jihadis from their midst. In similar fashion, only these wannabe nuclear powers can ferret out their megalomaniacs and begin executing them for placing their entire nations at risk.

The MME must be put on notice that they are on the verge of losing everything. The West has few trump cards that it can put into play. Nuclear deterrence is one of them and we would be idiots not to use it. My own list would be Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria for starters. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan really belong on the list as well for their role in spreading terrorism.

It is long past tea for this dialogue to enter common discussion in global circles. Nuclear proliferation must come with an extremely dear price tag. Simple annihilation fills that bill rather nicely.

12/13/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

LarryD: There is no such resistance in Iran. Do you propose we start one? Do you really think the modern CIA is still capable of doing this sort of thing, successfully? Or would be allowed to?

Iran kills Sunni rebels planning attacks

7 hours ago

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian police on Thursday killed several members of a Sunni militant armed group said to have been planning foreign-backed attacks in the restive southeast of Iran, state television said.

12/13/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Zenster: The West has few trump cards that it can put into play. Nuclear deterrence is one of them and we would be idiots not to use it.

That doesn't make any sense. Deterrence means you threaten retaliation for any attack. You are saying we would be idiots not to use it...ie to attack. At that point the deterrent effect is gone.

"Justice belongs to those who claim it, but let the claimant beware lest he create injustice by his claim and thus set the bloody pendulum of revenge into its inexorable motion." - Frank Herbert, The Dosadi Experiment -

12/13/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I suspect we don't need an END list. If a major US city gets nuked, I think two things would happen:

1) The US Constitution would be suspended and the nation put under martial law. Public officials suspected of neglect would face military tribunals. Whether the military tribunals would degenerate into a moonbat hunt is an open question.

2) Any nation suspected of being responsible for the nuking or benefiting from it would be eliminated. Whether this would degenerate into a Third Conjecture scenario is an open question.

It would be a very ugly day.

12/13/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Eggplant suggested:
I suspect we don't need an END list.

It is certainly a debatable point. However, what would happen if a US city got nuked? I don't know; you don't know; and most importantly the terrorists don't know. The point of an END list would precisely be to remove that uncertainty.

When the Twin Towers got hit, there were obviously many in the US who were quite glad to bask in the outpouring of sympathy from the international community -- sympathy that vanished when the US stopped playing victim and started playing man. With another administration, we might still be trying to milk the victim thing.

This is what is really sad about the irresponsibility of the Democrats. No-one really knows how a Presdient Mrs. Rodham-Clinton would react to an attack -- hit back, or run & cry? Because no-one knows for sure, someone is going to be tempted to find out. Her election is inevitably going to be followed by an attack on the US. That is what a publicly-stated firm bipartisan END policy would deter.

12/13/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Zenster:

I was responding to Kinuachdrach’s very interesting proposal about END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction). He stated that: Wouldn't it be more effective if the President could pull out the official list of countries that have been guaranteed to be destroyed in event of a nuclear blast in the US. Now correct me if I am wrong but I took the works "ensured" and "guaranteed" to mean that the President in fact did not have twenty-four hours to inspect the isotopic fingerprints in order to determine the origin of the nuclear material (which btw does not necessarily lead to the country that launched the attack). I took that to mean that as soon as he (or she!) found out that we had been attacked with a nuclear weapon that our President’s very next move was to destroy the countries on that list.

In response to this premise I responded that:

after a nuclear attack of unknown origin the US President will need some strategic manoeuvrability in order to access responsibility and to respond accordingly

That seems to match pretty closely to what you are calling for. No? You sure seem to be saying that the nuclear response would not actually be guaranteed, that the destruction of the countries on the list would not actually be ensured since the President would have some time (at least twenty-four hours?) to investigate and then have the option to attack the actual culprit. Sounds like strategic manoeuvrability to me.

And you were intelligent enough to point out the flaw in your own scenario with the Israelis. Obviously if the Israelis have so many Nobel Prize winners, they would be smart enough to use one of their Russian émigrés to get a bomb with a Soviet fingerprint so as to confuse the Americans as to the origin of the bomb.

And although I really don’t think the Israelis would actually do that, my point is that sometimes you have more to fear from your so called friend than enemies.

Like the Saudis.

12/13/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

teresita: You are saying we would be idiots not to use it...ie to attack. At that point the deterrent effect is gone.

Please pay attention. I said that "Nuclear deterrence is one of them [as in trump cards] and we would be idiots not to use it." Deterrence, as in the threat of nuclear retaliation in kind, not a first-use attack, as you seem to think.

Although, in certain circumstances America's Retaliation In Kind doctrine enables us to respond to a biochemical attack with nuclear weapons if we so choose. However, those are hairs we need not spend time splitting.

In case you haven't noticed, I adamantly oppose America's first use of nuclear weapons in the MME (Muslim Middle East). That opposition is changing due to Pakistan's unstable situation but nothing yet gives me sufficient reason to abandon my position.

kevin: Now correct me if I am wrong but I took the works "ensured" and "guaranteed" to mean that the President in fact did not have twenty-four hours to inspect the isotopic fingerprints in order to determine the origin of the nuclear material (which btw does not necessarily lead to the country that launched the attack).

Whether a day or a week down the road, annihilating the particular responsible nation or the entire set of END listed countries is still a form of ensured destruction. I do not see why it is necessary to quibble over timelines. My response was to demonstrate that very few nations would be so foolish as to try and run a false flag operation whereby the nuclear material's place of origin was somehow reassigned or disguised.

kevin: I took that to mean that as soon as he (or she!) found out that we had been attacked with a nuclear weapon that our President’s very next move was to destroy the countries on that list.

I doubt that any of us posting here would advocate a blind policy of immediate retaliation without some degree of cursory post hoc analysis. And yes, your point stands about "strategic manuverability".

That said, END represents exactly what it is, a deterrent. Putting it in place would give rather dramatic pause to rogue regimes both with respect to further nuclear proliferation and even the use of a proxy attack. I do believe that this is the major thrust of such a suggestion.

I think we can both agree that America need not go into detail with our enemies regarding contingencies dealing with how our reprisals are to be made. It is precisely that sort of uncertainty we need to use as a lever upon the fears of our foes.

kevin, I'd like to think that the Lewis article cleared up a lot of issues for you about moral authority as to how and why America has the right to take action against hostile and tyrannous regimes. As Ayn Rand observed, tyrannies have no sovereign rights and free nations have the standing option—but no obligation whatsoever—to overthrow such despotic regimes at their discretion.

12/13/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Kevin said: "after a nuclear attack of unknown origin the US President will need some strategic manoeuvrability in order to access responsibility and to respond accordingly"

Agreed but what if the nuclear attack took place in DC, decapitating the politcal leadership including the President?

Do you think there are contingency plans for such an event?

I'd guess martial law, but the Pentagon might be vaporized as well. Of course, there's NORAD.

12/13/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger wiredman said...

Whiskey's right on, A policy of "enemy assured destruction” has to be a corner stone of our policy of nuclear deterrence against our enemies who possess nuclear weapons. For those who chose to be our enemy and possess nuclear weapons, the solution is simple, give up your weapons in a public and verifiable way.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it would certainly, put the world on notice to where we stand in case of a nuclear detonation in the world.

12/13/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Again, you don't need a policy for the situation where the US Constitution has been suspended. Under that scenario, all law would have been tossed out the window. Under that circumstance, the surviving leader would do whatever he thought was best, e.g. nuke all known bad guys.

12/13/2007 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Here's why Teresita and Kevin are wrong. They are insisting on legalism and "proof" which is both a guarantee to not do anything and a recipe for disaster (since further attacks will continue, perhaps by other actors sensing weakness).

The fundamental goal of National Security should be PREVENTING the nuking of US cities in the first place. NOT legalisms. NOT proof. Not involvement of the UN or World Court or anything else.

If the response is automatic, if NORAD or even ballistic missile submarines are able to carry out the attack, in the event of decapitation strikes, all enemies will withdraw.

This was used successfully by the USSR in IT'S MAD. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia etc. were all targeted for destruction in case of nuclear war even though many/most did not have nuclear weapons and would not be consulted. Guaranteed destruction of all guaranteed all would seek to avoid it.

It is too easy for North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, and so on to point fingers at each other and obscure the culprit. The culprits may in fact be linked or cooperating or contain rogue elements of national forces or simply tribal loyalties. Only guaranteed total destruction will prevent even the most fervent tribesman from acting on tribal pressures to nuke America. [When not if other nations such as Egypt, Saudi, Jordan, etc. all get nukes the situation will get worse, and America will have to target them as well, likely enlarging it's nuclear arsenal].

What I like about my proposal is that it is politically sustainable. No troops on the ground or combat casualties which the US population does not support. It puts American lives > other lives. It involves no first use but massive retaliation on all possible actors. With no ability for anyone to survive. It precludes follow-on attacks by massive retaliation, while leaving others alone (no nuking Mecca, in other words). It leverages US technical expertise. It enhances US freedom of action. It removes any hint of uncertainty in US response, where uncertainty and ambiguity hurts not helps the US. It gets the US out of the counter-proliferation business or regime change, both of which are likely impossible for the US to conduct politically.

12/13/2007 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Zenster wrote:
I doubt that any of us posting here would advocate a blind policy of immediate retaliation without some degree of cursory post hoc analysis.

That immediate response is exactly what the END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction) idea requires -- the moment we allow for analysis (and the usual suspects asking what we did wrong to make them nuke us), the guaranteed nature of the response is lost. Once the guaranteed response is gone, one of the bad guys is going to test the limit. And US citizens will die.

MAD worked because it was ASSURED. Even if the USSR nuked the US by accident, they would get nuked in response. MAD simply put a tremendous burden upon the Soviets (& the US) NOT to make a mistake.

Does the US have the stomach to destroy Iran, North Korea & Pakistan immediately after a nuclear attack on a US city? Even though we know that 2 out of 3 possibly were not involved? Unless they believe that the US will do it, the END idea will not work.

And if any of those three don't like putting their future at risk because of idiots in one of the other 2 countries, then all they have to do is follow Libya's example.

END is a hard doctrine for a nasty world -- and it will only work if the targets believe the US really seriously intends to follow through.

12/13/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

The response most Americans want if one of our cities gets nuked is the same one that the fictional President gave in Indepedence Day gave after learning about the aliens' true intentions. "Nuke 'em! Let's nuke the bastards."

That said, it is amazing to me how lately many of the threads here quickly evolve into "nuke 'em" threads.

12/13/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Kinuachdrach: That immediate response is exactly what the END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction) idea requires -- the moment we allow for analysis (and the usual suspects asking what we did wrong to make them nuke us), the guaranteed nature of the response is lost. Once the guaranteed response is gone, one of the bad guys is going to test the limit. And US citizens will die.

Let me put it this way: If the choice is between END and no such program, I support END. kevin is reasonable in pointing out the false flag scenario, although I believe it to be quite a longshot.

w_199 is absolutely right in how:

It leverages US technical expertise. It enhances US freedom of action. It removes any hint of uncertainty in US response, where uncertainty and ambiguity hurts not helps the US. It gets the US out of the counter-proliferation business or regime change, both of which are likely impossible for the US to conduct politically.

All of these are essential to fortifying American national security. More than anything, we need to eliminate even the remote perception that any further attacks can be made on American soil without direct retaliation.

What I am about to suggest has earned me some pretty harsh criticism at other venues but I'm going to run it up the flagpole anyway.

I would also advocate a policy of disproportionate retaliation for future terrorist atrocities, like 9-11, Bali, Beslan, Madrid or London.

Whenever any such attacks occur a major Muslim metropolis is carpet bombed. Preferrably one that has some direct relation to the perpetrators of the atrocity but possibly even not so. It may become necessary to simply select cities within terrorist sponsoring regimes and make examples out of them as we did with Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo.

We need to have Muslims so fear-stricken with each new terrorist atrocity that they finally run down to the mosque and begin slitting the jihadist imam's throat. Nothing much is going to change until Muslims are stacking up dead jihadis behind their mosques like so much cordwood. Islam is the pluperfect case of change having to come from within. I feel that such change will happen only when 1,000 Muslims die for every Infidel victim of a terrorist atrocity.

People here have already encountered the notion of having to use jihadist strategy in fighting Islamic jihad. I certainly welcome opposing arguments or alternate suggestions. This sort of methodology needs to be worked out damn soon or else America is going to lose some cities.

12/13/2007 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

I think you guys are putting too much stock in a 'magic bullet' to make a nuclear attack something we could cleanly and quickly respond to.

First off, I doubt a WMD attack on an American or European city would be a one time event they hoped they could get away with by obscuring the origin of it. Iraq demonstrated pretty clearly we would cast a wide net when it came to hitting back. Any hostile regime would be in our sights, and them crying innocence would guarantee them nothing.

If they were to bomb an American city it would almost certainly be only one of several moves. I think like the Japanese in '42, they would calculate they could cause massive destruction to demoralize us, and then push their defensive perimeter out so far it would be too costly for us to drive them back.

I think a bombing would be associated with closing the straights of Hormuz, heavy attacks against the MNF in Iraq, attacks on Israel and the Gulf States as well as unrest in Europe to pin them down.

Ultimately, as always, there would have to be boots on the ground.

We would be faced with transitioning to a war footing while simultaneously keeping what oil we could flowing from the Middle East and resupplying the MNF to hold Iraq.

If the shoe drops I would think you would have to first drive west to knock Syria out and isolate H'zbullah -- but that would depend on how well we kept the straights open. we would also have to call in our cards with Egypt to get them to drive south into the Sudan to knock that front out.

It won't be a tit for tat, Home by Christmas affair. It will be messy. Very messy. We'll need all the friends we can get, and some of those friends will of necessity be Moslems. Issuing ludicrous threats today won't help us if that black day ever comes.

12/13/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

ambisinistral: We'll need all the friends we can get, and some of those friends will of necessity be Moslems.

And precisely which "Moslem" friends will those be? America has no Islamic friends. Period. Relying upon Muslim loyalty is a fool's errand. Taqiyya, kitman, hudna and shari'a law all militate against any prospect of substantial or reliable help from Islamic entities.

This has been proven to us repeatedly. The re-adoption of shari'a law in both Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrates an adamant refusal by Muslims to adopt true democratic rule of law in either country. For those who are unaware, shari'a literally mandates jihad.

In religious parlance, this use of force is called Jihad, and in the Qur’an it can be classified in two distinct categories:

Firstly, against injustice and oppression.

Secondly, against the rejecters of truth after it has become evident to them.

The first type of Jihad is an eternal directive of the Shari‘ah. As stated, it is launched to curb oppression and injustice. The second type, however, is specific to people whom the Almighty selects for delivering the truth as an obligation.


In light of how the mere existence of any other creed besides Islam is viewed as injustice and oppression, one can safely truncate the above to:

Jihad is an eternal directive of the Shari‘ah.

Since Islam and shari'a are inextricably intertwined so is jihad, root and branch, part of Islam. There will be no peace on earth until shari'a law is a relic of an outmoded and outdated death cult whose practice is no longer observed.

I'll put it another way:

Can you name one single redeeming feature of Islam?

There is absolutely nothing the West has to gain by recruiting putative Islamic allies. They are unreliable at best and—as in the case of Saudi Arabia—completely treacherous at worst.

Islam is wholly inimical to every basic tenet of constitutional law and democratic liberty. There is no significant convergence or meaningful intersection of Islam with the West that can be capitalized upon to our mutual benefit. This is completely the fault of Islam and Western nations have borne the brunt of this incompatibility for far too long. This farce must end.

12/13/2007 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

eggplant said: "Again, you don't need a policy for the situation where the US Constitution has been suspended. Under that scenario, all law would have been tossed out the window. Under that circumstance, the surviving leader would do whatever he thought was best, e.g. nuke all known bad guys. "

I find it hard to believe that there is NO contingency plan if there was a decapitory strike against DC. There must be some plan that goes on auto pilot in that instance.

The US Constitution is NOT suspended in times of emergency, although such a strike would cause extreme distress to the nation. There are probably (I'm guessing) protocols for surviving military to declare martial law until things get more under civilian control, e.g., finding out who's still alive in the chain of command.

By the way, it's not so simple to launch a nuclear strike. "The last guy standing" can't simply call NORAD and order them to nuke the entire ME.

12/13/2007 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"I find it hard to believe that there is NO contingency plan if there was a decapitory strike against DC. There must be some plan that goes on auto pilot in that instance."

Global Strike is first and foremost offensive and preemptive in nature and deeply rooted in the expectation that deterrence will fail sooner or later. Rather than waiting for the mushroom cloud to appear, a phrase used several times by the Bush administration, the Global Strike mission is focused on defeating the threat before it is unleashed. In its most extreme sense, Global Strike seeks to create near invulnerability for the United States by forcing utter vulnerability upon any potential
adversary. As a result, Global Strike is principally about...
warfighting rather than deterrence.

And again, Information warfare capabilities directly engage an adversary's will and political power. This involves attacking infrastructure, communication, and industrial targets.

12/13/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Chavo said...

"The US Constitution is NOT suspended in times of emergency, although such a strike would cause extreme distress to the nation. There are probably (I'm guessing) protocols for surviving military to declare martial law until things get more under civilian control..."

Declaring martial law for the entire nation is legally equivalent to suspending the US Constitution. A probable scenario would be for a surviving general officer to declare martial law for 6 months and then deal with the attacking enemy using what ever remained of our strategic capability. I'm sure there is some classified national security directive that spells this all out. The surviving general officier would cite that national security directive when he declared martial law.

12/13/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Zenster wrote:
I would also advocate a policy of disproportionate retaliation for future terrorist atrocities, like 9-11, Bali, Beslan, Madrid or London.

No disagreement from my end on the principle of overwhelming response. Perhaps the reason you have encountered resistance to this idea in the past is the use of the word "retaliation" -- has connotations of "an eye for an eye".

If the US is attacked, we are not interested in retaliation; we are simply interested in making it stop, making sure there it cannot happen again. Some would call that kind of overwhelming response dis-proportionate; I call it sensible.

Another issue to consider with conflict in the Middle East -- ME oil mainly goes to Europe, Japan, China. There is a global market for oil, so the ripples from any disturbance would spread outwards. However, the guys with the immediate problem are not in the US. It is long past time for the US to let the freeloaders know that they are going to have to start behaving like adults and sharing the burden.

12/13/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Kinuachdrach: If the US is attacked, we are not interested in retaliation; we are simply interested in making it stop, making sure there it cannot happen again. Some would call that kind of overwhelming response dis-proportionate; I call it sensible.

No argument here. My problem is the idiots who are calling for first strikes, nuclear or otherwise, because they don't feel safe.

12/13/2007 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/13/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Wiredman: A policy of "enemy assured destruction” has to be a corner stone of our policy of nuclear deterrence against our enemies who possess nuclear weapons.

No, because if Russia and China find themselves on the END list, they will set their ICBMs on hair triggers and launch everything they got the instant New York goes up in a mushroom cloud, before Bush can put down "My Pet Goat" and get to Air Force One.

12/13/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Zenster: And precisely which "Moslem" friends will those be? America has no Islamic friends. Period.

I'll make a list of our Moslem friends just off the top of my head: Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Yemen.

Moslem enemies: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon, Hamas-dominated Gaza.

Not too shabby.

12/13/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Kinuachdrach: Some would call that kind of overwhelming response dis-proportionate; I call it sensible.

Thank you. Since you postulated END, I can only assume that we are very much on the same page.

Islam has declared war upon the West. It is incumbent upon us to make clear just how unwise such a position is for the world's Muslim population. We owe Islam nothing, repeat, nothing but an unequivocal demonstration of what awaits further aggression. Should they elect to misinterpret our intent, let that mistake be their's alone.

teresita: I'll make a list of our Moslem friends just off the top of my head: Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Yemen.

Your inclusion of Pakistan in that list shows exactly just how deluded you are. Pakistan is Terror Central™. They have done nothing but thwart most every American attempt at fighting global terrorism, all the while aiding that cause in the extreme.

Every single country you listed upholds shari'a law. You, particularly, as a woman should have a multitude of problems with that notion. Especially so as your freedom to dress and comport yourself as you choose would be eliminated in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE COUNTRIES YOU NAME. Your blithering ignorance would be amazing if it were not so predictable.

12/13/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Zenster: Every single country you listed upholds shari'a law. You, particularly, as a woman should have a multitude of problems with that notion. Especially so as your freedom to dress and comport yourself as you choose would be eliminated in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE COUNTRIES YOU NAME.

I didn't make a list of countries I wanted to live in, I made a list of countries which are Muslim yet are friends of the USA. Pakistan is our friend due to the overflight rights they extend to our C-17s into Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, my husband says he met Pakistani officers at the Electronic Warfare compound in Pensacola when he was in C school, and that is not a place where we invite our enemies.

12/13/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

Zenster,

War makes for strange bed fellows. After all, who figured two years ago we would be se facto allies with ex Baathist supporters in Anbar?

The point i'm trying to make is that an isolated attack on a Western city makes no sense. If it were done it would almost certainly be done in conjunction with closing the straights of Hormuz, disrupting Saudi and Kuwati oil production, and trying to isolate the MNF from resupply.

The idea being to so cripple the Western economies -- and make no mistake, it would be an economic catastrophe -- that they could seize control of the region and we couldn't mount an effective counter-attack to retake it.

A daft plan to be sure, but one that is no doubt rattling around in some heads over there.

Bear in mind a number of Middle Eastern regimes would also be on the firing line. They would be of use to us.

The kind of belligerent threats you're talking about flinging about work right up to the moment that they attack. Then what?

One of the tricks to maintaining initiative, which i believe is important in a conflict, is not to paint yourself into a corner. Keep all avenues open and the other side guessing.

12/13/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"The idea being to so cripple the Western economies -- and make no mistake, it would be an economic catastrophe -- that they could seize control of the region and we couldn't mount an effective counter-attack to retake it."

Actually, the Asian economies (Japan and China in particular) would be crippled to a greater extent.


p.6 Closing the Gulf?

12/13/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Thinking about this, it looks like all these scenarios tend towards a MAD (Mutual Ensured Destruction) situation.

That immediate response is exactly what the END (Ensured Nuclear Destruction) idea requires -- the moment we allow for analysis (and the usual suspects asking what we did wrong to make them nuke us), the guaranteed nature of the response is lost. Once the guaranteed response is gone, one of the bad guys is going to test the limit. And US citizens will die.

Thanks for clearing this up Kinuachdrach, that is exactly what I though you meant. So how are North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan going to react to being put on an END list? The one thing many people forget in devising strategies is that enemies are not static entities but may very well respond in a dynamic way to threats against them. The most logical thing for them to do, if they do not want to go under the nuclear umbrella of Russia or China, would be to create an END list of their own. In the case of a nuclear attack on the US, North Korea would announce they will automatically take out Japan, Iran (nuclear or otherwise) will do so for Israel, and Pakistan will shoot its load all over India. But now Japan, Israel, and India are not just going to sit back passively either. They will have to have their nuclear arsenals (Japan creating their own) on alert and in the event of an attack in the US may automatically launch their nuclear arsenals against their enemies in order to reduce the damage done to them. So one nuclear attack escalates into a series of interdependent retaliation scenarios, which sooner or later would get Russia, China and Europe involved. Which brings us right back to MAD except that is not the rational super powers who have their fingers on the trigger, but any entry-level suicidal terrorist group that gets its hands on a device will be able, through the chain reaction of intertwined web of escalating retaliations ensured by END, to leverage this single bomb into the annihilation of the entire globe.

12/13/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

teresita: I didn't make a list of countries I wanted to live in

Yet, you cheerfully suggest them as places where some semblance of liberty exists. If not, please explain why they should be included in any roster of freedom loving countries.

I made a list of countries which are Muslim yet are friends of the USA.

Once you finally understand that the USA has no Muslim friends, all of this will be much easier. Until then, your ignorance is not just dangerous, it is fatal.

Pakistan is our friend due to the overflight rights they extend to our C-17s into Afghanistan.

Nice try. Pakistan is our putative friend because of the TENS of BILLIONS of DOLLARS worth of debt we excused in exchange for their ostensible participation in the Global War on Terrorism.

As a matter of fact, my husband says he met Pakistani officers at the Electronic Warfare compound in Pensacola when he was in C school, and that is not a place where we invite our enemies.

And Bush's overly cozy relationship with the House of Saud "is not a place where we invite our enemies". Do tell. Your inability to draw even the most simple of conclusions is disturbing in the extreme.

12/13/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Zenster: teresita: I didn't make a list of countries I wanted to live in

Yet, you cheerfully suggest them as places where some semblance of liberty exists. If not, please explain why they should be included in any roster of freedom loving countries.


Once again, I didn't make a list of places I wanted to visit, or places that were free, only a list of Muslim countries that were our friends. I forgot to add Uzbekistan, which is definitely our friend because that's where the CIA sends people to be boiled alive in the Extraordinary Rendition program. Another non-free friend of the USA is Thailand, currently ruled by a military Junta. They don't sit on any oil, so we don't send our troops there to "spread democracy".

12/13/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Kevin --

Why would North Korea pick fights with Japan? They're likely to get out-competed and even first-striked by Japan.

Why would Iran try and nuke Israel ... oh wait they already are committed to it as soon as they get nukes anyway. So one way or another there WILL be an Israeli-Iran nuclear exchange.

Why would either Iran, or Pakistan, or North Korea put itself under China or Russia's nuclear umbrella? To do so would give up local control of their nukes and hand them over to the greater power. The whole point of having nukes is acting independently. I would prefer any of those nations putting themselves into Russian and Chinese hands because restarting the Cold War and MAD makes things stable -- only three players, all acting logically, all striving to reduce/manage conflict instead of amping it up.

Instead the END list would give each power (North Korea, Pakistan, Iran) a choice: end hostility to the US by defacto regime change, or give up nuclear weapons transparently. With the example of Libya as a good model. Libya does not need be our friend, change it's ways, or give up it's leader. It merely needs to do one thing (give up nukes) which are too threatening to us. Fear, and use of fear, but not indiscriminately. A well-understood mechanism to get off the END list by satisfying the US that either the regime is not hostile: France, Russia, China, Israel, or has given up nukes (reputedly, South Africa though perhaps not).

I am not concerned with nations being our "friends" or not. I merely wish policies that will prevent our cities from being nuked. Being "nice" to adversaries IMHO rewards dangerous aggression and particularly the tendency to treat nukes as a super truck bomb with no more consequences than Beirut 1983. I think END or something like it with the rules and responses clearly spelled out and unchanging would have a great effect: forcing nations fundamentally hostile to the US to choose between the hostility and nukes.

[Neither Russia nor China are US "friends" but they are unlikely in the extreme to provide terrorists with nukes which is all that matters IMHO.]

12/13/2007 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

teresita: Once again, I didn't make a list of places I wanted to visit, or places that were free, only a list of Muslim countries that were our friends.

Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!

12/13/2007 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: Being "nice" to adversaries IMHO rewards dangerous aggression and particularly the tendency to treat nukes as a super truck bomb with no more consequences than Beirut 1983.

What happened after we lost 299 military personel and six civilians in the Oct 23, 1983 Beirut bombing? Oh, jeez, the Gipper pulled US forces out of Beirut and picked a fight with the micronation Grenada two days later (the first US aggression since Vietnam) to get it off the headlines. That validated forever the Jihadist tactic of suicide bombing to change American policy.

12/14/2007 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Hezbollah was quickly ID'd as the perp and its leadership was located in the Bekkaa. Reagan ordered an air strike which, without his prior knowledge, was canceled by the SecDef while the aircraft were en route.

Beirut '82 is all the evidence anybody should ever need of the idiocy of putting U.S. Marines in harm's way while simultaneously ordering them to keep their swords sheathed.

12/14/2007 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Peterboston: Hezbollah was quickly ID'd as the perp and its leadership was located in the Bekkaa. Reagan ordered an air strike which, without his prior knowledge, was canceled by the SecDef while the aircraft were en route.

Which left it up to the French (the FRENCH!) to bomb the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Bekaa Valley. But never fear, a US judge fined Iran $2.65 billion dollars for the bombing. You gotta hit em in the wallet, see?

12/14/2007 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger section9 said...

One of the things that people in the U.S. underestimate would be the anger of the American population at all things Muslim in the wake of a nuclear attack on this country. This is one of the things that people don't realize. I suspect that it would not be a good day to be a Persian on that day, or an Arab, for that matter.

The problem with those in the Islamic world who entertain fantasies of the Caliphate is that they were bypassed by World War II. So they have no idea about the vast, destructive nature of total war, and can continue to live in what Adjami rightly called "the dream palace of the Arabs".

12/14/2007 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Section9, the nature of warfare never stops evolving. Total warfare was a phenomenon of the industrial revolution, and was experienced for somewhat less than a century (from 1864 to 1945). Today the developing nations are catching up, but the west has moved on to the technological revolution, and the hallmark of the new warfare is the smart bomb, not the battleship. Infantrymen who are walking battlefield internet nodes, not fodder for machine guns poking out of trenches. Marines who can enter a dense neighborhood for eight hours and kill nothing but bad guys and leave all the good guys breathing. There is a compound-interest effect to this change, and by the time other nations wake up to the fact that WWII era tactics have been superceded, American combat technology and combat experience will be approaching the level of PFM...Pure Fucking Magic.

12/14/2007 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...

Most people here are concerned about a major US city being nuked. Isn't it more likely the scenario happening to an ally country?

The problem is, 'Are we, the US, going to just as angry and just as determined to go all out into war?"
Is there going to be a majority (dems' favorite trick, poll numbers) favoring "detecting"/"analyzing" before any mobilization of our forces (as per teresita)?

12/14/2007 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Is there going to be a majority (dems' favorite trick, poll numbers) favoring "detecting"/"analyzing" before any mobilization of our forces (as per teresita)?

1. After 9-11 there was a lot of goodwill throughout the world, even as we prepared our vengeance. This goodwill was sustained until the Taliban were removed from power in Afghanistan and only evaporated when Bush decided to go on his little side trip into Mesopotamia. After an American city is hit by a nuke, this phenomenon where even people in Paris say, "I am a New Yorker" will resume a hundredfold. In the glow of that sanctity, the US can afford to weigh all the options and trace the bomb before hitting back. If there are signs the Iranians did it, the Iranian people will rise up and hand over the heads of the Mullahs themselves, out of a sense of self-preservation. This will have the desired effect without putting a premium on killing, which the "Nuke Em All" crowd in here wants.

2. You don't mobilize for nuclear war. We are always mobilized for nuclear war on very short notice. You simply get the codes out of the "football" and read them off to the boys in the silos, the subs, and the B-2s, and they will launch.

12/14/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Most people here are concerned about a major US city being nuked. Isn't it more likely the scenario happening to an ally country?

Good point. That is why any END-type policy ought to spell out very clearly what the US will respond to.

My bias would be towards saying that END applies only to an attack on the US directly. If terrorists choose to blow up Berlin -- well, the US will be very sympathetic, but we are not going to nuke three nations in response.

Of course, if countries like Germany started behaving like real allies, the US might be open to extending END coverage to them in exchange for other support. What is Germany prepared to offer?

The more I think about this END idea, the more appealing it seems.

12/14/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

If the US is attacked, we are not interested in retaliation

And why not? What is the value in pretending that human nature has changed over the last few millennium?

12/14/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Kinuachdrach: Of course, if countries like Germany started behaving like real allies, the US might be open to extending END coverage to them in exchange for other support.

The Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands might find END to be absolutely immoral, like I do, and decline in the same way an offer by Blackwater to kill any kids they see walking on my lawn would be declined.

12/14/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...

Most of the commenters here are concerned about a major US city being nuked. Isn’t it more likely that happens to one of our ally? If not our ally, a “neutral” country (eg India)?

The question becomes, “Are we, the US, going to be just as outraged and just as determined to go all out into a war?” “Are we going to wait for UN to tell us to go to war?”

12/14/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Ms. T wrote:
The Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands might find END to be absolutely immoral, like I do, and decline in the same way an offer by Blackwater to kill any kids they see walking on my lawn would be declined.

That is certainly the CDU's right. Which is why the US should not unilaterally commit the US to responding to a terrorist attack on Germany. It is up to Germans to decide how (or even if) they wish to protect themselves in a cruel world.

Anyway, the analogy is not with kids walking on your lawn. It is with a gang of teenagers breaking into your home, smashing up the kitchen, raping your daughters, and torturing your dog. If the German homeowner believes that his high moral standards require him not to seek to protect his home & family, that is his decision. But after it happens, he should not then turn for help to his neighbor's private security company (for which the German has not been paying). That would clearly be immoral.

12/14/2007 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Always Right said:

"Most of the commenters here are concerned about a major US city being nuked. Isn’t it more likely that happens to one of our ally?"

I think we've been looking at a worst case scenario involving the US. Assuming the Israelis don't act preemptively, the most likely scenario is the Iranians would nuke one or two Israeli cities either directly or through a proxy. I don't think there is much doubt that the Israelis would provide a thermonuclear response with their Dolphin class submarines launching Tomahawk cruise missiles. The only interesting point of speculation is whether the Israelis would be content with merely exterminating the Iranians or whether they'd invoke the Samson Option against the rest of the Islamic world.

This whole topic is rather dreary. What idiocy it was to have allowed that NIE to become public! The people behind that NIE should never have been allowed to hold positions of trust. How hard would it have been to cleanse the CIA and State Department of such people?

12/14/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

always right: Most people here are concerned about a major US city being nuked. Isn't it more likely the scenario happening to an ally country?

Besides Israel, no other nation on earth so antagonizes Islam as the USA. America is viewed as the nexus of all things un-Islamic. Our movies, music and overall liberty are regarded as both seductive and decadent by the puritanical Islamists.

Few people comprehend just how austere Wahabbist Islam truly is. This is the brand of Islam being exported globally by Saudi Arabia and it is installed in every mosque they finance around the world.

Examine this interior photo of the shrine at Medina. Notice all of the incredible mosaic inlay and beautiful decorative work?

The Wahabbis would just as soon chisel all that off of every wall because to them it represents idolatry.

If they would cheerfully vandalize their own most sacred shrines just imagine what they intend for Notre Dame Cathedral or the Sistine Chapel.

These puritanical fanatics are incensed by the fact that our women walk down the street unchaperoned and uncovered, much less in the company of a man who is not a blood relative. They are sent howling by the fact that people kiss and make love in our movies. It enrages them that men and women frolic on the beach together in revealing swim suits.

More than that, they view our adherence to a constitution of man-made laws as pure blashphemy. Only the god-given laws of Allah are deemed worthy of respect. America's advanced technology and tremendous economic success is seen as nothing less than a standing rebuke of Islam's backwardness and poverty. The Islamists literally have wet dreams over delivering America its comeuppance. This is why the 9-11 atrocity was such a momentous event in the MME (Muslim Middle East). Now, try to imagine how they lust after detonating a nuclear bomb in New York, a city they view as a veritable Soddom and Gommorah of Infidel capitalism.

Only Israel is viewed with greater hatred than America. Imagine if a country the size of Costa Rica was able to consistently and decisively kick America's military butt on a near-clockwork basis. That is what Israel has done to its Arab neighbors.

Now, couple that with Israel's economic success. Mind you, a success that they have achieved wholly without the benefit of massive petroleum reserves. Finally, toss in the self-inflicted wound—that the Arab world absolutely refuses to let heal and reinfects at every opportunity—otherwise known as the Palestinian conflict and you get a notion of the incandescent white-hot fury and humiliation that Israel's mere existence provokes in Islam.

Kinuachdrach: Anyway, the analogy is not with kids walking on your lawn. It is with a gang of teenagers breaking into your home, smashing up the kitchen, raping your daughters, and torturing your dog. If the German homeowner believes that his high moral standards require him not to seek to protect his home & family, that is his decision. But after it happens, he should not then turn for help to his neighbor's private security company (for which the German has not been paying). That would clearly be immoral.

ZING!

If other countries are permitted to huddle beneath the END umbrella, there had better be a serious quid pro quo for being allowed to do so. I'm thinking that an open declaration of how shari'a law represents a massive abuse of human rights plus a comprehensive ban upon all vestiges of Islamic law in every nation seeking entry into the END alliance would be a good place to start. The West needs to set about making itself very Islam unfriendly.

eggplant: The only interesting point of speculation is whether the Israelis would be content with merely exterminating the Iranians or whether they'd invoke the Samson Option against the rest of the Islamic world.

After a nuclear attack, Israel would have every right to exterminate the entire MME. Islam must be made to understand that pursuing genocide will be its death knell. From all indications, genocide is so entrenched in their doctrine that there is nothing on earth that can change this. When you combine that with how Islam focuses upon the hereafter, it becomes an extremely perilous situation. This is why a policy of preemption is so vital in dealing with Islamic acquisition of nuclear weapons.

eggplant: How hard would it have been to cleanse the CIA and State Department of such people?

Considering that Bush himself is a product of the same Ivy League elitist academic system that has produced most of our careerist apparatchiks in Washington DC, there can be little hope of them voluntarily purging their own ranks.

12/14/2007 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Zenster: After a nuclear attack, Israel would have every right to exterminate the entire MME.

Does Japan have every right to exterminate the entire Christian West, just because one Christian Western nation made a nuclear attack on them? Answer: no.

And if Israel wants to hit Pakistan just for being a Muslim country in the Middle East, be my guest. Pakistan hits back, with atomics.

12/14/2007 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

teresita: Does Japan have every right to exterminate the entire Christian West, just because one Christian Western nation made a nuclear attack on them? Answer: no.

I'm sure that with your towering sense of moral relativism this is really difficult to comprehend but we didn't bomb Japan with the intent of killing every last Japanese person alive.

Iran wants nothing less than to kill every single Jew in Israel. It seeks to perform genocide in the largest possible measure. In case you haven't noticed, there is a difference.

And if Israel wants to hit Pakistan just for being a Muslim country in the Middle East, be my guest.

Your willful ignorance is almost astounding in its capacity to overlook the obvious.

Pakistan is directly responsible for Iran obtaining much of its nuclear technology. A Iranian nuclear attack would most certainly entitle Israel to destroy Iran's accomplices.

Pakistan hits back, with atomics.

Israel would already be decimated. Far better that all Islam perishes along with the Jews than for it to emerge relatively unscathed from its murderous rampage. The Samson Option is Israel's equivalent of the END policy. I totally approve of them having it in place.

You also neglect to notice how Pakistan's considerably larger warheads would do significant damage to surrounding Arab nations. Even a relatively small Iranian gun-type bomb would end up killing many thousands of Muslims who reside in Israel. Such is the nature of Islamic terrorism, it devours its own with equal savagery.

I also would not be too surprised if Israel lobbed one or two warheads into Moscow for their complicity in aiding Iran's nuclear aspirations. Russia's Soviet elite have much to answer for in the birthing of modern Islamic terrorism.

12/14/2007 03:07:00 PM  

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