Sunday, March 09, 2008


Subsidiarity is the principle which states that matters ought to be handled by the smallest (or, the lowest) competent authority. Subsidiarity was on display today as Teheran took out a public contract on Israeli defense officials and the British Home Office banned one particular Israeli politician.

The mass movement of armies is now a much rarer event than it formerly was. Why send an army to conquer Israel when you just put out a hit on their government officials' heads? In the Teheran a price was put on the heads of the top ranking Israeli security officials as revenge for the assassination of Imad Muginyeh at a formal ceremony.

"Following the increase in crimes by the Zionist regime in occupied Palestine and in the Gaza Strip, and in wake of the assassination that this regime carried out abroad of senior members of the resistance front, a ceremony will be held today to set a financial prize for the killing of the organizers of these acts."

According to the organization's announcement, the financial prizes are to be given to those who take out the three most senior members of the Israeli security establishment: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and Head of Military Intelligence Amos Yaron.

"The prizes will be given to those who succeed in killing these three international terrorists any place in the world,"the statement read.

One person who need not fear being hit in Britain at least, is Moshe Feiglin, an Israeli politician has been pre-emptively banned by the Home Office. "The UK's Home Office has banned Likud central committee member Moshe Feiglin from entering Britain. A letter sent to Feiglin from the office of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, and published in this week's Jewish Chronicle, says the minister has excluded him from the country, even though he had no plans to visit."

But whether or not the Home Office was correct to ban Feiglin (probably because of is controversial views) these two stories emphasize how granular warfare has become. No longer do mass armies clash on a battlefield. Today the weapons of choice are the concrete-filled JDAM, the headrest carbomb, the 22 caliber silenced pistol and the lawsuit.

Targets are now selected with unprecedented precision. Thus the Home Office can screen out Feiglin, who committed the inexcusable slander of saying "Muhammad is strong, cruel and deceitful" and yet admit Ibrahim Mousawi, of Hizbullah's Al-Manar television station who only claimed that 4,000 Jewish employees skipped work at the World Trade Center the day it was attacked.

This specificity explains why information warfare plays such an important part in the current world crisis. The operating constraint is not the power and destructiveness of kinetic weapons but the precision with which they can be targeted. The US military possesses the physical power to annhilate every living thing in the Middle East, but it has only a fraction of the intelligence capability it needs to target the truly culpable. Even terrorists, seeking to avoid an all-out conflagration (which they would lose) often calibrate their attacks to fall just short of provoking their enemies into full-scale retaliation.

Feiglin's ban was a "soft-kill" for Leftist and Jihadi propagandists. And the bounty hunters released by Teheran will doubtless be looking for ways to put a hard kill on the individuals believed to have committed the outrage of executing that upstanding representative of humanity, the mass killer Imad Mugniyeh.

The granularity of modern warfare and the quantities of information needed to support it imply that the Western resistance to the Jihad will never hit its stride until some way is found to mobilize the civilian population into counteracting Leftist and Jihadi operations. Grassroots organizing, polemic and lawfare will play as big or bigger a role in operations as the flamethrower, automatic rifle or artillery piece did in past wars. There is very literally no longer a front line in the traditional sense. There are now only different modes of fighting; some kinetic but mostly non-kinetic. And by and large the exchanges will have specific targets. Every bullet, subpoena or slander will have somebody's name on it.

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Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Except that Wretchard, often AQ does NOT calibrate it's attacks.

Consider 1993 WTC bombing. Ramzi Yusef and the Blind Sheik planned to topple one tower onto the other, to kill 50,000 people at once. Thereafter the successor organizations to Egyptian Islamic Jihad, AQ, blew up the American Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the Cole. Followed by 9/11. There was no calibration, only more aggressive attacks designed to kill as MANY Americans as possible to create submission.

AQ believes that Americans can and should be killed in mass quantities, that if enough are killed we will submit to Islam. They have been remarkably consistent in pursuing this policy, which dates back to the predecessor organizations.

Meanwhile Iran is factionalized and vulnerable to hardliners outbidding each other for more violent action against Americans.

Ultimately I don't think the status quo is sustainable, it will be "broken" by some outrage so mobilizing that many/most in various ME nations will be dead. Total War ala Pacific 1945 or Berlin in April 1945. A bloodbath.

I just don't see "the brakes" on anything on the Islamic side. Suppose Iran DOES kill Barak. What then? Israel will if anything be tempted to hit back by nuking Tehran and be done with it.

3/09/2008 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Among the special characteristics of officially sponsored murder contracts, such as this one against Israeli politicians emanating from Iran, and fatwas like the one issued against Salman Rushdie, is that they are completely arbitrary and that for the targeted individual there is no possibility of appeal.

For some reason these are the characteristics the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has decided it is important she should be seen to emulate.

Thus does a once great nation grovel in the dust.

3/09/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Whiskey wrote:

"[Al Qaeda's goal] is to kill as many Americans as possible.."

I disagree. 9/11, as spectacular as it was, was hardly designed to achieve high casualty rates. If they wanted to kill people, flying planes into a college football stadium would have been far more effective. Slamming a 757 into a CVN in port would be easier and more costly (in terms of dollars and actual power projection capabilities) than flying it into a 5 sided office building.

Embassies, the USS Cole, the WTC, and the Pentagon, and the African embassies are simply not attacks designed to maximize civilian casualties. They aren't even strategic attacks on critical economic or military infrastructure. They are attacks on symbols or totems.

It might sound like a petty distinction, but I think it's important to keep the adversary's priorities in mind.

"They have been remarkably consistent in pursuing this policy, which dates back to the predecessor organizations."

Again, I disagree. Now, I know there are all sorts of little leaks that come out about some supposed AQ plan and there are lots of people writing up scary stuff. But a look at the targets attributed to AQ leads me to believe that mass casualties are not their priority.

Secondly, look at the number of AQ attacks in the US mainland that have either been 1) launched, or 2) prevented by domestic security agencies, since 2001. Zero. They only Islamic terrorists they've been able to arrest have been various goofball elements that had to be hand led in a way that can only be described as entrapment. Hardly serious operatives.

Our borders are wide open while we spend time making grannies take off their shoes and pour out their shampoo. We're not a hard target, and there's no apparent movement by this administration to make us more secure from a domestic attack.

If Al Qaeda was anywhere near the force that people like Donald Rumsfeld tried to convince us that they were back in 2001, we would have seen additional attacks on this country. Just a handful of operatives with very mild english skills could get into this country and create a lot of mayhem with easily available tools.

Of course, maybe we don't know about this because of this administration's penchant to have so much be secret. Secret prisons, secret arrests, and who knows what else. Might as well have secret successes, I suppose.

3/09/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Mr. Kielland may be correct in his surmises, but he does not acknowledge the possibility that al Qaeda simply mis-calculated some of its attacks.

The 1993 bombing of the WTC very likely would have killed tens of thousands of occupants of the tower and surrounding buildings, and missed doing so only by the survival of one or two critical supports that could have failed if the truckbomb were better positioned or the bomb marginally more powerful.

It's worth re-examining the reconstruction of that attack, *AND* the repairs that were needed.

3/09/2008 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

If the Israeli government were smart, it would incite Iranians to kill government officials (and men wearing turbans walking around in public). What do the Israelis have to lose? Annihilation? Assassination? Genocide? All that's necessary for an Iranian revolution to commence is incitement. The Iranian government is creating conditions where its enemies gain nothing from failing to attempt its overthrow.

3/09/2008 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Western resistance to the Jihad will never hit its stride until some way is found to mobilize the civilian population into counteracting Leftist and Jihadi operations.

A way HAS been found.

Or if not found yet we know in which direction to look.

Friendly non-state actors are under no obligation to wait for their favorite Westphalian nation-state to mobilize them. Everyone with the skills and tools to access Wretchard's comment section can resist the Third Great Jihad in cyber space.

Mobilize yourselves.

3/10/2008 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

Might as well have secret successes, I suppose.

You rarely hear about what goes right, only what goes wrong.

3/10/2008 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger gerald said...

5GW is coming.
What could a Civilian Cyber corps do??
At 4000 plus terrorist web sites, start tracking them, collecting URLs.
Taking down said web sites,
Take down YOU Tube videos promoting suicides, Confront terrorist lies and propaganda on the web, this alone can impact home made Jahidiies.
Track and report terrorist on the social nets, Facebook, my space etc.
Moles to penetrate closed sites, they have to recruit and get new members.
And specialized covert legal operations.
Blogs joining together to form their own PIST teams.
Data and Intel collectors,
reporting to central source.
Turning actionable Intel over to the feds.
But whom will do this?
YOU here at:
Company C.HERE
al Qaeda and the taliban, the terrorist have around 4,000 web pages.

What are you going to do about it?

Patton might have said it best:
General Patton to his troops:

"Thirty years from now when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, What did you do in the great World War Two ( or the cyber war GWOT )? You won't have to say, Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.
Alright now, you sons of bitches, you know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all."

General George S. Patton, Jr.

3/10/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger DiscerningTexan said...

Brilliant! I linked it here.

3/10/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I really like this idea.

Not quite ready to jump in with both feet with folks who are not known to me.

The thing that leaps out immediately is that if the linked websites are completely legitimate, participants may be exposed to retaliation by the operators of the "terrorist" websites.

This is no joke folks. I'm not trying to discourage anyone, simply saying we each need to approach activities knowing what may be in store.

Evidently some lady in the midwest decided to begin this sort of work on her own, took classes and LEARNED arabic, at least enough to converse with arab speakers online, and has managed by PREPARING herself, to infiltrate, identify, and shut down a number of websites with terrorist links.

She also sought and received assistance from law enforcement agencies.

She likely had to learn a lot about how the web works, and something about her legal standing as an investigator and hacker.

3/10/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

We must do what we can, what we feel will contribute the most and commensurate with our skills and interests.

I went from active political-milblogging into writing stories about the 19th century American frontier, in the belief that we had to reclaim our stories, to remember who we were and where we came from, who our ancestors were and what they dared against all odds - and that they were decent and honorable people.

We need to remember that, and who we are.

3/10/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Mad Fiddler, your concerns are valid. Participation will not be 100% risk free.

Someday, Cyber Command will be headquartered at Rossmiller Aerospace Force Base.

Western Christendom can only produce one like her?

3/10/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Add to Cannoneer No. 4 and gerald the works of grass roots folk attempting to put a dent in the cyber wars. Smackdown has been working at taking jihad videos off of YouTube for eight months. S.I.T. doing the same since 9/11/07 except the format as per three weeks ago is targeting the removal of Juba/sniper videos.
At issue not only graphically violent videos celebrating American and Coalition soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but training and propaganda pieces. All offered up by Al Qaeda or Taliban supporters.
And then there are the American companies, in this case, YouTube/Google, seemingly unwilling to reject said pieces.
Are we to sit at home and let our military do all the work? I don't think so!
YouTube Smackdown
STOP Internet Terrorists

3/10/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...


There are no more fortresses. WWII proved that. The best way to keep Al Qaeda out of the US is not to fortify America but to engage AQ in its home territory. The Europeans with their "law enforcement" approach don't get this. The only place the law enforcement approach works is in your own back yard. By then, it's too late. I'd almost say it's a pity that the Bush administration failed to communicate this. However, when in 2005, Bush started giving speeches about Al Khalifa and Salfism, the NYT and WaPo buried the coverage on p. 12. Someday, there will be a non-post-modern accounting for all of this. One hopes that it won't be written by someone like Ibn Khaldun.

3/10/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

Evidently some lady in the midwest decided to begin this sort of work on her own, took classes and LEARNED arabic, at least enough to converse with arab speakers online, and has managed by PREPARING herself, to infiltrate, identify, and shut down a number of websites with terrorist links.

She also sought and received assistance from law enforcement agencies.

Mad Fiddler,

I seem to recall that story too. She was actually a judge. She was also shut down because she was exposed by some member of Law Enforcement.

It is a shame. She put such a great amount of time and effort into it and was successful in exposing nasty activity.

Personally I believe alQ is and was more like a street gang. They are not real Muslims but part of a fanatical fringe. This does not mean we let down our guard. Situational awareness is an asset in life and on the net.

On another note: Maybe the Belmont denizens are not aware there is a war within Islam similar to the Christian Reformation. Those who Bin Laden and Zawahiri looked up to and who were considered their mentors have recently condemned them.

I quote Poweline Blog via Frontpagemag War Blog:

Our amazing progress in Iraq is demonstrating that, for now, al Qaeda rather than the U.S. is the weak horse in the very country that al Qaeda has identified as the key battleground in its struggle against us. Consequently, as Peter Wehner shows, the tide within the Islamic world is beginning to run strongly against al-Qaeda. For example, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif recently published a book -- Rationalizations on Jihad in Egypt and the World -- in which he argues that the use of violence to overthrow Islamic governments is religiously unlawful and practically harmful. He also recommends the formation of a special Islamic court to try bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s number two and its ideological leader. These words are significant, Wehner says, because Sharif was once a mentor to Zawahir and has been described by terrorism expert Jarret Brachman as “a living legend within the global jihadist movement.”

Similarly, Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa late last year prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. It states: “I urge my brothers the ulama [the top class of Muslim clergy] to clarify the truth to the public . . . to warn [youth] of the consequences of being drawn to arbitrary opinions and [religious] zeal that is not based on religious knowledge.” Around the same time, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, an influential Saudi cleric whom bin Laden once lionised, wrote an “open letter” condemning bin Laden. “Brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocents among children, elderly, the weak, and women have been killed and made homeless in the name of al-Qaeda?” Sheikh Awdah wrote. “The ruin of an entire people, as is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . cannot make Muslims happy.”

Makes you wonder if 4GW may be turning in our favor.

Salaam eleikum Y'all!

3/11/2008 04:49:00 PM  

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