Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thinking the unthinkable

One of the more embarrassing aspects of the Cold War, which we can acknowledge without undue shame in retrospect, was that the safety of both superpowers depended on collective punishment. The vast arsenals of nuclear warheads on both sides, especially in the early days of missile guidance, were aimed not at military bases or government centers. They were not aimed at the White House, the Capitol or the Kremlin. They were aimed at the cities in which millions of civilians lived. Another word for the sonorous term of "deterrence" was holding the enemy nation's population accountable for the actions of the leaders.

Elbridge A. Colby at the Hoover Institution Public Policy review revisits collective responsibility in the age of possible nuclear terror in his article, "Expanded Deterrence: Broadening the threat of retaliation". His thesis, as you might have guessed, is that to prevent deniable nuclear attacks it is necessary not to listen to denials.

The problem is arises from the fact that we cannot deter terrorists directly. Colby writes, "as many have pointed out, terrorists are hard — and sometimes impossible — to deter directly. Clearly, people willing to kill themselves in order to conduct terrorist attacks are unlikely to be deterred by direct threats."

Consequently he argues that there is no alternative but to hold terrorism's parent societies or cultures responsible for any acts they may fail to prevent. "This posture would strongly incentivize those with the capability to act to do so, since gross negligence or complicity would incur retaliation (not necessarily, it should be emphasized, violent in nature). And our demands would be reasonable, because all we would be asking for is active assistance in preventing catastrophic attacks from those who, despite their own involvement — active or passive — in such attacks, benefit from the restraint of our current, excessively narrow posture."

Many elements of a deterrent policy against terrorists are in place already. Indeed, one might reasonably argue that, implicitly, an expanded deterrence policy already exists. It is taken as a matter of course that terrorist groups such as Hezbollah are the object of a deterrent strategy by the United States. The U.S. government’s response to al Qaeda’s attacks, while stymied by insufficient focus and resources, exhibits the marks of a latter-stage deterrent strategy: They attacked us, thus they will be destroyed. Operation Enduring Freedom and elements of the Administration’s National Security Strategy moved towards a deterrent framework. The U.S. has already expanded notions of culpability in terrorism with its campaigns against material supporters of terror, financial backers, direct action, threats against state sponsors of terror, and so forth. Among Democrats, Senator Barack Obama endorsed a deterrence approach against terrorists in his August 1, 2007 speech, threatening to strike terrorists within Pakistan to retaliate for or prevent attacks. More recently, in a little noticed speech on February 8, 2008 that represented a major step forward for U.S. counterterrorism policy, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley announced that the U.S. had recently adopted “a new declaratory policy to help deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our friends, and allies.” This policy would threaten with retaliation “those states, organizations, or individuals who might enable or facilitate terrorists in obtaining or using weapons of mass destruction.” But the policy, while deserving of applause, remains inchoate and unpublicized. The argument presented here attempts to develop further Hadley’s commendable but incomplete proposal.

Here I should interject that Barack Obama's deterrence approach is less than categorical. The Washington Post reported this exchange between Hillary Clinton and Obama on August 3, 2007 at around the same time Obama was enunciating his policy of deterrence.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton drew another distinction between herself and Sen. Barack Obama yesterday, refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Osama bin Laden or other terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Clinton's comments came in response to Obama's remarks earlier in the day that nuclear weapons are "not on the table" in dealing with ungoverned territories in the two countries, and they continued a steady tug of war among the Democratic presidential candidates over foreign policy.

"I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance" in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Obama said. He then added that he would not use such weapons in situations "involving civilians."

"Let me scratch that," he said. "There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table."

Obama (Ill.) was responding to a question by the Associated Press about whether there was any circumstance in which he would be prepared or willing to use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat terrorism and bin Laden.

"There's been no discussion of using nuclear weapons, and that's not a hypothetical that I'm going to discuss," Obama said. When asked whether his answer also applied to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, he said it did.

By the afternoon, Clinton (N.Y.) had responded with an implicit rebuke. "Presidents should be careful at all times in discussing the use and nonuse of nuclear weapons," she said, adding that she would not answer hypothetical questions about the use of nuclear force.

But whether the Obama policy ball eventually stops on black or on red upon the spinning wheel of political fortune, Colby's point about an emerging doctrine of expanded deterrence is probably a valid one. Here is the bluntest and most direct expression of the concept. The words are from the Hoover paper, the emphasis is mine.

Reports suggest that al Qaeda is plotting WMD attacks against the West from its hideouts in the northwestern regions of Pakistan. The Pakistani Army has made halting, ineffective efforts to track them down. Many in the area are likely hiding or at least complicit in hiding members of al Qaeda. Yet, perversely, these individuals most likely either fear or sympathize more with al Qaeda than the faraway Americans and our apparently unintimidating sometime-allies in the Pakistani Army. How does it make sense that it is the American people rather than the relevant inhabitants of the frontier provinces of Pakistan who must bear the risk of an attack launched by al Qaeda elements sheltered in this very region?

Expanding deterrence would redress this imbalance. Instead of permitting individuals and entities engaged in protecting or abetting terrorists to be bystanders, this policy would force them to bear the risk of retaliation in the event of a catastrophic attack. This would strongly incentivize those potentially implicated either to take action on our behalf or at least not cooperate in hostile activities. The same logic would apply to those in the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency and other elements in Pakistan who have protected and fostered al Qaeda.

In the event of a catastrophic al Qaeda attack against the U.S. homeland, the United States would, having set out this policy, therefore have the moral and strategic rationale to retaliate not only against al Qaeda members themselves, but also against those whose cooperation, material support, complicity, or gross negligence made the killing of thousands of Americans possible. Legitimate targets of American retaliation would now include supporters, facilitators, moneymen, back office workers, and onwards, as well as infrastructure, housing, food and other supplies, land, political control over territory, marks of prestige, and so forth. Depending upon need and the degree of culpability, American options would include detention, capture, confiscation, disabling, humiliation, pressuring, all the way up to (but not necessarily emphasizing or even including) military operations.

Colby argues, on classical grounds, that for such a deterrent to be effective it has to be credible. There has to be no doubt among allies (who may shelter under the American nuclear umbrella) and the enemy that America will carry out the threatened response. But leaving Obama aside, can anybody, in this politically correct world, really believe it will be carried out? Colby himself has doubts. "The credibility of a deterrent threat is vital to its success. Yet the threat to expand our retaliation beyond those directly responsible might strike our opponents and others as incredible."

The Hoover paper categorically rejects this policy as the threat of collective punishment, describing it instead as "a policy that carefully and reasonably expands the definition of guilt — it is not a policy that targets the innocent."

Readers of the Belmont Club will be familiar with posts which have dealt with the concepts discussed in the Hoover paper, such as The Ghost of AQ Khan, the Return of Danger and of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Three Conjectures. There are two problems in particular which are not closely examined by the Hoover paper. The first, which was raised by the Three Conjectures, is whether there is any stable stopping point if a WMD exchange is initiated. Implicit in the Hoover paper is the idea that terror -- and let's be frank here, Islamic terror -- can be restrained by its larger social milieu. That somehow threatening "supporters" and "marks of prestige" can put the damper on Osama Bin Laden and his ilk; or at least "incentivize" the grand muftis of whatever mosque to cool their hotheads. I hope that control exists, but I will argue that it is far from clear that it does.

The second problem is what course small, non-nuclear states should follow in a world of deniable nuclear weapons. Singapore for example, and Germany according to some, would be examples of countries which could be subjected to nuclear blackmail. If "expanded deterrence" is good for America, why should it not be good for Singapore, which the regional enemy of Islamic terrorism? And if America will have difficulty credibly threatening "expanded deterrence" in the event a US city is destroyed, how can any country credibly threaten that America would retaliate on its behalf against "supporters" and "marks of prestige" (in other words Muslim populations and Mecca) in the event Singapore or Berlin is reduced to ash? If the Vatican were destroyed, for example, who could be counted on to carry out the threat of "expanded deterrence"?

I have long argued that the advent of the terrorist nuclear weapon would present the policymakers with an unpalatable and almost noxious set of options. The menu is so unappetizing that I argued, in Three Conjectures, that it was time to pull out all the conventional stops to prevent being trapped in a dilemma where the only choices were watching one city after the other go up in nuclear car bombs or exercising "expanded deterrence". But if there is no stable stopping point; if the muftis or imams can't slam on the brakes, then "expanded deterrence" will proceed until it is maximally expanded. We don't want to go there. So while we have the chance to alter the destination, let's not go there.

But proliferation, I later realized, will change the nature of deterrence itself. If al-Qaeda can get nukes, why should it stop there? Why not Neo-Nazis? Why not small countries who are vulnerable to extortion? I have argued that once terrorists acquire the ability to engineer repeatable nuclear explosions then every country which can beg, borrow or steal a nuke will acquire them. For example, if Singapore, Saudi Arabia, or Taiwan were persuaded a terrorist could attack them, they would not rely on an American umbrella to visit "expanded retaliation" on the usual suspects. No head of state could accept a reliance on actions which an ally might not even be able to carry out on its own behalf. They would therefore get their own nukes and use them accordingly.

I don't think expanded deterrence will actually be seriously considered until after an actual nuclear attack on some country. However, Elbridge A. Colby's discussion at Hoover is a useful first step in escaping from the prison of obsolete strategic concepts and thinking through the problems of maintaining the peace in the 21st century. Even if the clarity comes after the fact, a well considered framework developed now will be useful in restraining the panicked survivors of the Washington policy establishment as they peel the charred skin from their limbs and pick the glass shards from their eyes. Maybe the act of thinking about the unthinkable now will motivate them into conventional action now rather than wait for the very uncertain later.





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94 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

"Consequently he argues that there is no alternative but to hold terrorism's parent societies or cultures responsible for any acts they may fail to prevent."

Now we just need someone to argue that there is no alternative but to hold Western societies responsible for any acts we incur, as in 9 11 was OUR fault after all. Blowback, roosting chickens et al.

6/19/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

If the principle of collective punishment were adopted, it may well be that deterrence would not need to be implemented on a grand scale.

If we credibly announced, for example, that the 100 nearest relatives of anyone determined to have been involved in assisting or funding a WMD terror attack would be hunted down, however long it took, and executed, then even Al Qaeda would find it hard to attract recruits. Such a policy could thus save hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives, and avoid catastrophic economic disruption.

Public opinion is to soft for this sort of measure now, but will sadly also be too hot to be interested in carefully targeted measures like this in the aftermath of a major attack.

6/19/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Now we just need someone to argue that there is no alternative but to hold Western societies responsible for any acts we incur, as in 9 11 was OUR fault after all. Blowback, roosting chickens et al.

The argument has already been made and widely accepted that Western society is guilty and deserves collective punishment. Much of the Left believes this, an certainly Osama Bin Laden does. Terrorism is all about collective punishment. That's why terrorists don't meet armies or enemy forces directly. They strike at civilian and other targets reasoning that one is as "guilty" as the other.

The idea of collective retaliation is an old one. What was the bombing of Dresden about? The Japanese, who butchered civilians in Nanking and Manila knew all about collective punishment. And so did the Brits, who used poison gas and strafing runs against Iraqis in the pre-World War 2 years. There is no way to prettify collective punishment. It is so unavoidable that deterrence -- the thing that kept the world in one piece from 1949 to 1989 -- was based on it.

Consider, that if in 1963 it was US policy to incinerate every Russian man, woman and child in the event they had to "duck and cover" -- American schoolkids were taught to try to survive a nuclear blast -- then why is it less moral to apply the same morality to terrorist supporters and places of prestige?

In truth, they are equally immoral. And for myself, I think it is futile and dishonest to twist it into a moral shape. About all you can say is that it may be necessary. Necessary to make these threats to keep the peace. So maybe you can argue that we can threaten the immoral to achieve the moral -- which is the prevention of war -- aka deterrence.

This used to be called, back in grad school, the art of "thinking the unthinkable". At this point some people mentally short circuit, raise themselves erect, throw back their heads and announce "I shall not contemplate this." But after a while, they sit down and realize that heroic poses aside, he's still stuck in the same bottle along with all the rest of the trapped scorpions. Then they go back to doodling.

For my part, I think the only unambiguously moral action to take is work toward avoiding this fix to start with. That means nipping WMD terror threats in the bud. Hitting the enemy conventionally and precisely now. I don't hold with the idea, so dear to many pacifists, that we should just let things slide, because "nothing can be worse than war" -- meaning limited war, against terrorists. Or holding back from criticizing noxious ideologies. There is something far, far worse than this.

And the Hoover piece gives us a glimpse into what that worse thing is. We don't want to go there. Though we seem to be doing our damndest to go there anyway.

6/19/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

"The argument has already been made and widely accepted that Western society is guilty and deserves collective punishment."

For what it is worth I was being facetious. I don't believe that he West is guilty and deserving of punishment. It seems as though this meme is resurfacing lately that we're to blame for WW2, we're to blame for Cartoon Riots, we're to blame for Islams PR problems, we're to blame for 9/11 etc. It is a strange attitude akin to "she had it coming because of how she was dressed". Kind of perverse. What seems stranger still to me is the notion, newly expressed here by one or two posters, that discussing actions to prevent this punishment is further proof of our guilt.

6/19/2008 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Even if the clarity comes after the fact, a well considered framework developed now will be useful in restraining the panicked survivors of the Washington policy establishment as they peel the charred skin from their limbs and pick the glass shards from their eyes. Maybe act of thinking about the unthinkable now will motivate them into conventional action now rather than wait for the very uncertain later.
///////////
alas the supreme court ruled that aq in hotel gitmo are not foreign combatents but rather defacto US citizens worthy trial in US courts. hey its a borderless world according to the supremes. we are the world. we are the children.

but this is intolerable to everyone.

even now the hawaiians have passed a piece of legislation in the US house of representatives which will grant them autonomy as a route to reparations. Something the aztlans will sieze on to rip off the the US southwest.

fr discussion

6/19/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

hopefully the US senate will see the error of the US House of Representatives but maybe not. they're mostly liberals there.

6/19/2008 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

McCain promises to increase Atzlan's power

6/19/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Wretchard, you can be sure that in the event of any major terrorist attack using a nuclear device; a country somewhere will go up in a series of mushroom clouds.

95% HEU and Plutonium do not fall off a truck somewhere. There is a tightly controlled chain of control over these fissile materials; precisely because of the destruction they can wreak; and they can be traced back to the exact reactor which produced them -- so if a terrorist nuclear device goes off somewhere, the country which "lost" the fissile is going to go up.

6/19/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Osama bin Laden already holds civilians in democracies responsible for the actions of their leaders. If one merely projects Osama bin Laden’s strategy onto his own supporters, the result is clear. Hamas gave out candy to celebrate the September 11 attacks. The majority of Palestinians, especially in Gaza, voted for Hamas. Thus, Gaza (and possibly Nablus) would become legitimate targets for destruction not merely for any future atrocity but as legitimate retaliation against the September 11 attacks themselves.

If you really want to get real about deterrence, consider this – the Iranian government has chanted “Death to America” for at least 29 years. When the September 11 attacks happened, they got their wish. So, any campaign to eradicate Iranian mullahs would be retaliation against the September 11 attacks, not merely a possible punishment for any present or future attacks.

And then there is deterrence concerning Iraq. Saddam Hussein celebrated the September 11 attacks. He is now dead. So, with his death, America has partially avenged the deaths on September 11.

Personally, I think we need to make our own rules and abide by them. Letting our enemies make rules for us (such as collective punishment) is not a good idea. We need to find effective means to force our ideas onto the enemy in a manner that lets the enemy know that we are in charge.

Was Winston Churchill right and Henry Jackson wrong concerning the advantages of summary execution over convening the Nuremberg Tribunal? This point must be argued. I am coming to wonder if summary executions of men from al-Qaeda would be better than the propaganda bonanza to our enemies that capture would create even if our enemies actually do have actionable intelligence that would be useful. Dead men can’t talk to the media. As it is, I expect a massive increase in prosecutions of “unauthorized discharge of a firearm” (which is how the U.S. Army used double jeopardy to protect soldiers who killed saboteurs during WWII).

In any case, I think it is imperative to promote some kind of international convention that absolutely requires constant video monitoring of all terrorist prisoners. This would be intended to not only protect terrorists from torture, but more importantly to protect states from false accusations of torture leveled by terrorist prisoners. There must be no presumption of privacy, for privacy allows both torture and false accusations of torture to occur. If any terrorist prisoner falsely claims torture, the detaining state must be allowed to defend itself from a false accusation by showing minute by boring minute that no torture takes place.

Would the European Union be willing to sign a terrorist videotape convention? I doubt it because I think it cares less about human rights than it does about finding some pretext – any pretext – to hate Americans and mobilize public opinion against the American war effort.

6/19/2008 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, said in February that Iran was close to acquiring Russian-produced SA-20 surface-to-air missiles. American military officials said that the deployment of such systems would hamper Israel's attack planning, putting pressure on Israel to act before the missiles are fielded.

Israel Practices

6/19/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

*Consequently he argues that there is no alternative but to hold terrorism's parent societies or cultures responsible for any acts they may fail to prevent.*

This would, of course, include most of the Islamic world.

Just think if the Israelis could do this sort of thing. For every rocket that gets launched from the Gaza strip, no matter how little damage it does, the IAF flies in and indiscriminately drops ordnance.

I wonder how soon Gaza would clean up its act?

Too bad it won't ever be tried.

I still think Bush should have wheeled out a bingo hopper on 9/12 and said "These balls in this bingo hopper have the names of random cities in the Muslim world printed on them. The next time a Western target is harmed in any way by an Islamic terrorist, one of the balls is withdrawn. The city on that ball goes up in a mushroom cloud. Y'all's move."

6/19/2008 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I have sometimes wondered if the strongest effect of the September 11 attacks was not on the United States, but upon Europe. Americans may have gotten killed, but history shows it was Europeans soiling their pants. Why? Remember in Bull Durham when Crash told the pitcher to hit the bull mascot? It was the bull that got hit, but it was the opposing sluggers who got scared by that pitch. I think the September 11 attacks were a demonstration attack to embolden all of America’s enemies and show America’s allies that we couldn’t defend ourselves, much less our allies. So, many Europeans turned against the United States, thinking that by betraying us they could make themselves safe from al-Qaeda’s tyranny. Sadly, al-Qaeda may have succeeded in depriving America of some of our allies.

I am coming to wonder if any nuclear attack against the United States would necessarily mean a nuclear response against Pakistan. This is precisely because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. By attacking a nuclear state, the United States would show that no Islamic nuclear umbrella deters us. Nuclear retaliation against any Muslim target other than Pakistan (or if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, Iran) would show our fear of a nuclear deterrent and thus induce more states to obtain a nuclear umbrella against any American response.

This puts Pakistan into a perilous position. Ordinary Pakistanis hate America and think their government has betrayed them by allying with the United States. And yet, it is ordinary Pakistanis who would logically deserve the brunt of America’s nuclear arsenal if America becomes sufficiently wounded by al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda hides behind Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent and it is paradoxically America’s respect for Pakistani power that emboldens nuclear proliferation.

I highly recommend reading S.K. Malik’s “Quranic Concept of War”. Written in 1979, it essentially proposes sheer fanaticism as a means to counteract the nuclear power of the United States and the Soviet Union. Against a power that can be deterred, deterrence works. Against a power that cannot be deterred, it is critically important to show one’s willingness to damn the consequences. Against Muslim fanatics, it may be necessary to attack every Muslim state with nuclear weapons precisely in order to devalue the deterrence power of those weapons. To devalue these weapons, it may be necessary to attack these states even if the attack against the United States is non-nuclear in nature.

To anybody who suggests that such a policy is insane, I reply that this is precisely the point. If a terrorist’s attack against the United States triggers a sane response, this only enhances the terrorist’s power, especially since he can anticipate any response that is sane. If the terrorist’s attack against the United States triggers an insane response that undermines any sense that nuclear weapons can deter anything, the United States gains deterrent capacity. For that matter, the United States should consider the option of permanently disabling Saudi and/or Iranian oil fields so that no petroleum can ever be pumped from them again. It is precisely the insane and self-defeating aspect of this option that makes it the most workable, for it is very scary. Besides, permanently disabling these fields would ensure that Gulf crude wouldn’t drive alternative sources of energy out of business. (And this is precisely what happened in the 1980’s and 1990’s.)

I do not pretend to think that Pakistan acquiesces in America’s fight because Pakistanis like us. Pakistanis hate us but the wisest among them know that their nuclear weapons cannot protect them against an enraged American serpent. Let’s fly that naval jack with pride; anybody who tries to step on us gets bitten.

6/19/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

This brings to mind my own "worst nightmare" scenario - which only begins with a WMD attack on U.S. soil.

I fully concur with Wretchard that the PC/pacifist mindset will lose its appeal quickly after such an attack. My nightmare scenario is that it will give way just long enough for the U.S. to exact the (nuclear) sort of collective punishment of which Wretchard speaks - only to reassert itself with a vengeance once the ummah has been decimated and the gravity of that deed has sunk in with the American people. Once that happens, I see two possible outcomes for the nation, none of them good:

a) The guilt overwhelms our national psyche until, like Europe after the first two world wars, we become fatally squeamish about the use of military force. We will have neutralized the Islamic supremacist threat, at a horrific cost, only to become sitting ducks for the next national existential threat that comes along.

- OR -

b) The guilt on the Left runs smack into strong patriotism on the Right, both sides finally decide the country isn't big enough for the both of them, and the "cold civil war" brewing in the U.S. finally turns red-hot and brutal.

6/19/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

War is hell because it requires men to employ their most primitive animal nature, i.e.: to become hunters and killers of other men. In this fundamental sense, nothing has changed since the first wars between our ancient ancestors.

One other thing hasn't changed: There is just and unjust war; war of aggression and counter-war in defense of life. In the case of America we have an additional cause for just war; not just defense of sacred life, but the defense of sacred liberty.

About 70,000,000 people died violently in World War II; but only around 150,000 (.2%) from nuclear weapons. The 69,850,000 that died by more conventional means are still dead, and most by more horrific methods. I for one don't believe the means of death during warfare is all that important; the end result that is the real issue. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter which weapons are used, it only matters who survives with an intact society: The aggressor with his coercive and unjust society or the defender with his free and just society.

6/19/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Regarding revenge and retribution: US intelligence: Hizbullah scouting Jewish targets in Canada

This is a report that Hez has made moves indicating that it may be readying attacks against Jewish targets in Canada in retribution for the killing of Mugniya several months ago.

It's hard to see how they can make a big attack against a Jewish target and not leave their fingerprints or claim responsibility. How Israel, or Canada, would respond is, of course, hard to predict.

FWIW, it's also curious that this would be reported in the media since it lets the terrorists know that they're being watched.

6/19/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

The actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, whatever the jaw-jaw, were very clear messages that if you don't police your own crazies then very bad things will happen to you. Ghadafi got the message. Musharaff got the message. Many other countries got the message.

If that message didn't get through then we are indeed in a black hole. If a nuclear event happens then deterrence didn't work. The only thing left is to make sure it doesn't happen again. The choice? American citizens or other innocents. Anybody really want to be President?

6/19/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Without reading all of the subsequent comments in the last half of this article, I present to all of you my own monograph: "A Functional Deterrent to Terrorism":

First and foremost, congratulations to Wretchard for having identified and posted this vital article. I can only hope that my own clarification on this subject is of worth. Please be advised that I posted these suggestions some YEARS ago.

I have been working on this idea for a long time. While an extremely difficult concept in practice, I feel it is something that needs to be addressed. Far too much of current counter-terrorist policy is dedicated to stalling, appeasement, police action or stopgap military strategies that are ineffective at best. Nor do these measures address the overarching issue of how nuclear proliferation has foreshortened our schedule of response. Recent instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan has only highlighted this reduced timeframe.

NOTE: All of the following tactics are mentioned with the explicit intent of reducing the overall loss of human life. Irresponsible recommendations to "nuke 'em all" or variations thereof are unwelcome. That said, this admonition should not be construed as dismissing limited engagements like those used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most military historians have finally conceded that the World War II nuclear attacks saved Japanese lives. The exceptionally violent nature of Islam makes it irresponsible to exclude from consideration similar "limited use" scenarios.

To continue: Here is a list of the major goals that functional deterrence should achieve. Any given approach need not succeed at enacting all of these features in order to qualify. Append this roster as you see fit and repost it if I have omitted any significant elements.

Stopping major terrorist atrocities: This should always be the primary focus of deterrence. It may not be possible to halt or adequately deter low-level jihad in places such as Thailand but attacks such as the 9-11 atrocity, Beslan, Madrid, Bali and London should come to an end or be met with distinct penalties.

Attaching a heavy price tag to further attacks: Be it through disproportionate retaliation, appropriation of assets or denial of access to worship, Islam must begin to experience reciprocal predation, discomfort or deprivation for its continued assaults upon the West.

Encouraging or coercing Muslims to self-police: Deterrence should possess sufficient dissuasive power whereby Muslim populations take it upon themselves to dismantle jihadi terror networks within their own sphere. Whether through outright fear or more subtle methods of penalty and reward, Islam must be made to clean its own house. Due to language or cultural barriers, the West is ill suited to such a job. What’s more, we have absolutely no obligation to perform such a rigorous and time-consuming task. Muslims know best who is and who is not participating in jihad. Let them taste the fruits of having embraced taqiyya as they attempt to winnow out the terrorists from their own midst.

Actively eroding support for jihadism: Although similar to the foregoing item we also need to address methods that reduce the glamour and attraction of participating in terrorist activity. Propaganda methods involving ridicule, humiliation, shame or condemnation and fear are one path. Collective punishment, especially within terrorist family networks, is another. Comprehensive biometric tracking of known and suspected jihadis could be yet another.

Support for or mandate to reform Islam: I include this option for the dreamers and optimists. There is little evidence to date that Islam can be rehabilitated into a peaceful entity. All indications are that it already has reformed into a more violent and intolerant version of itself when compared to its state some 50-100 years ago.

Some potential measures to consider on an individual basis or in combination:

Targeted Assassinations:

One exceptionally economical way of deterring people from engaging in terrorism is to make sure that they die for doing so. The problem of recidivism no longer remains an issue. Obviously, we cannot pursue every last jihadi on earth. That has already been addressed with respect to Islam cleaning its own house. Still, it would set a powerful example if the top tiers of jihad’s commanders, financiers, indoctrinators and scholars all began to experience severe physical attrition. The high context nature of Muslim culture both encourages and rewards people for being indispensable. To eliminate such irreplaceable elements of terrorism’s network structure will weaken it significantly. Doing so might possibly allow for other methods—less likely to work on their own—to realize some measure of success.

More than anything, it would represent major progress if jihadi leadership no longer felt comfortable making personal appearances before large assemblies or maintaining a conspicuous public presence of any sort. Again, in high context cultures this diminishes personal power in the very strongest sense. Without going into why Western governments are so loath to implement such a program, suffice to say that is would be very inexpensive when compared to our current rate of monetary expenditure in fighting Global Terrorism.

Propaganda — A Cautionary Tale:

Islamic terrorists continue to agitate for the use of nuclear weapons against the far better armed West. Muslim populations need to be informed of how exceptionally dangerous such a notion is. Making them aware of this would involve creating a really well produced Middle East version of "The Day After Tomorrow". Not the more recent global warming movie but that 1980s American video about the aftermath of a nuclear war. The program should show retaliation for a nuclear terrorist attack on a major American city. Explicit recreations should portray Cairo, Islamabad, Tehran, Riyadh and Damascus all vaporizing in nuclear explosions. Extremely vivid and graphic detail should be used to demonstrate just how devastating and gruesome such a response would be. Accurate recreations of firestorms, burning cement, boiling lakes and disintegrating buildings should all be included. The footage would also show easily recognized landmarks within each metropolis being destroyed along with its more affluent neighborhoods.

Subsequent footage should document the immense human suffering from radiation poisoning, exposure, starvation and epidemics that would sweep the affected areas. All of this should be burned onto millions of DVDs with sub-tracks in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Hindi and so forth. These would then be airdropped over the entire Arab Middle East and made to coincide with peak viewing cycles during Ramadan. To enhance public notice of this, airings of the video would also be electronically piggybacked onto al Jazeera, al Manar and other Arab state television broadcast channels. This would guarantee a splash of publicity and assure follow up viewing of the airdropped DVDs.

I can think of few other ways for America to clearly communicate the incredibly perilous position Muslims are being placed in by their jihadi co-religionists. Whether they agree with them or not is entirely of zero consequence. Islam is currently headed directly towards such an outcome and if there is some way of inspiring Muslims to begin reforming Islam or killing off their jihadist clergy and followers then this catastrophe might be averted.

Taking The Shrines as Hostages:

Through unilateral or coalition military action the shrines at Mecca and Medina are taken and held hostage against future terrorist attacks. Somehow, we need to reach out and touch over ONE BILLION Muslims. The haj (pilgrimage), is annually attended by over one million Muslims. For many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event that may well involve the most costly financial outlay they ever make. Missing such an opportunity due to terrorist atrocities might well cause individuals who are denied the haj to rethink their support of jihad. Once the shrines are captured, a span of thirteen months must pass without a single major terrorist atrocity before the haj can resume.

The shrines would be surrounded by a no-man’s land of minefields covered by computer controlled automatic weapons fire directed by night vision systems. If anything, the captured shines would also serve as the ultimate “flypaper” in how they would attract the most fanatical jihadis thereby distracting them from attacking other Western targets. Additionally, all attendees of the haj would have to undergo comprehensive biometric analysis in order to participate. The database assembled would provide a powerful tool in profiling terrorist families and groups.

Holding these shrines as physical hostages would also serve another purpose. Should there be a chemical or biological attack on a Western city, Medina would be contaminated with a similar agent. A second one would result in Mecca being contaminated as well. This is a significant deterrent as cleaning up either site would cost untold BILLIONS of dollars. In the case of a nuclear terrorist attack, first Medina and then Mecca would be obliterated.

Food Embargo:

[url=www.peopleandplanet.net/pdoc.php?id=682] Water poverty[/url] is endemic throughout the MME (Muslim Middle East). As populations grow, increasing amounts of water previously used for agricultural purposes are diverted into municipal drinking supplies. Deep aquifers are being pumped out at unsustainable rates and corrupt Arab governments are not willing to expend the massive amounts of money required to build expensive desalination plants or the nuclear reactors needed to power them.

One ton of grain requires ONE THOUSAND tons of water to grow. The average human diet consumes one third of a ton of grain per year, requiring over 300 tons of water. A Western diet rich in livestock can see that number rise to 800 tons of water needed to sustain such intake. Iran recently overtook Japan as the world’s largest grain importer. The MENA (Middle East North Africa) region ranks as the fastest growing market for imported grain. The water needed to accommodate this region’s combined consumption requires a volume roughly equivalent to the entire annual flow of the NILE RIVER. Bringing in foreign grain is just another way of importing water.

An immediate halt to exports of grain by America, Canada and Australia to the MME would bring about mass starvation in a matter of months, if not weeks. It borders on the ludicrous to consider how Islam continues antagonizing the West even as it is helplessly dependent upon it for their daily bread. An embargo of food shipments is one strategy that Russia and China—both major food importers—could not possibly triangulate against. One or two terrorist nuclear atrocities against the West could easily help it overcome any moral compunction about halting food shipments. No amount of money or any other lever could make the needed food magically appear. Even an oil embargo would not impact the West soon enough to counter the almost immediate onset of starvation.

Appropriation of Assets:

The 9-11 atrocity easily cost America on the order of ONE TRILLION dollars. A vast majority of the hijackers involved came from Saudi Arabia and were indoctrinated by Saudi Wahhabists. The USA would be well within its rights to appropriate the Ghawar Oilfield as compensation for this attack. Similarly, confiscation of other MME petroleum sources could serve as a form of retaliation against future attacks. Deprived of massive petrodollar wealth, the building of mosques and furnishing of weapons or money to terrorist organizations would come to a screeching halt.

Massively Disproportionate Retaliation:

For each new terrorist atrocity a major MME city ceases to exist. To date, Islam has not even begun to feel the West’s pain. World War II saw the firebombing of Tokyo and Dresden as direct retaliation for military aggression. At present, reluctance to identify Islam itself as an actual military foe is one of the only things inhibiting recognition of disproportionate retaliation as a useful tool. Again, a few more atrocities may change all that.

One way or the other, Muslims must be made to quake in fear with the announcement of each new terrorist attack. Uncertainty—a favorite tool of the jihadists—must be turned against Islam until homeless outraged Muslims scurry down to the local mosque and slit the jihadi imam’s throat. This is the self-policing that is currently absent and so badly needed.

Another form of massively disproportionate retaliation involves issuing a proclamation that even one single terrorist nuclear attack upon the West will result in rogue regimes like Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria all undergoing nuclear bombardment. This might inspire such terrorist havens to begin reversing the damage they have done.

Reverse Immigration and Containment:

The deportation of all Muslim immigrants back to their countries of origin may well prove necessary. Taqiyya makes it impossible to trust the followers of Islam. Much like World War II, Muslim citizens may need to be placed in internment camps if they refuse repatriation to their countries of origin. Like Mexico, Islam continues to export excess population that might otherwise agitate for change. The West needs to reassemble Islam’s diaspora and make Islamic nations confront their own shortcomings. With populations returned to their true levels, water poverty would loom even larger as a threat against further terrorist atrocities.

Outright Demolition of the Shrines:

This is an idea posed by another member of the 910 Group. I invite him to provide his own explanation and reasons for advocating this. It certainly carries the promise of total demoralization and should be examined for that reason alone.

In closing I will ask that you please post your own reactions to the various measures I have listed. I do not pretend that my list is comprehensive nor do I advocate their immediate use, save only for the targeted assassinations. However gruesome or morally objectionable any of them might be, we are confronted by an enemy who would not flinch to simultaneously inflict all of them upon the West if it was within their power to do so.

This is the one motivating factor that drives me to examine such ideas. All options must be kept open if we are to have any hope of deterring Islam much less defeating it. Far more likely is that one or more of these measures will need to be used before this conflict concludes. I believe it is vital that the West begins to understand the potential dimensions of what may be required to survive. None of this is pretty but—then again—neither is the prospect of life under shari’a law.

6/19/2008 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brock said...

I think the only unambiguously moral action to take is work toward avoiding this fix to start with. That means nipping WMD terror threats in the bud. Hitting the enemy conventionally and precisely now.

Invade Pakistan now to avoid doing it later? You know that's never going to happen, right? If for no other reason, it's got 250 million people. It MUST learn to police itself, because it's too damn big for anyone else to do it for them. The same is true for the Muslim world generally; we can barely handle Iraq.

6/19/2008 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Joshua said:

"The guilt on the Left runs smack into strong patriotism on the Right, both sides finally decide the country isn't big enough for the both of them, and the "cold civil war" brewing in the U.S. finally turns red-hot and brutal."

Add to this mix that two or more American cities will have been cratered along with millions of needless American deaths. There will be an overwhelming need to assign guilt and administer retribution.

The closest thing America has previously had to the moonbats were the Copperheads. It's noteworthy that the Copperheads disappeared almost without a trace shortly after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

6/19/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Thinking the unthinkable? What happens when a city is nuked, by a shipping container bomb. The "nuclear car bomb" that Wretchard mentioned?

Simple. World trade goes to zero, and ships are routed well out to sea, inspected bit by bit or simply sunk. No amount of trade is worth the suddenly realistic risk of losing a city. Just the way air travel shut down after 9/11 for three days in the US.

Afterwards, there will be more than just the half-measures taken in air travel post-9/11. Instead you'll see just a trickle of trade, and institutions such as NAFTA, the EU, and every other trade bloc will be dead, dead, dead.

Worldwide and decades long depression. Akin to the 1930's. Along with the whole-sale rounding up and imprisoning of Muslims, prior to their permanent expulsion.

Singapore's reaction would be to do so, and attempt to remake itself as a custom, small-volume, high margin manufacturer in competition with Japan. China would be out of luck, their low margin, high labor involved products would not make it over in the volume they need to stay alive economically. They'd collapse, regime change of some kind, and aggressive wars of resource grabbing (not the least, women, as all those men without them provide irresistible pressure).

Europe does the same, as even the Iranians do not yet have ICBMS which can reach Copenhagen. Danes can be "safe" for a while if they only, post-nuclear blast in say DC or Berlin or the Vatican, they imprison and then expel all Muslims, don't let any in, and close off their borders.

This is precisely why bin Laden or some Islamist WILL nuke a major city, to collapse global trade. Of course it will happen -- the costs of acting are too great, politically, and the benefits too iffy as opposed to showing up the fantasists their fantasy. There was a reason Churchill spent a decade in the Wilderness, no one wanted to hear his warnings, they would rather party. Like it's 1939!

If it was a US city that was hit, absent a President McCain, there would be no response. Obama has built his entire campaign and political base on that precept, that America deserves whatever it gets and it's time for us to be killed and humbled. It would take two or three cities in the US destroyed before he was removed by impeachment and THEN the response would be survival. Killing most Muslim nations. No one would feel guilty either until decades later.

But yes, death of a major Western city and global economic collapse following the death of global trade is coming. Be assured of it. We certainly won't nuke in the behalf of other nations since we won't on our own behalf.

If NYC were nuked tomorrow (God Forbid) most Dems, all Media people, and Obama would say we had it coming, and want to be "sympathetic victims." Call it the Oprah-ization of America.

6/19/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

The elevation of revenge fetishism to policy has a few rather glaring problems. One is that it would guarantee the rapid formation of alliances between countries like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan with Russia and China and instantly, dramatically, polarize the world into two blocs.
Instantly, there would be no more pseudo-intellectual videogamer fantasies about nuking Teheran, because it would be under the Russian-Chinese nuclear umbrella. Nor could China and Russia prevent another 9/11 any more than the U.S. is able to prevent another Timothy McVeigh attack -- nuclear threat or no.
This Elbridge fellow makes some excellent points about the non-deterrability of terrorism and about how few the policy options are. But the moment he shifts into policy recommendations, he contradicts himself repeatedly.
We are vulnerable and always will be. That means always as in forever. Task No. 1 is accepting that. The sooner we emerge from denial about that, the more quickly we can stop wasting time on fantasies about deterrence and get down to the difficult, uncertain, endless work of securing ports and public facilities and building trust and goodwill among nations and peoples.

6/19/2008 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

whiskey_199, short of Wretchard himself, I would deeply appreciate your personal comparitive analysis with repsect to my own "Functional Deterrent" scenario and those of the linked article.

I find the similarities to be not just amazing but gratifying. The congruencies involved are both necessary and appropriate. Do you concur? And, if not, please elaborate as to why not. I strongly suspect that we will be in raucous and violent agreement.

Islam must be stopped with mutually assured destruction and the promise of wholesale retaliation for even the most minor infractions. I cannot imagine any other sort of disincentive that would have the least effect upon such barbaric swine.

6/19/2008 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger deepinjuncountry said...

I do believe that there will be precious little time for any alliances or blocs to form between the time of an attack and the US retaliatory "revenge fetishism." "Build trust and goodwill," yeah, that'll keep the ports safe. It will forever baffle me how such obviously intelligent people can engage in such utter fantasy. Oh wait, it's hope.

6/19/2008 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Zenster thank you for the kind words. Here is my brief analysis, a more considered bit later.

First, I agree completely with your hierarchy of policy goals. Stopping major atrocities must be the most important goal, with the others in order. I would second say that because the West is politically divided, unwilling to undertake any major combat operations with casualties, or lengthy engagements, this must be understood as a constraint. The tools available to a policy maker are very limited: police cooperation, limited espionage and assassination, limited wiretapping, outsourced torture via rendition. All requiring either secrecy or lack of publicity at the least.

Targeted assassinations are the best method, because it both induces fear, and no one in the West will complain much if bin Laden or Zawahari were killed. The problem is getting to them and being willing to either get into bed with questionable characters who might later be just as large a problem, or civilian casualties, or both. This policy was considered and discarded by Clinton out of political concern for bad publicity on both accounts. Those constraints still exist, but for people like Osama they might be stretched just enough to accomplish the deed.

Far more useful, though, would be attrition killings via payments to a nasty, deniable partner who can kill low-level operatives, the "arms and legs" as well the support structure including family members and so on. This was the method used to destroy Pablo Escobar's organization, and it met his terror with counter-terror including killing his family members, lawyers, family of lawyers, and so on until no one would risk working with him. Leaving him manpower poor and vulnerable, and eventually dead. It was very ugly, as described by Mark Bowden in "Killing Pablo." It worked. A requirement however for obvious political reasons is absolute secrecy.

I agree with the Propaganda Approach, though it's likely impossible. Recent restrictions on both the US Military and State Dept. enacted by Congress make it impossible from a legal standpoint. It could possibly be funded by some CIA or other group, to an Egyptian or other movie studio with existing credibility. Anything coming from the US would be dismissed as well as result in prosecution of those involved. Efforts to show graphically the cost of a nuclear strike on the US by depicting the retaliation would be powerful, however we must be prepared for the counter-reaction of killing sprees by Jihadis. It would be very difficult to find a partner since even conservative Islamists are vulnerable to being described as infidel and the subject of murder attempts.

I do not think taking the Shrines as hostages would work. Ironically, internal Saudi jihadis did so in 1979, and the Muslim world ignored it. Despite the horrific bloodshed among the hostages, the gunbattles with French and Saudi paramilitary forces, the result was a massive shrug of the shoulders.

I do not think the food embargo will work, since too many will seek to profit from it by slipping past it, and the Europeans will never agree. Politically it's unsupportable, the days of embargoes died with Apartheid. Saddam of all people knew the embargo was going. Globalization means too many suppliers of anything will find willing sellers. Any attempt at embargo will be labelled "genocide" by both Leftists (often paid by outlaw regimes) and Human Rights campaigners (also on the payroll of rogue nations). The US could not sustain it internally nor get Europe to go along, let alone Russia or China or Australia or Argentina. Even if US cities died, it would be impossible to achieve, domestically and certainly foreign-wise.

Appropriation of Assets, along with promised $1 a gallon gas, might be politically sustainable. "War for Oil" if the oil is actually delivered, cheap, and plentiful, would find many takers. The Liberals would hate it, but most would gladly divide by 4 their current gas bills. Along with everything else cheaper. It's also a very Machiavellian punishment, to make one's enemies poor and visibly poor. It paints a very dire picture for regimes, particularly other Gulf nations weak, low in population, with valuable resources. The House of Saud would not survive losing the oil fields. This measure is both ruthless (your enemies are poor and soon, dead meat to internal opponents) and populist (breaks internal opposition to the measure by putting lots of money effectively in people's pockets).

Massively Disproportionate Retaliation has IMHO several problems. First, no Muslim nation or elite would believe it, given the long history since 1979 of US appeasement and running away from acts of war. It would have to be demonstrated first, unmistakenly, with say most of Pakistan dead, after a nuclear strike on Chicago, for it to be believed. Second, internal opposition (see McDaddyo's dream of peace, hugs, and rainbows with a side of order of kittens to "deal" with Jihad) would prevent it from being proclaimed realistically anyway. People like McDaddyo want their dream of "end of history" where everyone is a participant in the Disneyland ride "It's A Small World" and the children all hold hands and sing and dance.

Also, our legalistic desire for "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" in a court of law would prevent any retaliation. The Supreme Court would rule out any action, and limit US response to say, a few subpeonas. Given the activist, imperial Judiciary this is no joke. It would take several US cities dying before outraged citizens and independent actors simply remove the Supremes, one way or another.

Reverse Immigration and Containment? Again not politically possible now, in the current climate. Also not legally possible. If Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11 is due Miranda Rights and the whole menu of Criminal Court protection in the wisdom of the Supremes, then we have no ability to do anything of the sort now given the fantasy of safety and security and no cost of choices that the majority of our elites have embraced. This just MIGHT be possible if one city died, if several did it would happen on it's own, spontaneously, as it did in California after Dec. 7, 1941. People were scared, did not trust Roosevelt, and Earl Warren, Democratic Governor, acted before Roosevelt and started internment operations, which Roosevelt then jumped on.

I don't think destruction of the Shrines would accomplish much. As a practical matter they've been rebuilt so many times they'd just be rebuilt again. I don't think it would be demoralizing. [Mohammed bin Laden essentially rebuilt Mohammed's Mosque in Medina, and the Saudis under Wahabbists have destroyed all other old landmark buildings as "idolatry" to no one's protest at all.]

In short, I think targeted assassination, and particularly low-level assassination of the infrastructure of Jihad, as with Pablo Escobar, in secret operations are the best way to go. Much more extensive than Israeli operations, because the US is bigger and can offer much more complete electronic means to go after the low-level infrastructure. This is the "drain the sea" approach to the guerilla swimming in the ocean of the people. Appropriation of Assets as a policy declared NOW, prior to anything happening is realistic, since it would be both sustainable politically and put the fear of poverty into tribes which run most of the Muslim world.

What I think WILL happen, is that we will drift along, at the return of "the end of history" until a major Western City dies, and then react in panic. Trade will die, global deep depression will cause famine and starvation and warfare in Africa and Latin America and much of Asia. It will be a fumbling, ad-hoc affair to likely, the great nuclear powers deciding to once and for all crush the upstart powers that threaten them, and divide the spoils. Given the sure-to-happen collapse in global trade and prosperity, naked resource grabs and imperialism to maintain power by the big ones at the expense of the smaller ones is what makes sense.

My own personal sense is that using the US's superior resources to wage a secret war of attrition against Jihad is the only way to avert this catastrophe (global depression can kill as many as widespread war) but I don't see the will.

6/19/2008 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

There are two reasons why it is important in itself to prevent things from degenerating into the "expanded deterrence" game. First, at the extreme end of responses effects are nonlinear. For intuition, imagine the ordinary normal curve. The horizontal displacement in terms of standard deviations between the 50% and 51% percentile is small. Even between the 98th and 99th percentile are separated by a relatively small displacement. But at the tails -- the difference between the 99.999th and the 99.9991th is huge. Theoretically the tails go out to infinity.

The point is that we are now in a security "sweet spot" where small changes in policy do not lead to big changes in effects. When we go out into "expanded deterrence" territory, tiny errors will have gigantic results. When I say "we don't want to go there" I mean in the sense that our risk management problems become magnified at that end of the game. We are far better off chasing terrorists, apprehending them, incarcerating them (if there is some place the lawyers will let us do it) then we are creating doomsday SIOPS for use against Islamic or non-Islamic extremists. That's very dangerous ground. One slip and it's a long way down.

The second reason is that at the extremes of security response we enter a moral event horizon, where bad and good tend to be squished together. Formulating nuclear strategy, "thinking about the unthinkable" instantly took people into the realm of near-madness. Mutual assured destruction. Commitment, stability of deterrence. etc. Every human conception of morality suddenly got distorted like an image in a funhouse mirror. In the rarified theology of nuclear strategy, the best way to achieve the moral outcome was to threaten the most monstrous behavior. Wags use to say that SAC's motto was "Peace is our Profession. War is Our Business." And people could argue with a straight face that the reason America built nukes was not to use it. This was the never-never land of nuclear strategy. Here, good and evil are compressed together in a kind of Black Hole.

One outcome of both these effects -- nonlinearity and moral compression -- is that we lose freedom. Remember that freedom is the ability to choose between outcomes. In a nonlinear event space nobody can calculate with any confidence what will happen if we do X.0001 instead of X. It's a crap game. Moreover, the moral compression effect will blur the boundaries between what is "good" and what is "bad". What does freedom mean when you can't predict the outcomes of your choices nor assign a meaningful moral value to them?

Those readers of who remember the Three Conjectures will note that the Third Conjecture was that we are in this Golden Hour. Most of it has passed, but there are still a few minutes left. This Golden Hour represents the time we are in the ordinary, forgiving, and fault tolerant part of the security function. Once a real conflict is upon us, we'll be driven to extremes. And then we'll be back in extraordinary time, when we drop A-bombs on cities in order to save lives, just like World War 2.

We will never know just how precious the opportunities we have now are until we've pissed them away.

6/20/2008 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Here's the money shot from Hoover's Colby:

``It is a policy that carefully and reasonably expands the
definition of guilt — it is not a policy that targets the innocent.''

Hands down the winner of the 2008 George Orwell Doublespeak award.

The U.S. would never target innocents, so we must therefore ``expand the definition of guilt.'' Doubleplusgood! Why didn't bin Laden think of that?

What Colby describes is nothing more and nothing less than using pre-emptive terrorism to "deter" terrorism.

Beyond this glaring self-contradiction, does it not seem odd to anyone that Colby doesn't bother to discuss the potential reactions from allies and "neutral" countries to such a policy?

He seems to assume that the autocrats in Beijing, Moscow and Mexico City will stand by idly once America unilaterally declares the world as its exclusive terrordome.

Japan, for example, is apparently expected to simply just say OKAY when it is informed by the U.S. that fallout from a nuclear strike on North Korea may be coming its way, JUST IN CASE Pyongyang sells yet another missile to Iran.

America is surely the world's most powerful military by a good distance, but no matter how big it is, other countries have no choice but to act on the basis of their own security.

And you can be sure that an America that openly declared its intent to use nuclear terror as a policy instrument would instantly, of necessity, provoke a global anti-American alliance.

Colby himself says plainly that deterrence doesn't work. He also admits at one point that in a nuclear world, deterrence must be 100 percent effective. So we know, and he knows deterrence cannot do the job.

What Colby doesn't get into is that diplomacy can't do the job either. The simple, if hard, fact is that NOTHING works with 100 percent certainty. We are and will always be vulnerable to WMD attack.

We know deterrence won't work and we know diplomacy won't work with the degree of certainty required. Diplomacy becomes the obvious choice because it does not entail the type of terrorism, nor risk the responses, that Colby describes.

At the end of the day, our choice isn't between what will work and what won't. It's a cost-benefit decision among imperfect options.

Every single poster here in favor of strategic terror fails to discuss its potential costs and potential failures, let alone compare them -- weigh them side by side -- with the pros and cons of diplomacy, domestic security and confidence building.

6/20/2008 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

The nuclear shipping container bomb is not much of a threat.

A security-related company today makes a semi-portable detector that can pick up and localize radioactive material on a fully-loaded, normal-sized container ship from a distance, like say, from a small boat cruising past the container ship.

They've sold 7,000 of them over the last couple of years. Guess what visits every merchant ship entering a US port?

Yep, a USCG small craft carrying the harbor pilot.

Same thing with the "untraceable" bomb; because our military and intelligence agencies can send a NEST team into the post-event area, to take samples of the air, etc so that we can get a radioactive sample of the un-used fissile material from teh device floating around post initation.

Said radioactive sample can then be compared with the known fissile material "signatures" we have on file for every nuclear reactor in the world -- what do you think those specialized airborne sampler aircraft do?

Within about 24-48 hours after an initation, we will know where the fissile that was used to create the bomb came from, and pressure; up to full strategic retaliation, can be applied to the country that provided the fissile to the terrorists.

6/20/2008 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

However, despite the remoteness of such an event -- an actual genuine terrorist created nuclear weapon -- initating in a city somewhere, the possibility can't be discounted that easily.

More specifically, what do we DO if it happens? Do we glass the country that provided the fissile material? Do we invade them? Do we nuke the last known location of the terrorists?

6/20/2008 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Responsibility:

Suppose Pakistan somehow delivered a nuclear attack to the U.S.?

The obvious answer is the people who actually had the power to make the decisions to acquire it and, then, the people who make the decision to use it.

It goes without saying that the people with power to order the attack bear full responsibility.

But in the Alice in Wonderland world of "expanded deterrence" we need to find guilt among parties who merely declined to prevent those in power from ordering the attack.

This creates some rather immediate political problems in the U.S. A mere two decades ago the Reagan administration demanded changes to laws banning Pakistan from receiving aid if it pursued nuclear weapons.

The administration made a clear, uncoerced choice: It chose to directly aid and abet Pakistan's procurement of a nuclear weapon.

In a world of "expanded deterrence,'' the first order of the day would be the execution -- without trial, of course, to suit the American right's distaste for jurisprudence -- of those policymakers who decided it was quite alright for Pakistan to receive U.S. aid while acquiring a nuclear weapon, and, indeed, selling the technology to Iran, Algeria and who knows who else.

We can see the same fate being visited upon the policymakers who approved "covert" aid to the mujahideen directly link to Shiek Rahman, convicted in the first World Trade Center bombing. Looks like a pretty clear-cut case to me. The Reagan administration secretly ordered that taxpayer dollars be used to support a terrorist who subsequently attacked the U.S.

Clearly, "enhanced deterrence" requires that the very first examples made be of individuals that funded terrorists with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

What amazes me is that military aggressionists consistently miss the obvious point that in a society of laws, they must be applied equally to all. If we want rule of law to prevail here or abroad, we have to assume it will be applied to ALL parties.

This is of course why we have a court system that presumes innocence and strictly limits the power of the government to compel evidence. Military aggressionists dismiss this as "niceties" only because they blindly assume the government won't come after them first. History shows in spades how wrong they are on that.

6/20/2008 02:03:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

AQ Kahn is free in Pakistan.

The U.S. supports the government of Pakistan.

Why doesn't it even occur to Colby that this is a "slam dunk" case for "pre-emptive" deterrent strikes against the U.S.

6/20/2008 02:07:00 AM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

In this comments thread we see problem facing America. Those willing to take responsibility for developing policy have their ideas sliced and diced into tiny pieces that loose context by some who would never claim to be responsible.

So we stumble along in fits and starts without policy. Just name the game; anti-terror, energy, immigration, etc.

Therein lies doom.

6/20/2008 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

More specifically, what do we DO if it happens? Do we glass the country that provided the fissile material? Do we invade them? Do we nuke the last known location of the terrorists?

Terrorism and other forms of proxy warfare attempt to sever the link between the fundamental and proximate actors. It is a very similar to a mastermind/triggerman situation in which the mastermind acquires immunity by interposing the triggerman. It's a familiar concept in crime which has now been applied to warfare.

The reason all these references to "revenge fetishism" are meaningless is because they never solve the basic problem. Who will be the object of revenge? As MKSheppard asks, do we glass the country of origin of the fissile material? The location from which the attack was prepared and launched? The country which contributed the most money to the weapon's destruction? The country which indoctrinated, trained and motivated the terrorists? Do we establish some point system?

We are told the answer to our problems is "security, diplomacy and confidence building". With whom? Who do we make nice to? Guard against, give diplomatic concessions to?

Expanded deterrence would leave the determination of who to nuke to nuk-er. Whoever looks to be guilty will get it. The suggestion is that it will make any country which is harboring secret thoughts about covertly attacking another open to arbitrary retribution. Boom is followed by boom.

But as I've written elsewhere, why is there a need to announce retaliation openly at all? If one is attacked covertly why not respond in the same deniable coin? The process of responding deniably for deniable would appeal to small countries with limited retaliatory resources.

Suppose Saudi Arabia gets nuked. Why should the Sauds say anything at all if Teheran just happens to follow Riyadh into oblivion? So sorry. We know just how you feel. Just as the gangsters who send flowers to each others funerals during a turf war. Symphonies on the Chicago piano are intermittently punctuated by the spasms of real violins.

Of course such a world would live quivering on the edge of fear. As I've argued in the comments above, a world of "expanded deterrence" may only be preferable to a world of chronic nuclear exchanges. But it is not preferable to today's world of general peace.

But if we don't crack down hard on the terror infrastructure and place our trust instead in nebulous "security, diplomacy and confidence building" we'll soon enough find ourselves in expanded deterrence.

6/20/2008 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

We could start cracking down hard by bombing Iran while it might still do some good. Another nuclear armed moslem country we do not need. The Israelis are at least practicing.

6/20/2008 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Yet again, Wretchard goes with the straw man.

He writes:

``We are told the answer to our problems is "security, diplomacy and confidence building".''

Now, we are not told that. I made clear that THERE IS NO ANSWER.

The terrible fact is that we are vulnerable AND ALWAYS WILL BE.

I made very clear that the preference for diplomacy and other forms of non-military aggression emerges from a cost-benefit comparison with Colby's idea of calling innocent people guilty so we can nuke them in time for confession before Sunday Mass.

How many times shall I repeat this before Wretchard would acknowledge it?

The point is not that non-military power is the "answer." Indeed, it's just as unlikely to be effective 100 percent of the time as are pre-emptive holocausts.

How can Wretchard go on thinking about the dilemma under the stupendous presumption that the pre-emptive holocaust option would only ever be considered by the U.S.

He envisions a nuking of Riyadh being responded to by a nuking of Teheran, but what if Saudis prefer a pre-emptive strike against the U.S. -- given it's role in supporting the Iraqi Shia theocracy that could just as imaginably acquire a nuke as Teheran.

The myopia goes far beyond simple naivete and deeply into delusion.

What on Earth makes Wretchard thing Putin's Russia or Hu's China would not just as happily declare themselves on a "strategic terror" footing and proceed to threaten the U.S. with pre-emptive attacks, or massive retaliation should anyone, anywhere attack them?

Colby's risible screed is an argument for terrorism, pure and simple. The fact that he dresses it up in sophomoric strategic jargon and Orwellian double-speak only makes it more glaringly stupid.

Please Wretchard, you keep concluding that you really seek ways to prevent the onset of strategic terrorism as U.S. policy. If you're sincere, you'll ccknowledge Colby's self-contradictions as such and look elsewhere at a solution at least recognizes that other countries exist and can be counted on to put their own security first.

6/20/2008 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger randian said...

One exceptionally economical way of deterring people from engaging in terrorism is to make sure that they die for doing so.

Since dying in the service of Allah is the highest possible status any Muslim can have, I don't see how this will have any deterrent effect whatsoever.

6/20/2008 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In reality, while the U.S. stated that we would follow a Counter Value approach to deterrence by holding Soviet cities hostage, the Soviets never did. They espoused a Counter Force approach, pointing the weapons at our military capabilities, - and furthermore, the Soviets went nuts every time and American said maybe we should go with a Counter Force strategy. Of course, Counter Value means that a pre-emptive strike is impossible and to the USSR it was nuts anyway, because capturing the goodies of a productive civilization was what the war was all about. They no more wanted to seize a bunch of nuked cities than we wanted to grab all of their Migs for our own use.

It is difficult in this time of A.Q Khan to put things in the perspective of Herman Kahn, but here is an attempt.

Our attack on Afghanistan was a Retaliatory response. Note that we did very little actually invading, but did lots of bombing. The Left is reasonably content with this, since they see it as permissible under the traditional “Thinking the Unthinkable” type of reasoning.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was in fact a Pre-Emptive Strike. This is horrifying in the extreme from the Left’s viewpoint, straight out of Gen Buck Turgeson’s type of reasoning. However, we did not just take out the ICBM base at Kotlass but aimed at an entire ideology. And Pre-Emptive strikes are part of the Bush doctrine

MAD may not work with Al Queda, at least in the normal nuclear sense. But Destruction of their ideology does work. And that is just what we did in Iraq.

6/20/2008 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

In a World of obsessively attempted antiseptic warfighting with a ban on government sponsored assassination (I like to think of that as "the Gerald Bull treatment") and, now, habeas rights for Geneva non-compliant, non-uniformed enemy combatants the concept of holding parent societies or cultures responsible is NOT. possible.

Allow me to repeat:

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more.

6/20/2008 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

RWE claims:

``Destruction of their ideology does work. And that is just what we did in Iraq.''

Before the invasion, suicide bombings were unknown in Iraq. Today they're routine: a standard tactic of an insurgency comprising foreign Al Qaeda elements with Sunni resistence fighters compelled to seek protection from the Iran and U.S.-backed Shia dominated government.

In exclusively Shia enclaves in Iraq, (which didn't exist before the invasion) liqour stores are forced to close and men have been shot on sight for the crime of wearing tennis shorts. The mullahs rule. The mullahs were either underground or in Iran before the invasion.

Iraq will undoubtedly use whatever influence it has a sovereign country to oppose Israel's right to exist. Remember when Maliki raised such a stink by coming to the U.S. and saying as much? That much hasn't changed since the invasion, but now Iraq will be an enemy of Israel in which the U.S. has a great deal invested--hardly a formula for "crushing" the anti-Jewish ideology of radical Islam.

Before the invasion, Al Qaeda was unknown in Iraq. Now, they are a significant presence and unlikely to be dislodged easily or, certainly not, completely.

And now, RWE is so badly spun by the conservative media, he thinks it's credible to say the war in Iraq destroyed an ideology.

As for "strategic terror'' as a response to the WMD threat, let us turn the problem around and look at it in the mirror.

Nahncee, a regular on this blog, repeatedly calls for a holocaust against Muslims. Were such a horrible thing to ever happen, Nahncee's advocacy would not necessarily make her complicit, under normal criteria. She'd have to be involved in a much more active way.

But certainly by her own standards, and by the ones Colby advocates, Nahncee IS a terrorist. Nahncee IS responsible for a potential holocaust because she calls for one.

Therefore, by Colby's own rules, Pakistani intelligence operatives, for example, have not only the right, but the responsibility to murder Nahncee, as the only way to prevent the horrible crime of a holocaust against Muslims.

But it couldn't and wouldn't stop there. In practice, what Colby is advocating is the extra-judicial prosecution of thought crime, with extreme prejudice.

As such, Wretchard as well would be on the hit list. He actively encourages advocacy of slaughter and while he does often repeat that he doesn't see it as a panacea, he fails to stop it -- a crime Colby cites explicitly as worthy of collective capital punishment in a world of proliferated WMD.

I must say I'm disappointed in the ability of the American educational system to teach basic American ideals to students.

The poster's here seem to have no idea of the intrinsic worth of the American values of limited government power, fair trials and free speech.

Rather, they seem to consider these inalienable rights as "privelidges" or "niceties" conferred only on people at times and under circumstances dictated by the government.

Colby's argument is prima facie unacceptable because it presents dissent as thought crime and urges extrajudicial murder as a penalty for it.

6/20/2008 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Marsh Arab said...

McDaddyo says:

I made clear that THERE IS NO ANSWER.

The terrible fact is that we are vulnerable AND ALWAYS WILL BE.
_______________

Perhaps this is the line of reasoning that seems to push so many on the Left towards the 'let's just surrender' sentiment.

Thanks for enlightening us, Mickey D!

6/20/2008 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

McDaddyo: If you look out the window you probably will find that you once again have a reason to call your local municipality and complain; the garbage trucks have failed to make their periodic delivery.

And when things get a bit parched out, you need to call your local authorities and complain that they have failed to wet down the streets.

Because if you think that suicide bombing cause Islamic Fascism you must surely think that garbage trucks cause garbage and wet streets cause rain.

6/20/2008 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Again, I feel forced to rebut the gross ignorance that has emerged after "24" and Tom Clancy's "Sum of All Fears" about NEST, nuclear bomb detection.
MKSHEPPARD relays these misconceptions yet again. Several posters agree with each and have said the same stuff on other threads.

Main points - (1)You cannot readily identify any ship as having or not having nuclear arms on it. (20You cannot detect the presence of a sub armed with 200 thermonuclear warheads and a nuclear reactor spewing out several million times the radiation the warheads have. (3)Sniffer planes were great in getting bomb residue samples before 1963. Since testing went underground, we sometimes get residue from very small "leakage", most times, we get nothing at all from a test site.
(4)Nuke bombs are made with production plutonium that may be a blend of several weapons reactor PU product. (5)Or they are made with HEU, which is identical the world over. (6)Some insight after a bomb can be gained from knowing which country has what sophisticated element that influences residue. UK and US weapon design is identical, but sophisticated and distinguishable from other designs. But the very simple designs can be built by anyone, so the simpler and more likely for terrorist use, the less likely you will find a "unique" design - all you may end up with is "this could have been made by anybody".

MKSheppard said...
The nuclear shipping container bomb is not much of a threat.


Yes it is, because you have enough space and weight capacity with a shipping container to apply up to 20 ten-thicknesses of 1" lead shielding (each inch attenuates by a factor of 10) around the pit that absolutely nothing would be detectable

A security-related company today makes a semi-portable detector that can pick up and localize radioactive material on a fully-loaded, normal-sized container ship from a distance, like say, from a small boat cruising past the container ship.

What they don't tell people they are pitching their product to that it is worthless in detecting reasonably shielded HEU assemblies, well shielded PU assemblies, or just fissile metal not yet in bomb configuration but in even more easily shielded and bypassed even on physical inspection - power, impregnated in plastic products. A ship also offers heavy shielding of the ship hull and compartments, use of fluid-filled tanks or the sea itself if the nuke cargo is stored well below the waterline the "super-duper detector" is aimed above..

They've sold 7,000 of them over the last couple of years. Guess what visits every merchant ship entering a US port?
Yep, a USCG small craft carrying the harbor pilot.


There like the TSA toenail clipper, toothpaste confiscators to reassure a dumb public the "heroes" are keeping them perfectly safe, perhaps to occasionally get a dummy trying to sneak in badly shielded nuclear material for a "dirty bomb".

And if you have ever seen one of those public reassurance inspections happening, you will notice they take place within the Harbor, even at dockside. Think. You're a maniac but bright Jihadi planning on blowing up at the pier, but then the Coasties come when you are 300 yards off but in detonation distance of wiping out 3/4ths of Miami. The obvious countermeasure is to shout "Allah u Akbar!" three times and push the red button. KA-BOOOM!!
(also the Euro Left, Japanese, Chicom & Russian boats around the Med, Straight of Malacca try sniffing our Naval vessels to see about nukes onboard with no luck due to certain classified countermeasures to their detection efforts we take.

Same thing with the "untraceable" bomb; because our military and intelligence agencies can send a NEST team into the post-event area, to take samples of the air, etc so that we can get a radioactive sample of the un-used fissile material from teh device floating around post initation.

Teams of grad students from perhaps 90 countries could build a gun-type HEU assembly that would be functionally identical to one another and hence untraceable.

Said radioactive sample can then be compared with the known fissile material "signatures" we have on file for every nuclear reactor in the world -- what do you think those specialized airborne sampler aircraft do?

Pure fantasy. The US does not have "every reactor on file". HEU, not plutonium, actually predominates in bomb designs of early fission devioes. Even if you had PU on file of each reactor, the stuff gets blended together in
the bomb assembly plant. Plus, to add to the folly of believing "Hollywood got it right" we all regularly tinker with our PU-reactors -adjusting composition of fuel sticks going it to have different cladding, discrete boron and carbide layering. Then in the reactor itself adjusting the speed and density of the nuclear flux. All that changes the ratios of PU-238, 239,240,241 plus chemically similar elements from fission that carry through refining in "tramp" quantities.

Within about 24-48 hours after an initation, we will know where the fissile that was used to create the bomb came from, and pressure; up to full strategic retaliation, can be applied to the country that provided the fissile to the terrorists.

Again, pure fantasy. You won't know if it is HEU. You might, just might get lucky and get the origin to perhaps RBMK Soviet reactors, a heavy water research reactor in India...if it is plutonium.

(But you will get some nice info on bomb design, how efficient the blast was at fissioning the core assembly, how powerful it was, and if the bomb was "salted" with material that is short-lived, and intensely bioactive (flourine, iodine) to increase casualties further. Info of great value not to just who did it, but critical info for emergency people, fighting the hundreds of fires raging in the periphery, what is the safest way to mass-bury corpses and treat casualties that survived the blast and fires, and much later, recovery.)

Your primary intel will be as it always is, signals intercept, then tracing movements of people of interest in the detonation area(s), financial transactions...and with cost no object, getting cooperation of all nations innocent of involvement & milking the informants of every nation's intelligence services on who might be the culprit.

6/20/2008 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

McD, Saddam had built a service dedicated to the IED and suicide bombings, and practiced in Kurdistan and Palestine. That much we know, it is fact. Al Qaeda brought the suicide elements home to roost so to speak, for those who "chose poorly" specifically the Baath Party "Dead enders" and participants in the civil strife that gave legs to not only JAM but to the Sunni SoI as well. Imagine that, a people policing themselves.

The issue of Israel is a red flag only because the Joooos is used as a scape goat to duck responsibility for poor governance among principally Arab states. Democracy as practiced in Kuwait and the Gulf states was undergoing a steady rise until the propagandists of the west bought the Al Q reports of a rise against the US in Iraq, and the idea that the GWOT was little more than a wholesale assault against Islam. Radical Islam is the culprit, the festering sore in Islamic populations that affects the rest of the world. Prodding the Citizens of Islamic states to toss off the hold of radicalism, and denounce the use of terror means encouraging the embrace of an alternative. Reigniting the democracy movement maybe our best longterm bet. Enabling security for trade and family, freedom from radical types and that includes radical types of civil laws, is the way to get there from here. What was started in Afghanistan continued in Iraq will still carry the day in Pakistan and the ME if the people there are allowed to compare and choose. Afghanis don't want the cleric driven taliban, Iraqis don't want another Stalinist Saddam, Iranians don't want the revolutionary Islamist/Socialist Ayatollahs and their lamp post lynching clerics any more than the Saudi citizens want their religious police. If a way can be presented to make the powers that be accountable to the people, without the finger pointing of so much past gas there is a real chance that the Radicals will be defeated and a real discussion of what sensible Islam ought to look like, and how responsible Islam ought to act.

Meanwhile we are vulnerable,and the best point of defense is not in Our Harbors or Port Authorities, but in the Harbors and port Authorities throughout the rest of the world. With luck China and FAU will not be force to choose sides, just trading partners.

Yet still I would never take the Nuke option off the table. Nor would I engage in a useless rehash of who did what to whom when, because that is not the issue, survival is.

6/20/2008 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

I must say I'm disappointed in the ability of the American educational system to teach basic American ideals to students"

I agree, some believe you when you say you are watering the plants. It is obvious, really, you're just pissing on our parents grave.

"There is no answer" that is about the biggest bunch of chicken droppings I have yet encountered. I do hope you didn't pay too much for that fine education you never got.

6/20/2008 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wretchard:

Perhaps that which deters one enemy is different from that which deters another.

Is it time to consider Cartoon Deterrence? Imagine if the immediate response of a man dying of radiation poisoning from a nuclear blast is to create a cartoon lampooning Islam. Sure it sounds nutty, but this response may actually work. We know the terrorists get offended by anything that pokes fun at their religion. We know that we can hurt the feelings of terrorists by sneering at them. Whatever anti-Islam cartoons lack in physicality, they would make up for in breaking the enemy’s stranglehold on what we are allowed to publish.

If the Left is unwilling to contemplate even Cartoon Deterrence, it really has taken the side of the enemy. If the Right is unwilling to contemplate Cartoon Deterrence, it shows that it cannot imagine any response to an attack other than a fist. Is our society so materialistic that it cannot comprehend the sheer power of contempt as a deterrent against the depredations of the terrorist? Despite the apparent nonviolence of Cartoon Deterrence, it has the advantage that it may actually work.

Martin Luther didn’t shy away from depicting the Whore of Babylon with a triple tiara, which was a well-known symbol of the Papacy. That one cartoon probably did more than any one sword to incite bloodshed. The power of the cartoon to incite contempt against one's enemy should not be underestimated.

6/20/2008 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Russian Bolsheviks found the chaos of World War I a convenient milieu in which to grow their Communist Revolution; and so it is today with American Leftists like McDaddyo. They see an opportunity for themselves in this war against Totalitarian Islam; and even more opportunity in the chaos that would ensue after the onset of nuclear war.

American Socialism is our home-grown version of the European nanny state, but it will "scientifically" evolve into the tyrant state. Socialism is a velvet glove concealing an iron fist.

6/20/2008 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Is it time to consider Cartoon Deterrence?

Well yes. Meeting ideologies head on and engaging in information warfare is one of those self-evident and simple ways to avoid getting ourselves into the "expanded deterrence" trap. It's nonviolent, rational. The only thing wrong with this approach is that the Left for the most part, won't let it happen.

You can say the same for targeted, low intensity combat against terrorist cells. It's an obvious, relatively undestructive way to avoid getting ourselves into the mutual annihilation game. But again, the Left won't let it happen.

They'll continue to make noises which generally indicate they want the problem solved, but objectively they'll block anything that threatens to solve it. And this leads us to the problem that "expanded deterrence" can never solve. One of the sources of danger is us. Our self-destructing, self-loathing attitudes are exempt from expanded deterrence.

Radical Islam can't be blamed for trying to persuade the West to cut it's own throat. After all, that's radical Islam's nature. The real problem is that the West is willing to do it. And that's something nuclear weapons can never solve.

6/20/2008 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

6/20/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

"Since dying in the service of Allah is the highest possible status any Muslim can have, I don't see how this will have any deterrent effect whatsoever."

I know about this tenet from the Qur'an and ahadith very well. Nevertheless, our purpose in killing these savages is always the preservation of our lives, our liberties, our civilization, our religions. We have a duty to kill them when and whenever they are pushing and extending the jihad. It is a moral duty.

We are up against an ideology far more powerful than Communism ever could be, precisely because martyrdom is the ticket punched to paradise. The Communists did not believe in an afterlife. Their apparent willingness to brave our guns was assured by political officers who had pistols pointed at their backs, or they were whipped up into a short-duration fantasy by an intense pep rally session.

The Left in the West is a tremendous propaganda and political coup for Islam, and "mcdaddyo" is an example of why this is so. He may not have any effect whatsoever on how we at the Belmont Club think and reason our way to our ethical conclusions. He's just a flaky irritant who keeps the discussion a bit more on edge. That's it. But do not take what he represents so lightly. He's a foot soldier for people who have political power, institutional influence, and media propaganda effectiveness. Do you realize that we are now in a stage of our history rather unique in history? The bulk of our media root for our enemies. This has a far-reaching effect on the bulk of our population, to one degree or another.

Slowly I am coming around to the astounding and painful realization that we cannot defeat the far enemy (Islam) unless and until we can defeat the nearer enemy (socialism) in our midst. The Ummah has enlisted the help of our internal enemies to enervate our resolve to defend our civilization and our liberties. This cold civil war may indeed have to turn hot at some point. But, as truly sad as I am, I am realizing this may be unavoidable, I have no doubt about the outcome: those who love our country and our civilization will win any hot, shooting civil war. We will have the overwhelming majority of the military on our side, as well as most of law enforcement. We are already armed. Our people DO know and understand military tactics. We know how to use weapons. Many of us actually belong to gun clubs and shoot at least semi-regularly. Many of us are military veterans (I am). When I think back to my days on the Left, almost none of them have any of these skills and had no inclination to learn. Communists and socialists, especially the Western kind, are not very accomplished in military matters. I am confident we would absolutely crush them.

But, I do not want to see us get to that point, because the thought of killing fellow citizens and even an administration's ad hoc Praetorian Units is really depressing. It's not at all the same thing as facing and killing an external enemy.

But, we have to realistically assess what the obstacles are to the survival of our civilization and our Republic. All of the threats have to be counted.

If the enemy does nuke us in the future, you may very well see most of the population turn on the Left without mercy. Justly so, because things would never have arrived at that point where collective punishment would be an option had it not been how effective the Left was in running interference for the Islamic enemy.

6/20/2008 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

War against Totalitarian Islam, what I refer to as World War IV, is bad enough; but to realize that the American Socialist Left has allied with our Islamist enemy is truly sickening; and that fact makes me look at my children with a sense of dread for their future - their precious lives and liberty.

This should come as no surprise on reflection, however. Both Totalitarian Islam (as expressed by the murdering and evil injustices of Islamic Sharia Law and Islamic Jihad), and Socialism are unjust systems of governmental power which do not derive from the consent of the governed. Both Totalitarian Islam and Socialism are enemies of the Divine and irreversible rights of man: Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Bedfellows they are, and the near enemy has some seats on the Supreme Court.

6/20/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Wretchard wrote:

"Even if the clarity comes after the fact, a well considered framework developed now will be useful in restraining the panicked survivors of the Washington policy establishment as they peel the charred skin from their limbs and pick the glass shards from their eyes."

Wretchard provides, as usual, a compelling human detail to the policy discussion. The most horrifying installation in the Hiroshima museum is the dark hall in which one encounters scorched, walking mannikin-figures, walking blindly with arms outstreched, flayed skin hanging from their fingers and hands. Hersey documents this horrific effect of atomic blast in his book, but you probably have to see the mannikins to get the full effect.

I don't know why I haven't stocked up on KI yet to counter radioactivity effects on the thyroids of my children. I'll have to remember to get hold of some. But I keep putting it off. Homeland Security might remind me, but I don't think it wants to bring up the subject.

If US endeavors in Iraq go well, we might see global events flow the right way. Right now, Iraq trusts no one except the U.S. It may well be our dog in the overall fight. But the teeter-totter might go the other way.

Targeted "deniable" assassination works pretty well for the Syrians. Therefore the other side tries it via assassination of Mugniyeh. Hmmm. Very effective. And he was just one dog in the fight, not even a master.

One sees reports of bombings in Iran intermittently. News outlets don't report on them because there's no "who" to report, only where, when, how many. I expect that a nuclear response to a suitcase bomb might be via an untraceable suitcase bomb. Who delivered it? Don't know. But they might be going off all over the place in the Mideast. Curiously, they might have used fissile material that seems like it might be of N. Korean provenance, even though N. Korea had nothing to do with them. Maybe the Shia Army of God did it? The U.S. denies culpability.

The Rodney King trial has always fascinated me. Without a videotape, it's not "real." With a videotape, it's "real."

6/20/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Bookyards said...

In the event of a WMD attack on the United States, once the guilty parties are found (and they will be found) a response of overwhelming might will need to be done. Such a response may lead to the deaths of millions, but failure to respond leaves open the door to a disaster that can kill hundreds of millions in the future.

I have always believed that the problem among a good portion of the world is that they have very little if any sensitivity to the dangers of nuclear weapons or the concept of Total War. The United States, Russia, China, Japan, much of Europe .... we as a people know what all out war is and what are the consequences. Iran and much of the Middle East, Pakistan, Venezuela and their allies in Latin America .... these leaders and their populations are terrible ignorant on what Western War machines are capable of, and on what are the consequences of unrestrained warfare.

The Iraq - Iran War, Gulf Wars I and II, the Intifada, the Pakistan-India wars, while all of these conflicts killed many, they pale to what the killing fields produced in Europe and Asia during the Second World War. But the populations that support Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., and their goals are completely oblivious to this.

This is why I am fearful that one day WMD's will be used by terrorist organizations from the Middle East .... and if not stopped they will continue to use them until their goals are reached. The only way that they can be stopped is if their civilian populations stop to support them. But they will only stop supporting these groups if they are aware that the consequences of their actions will be a price that will be unacceptable to them.

If a few American cities become empty because of a dirty bomb or a crude nuclear device, a lesson will have to be taught. Unfortunately, groups like Al Qaeda and their civilian facilitators are now running down this path. Confident in their goals and objectives .... they strongly believe that the West and their allies will not have the stomach to respond. That the West is like Barack Obama .... we do not want to kill the innocent. But history and reality are very different.

6/20/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Read, weep:

HR 1955 EHRFS


110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1955

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 24, 2007
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


AN ACT
To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007'.


SEC. 2. PREVENTION OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.
(a) In General- Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 361 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new subtitle:


`Subtitle J--Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism

`SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.
`For purposes of this subtitle:

`(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologicallybased violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.


`SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.
`The Congress finds the following:

`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

`(4) While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

`(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

`(6) Preventing the potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily accomplished solely through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and can benefit from the incorporation of State and local efforts.

`(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.

`(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.

`(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.


`SEC. 899C. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE.
`(a) Establishment- There is established within the legislative branch of the Government the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism.

`(b) Purpose- The purposes of the Commission are the following:

`(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.

`(2) Build upon and bring together the work of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of--

`(A) the Center of Excellence established or designated under section 899D, and other academic work, as appropriate;

`(B) Federal, State, local, or tribal studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence; and

`(C) foreign government studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence.

`(c) Composition of Commission- The Commission shall be composed of 10 members appointed for the life of the Commission, of whom--

`(1) one member shall be appointed by the President from among officers or employees of the executive branch and private citizens of the United States;

`(2) one member shall be appointed by the Secretary;

`(3) one member shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate;

`(4) one member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate;

`(5) one member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

`(6) one member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives;

`(7) one member shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives;

`(8) one member shall be appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives;

`(9) one member shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and

`(10) one member shall be appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

`(d) Chair and Vice Chair- The Commission shall elect a Chair and a Vice Chair from among its members.

`(e) Qualifications- Individuals shall be selected for appointment to the Commission solely on the basis of their professional qualifications, achievements, public stature, experience, and expertise in relevant fields, including, but not limited to, behavioral science, constitutional law, corrections, counterterrorism, cultural anthropology, education, information technology, intelligence, juvenile justice, local law enforcement, organized crime, Islam and other world religions, sociology, or terrorism.

`(f) Deadline for Appointment- All members of the Commission shall be appointed no later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this subtitle.

`(g) Quorum and Meetings- The Commission shall meet and begin the operations of the Commission not later than 30 days after the date onwhich all members have been appointed or, if such meeting cannot be mutually agreed upon, on a date designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Each subsequent meeting shall occur upon the call of the Chair or a majority of its members. A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold meetings.

`(h) Authority of Individuals to Act for Commission- Any member of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action that the Commission is authorized to take under this Act.

`(i) Powers of Commission- The powers of the Commission shall be as follows:

`(1) IN GENERAL-

`(A) HEARINGS AND EVIDENCE- The Commission or, on the authority of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may,for the purpose of carrying out this section, hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties.

`(B) CONTRACTING- The Commission may, to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts, enter into contracts to enable the Commission to discharge its duties under this section.

`(2) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES-

`(A) IN GENERAL- The Commission may request directly from any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purposes of this section. The head of each such department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality shall, to the extent practicable and authorized by law, furnish such information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics directly to the Commission, upon request made by the Chair of the Commission, by the chair of any subcommittee created by a majority of the Commission, or by any member designated by a majority of the Commission.

`(B) RECEIPT, HANDLING, STORAGE, AND DISSEMINATION- The Committee and its staff shall receive, handle, store, and disseminate information in a manner consistent with the operative statutes, regulations, and Executive orders that govern the handling, storage, and dissemination of such information at the department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality that responds to the request.

`(j) Assistance From Federal Agencies-

`(1) GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION- The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis administrative support and other services for the performanceof the Commission's functions.

`(2) OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES- In additionto the assistance required under paragraph (1), departments and agencies of the United States may provide to the Commission such services, funds, facilities, and staff as they may determine advisable and as may be authorized by law.

`(k) Postal Services- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as departments and agencies of the United States.

`(l) Nonapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.

`(m) Public Meetings-

`(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall hold public hearings and meetings to the extent appropriate.

`(2) PROTECTION OF INFORMATION- Any public hearings of the Commission shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the protection of information provided to or developed for or by the Commission as required by any applicable statute, regulation, or Executive order including subsection (i)(2)(B).

`(n) Staff of Commission-

`(1) APPOINTMENT AND COMPENSATION- The Chairof the Commission, in consultation with the Vice Chair and in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission, may appoint and fix the compensation of a staff director and such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its functions, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no rate of pay fixed under this subsection may exceed the maximum rate of pay for GS-15 under the General Schedule.

`(2) STAFF EXPERTISE- Individuals shall be selected for appointment as staff of the Commission on the basis of their expertise in one or more of the fields referred to in subsection (e).

`(3) PERSONNEL AS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES-

`(A) IN GENERAL- The executive director and any employees of the Commission shall be employees under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code, for purposes of chapters 63, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, and 90 of that title.

`(B) MEMBERS OF COMMISSION- Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to apply to members of the Commission.

`(4) DETAILEES- Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement from the Commission, and during such detail shall retain the rights, status, and privileges of his or her regular employment without interruption.

`(5) CONSULTANT SERVICES- The Commission may procure the services of experts and consultants in accordance with section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, but at rates not to exceed the daily rate paid a person occupying a position at level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code.

`(6) EMPHASIS ON SECURITY CLEARANCES- The Commission shall make it a priority to hire as employees and retain as contractors and detailees individuals otherwise authorized by this section who have active security clearances.

`(o) Commission Personnel Matters-

`(1) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS- Each member of the Commission who is not an employee of the government shall be compensated at a ratenot to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay in effect for a position at level IV of the Executive Scheduleunder section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day during which that member is engaged in the actual performance of the duties of the Commission.

`(2) TRAVEL EXPENSES- While away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission, members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.

`(3) TRAVEL ON ARMED FORCES CONVEYANCES- Members and personnel of the Commission may travel on aircraft, vehicles, or other conveyances of the Armed Forces of the United States when such travel is necessary in the performance of a duty of the Commission, unless the cost of commercial transportation is less expensive.

`(4) TREATMENT OF SERVICE FOR PURPOSES OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS- A member of the Commission who is an annuitant otherwise covered by section 8344 or 8468 of title 5, United States Code, by reason of membership on the Commission shall not be subject to the provisions of such section with respect to membership on the Commission.

`(5) VACANCIES- A vacancy on the Commission shall not affect its powers and shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made. The appointment of the replacement member shall be made not later than 60 days after the date on which the vacancy occurs.

`(p) Security Clearances- The heads of appropriate departments and agencies of the executive branch shall cooperate with the Commission to expeditiously provide Commission members and staff with appropriate security clearances to the extent possible under applicable procedures and requirements.

`(q) Reports-

`(1) FINAL REPORT- Not later than 18 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a final report of its findings and conclusions, legislative recommendations for immediate and long-term countermeasures to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and measures that can be taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence from developing and spreading within the United States, and any final recommendations for any additional grant programs to support these purposes. The report may also be accompanied by a classified annex.

`(2) INTERIM REPORTS- The Commission shall submit to the President and Congress--

`(A) by not later than 6 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, a first interim report on--

`(i) its findings and conclusions and legislative recommendations for the purposes described in paragraph (1); and

`(ii) its recommendations on the feasibility of a grant program established and administered by the Secretary for the purpose of preventing, disrupting, and mitigating the effects of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and, if such a program is feasible, recommendations on how grant funds should be used and administered; and

`(B) by not later than 6 months after the date on which the Commission submits the interim report under subparagraph (A), a second interim report on such matters.

`(3) INDIVIDUAL OR DISSENTING VIEWS- Each member of the Commission may include in each report under this subsection the individual additional or dissenting views of the member.

`(4) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The Commission shall release a public version of each report required under this subsection.

`(r) Availability of Funding- Amounts made available to the Commission to carry out this section shall remain available until the earlier of the expenditure of the amounts or the termination of the Commission.

`(s) Termination of Commission- The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the Commission submits its final report.


`SEC. 899D. CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE STUDY OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES.
`(a) Establishment- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States (hereinafter referred to as `Center') following the merit-review processes and procedures and other limitations that have been previously established for selecting and supporting University Programs Centers of Excellence. The Center shall assist Federal, State, local and tribal homeland security officials through training, education, and research in preventing violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States. In carrying out this section, the Secretary may choose to either create a new Center designed exclusively for the purpose stated herein or identify and expand an existing Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence so that a working group is exclusively designated within the existing Center of Excellence to achieve the purpose set forth in subsection (b).

`(b) Purpose- It shall be the purpose of the Center to study the social, criminal, political, psychological, and economic roots of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States and methods that can be utilized by Federal, State, local, and tribal homeland security officials to mitigate violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

`(c) Activities- In carrying out this section, the Center shall--

`(1) contribute to the establishment of training, written materials, information, analytical assistance and professional resources to aid in combating violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism;

`(2) utilize theories, methods and data from the social and behavioral sciences to better understand the origins, dynamics, and social and psychological aspects of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism;

`(3) conduct research on the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism; and

`(4) coordinate with other academic institutions studying the effects of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism where appropriate.


`SEC. 899E. PREVENTING VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM THROUGH INTERNATIONAL COOPERATIVE EFFORTS.
`(a) International Effort- The Secretary shall, in cooperation with the Department of State, the Attorney General, and other Federal Government entities, as appropriate, conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in their respective nations.

`(b) Implementation- To the extent that methodologies are permissible under the Constitution, the Secretary shall use the results of the survey as an aid in developing, in consultation with the Attorney General, a national policy in the United States on addressing radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

`(c) Reports to Congress- The Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that provides--

`(1) a brief description of the foreign partners participating in the survey; and

`(2) a description of lessons learned from the results of the survey and recommendations implemented through this international outreach.


`SEC. 899F. PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHILE PREVENTING IDEOLOGICALLYBASED VIOLENCE AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.
`(a) In General- The Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologicallybased violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.

`(b) Commitment to Racial Neutrality- The Secretary shall ensure that the activities and operations of the entities created by this subtitle are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to racial neutrality.

`(c) Auditing Mechanism- The Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer of the Department of Homeland Security shall develop and implement an auditing mechanism to ensure that compliance with this subtitle does not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of any racial, ethnic, or religious group, and shall include the results of audits under such mechanism in its annual report to Congress required under section 705.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by inserting at the end of the items relating to title VIII the following:


`Subtitle J--Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism
`Sec. 899A. Definitions.

`Sec. 899B. Findings.

`Sec. 899C. National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence.

`Sec. 899D. Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States.

`Sec. 899E. Preventing violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism through international cooperative efforts.

`Sec. 899F. Protecting civil rights and civil liberties while preventing ideologicallybased violence and homegrown terrorism.'.

Passed the House of Representatives October 23, 2007.

Attest:

Clerk. LORRAINE C. MILLER,

110th CONGRESSClerk1st SessionH. R. 1955AN ACTTo prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.

6/20/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Query: how many different ways does McD have to abuse the site before he's shown he door?

6/20/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

This should just about cover the coalition of our homegrown Islamist and Socialist/Marxist enemies. They both have political and social objectives; and they both use unjust governmental power which does not derive from the consent of the governed, i.e.: unconstitutional governmental power.

It is only a matter of time before the velvet glove is removed and the violence of the Socialist/Marxist and the Islamist iron fist is released, i.e.: homegrown domestic terror. In the meantime they'll settle for ordinary unconstitutional domestic injustice, i.e.: the slow infringement of our sacred human rights to liberty and pursuit of happiness.

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Abraham Lincoln

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." Abraham Lincoln

6/20/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

First of all, McDaddyo, Beijing and Moscow are as threatened by this proliferation as we are. Muslims would like a big giant chunk of both countries territory, and that's something neither regime can afford. Global trade means shipping containers can destroy their cities like Hitler's Luftwaffe, except with just a few men.

The US, India, China, and Russia all have advantages in the current near monopoly of nuclear weapons, which is safety and security of their cities. A threat to one is a threat to all, by disorganized rabbles of Muslims which will demand concessions from all. Diplomacy, such as it is, is the recognition of the need to preserve the near monopoly which advantages the big players and penalizes the small ones.

Second, diplomacy in Pakistan and Iran won't work. Iran is set on it's course, any attempt by any insider to "agree" with the US to stop proliferation would result in hardliner rivals purging said insider. In Pakistan, tribal politics are so convoluted that there is no one to negotiate with. This leader may be gone tomorrow, his polices and agreements rapidly repudiated. Pakistan != China, with hiearchical, top-down leadership able to enforce it's will. It's tribal.

This is reality.

MKShepard -- first, trucks from either NAFTA countries such as Canada or Mexico can use drug smuggling routes to smuggle in nukes, and second pre-clearing in Customs in places like Singapore or Hong Kong offer easy targets for concealing nukes. The massive volume of cargo in the Port of LA makes checking anything other than a few selected ships impossible. You are chasing a fantasy.

Securing the ports is impossible. Decreasing risk can be done, but it will never be possible to check every container unless trade drops to 1% of current volume. Osama knows that a nuclear explosion in the West (or anywhere) will bring global trade to a halt triggering a massive depression so he has been pursuing this for ages. This is not a "remote" chance but in fact, a highly likely one. Sam Nunn estimates it will happen in the next 7 years or so.

McDaddyo's argument that the US is not morally pure, therefore deserves to get nuked and any nuking would require proof in a court of law without any doubt, to be followed by useless subpeonas, is Exhibit A in the fantasy thinking of Dems, concerned with morality not survival. McDaddyo -- you are sure to get your way, inertia alone favors you, until several US cities die and we start the business of killing most of the world's 1 billion Muslims as pure survival. People in survival mode will do ANYTHING to survive. I find fascinating your belief that "rule of law" can ever be applied to Tribal Pakistan. Or Iran. Can I interest you in some Nigerian Investments? Please reply ASAP, I have billions in the bank but need only a few thousand USD to retrieve it.

McDaddyo says that the US should just live with US cities dying, because well we're rotten and deserve it. As a practical matter, Americans won't tolerate that, and while McDaddyo and people like him might be strong enough politically to have their way with the first nuking, after the third US city died (which it would without a horror-inducing response, just ask Israel about it's rocket attacks), any and all objections would be swept away. Americans will NOT TOLERATE US cities dying. Their simple answer: KILL ALL MUSLIMS. End of problem. Practically, we can do it. Particularly if we offer fair-shares with Russia and China. Anyone projecting "human rights" activist morality on Putin or Hu is a fool.

6/20/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Cedarford is quite correct on his labelling of the fantasy of bomb detection and analysis. There is no way for us to really know who did it, and very little we can do to prevent it. This is again why the weak-point of the Global system is container shipping. Set off a nuke within one and global trade just dies.

But we are not helpless. Using the great resource advantage, and Islam's fractured power structures, and ambitious men, we can harry the terrorists in Pakistan.

What are our immediate risks? North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. This is who we are concerned with now. North Korea can be dealt with through China, which holds their leash. A credible threat (end of all China trade, repudiation of Chinese debts, embargo) should we suspect a North Korean nuke trade can get their attention. Populism and economic dislocation alone make that threat credible, and it does not require any military action.

Iran is tougher, but has low-level terrorist insurgencies we can support and use to destroy Iranian infrastructure needed to make nukes. You can have all the PU you want, but if you don't have power to shape it, create explosive lenses, etc. you're hosed. Air strikes plus helping nasty terrorists blow up power plants, bridges, etc. in a variation of the Iraq "No Fly" zones have the ability to delay at least Iranian nuclear efforts. It's worth doing, would not cost much, most of America would figure Iran has it coming for all their acts of war against us.

Pakistan is a good place for the "Los Pepes" model. Use special Army units, formed of new, carefully vetted recruits who are hostile to the Taliban and Taliban tribes (anti-Pushtuns) and who seek a lifelong patron. Go after the entire infrastructure. Israelis don't have the resources to do this, we do and can target money movers, Imams, Taliban supporters, their families. All this is very ugly and brutal and must be secret, but it's far better than a US city dying. Keeping AQ/Taliban off balance and unable to plan means we keep them away from Pakistani nukes, focused on running and survival like Pablo Escobar in his final days, not plotting the death of NYC.

In short, we make a deal with China, hit Iran fairly openly, and use death squads (let's not be shy about it) in secret against the Taliban and AQ in Pakistan. Well short of total war and far better than 7 million US dead.

6/20/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I read through HR1955. It looks like yet another layer of bureaucracy.

I am not happy with the establishment of the “Department of Homeland Security” in the first place. Many congressmen get the idea that the way to solve any crisis is to either create another layer of bureaucracy, shift government departments around in a random manner, or both.

I think one of the most critical weaknesses of modern America is a propensity to trust the federal government to solve problems that would have been solved already if efforts had been taken at a grassroots level. Nothing keeps New Orleans from systematically raising the elevation of its city twenty feet. If medieval Prague could do it, why can’t modern New Orleans? Yet, ever since 1927, New Orleans has treated Uncle Sam as a sugar daddy to solve all of its problems rather than a representative of all of the people of the United States where we work together to solve common problems.

Has anybody ever considered promoting a second major port city on the Atchafalaya River west of New Orleans? It would be more cost effective to ensure that Louisiana’s main port city is in a place where the Mississippi would naturally flow anyway and promote New Orleans as a tourist center. But this isn’t happening, not merely because of a failure of imagination but because too many people rely upon Washingtonians and their think tanks to do all of America’s thinking for us.

Let’s not just pick on New Orleans. How many state governments would increase appropriations – and taxes – to fund language courses in Arabic, Urdu, or Farsi? Not many. As a rule, state governments tend to fund programs that get the most matching funds from the federal government. And despite how foreign language programs help commerce in states like Utah, most legislators don’t get the point.

Thinking that all of America’s problems on terrorism will be solved after setting up a new government think tank or “center for excellence” – that’s typical thinking inside the Beltway. America’s policy makers are long accustomed to turning to certain colleges, universities, and think tanks for new ideas. But if those ideas go wrong, is there any other place to go when those ideas don’t work?

One of the essential problems with Beltway thinking is that America doesn’t have a solid “second team”. Imagine if our academic elite suddenly disappears. What happens then? If a professional basketball team has only five good players, it is in trouble. Even the best players get tired. A solid team will have a good first team, a good second team, and even a good third team. America needs a strong bench. But where is it? If Americans expect our thinking on foreign policy or counter-terrorism to come from a “center of excellence”, we’re in big trouble.

Americans can’t afford to rely upon the “best and the brightest” to lead our country. The “best and the brightest” often get us into the worst messes, typically through their own arrogance. What America needs is an educated citizenry capable of getting involved in the governance of our nation.

So yes, red tape has its place as a weapon in the arsenal of democracy. But let’s not keep infinite faith that terrorists will get themselves strangled to death by our red tape. Red tape can be useful, but it is no panacea for America’s problems. If red tape is used to bandage a wound, it must be taken off after a while so the wound can be sterilized. The green pus that comes out of a wound that has been bandaged for too long is neither the most pleasant sight to see nor the most pleasing odor to smell.

6/20/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Fred said:

"Slowly I am coming around to the astounding and painful realization that we cannot defeat the far enemy (Islam) unless and until we can defeat the nearer enemy (socialism) in our midst.... But, I do not want to see us get to that point, because the thought of killing fellow citizens and even an administration's ad hoc Praetorian Units is really depressing."

Fred has expressed one of my deepest worries. It is intolerable that we need a civil war so we can defeat an external existential enemy. Surely we are not that stupid... And yet we have the evidence presented by McDaddyo that indeed, maybe we ARE that stupid.

6/20/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

But after a while, they sit down and realize that heroic poses aside, he's still stuck in the same bottle along with all the rest of the trapped scorpions. Then they go back to doodling.
/////////////
ya mon.

what it wuz

6/20/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

"Wretchard, you can be sure that in the event of any major terrorist attack using a nuclear device; a country somewhere will go up in a series of mushroom clouds."

Respectfully, I disagree. I believe that this is exactly why Barack Obama is being trotted out by Nation of Islam, et al, as the C in C. In the event of said attacks, his job will be to "Stand Down" America while his colleages finsh their work.

6/20/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

What frustrates me, as an ordinary citizen, is to listen to the continual kabuki dance that goes on, vis-a-vis the Iranian government and our various diplomatic efforts, involving the E.U., U.N. inspectors, and all the rest. Nothing gets done. Nothing is accomplished. The Europeans have admitted that their long negotiations with Iran were not only fruitless, but they realized also that the Iranians were only stalling for time.

Our political establishment and bureaucracy produce that brain fart of an NIE that effectively blocks the military option for pre-emptive strikes against these facilities.

I listen to and read about all the hand-wringing with respect to the concept of pre-emption. And this is frustrating because most of us who can think understand what pre-emption achieves: it takes the specter of nuclear war off the horizon. Obonga has altered his position on account of the fact that a pre-emptive strike is likely to incur collateral damage. This is preposterous! Does he not understand a trade off of maybe thousands of Iranian lives now, but saving millions of lives in Israel, the United States, and especially Iran? Is human life that cheap to him and his advisers that they would bring about the most horrific event yet faced by humanity? And he may even be the proximate cause of the tragedy of a civil war or revolution in this country!

This is what Columbia and Harvard hath wrought?

6/20/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Only three Democrats, Dennis Kucinich notably among them, voted against HR 1955 along with 3 Republicans. There were something like 20 who didn't vote either way.

So now we have the binary-brained militarists here making the following analysis:

1. Our survival depends on slaughtering Muslims.

2. Obama is a Muslim.

I think we can easily see how Wretchard and his gang of videogame geopoliticians are begging to be prosecuted under HR 1955.

Perhaps the ACLU, which helped get Oli North's convictions overturned, will come to your aid.

6/20/2008 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Again, I feel forced to rebut the gross ignorance that has emerged after "24" and Tom Clancy's "Sum of All Fears" about NEST, nuclear bomb detection.

It's not ignorance.

It's the truth.

It does not matter what kind of "design" the bomb is; you will always be able to identify where the fissile came from, because no nuclear weapon is 100% efficient.

Some pointers from real life weapons:

Mark One "Little Boy" Gun-Type Bomb: Out of 60 kilograms roughly of HEU, only 700 grams completely fissioned, for an efficiency of 1.2%. The other 59~ kilograms of HEU ended up as radioactive fallout in the area post-initation.

Model 1561 "Fat Man" Implosion-type Bomb: Out of 6.2 kilograms of Plutonium, only 1.3 kilograms completely fissioned, for an efficiency of 21%. The other 4.9 kilograms of plutonium ended up as radioactive fallout in the area post-initation.

Modern US Nuclear weapons are about 95-97% efficient, by way of comparison, and the technology to build these advanced weapons is easily out of the hands of all but a nation-state with some serious cash to burn and ways of getting the advanced timers, et al needed for precise timing in the device.

And even with high-efficiency US bombs, there is still enough un-fissioned material left in the fallout plume to allow radiological identification of the specific reactor that the fissile material came from.

Every reactor in the world has it's own unique radiological "fingerprint", due to construction and material differences, which affect even those reactors built to a same basic plan. This fingerprint can be determined through a variety of technical means; but usually by sending an asset into the region to sample the soil and water around the reactor itself for trace quantities of radiological materials -- we're talking about absurdly small quantities of radiological materials here, parts per million, which we have the technology to detect; because no reactor is a completely self-contained environment -- no matter how good your welds are, some radiological material will get into the reactor's cooling loop and be deposited into the cooling ponds or river near the reactor. Like I said earlier, it's really tiny -- parts per million, but enough to get Greenpeace screaming.

The sequence in "Sum of All Fears" where the NEST team traces the fissile used in the Denver bomb to a specific American reactor, and even to the specific time segment when that fissile was produced is realistic, because we would have access to that kind of specific radiological information in the daily reports written up by the reactor operating personnel.

For foreign reactors, the information would be much thinner, but we would still be able to identify the general reactor type and it's location -- a PWR built in Russia will have a different general radiological signature than a PWR built in say -- Iran; even if they are built to the same plan, because of differing materials used in the construction of the various components of the reactor.

Yes it is, because you have enough space and weight capacity with a shipping container to apply up to 20 ten-thicknesses of 1" lead shielding (each inch attenuates by a factor of 10) around the pit that absolutely nothing would be detectable

Let's do some math!

The most popular shipping container in the world is the 40 foot one. It has the following dimensions:

Interior Dimensions: 12.032 x 2.352 x 2.385 meters
Interior Volume: 67.5 cubic meters
Empty Weight: 3,800 kilograms
Maximum Cargo Weight: 26,500 kg
Maximum Gross Mass: 30,480 kg

Left+Right Side Interior Surface Area of Shipping Container: 57.39 m2
Top+Bottom Interior Surface Area of Shipping Container: 56.6 m2
Front+Back Interior Surface Area of Shipping Container: 11.22 m2

Total Surface Area of interior of shipping container: 125.21 square meters.

Density of Lead: 11,340 kg/m3
Halving Thickness (50% reduction) for Gamma Rays: 1 cm of lead.

Lets say we want to eliminate about 97-98% of all the gamma rays emitted from our hypothetical nuclear weapon, it would need fivehalving thicknesses' or about 5 cm of lead.

125.21 m2 interior surface area times 0.05 m thickness of lead = 6.26 cubic meters of lead.

6.26 m3 times 11,340 kg/m3 = 70,988.4 kilograms of lead!

The shielding necessary to block that radiation is 2.3 times heavier than the maximum gross weight of that shipping container!

And even all this shielding isn't enough to be assured of
it being undetectable, due to the increasing sophistication of detection equipment, which can detect ever smaller and tinier quantities of radiation.

The equipment that is publically acknowledged can detect fissile and radiological materials from a distance of 20 to 50 meters with a fair degree of locational accuracy. In one example, a container ship was stopped on the approaches to a US Eastern Coast port, and the captain told he had fissile aboard. The inspectors, guided by the equipment, walked to the specific container in question and had it searched -- it turned out to be a legimitate shipment of radiological material.

And yes, theoretically, you COULD use this equipment to find a SSN or SSBN, but if you're within 50 meters of a SSBN, you have other methods to find it, like turbulence in the water from the screw, etc.

Think. You're a maniac but bright Jihadi planning on blowing up at the pier, but then the Coasties come when you are 300 yards off but in detonation distance of wiping out 3/4ths of Miami. The obvious countermeasure is to shout "Allah u Akbar!" three times and push the red button. KA-BOOOM!!

Let's see now. A 15 kiloton initation (about typical for a jihadi bomb) will cause near total fatalities out to 684 meters through a variety of weapons effects, and cause major destruction out to 1800 meters. Sending harbor pilots out to the ship when they're a mere 1 nautical mile away from the harbor (1,852 meters) effectively renders the bomb useless as a weapon -- you'll still be able to break windows and temporarily blind people out to about 2,000-2,500 meters, but the majority of the weapon's energy will be expended out on the water.

(also the Euro Left, Japanese, Chicom & Russian boats around the Med, Straight of Malacca try sniffing our Naval vessels to see about nukes onboard with no luck due to certain classified countermeasures to their detection efforts we take.

Which you know, is a Red Herring, since we haven't had nuclear weapons on our carriers and ships ever since George Bush the Elder ordered them offloaded in around 1991 or thereabouts. Even if they detect the fissile, what are they going to do about it? Shout across the media that there are nuclear weapons on board that US Navy ship, only to be met with the standard US Navy reply "No Comment".

Teams of grad students from perhaps 90 countries could build a gun-type HEU assembly that would be functionally identical to one another and hence untraceable.

Where will they get the fissile from? Fissile does not fall off a truck and get sold on the sly, no questions asked from people named Guido.

Pure fantasy. The US does not have "every reactor on file".

See my earlier comment. It isn't that hard with modern scientific equipment to get readings on very low parts per million samples.

Even if you had PU on file of each reactor, the stuff gets blended together in the bomb assembly plant.

Nope. I don't know where you get your information, but they don't blend them together, for the simple reason that they have to keep track of the exact composition of each nuclear warhead's pit material; so that the decay of the fissile can be taken into account and controlled for each warhead; which is vitally important when your weapons are expected to have a shelf life of several years before remanufacturing; and when you cannot do any nuclear weapons tests to "proof" new or aging designs.

Plus, to add to the folly of believing "Hollywood got it right" we all regularly tinker with our PU-reactors

That's why I said we would only be able to get a rough range for non-American reactors. It would still be enough to start pointing fingers. For example, if the plutonium came from an Indian reactor, we know where to start our investigation, and the Indian government will have many unpleasant questions sent their way.

Again, pure fantasy. You won't know if it is HEU. You might, just might get lucky and get the origin to perhaps RBMK Soviet reactors, a heavy water research reactor in India...if it is plutonium.

So you're saying that nuclear devices are 100% efficient when it comes to fissioning of the fissile material? There will be more than enough un-used fissile in the fallout plume to find out what we need to know.

Info of great value not to just who did it, but critical info for emergency people, fighting the hundreds of fires raging in the periphery, what is the safest way to mass-bury corpses and treat casualties that survived the blast and fires, and much later, recovery.

I'm sorry, but real life isn't like Star Trek, where you can after several minutes of scanning with your tricorders, create a uberwonderful cure for whatever disease of the week is prevalent.

Radiation poisoning is radiation poisoning, the only difference is in how many REMs the poor sap got, and a random roll of the dice, which will determine whether they live or die.

As for fighting the fires raging around the periphery, well, once people who know what a nuclear event is like are in control, the firefighters and other personnel will be withdrawn from the area and downwind of the event hypocenter for the next 48 to 72 hours, to allow the radiation to decay.

Immediately after an initation is the most dangerous time, because the shortest lived and most intensely radioactive byproducts of the event will be active. If you wait a day or two, those byproducts will naturally decay, and radiation levels will subside enough to make sustained forays into the event hypocenter a possibility.

This decision, while seemingly heartless and cruel, is the only way to do it. Otherwise, you'll be sending precious trained emergency personnel into an atomic furnace, where they will absorb hundreds of REMs, to save a handful of people, the majority of which who will die anyway from intense radiation poisoning.

6/20/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

Cedarford is quite correct on his labelling of the fantasy of bomb detection and analysis.

Yes he is. And he also omits the fact that a cargo ship could set off its nuke [i]before[/i] entering our "detection" sphere with devastating effect. Just look at the weather patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, up through Texas and across to the East Coast. Thats where the fallout would travel.

Wretchard, I wish you or some other would post a definative debunking of this nonsense that we can "trace" the nuke back to the sender with 100% certainty. Would be much easier to link to, instead of having to educate every fool who believes MAD is still on the table. Even better if it were made public, printed in some journal.

And C4, thanks for your persistence re this.

6/20/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger deepinjuncountry said...

The vast majority of Americans, especially of certain classes, have not the remotest experience of the taste and smell of blood and bloodlust. The extremely thin veneer of civilization erodes rapidly under the pressure of terror for survival, and yes the thirst for revenge.

The upper west side of Manhattan was as far from the Wall Street area on 9-11 as San Diego and shit happened that few know about. One small example: 2 business-suited men emerge from the smoke and clouds of dust and god knows what else by the Hudson river. They proceed to literally fight to the death on the grounds of Battery Park City. Why? Beats me. Many, many others actually jumped into the river to escape (and it really is almost impossible to swim to Jersey City). Now, I won't even venture to describe what's possible (or indeed, what has occurred) for those whose professional lives entail the use of violence. As for 9-11, suffice it to say that the cops and firemen did not always act like choir boys. And I for one understand.

So, can people handle the truth? Can they envision their communities disintegrating into a chaotic fight for survival. I don't think so. Very few sheep will make the transition to sheepdog when the wolves are at their door. Most will simply give up and hope for the best and the best will be very very ugly. The unthinkable does happen, it has in my life.

And for the record, I am not a cop or firemen.

6/20/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Yes he is. And he also omits the fact that a cargo ship could set off its nuke [i]before[/i] entering our "detection" sphere with devastating effect. Just look at the weather patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, up through Texas and across to the East Coast. Thats where the fallout would travel.

Let's see...a terrorist initating a nuclear device on a cargo ship several miles out to sea when he's confronted by a Coast Guard inspection team, with immediate fatalities being the USCG team, and the ship's crew?

As for fallout, it would take about 10-15 minutes to begin falling downwind, allowing precautions to be taken.

This argument of "fallout! fallout!" reminds me of the argument used against ABM in the late sixties, early seventies.

Basically, the anti-ABM people argued that the Soviets could counter ABM by simply aiming their ICBMs outside of major american cities and groundbursting them for maximum fallout....forgetting that if they did that; the ABM system would have reduced fatalities from tens of thousands to a couple hundred.

6/20/2008 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Meant to add this; but left it out via a brain fart.

Which is better? A nuke initating in a crowded harbor, killing at least ten thousand people directly, and laying waste to a lot of the harbor, or a nuke going off several miles offshore, where the only immediate fatalities are the ship's crew and USCG boarding team?

Oh yes; and another thing I've realized -- you will have to ship the bomb unassembled -- early nuclear weapons could only be kept in the "assembled" state for about 24-48 hours before the radiation from the fissile material caused enough irradation to the high explosives and electronics in the assembly.

This is the reason why early US nuclear weapons were designed with easy access doors so that weaponeers could access them to insert the fissile material while in flight. It wasn't until the mid fifties IIRC, that we were able to move to "sealed pit" designs that could "keep" long enough to act as "wooden rounds".

So this means that the bomb will have to be shipped somewhere where there is relatively easy access to it by the terrorist group; so they can load and prime the bomb as they approach the US. Anything other than that, like a bomb on a timer for a week, is just asking for a fizzle.

6/20/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

There is an addenum, I just realized now.

While the United States, and probably a couple other countries such as the UK, France, Russia, and China have the technical knowledge and means to identify where the fissile material was produced, the majority of the world doesn't.

So wretchard's conjecture of a nuke initating in Riadyah, followed hours later by one over Tehran isn't too farfetched, because the Saudis wouldn't have the technical knowledge to clearly identify where the fissile came from, and would most likely hit the "likely suspects".

6/21/2008 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

McDaddyo said: "I think we can easily see how Wretchard and his gang of videogame geopoliticians are begging to be prosecuted under HR 1955."

This statement reveals the tyrannical and totalitarian nature of the American Socialist/Marxist left. McDaddyo and his Socialist/Marxist friends would subvert our God-given right to free speech by some perversion of law. Well, McDaddyo, there is one thing higher than your perversion of man's law; and that is the sacred God-given human rights of man.

McDaddyo, You who are in violation of the American Declaration of Independence because by threatening human liberty, i.e.: free speech, you thereby intimidate the civilian population of the United States in furtherance of your Socialist/Marxist political and social objectives; and you thereby cause liberty-loving people to fear their government.

Here's my definition of homegrown tyranny: "The term `homegrown tyranny' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of corrupted law and government power by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

McDaddyo, you and your Socialist/Marxist friends are tyrants.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

"Law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." Thomas Jefferson

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson

6/21/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger James Garland said...

A technical note on the subject of containers. Shielding does not work against the type of "scanner" that I am familiar with that is used on containers. (I used to work for the company that makes it.)

6/21/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McDaddyo, You who are in violation of the American Declaration of Independence because by threatening human liberty, i.e.: free speech, you thereby intimidate the civilian population of the United States ...

Everyone who feels intimidated by McD either physically or mentally, raise your hand.

Now, everyone who thinks it'd be pretty fun to meet McD in a dark alley at 3:00 in the morning, raise your hand.

I thought so.

6/21/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

NahnCee,
I don't feel intimidated by McDaddyo as an individual, but I fear the sort of tyrannical governmental power for which he agitates: Unconstitutional Socialist/Marxist governmental power.

McDaddyo and his sort should be feared in the same way that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles were to be feared - their ideas are tyrannical, and they can be brought into reality here through a slow process of perverted law and government.

"I declared to them point-blank: we have received our mandate as the representatives of the proletarian party from no one but ourselves.” Karl Marx

"The method of engaging in trifles at public meetings and doing real business on the quiet justified itself brilliantly." Friedrich Engles

"This is at least the best thing that remains for us to do, while we are compelled to use the pen and cannot bring our ideas into life with the help of our hands or, if necessary, with our fists." Friedrich Engles

"If, thanks to war, we should come to power prematurely, the technicians will become our special enemies, and will deceive and betray us wherever they can. We will have to resort to terror" Friedrich Engles

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism," they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate 1940, 1944 and 1948

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

6/21/2008 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

My point is that as long as I have a gun in my hand, a brain in my head, and a vote at the ballot box, McD and his ilk are impotent.

And I refuse to take seriously his Chicken Little squawking that the sky is falling, which - I might add - your warnings about his danger start to sound suspiciously like. Because that feels like a different kind of attempted intimidation to me.

He's a pathetic loser. I will not take him and his fellow Marxist/Muslim travelers seriously because the only way he can possibly be a success in his little life is to advocate some sort of social engineering and take from the rich and the able to make up for his deficiencies.

Even just typing his name gives him more respect and attention than he's ever earned on his own on this forum.

6/21/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

First off, thank you very much for the in-depth reply, whiskey_199. I realize how numerous options that I cite have their particular shortcomings. All I’m trying to do is identify the ones that exist for the sake of productive discussion. If anybody can suggest a measure or measures that I have neglected to list, please do so.

Nomenklatura: If the principle of collective punishment were adopted, it may well be that deterrence would not need to be implemented on a grand scale.

Le Bingo!

whiskey_199: Targeted assassinations are the best method, because it both induces fear, and no one in the West will complain much if bin Laden or Zawahari were killed. The problem is getting to them and being willing to either get into bed with questionable characters who might later be just as large a problem, or civilian casualties, or both.

Much as we had to get into bed with bastards like Ferdinand Marcos to win the Cold War, so it may be with the Global War on Terrorism. I refer you to a comment by Wretchard about terrorist infrastructure:

The Israeli strike against the terrorist top tier exploits the weakness inherent in terrorist organizations which are unstable alliances based on a delicate balance of internal intimidation. None of them, the Palestinian Authority included, are either transparent or accountable. They are exceptionally vulnerable to changes in their leadership. They can stand the loss of any number of teenage fighters or youthful suicide bombers without much damage but are rocked -- as Yassin's death illustrates -- by death at the top.

If we must, then we should cooperate with underlings who will sell out their more valuable leaders. We can always return to off the underlings at a later time. Islam is uniquely vulnerable to such leadership erosion. Anyone who doubts this should read Norvell B. De Atkine’s excellent monograph, “Why Arabs Lose Wars”. It provides exacting detail as to why intelligence hoarding and skill concentration—both of which are endemic within the MME (Muslim Middle East)—are so self-defeating for Islam.

McDaddyo: Here's the money shot from Hoover's Colby:

”It is a policy that carefully and reasonably expands the definition of guilt — it is not a policy that targets the innocent.''

Hands down the winner of the 2008 George Orwell Doublespeak award.


Only if you accept how a culture that embraces and glorifies death should be exempt from condemnation. Is that what you maintain?

While we’re at it, why don’t we examine the death cult of World War II Imperial Japan. Their kamikaze pilots ostensibly obtained both immediate public approbation and eternal praise for their acts. How does this differ from Islam’s bomb vest murderers? What measures allow for any degree of success against this sort of vicious swine but the collective punishment of a culture who advance such barbaric methods against civilized society?

Furthermore, how is it that we in the West must suddenly refrain from applying collective punishment against those who do not flinch at inflicting the same upon us? Do you honestly think that by utilizing Nazi methods we will suddenly become Nazis? We fire bombed Dresden as a demoralizing agent and yet did not become Nazis ourselves. Unless, of course, McDaddyo, you argue that America—in its current form—is no better that the German Nazis. Is that what you maintain?

I ask because, somehow, America defeated incredibly ruthless forms of totalitarianism like Japanese Imperialism and Nazism without succumbing to the illicit lures of such perverted doctrines.

Are you honestly willing to assert that America cannot fight Islamic terrorism without similarly succumbing to the tenets of terrorism?

Have you ever heard of “fighting fire with fire”?

Please tell me how many modern wildfires are successfully fought without setting “backfires”? Do you understand that any perilous blaze usually must be fought with fire itself? Islam’s threat must be met with its own tools. Only then will Muslims be made to understand the incredibly offensive nature of their own doctrine. Only when Muslims experience collective punishment—like that which they inflict upon Infidels with their terrorism—and undergo the suffering that they promote in their attacks upon innocents with terrorism, will they finally begin to comprehend just how evil Islam actually is.

To think that Muslims will perceive this without dramatic and vivid physical demonstrations of exactly what their supremely violent and abusive doctrine requires of them is the height of fantasy. Just as Japan required—not ONE but TWO atomic attacks (in order that they would comprehend how America had nuclear weapons in production)—so must Islam be convinced of their folly by a resolute display of horrible retaliation for the atrocities that their beloved Koran exhorts them to commit.

Anything less is an invitation to another 911 atrocity, save that it will be on a nuclear scale. Doubt this at your own risk.

Wadeusaf: Radical Islam is the culprit, the festering sore in Islamic populations that affects the rest of the world.

You’re being way too generous. Islam—even in its most basic form—is already radical in nature. Supremacist, triumphalist, apocalyptic, all of these essential characteristics make basic Islam totally incompatible with human civilization. It is no use pretending that there is a “tame” form of Islam. It simply DOES NOT exist. One might as well pretend that it is possible to pick up a turd by its clean end.

Wadeusaf: Prodding the Citizens of Islamic states to toss off the hold of radicalism, and denounce the use of terror means encouraging the embrace of an alternative. Reigniting the democracy movement maybe our best longterm bet.

It seems that you may lack a fundamental understanding of how Islam operates. Democracy is nowhere an option. How can you possibly think that Muslims will accept the putatively error-riddled manmade laws of democracy in favor of the eternal legal code of Allah? Why do you think that post-liberation Afghanistan and Iraq both immediately and voluntarily bore down once again under Islam’s brutal yoke of shari’a law? If you can answer that question, what follows may not be a mystery to you after all.

Consider this article about the now-dead but once close associate of Osama bin Laden, Yussuf al-Ayyeri:

What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a ''clean battlefield'' in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels ''secularist democracy.'' This threat is ''far more dangerous to Islam'' than all its predecessors combined. The reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's ''seductive capacities.''

This form of ''unbelief'' persuades the people that they are in charge of their destiny and that, using their collective reasoning, they can shape policies and pass laws as they see fit. That leads them into ignoring the ''unalterable laws'' promulgated by God for the whole of mankind, and codified in the Islamic
shariah (jurisprudence) until the end of time.

The goal of democracy, according to Al-Ayyeri, is to ''make Muslims love this world, forget the next world and abandon
jihad.'' If established in any Muslim country for a reasonably long time, democracy could lead to economic prosperity, which, in turn, would make Muslims ''reluctant to die in martyrdom'' in defense of their faith.

He says that it is vital to prevent any normalization and stabilization in Iraq. Muslim militants should make sure that the United States does not succeed in holding elections in Iraq and creating a democratic government. ''If democracy comes to Iraq, the next target [for democratization] would be the whole of the Muslim world,'' Al-Ayyeri writes.

[emphasis added]

Two key elements of successful Western civilization—namely, democracy and prosperity—are deemed as dire threats to Islamic integrity. Please tell the studio audience and all the folks at home just how in Hell such virulent menaces to Islam’s very existence are suddenly going to be embraced with anything approaching the expedience needed to avert a Muslim holocaust.

[per randian] "Since dying in the service of Allah is the highest possible status any Muslim can have, I don't see how this will have any deterrent effect whatsoever."

Fred: I know about this tenet from the Qur'an and ahadith very well. Nevertheless, our purpose in killing these savages is always the preservation of our lives, our liberties, our civilization, our religions. We have a duty to kill them when and whenever they are pushing and extending the jihad. It is a moral duty.

… If the enemy does nuke us in the future, you may very well see most of the population turn on the Left without mercy. Justly so, because things would never have arrived at that point where collective punishment would be an option had it not been how effective the Left was in running interference for the Islamic enemy.


This is the bottom line. One that McDaddyo is obviously too squeamish about to discuss rationally.”Expanded Deterrence” is nothing but another term for collective punishment. America’s wholesale national amnesia with respect to the lessons of World War II have obliged us to relearn what should have been indelibly etched upon this nation’s memory. Furthermore, the Left has made sure that collective punishment now carries such perjorative connotations that it is impossible to suggest.

This is also my reply to randian and, to a lesser extent, McDaddyo. First off, when Muslims are perishing in the hundreds of thousands at a time, suddenly glorious martyrdom won't seem quite so magnificent anymore. This is my exact purpose for citing Massively Disproportionate Retaliation.

Islam’s very nature—especially with respect to combating jihad—demands the embrace of collective punishment. I ask that ANYONE name more vivid examples of collective punishment than dhimmitude or terrorism. Both are inextricable elements of ordinary everyday Islamic strategy and are no more likely to be foresworn than other pillars of Islam like salat or zakat.

As McDaddyo blathers on about how, “What Colby describes is nothing more and nothing less than using pre-emptive terrorism to "deter" terrorism.”, he neglects to recognize that there are times where it is mandatory to (as I mentioned above) “fight fire with fire”. Few major wildfires are not extinguished without using the tactic of setting “backfires”. They consume available fuel in advance of the arriving conflagration’s front and deprive it of calamitous combustion rates.

To repeat: During World War II the Allies fought fire with fire. We demoralized the Nazis by fire-bombing a non-strategic heritage site like Dresden and we also killed far more Japanese in Tokyo during bomb-induced firestorms than ever died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. We did all this without becoming the genocidal imperialists that our Nazi and Japanese enemies were at that time.

As Western politicians continue their Three Monkeys “hear, see and speak no evil” approach to Islam, they literally assure that we will miss the current window of opportunity to fight fire with fire. Their spineless hesitation and cowardice is sliding us over the event horizon’s edge straight towards massive nuclear retaliation as a response to the immolation of one or more American cities.

I would much rather see America use Massively Disproportionate Retaliation (as cited in my opening comment) to set a “backfire” that will starve the jihadist flames of necessary fuel, than sit back and wait for the Muslim holocaust that is sure to fill this current strategic vacuum. Better that we terrorize Muslim populations into exterminating the jihadis in their midst than simply resort to wholesale genocide.

By adhering to the Koran, all Muslims have made themselves complicit in jihad. The Koran mandates jihad, Muslims know it and they do nothing to oppose this blatant supremacism. They deepen this complicity by contributing zakat that funds terrorism. They even further immerse themselves in wrong doing by not vigorously protesting in global numbers whenever Islamic atrocities occur. In effect, they render themselves as willing participants in global jihad. Muslims everywhere have no reasonable expectation that they should be given a pass once the West begins implementing pre-emptive strikes of “expanded deterrence”.

Fred: I listen to and read about all the hand-wringing with respect to the concept of pre-emption. And this is frustrating because most of us who can think understand what pre-emption achieves: it takes the specter of nuclear war off the horizon. Obonga has altered his position on account of the fact that a pre-emptive strike is likely to incur collateral damage. This is preposterous! Does he not understand a trade off of maybe thousands of Iranian lives now, but saving millions of lives in Israel, the United States, and especially Iran? Is human life that cheap to him and his advisers that they would bring about the most horrific event yet faced by humanity? And he may even be the proximate cause of the tragedy of a civil war or revolution in this country!

Obama and his liberal ilk are simply delusional. They believe that it is possible to negotiate with an enemy whose goals are non-negotiable. Not only do they believe this, but they also willingly disregard how this same enemy has awarded itself the religiously sanctioned privilege of lying, cheating, misrepresenting and defrauding us at every imaginable turn.

If Obama is not delusional with respect to this, then he is a knowing participant in Islam’s campaign against the West. Either way, it makes him supremely dangerous and nothing more than a traitor, witting or otherwise.

MKSheppard: Every reactor in the world has it's own unique radiological "fingerprint", due to construction and material differences, which affect even those reactors built to a same basic plan. This fingerprint can be determined through a variety of technical means; but usually by sending an asset into the region to sample the soil and water around the reactor itself for trace quantities of radiological materials -- we're talking about absurdly small quantities of radiological materials here, parts per million, which we have the technology to detect; because no reactor is a completely self-contained environment -- no matter how good your welds are, some radiological material will get into the reactor's cooling loop and be deposited into the cooling ponds or river near the reactor. Like I said earlier, it's really tiny -- parts per million, but enough to get Greenpeace screaming.

This is what I’ve always read and heard. I posted this same information here at The Belmont Club over a year ago and did not get and contradictory reactions at that time.

A central issue still remains: What if the micro-assay fingerprint points to fissile material that originated in Russia? The Soviet Union’s collapse has left a lot of hungry scientists, ex-military and just plain corrupt SOBs out of work. Few of them would scruple over fencing a few dozen kilos of fissile material, or even a functional nuclear device.

This remains one of my central concerns. How would we, or even could we retaliate against Russia if it turned out to be the source of fissile material. This is one reason I posted about Massively Disproportionate Retaliation in the form of a blanket reprisal against all terrorist sponsoring regimes in the event of even a single nuclear or “dirty bomb” strike against America.

It’s high time to start making the terror regimes run scared. Knowing that the lone wolves they have untethered might come back to bite them into total annihilation is one sure way of getting these maggots to self-police. As whiskey_199 notes:

A credible threat (end of all China trade, repudiation of Chinese debts, embargo) should we suspect a North Korean nuke trade can get their attention.

I suspect there are similar economic countermeasures that could be employed against Russia as well. Moreover, the use of “enhanced yield devices” (i.e., neutron bombs) would avoid needless contamination of Middle East oilfields, an otherwise important sticking point regarding the potentially global economic effects of nailing the Islamic terrorist players in their hives.

The point remains that if Western countries want to survive Islam’s global jihad, concepts like “expanded deterrence” will have to be examined, if not applied. It’s long past tea for these options to be brought out on the table. Islam must be read the riot act and this is one way of doing so.

6/21/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Zenster - applause

Concur.

6/21/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We do seem to be posting and re-posting and re-re-posting the same nuggets of factoids from year to year, don't we?

6/21/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

NahnCee said:

"We do seem to be posting and re-posting and re-re-posting the same nuggets of factoids from year to year, don't we?"

We're preaching to the converted (Big mistake #1).

Drive-by moonbats appear at Belmont Club, make fools out of themselves, disappear and are immediately replaced by new drive-by moonbats.

In the meantime, B. Hussein is leading by about 5% in the polls as we march lockstep towards the cliff.

I've sent my financial contribution to McCain along with an offer to serve as an unpaid volunteer. Quixotic, yes I know...

6/21/2008 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"And I refuse to take seriously his Chicken Little squawking that the sky is falling, which - I might add - your warnings about his danger start to sound suspiciously like. Because that feels like a different kind of attempted intimidation to me."

My apologies, NahnCee, if I gave you a quiver of fear, because irrationality and injustice are the last things on my mind. I do have what I believe is a rational fear of unconstitutional and tyrannical Socialism; and I believe the American Socialists/Marxists are making a serious play.

http://www.robertlstephens.com/essays/shafarevich/001SocialistPhenomenon.html

http://freebooks.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/a_pdfs/newslet/preface/03pref.pdf

The American Socialist Left is a mirror image of the European Socialist Left, and they both, in my mind, bear a remarkable similarity to the European Right. Communism = Nazism.

The American Right - or conservative, traditional Americanism - bears no relation to the European Right. American Conservatives bear similarity to the American Founding Fathers who were the only true liberals; and their revolution - The American Revolution (Including the Civil War) - was the only revolution in human history which adequately defined human liberty and struggled for it; and which adequately defined human tyranny and struggled against it.

I don't mean to sound radical, but Thomas Jefferson's liberalism and his devotion to the Sacred and Divine Human Rights of Man is still a radical idea - one worth dying for, if necessary - for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson

6/21/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Storm-Rider said:

"The American Right - or conservative, traditional Americanism - bears no relation to the European Right. American Conservatives bear similarity to the American Founding Fathers who were the only true liberals..."

I'm not arguing with this. I think the overwhelming majority of conservatives are patriots. However I've read some recent material by Pat Buchanan that's border-line neo-Nazi. The far-right are not patriots even though they think they are. Also the far right will not defend us from crypto-Marxists like B. Hussein. If anything, the far right are B. Hussein's willing pawns. They know where the penduleum will swing after B. Hussein has done his damage.

6/21/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

from my college days as I recall, the purpose of terrorism was an either or proposition.

either the state over reacts -- there by becoming the tyrant that the terrorist insists that they are -- thereby winning over the populace to the cause of the terrorists.

Or

The state under reacts creating a moral hazard. ie the terrorists show that the state is weak and unable to protect the populace and there for the state and the populace can be bent to the will of the terrorists.

6/21/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

eggplant,
I stand corrected: Pat Buchannan reminds me of the European Right as well; he sounds like a Nazi. Why are conservative news outlets still giving him a voice? He's as scary as BHO.

6/21/2008 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Charles: from my college days as I recall, the purpose of terrorism was an either or proposition.

either the state over reacts -- there by becoming the tyrant that the terrorist insists that they are -- thereby winning over the populace to the cause of the terrorists.

Or

The state under reacts creating a moral hazard. ie the terrorists show that the state is weak and unable to protect the populace and therefore the state and the populace can be bent to the will of the terrorists.


The foregoing presumes that the state is limited to domestic action alone. This is why I agitate for targeted assassinations. We must go to the trouble's source and exterminate those who profit most from this onslaught against Western civilization.

We have the legal right to intervene where others acting in bad faith will not and we have the moral authority to preserve a more deserving form of society than Islam's Neanderthal culture.

End of story.

6/21/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Zenster writes:

``I ask that ANYONE name more vivid examples of collective punishment than dhimmitude or terrorism.''

Exactly.

Collective punishment is another word for terrorism.

Zenster, Nahncee and Stormy advocate terrorism.

Their mentality and morals are the same as bin Laden's.

America has rejected collective punishment, and terrorism, because it is counterproductive and immoral.

If Nahncee and her ilk had ever gained power int the U.S., we would have ended up like Japan, or Germany or the Soviet Union.

Dresden, the fire bombing of Tokyo and the nuclear attack on Japan were indeed excessive and may not have been necessary. But we can only say that in hindsight.

At the time, they appeared to be of absolute strategic importance, not to terrify the enemy, but to destroy their ability to staff and equip a military force.

More important, the attacks, while excessive, were directed against power structures that had declared war on the U.S.

Colby's "enhanced deterrence'' is all about attacking governments that are not at war with the U.S. but that have, rather, failed to prevent terrorists in their midst from attacking the U.S.

6/22/2008 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

McDaddyo said: "Collective punishment is another word for terrorism. Zenster, Nahncee and Stormy advocate terrorism. Their mentality and morals are the same as bin Laden's."

No, I advocate self-defense; and self-defense requires no verbal or written justification or explanation; the requirement for self-defense is self-evident.

As to morality, McDaddyo, you have it backwards; it is immoral not to defend human life, and it is even more immoral not to defend human liberty; because human life is fatally insecure without liberty.

Also, your moral equivalence between those who are the aggressors against human life and liberty, and those who defend human life and liberty is its self immoral.

6/22/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

McDaddyo said: "Dresden, the firebombing of Tokyo and the nuclear attack on Japan were indeed excessive and may not have been necessary."

Those attacks were not excessive; they were indeed necessary to prevent much greater loss of life - particularly in regards to Imperial Japan. It has been estimated that there would have been millions (not hundreds of thousands) of deaths resulting from an American conventional invasion of the Japanese home islands; and the Japanese civilians would have borne the brunt of those projected wartime deaths. So, while tragic, the fire-bombings and nuclear attacks saved millions of lives, both American and especially Japanese; and those attacks were therefore moral on balance, and acts of just war. Morality in war has to do with saving lives by killing fewer lives, not by avoiding killing altogether.

Failure to wage just war, and failure to destroy an evil aggressor enemy, results in peace under tyranny. The object of just war is peace under liberty.

6/22/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

McDaddyo: Colby's "enhanced deterrence'' is all about attacking governments that are not at war with the U.S. but that have, rather, failed to prevent terrorists in their midst from attacking the U.S.

The governemnts in question have not "failed to prevent terrorists in their midst from attacking the U.S.". The Islamic governments in question are covertly engaged in actively abetting, funding and equipping terrorist attacks against America.

Expanded Deterrence is necessary precisely because these Islamic cesspits use the pretense of plausible deniability in order to conceal their malicious acts.

That you have the puerile indencency to lazily apply 20-20 hindsight in saying that demoralizing attacks against non-strategic targets like Dresden and Hiroshima "were indeed excessive and may not have been necessary", goes beyond morally repugnant.

You have the gall to sit and armchair what an entire generation of American soldiers spilled their blood for even as you deign to dismiss the importance of their valor and sacrifice.

Your profound abuse of the hard-won liberties those soldiers fought and died for ON YOUR BEHALF, which made it possible for you to sit and second guess how we might have obtained victory over some of history's most ghastly foes, is not just anti-American, it literally reeks of cognitive dissonance.

Furthermore, such an abusive attitude establishes solid reasons for all who encounter your posts to dismiss them out of hand.

6/22/2008 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Bravo.

applause applause applause

6/22/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Might I ever so quietly point out that, once again, the topic of the thread has swerved from "thinking the unthinkable" to dissecting and rebutting one particular poster?

6/22/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

``The Islamic governments in question are covertly engaged in actively abetting, funding and equipping terrorist attacks against America.''

Read Colby's essay. Also, look up the word "collective" in the dictionary.

His whole argument is that real deterrence would require killing people who are NOT involved in attacks.

Consider:
The U.S. is directly aiding and abetting Pakistan and has been for decades.

Would the U.S. then be complicit in attacks undertaken by Pakistanis?

Under a doctrine of "collective punishment'' it would be acceptable for Afghanistan to bomb a U.S. city, because America is supporting Pakistan, which is, in turn, supporting Pashtun fake religious gangsters who call themselves Taliban, who are engaging in attacks against Afghanistan.

That's but one simple example of how disastrous such a policy would be.

6/22/2008 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

McDaddyo said: "His whole argument is that real deterrence would require killing people who are NOT involved in attacks."

By your flawed reasoning it would not be possible for America to defend Her Life and Liberty during war. The United States military killed people during World War II who were not involved in attacks on America or American Military forces; yet it was still a just war against Nazi and Imperial Japanese tyranny.

Defending the life and liberty of a free nation by military means is not the same as military (Nazi, Communist or Jihadist) attacks on a free nation. Defense of sacred life and liberty of a free nation by military means is good; military attacks on the sacred life and liberty of a free nation is evil.

Your moral equivalence here is based on the fact that you have no moral understanding of good and evil; or you have sided with evil.

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness"

6/22/2008 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

McDaddyo: Under a doctrine of "collective punishment" it would be acceptable for Afghanistan to bomb a U.S. city

Get a clue you fricking nit. Afghanistan already managed to "bomb a U.S. city".

IT WAS CALLED THE 9-11 ATROCITY

Had Afghanistan's Taliban not sheltered bin Laden and his thugs, the 9-11 atrocity might never have happened.

His whole argument is that real deterrence would require killing people who are NOT involved in attacks.

And who would those particular people be? Certainly not the Muslims who follow Koranic doctrine that exhorts them to kill and subjugate all unbelievers wherever they find them.

So, who the F%&K do you claim are so innocent amongst Islam's minions whereby America's preemption or retalition should leave them unscathed?

If the Global Caliphate was not such a wholly repugnant concept, I would invite it wholeheartedly just so I could watch morons like you get marched to the chopping block after so vigorously cheering the arrival of shari'a law.

McDaddyo, you're not just sick, you're psychotic. Go ahead, please review all of my prior posts here at The Belmont Club. Examine how often I use such perjorative terms against participants here. The answer is on the order of 1%-2% of the time.

Not only have you struggled to earn such abuse, you've dished so much of it out in advance, that only the most totally irrational amongst us would not take umbrage at your persistent spewing.

Fortunately, I need not seek any revenge upon you. Your own cognitive dissonance and psychotic disconnection from reality will wreak upon you far more havoc and mayhem than I could ever wish upon you in a single human lifetime.

6/23/2008 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger eatyourbeans said...

How about holding the moslem populations living in the west hostage too? My question is about the practicalities. The morality of it I'll love to those fine-spun spirits who dwell among the clouds.

6/23/2008 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Fen said...

the ABM system would have reduced fatalities from tens of thousands to a couple hundred.

If your goal is [like the Soviet's] to destroy American cities, then yes. Feeble plan.

If your goal is to spread terror, then no. The consequences of the fallout would cascade beyond the affected area. Just look up the retail industry in the 4th quarter after 9-11. People were avoiding the malls because of something that happened on the East Coast.

Shielding does not work against the type of "scanner" that I am familiar with that is used on containers.

Cool. I'm sure the terrorists are unaware of this. I'm certain that rogue nations won't account for that in their planning and outflank our Maginot line.

/s

6/23/2008 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger James Garland said...

Fen, where in my comment about container scanners did I refer to anything other than scanners? My point was a very narrow one, intentionally, as I had no intention of getting into the discussion of the larger issue of the overall effectiveness of our defensive systems. The most I intended to imply was that those who wish to discuss the technical aspects of counter-terrorism should get their facts straight.

No one in the profession that I know of thinks that we have a Maginot line or anything like an impenetrable system. On the other hand, some people seem to want to paint a picture that smuggling nuclear weapons is a cakewalk.

Also, it is a basic assumption in the field of security and designing technical systems for that field that the enemy knows how the system works. It is also a basic assumption that the enemy has a sophisticated intelligence capability, even for cases like Al Qaeda, who don't have the full apparatus of the state to support them.

It is a basic assumption in secure systems design that one of the primary threats is the inside operator. The inside operator has access to passwords, keys, technical manuals, etc.

After all, if we assume that Al Qaeda has access to advanced nuclear weapons designs, we certainly would assume he understands the operation of our unclassified detection systems.

So your sarcastic remark, with its implication that we are stupid, just shows your ignorance of how counter-intelligence professionals think and strategize.

6/23/2008 10:11:00 AM  

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