Monday, July 18, 2005

Everybody Comes to Rick's

Reader DL sends this link to Unite Against Terror, a site in which British writers pledge their unwavering resistance to fascism today and explain why. It is the explanations which are interesting; and since they are expressed with the facility of accomplished writers I will reproduce them here without comment, except to add that many of these authors are men of the Left; a few are conservative. But all of them are alert to the danger. If liberal readers have ever wondered what it was like to have lived in the "Great Days" when men fought against Nazism, shake yourself awake. Those days are come.

Marko Attila Hoare  (Faculty of History, University of Cambridge)

I sign this statement as a supporter of the legitimate struggle for freedom and independence of the Palestinians, Chechens and other enslaved Muslim peoples caught between the Scylla of colonial oppression and the Charybdis of Islamofascism.

To every genuine national-liberation movement, sectarian hatred and pogroms of civilians are as alien as the foreign occupier. In German-occupied Yugoslavia during World War II, the anti-Nazi Partisans preached brotherhood and unity between Muslims, Christians and Jews; they were known to execute their own officers and soldiers if they so much as stole chickens from local peasants, let alone massacred civilians. Al-Qaeda?s Islamofascist network - targeting Jews, Kurds, Shiites, women, homosexuals, moderate Sunnis and ordinary civilians everywhere - represents, by contrast, the very antithesis of a genuine liberation movement.

Everywhere, Islamic extremists have aided and abetted the oppressors of Muslims. In World War II, the Islamofascist Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini helped incite an anti-British revolt in Iraq; he subsequently visited Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia to mobilise Bosnian Muslims to fight in the SS. Islamist terrorism in Daghestan in1999 provided Russia with the pretext for its genocidal reconquest of Chechnya. Elements in the Turkish and Israeli security services encouraged Islamic extremism as a means of dividing and weakening secular Kurdish and Palestinian nationalism respectively, helping to create a Frankenstein?s monster that is claiming the lives of Turks and Kurds, Jews and Arabs alike.

There can be no freedom for Muslim peoples without the defeat of the Islamofascists and everything they stand for; and there can be no defeat of the Islamofascists without liberty for all Muslim peoples.

George Szirtes

To sign a statement is to raise your hand
In the open view of anyone. You may
Be named, accused or slandered, made to stand
In the dock of those who shout you?re in their way.

You?re in the way, much like the scholar who
Stood before the tank and argued, although
He knew what a soldier was obliged to do
And where that tank was most likely to go.

OK, so choose your own analogy.
We like to see ourselves as David, brave
Before the giant who?s not as big as he looks,

Arguing points of ideology
Near bloody squares, over the mass grave,
While carrying our shopping bags and books.


With shopping bags and books you lumber home
To the best of your mixed blessings. It?s where you are
In the land of low turn out, millennium dome
And gradualism, your second-hand car

Your form-filling, the colours of the prism
Known, faintly contemptible and ripe
For comedy, affection, scepticism,
With nuggets of delight among the tripe.

It?s little enough to raise your hand for this,
For anyone else anywhere. It makes a strange
Human cohesion, a frayed elastic band.

Courage and generosity might miss
The mark sometimes but I believe their range
Is useful. It is for them I raise my hand.

Christopher Hitchens (Writer)

Association with this statement and with many of its fellow-signatories involves two commitments. The first is the elementary duty of solidarity with true and authentic resistance movements within the Muslim world, such as the Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, who were fighting against Ba'athism and Talibanism (and the latent alliance between the two) long before any American or British government had woken up to the threat. It should go without saying that, though the suffering of their peoples was intense, neither Jalal Talabani nor Ahmed Shah Masoud ever considered letting off explosive devices at random in foreign capitals. I have my political and ideological differences with both groups, but these differences are between me and them, and are not mediated through acts of nihilistic murder.

My second commitment is equally elementary. The foreign policy of a democracy should be determined only at election times or by votes in Congress or Parliament. It is one hundred per cent unacceptable even to imply, let alone to assert, that a suicide-murderer or his apologists can by these means acquire the right to any say in how matters are decided.

Both of these observations, and indeed this very statement, would be redundant if it were not for the widespread cultural presence of a pseudo-Left, and an isolationist Right, both of whom have degenerated to the point where they regard jihadism as some form of "liberation theology". The old slogans are often the best, and "Death to Fascism" is life-affirming in these conditions. Permalink

Alan Johnson (Labour Friends of Iraq)

When the news came through of the terrorist attacks in London on 7/7, I was at my desk writing an introduction for a seminar organised by my friend Brian Brivati. It was to be held in London the next morning and the theme was 'towards a social democratic foreign policy'. I had already written my opening lines. "A social democratic foreign policy should achieve two goals: the security of the British people in the context of new deadly threats and challenges and the pursuit of enduring and universal values in a world being rendered one by globalisation. What is the prize? A successful response to the threats that, in part at least, also advances the values". I still think that's right. Against their killers we must pit not only arms but values. Against their totalitarianism we pit democracy. Against their misogyny and homophobia, equality. Against their obscurantism, reason. Against their hate, love. Against their sectarianism, genuine community. Against their cult of violence, the ethic of responsibility. Against their hatred of the Other, the kindness of strangers. The signatories to this statement are saying, I think, 'for these values, here we stand, for these values, here we fight'. Permalink

Stephen Pollard (Writer)

Beyond the murder and the carnage inflicted by terrorists, there is a further insidious danger to our liberty,  that posed by those whose words and deeds give support to the terrorists, and whose warped values lead them to side with those who murder above those who promote freedom.

The Guardianista fellow-travellers of terror, who stress its supposed causes, are the useful idiots of the Islamofascists. The terrorists are the operatives of an ideology which has no concern with Palestinians or Iraqis, whom they murder without compunction. They have no concern with anything but the destruction of the West.

At a time when Islamofascism seeks to destroy liberal, democratic civilisation and to replace it with theocracy, it is imperative that those of us who believe in democracy and liberty stand up and fight. Not just against the obvious enemy, but also against the enemy within - those who claim to be on the Left, but whose views have nothing in common with the decency for which the Left ought proudly to stand.

Oliver Kamm (Columnist, The Times)

Many years ago, Conor Cruise O'Brien identified an attitude he termed "unilateral liberalism". This is a stance acutely sensitive to threats to liberty arising from actions by democratic states, but curiously phlegmatic about threats to liberty from the enemies of those states.

O'Brien was alluding to attitudes to terrorism in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. But many of us on the Left can recognise a similar tendency, and worse, in the response of progressives to the atrocities of 9/11 and other acts of suicide-terrorism against established and emerging democracies. The terrorists give allegiance to a totalitarianism both with recognisable twentieth-century forebears and with a still more atavistic - literally mediaeval - character. They oppose the US and its allies not for our sins of commission and omission, but for what we exemplify: liberal political rights, pluralism, religious liberty, scientific inquiry and women?s emancipation. Their contempt for human life and disregard for the principle of non-combatant immunity stem not from despair and anger, but from nihilism. "Unite Against Terror" expresses a tougher-minded liberalism on this central political issue of the early-21st century. More than that, it is a call for simple human decency and an insistence that human rights are indivisible.

Adrian Cohen (London)

London is still reeling from the suicide bombings which hit it on 7/7, killing 54 civilians. We have yet to understanding the impact that these attacks will have on our society. Since September 2000 there have been 160 suicide bombings in Israel and many more attempted suicide bombings, in a country with a population comparable to that of the greater London area. 514 people, including many infants, children and elderly citizens, including Holocaust survivors, were killed in those attacks; thousands have been maimed. Those killed and injured include Muslims, Jews and guest workers of neither religion. Israel is a society which perceives itself to be under an existential threat. The ideology of those pursuing this campaign, the funders, the mentors, the bomb engineers and the direct perpetrators are predominantly members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, or under their influence; organisations which openly embrace the destruction of the state of Israel and espouse overt anti-Semitism; organisations now intent on subverting the Palestine Authority and undermining the peace process. For those who truly believe in democracy and civil society, regardless of their views on the politics of the Middle East, there can be only one legitimate position which is an unqualified condemnation of all suicide bombing whether in Western Europe, Iraq,Turkey or Israel.

Brian Brivati (Professor of Modern History, Kingston University, London)

To understand solidarity think about what all human beings have in common. We want a better future for our children. What does better mean? For most people in the world it means predictability. It means a predictable material future that is free from want. It means a secure future in which states or others cannot arbitrarily steal our freedom in furtherance of their own ends. It means freedom to develop ourselves. Freedom from tyranny, freedom from want and freedom from chaos. The question each of these bomb attacks must make us face is very simple: do the people who plan these suicide bombs (and delude these young people to give up their lives while they themselves hide) offer the future that we really want? Do we want to live in the world these people will create? Or rather, do we want to live in the world, flawed, imperfect but open to endless free and effective criticism, that forms - Christian based, Islam based or secular based ? liberal democracy? Do the actions of states like the UK and USA who take the fight to the terrorists, take us further towards the freedom we all want or further away? We must defeat them, militarily by bringing them to justice, politically by meeting the legitimate aspects of their critique of the world that makes many more moderate people give them aid, and ideologically by showing that their fascism like all fascist creeds is based on inhumanity. I think we all want the freedom to be more like ourselves and therefore we all oppose those fascists who would deprive us of that right. I think this common humanity will defeat the fascism of our generation as it did the fascism of the 1940s but only if it combines winning arguments, with winning wars. Permalink

Peter Tatchell (Human Rights campaigner, London)

We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left-wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called 'resistance' in Iraq. This 'resistance' uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi - stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn't care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.


Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

I wonder if Jack Straw will meet with the "democratic" hamas now?

7/18/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

The Left Revisionists
By Marko Attila Hoare
November 2003

7/18/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Alliance politics makes for many strange friendships, not all of them as enduring as Rick's and Captain Renault's. Churchill once said, "If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil." I don't doubt that once this crisis has passed the Left will be up to its old mischief. But that is for the future. Our problem at the moment is to ensure that we have one.

Osama's attacks on Europe are in some imperfect way, analogous to Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union. Then, many on the Left were surprised to learn that, despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, they too were on the extermination list. Recently someone from Oxford was quoted at Tim Blair's site asking how the Jihadis could bomb the tube after so many Londoners had marched against the war in Iraq. The more things change the more they stay the same. Maybe Mr. Hoare realized Osama isn't just coming for the Zionists.

7/18/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Christopher Hitchens said it well. He disagrees with many things the Kurds and Masoud (and their movements) stand for but in first thing first.


Your objection to the modern day typical use of liberal is well noted. I am always careful to use the word properly. I saw recently someone looking the word up in the dictionary and asking what is wrong with that? Of course this fellow did not realize what his sides supports is no longer liberal.

Its funny how the left always wails that same call. Was it Michael Moore who wondered why the 9/11-19 hit NYC instead of TX? Why the leftists of NYC are on your side Osama, how could you? Why Ken Livingstone sympathizes with you AQ, how could you?

The bully picks on the weak, not the strong.

7/18/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I stand for freedom
Freedom to err
Freedom to succeed
Freedom to fail
Freedom from Fear
To do what you want, while respecting what others want to do

If Iraqis want to have elections and political parties, good.
If they want one man, one vote, one time, well, we gave 'em a chance. Better luck next time

If you come for me, for mine, or anyone that chooses to stand anywhere near me, come loaded.

These Jihadists have already come after me, they cared not one bit who was in those towers. Those people there were my people
I won't forget

Live free of die

It is more than a motto on a license plate

7/18/2005 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

What so many have waited for, a commitment from the western left, to win the war against fascism before the war against conservatism, may be coming to pass. This could mark the loss of AQ's most important support. The Golden Chain won't stand long against a unified west. Nothing on earth can stand against a unified west. If these fine letters mark an awakening re-examination of the meaning of western culture, AQ is already on the perp-walk to the dust-bin.

7/18/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger jimbo said...


My wife had to break out the smelling salts after I read this post. The clear implication is that there exist Leftists who aren't fools and/or scoundrels.

Is such a thing possible?

7/18/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

if he can see the light, well then, there really is a light to see.

7/18/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Wonder how the DC Demcoats are going to recieve this apostasy?

7/18/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

What, pray tell, is a right-wing leftist?

7/18/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Hitchens, remember, was exocommunicated from the left the moment he supported the West in the current conflict. It is sad how villified he is nowadays, by people who should know better, by people who have abandoned their principles.

Or perhaps, those principles of theirs were never that strong in the first place if they could be usurped so easily by anti-americanism.

7/18/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

These thugs have been in the planning stages for many months if not years to strike London. Their duplicity and deception is amazing. And, I don't like how frequently the name Saudi Arabia keeps coming up. I wonder if we have been to soft on the Saudis - somewhat a kin to Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler.

The next bomb to go off should be followed an al Qaeda financier being neutralized (better yet neutralize them now). These thugs have money, materials, transpiration, and horrific plans. Let's start chipping away that their financial foundation.


London bombing suspect Hasib Hussain arrived at Karachi airport on July 15, 2004, on Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight SV-714. No record of his departure for London or any other destination was immediately available, and authorities were investigating his travel route, Hayyat said. Shahzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan flew to Karachi on Nov. 19, 2004, on Turkish Airlines Flight 1056; both left for London aboard Turkish Airlines Flight 1057 on Feb. 8, 2005.

...Western intelligence officials told the network that an al-Qaida operative in U.S. custody, Mohammed Junad Babar, told interrogators he took Kahn to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan during a previous visit. Hayyat said he did not know what the men did during their visits, or whether they stayed in Karachi or traveled to other parts of Pakistan. "I know that our security agencies are trying to get such details," he said.

See: Suspects

7/18/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

"I think this common humanity will defeat the fascism of our generation as it did the fascism of the 1940s but only if it combines winning arguments, with winning wars”

One can already see the faint crack in liberal reasoning. "Winning arguments with winning wars." Is this to say that the argument must be won first before the enemy is engaged? Have the fascists not made their contentions clear? Must we know our enemies heart, know their soul, or does it suffice to understand their means and methods and to counter accordingly?

7/18/2005 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

annoy mouse
Yeah, they want to make sure that the bombers and beheaders are really not just misguided victims, but real honest to goodness EVIL, through and through.

7/18/2005 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

If (and I mean IF) the European "left" is beginning to see the true nature of the enemy we fight, it should be interesting to see how that will carryover to the "left" in the US. Will the intellectually bankrupt "left" in the US jump on the bandwagon or is it more of the same old blather?

7/18/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

It looks like the bombers duped young men into a suicide mission without their knowledge. A true homicide bombing. ‘Carry these satchels to station x, then just before you get off, take off your pack and leave it in the corner’, except one station before they get off, the bombs are activated. How many dupes will the Jihadists find in London? Well, perhaps enough. The holy war continues.

7/18/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

But who among us can swallow this whole, and not remember that it came from tainted sources ?? Who can not still have fear of the vicious dog that before had lunged at your throat from the end of its restraint, and now sits at your side ??
It just seems to me, by the tone, that these folks have agreed to this with regret, or maybe even duress.. Just rings hollow, guarded, as tho not to go too far in agreement..

The U.S. and the U.K. have a sad and dismal record of enforcing our own restrictions and compliances by radical elements in our midst.. How can we be contemptful of the Saudis, Turks, Syrians, Iranians, and Pakistanis, eventho, that is where most of the radical elements are trained, financed, and harbored, and their command structure is located ??
We sorely need to get our own house in order. Re-group, re-armor, re-plenish, and re-plan the next phase of this war, before we get behind the curve again..

If the people in this letter are really dedicated to what they wrote, they will recruit more of their like-minded contemporaries to their way of thinking.. If they give this letter with a "wink wink", then just expect more of the same ..

7/18/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Uh-hmmm..."And how many divisions does NATO [Europe] have?"

Besides the US, UK, and France, the greatest alliance in military history barely has enough to lock down Kabul.

7/18/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Is this a tipping point in the wot?

7/19/2005 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Huan said...

Nice sentiments but will it take the war anywhere?

7/19/2005 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I don't really see a big short-term shift in the Left's attitude toward the war. They've got too much invested in hatred to wean themselves away from it. At best, they will begin to hate radical Islam with something approaching the intensity they've reserved for conservatives. Equal opportunity vitriol. And the Left is unlikely to contribute in any physical way to the defeat of the new fascism. But their power has never been in the realm of nuts and bolts. Whenever the Left gets into nuts and bolts it produces a North Korea or a Cuba. Their real forte lies in telling stories; creating a "narrative". In that regard they live in the same space as Osama Bin Laden, himself a teller of tales.

For that reason the Left will eventually be hostile towards Islamic fundamentalism, despite its hatreds. It is in competition with radical Islam for the prize of the dominant narrative. One reason why the London bombing was such a shock even to the Guardianistas was because it demonstrated how easily young British-born men could twitch aside the 'irresistible' offerings of 'understanding', 'sympathy' and 'multiculturalism'. The Islamists threw the proferred banquet in the faces of the Left.

That must have created a profound crisis of confidence, albeit a subconscious one. The Left in its pride has always felt superior to backward Islam. The 'ignorant' Bush might never be able to beguile Muslims, but the Left always felt it could. But for the first, though not the last time, they've discovered that Islam is winning converts from the Leftist world view. The liberal narrative is outmatched and now they are afraid. Very afraid.

7/19/2005 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Directorate -- You are exactly right about India. In India we glimpse a future that we can support, a model for globalized capitalism; a functioning democracy that manages the difficult task of reconciling multiple ethnicities and languages, using English as the common tongue and the English parliamentary system as a model. Let's hear it for India!

But an important note: India wouldn't have worked if the Hindus and Sikhs hadn't been separated from the Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Even now the Muslim minority in India makes life difficult for the rest.

Keep your eye on India.

7/19/2005 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger WillyShake said...

"Here's lookin' at you, kid!"

Translation: I sure hope you're right about this!

Linking to this entry, I reflected on some of the things that surprised me about these collected quotes--like the number of times the term "pseudo-Left" is used. Something that you don't hear or see in most coverage of the debates about OIF or the WoT.

7/19/2005 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Over on the American Future blog Marc has excerpts from and a link to normblog, which addresses an issue raised by Hitchens in his statement: "the fake left." This concept is simply that Leftists who did not embrace the battle against the Islamic Fascists are "fake", since they reject the main tenants of the Left in order to rejoice in the destruction of Western Civilization - and also wish not appear to be "right wing."
An interesting point - but one must also realize that the Left has jettisoned anything that was the least bit troublesome to their personal ambitions. E.G., the continued feminist support of Bill Clinton.
Take a wire brush to the beliefs of the Left and you will soon find that under all that corruption, peeling paint, rust, and decay that there is nothing really there. The choice is not between the "Fake Left" (Galloway) or the Right Wing Leftists (Hitchens) but between those who believe in some basic human values and those who find such concepts inconvenient to their own personal quest for power or pleasure.

7/19/2005 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

My first thought after reading this was 'I don't trust progressives'. I must admit however that the letter is a significant start.

Then again I have this nagging fear that what they really want is 'peace in their time', not victory.

7/19/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well there is an old saying
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth"
Take what you can get from these guys and be happy.
Do not expect a conversion, just see them for what they are, dazed and confused.

7/19/2005 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Dan -- Name one great thing accomplished by "intellectuals" in the last 80 years (not counting Wallace Stevens)!

Your inclusion of Wallace Stevens compels me to answer your question. I must add: Vladimir Nabokov, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Gene Wolfe. The fact that all four are consummate fantasists is undoubtedly significant...

7/19/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

desert rat said: Do not expect a conversion, just see them for what they are, dazed and confused.

Nothing like the cold slap of reality to wake you up.......

7/19/2005 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Dan and the Baron roll the names of five intellectuals off the tips of their fingers. These fellows have contributed to society in some way,great or small, I'm sure, yet they are all unknown to me.
So much for self-education.
I better buy some more books
or better yet, read 'em

7/19/2005 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dan: Well said! But the truly incredible thing is that the "Liberal" Leftists who profess that it is the conservatives that wish to diminish liberty. Kerry warned agianst the conservatives wanting "to control every aspect of your life." Jesse Jackson the other day warned against appointing "another Clarence Thomas, someone who would reduce liberty, not increase it."
This are nutso statements from our perspective, and truly bring into question the definition of liberty. How could two groups profess to believe in the same things and be so opposite?
Finally, it seems that the popular, non-thinking approach to the "impersonal forces of history" is to view history in terms of "eras." Ideas, concepts and approaches are in and out of style, in the same manner as hemlines and shoe styles. A simple approach used by historians to grouping time periods is now a subsitite for reasoned analysis, logic, and experience.

7/19/2005 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not so sure of that dan,
Depending on which Opfor we are talking about.
I do not think that UBL is into political power, in a Western sense. I do not think he, himself, wants to be King.
The guy is my age, early 50's, and has been a 'fighter' all his life.
That is the role he see's himself in, I'm sure. His amigo, the doctor from Cairo, is an intellectual, the 'thinker'.
I do not see the 'Leader' as of yet. UBL may think he is some kind of Mohamenead Warrior Priest King but is not in it for the nuts & bolts of ruling.

7/19/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have always thought of these Mohammedans as some what Don Quixotish, tilting against wind mills and dreaming the impossible dream.

7/19/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Dan -- I don't think the two motives (territorial/tribal expansion vs. ideology) are necessarily mutually exclusive. Part of what defines a tribe today is its ideology. A good example of this was communism, which was aggressively expansionist. It was Russian at its core, but its ethnic identity did not define it; its ideology did.

The Great Jihad is similar. It is Arab at its core, but the ideology of Islamofascism is what defines it. Like communism, it will not be sated until the whole world is under its boot.

7/19/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Richard Holebrooke writes in the Washington Post about the 10 years that have passed in bosnia since we took action there

"Was Bosnia Worth It?"
"...Above all, there is peace and not simply a cease-fire; this war will not resume. Nor has Bosnia become two separate states, as many critics of the Dayton Peace Agreement predicted. Although many (including in the Pentagon) predicted a Korea-like demilitarized zone between Serbs and Muslims, there are no barriers between the regions, and there are growing economic and political ties between ethnic groups. More than a million refugees have returned to their homes, many, like those in Srebrenica, to areas where they are in a minority. ..."

7/19/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Tilting at windmills
UBL is a leader in command however isolated. The Sheik commands the unwavering respect of the “true” believers. There is little doubt that legions of his followers would bath themselves in their own blood to be a part of the history he has created. Perhaps a ceremonial Sultanship is what UBL desires as his everlasting reward. If not, he has already gained the legacy as the Arab warrior who fought to advance the edicts of “God”. May the almighty turn him out to face the judgment of those he has made to suffer.

7/19/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They could well have a Council with a front man, like Iran does.
But these folk still have to have a public face.
Like the US, UK or Catholic Church.
Groups need Leaders
Both Supreme and Local

7/19/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

RiverRat -- call it what you will, it is the most dangerous and murderous ideology of our time.

I call it The Great Islamic Jihad, Third Wave, but that makes for a very awkward acronym.

7/19/2005 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You would have to think that as a young man UBL went off to Afghanistan knowing, intellectually, that Victory was impossible. The Soviet Military was huge and unbeatable. Common knowledge, even the US President thought it to be so.
Guided by faith he took to the hills and lo and behold, defeated the Russian Bear.
Faith and Victory through the Power of Will. Allah's or his own.

He and his boys are Believers, of that I have no doubt. They are dangerous, it's true. But at this point all that he has really accomplished is to internationalize Border Banditry

7/19/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

I posted on "United" yesterday because I was struck by this passage from one of the original signers, Peter Thatchell:

If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.

7/7 seems to have been a light on the Damascus Rd for Mr. Thatchell. Perhaps it is for many Brits. OTOH, they have a real problem when Blair stands around wringing his hands and telling moderate Muslims to rein in their terrorist brats. That is the job of government, guv, not the guy on the street.

Here's my take on it, along with a great picture from Dalrymple's book:

Is Britain Too Decadent to Survive?

7/19/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

It is very simple to be against terrorists and their terror tactics. Big deal! To be against terrorists and their tactics does not automatically translate into support for the War in Iraq. This WoT thing is a canard, in fact, our invading and occupying has been counter productive in our fight against terror.

And y'all love to talk fascism. Well the seeds of fascism lie in what bloomie wrote and many others of you seem to believe:

"But in the end the constitution in this country is very clear as to what is treasonous. And it is long past due that this country hold its leftist traitors into account. Theres still some room left in Gitmo.

Anyone who sides with the enemy is the enemy"

In bloomie's world, I am guilty of treason. Hahahaha, thankfully that is only a seed of fascism and not its reality, though gitmo does present the face of fascism.

7/19/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No lady D
The Government is the people, even in the UK.
If the PM does not demand, cajole and even beg for the assistance of the British Mohammadens now, he could not subjugate them later. First they must be told of their Civic Duty, before being punished for failing it.
The lead time to a crack down will be quite long, with sign posts along the way. The Mohammadens will have every opportunity to get with the 'Western program, if they want.

7/19/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ash is back

The seeds of Fascism are not at Gitmo, any thing but.
If one wanted to find police state behavior, which is what I think you are talking about, you'd have to look back to WW II and the Jap internment camps. Removing citizens from their homes and interning them. But that was a much different Time & Place.

In past wars people like those interned at Gitmo would have been shot on the spot. Summary executions for non uniformed combatants is an old military tradition. But in our Liberal, post Modern world we in the US have shied away from the ancient ways.
By making such an issue over these fellows at Gitmo the left will ensure but one thing. We won't make that mistake again. Back to shooting spies and non uniformed saboteurs, on the spot.

7/19/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

My old cousin
No, I do not believe Holbrooke has it down pat. He is/ was Bushes rep at the Ceremony and spoke for the US, there.
If this is the 'offical' version then I thought we should know.
If Bosnia is "Peace" than what we have in Iraq is damn close to it, already.

7/19/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Hell riverrat, if he is an icon, we already know what his commands are. His pathos have been written and improved upon over the past several hundred years in the Koran.’Now go get ‘em tigers.’

7/19/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Yeah, I'm back, been cooling my heels on a nice holiday.

riverrat, your statement "In a phrase, you can't support the troops we've elected and hired without supporting the mission." is simply false.

I'm not sure of your 'troops elected' business but...

Say our glorious commander in chief ordered 100,000 troops to go to the Antarctic to chip a bunch of ice cubes and bring them back to cool the drinks at a White House function. The troops are duty bound to obey those orders (there is no 'law breaking' going on in them). Would I not be justified to criticize that mission while still maintaining my support for the troops? Of course!

Desert rat,

Sure things were a lot worse in the past and those regimes were horrible. Nevertheless, arrest and detention with no due process whatsoever is indeed a trait of fascism. To advocate making dissension a crime is a seed of fascism, fortunately in the US, dissent is not yet a crime.

7/19/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you read this blog with any regularity you'd know that many here dissent from the Methods & Tactics employed in this conflict.

All the Gitmo group had gone through a series of processes within the military to get to Gitmo. Whether or not these processes are/ were adequate is being adjudicated. This does not happen in Fascict states.
Believe me, I once visted a Fascist State and ours is not one. Thankfully, Chile is not one any more, either

7/19/2005 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

defend and protect the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic

7/19/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You can tell, really.
Some really have pledged their life, liberty and sacred honor to defend Liberty.
Some give lip service to the words
Actions tell the tale

7/19/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Christopher Hitchens did not need the London bombings to see the vile produce of the Islamofacists. I don't know about the others but it seems counter productive to look a gift horse in the mouth. We need allies, if these be allies in the sense of the Soviets during WW2 fine, I can accept that, we can straighten that out after we win. But winning this war against these very dangerous foes is everything and taking them lightly will insure our defeat.

The Islamofacists are winning in a few areas and it is exactly in those areas that the people signing that declaration can help the most. I say welcome aboard, pass the ammunition and dont fire till you see the whites of their eyes.


7/19/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Desert Rat, when you say The Government is the people, even in the UK.
If the PM does not demand, cajole and even beg for the assistance of the British Mohammadens now, he could not subjugate them later

I humbly beg to disagree. Government is elected representatives of said people, representatives who are exquisitely attuned to their electors...

...well, some are. GWB is pretty deaf when it comes to our Mexican border, but more often than not attunement is the has been demonstrated by Denmark.

I love Queen Margrethe's remark that we're tolerant because we tend to be lazy. How non-PC is *that*?

7/19/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'd agree with you lady D.
I think in England, as here, people want things to turn out 'well'. No internments, deportations, etc. We do not want random acts of violence against percieved Mohammedens. No, I think we want to give everyone a chance to get on board.
The Conductor let's everyone know the train is leaving. It is your/ their choice as to getting on or not. If you stay at the station, or board another train, well, that decision is on you.
Like all those referenced by our host, come to Rick's or be left out in the cold, cruel world.

7/19/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

PeterUK wrote:
"MPs are their constituent's representatives but their seats are in the gift of the party and local constituency parties,they mostly toe the party line"

I'm a little confused. You seem to be asserting that the MP's have their seats because the party decides they have them. This isn't actually true is it? It is not like Iraq, or Isreal, where MP's get their seat by being a member of the party and being on a list.

Is it not the case that an individual runs in a geographical area and the winner gets to be MP? When a bill is voted on in parliament all individual MP's can vote against or for it. Sure, if you vote against your party affiliation you can be turfed from the party, but you still retain your seat.

7/19/2005 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Dan -- the leader may be a cynical power-mad tyrant, but ideology is the glue that makes the tyranny possible and holds it together. Stalin was an absolute and unprincipled despot, but (at least initially) the communist ideology was necessary to establish and maintain his rule. Once his power was absolute, of course, it no longer mattered what any of his unfortunate subjects believed.

I'm sure Bin Laden, Zarqawi, Zawahiri, etc, are looking forward to that latter stage, when they can just issue orders and not have to worry about citing the Koran.

7/19/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

the difersity of enemies that the moslems are making is a sign that the world is moving from an an old civilization to a new civilization.

islam came into being at the dead end of empires/civlizations. they do well in late empire/civilizations circumstances.

the world is shifting over from one old civilization/empire to a new civilization/empire. the disconnect for the moslems more than everyone else is that they see the castles burning on the ground but they don't see the casles in the sky being built. and here I use the word "see" advisadly. They see the castles in the sky being built but they have not slaughtered enough sheep to ascertain how to react appropriately to them. It make take a long sleep.

7/19/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ultimately I'm not sure if the pyscho babble has any effect, except to understand how to defeat them.
I do agree with your last line 100%

"... We need more Putin/Slav candor out of our Bush & Blair: "we destroy them." ..."

We should get really serious about this, but do not hold your breath. I'd hate to see anyone turn 'blue'

7/19/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Greg said...
Excellent statements, all. But terms like "left" or "liberal" just don't make sense any more. Liberalism (in its original incarnation) is a belief in transcendant human values, among them freedom and self-determination.
yes but these are all government imposed human values

7/19/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not think so charles,
liberal values, in a Jeffersonian sense are not government imposed.
Liberal values are designed to free men from the yoke of repression, changing the role of Government from being an imposition upon the people to being an extension of the people.

7/19/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those that want the Government to do more, regulate more, and be more actively involved in your life tend to be of the "Left" but are not, in the classic sense, Liberal

7/19/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well, Kevin B, I take all that Islamic Spirtuality crap, as well, crap. And I mean that in repect to how the Mulla Omars and Osama Bin Ladens regard it. In their own now-captured homes and motor vehicles there was little or no evidence of such respect for "holiness and divinity" - just love of luxury and privilege. There certainly is no concern for spirituality, and can be none, when they blow up some mosques and use others as arms caches and fighting positions. Their claim to be fighting for spirituality is so much propaganda, meant to sound good to the Islamic poor who have nothing and whom the terrorists wish to ensure never get anything. In this respect they echo common Western Liberal practices; guns are bad things to Hollywood types, but are fine for their bodyguards.

7/19/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Dan, I like to say that Vladimir Nabokov is the greatest living American writer.

7/19/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash, humor me for a bit re: Iraq war.

As I'm sure you will agree, we are in a struggle against terrorists, or more specifically, a collection of individuals bonded together by a conceptual paradigm, one that blends a radical Islamic ideology with the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

A very significant characteristic of this paradigm is its inadaptibility; it has a built-in redundancy that disallows invalidation. When all pay-offs are in the next world, and when all events are determined, there is not much you can do to deter or forcefully modify the faith of the true believer when death (martyrdom) is embraced and celebrated. This is our opponent.

In strategy, the two most important things to consider are your opponent's intentions, and his capabilities. Now, what strategy should you choose when fighting an enemy that cannot be deterred, whose intentions are set and cannot be restrained?

Simply, you focus primarily on his capabilities. Unfortunately, we live in an age of force-multiplication via technological innovation, yet these multipliers still have costs and most have entry barriers to their manufacture. The creation of nuclear weapons is the best example, since the large infrastructure needed to manufacture this extreme multiplier demands vast resources that only a state can bring to bear.

But capabilities are restrained or multiplied in many ways that have nothing to do with weaponry. Freedom of movement, unadulterated time to plan, protection from interference...all of these can increase the capability of an organization. An cult like Al'Qaeda would have a precipitous drop in capability and power projection if they had none of these things.

Therefore, the most intelligent course of action would be to strike quickly at the nexus between your opponent and his access to force-multipliers, while also seeking to limit the places on the globe where quarter is offered. Hence our strategy to eliminate the places that posed both of these dangers: Iraq, Syria, and Iran. (I do not say North Korea because to my knowledge this country does not offer quarter; likewise, Saudi Arabia does not offer weapons, though they do offer money).

Iraq was the obvious choice after Al'Qaeda's base in Afghanistan was collapsed; in essence, it was the low-hanging fruit of the three problematic areas. 12 years of constant attrition of Iraqi military defences through no-fly-zone, 17 violated resolutions, our significant knowledge of the territory, the violation of the 1991 Armistice, the vast history of Saddam's repression and evil, the familiarity of the American public with Iraq's status as an enemy, the large quantities of unaccounted-for WMD, and the strategic placement of Iraq between the other two problem areas made it the obvious next step. Taking down Iraq and building a democracy offered an excellent opportunity to address the problems of Iran and Syria, too, in a non-military fashion. Iran's military was strong enough to be a deterrent, and the population restless enough, that it made sense to address it slowly and subtly. Syria, more than the other two, was vulnerable to pressure and political maneuvering. We have made great strides in these areas by going after Iraq.

But it all comes down to capability. There may not be much we can do against the ideology when British-born well-to-do Muslims decide their wives and Mercedes are unsatisfactory, when the hatred overwhelms reason and they lash out at the innocent. But a starting point would be to limit the amount of damage they can do when their eyes turn red.

The Nash equilibrium in Game theory is the best strategy for you to take given the constancy of your opponent's strategy. In a two-player zero sum game, it is called the Maximin Criterion. Focusing on Al'Qaeda's capability instead of focusing on deterrence was/is the Maximin Criterion and the simplest Nash equilibrium. If we are to take Al'Qaeda seriously, if we are to take their declaration of total war as a true exposition of their intention, and their strategy of terror as constant, OIF was by far the most responsible next step in this large and complicated war.

Without states that harbor and give quarter, without infrastructure to produce force-multipliers, and without the protection and organizational integrity that states can offer the terrorists, their capability will remain closely linked to the backback and the fertilizer.

As I said, it is a place to start. If you want to argue against the Iraq war, then so be it, but it would help the rest of us if you would at least dress it in these terms. Otherwise, it just sounds unserious, and distracting.

7/19/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

We all know about the problem of authoritarians using Islam to justify their existence. Making statements to this effect is tired and pointless since everyone agrees.

But everything the "Islamo-fascists" have done the "Christo-fascists" have done on a scale 10 times larger, yet there's no equal criticism of them, in fact there's outright support and loyalty. Set off bombs that kill 55 people? You're evil. Drop bombs that kill 120,000 people, you're a hero.

This is pure inconsistency and renders any criticism of authoritarianism in the name of religion moot. This is the worst form of moral relativism I've ever seen. No one with any sense of logical reasoning can possibly take criticism like this seriously when it's so hypocritical.

7/19/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

I'm not preaching hate against you. I'm using simple logic to prove your arguments to be completely invalid.

7/19/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...


I appreciate your thoughtful and well-written post. Saddam Hussein, however, was not a force-multiplier for Al Qaeda. The links between Al Qaeda and Hussein’s Iraq were minimal at best so I fail to see how invading and occupying Iraq does anything to diminish Islamic terrorism in general, and Al Qaeda’s capabilities in particular. In fact it increases Islamic terrorism because we have landed firmly with both feet, guns blazing, upon Arabic soil further exacerbating the problem.

7/19/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Kevin -- keep in mind that they also may simply be afraid of what will happen to them if they speak out. They and their families may face a very real chance of suffering and death if they "defame Islam" and become "apostates".

This is as true in Detroit as it is in Kabul.

7/19/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Both Aristides and ash are correct.

How interesting. As history and strategy Aristides gives us a well written and reasonably accurate narrative as to the Conflict.
When Ash rejects the initial reasoning, here he misses the point. Iraq was/ is a pivot point in the Region and Iraqi agents were working in cahoots with aQ. Z's presence in Iraq pre war is proof enough, though there is much more.
Today Ash is correct that our overbearing troop strength in Iraq is not helping to win the over all conflict. Although the fly paper theory is often sited, I'd summit we have just piled up some sugar and are attracting the flies.
The collateral costs of swatting those flies is becoming counter productive.
As we lessen our presence in the cities the local populations will turn on the insurgents. As the Government puts boots on the ground they will gain further legitimacy. The Insurgents will be blamed for the lack of security, not US

7/19/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

I believe that on a per-capita basis (i.e. the number slaughtered versus the number of living souls under his control), Pol Pot (the renowned evangelical Christian)probably ranks as the greatest murderer of all time.

But it's hard to tell, because even semi-accurate counts of such things did not exist before the 20th century.

7/19/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Iotm: you write, "Set off bombs that kill 55 people? You're evil. Drop bombs that kill 120,000 people, you're a hero...This is the worst form of moral relativism I've ever seen."

Putting aside the "120,000" number, which I am assuming was a rhetorical flourish (OIF: less than 10,000 civilians), it seems to me the morality of your examples lies not in the result, but in the intention.

Killing 55 innocents is always wrong, always immoral, if done deliberately. Killing innocents for its own sake can never be justified. The terrorists target and kill civilians in this way, that is why they are despicable. Their immorality is determined by their intention. The damage is determined by the number.

But what about killing 55 civilians inadvertantly? In a just cause where their deaths were unavoidable? What about killing 55 militants, armed opponents who are standing on the field of battle?

Your statements are the true example of moral relativism and simplicity. If you cannot understand that America's behavior in OIF is morally distinguishable from the terrorist attacks in London, when we used precision weapons to minimize collateral damage and civilian death, in the cause of liberation and self-protection, then you have entered the no-man's-land of nihilism.

Underneath your sneer lies an abyss of amoral paralysis in the face of aggression. Your inability to defend the way of life that supports and nurtures you becomes a death wish when juxtaposed with the aims and beliefs of those we fight. If violence in the cause of life is too much for you to bear, violence in the cause of death will happily fill the void.

7/19/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Always the contrarian I was thinking, aah... the American Indigs, now there is a historic genocide of HUGE proportions. Evil European/ White men...

So, a quick search and...
"...All in all, a land that may well have held seven to ten million American Indians at the time of Columbus's arrival contained approximately a quarter of a million by 1900. ..."

nine or ten million dead in 400 years. That is one long term genocidal policy.
How did this occur?

"...The combination of violence and disease caused some tribal communities to lose as much as ninety percent of their member populations. As wave after wave of disease hit at times of early contact, communities might lose a quarter to a third of their populations time and again. ..."

Disease... bio weapons...WOW!
but then I recalled
No one knew about germs in those days. How could there be germ warfare if there were no known germs?

AAH... false but accurate, if those Europeans had known about germs, well, they'd have used 'em.

Pol Pot - 2 million dead out of a population of 8 million, 25%
Axes & Bullets were the most common tools used for the dispatching of a live.
This is an interesting quote

"... Throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the "old society" - the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and former government officials. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an ax. "What is rotten must be removed," ..."

US was pretty much withdrawn from Indochina during his four year romp 1975-79.

7/19/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is nothing better than to read a major daily online, like the NY Post and see that the ideas that have been posted here, at Belmont, are ahead of the curve.

"... the most important thing that the country needs to do is to fix the strategy-force mismatch that now afflicts the military: For better or worse, the United States now underwrites the security of much of the world. Accordingly, our strategy requires ground forces oriented not only toward winning wars but carrying out "constabulary" missions. The Pentagon's emphasis on buying high-tech weapons means that the ground forces necessary to execute such constabulary missions are often under funded.
Of course we need naval, air and space power, too. But constabulary missions of the sort our current strategy requires depends on robust ground forces which, before the war in Iraq, were seen by many defense analysts as not very useful. ..."

but C4 will come by and tell US that the US Navy will police the world more effectively than the US Army, those pesky Chicoms are the real threat, you know.
Also Connecticut needs to keep those Federal Dollars flowing. As of course does Arizona.
AAAH... the majority

7/19/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tencrudo (sp) the congressman from CO is about to go on Fox News and discuss Nuking Mohammenden cities.
Read it here first, I'm sure he did

7/19/2005 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I assume that the 120,000 killed number is from the B-29 fire bomb raids of WWII.
Interesting how only "our" leftists add up all of the deaths among our different vanquished enemies: indians, Japanese, Germans, Vietnamese, North Koreans, Chinese, Arabs, etc, and conclude that the rest of the Human Race is mightily upset with us. The reality is that every single one of our enemies not only does not begrudge us our victories over the others but would have cheerfully done even worse had they the opportunity. You just know that the Nazis and Soviets would have treated the American Indians with courtesy and respect...
This is ridiculous thinking; the Left's Big Tent strategy taken to reducto absurdum.
We do not stand astride the world on a mountain of their bones; we now stand lower than we would have because they tried to drag us down.

7/19/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: thanks for the prompt response.

"Saddam Hussein, however, was not a force-multiplier for Al Qaeda."

I strongly disagree. Salman Pak was a terrorist training ground, with a practice plane for hijacking and everything else. The Fedayeen illustrates Saddam's readiness to turn to terrorism to fight a much stronger enemy. The sanctions were dissolving, Saddam was adamant in his defiance, and who knows what coordination would have come about between Al'Qaeda and Saddam as both became firmly planted in our crosshairs. The strange bedfellows caused by the war on terror are not exclusively on the anti-terrorist side, after all. We may never reach an agreement here, since by necessity any cooperation would have been in the shadows, but I'm happy to err on the side of caution. Equally as important, it furthered our strategy vis Iran, the big enchilada of all the terror force-multipliers.

"In fact it increases Islamic terrorism because we have landed firmly with both feet, guns blazing, upon Arabic soil further exacerbating the problem."

This is also a contentious point, and great minds are in profound disagreement on the overall effects of OIF on terrorist recruitment. A new poll just came out that showed a precipitous decline in Muslim approval for terrorism and a rather hopeful increase in Muslim desire for democracy. Could it not be the case that we will see both a short-term increase in terrorists and a longterm decrease, not only in quantity but in popularity? Also, as has been said many times, Al'Qaeda did not have much trouble with recruitment before the war, either.

Also, re: my original point, the capability of terrorists has not increased with OIF, it has decreased significantly. Other states have been given their warning. Terrorist operational capability has been severely restrained even if their determination has been hardened.

And lastly, Wretchard has posted on the learning opportunity attendant to our interacting directly with the Muslim Middle East. If there is an ideological solution to the terrorist problem, we are now eye deep in the data we will need to find it. Unless you think sitting on the sidelines using the conceptual arsenal of the decadent West, multiculturalism and post-religionism, was sufficient to the task.

But let's get back to the question at hand: how do you make sure terrorists do not end up with safe-harbor and force-multipliers? I'm sincerely interested in what you would have done after Afghanistan, or if you would have done anything at all. Remember, our enemy was not idle. While Al'Qaeda's leaders played hide-and-seek in the border mountains of Afghanistan, their emissaries were dispatched to Iran and Iraq, both countries that had unquenchable animosity towards us. What was your logical next step?

Go after Iran, who had no history of violated UN resolutions, had strong and public support from China and Russia, a large and modern Military unperturbed by 12 years of attrition; no northern, western, or southern entry points, with a population on the brink of revolution? With Saddam next door?

Or Syria?

Or no invasion at all? Would you work through the same UN that passed 17 resolutions on Saddam with no discernible effect? Use sanctions that were defeated by our French and Russian allies? Keep the no-fly-zone in Iraq and our troops in Saudi Arabia indefinitely? Pull them out and let Saddam have his way? Weaken American influence by attaching her "legitimacy" to a global test, administered by a crowd who would love to see her fail?

Or would you have invaded North Korea, sacrificing Seoul while the "root cause" of the problem remained decidedly Islamic? Invade Pakistan who had nukes? Bomb Mecca?

I could be wrong. We could all be wrong. But I feel much better with Saddam in jail, our forces in the heart of the Middle East, Syria wobbling, Lebanon free, Libya repentant, Iran boxed in, and Saudi Arabia warned, than the alternatives.

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow, especially when tomorrow might kill you.

7/19/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They just added a Naval Air Station in Maine to the closure list.
Pesky Canadians, if they had not cut their military spending, why, then there would be a threat.
Damn pacifists

Decline in housing starts in the Northeast, but not in the Southwest, housing boom continues here, housing starts up, average house price in Phoenix metro area, $225,000. Average new home price higher.

7/19/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Another congressional seat or two for AZ, after the 2010 census.
Demographics, US or Europe, as your population is shrinking your options are as well. Some regions of Europe are movin' on up, some are slippin' on down.
Try France

7/19/2005 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

'Rat: "As we lessen our presence in the cities the local populations will turn on the insurgents. As the Government puts boots on the ground they will gain further legitimacy."

Exactly. Why is this so hard to understand for some people (don't answer that)? More troops, more mess halls, more supply lines, more friction, more can't have one without the others. We don't want to own Iraq, why up the ante?

7/19/2005 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Instapunk on Tancredo's "nuke Mecca" comment:

"But it will horrify and distance the good muslims? Maybe. It might also frighten them just a little. Is it so very unthinkable that the fence-sitting muslims of the world should begin to appreciate that there is an American volcano after all, one that will erupt in a fury every bit as implacable and much better armed than theirs if they carry their wishful thinking too far?"

He tends to think American demand for vengeance will be unstoppable if we are nuked. Reason will drown in an ocean of American fury, etc.

What's scary is I can't find a flaw in this argument.

7/19/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Excellent summation.

I think you would be making a big mistake in significantly restructuring the military based on Iraq. I don't believe that will be the norm for the future; I see that (the large scale operation, requiring significant post-war civic duties on the part of the military) as a one-of-a-kind occurrence.

7/19/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We could not 'own' Iraq if we wanted to. We'd have to kill way to many people for that option to ever be acceptable.
No, in the end it has to be the Iraqis the solve the problem of Iraq.
Remote garrisons and real professionals with the indigs.
Send the Reserves and NG home.
It will start in January, regardless, but we always seem to be moving to slow, behind the curve.

7/19/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Bosnia has been a 10 year commitment. Korea is going on what, year 53 or 54? Okinawa, 60 years now. Panama, before final withdrawel, 85 years.
Now if we need to reinforce our presence in the Andes or move on Caracus? For that matter there is Havana, just how old is Castro y hermano?
No boots no presence. That's the deal in Columbia. What do you think Chavez is buying all the Infrantry hardware for?

That does not include any possible action any where else. The ever ready list of Mohammaden States, any of which may need our policing presence.
You guys worry thatyour big boats may not find a silent sub, that our aircraft are only Superior, not Supreme. While the Army is under staffed.

Helo, you should know better than most. You convinced me just how STEEEched the Army & Corps are.

7/19/2005 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You would eliminate the ground invasion of Iran from our list of options? You'd take it off the table, completely?
Personally I'd like to have that threat in my quiver. I'd think the CiC would like to have that option as well.

But you are sure we will not, so we will make Policy Decisions that preclude that option.

Iran is larger than Iraq, lots more people.
Just occupying and managing the oil field region in Iran would take a lot of our guys.

But a Navy pilot doesn't see it that way, he and the submariner want more equipment to fight China.

7/19/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Now this is interesting (from the Times Online):

"UNDERCOVER police sniper squads are tracking as many as a dozen Al-Qaeda suspects because security services fear they could be planning more suicide attacks, writes David Leppard.

The covert armed units are under orders to shoot to kill if surveillance suggests that a terror suspect is carrying a bomb and he refuses to surrender if challenged."

In London. Surely this is a milestone.

7/19/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm sure of that, nathan.
You seem like a 'can do' kind of guy

7/19/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well np, where ever we go next will be more difficult than the last two. Unless of course we come home, from every where. I do not see that as a real option.
When we did not move quickly into Syria and on to Damascus, we made a policy decision not to expand the conflict on the ground.
As the conflict in Iraq grinds on to it's inevitable conclusion it is inevitable that new challenges will rise to meet US.
As the Boy Scouts used to say
'Be Prepared'

Know the Difference between the Boy Scouts and the Army?
Boy Scouts have adult leadership.

Westmoreland died yesterday

7/19/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Karl Rove as bad as OBL? The Boston Phoenix thinks so:

The leak may not be the gravest threat to our national security, but it was low-down and despicable, not to mention illegal. So it comes as no surprise that Karl Rove is now known to be lurking somewhere at the bottom of this uncomfortable woodpile. That he is involved is no longer in question. What is unclear is just what role Rove played in this unsavory affair. Although their motives and weapons are very different, the damage that Bushies like Rove inflict on our political culture is just as real as anything the terrorists think up. We are, at times, our own worst enemies.

How true. But it's not the Bushies in this country that's the enemy.

7/19/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


7/19/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

US Generals,
yeah they're infallible

7/19/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger phil g said...

Aristides 2:43 pm

Great post...had me pumping my fist in agreement.

7/19/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

No, I am not taking a possible invasion of Iran off the table. And I do think that out military needs to be larger. I apologize for not being clearer-what I meant is that I think that the relative sizes of the various forces should remain the same.

7/19/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Head's up! The History Channel has Shootout: The Battle of Falluja on right now. It will be repeated at 0100 to 0200. I am going to go set my VCR.

7/19/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we had unlimited funds I'd certainly agree with making everything better or even the best.
The truth is though, unfortunately, that we do not have unlimited budget authority.
Working within these realities we have to prioritize.
The Army needs about 50,000 guys/ gals right now. In todays economy that means Enlistment and Reenlistment incetives. Cash incentives are good enough for Bond Traders then they should be good enough for those that stay in the Service.

7/19/2005 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then there is the stucture of the force.
More self contained combat brigades.
Little independent armies.
Each able to operate independently or as a combined larger units.
That is the vision
Reality, well that is a perception

7/19/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In the Post article thay had this

"...The Army is in the process of increasing the number of combat brigades from 33 to 43 ..."

7/19/2005 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

VDH Comes to Rick's

"In some places a new naiveté had grown up to suggest that somehow Leonid Brezhnev’s autocracy was not all that much different from European-style socialism. In an era of large European communist parties, few had remembered the premier’s 1973 boast in Prague that through détente, rather than military confrontation, lay the Soviet’s best chance to defeat America. Thus later when hundreds of thousands of Europeans went into the street to protest American deployment of Pershing missiles to protect them from even more deadly Soviet counterparts, and when “Gorbymania” swept the continent, Reagan stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate, and shouted in June 1987: “Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” No Europeans - and few Americans - would ever have done so much on behalf of Germany. Reagan knew how to sound noble and somber when saying very radical things— "

Reagan knew how to sound noble and somber when saying very radical things

"What, then, is Reagan’s legacy? In some ways, George W. Bush—“the axis of evil” and “smoke ‘em out”—is to Clinton as Reagan was to Carter: the supposedly less educated displaying the far greater grasp of right and wrong than his purportedly more informed predecessor in times of peril. The current idea that volumes of position papers and hordes of professors and intellectuals might not be just superfluous, but downright silly, is Reaganesque to the core. So is the belief that a President’s ideas, speech, tastes, and manners, not his net worth, are the better indicators of his humility and lack of pretension."

I still wish W. could tawk better.

7/19/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Cash incentives were good enough for Xenophon's Ten Thousand, and those guys were stomping around these same grounds for decades.

They did eventually get to go home.

7/19/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Well, Kevin B, I take all that Islamic Spirtuality crap, as well, crap. And I mean that in repect to how the Mulla Omars and Osama Bin Ladens regard it. In their own now-captured homes and motor vehicles there was little or no evidence of such respect for "holiness and divinity" - just love of luxury and privilege. There certainly is no concern for spirituality, and can be none, when they blow up some mosques and use others as arms caches and fighting positions. Their claim to be fighting for spirituality is so much propaganda, meant to sound good to the Islamic poor who have nothing and whom the terrorists wish to ensure never get anything. In this respect they echo common Western Liberal practices; guns are bad things to Hollywood types, but are fine for their bodyguards."

"Well, Kevin B, I take all that Islamic Spirtuality crap, as well, crap. And I mean that in repect to how the Mulla Omars and Osama Bin Ladens regard it. In their own now-captured homes and motor vehicles there was little or no evidence of such respect for "holiness and divinity" - just love of luxury and privilege. There certainly is no concern for spirituality, and can be none, when they blow up some mosques and use others as arms caches and fighting positions. Their claim to be fighting for spirituality is so much propaganda, meant to sound good to the Islamic poor who have nothing and whom the terrorists wish to ensure never get anything. In this respect they echo common Western Liberal practices; guns are bad things to Hollywood types, but are fine for their bodyguards."

I think that's a mistake. I've seen little that suggests that Bin Laden doesn't take what he professes seriously. In fact, nearly everything I've see says he lives the religious life he preaches. Afghanistan as a country certainly did. He himself passed up a life of luxury in Saudi Arabia, instead living in shacks in Sudan and Afghanistan [there was a report he was building a mansion in Afghanistan, but I've also seen some contradict this].

They cannot control their young thugs [who litter Fallujah with drugs and alcohol], but I think there's little evidence to suggest that Bin Laden himself doesn't truly believe and practice what he preaches. It is part of his attraction.

"When they blow up some mosques and use others as arms caches and fighting positions."

When you think you're literally fighting for God, ends justifies the means comes easily off the tongue.

7/19/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Now this is interesting (from the Times Online):

"UNDERCOVER police sniper squads are tracking as many as a dozen Al-Qaeda suspects because security services fear they could be planning more suicide attacks, writes David Leppard.

The covert armed units are under orders to shoot to kill if surveillance suggests that a terror suspect is carrying a bomb and he refuses to surrender if challenged."

In London. Surely this is a milestone."

I'll tell you what that is. That's a leaker/writer who should be put into jail for decades. These leaks - everything from how we get information, where are people are, to warplans - have to stop, NOW.

7/19/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Couple of Colorado dems want to increase the army by 80k:

The U.S. Army needs another 80,000 troops to keep it from cracking under the strain of the Iraq war, a group of Democrats says.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., are two of the co-sponsors of a bill to boost the Army’s size to 582,000 troops by 2010.

7/19/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Sorry about the double quotation in that first post, can't explain it.

7/19/2005 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


If we're struggling to make recruitment quotas already, how do we increase the military substantially?

Increasing benefits can only do so much, there much be a point where we get reduced returns?

7/19/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Immediate Increase
Enlistment bonus by 50%
base pay to combat arms MOS's by 30%
BAQ (basic allowance quarters)for combat arms MOS by 25%
Other allowances and pay rates for combat arms MOS by 50%
Non Combat Arms Mos all above at 10%
Reenlist in needed MOS up to $120,000 bonus

You will not have a manpower shortage for long

7/19/2005 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Should cost less than the proposed F22 air wing

7/19/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Dems can begin to make a reasonable case
Levin is calling for standards, a matrix of victory
These Western Dems calling for increased troop strength
Hillary moves hard to the right in support of the Northeastern military industrial comples. A move to warm C4's heart.
The Dems won't be lost in the woods for ever.
Even the Democrats are beginning to hang at Ricks

7/19/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

'Rat: It is not very often that I disagree wholeheartedly with you, but in this case I do.

I do believe we have the resources to increase the Army, and we should, but I would not do so at the risk of projects like the F/22 Raptor or Naval superiority.

Any altercations with a modern, technological enemy will be decided in the Air, and on the Seas. The Army will be important, but in a technological war it will not be dispositive. Excursions like Iraq may be necessary in the future, sure. But a truly existential threat will be dealt with in the atmosphere, and on the water. We should not lose sight of this regardless of our present predicament.

7/19/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Trish: I simply disagree. Italy was driven into the arms of Nazi Germany by Britain's stand against her ill-considered attack on Abyssinia, even though a year earlier Mussolini had stood forcefully for Austrian independence. History is replete with examples of enemies bonding together. The Saddam-Bin Laden alliance was an active worry as far back as 1998. Even the New York Times reported on it then.

You write: "If you're Saddam Hussein, and the survival of your regime is the foremost of your concerns, you don't invite a relationship with al Qaeda."

This is a pretty odd statement to make since the survival of his regime was on the line--with the issue of weapons of mass destruction and their documented disposal--and he doubled down, with the full might of the United States bearing down on him and world opinion unanimously against him. What makes you think he would suddenly become rational vis a vis Al'Qaeda?

As for Iran, it is well known in the "intelligence community" that at least 20 top-level Al'Qaeda personnel, including Bin Laden's son, are operating out of that country.

You write: "If you're al Qaeda, where do you want to be? You want to be on the territory of US allies (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, Italy, London, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.) and within the US itself."

Operationally? Strategically? Are you absolutely nuts? These are places from which you stage attacks, but as places where your leaders--your planners--should reside, this is absolutely crazy. Explain to me how residing in these places increases Al'Qaeda's capabilities, which was my original argument? Are these countries supplying weapons, freedom of movement, unadulterated time to plan, operational integrity, etc.?

If we truly are at the point where the only safe haven Al'Qaeda can find is in these territories, we are further along than I thought. If the last vestiges of quarter for Al'Qaeda can only be found in Western Muslim mosques, we might as well break out the champagne.

7/19/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Joe Katzman, of, writes:

"Meanwhile, here's the interesting thing about memetic warfare. It's a sword that can only be held by the blade.

Precisely because it's designed as a counter-narrative rather than a clinical description, Blair's narrative [that Islam means peace] (and Bush's, et. al.) is at variance with reality. That variance can play into both the appeasement/ co-belligerent strategy of internal Western enemies, and the second class dhimmi status Islam has traditionally forced on non-Muslims.

Perversely, therefore, this memetic strategy seems to require a strong minority undercurrent of Muslims to swallow it - and at least a strong minority of non-Muslims who will refuse to swallow it. By pointing out the manifest contradictions, they keep the social pressure high and prevent the memetic blade from amputating the hand of its weilder instead."

The reality is that Islam is not a religion of peace, and never has been. But language and victory are everything. Do we have enough dexterity to convince Muslims that Islam means peace while us non-Muslims keep the pressure on militant Islam? I sure hope so, but I'm pessimistic.

7/19/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

trish: It is too disparate and diverse for me to really call it a community. Like saying "the world community", it just rankles.

7/19/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

trish: copied in full from

"Thomas Joscelyn continues his outstanding reporting on the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. In this installment we learn, among other things, that following President Clinton's four-day bombing campaign in Iraq during 1998, Saddam dispatched a trusted operative to Afghanistan where he met with bin Laden and his cohorts. A few days later, bin Laden denounced the attack and called on all Muslims to strike U.S. and British targets, including civilians, around the world. The European media then began reporting details of a relationship (which some described as a "pact") between Saddam and al Qaeda. Corriere Della Sera (Italian) reported that Saddam had offered safehaven to bin Laden. A Paris-based pan-Arab magazine provided details concerning joint Iraqi-al Qaeda cooperation on chemical and biological weapons in Sudan. Several Arab news outlets stated that Iraqi military intelligence officials were in Afghanistan meeting with Taliban elements on the subject of exacting revenge on the U.S. and Britain. They also reported that Arab Afghans were receiving training in southern Iraq.

Newsweek and ABC also reported on this apparent terrorist alliance. And the New York Post stated that Saddam was courting both bin Laden and Abu Nidal (now living in Iraq) as part of a plan "to resort to terrorism in revenge for airstrikes his country." Even the leftist Guardian ran articles on the axis of Saddam and bin Laden.

The Clinton administration was also concerned about such an axis. Richard Clarke advised Sandy Berger that if bin Laden learned about U.S. operations against him, he "will likely boogie to Baghdad." Previously, Clarke had speculated that the Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was "probably a direct result of the Iraq-al Qaeda agreement." Joscelyn notes that reports of a relationship between Saddam and bin Laden continued until the eve of the war in Iraq.

The adminstration's critics and the MSM would like Americans to believe that the assessments of numerous reporters, analysts, and even Clinton administration officials on this subject were unfounded. But do they want this because they have a sound basis for discounting these assessment or because they bitterly oppose President Bush. As Joscelyn says, "it is left for the reader to decide."

As I said, it was an active worry.

7/19/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/19/2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Capabilities are what we must constrain first. I am not sure why this should spur such vocal opposition.

7/19/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

trish: you will not find me disagreeing with you that we may have too many legal restraints on prosecuting seditious action, but I think you confuse operating cells with leadership. In none of the countries you cited can the leadership of Al'Qaeda peacefully plan the next attack. Furthermore, any attacks planned and launched solely from the territories you cited will be drastically restrained on capability.

Unless you think the type of weaponry Iraq could bring to bear can be put together in a Leeds basement?

7/19/2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Go to Powerline, they are citing a report by Jocelyn, who in turn is citing Governmental and Intelligence reports. They just had the most readily-available summation.

The Iraq/WMD/Al'Qaeda/safe-haven was very much part of the debate, and reason, to go to war. Read the Iraq War Resolution that passed in the Senate. Very explicit.

And now that we are scouring Iraqi documents, more information is coming to light. I remain skeptical about an operational alliance, but the prospect of these two enemies of ours being co-travelers is apparent. Simply saying it ain't so won't change that.

7/19/2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

As to various complaints issued by some here and elsewhere about Blair and Bush stressing the whole "Islam is peace" mantra, I would suggest to those who are upset about it that neither Bush nor Blair are stupid people, nor are they uninformed about the current status of Islam or its history. These are both educated people who are highly aware of the subtleties and the consequences of the words that they issue. These are two people who have become leaders of exceptionally powerful countries precisely because they know how to choose their words.

This is not to say that such people or these two in particular have not made mistakes in what they've said. Due to the complexity of unfolding situations people in the public eye will always misspeak from time to time. But to suggest that Bush and Blair are touting this particular line out of ignorance or appeasement is to basically say something like, 'I can't figure out why they are saying this, so they must be idiots." Which is a pretty bold statement.

Bush and Blair have an interest in defeating Al Qaida. They have very little interest in adding fuel to a culture war. While I'm sure they both understand the potential threat that Islam represents, they have little reason to say things that could make that a bigger threat. It would simply play into AQ and OBL's hand, providing "proof" of a "crusader mentality."

The task of Bush and Blair is to attempt, as much as possible, to isolate AQ from as many muslims as possible. It is not their task to say inflammatory things, no matter how true anyone thinks they might be, if those comments only made more in the Muslim world sympathetic to AQ and OBL's message.

7/19/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

trish: you speak with such declarative certainty yet provide nothing whatever to support that certainty. reminds me of a bloke i met in a pub once.

7/20/2005 03:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the WMD was the reason we provided for the UN, it was but one of many reasons for taking down Saddam.
The French, Russians, Germans, Egyptians, etc. all agreed on that issue. Saddam was capable of producing WMD and had violated the Sanction and Inspection Programs.
To say that WMD was the only reason is just plain inaccurate.

That the WH and others wanted to validate the charges of WMD violations is apparent. That the CIA and others had their heads where the sun don't shine is apparent as well.

You seem to think, trish, that the same people that stormed a US Embassay, held US diplomats and Marines for over a year, fought a multi year war against Saddam and are building a Nuclear capability are afraid of the US. What brings you to that conclusion?
The Iranians do what they want to do, what they feel is in their interest. They believe, as do many people that the US is a paper tiger, even today.
We have not made the Iraqi people FEAR US, not that we should have, but by extension the Iranians do not, either.

7/20/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

Dan you missed my point entirely.

aristides: You imply that the US doesn't target civilians. Which just doesn't line up with facts. Invasions get rid of military opposition, occupations get rid of civilian opposition. The US and it's poodles and puppets are truly executing a campaign of terror in Iraq, families are afraid to have large gatherings for fear of Americans showing up thinking they're having a terrorist meeting and throwing them all in Abu Ghraid to be tortured. They randomly invade people's private homes and detain them where they're tortured. It's standard US military policy to target civilians as well, they believe if they target civilians this will erode support for the government they are fighting. Do you know nothing about the history of the invasion of Vietnam? In a civil trial brought to a Dutch court by relatives of a survivor of someone who was killed in the NATO invasion of Serbia, then Dutch PM Wim Kok testified that phase 3 of the invasion was to target civilian infrastructure. Thus they were bombing schools, hospitals, and in that particular case, the offices of a TV station. To claim the US doesn't intentionally kill civilians is just as stupid as claiming Al Qa'ida doesn't. Of course objectivity is impossible for people who refuse to use their critical analysis skills and simply worship power like mindless cowards.

If the US has such great technology that minimizes civilian deaths, then clearly they're actively targetting them. With such state of the art technology you don't accidently kill that many people. You've directly contradicted yourself.

America's behaviour in invading and occupying Iraq is morally worse than the London bombings on a scale of millions. The London bombers unjustly killed 50 some people. The US destroyed the Iraqi economy, killed over a hundred thousand people, ruined the infrastructure, eliminated electricity and clean water, destablized society and turned it into a land of violent chaos. I'm sure Bin Laden and Al Qa'ida wish they could do that to the UK or US, but they're way too weak. Your logic is akin to the child claiming my dad can beat up your dad, simply because the child is incapable of looking at things ojectively and is blinded by his ties to his father. To be blinded by ties to a government is just plain pathetic.

If I show up at your house with a gun and say you're living in the basement from now on and doing everything I say, have you liberated yourself? That's your logic, again it doesn't hold up to anyone with any ability to think clearly and outside of your silly worship of authority.

"Violence in the cause of life." See this is even more pathetic that you think the US is doing wonderful things for Iraq. If you were to sit down and have a chat about the occupation of Iraq with someone like Karl Rove he'd sit with a smug grin on his face as you repeated his manufactured justifications verbatim. Of course he wouldn't actually debate with you, since you are an idiot to him. Someone who swallowed the bait hook line and sinker. If I were to sit down with Rove, we'd vehemently disagree on the morality of what was being done, but not why. I think it's funny that people like you think you're even on the same level of reasoning as the authorities you worship, when they'd laugh at how easily they reeled you in and threw you in the tank.

There are three types of people when it comes to Foreign Policy. There are those who set it. There are the regular lot of conservatives and liberals, and there are people like me. Those who set policy and those like me fully understand why and there's no debate as to why. But they think the why is good, while I think it's bad. Then there are the regular people like you, the conservatives and the liberals, who simply swallow the bullshit lies. Both have no conception of why, as they bicker back and forth over whether they completely believe the lies or only partially believe them. The authorities look at the people they convince with their lies, people like you, not as allies, but as scornful idiots who willingly follow along. Those who might question the lies, but are incapable of figuring out or understanding the why are no threat to the authorities either, it's just a matter of making better lies next time.

Nathan: No that's not my position, but thanks for the strawman. Mr. Logitician. I'm against terrorism, period. I'm not against terrorism only when white males are being killed, but fully in favour when it's blacks, arabs, mexicans, asians, or whoever being killed. I have an objective view. Terrorism for you isn't bad initself, it's only bad because what you perceive as your enemies are doing it. You're not against terrorism, you're only against it when you might die from it.

Most of the people who blindly support the authorities are caught up in Bush's false dichotomy of us vs. them. Not only am I against both sides, but both sides are the same, those evil islamic terrorists you're all so worried about are simply an excess of american power, not some foreign barbarians hellbent on destroying everything related to western civilization.

7/20/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Max Boot, writing in the LA Times, discusses China and their strategy for breaking the US.
The military aspect is but a small part of their over all stratigic operation. Nothing new but an informative recap of the situation.

Austin Bay writes of the Palistinian Civil War. I think that is a bit over the top, 'Civil War' but he writes that the Palistinian Authority and Hamas are engaged in shoot outs and firefights on the streets of Gaza.

Both these articles can be linked to thru

Have a pleasent day

7/20/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Thomas Friedman of the illustrious NY Times also writes of China and it's relationship with the US.
He focuses on the UNOCAL offer and offers a Siamese twin analogy to our situation. He end the article with this

"...The real issue is that we have slipped into a symbiotic relationship with another major power that is neither a free market nor a democracy. We have both grown dependent on that relationship - the U.S. for cheap goods and cheap mortgages, and China for high employment and regime stability. We now have to adjust the bargain at the heart of that relationship. Whether we can do that delicately, without destabilizing Beijing or the global economy, could be the big geopolitical story of 2005. ..."

Again, Realclearpolitics provides an easy link.

7/20/2005 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Father of 9/11 hijacker warns of 50-year war

Iraq is the new West Berlin. Hang on.

7/20/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Also on the China subject in the Washington Post an article on Chinese Inet development and the collusion between service providers and China in monitoring traffic to contol the info that flows
"...China's Internet filtering regime is "the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world," in the words of a recent report by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The system involves the censorship of Web logs, search engines, chat rooms and e-mail by "thousands of public and private personnel." It also involves Microsoft Inc., as Chinese bloggers discovered last month. Since early June, Chinese bloggers who post messages containing a forbidden word -- "Dalai Lama," for example, or "democracy" -- receive a warning: "This message contains a banned expression, please delete." It seems Microsoft has altered the Chinese version of its blog tool, MSN Spaces, at the behest of Chinese government. Bill Gates, so eloquent on the subject of African poverty, is less worried about Chinese free speech.

But he isn't alone: Because Yahoo Inc. is one of several companies that have signed a "public pledge on self-discipline," a Yahoo search in China doesn't turn up all of the (politically sensitive) results. Cisco Systems Inc., another U.S. company, has also sold hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment to China, including technology that blocks traffic not only to banned Web sites, but even to particular pages within an otherwise accessible site. ..."

7/20/2005 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Trish: In going to war with Iraq, we had many different tiers of justification. We had the broken Armistice agreement and Saddam's daily firing on our planes, 18 UN Resolutions (here lies the legal justification pushed by the Administration because it was supposedly a "slam dunk"), the Moral Justification to remove a monster, and the Strategic Justification which is what I have focused on, and which was the deciding factor in my supporting the war. You must know by now that this was the real reason for OIF, that all the other causes and justifications are add-ons, fixes, a helpful pile-on of reasons to help the medicine go down.

If 9/11 had not pointed logically to Saddam's removal as a strategic necessity, I would not have supported the cause of "UN relevance" if it was just an arbitrary enforcement of an arbitrary resolution on an arbitrary country. But Saddam's intransigence was not arbitrary nor was it irrelevant.

But you must ask yourself, "Why the sudden urgency? Why was the course shifted so suddenly from containment to hostility?"

Paul Wolfowitz and President Bush had discussed another plan for regime change that resembled the Northern Alliance option. The idea was to train an invading force in the 1/3 of Iraqi territory we held, let them loose on Saddam with tactical air cover, allowing the revolution to be entirely Iraqi. This idea was floated even before September 11.

However, on September 15, the decision was made that we no longer had the time to push that strategy forward. We had to go with what we had because removing Saddam had all of the sudden become much more urgent, even if the costs on America would rise significantly. The costs of inaction were deemed too high by comparison.

Unfortunately, the need for diplomatic cover was pushed by the State Department and Blair, and we got bogged down in the UN trying to argue a legal justification that we simply didn't need. Ironically, the extra time arguing the WMD angle acted on the public as a counter-mnemonic, making many of us forget even the feeling of urgency as the hypnotic gears of multilateralism began to turn, and gave Saddam the opportunity to remove any evidence upon which the WMD legal argument was made. Furthermore, any level of surprise was removed and Saddam was able to create a vast network of Fedayeen and Baathist hold outs to wage a guerrilla war on the US with the hope of outlasting us and regaining power after we ditched.

Listen, you may not agree that OIF was necessary or even a good idea, but to argue that there was no justification, put forth to the public or kept close the chest, other than WMD/UN resolutions is absurd.

7/20/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

'Rat: Don't know if you've read this (I hadn't read it in any of the major dailies), but there is a large national security issue at the heart of the UNOCAL bid.

UNOCAL owns the last US-owned rare-earth mine, material on which our military greatly depends, and it owns some of the best undersea imaging equipment and data in the world, great for a budding Submarine navy (via

7/20/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

someone had posted that here a couple of weeks(?)ago.
Maybe buddy or ledger, I do not recall.
There are any number of reasons to oppose a UNOCAL transfer. If Thomas Friedman thinks it is ok, well, that may be reason enough.
The Chinese say it is a straight up business deal, that they are playing by the rules, etc. Heard it on NPR last week.
I had read of the Chinese Colonels and the new Chinese way of war a couple of years ago.
I've long believed the Chinese will use economics not warfare to advance their ball in the next decade. It is their stronger hand to play.

7/20/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Unocal backs sweetened $17 bln Chevron bid

PHILADELPHIA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. oil producer Unocal Corp. endorsed a sweetened $17 billion takeover offer from Chevron Corp., preferring it to a higher bid from China's state-run CNOOC Ltd.

7/20/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Part of the Chinese strategy, put forth by the Colonels, was an EMP strike at the US. Not to short out our military hardware, but our civil systems. Produce non military damage to our infrastructure, crippling our economy.
While I do not beleive the Mohammanends could strike US in that manner, the Chicoms certainly have the capacity for it.

7/20/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

The most clear and concise argument I've read for lack of progress in fighting Islamism
The Secret Double Standard

7/20/2005 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr small
link don't work

7/20/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You ask the tickler of masochists the wrong question nathan.
It's not fight and kill for?
No it's is,
What would you fight and DIE for?

7/20/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides wrote:
“Unfortunately, the need for diplomatic cover was pushed by the State Department and Blair, and we got bogged down in the UN trying to argue a legal justification that we simply didn't need.”

I think this statement is telling and it sits at the core of where I disagree with your position on the War in Iraq and ultimately with your approach to the terrorist problem.

In taking the position that we didn’t need a legal justification for our invasion and occupation of Iraq you are saying America is different, it can act illegally, or simply outside the law. Why is this possible? Because we can.

The ramifications of this position are bad. The rest of the world are not inclined to actively support such a US position and will to some degree or another begin to resist it, or think and act that the same ‘no rules’ also apply to them. Our sworn enemy ‘the terrorists’ will latch on to ‘America the illegal’ and gain some degree of sympathy from many because America is a big bad bully acting in its interest. The terrorists will also have a valid point.

Ultimately the problem with the position is that it is not just.

So, back to post Afghanistan, what would I have done differently? I would have pursued policies, which shore up, and strengthen international law. Yes there are problems at the UN and we don’t want to have a world democracy dictating laws that apply to US territory. The ICC is a good start. The ICC with strong US backing giving it teeth would be even better. Genocide is bad, and Saddam committed it. If the US had moved to take him out legally with international backing so much would be better today.

As many in this thread have noted the simple fact that we are present in Iraq is part of the problem and force reductions would help. So too would things be better if it were a whole bunch of international troops offering security in Iraq rather then the ‘Big Bad Oil Addicted US’ face on the occupation.

As a side note, you have also suggested that our presence in Iraq is helpful with respect to our Iranian problems. Ironically, so many whom fled Iraq under Saddam hung out in Iran, and now they are back and in power, making deals with the Iranians. This suggests your strategic argument was wrong.

7/20/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

you make a couple of logical leaps that leave you in mid air with no where to land.
You tell us that the core problem is "...America is different, it can act illegally, or simply outside the law. Why is this possible? Because we can. ..."

Of course we can, but we did not. There were/ are multiple LEGAL reasons the US could act unilaterally against Iraq. Iraq's violations of the Gulf War I's cease fire and attacks on our aircraft in the No-fly zones were all the LEGAL reasons needed. That we choose to attempt to build a larger coalition thru other, broader, avenues does not set aside the legality of our actions. Just because of the French decision to quash an additional indictment, we did not loose the other legal reasons to act.

The idea that Iranian and Iraqi ties are some how strategically disadvantageous to our position is laughable. You must feel that this is an entirely one way flow, from Iran to Iraq. It will be anything but that. As the Iraqi standard of Free Elections and participation in Government become better know in Iran we could see a non violent change there. Similar in design to Lebanon and the Ukraine. While there is no guarantee this will occur, the border between Iraq and Iran would be difficult to 'seal' in any case.
The traffic will flow regardless.
The entire idea is to influence the Iranians future thru the Iraqi's advancements to a more progressive, liberal society.

7/20/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: "In taking the position that we didn’t need a legal justification for our invasion and occupation of Iraq you are saying America is different, it can act illegally, or simply outside the law. Why is this possible? Because we can."

I am of two minds on this. My internationalist self would respond by quoting the Armistice Agreement of 1991, where hostilities were suspended on the basis that Saddam would fully comply with the demands of the "world community" (that phrase again). He violated that agreement every day thereafter, firing on our planes, blocking inspections throughout the '90's and culminating with their outright expulsion in '98. So, the belligerent countries that signed that agreement had every right to forcefully, that means militarily, gain satisfaction.

The League of Nations demurred when the time came to enforce the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties on German Disarmament. When Britain led the "50 nations led by one" against Italian aggression in Abyssinia, the League passed the resolution but nobody enforced it, leading to a situation where sanctions were applied only on those materials that would have absolutely no effect on Italy.

All this exposes a true fact about "international law"; without executive muscle, we are left with a paralized legislature and debating society. Therefore, it has fallen to individual member states to enforce UNSC resolutions as they see fit. With the Armistice violated, I didn't think we needed to go back to the UN for more resolutions that nobody but us would want to enforce. We just ended up in March 2003 in the same place we were in March 2002: a resolution we now had to enforce outside the auspices of the UN because of member-state perfidy.

But more than that, there is really no such thing as international law. International relations are power relations, and these "laws" that we talk about constrain only those who submit. Here in the United States we swear fealty to the Constitution, and the power to make laws flows from the people to the legislature. Treaties that we sign onto can become law, but only because our elected officials have deliberated upon these agreements and stand for judgement at the polls if they are wrong. But we have not, nor never will, sacrifice our sovereignty on the altar of international opinion, and we will not submit to "international laws" that were neither composed nor ratified by the elected officials of this republic.

This is not new. This is Churchill on the U.S. Senate's refusal to submit to the League of Nations:

"They repudiated President Wilson's signature. And we, who had deferred so much to his opinions and wishes in all this business of peacemaking, were told without much ceremony that we ought to be better informed about the American Constitution."

Our actions in self-defence may not make us popular, our adamant independence and our refusal to step beyond history and power-relations may ruffle some European feathers...but I couldn't care less. These unpopular ideals have protected this great nation for 229 years. That's good enough for me.

7/20/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We favor the free flow of ideas and commerce. We don't build Iron or Bamboo curtains, either to lock people in or to keep them out.

We do not even patrol our own borders we are so self assured. The Iranian Mullahs are more afraid of Sistani's Church and State position than Sistani is afraid of Iran's.

We are ahead in this game.
Freedom starts with a natural advantage, it's dream lives in the hearts of all men.

7/20/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

What the heck? I thought Bush was the one who made them mad at us! And Saddam and Osama were bitter enemies! Everybody knows that.

Who did Saddam Hussein turn to after President Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox? Osama bin Laden.

"Just days after Operation Desert Fox concluded one of Saddam's most loyal and trusted intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, was dispatched to Afghanistan. He met with senior leaders from the Taliban and then with bin Laden and his cohorts on December 21.

While we cannot be sure what transpired at this meeting, we can be sure that it was not some benign event. In fact, within days of the meeting bin Laden loudly declared his opposition to the U.S.-led missile strikes on Iraq and called on all Muslims to strike U.S. and British targets, including civilians, around the world. According to press accounts at the time, bin Laden explained, "The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq." He added that the citizens' support for their governments made it "the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill" them."

A lot of this picking apart of OIF reminds me of the OJ trial. Okay, you got the blood of both of the victims and OJ in his truck, his driveway, his house, his socks ... but, the real question is - How big are those blood specks? And so what, if there's only a one in 50 billion chance that it is any one else's DNA than OJ, that just means we're not sure, right?

O boy.

Ps. Nathan, nice comparisons on that "million-fold" analogy.

7/20/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: "The ICC is a good start. The ICC with strong US backing giving it teeth would be even better."

Perhaps you missed that it was voted down unanimously. Perhaps you missed that among the first indictments brought by this sham court were indictments on Sharon and Rumsfeld. No, backing this court would have been irresponsible, to say the least. Let elected officials answer to their people, not some banana court out to score political points.

7/20/2005 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, the earth is getting to be an increasingly small place as our populations and technologies increase. International Law resides in the treaties we make.

As the individual states came together to form the United States of America, so too should the nations of the world. Not in such a firm bind as the USA but much more simply such as "though shalt not commit genocide". The ICC is a very good place to start.

You wrote "These unpopular ideals have protected this great nation for 229 years. That's good enough for me." It is just this self-centered USA first stuff that orients the rest of the world against us and is such an immoral guide for behavior. Apply these notions to individuals living within the US: 'I covet your wife, if I kill you first, shes mine.' That is the law of the jungle and civilized men have chosen a better way.

7/20/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

tony: and the refuge of the Left grows smaller...

Look for goalposts to keep moving, until they are demanding we turn up Osama-Saddam Christmas Cards sent to relatives. Or an Uday-Zawahiri sex tape.

7/20/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, are seriously suggesting the Rumsfeld and Sharon have been indicted by the ICC? That is the first I have heard of it and I can't seem to find any references to it through google.

7/20/2005 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

as you say
"International Law resides in the treaties we make."

So if you sign a Treaty with the US and you break it, does not the US then have a LEGAL reason to take recourse. If that Treaty is a war ending cease fire and the Treaty is violated then the aggrieved party, US, has every LEGAL right to resume the war.

Even the North Koreans understand that. It is the one fear that they express publicly. That their actions will give US cause to abrogate that Cease Fire agreement.

7/20/2005 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: "Apply these notions to individuals living within the US: 'I covet your wife, if I kill you first, shes mine.'"

That's just it, you can't apply the same standard to relations between nation-states that you apply to citizens. The laws against murder flowed from the desire of the people. The "law" against unilateral action (which doesn't exist, of course) has yet to go through that process. As you say, we can ratify treaties, and we may, and that would bind us to your international ideals. But to pretend that these treaties create emanations of penumbra that manifest in some metaphysical concept of international law is just incorrect.

Therefore, an appeal to international consensus before action is purely precative; it is not yet binding. If you want to encourage otherwise, start lobbying. Myself, I'm comfortable with our elected officials having the final say on America's destiny.

7/20/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: it happened last year. The charges were brought before Rumsfeld's visit to Belgium, but were dropped when Rumsfeld refused to enter the country until his status was cleared.

Let me see if I can find it.

7/20/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

no ash it is
You abuse your wife and pay off the cops to leave you alone. After a while my friends and I mess you up and put your wife into a batter women's shelter.
If you come back or send the corrupt cop after us, while then the matter escalates.
I don't allow known rapists or child molesters in my 'hood, no matter the "law".
As you say the world is getting smaller, so my 'hood just keeps getting bigger.

7/20/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Looks like it was Germany that was force to drop the charges:

But the charges I was thinking of:

"Lawsuits against Bush and Blair, among others, have been filed in Belgium in accordance with Belgian law, which allows its judiciary to try foreigners for hunam rights violations and war crimes regardless of the country the crimes were committed in. Belgium has forwarded the lawsuits to the defendants' home countries. One lawsuit accuses Bush, Blair, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and U.S. General Tommy Franks of crimes against humanity in the recent Iraq war. A second lawsuit is against Powell, also regarding the Iraq war. A third is against Bush, Rumsfeld, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz for crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq."

7/20/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If we joined the ICC, these indictments would be binding. Why is that a good idea?

7/20/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Re: Sharon.

"The case was significantly strengthened in February 2003 when the Belgian Supreme Court, in a judgement on a case brought against Ariel Sharon over the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut's Palestinian camps, ruled that Belgian courts are indeed competent to try massive violations of international humanitarian law such as those committed by Iraq's leadership over three decades."

And you want to talk about national chutzpah?

7/20/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

RS: "Riiight! We all know that no Frenchman would ever think 'France first'"

Oh no, it wasn't they who subverted the UN sanctions on Saddam, or unilaterally subjugated Ivory Coast, or blew up the Greepeace ship when she got in the way of French Nuclear Tests. France embodies the highest ideals of selflessness and international cooperation.

Everybody knows that!

P.S. I don't begrudge her a bit on her self-interestedness. In many ways she is more successful at it than we are.

7/20/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, yes, you have been referring to courts other then the ICC. I am not an expert on the ICC but I they have a clause in there which precludes them from prosecuting crimes if the the subject resides in a country with a functioning independant judiciary that is capable of prosecuting those crimes. The laws the ICC uses are also very proscribed, like crimes against humanity, genocide. In the end though, if Rumsfeld or Sharon do commit crimes of Genocide and their national courts refuse to prosecute them they should still be brought to justice.

Desert Rat, the cease fire agreements were between Iraq and the UN so it is a stretch to argue that the US then has jurisdiction to determine 1. that the ceasefire has be breached, and 2. what the consequences should be. An international forum to make these legal arguments would be of benefit.

7/20/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well you know those Belgians
First they ruin the Congo with their adminstrative policies.
Now they want to do the same thing to the world.
If at first you don't succeed,
try it on someone else

7/20/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

Nathan, sorry but your attempt to prove a contradiction is not valid. For it to be so, Saddam Hussein would have had to have been behind the London bombings which contrary to what you might believe, he wasn't, thus your WWII parallels are not transpositions of my statements.

I do believe I made a point in an earlier thread about how most of the people here are stuck in WWII rationalities of strict good vs. evil. Proves my point some more.

Why do you ask what I'd die for nathan? If you hold such macho expressions of violence in such high regard then the ultimate political act for you would be to strap on some bombs and go blow yourself up in a mosque in Pakistan or something of that nature. Yet you seem to be terrified of such machoistic expressions of manhood which you denounce as cowardly when those you don't like do it. Another glaring contradiction in your reasoning.

You have no idea of the why of the occupation of Iraq. Again if you provided your arguments to those who make the decisions they'd pat you on the head and say good boy for being such a loyal sheep. Again of course, they would view you with disdain. You're an inferior who simply enables their ends.

It's also amusing that the enablers of power like the majority who post here are so obedient and worshipful of their god, that even when the god later admits that an earlier statement was wrong, the enablers continue to believe the now self-discredited lie.

7/20/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the UN has no aircraft to patrol no fly zones. If you fire on US aircraft you may find yourself at war with the US
There is no one to tell US that it cannot protect itself or it's aircraft.
A US General signed the cease fire, the US has every right to abrogate the Treaty.
That is International Law.
If you wish to expand or refine that 'law' have at it, but the US operated well with in the current legal structure of International law

7/20/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

YOU may think we did the wrong thing, YOU may believe that there SHOULD be other ways to proceed.
But the truth is your initial statement that the US acted illegally in invading Iraq is false. You should admit that to yourself, if not everyone.

Ricks is a great place to chill

7/20/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: yes, I made a mistake in ascribing these indictments to the ICC, but do you doubt the anti-Americans and anti-Israelis would fail to make such charges if we were to ratify the court?

The clause you cite is a circular, vacuous assertion that goes to the very heart of my opposition to the ICC. If our definition of war crimes doesn't rise to the level of the rabid anti-American internationalists, and our leaders remain unindicted at home, then they can be arrested whenever they go abroad. The same goes for our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. The very absence of a local indictment will be treated as a prima facie justification for the ICC.

If you believe Rumsfeld has committed war crimes, call your representative in Congress to get him indicted. Why is this unsatisfactory? Are Americans so beyond the pale that we can't be trusted to hold our leaders accountable for real atrocities? (Don't answer that, IOTM, I'm not interested in your ravings anymore).

7/20/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

" Name onegreat thing accomplished by "intellectuals" in the last 80 years (not counting Wallace Stevens)!"

Generative Anthropology (

7/20/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When the Shia called for help during their uprising during Bush I's reign, the Baathists were in helicopter gunship mowing the Shia down.
Old Stormin' Norman had signed off on Iraq's use of helicopters in the no-fly zone and so reported that since the Iraqis were not in violation of the Cease Fire we could not act.
This incident proves the point that the US would not arbitrarily abrogate the treaty. Even though the Iraqis had violated the 'spirit' of the agreement, they were within the letter of it.

7/20/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

he only tickles masochists, nathan.

7/20/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Has he got you laughing yet?

7/20/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Ash: the things that brought the states together under a strong central government were the central government's assumption of war debt, the creation of a central Bank and national mint, and control of customs for taxation. It was not the imposition of an independant Supreme judiciary.

I don't see Americans giving up the purse strings to an international Leviathon any time soon, so your post-nationalism will have to wait awhile.

7/20/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In the age old question which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Ash and his fellow travelers believe it was the coop.
Cannot have all those loose chickens flyin' around, unregulated

7/20/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides wrote: "Are Americans so beyond the pale that we can't be trusted to hold our leaders accountable for real atrocities?"

You are simply saying to the rest of the world, 'trust us, we will act in our interests, but trust us'...why should they?

Many in the rest of the world believe that the US is beyond the pale. This is reinforced by the US's refusal to ratify the ICC. If the US truly would hold their leaders accountable then they should have no problem with the ICC.

7/20/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

older, wiser perhaps, but better, do not sell yourself short

7/20/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Accountable to what standard?
With rights of the accused guarenteed by whom?
How is an ICC judge removed?
How is the ICC financed
Who are the ICC courts police?
Where are the courts jails?
How are those jails funded?
Who are the guards?
How can I be assured that Rummy will not end up with panties on his head?
That would be tantamount to torture

7/20/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, I believe you are overstating what the US need give up to join the world in some codified law. Simply adhering to, and accepting norms of behavior like not committing genocide. There will be some cost in giving it teeth, hardly relinquishing control of ones purse.

Nations throughout history have formed for a variety of reasons, one being defense against external threats. Surely you can see the benefits to the world at large of a basic form of Rule of Law?

7/20/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Desert Rat:

7/20/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But seriously ash
back to your false statement of the illegal invasion.
I think that Bush, Cheney, Rummy & my son deserve an apology for your slanderous remark. You have been shown to be wrong, fess up.

Rick's is the place, the gin fizz will make you grin, Chris Hitchens can't get enough of 'em.

7/20/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I haven't stated that the invasion was illegal. I merely responded to Aristides statement:

"Unfortunately, the need for diplomatic cover was pushed by the State Department and Blair, and we got bogged down in the UN trying to argue a legal justification that we simply didn't need.”

7/20/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I havn't got far but Article 5 section 2 makes, "the crime of aggression" illegal. It does go on to say that just what "aggression" is, will be determined at a later date.

No wonder we passed on this.
It is not even ready to be debated seriously.
Agree to allow US citizens to be prosecuted for crimes not yet defined. Not on your life.

7/20/2005 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

To the best of my knowledge that has not been why the Bush administration has refused to ratify it. They have asked to be exempt. I'm sure accomodation could be made vis a vis Laws not yet defined.

7/20/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

at 9:08 this very morn you wrote

"Our sworn enemy ‘the terrorists’ will latch on to ‘America the illegal’ and gain some degree of sympathy from many because America is a big bad bully acting in its interest. The terrorists will also have a valid point."

You writing that the terrorists have a valid point about America the illegal in regards to the Iraqi invasion means that the invasion would have been illegal, in your mind. Or they would not have a valid point.

If we must parse the meaning of 'is' while missing the spirit of the words, well Clinton got disbarred for that.

7/20/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Article 6 section d, of the ICC, could make abortion illegal in the US, who'd have guessed.

7/20/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I've only got to Article 9 so far.
There is no way this would ever be ratified in the US. If it ever is I'd revolt, save your Confederate money.

7/20/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the professionals at the CIA could not locate the Chinese embassy on the map and photo recons of Belgrade. Thusly we bombed Chinese territory, an act of war against China.
You trust those guy's capability?

7/20/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger T said...

Typical, my analysis goes above your head, you can't respond with any arguments so it's time to either ignore or insult me.

You'll gladly debate those who disagree with you, who have much weaker arguments than me (trish for example, or even Ash), but you won't dare touch me.

Enabling totalitarianism and the slaughter of innocents isn't something to be proud of Nathan. And is an accomplishment on the same level as having a lobodomy.

You want to know what I believe?

7/20/2005 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Trish: "The fear was not that he would hand these over to an independent terror organization, such as al Qaeda."

Bush speech, 2002-10-07: "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."

That was a real fear. I'm not making this up. You are right that an additional fear was Saddam using them himself. Seems to me that added to the case.

Ash: "Simply adhering to, and accepting norms of behavior like not committing genocide. There will be some cost in giving it teeth, hardly relinquishing control of ones purse."

I agree with the first point, but you must realize that any "norms" abided by today by other nations has nothing to do with international law and everything to do with the ever-ready Arsenal of Democracy. The UN was powerless to stop the Bosnian and Kosovar genocides until we stepped in. Powerless in Rwanda, powerless now in Sudan.

It is only our (not just US, but mostly US) expectations of proper behavior that stem world-wide war, If you've taken a look at the figures since 1991, we have almost ended regional war in the world. This is called power relations, and we are called a benevolent giant.

Unless you make us angry, which in reality seems to take a lot. Al'Qaeda tried for a decade to get our attention by bombing our assets overseas, and that didn't work.

As to your second point, if there is no punitive action in the face of a violation, on one's finances or on one's person, then laws are meaningless. On which one of these do you want the US to relinquish control? I seem to remember we fought a war over taxation without representation. I can't imagine we'd be more sanguine about personal punishment without representation.

The UN, via France, has already tried to weasel an international tax on member states. France's idea was on small arms sales and plane tickets. Guess how much of the bill America would have been paying on these items if they were taxed. Yeah, a lot.

Re: reason we are not in ICC. Has nothing to do with Bush:

"But even though President Clinton signed the treaty and U.S. experts drafted key parts of the ICC foundational documents, the Senate has just voted-by a landslide 78-21-to bar the United States from cooperating with this international tribunal and to impose serious sanctions against countries that do not exempt the United States from its reach."

God Bless America

7/20/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well there was also that "Slam Dunk" remark the Mr. Tenent mad to Pres Bush about WMD in Iraq.
There was that black hole of info about the Soviet Unions imminent collapse. There was a lack of human Intel concerning Iraq prior to OIF. No agents on the ground.
I am sure that those 'Intel community' guys try hard, it is just that they are no more 'right' then you or I. Their analysis is no better than wretchard's, in fact it is often worse.

7/20/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How about this from the ICC

Articl 50 section 4
"It shall not be open to the competent authority of the custodial State to consider whether the warrant of arrest was
properly issued in accordance with article 58, paragraph 1 (a) and (b)."

So once indicted by a court sitting in the Haugue our government cannot even question the validity of the warrant. They must arrest and immediately deport you to Holland.
Talk about your renditions.
No US due process, at all.
No Jury of Peers
No Miranda
No Appeal

7/20/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Trish: just moral support to terrorists, huh?

"The ANO international terrorist organization was founded by Sabri al-Banna (a.k.a. Abu Nidal) after splitting from the PLO in 1974. The group’s previous known structure consisted of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial. In November 2002 Abu Nidal died in Baghdad; the new leadership of the organization remains unclear.

Al-Banna relocated to Iraq in December 1998 where the group maintained a presence until Operation Iraqi Freedom, but its current status in country is unknown."

December '98 seems to come up a lot lately:

1. On December 16, 1998 Operation Desert Fox commenced, took 4 days.

2. Osama bin Laden, as quoted in various press accounts, December 26, 1998: "The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders decision to attack Iraq. It is the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill them."

3. Saddam's most loyal and trusted intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, met with senior leaders from the Taliban and then with bin Laden and his cohorts on December 21.

4. Bin Laden had first requested safehaven from Saddam in the summer of 1998 and then Saddam had offered safehaven to bin Laden several months later, you guessed it, in December '98.

5. Several western diplomatic and security sources which have good relations with Sudan, warned in secret reports they sent at the end of [1998, Dec.] that Iraq, Sudan, and bin Laden were cooperating and coordinating in field of chemical weapons" at several facilities.

6. Scores of Iraqi military intelligence men . . . arrived in Afghan territory in December.

Then throw in Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, the Iraqi intelligence agent who was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where U.S. intelligence officials believe the planning for the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and September 11 took place, then arrested in Jordan with contact information for two of the hijackers. Add a dab of Zarqawi showing up in 2002 (maybe to fill in for Abu Nidal?), and you have enough information to write an excellent geopolitical thriller.

Try to imagine this. Saddam was just bombed by the biggest, baddest military on the planet in Dec. '98, and his first thought was to rush into the arms of "the" other enemy of the US. What was that you said about Saddam not being stupid enough to put his regime on the line?

It may be nothing, but how can you be so uncurious?

7/20/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/20/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

IOTM: "but you won't dare touch me."

That's because there's nothing there. Calling the Bush Administration, or the US in general, a totalitarian government puts you out in the realm of cooties and the boogey man.

Sorry, you're too pedomorphic. I can't get over the language barrier.

7/20/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hell, his regieme was already 'on the line' in '95 It'd been 'on the line' since the day he took control of the country.
Murder, Rape and War were the methods he had used his entire carreer, why would he suddenly begin backing down.
He had already stood down the US at his border. He thought we were afraid to enter Iraq, and he was right, but not for the reasons he believed to be true.

7/20/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Remember Saddam had already fought 'the mother of all battles' with the US and had forced US to a draw.
We never entered Iraq and he was still in control. Look at the Iraqi press reports, they held their own.
He went on to put down the Shia revolt and the US stood by. Saddam's forces fired on US aircraft at will. The only price paid was in the tactical loss of some missile launchers. Nothing compared to the propaganda value of gallantly holding off the US.
We were a paper tiger,
defeated in Somalia and bleeding out of our African Embassies.
Yeah, Saddam was afraid.
He and UBL both

7/20/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It would have been to dangerous for Saddam and UBL to form a strategic or tactical alliance, the US could get mad.
We could not protect our people in Iran from illegal detention with out charges during the Carter years, even the original 'cowboy' R Reagan got chased out of Lebennon.
No trish, no one in that part of the world thought we carried a big stick.
We had forgotten that part of Teddy's formula for success.

All we would do was speak softly.

7/20/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Brent Scrowcroft, Colin Powell and others whom I do not have names for convince Bush Sr. not to cross the line.
Reason 1. The UN Resolution called for the Liberation of Kuwait, not the Defeat of Baathist Iraq.
Reason 2. If you break it, you own it
Reason 3. Allow Saddam to be maintained as a counter to the Iranians.
Reason 4 The Saudis did not want Iraq to be ruled by the Shia, whch was a likely outcome of Saddams removal.
As we are seeing today and over the past years, the Dept of State, Powell, Bremer, etc. have tried to slow down the move to majority rule in Iraq. There are a number of reasons for that, not all of them bad.

7/20/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

the professionals at the CIA could not locate the Chinese embassy on the map and photo recons of Belgrade. Thusly we bombed Chinese territory, an act of war against China.
You trust those guy's capability?"

Considering all the stories/rumors about the Chinese giving the Serbs intel on us, I'm not convinced they screwed up on that one.

7/20/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not either, cutler
But that is their story,
and their stickin' to it

7/20/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A question for an engineer.
How many GPS satellites are over any give region, oh say, the Strait of Formosa. And how many would have to be lost to loose the capability of the system to operate?
Are the GPS in a syncronixed (I mean 'stationary') orbit?

7/20/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

never mind nathan, I figured it out myself. Thanks anyway

7/20/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is exactly what I found out
Now we both know, as does any BClubber to lazy to google.
Where's doug anyway?

7/20/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

President Bush and VP Cheney have both stated that there was a prewar connection betwwen aQ and Baathist Iraq.
I saw it myself, when pressed by the reporter to comment on Cheney's eariler remark Bush, with his, I'm annoyed but I'll tell you something look, said
"Zarqowi, he's the proof."
or words very near those.

7/20/2005 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

it is easy to track the failures of the Intel community. It is very hard to track their successes. Granted that some of the darkness is operational security, but part of it is lack of success.
If the 'IC' had UBL we'd know,
Mullah Omar or Z we'd know.

If they were instrumental in Lebanon - darkness
The Italian snatch job & rendition - inept
North Korean capacity - darkness & ineptitude
Israeli moles at the Agency - inept
Russian mole at the FBI - inept
Sending Pete Wilson on a Secret Spy Mission to Niger - major inept
Failure to stop or have Intel on African Embassy bomb attacks - inept
Failure to infiltrate aQ - darkness
Intel on Somalian warlord capacities & capabilities - inept
Status of Soviet nuclear devices - darkness
Using a Predator to kill a T in Yeman - success

I hope they are better than they appear, or then the track record would indicate. I always would think it was disinformation when a disaster struck, you know, good spin, play down our ability, make 'em think we suck,
A lot of dead bodies though, they even got those Navy guys in Yemen

7/20/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Trish: I offer information, you offer assertion.

The 9/11 commission said there was no PROOF of any OPERATIONAL cooperation--which would be like a video of Saddam high-fiving Mohammed Atta on his way to Boston: a really high standard--yet the report contained pages and pages of information on contacts and shady dealings between the groups. You say "a connection did not exist", completely mal-interpreting what the commission said. This is what makes those of us on the pro-war side so angry. If we find a counterfactual we try to figure it out; at worst we will try to massage it into the story line. When you find a counterfactual that runs contrary to your argument, you cover your eyes.

Read my post again on what happened in December 1998. That stuff happened. Now how do you explain it?

7/20/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How much Intelligence would a person need to
"KNOW" that Saddam would fall back into an 'Insurgency' mode when invaded by the US.

There are not many options available in fighting US. One that has been successful in the past has been Guerilla tactics and Political Victory. To have not played this scenario and have a contingency for it, an Intel Failure of Extreme Consequence. Perhaps not by CIA but by Someone whose was paid for Intelligence they obviously were lacking.

7/20/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Could well be the beginning of a PR campaign that we have been lacking.
Instead of calling for 'Stay the Course' or 'Timetable to Withdraw' some of our Pols could start calling for Blood.
Goes back to defining the war and naming the opponent. Duel edge swords, I'll admit, but if we do not focus our people AND THEIRS to the possible fallout of yhe continued proliferation of violence, the more likely that fallout becomes.
A little rhetoric could take US a long way towards reformation

7/20/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Chinese have a General say that China could hit US with Nukes if we intercede with their war with Taiwan.
We get no extra recruits at the enlistment centers. But a lingering rememberence in the public mind.
American Pols threaten to retaliate against Holy Cities or Sites
We'll see what happens.
Hard to have a war where you cannot make the Opfors civilian base mad at you.
Sherman and Grant could have never won the US Civil War that way.

7/20/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I've said many times, we missed our chance in Afghanistan, while the smoke was still rising over America. It was a known military target, the wide open base of our enemy.

We should have put a stake in the heart of the demon then. And if it didn't work, at least they would know what the stake looked like.

The fire next time is going to be much worse than what I advocated.

7/20/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What pray tell is the difference between
"prewar connection" which it was, Z being 'incountry' pre war
"a significant connection." using Cheney's words

a Connection is a connection

7/20/2005 04:32:00 PM  

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