Monday, July 11, 2005

Two Points of View

Two points of view on the London attacks are put forward by Michael Ledeen and the blog In a State of Flux. State of Flux analyzes the modus operandi and possible actions of the tube attackers in considerable detail. Michael Ledeen urges his readers to avoid being hypnotized by minutiae and focus on the larger picture. He argues that the fixation on Iraq and whether or not OIF has "made us safer" or "made us targets" has obscured the relevant question.

... I’m afraid that those who are doing it are looking too hard at a single event, and not hard enough at the overall situation. Policemen are being beheaded in Thailand, Christian missionaries are kidnapped in the Philippines, some of our finest fighting men are being killed in Afghanistan, and bombs are going off again in Turkey. Indeed, it would be most surprising if the terror masters were cutting back on their jihad, at a time when rising oil prices are pumping vast sums of money into their war chests. The mullahs and the Assads are rotten with cash, and a lot of it is going into the war against us. The theory that our splendid military performance in Iraq has shrunken the pool of terrorists available for operations in the West doesn’t convince me, in large part because we know from their past performances that the terrorists set up these actions years in advance. ...

Unfortunately, the overall situation remains very dicey, precisely because our focus is too narrow. By concentrating compulsively on Iraq, we are failing to take the battle to the enemy, who finds haven, money, weapons, training and intelligence in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran.

Without commenting on Michael Ledeen's proposition, it is interesting to consider why our war against terror seems critically dependent on the strategic focus of the national leadership while terrorists never seem to be in danger of giving up, even when they are divided. Hardly a week goes by now without the media reporting some clash between factions of terrorists in Iraq. But no one wonders whether whether the dispirited Jihadis will stop attacking the West as a result. On the other hand the father of an Afghan Special Forces soldier wrote privately to say:

Mr. Bin Laden did not miscalculate, not if his calculation was based on things other than the professionalism of the US combat soldier. Neither the west's elected officials nor many of its citizens may be counted on to hold when all about them is falling apart. However, the US - and for that matter Australian - combat soldier is another matter entirely. During a phone conversation this weekend, my son noted a Navy SEAL has never surrendered. It will reassure him that such is still the case.

There was, in this deeply moving private email, the unstated fear that national leadership might not keep the faith -- or as Michael Ledeen suggests -- be imprisoned by myopia -- the tyranny of the soundbite, the goad of the public fixation du jour. The Jihad after all, does not seem similarly vulnerable to the vacillations of their leadership. Even if Osama Bin Laden were arrested today or were he to convert to evangelical Christianity the Jihad would be unlikely to die down. He could not "sell out" his cause in the same sense that Spain's Prime Minister Zapatero could. The obvious difference is that Western countries are constitutionally governed. Their militaries, civilian agencies, even the bulk of their citizens follow, whether they agree or not, the lawful orders of their leaders. And if their lawful leaders said, 'lay down your arms' they would. The Islamic terrorist bomber is not similarly constrained.

Lee Harris argues in Tech Central Station that the underlying reason for Islamic extremism's implacability against the West is that it is really a "blood feud". (Hat tip: DL) By attempting to understand its primitive urges of revenge and conquest in terms of declarations of war, the Geneva conventions, deterrence, etc the West has fundamentally misled itself. Harris says:

Immediately after 9/11, the general consensus was that we were at war. And yet this evocation of the concept of war bothered me because it did not quite fit. Wars were things that Westerners did. They were fought for economic reasons or for territorial expansion; they were instruments of policy; they had a point and an objective. You knew when a war started, and you knew when it was over. ... when I wrote "Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology," I argued that war was not the appropriate model to employ in order to gain an understanding of the enemy that we faced ...

In the blood feud, the orientation is not to the future, as in war, but to the past. In the feud you are avenging yourself on your enemy for something that he did in the past. Al Qaeda justified the attack on New York and Washington as revenge against the USA for having defiled the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia by its military presence during the First Gulf War. In the attack on London, the English were being punished for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the blood feud, unlike war, you have no interest in bringing your enemy to his knees. You are not looking for your enemy to surrender to you; you are simply interested in killing some of his people in revenge for past injuries, real or imaginary -- nor does it matter in the least whether the people you kill today were the ones guilty of the past injuries that you claim to be avenging. In a blood feud, every member of the enemy tribe is a perfectly valid target for revenge. What is important is that some of their guys must be killed -- not necessarily anyone of any standing in their community. Just kill someone on the other side, and you have done what the logic of the blood feud commands you to do.

In the blood feud there is no concept of decisive victory because there is no desire to end the blood feud. Rather the blood feud functions as a permanent "ethical" institution -- it is the way of life for those who participate in it; it is how they keep score and how they maintain their own rights and privileges. You don't feud to win, you feud to keep your enemy from winning -- and that is why the anthropologist of the Bedouin feud, Emrys Peters, has written the disturbing words: The feud is eternal.

"The feud is eternal." Hence, the Jihad, unlike the war waged by the West, can never be surrendered. Only the West can surrender. But blogs like In a State of Flux, though guilty of Ledeen's indictment of narrowness, are an important indicator that the feud is becoming symmetrical. Western citizens are still focused on the 'larger issues' but personal loss and anger are making the war less abstract. They want to find particular people who attacked them on specific occasions for the purpose of visiting upon them individual punishment. For many, the war is no longer business, it's personal.

One route to victory, the ugly route, is to match the entropy within Islamic societies with a corresponding entropy within the West. The rising resentment against Islamic immigrants in Europe and the growing willingness in the West to see Islam and even Muslims as the enemy, are all early signs of the transformation of war into a corresponding blood feud. One of the constant themes of the Belmont Club is how this development is undesirable because it will, at the limit, result in the destruction of Islamic society and make us all murderers. The alternative route chosen by President Bush, but only half-heartedly pursued by mainstream politicians, is to decrease entropy within the Islamic world by making those countries functional, modern and free so that the "blood feud" concept becomes as anachronistic in Riyadh as it is in Cleveland. Thomas Friedman argued in the New York Times that a Muslim problem needed a Muslim solution:

the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed. ... The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden. ... The double-decker buses of London and the subways of Paris, as well as the covered markets of Riyadh, Bali and Cairo, will never be secure as long as the Muslim village and elders do not take on, delegitimize, condemn and isolate the extremists in their midst.

He forgot to add that this Muslim problem did not have a Muslim solution unless it were given to them. But if the last four years of combat shows anything, it is that it is possible for the Muslim world to rise above the "blood feud". CNN describes how Afghan villagers sheltered a Navy SEAL who managed to evade the Taliban.

Afghan villagers sheltered a U.S. Navy SEAL wounded in a battle last month with the Taliban until they could get word to American forces to rescue him, a military official said Monday. ... Military officials said a rocket exploded near the surviving SEAL, knocking him off his feet and down a mountainside in steep terrain. He then managed to stay out of sight of the insurgents, officials said. The commando suffered multiple leg wounds but was able to walk about two miles (three or four kilometers) through the mountains to get away, according to a U.S. military official, who insisted on anonymity.

An Afghan villager found the SEAL and hid him in his village, the official said. According to military accounts, Taliban fighters came to the village and demanded the American be turned over, but villagers refused. The SEAL wrote a note verifying his identity and location, and a villager carried it to U.S. forces, the official said. The note indicated to U.S. troops that they wouldn't be entering into a trap. The commando was rescued July 3.

One wonders whether the Western Left would have risked as much to protect the SEAL as these Muslims in a dirt poor mountain village in Afghanistan. Those who would not would probably refuse on the grounds that 'we have no right to turn Muslims in Gunga Dins'; no right to reduce the entropy in Islamic society; no right to alter the ethnographic museum that they find so quaint, so attractive and so anti-imperialist. Until then, the bombs will explode in London and the blood feud will grow like a serpent's egg in our bosoms.


Blogger sam said...

This kind of puts the Seal loss in perspective:

U.S. media have said the deaths of eight Navy SEALs aboard the helicopter and those on the ground, were the heaviest ever losses in a combat operation for the 2,400-strong elite force.

Hundreds of people have been killed, many of them guerrillas, since the Taliban and allies stepped up violence in March.

7/11/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cornelius said...

"it is that it is possible for the Muslim world to rise above the "blood feud". CNN describes how Afghan villagers sheltered a Navy SEAL who managed to evade the Taliban."

C'mon Wretch. One person does not equal the Muslim world.

7/11/2005 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Okay, fans. Time to pony up.

I got in on the basement level on a previous thread, the one where Wretchard outed himself. It was so far down that I don't think many people saw my comment. However, since it's the most important comment I've made on this blog, it bears repeating. So here's the second edition, for your edification:

Y'all could've gotten Wretch's secret identity very easily: make a donation to the site thru PayPal and up comes his name. It comes up after your donation goes through. all the grateful freeloaders out there who have just outed themselves by being so surprised: get with it and click the donate button, hmm? ;)


I'm serious. Just go count the "awesomes" and "excellent" and "never miss it" on the previous thread. Think of Wretchard as a public trust and then hit the 'donate' button. To do any less is to take advantage of an incredibly prescient, intelligent and humble scribe.

I donated because it was Wretchard's work which gave me the courage to blog. I'm not in the same category; blog progeny aren't as good as their progenitors. But I'm grateful nonetheless and if you read him regularly you are, too. And if he has to quit to do something that makes money, we'll all be the poorer.

Just saying.


And that means you,too, Doug and Buddy.

7/11/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Increasingly, we see the jihadists focusing on fellow Muslims as their victims. Although the Western media focused on the deaths of Americans, Australians and British in the explosions and massacres that started in 2003 in Saudi Arabia, I am reading now that the vast majority of the dead in those assaults were Arabs and Asians -- and that the Saudi jihadists felt fine about killing those people living in the compounds on the grounds that since they associated with Westerners, they weren't Muslim enough and were therefore also "kafir" and suitable for killing as well.

When they kidnapped and murdered the Egyptian diplomat, the Iraqi terrrorists released a statement, "he was a friend of the kafirs and the law of God was applied to him."

Now, in London, we see what also seems to be a deliberate targeting of "moderate Muslims" who have assimilated into that society -- they were "friends of kafirs and the law of God was applied to them."

I like the idea of a blood feud. It resonates psychologically. (I think I disagree with Wretchard that if we kill Muslims we will be murderers. If you want to go back to the concept of war, we would be victors and not any more murderous than the Americans who dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and stopped a bloody war.)

But I'm wondering if the blood feud thing is spinning out of control when the jihadists run out of sufficient soft targets who will sit still and allow themselves to be blown up, and so therefore they turn upon their own and begin killing fellow Muslims who they declare aren't sufficiently anti-everything.

If you live in the Middle East, your government will be telling you the VERY most important thing to strive for is peace and stability ... which coincidentally also makes you what is perceived by your terrorist neighbors as a "a sitting duck".

Unless every single Muslim in the Middle East aspires towards suicide, it seems to me the population as a whole might become alarmed about this development sooner or later, and move to do something about it.

Maybe our Western media should start headlining it and bringing it to their attention in a, "Psssst! Look what's sneaking up on you from behind" sort of way, since it would be counter-productive for the government of Saudi Arabia, for example, to let its citizens in on the secret that they're being served up as sacrificial lambs on the altar of religious war with the west.

7/11/2005 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

A holier-than-thou nag dunning for money for Wretchard is just as annoying as a holier-than-thou nag dunning for money for Kerry.

7/11/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Let's leave off the money guys. There will be no fund raising campaigns at the Belmont Club. Pretend the donate button doesn't exist unless you really want to see it.

7/11/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger tommy said...

Outstanding post, wretch. This war can only end with an utter capitulation of the Islamic fascists. It will happen in one of two ways: either a revolution from within (i.e. a democratic regional government that "throws the bums out"), or the US leaving with a stern message, "Don't make us come back!". In either case, no quarter can be given to the Islamofascists. They will not take no for an answer.

7/11/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Lips Mahoney said...

"Mark Malloch Brown... ...said United Nations officials made “serious errors of judgment” in Srebrenica that stemmed from “a philosophy of nonviolence and neutrality that was unsuited for the war in Bosnia..."

Well said, as an overall diagnosis of the post-modern dysfunction that fatally paralyzes the UN.

Who is this... this Mr. Brown? We need to hear more of him.
Oops... wrong topic. Forgive me, I'm new at this. Which door did you say is the exit?

7/11/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

I may have sounded holier-than-thou, Nahncee, but it wasn't meant that way and I apologize.

The motive for my comment was based on concern --worry, actually. You know how much time blogging and commenting eat up. People quit sometimes because of that so they can do something which makes money. Especially if they have family obligations.

But I also spoke out of gratitude for how much I've learned here and that fueled my soapbox speech also.

At any rate, it's an ouch to be put in the same box with John Kerry, so I'll shut up about it.


7/11/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Zeno said...

It's funny - or is it? - that the biggest beneficiaries of that "decrease of entropy" in the Middle East, if such really eventually happens, would be Europe with its millions of discontented Muslims in its midst - yet Europeans have been the ones most opposed to the Iraq war and similar strategies. Or have been so far. It might change after the umptenth bomb attack. Or people might just turn to more radical solutions such as vigilante-ism and other forms of incremental entropy?

7/11/2005 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Lips Mahoney said...

Mr. X, you insightfully say:

"...yet Europeans have been the ones most opposed to the Iraq war and similar strategies."

Perhaps my original post was not such a non-sequiter after all. I believe in response to the pondering of your post, the answer can be found in the statement concerning “serious errors of judgment” that stemmed from “a philosophy of nonviolence and neutrality that was unsuited for the war..."

Replace the attribution of the condemning quote above directed at UN officials to European popular sentiment instead, and the quote is still accurate and supplies an answer as to your question of their opposition. I believe that Europe in general lacks the moral fortitude necessary to make the kinds of judgments that lead to a more proactive position in the war on terror. You see: it’s not fuzzy-warm multiculturalism, involving enlightened understanding. Dealing with militant Islam with a more heavy hand is barbaric. Who knows, maybe your prognosis is right; after a few more destroyed busses and transits maybe attitudes will change, but I doubt it. This is all Bush’s fault, you know.

Is that acceptable? Did I do ok?

7/11/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

A member of our extended family is a Navy SEAL. He has that esprit that comes with such training and dedication. And so, of course, we worry about him.

It's too long to critique here, but Harris' analysis of the blood feud is like an arrow finding the target in many ways, though I don't agree with his entire assessment. However, if that paradigm helps us to step a lilttle further beyond the conventional warfare argument (we've already moved a ways in that direction), it will be worth hanging onto despite its flaws.

Minh-Duc's details are fascinating...and I trust his way of looking at things given his background.

I don't think this administration will pull the plug. Bush has nothing to gain in doing so and his character seems stubborn enough to hang in there. It's the 2008 election which will be the pivot.

Even if we withdraw, the world wide terrorism won't stop. Anything based on Utopia, of whatever kind, is always lethal for those who don't live in that world view.

Finally, Friedman is wrong. A Muslim problem does not necessarily contain its own solution. The experience in Denmark is proof of that. Muslim families have expressed relief at the stricter laws re immigration and assimilation. Having an impersonal law to turn to keeps the pressure off the family.

7/11/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Wretchard, please ... not exactly:

The obvious difference is that Western countries are constitutionally governed. Their militaries, civilian agencies, even the bulk of their citizens follow, whether they agree or not, the lawful orders of their leaders. And if their lawful leaders said, 'lay down your arms' they would.

O wait, you mean "Western countries" not counting the Scots-Irish USA.

7/11/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wolfgang Bruno has a letter up to President Bush. Here's a part of it:

For you, a devout Christian, religion is something inherently positive. Perhaps that makes you misjudge Islam. Perhaps you view it as a religion currently beset by many problems and aggressive groups, but still one that can offer comfort and moral guidance to millions of people. That is a fundamental mistake. Islam is not an addition to the American diversity rainbow. In fact, it wants to scrap the diversity rainbow and replace it with an Islamic cave. Ataturk’s Turkey has tried for generations to enforce Western-style democracy and secularism, and the experiment is failing. You should listen more to the likes of Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina and Robert Spencer, and less to Bernard Lewis

Advice to President Bush

7/11/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh said...

>>One wonders whether the Western Left would have risked as much to protect the SEAL as these Muslims in a dirt poor mountain village in Afghanistan. Those who would not would probably refuse on the grounds that 'we have no right to turn Muslims in Gunga Dins'; no right to reduce the entropy in Islamic society; no right to alter the ethnographic museum that they find so quaint, so attractive and so anti-imperialist. Until then, the bombs will explode in London and the blood feud will grow like a serpent's egg in our bosoms.<<

Well, we are now standing at something of a fork in history, aren't we? Bush's policy depends on two things: one, that you are right, that the muslim world is not fated to remain in this incredible rut; and two, that the west still has enough self-confidence to help Islam make its peace with modernity.

If we ourselves no longer believe in liberal democracy, if we have grown so rotten at the core that we can no longer defend our values, much less help others adopt them, then it seems less than likely that the muslim world will become anything other than the dysfunctional basket-case it is now.

I actually think the outlook is reasonably positive. In reply to cornelius, the recent elections in Iraq and the upcoming ones in Afghanistan are a real sign of hope that the average muslim has no real desire to devote their children's futures to an ideology of self-immolation. American domestic will seems slackening, but I still don't see massive street protests calling for a precipitate withdrawals either. I have real fears of British resolve, but if we (meaning the United States) can still hold the line, then I think we'll manage.

We shall see...

Regardless, I liked Richard Brookhiser's citation of Marcus Aurelius at NRO's "The Corner"--something to the effect that whatever form fate might have, we must still strive to do what is right. Whatever our destiny or lack thereof, I personally don't think we can give up on the notion of universal freedom, that peoples are not fated by history, culture, race, whatever, to the sort of psychotic despotism we saw in Saddam or in the Taliban. There is an obvious tension here with "conservative" political thinking (look at Derbyshire's clashes with Brookhiser at the Corner), especially for someone like me with a strong "realist" bent, but if Bush isn't right that we can solve terrorism through the triumph of our ideas, then where are we left?

In the position of being left with either Wretchard's nightmare of true total war, with tit-for-tat reprisals from the west's larger store of WMDs, or bin Laden's theory that the west has become so rotten to the core that it will cravenly capitulate. I am not sure which prospect gives me more distate; all I know is that I'd rather have Bush's gamble that we can avoid both.

I for one will put my trust in the idea that all peoples crave freedom and self-government, and that they will seize it when given a reasonable chance.


7/11/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Maybe our Western media should start headlining it and bringing it to their attention in a, "Psssst! Look what's sneaking up on you from behind" sort of way, since it would be counter-productive for the government of Saudi Arabia, for example, to let its citizens in on the secret that they're being served up as sacrificial lambs on the altar of religious war with the west."

I personally like the idea of an infidel-Muslim book drive, with an extra emphasis on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, etc...

7/11/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Terrorism lessons from 1870. Fools Crow, a novel about the travails of the Pikunis, a small band of the native American Blackfeet tribe, in 1870:

In Fools Crow, there are moderate native Americans. However, they, too, are paralyzed. Their failure to restrain a small group of terrorists is what leads to the massacre. Perhaps James Welch, writing from the native American point of view, can offer some insights into the reasons for this paralysis. Here are some ideas that I took away from the novel.

1. The native Americans felt they were in a no-win situation. They saw fighting the white man as futile. However, they saw peace with the white man as being on terms that would make it impossible for native Americans to pursue their traditional way of life. For many of the Blackfeet, this is unacceptable. One character says, "the day will come when our people will decide that they would rather consort with the Napikwans (white men) than live in the ways our long-ago fathers thought appropriate. But I, Three Bears, will not see this day. I will die first."

2. Moderate native American chiefs were viewed as weak and unmanly, particularly by younger men.

3. Even though the native Americans viewed Owl's Child (the terrorist leader) as wicked and detrimental to their cause, they could not take the humiliating step of turning one of their blood brothers in to the white soldiers.

4. The native Americans did not have the cultural and institutional foundation with which to cope with the crisis.

7/11/2005 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger downtowndubai said...

the overall winners in the middle east if their is a 'decrease in entrophy' is the moderate muslim.

either as an 'arab-expat' indubai or as a fence sitter in syria, jordan,etc. the game is his to win.

he won't lift a finger to stem the tide of islamic facism cause a-holelike theu.s. are killingfor him.

further,he eventually be saving 50-100k usd in processing out of the middle east via a new life as a green card guy or whatever it is in new zealand or canada.

these leaches are the ones that keep the stakes real high. they could standup and be counted or sit back, drink chi and bitch.

guess which option works all the time. maybe st.tom freidmanshould shame these toads, as he did the israeli government in his book "FROM BERIUT TO JERUSALEM" .


7/11/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Andrew corrected me in the previous thread Hugh corrected the MSM on his show, and I'll correct us here:
It was SEALS and Army Special Ops.
I paid homage to the Marines, as I assumed they played a large part in securing the area, but I haven't reread the articles yet to make sure:
Really doesn't matter, the are ALL regularly showing incredible heroism, and all are brothers.

7/11/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

One reason the MSM likes to mention the SEALS is because it is a record.
This struck Hugh as evidence of their sickness and was outraged by it.
He is right.

7/11/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"It's funny - or is it? - that the biggest beneficiaries of that "decrease of entropy" in the Middle East, if such really eventually happens, would be Europe with its millions of discontented Muslims in its midst - yet Europeans have been the ones most opposed to the Iraq war and similar strategies. Or have been so far. It might change after the umptenth bomb attack. Or people might just turn to more radical solutions such as vigilante-ism and other forms of incremental entropy?"

IMO those who would benefit from the destruction of Al Qaeda are the Arabs/Muslims themselves. Even setting aside democratic pluralism/capitalism, the vast majority of even those who admire Bin Laden sure as heck wouldn't like to live under him Taliban-style. Unfortunately, like the Sunnis of Falluja, they're enteraining the idea of marrying a devil who isn't easily divorced, and is impossible to live under.

7/11/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger TonyGuitar said...

There is no backing off the pressure.

Withdrawl from Iraq or backing off anywhere will have Al Qaeda dancing a victory dance on Al Jezera TV, declaring the West are cowards.

All those demanding a pull-out must be willing to sign a contract of engagement with Al Qaeda, in the event Al Qaeda decides to intensify bombing rather than suddenly becoming peacenicks.

Whaaat? no takers? 73s TG

7/11/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I, like Ledeen, think we often tend to see things too narrowly.
Popa brought up FUNDING in the previous thread.
I will retrieve his excellent link to an article on bin Laden and repost here.
To me the Sauds don't fit the model of a blood feud.
That article finally has me firmly convinced that bin Laden does have his eyes firmly on the future as well as the past, in that he thinks we are here for the taking.
And he could damned well be right if the left has it's way!

7/11/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

Great post, dang.

It seems though that much of radical Islam may be coming from, or somehow the result of, Muslim immigration to the West and nihilistic middle/upper-class youths in the ME who have been immersed in the West's culture. Many of these Muslims in the heart of Islamic territories seem to be fairly inert; it's where the umma meets the unbelievers where much of the radicalization seems to be stemming from (and thanks to Saudi funding, of course).

My point is that while promoting democracy in the ME is great, there is a distinct possibility that it is independent from wither a Muslim raised in say, The Netherlands, and who already lives in a democratic society, will decide to be come a terrorist. In other words, I think we need to consider the possibility that radicalism in the ME and among Muslim immigrants are two separate, at least partly decoupled, problems.

To Tony: "O wait, you mean "Western countries" not counting the Scots-Irish USA." This reminds me of something that Mead wrote about the Jacksonian current of American culture, specifically that our way of war was shaped by the tribal and blood feuds of the highland. We are indeed the wrong kind of people to mess with.

7/11/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

'Even if Osama Bin Laden were arrested today or were he to convert to evangelical Christianity the Jihad would be unlikely to die down. He could not "sell out" his cause in the same sense that Spain's Prime Minister Zapatero could. The obvious difference is that Western countries are constitutionally governed. Their militaries, civilian agencies, even the bulk of their citizens follow, whether they agree or not, the lawful orders of their leaders. And if their lawful leaders said, 'lay down your arms' they would. The Islamic terrorist bomber is not similarly constrained."

I believe W. here captures the essence of the WoT, and how it is currently, and correctly being prosecuted. Killing or capturing OBL, as the Left seems fixated on, is strictly a means to an end, not the end in and of itself.

The key is to drain the swamp (financially, logistically and ideologically). Whether we are doing that to the degree necessary remains a question, but the overall strategy is, I believe, the correct one.

Realistically, this makes the whole endeavor more daunting than ever because eliminating "terror" is orders of magnitude more difficult than simply destroying AQ, Hamas, or the terrorist flavor of the month. More so because it is a difficult objective to articulate to a softened, ADD populace.

"Lee Harris argues in Tech Central Station that the underlying reason for Islamic extremism's implacability against the West is that it is really a 'blood feud'. "

After reading Harris' ideas, I just can't completely buy in to them.

Islamofascism may be engaged in a blood feud, but the West is, for the most part, at war.

While we may not receive surrender documents or have a fixed date for victory, these are really only the ceremonial trappings of war. War, as either an "extension of policy" or "diplomacy by other means", certainly fits the current conflict. There are political, strategic, and ideological factors in the WoT, just as there have been in all other wars

So my question is, if Islamofascism is waging a blood feud, and we're waging a war, how does that affect our overall strategy to achieve the nebulous, undeclared victory?

A few posts back, someone mentioned the American Indian wars. I think there are a lot of parallels in terms of technology, the nature of the enemy, and perhaps long term strategy. Anyone have any good reads on that subject?


Whoever previously recommended "Six Days of War", thanks. Just got my used (hardback in like new condition) copy for $5, and it's excellent so far.

Also, I commented previously that no one had made a movie of "Ghost Soldiers". Apparently Hollywood heard my lamentations: "The Great Raid" due out sometime in mid-August.

7/11/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

This struck Hugh as evidence of their sickness and was outraged by it.

Couldn't agree more. Doesn't sit real well with me either. Kind of has a bizarre celebratory ring to it. Just some information I found to put for comment.

7/11/2005 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting idea about blood feuds. It is somewhat true that blood feuds tend to never end. But what wasnt mentioned is that blood feuds tend escalate in brutality. Notice that between the Italian mafias. They tend to out do each other in nastiness with each go around. Its not only to punish the other side but to make a grand statement. First it was a gunshot. The next one is dicing the victim to pieces. Blood feuds are about shock and awe. If you look at the Al Queda acts they do seem to get more brutal as time progresses. That said, how will they out do 9/11 next time? With a suitcase nuke perhaps?

7/11/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

It seems to me the idea of a blood feud is very applicable.

The students I taught (and it is possible one of the 9/11-19 came through my institution) were probably at the most two generations removed from being born in the desert. The older ones among them certainly were born in the desert, before the petrodollars really started to roll in.

Blood feauding was definitely a part of the life in the Bedu desert culture. A good read regarding this is bu Wilfred Thessiger an explorer of the empty quarter, the UAE & Oman. His explorations were in the late '40s to the mid-'50s (he passed away within the last five years or so).

Thessiger relates a story where a man from Tribe X was killed by a member of Tribe Y. A member of Tribe X then went to avenge the killing and caught a mother and her son from Tribe Y. Well, guy from Tribe X litterally eviscerated the mother and the boy. Not pretty but it was the way it was.

What I think Wretchard fears is Europe is going to keep pretending nothing serious is happening and then when they finnally realize the situation is serious they will explode with horrendous destructiveness because there is no choice. That is from stupid passivity to an H-Bombathon.

President Bush is trying to break the West from waiting until it requires dire measures to survive sort of thing.

7/11/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's Papa Bear's article to the bin Ladens and the "Golden Chain."
Do a google for "Golden Chain" Osama. ____here____ is the first article to come up. The real structure of international terrorism seems to involve the money men (Golden Chain) funding and supporting groups like Al Queda, who provide organizational and training support to local jihaadists
And here's a short Joel Mowbray article about a congressional cover up of an arab terror funding bank.
Shortchanging Arab Bank’s victims.
Though Arab Bank denies it was ever knowingly involved in terror financing, the public record appears to contradict such assertions. Various jihadist web sites openly raising funds informed prospective donors to direct contributions to numbered accounts at Arab Bank.
But even more openly than that, advertisements in prominent Palestinian newspapers told families of “martyrs”—suicide bombers—to collect money from Arab Bank. One February 2002 ad listed names entitled to receive $5,316.06 from the “Saudi Committee.”
The “Saudi Committee” referenced is likely at least part of the reason that the feds are hustling to shield Arab Bank, despite the wealth of evidence that led to the partial shuttering of the institution’s New York branch.

7/11/2005 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Neither Hugh nor I suspect you of being an MSM Agent! :-)

7/11/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger plfr said...

Great perspective and analysis of the situation in the Middle East.I think blood fued is so right to the heart of this conflict it's difficult to identify it any other way.

7/11/2005 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

At its smallest level, Islamofascism is an individual thing - its picked up, promoted, and acted out by individuals.

Who are these individuals and how do they get into this?

We never say Jeffrey Daumer was a Radical. But what's to say he was not one in reticulum?

Is Islam, or more closely, Arab Islam, a breeding ground for disaffected young men who are borderline Sociopaths?

How can a human being climb aboard a bus with other people and blow them all up?

If most bombers are Islamic, how can Islam at its core claim to be about honoring God?

These would be horrifying questions for a Christian or a Hindu to ask of their Faith, yet Muslims must begin to ask this, and recoil at the answers.

There is a global supply chain here - a parallel one to that of commerce - with ideas flowing one way and Johnny Jihad the other.

To win this War is to attack this supply chain on all levels.

But until the ideas short-circuit themselves - it will not end.

If we cannot win the drug war, but won't lose it either, then what is to say we can win the GWOT - but can we lose it, too?

There IS a third point of view - Palmer's Raids in the 1920s were a response to Terrorism. They were a selective roundup of men who met a certain criteria. It is an alternative.

You round up any man known to have first hand association with terrorists and those who support them materially or ideologically.

You administer specific psychological and biological tests to see if they meet DSM criteria for Sociopathic behavior. If they meet the latter, then they are locked up until they turn 50.

Anyone who continues to exhibit behavior with known markers for terrorism are put away as well.

If a man get his degree, gets a family, and acts normal, then who cares. Any radicalism will make them suspect, though.

7/11/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Again: at the core of Islamic being, in the Koran and in Hadith, Muslims are enjoined to recognize and obey The 12th Imam, the Qaim.

He was supposed to come in the year 1260, but when the Holy One came, Muslim clergy denied He was the One, and had Him killed July 9th, 1850.

When America starts disseminating leaflets to millions of Iraqis and Afghanis to inform them of the fulfillment of THEIR OWN organic prophecies, the instigation of a widespread, PUBLIC examination of the coming of the One, promised by Jesus, at the time promised by Jesus, with the transformative message promised by Jesus, will catalyze such a change in the Muslim world that nothing in the past can be found to have been its forerunner or to have presaged such a mighty, rapid and wide-spread convulsion in humankind.

The resultant state of affairs, with die-hard bigoted Muslims and their clergy being abandoned by 90% of their former co-religionists (in favor of the Love of God brought by The Glory of God!) will leave them singularly disempowered and irrelevant.

7/11/2005 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"American domestic will seems slackening, but I still don't see massive street protests calling for a precipitate withdrawals either. I have real fears of British resolve, but if we (meaning the United States) can still hold the line, then I think we'll manage."

A personal theory of mine is that part of the leftist conscience is actually working against the withdrawal minded Democratic leadership. A portion of the Democratic voting base didn't support the mission, but is so touchy feely that they think that because we "blew up Iraq" [ignoring 30 years of Ba'athist rule and indigenous idiocy], we now can't leave unless we make nice and rebuild it. It of course makes little sense, since we mostly aren't responsible for the Iraq's current state, but it still works in our favor.

7/11/2005 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The capture of Osama is very high on the list of the left. This captures very nicely their law enforcement round hole.

7/11/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

We know the enemy’s engine. It is the Imams who preach the destruction of the West and the United Stated every Friday in their mosques.

The US has made a mistake by allowing these individuals to preach unscathed. To bring symmetry to this asymmetric fight explosions need to occur in a high percentage of these mosques during Friday prayer services.

This needs to be done not for the sake of killing the enemy. It needs to be done to remove the cloak of invulnerability from the Imams who believe Allah protects their actions.

As an added feature a group named in Arabic “The Wrath of Allah” should take credit for the strikes.

7/11/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Marcus Aurelius --

What I think Wretchard fears is Europe is going to keep pretending nothing serious is happening and then when they finnally realize the situation is serious they will explode with horrendous destructiveness because there is no choice. That is from stupid passivity to an H-Bombathon...

More like the Iranian first move on Israel unless someone intervenes.


7/11/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Is Islam, or more closely, Arab Islam, a breeding ground for disaffected young men who are borderline Sociopaths?

Tyson converted. That should say something.

Doug, thanks. Just wanted to clarify myself there. Close one. Thank Hugh for me too, please.

7/11/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Dauphin said...

Although the Harris idea of a blood feud has some appeal, I think it is basically mistaken. I believe Harris is ignoring that bin Laden has laid out very broad strategic goals in many proclamations over many years. Yes, it is about the past for him, but an active return to his version of the past. The Islamists do want land, do want conquest, do want conversion of the infidel. These are war goals, not blood feud revenge acts. bin Laden has spelled this out clearly, not the act of a blood feud, but of a messianic leader.

So it is a war, even if the enemy is not a specific nation-state or states. The idea that bin Laden could actually be successful at achieving his goals strikes most people as crazy or unserious, as in "he can't be serious." So, too often his words are not taken seriously and carefully enough, and time and again people (even Harris) are saying this must be about something other than what bin Laden says. This is war, not a blood feud.

7/11/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Good post Mr. Dauphin.

7/11/2005 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...

at the micro level, one young man at a time, educated or not, it still seems to me that the necessary HEAT being generated in these psyches is connected with their attitudes about sexuality.

one problem we have here in the west when attempting analysis of this is that it remains verboten to acknowledge that there are some negative side effects to the last 30 years of feminism.

such arab "activists" as tariq ramadan are not 100% incorrect in their critique of western society. men and women are highly unsettled about their changing roles in both europe and the u.s.; thus we see a declining birth rate, rise in divorces, uneasiness about heterosexuality while homosexuality is generally lauded by the intelligentsia as an absolutely positive phenomenon, an explosion of pornography (which means that there must be a tremendous amount of masturbation going on)... yet very little of this seems to be publicly examined other than by agenda-driven professional advocates.

so when no honest discourse addresses any of this, it should not be a surprise that young arab males seek easy black&white answers which "empower" them -- that is, make them feel powerful and unplagued by doubt.

it is precisely in the realm of sexuality that the arab street "seethes."

7/11/2005 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I agree with you. I think that the Islamists are using the tactics of a blood feud, but have a long term "war" strategy in mind. They use the blood feud idea to recruit, but their view is clearly "big picture."

7/11/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

"To bring symmetry to this asymmetric fight explosions need to occur in a high percentage of these mosques during Friday prayer services."

Personally I think this is a terrible idea but there is an ever increasing probability that something like it will happen some day. Vigilanteism often happens when the state abdicates the use of its police power due to political considerations. So I'm thinking to myself in Australia just what people will do if some Islamic yo-yo blows up a car bomb in Olympic Park when 80,000 people are watching a rugby game. This is place where Muslims are Indonesians, for which I could, when the light is bad, be mistaken for. How do I explain, when they're stringing me up, that I've been up against these Imam Hooks for longer than they can imagine? About the only thing likely to save me is that most people take me for American around here because that's how I sound.

The irony will be that half the lynchers are going to be Leftists gone hysterical from fear and for once I wouldn't blame them. But then again, I always had a bad case of gallows humor.

7/11/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I liked Lee Harris's "Blood Feud" theory quite a bit. It explains certain things about dealing with a culture obsessed with honor and humiliation. That like in Our South, and many, many other cultures - honor is redeemed, humiliation avenged, through duels or small scale raids.

It explains why those ridiculous American rewards of 25,30 million don't work. Tens of thousands have seen bin Laden or Zarquawi pass by in the last few years - but none has dropped a dime - because to sell out a notable person to the infidel would be a dark, even lethal stain on not just the individual, but his whole tribe.

It also explains why many of the "revenge" killings must be theatrical or at least symbolic and why bravery is extolled.

Arnold Kling amplifies on Lee Harris's theme in todays TCS, with a description how the US broke the stasis of blood feuds back in 1870. It said to the Blackfeet - we don't care if you traditionally kill a few of your enemy on raids. Do that to Americans, we will massacre you. It was effective. The massacre, that is. No more blood feud warfare after the Blackfeet were slaughtered.

Kling of course does not advocate massacring Muslims, but says that tit for tat - just going after the "Head Evildoers" is not going to be effective. The culture must change, or the alternative is escalating past the blood feud.

Ledeen, I've never trusted. The guy was an author and thinktanker who the media trotted out as one of the great Experts on terrorism after 9/11 - but his message is for America to implement Israel's "Clean Break" Plan drawn up for the Likuds in 1996 as a way to save the Settlements. A series of wars - first Iraq, then Syria, then Iran, then Saudi Arabia, then Transfer of Israeli Muslims and Christians to Jordan. Only after 9/11, Ledeen has been trying to make it America's job, using American blood and treasure. Other neocons and perhaps Cheney bought into the idea. His by now famous exhortation is "First Iraq, then Syria, then Iran, then Saudi Arabia. Faster, America! Faster! Now Ledeen thinks, or at least says that America and Israel's interests are the same - and in his military triumphalism - he says that Syria will fall fast and Iran, who he has now placed as priority #1 above Syria - will be a cakewalk as pro-democracy Iranians welcome invading US troops.

But I think the appetite of America for launching 2-3 more major new wars while we fight 2, confront the N Koreans and see China rising - is not so great - especially after Iraq turned into a meatgrinder and has cost us 210 billion dollars (the 4th most expensive war we have ever had, and it may move past Vietnam in costs in another 2 years)

7/11/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

A blood feud is a war, but with different objectives. As Harris says, a WEstern war is about specific battles in which territory is won or lost, there are specific engagements of increasing complexity and/or intensity, and then there is a winner and a loser, or plurals of same, with formal conditions of surrender, etc.

That's not going to happen here. In blood feuds, it's about revenge for past injuries, not future arrangements. This is talion law, not deliberative Western justice.

What's particularly interesting about blood feuds, though I don't remember if Harris mentions it, is that members of the tribe are interchangeable. Thus, if your brother kills my father, I can kill your sister with impunity. Not only that, but I can still demand some additional compensation.

Another thing: it is never, ever over. Like the Hatfields and McCoys it goes on till the people die out.

7/11/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is war, not a blood feud.

But it is an unconventional war. A war where the enemy will never engage us in set piece battles. Why should they? A war of ambushes - just like blood feuds. A war for the CIA and the Special Forces rather than the 101st. William Casey (Reagan's CIA Director) comes to mind. When the Marine barracks got carbombed in the 80s, instead of calling an airstrike to retaliate, he made a car bomb of his own and parked it in a Lebanese burb. Why do you think he went that route? This war has more to do about out thinking rather than just out gunning the enemy.

7/11/2005 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

And if their lawful leaders said, 'lay down your arms' they would.
Wretchard is afraid, they will explode with horrendous destructiveness because there is no choice.
pushing the envelope on a new kind of warfare, which is being evolved and developed right now as we watch.

Wretchard says, "steady as she goes" and firmly denounces the concept of vigilantism. Even goes so far as to call the West winning "murder", which is an odd concept when we're fighting a life&death war.

And I ask what is wrong with the citizens taking power back from their government if that government has become over-burdened, and starting to mete out a "jury of your peers" sort of neighborhood justice.

Saying that historically citizen militias have done a fairly good job in both enforcing the law and keeping the peace, because they are the closest to being able to see clearly what needs to be done, and done NOW.

Or would an empowered citizenry "taking the law into its own hands" and facing down radicalized Muslims bent on terrorizing them tip over the edge into the blood feud idea ... which I'm not necessarily sure would be a bad thing to have happen.

7/11/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Cedarford - stealing my thunder.

7/11/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Bloomie, if it's a war, it is one without generals, nations or grand strategies. Or even objectives, beyond disrupting things a few train bombs and SEALs at a time.

There is chaos in the anthill and it looks like purposeful movement, but in the long run, is it?

They managed to annex Pakistan from India, but that was an old, old argument. The conflict with the West is just envy with a lot of paranoid resentment and random evil.

There are too many unknowns to predict how it will all turn out. So much depends on "unknown unkowns" that all we can do is guess. But it's not a future in which we can predict things based on past behavior because change occurs too rapidly for any one person or entity to keep up with what it causes.

7/11/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I think that Harris has some insights in his application of the blood feud toward understanding Islamist terrorism, but he needs to make a distinction between tactics and strategy.

The blood-feud concept fits some of the tactics and might explain the episodic pattern of Islamist killings.

But to forget that this is jihad is to miss the strategic goal of world domination.

In the jihadis' minds, the war will not go on forever. Eventually, Islam will prevail everywhere.

Or so they say.

7/11/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Wretchard: I admire Harris, and agree that the blood feud may be a decent way to understand how the enemy views the current pace of fighting, but it is not an can never be a comprehensive paradigm.

Horace is on to something, but I do not even think that we are talking about tactics. We are talking about capability. The Islamists come at us from a position of weakness. They glorify their terrorism as raids because it resonates with their target audience and makes them feel like they are part of something great and holy, but they talk of grievances and look to the past because from their weakness they can only extrapolate blood and revenge. They simply cannot fathom inflicting on us total defeat. However, were they to acquire the means to wage Western-style war, their eyes and appetites would turn forward, and their minds would dwell on victory.

The inevitable trajectory of conflict has been well studied, and it correlates to technological know-how and how it accrues to the battlefield. A society must become increasingly organized and well-structured to survive this Darwinian game. Blood feud is primitive conflict constrained by resources and organizational capability. It is the lowest level, the stratus of weakness. It only happens in static societies consisting of equally-empowered tribes that are primitive and unproductive, where the cost -- and risk -- of total victory might be dispositively high. It is a conflict that does not necessitate great organization, planning, or skill. This is why it is eternal. The only way to end the cycle is for one party to "pony up" and take a great risk; in essence, to conduct all-out warfare.

But things have changed. Nowadays, when one party to a blood feud consolidates power, makes the leap from the 13th century to the 20th, it becomes genocide (Hutus and Tutsis). That is the natural ending of blood feuds today.

I also am skeptical of Harris's thesis that warfare is about aims while blood feud is about grievances. Saying blood feud is about grievances is almost a tautology, for the primitiveness and powerlessness of the feud precludes any overarching aims. Or, to put it another way, the addition of power and capability to a feud structure acts to midwife those strategic goals of conquering and glory that are attributed by Harris to warfare. So again, blood feud is warfare without power and capability.

The Jihadists do not "raid" because of their cultural proclivity. They attack this way because they know themselves, and know us, a strategy Sun Tzu would recognize. They use their weakness as strength, and our strength as weakness. Whether you say blood feud or assymetrical warfare, it is a distinction without a difference.

So, to conclude, blood feud is only apt in analogizing the current pace of conflict to historical precedent, but adds nothing to the discussion as a strategic paradigm. As the Islamists gain power and capability, their focus will necessarily change from past to future, from grievance to goal. In fact, it is already happening. But don't worry, the blood and carnage that we will see will be more than enough to remind the West that we are, in fact, in a war.

7/11/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Dymphna: is this war truly "without generals, nations or grand strategies. Or even objectives, beyond disrupting things a few train bombs and SEALs at a time."?

Generals are easy to find. Zarqawi, Zawahiri, KSM, etc.

Perhaps not nations, but we are definitely dealing with organizing principles. We have the Constitution, they have Sharia, for instance.

Grand Strategies: the preservation and/or domination of each.

Objectives: hearts and minds, territory, acquisition of weaponry, etc.

No, it is just that we are fighting a dispersed enemy that is particularly weak, parasitic, and motivated. That is why you do not recognize it.

7/11/2005 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Like every model attempting to explain the complex world, Harris' paradigm has its uses and limits. I don't imagine that it explains everything or predicts everything. But at base, he is describing a broad antipathy by one civilization toward others -- I will not say "another" mindful of how Middle Eastern Christians, the Eastern Orthodox and the Hindus were regarded -- and its consequences. The Jihad has consequences, has had consequences, will have consequences. This is datum. What will we do about it?

Whether blood feud or not, grand plan for conquest or not is not terribly important. Either case implies that we must either proceed with the collision or persuade a religion with a billion adherents to give up the game of chicken. Either that or put the pedal to the metal.

I am not convinced this can be done by making more apologies for the 'Crusades', granting radical Islamists politically protected status. I am not even convinced it can achieved by capturing Osama Bin Laden and all his lieutenants. At some point the ideological engine that drives this antipathy towards the the non-Muslim must be turned off. They have defined the game as "us versus them" and as long as we are stuck with those terms we must live, or perhaps I should say die, from its implications.

7/11/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So much depends on "unknown unkowns" that all we can do is guess.

We do know 2 things. One, they will strike again. Two, they do not fear us. They do not fear our many tanks, jets, divisions etc. Becuase it doesnt really apply to the type of covert warfare theyre thinking of fighting. You are right there are unknowns. Its we who dont know what they'll do next. The Art of War says keeping your enemy guessing is a great weapon. They have the intiative and are therefore on the offensive. Because we do not know, we are defensive.

7/11/2005 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

This debate seems much like a Rorschach, as each viewer struggles to make sense of the limited and conflicting data available to tell a coherent story. In this case, our own styles of manifesting anxiety might tend to lead us to give greater weight to the evidence suggesting a cunning enemy (State of Flux), or a blood-thirsty and unstoppable enemy (Harris), or an enemy with much reserve strength (Ledeen).

I do not write this to denigrate any of the views noted above; in fact, I find much of value in each of the three analyses. One previous commenter also noted that the enemy may be multifaceted, which makes a lot of sense to me. There may be key differences between an educated Jihadist from Hamburg and a 16-year Islamist fighter brought into Iraq from the West Bank by way of Syria. Most importantly, I am not taking such a "nuanced" view that there is no enemy, or that we merely misunderstand him and need to accomodate his grievances. I feel perfectly comfortable judging both types of terrorist to be equally evil, even if we understand them differently. By contrast, I think the explanatory mode of denial and self-blame manifest by the some on the Left misses the mark altogether, as I have written about previously.

While I think these efforts to understand the enemy are important and necessary to decide on our next tactical move, I think the larger battle is still within our own society, as I discussed yesterday. Strategically, we are in the position of the poker player holding 4 aces, who can only lose if he convinces himself that his opponent has a straight flush. We will only lose this war if we fold, and I analyze the Battle of London as a tactical defeat for the enemy, as it (fortunately) has not led to a weakening of our resolve.

7/11/2005 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" They simply cannot fathom inflicting on us total defeat."
If we extrapolate present trends, bin Laden and the House of Saud win:
Funding to incite further hatred continues at high levels.
Worldwide deaths due to terrorism are around 5,000 now versus ~2,000 3 years ago.
The courts and the left continue to emasculate our ability to defend ourselves at a frightening pace.
The left continues to deliver full time propaganda for the enemy, multiplied a thousand fold by their allies in the media.
To imagine that the bin Ladens would have to be nuts to entertain visions of victory, is to deny the obvious.

7/11/2005 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

I might add that, even if we understand the vast difference in backgrounds of the educated Hamburg Jihadist from the 16-year old Palestinian, the same strategies might apply to fighting both: We must be both the physical (military) and ideological (memetic) "strong horse." A blood feud can only be maintained if both sides share the same horizon of imagination. What George Bush seeks is to open a new horizon of imagination to the Muslim mind, one that is more compatible with our continued existence.

7/11/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The raw materials for the London bombings probably cost less than $500.
The internal Al Queda budget in Saudi Arabia is $500 million!

7/11/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

How do we force evolution upon an ideology whose tenets are so impervious to it? The answer does not lie in the conceptual arena. You must change the facts on the ground. Bush understands this.

But we are racing against time.

Morality, in its essence, is the art of living together. It is the life-affirming paradigm. Under this banner all things can be justified if the results preserve and extend life -- freedom, justice, charity, and war.

My gut feeling is that Wretchard is right. The path we are on leads to destruction. However, in my mind at least, if it comes to us (hope and life) or them (hate and death), the right decision will be a moral one.

Muslims everywhere would do well to heed Hunter S. Thompson: "Buy the ticket, take the ride."

7/11/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


Good point. But "we" covers a multitude of cases. Back in the 1990s the US intervened to keep a bunch of Serbs, armed with nothing much in particular, from exterminating Muslims in the Balkans. Every now and again the 'international community' had to keep Israel from blowing up Yasser Arafat's headquarters. I never could understand how everyone could accept the possibility that Muslim private citizens could secretly build an A-bomb and dismiss the prospect of rogue Israelis, Hindus or Americans doing the same thing. Or some Serb. Vengeance is a dish whose recipe every nation understands.

When you come right down to it Islam is on a suicide mission by embarking on this Jihad. There is no way in hell they'll conquer the world while there are Russians and Chinese or Hindus on it. Or an America with one or more of its cities lying in nuclear ruin. This is as nearly certain as anything can be. But there is a way out. We are winning this war. If you consider how far we've come since 911 one could not have believed it then. We've just to keep our eye on the donut and not upon the hole.

7/11/2005 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Doug: To my understanding, the tension between Bin Laden and Zawahiri is where to focus in the short term. UBL wants to focus on Western withdrawal, Z-man wants to shore up his base. Both in the end want to subjugate the West.

I probably misspoke when I said they couldn't fathom inflicting total defeat. They fathom it quite often. It is just that their plan looks strangely like the Underwear Knomes' from Southpark:

1. Steal underwear
2. ???
3. Profit

7/11/2005 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Gnomes, of course

7/12/2005 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Terrorism and the markets. This guy says look at the Dow as an indicator as to how the war is going:

The message of the markets is that we now have a very different measure of what we are up against from the one we had late in 2001. The adversary is not quite the combination of omnipotence, implacability and invisibility that we once thought. For some reason, the more closely one scrutinizes the thoughts of a Zarqawi, a Zawahiri, a bin Laden or a hate-spewing imam, the weirder they seem. A menace, to be sure, and one that needs to be stomped out. The threat they pose deserves to be taken with utmost seriousness. But they and their views certainly don't. They are where they belong, in hiding, cackling among themselves over their fantasies. They haven't got a prayer. It will be a great moment when mainstream Islam is rid of them.

This more balanced assessment, it seems to me, is what's reflected in the more recent market response. Of course, the market is not dispositive. Anybody who concludes on the basis of skyrocketing real estate valuations that Washington is safe ought to take note that the price of office space in the World Trade Center did not decline in the runup to September 11. But the market response is indicative. It reflects a more measured assessment of who they are and what they can do -- and who we are and what we can do.

7/12/2005 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

You can tell when your analysis has moved forward – the granularity of the model increases, its subtlety grows.

And the closer the model is to reality, the better its predictive power is – better its guide to action.

One of the big advantages of a blog such as The Belmont Club is that it improves your model, your vocabulary increases; better still, others know what you are talking about. Now I find myself in discussions saying “That’s the moral equivalence argument”, “that’s the root causes argument”, “that’s the battered wife syndrome”. Now we have another – “that’s a blood feud action”.

What we are witnessing in all of this is another dimension to the Western way of war – the scientific method. Construct a model, debate it, analyse it, calibrate it to reality, and then use it.

So if the blood feud model is partially true (and I believe it is) – how should it guide our actions? My suggestion? Wreck the culture – not necessarily the people. This can range from banning the hajib (could the French be right?), to nuking Mecca. At the very least, it must include direct action against Imams conducting the Friday hate-in.

Some facts on the ground need to be explained – why did the Arab Street not go berserk when the hajib was banned in France – (ans – because the girls wanted to get rid of it too) why has the Egyptian Arab street not gone berserk about OIF? – (ans - because they want to change also).

We must help them change, ie wreck the culture.

Now for the hard bit – how do we change the culture of the Left?


7/12/2005 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Sam - I missed you also wrote on the Blackfeet case.

The Ladder & Wretchard - You guys just kept making great post after post. Wretchard, I am glad if it comes down lynch mobs if Melbourne is anthraxed by the Muslims that your Cambridge years will be the lifetime benefit the Grad School Profs said they would be. "Aye, don't kill this one, mate. "He's a Yank."

7/12/2005 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

imho its no coincidence that the imman/mullah revolutions in saudi arabia and Iran occured in the same decade of the 70's as the time of the first world wide oil shocks and the start of the decline of US oil production.

Nor do I think it will be a coincidence that the whole of the moslem world goes quiet when the cost of hydrogen production storage and use crashes through the cost of gasoline. Nor do I think that's long in the future.

There is no physics/chemistry/materials research government/private/university lab in the USA that is not working on some aspect of the problem. Most of the rest of the world is really starting to bear down on the problem too.

The tools to make this happen too are all available and in motion. That's why GM say's they'll cut the cost of electrical output for fuel cell for their cars by a factor of 10 in 5 years.

There is immense confidence in the research communities in their methodologies.

7/12/2005 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


I don't think it is the price of oil.

First, put a backward culture into an unholy pressure cooker around 700AD.

Don't lift the safety valve of new ideas for 1400 years.

Then introduce jet travel, then television, and now the Internet. To improve the flavour add cheap Kalishnikovs.



7/12/2005 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"To win this War is to attack this supply chain on all levels."

- red river

And here I thought it was a demand chain.

7/12/2005 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Like Wretchard, I find it hardly imaginable that the Islamicists can win. Yet maybe they are more cynical in their fantasies than naive or simply suicidal. On the view that they are more Jihadists who want a single Islamic world than aimless blood feudists, maybe they know their only hope is a very long shot. Maybe they think that their only hope is to attract a nuclear hell fire on their "own peoples'" heads; they will a mass death in their own lands, at some time down the road when there are more Muslim bombs, to clear out decadent ways of life, and to allow for the collapse of the world into guarded forts which, in the aftermath of nuclear war, are largely isolated, with global trade practically destroyed (starving many millions) and nuclear fallout and other side effects causing various hardships and organizational/technological collapse. Could it be possible that what passes for strategic thinking among Islamicists is the desire to effect just such a dystopia in which the surviving Muslims can descend from the hills and find themselves an elite in a world of theocratic gangs, a world now playing their game, an elite slowly expanding its domain in a war weary and morally corrupted world? Or is my imagination getting the better of my insomnia?

7/12/2005 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...


unfortunately i dont think you are overly paranoid. and remember the iraniann mullah who boasted of how the ummah could have ten million dead and survive in nuclear war. he was talking about destroying israel and what might happen next.

7/12/2005 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You left out $10 RPG's, Fertilizer Bombs, Garden Size Mini Bombs, and etc!
And the biggest bomb of all:
Left Wingnut Suicide Sabotage Bombs.

7/12/2005 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Muslims can descend from the hills and find themselves an elite in a world of theocratic gangs, a world now playing their game, an elite slowly expanding its domain in a war weary and morally corrupted world? "
He has seen the future, and it is,
(Just Ask Tony)

7/12/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger goesh said...

It sure helps in killing the enemy when one is convinced that God is on his side. That is one advantage we don't and will never have. I would say the notion of blood feud follows the belief that there is a spiritual, moral obligation to eradicate the obscene and blasphemous.

7/12/2005 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...

if it was strictly a shooting war i would not be so concerned, but of course the war has both a hard and a soft component. the soft war is claiming victimhood and taking advantage of political correctness, and so far we are losing this war in a rout.

7/12/2005 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"At the very least, it must include direct action against Imams conducting the Friday hate-in."
Instead of the generalized Friday Boom! (Common Cents)
If there were small, but deadly directly targeted booms that resulted in Smoking Iman Remains...

7/12/2005 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Always good to reference the leading thinkers of the day.


7/12/2005 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

And of course, the leader from the spirit world:

7/12/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

By the beard of the prophet, I fretted that on your return you would see that I had supported the French, and would issue a fatwa calling for my beheading.

Oh peaceful one, oh merciful one, many thanks for your forbearance(The battered wife syndrome). A thousand blessings etc etc...


7/12/2005 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Truepeers: Take a look at Afghanistan before we invaded, the one place where the Islamofacsists held complete power, and you will see thier definition of victory: A country too exhausted and poor, too cowed and ignorant, to offer resistance to Bin Laden and Omar's gang of thugs. They don't have to "win" in any sense we would recognize because they desire an end state we would call Phyric, a loss for everyone. Not only will that situation give them immense personal power, but they will have no fear of anyone surpassing them and proving their real worth and competance; envy will not be a problem. As much as anything, Bin Laden and his ilk ae motivated by the sure knowledge that they are not good enough at anything in particular to become leaders in the modern world, even one so backward as the Middle East. For them to stand tall everyone else must be laid low.

7/12/2005 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The Saudi Arabian Wahhabites are the luxury version of the Taliban," says Carmen bin Laden.

She rarely saw Osama. She noticed him because he turned away in horror when she opened the house door: "I was unveiled, and he was afraid of the sight." The family saw OBL as fanatically pious -- and he was also admired for the same reason. But Carmen thought he was odd. She says that Osama's young wife, Najwa, was not even permitted to give her baby a bottle when it was very hot, because the merciless father felt that the bottle's nipple was "haram" -- impure in a religious sense.

7/12/2005 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That was going to be especially for miklos rosza, but then I read rwe's post!

7/12/2005 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's from the Papa Bear link, btw, a must read.

7/12/2005 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Experts say that it would be a mistake to apply Western patterns of thought to Middle Eastern reasoning.
According to the Wahhabite world view, those who declare war on the West and have killed Western civilians can still love their neighbors at home."

7/12/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger ice man said...

a very interesting discussion .....

the above two articles provide another view of muslim rage and terrorism

though psychoanalytic in analysis, i recommend a reading.

7/12/2005 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thomas Friedman IS A MORON. A moron.

I still don't understand the point of thinking of this as a blood feud. That the USA should deign ot engage in a blood feud with an enemy it could otherwise destroy is backdoor appeasement.

We must begin to argue about ways in which the House of Saud and the entire mess can somehow be neutered. This will require force.

Short of nuking these countries from orbit, which any amateur survey of the prevailing culture will recommend to the natural Mongol portion of one's brain, there must be a quasi-imperial adopted, whereby "UN Protectorate" means "officially pacific, US-averse Europeans, Arabs and South Asians running these countries under transitional administrations," ultimately orchestrated through Washington, perhaps with a cover organization.

I'm thinking off the cuff here, and though I recognize the Soviet-secret nature of the suggestion, I can't imagine how these societies might reinvent themselves under lesser, more subtle, more indirect pressures: the societies are too inert, the intellect no longer resonates (indeed it ever did beyond its first fruitful encounter with late Orthodox'd imperial Hellenism), and even the ideas and ideologies which govern there now derive in large part from the West--including key strategies of Islamism.

Let's give Musharaff a nice Montana estate in return for his nukes, go into the tribal areas and kill bin Laden, foment the supposedly and apprently inevitable war there, gang up with India, and let's have this out now.

Waiting is the worst of all options. They have the advantage of easy faith in an enemy, and this gives them the strength that the media misinterprets as their invincibility. It is our singular misfortune, our only Achilles heal, that we are publicly incapable of it. Of course all this will arise naturally enough after bin Laden & Co. has enacted his next plan to kill our economy, provided he kills hundreds of thousands or at least threatens that many (remember initial 9/11 figures were in the tens of thousands).

The mindset which resigns itself to the requirement that Chicago first be nuked is not a serious one, and is in fact very dangerous--particularly if you live in Chicago. The Brits should take this opportunity to extra-legally deport, detain in secret cells, or disappear the known radical imams and mullahs. Liberal tolerance does not extend that far. The Left will call this line of thinking Fascist. The difference is that when it is inaccurate, it certainly resounds with Fascist sympathies. When it is accurate, it is merely prudent, and in any case it seems to me that the principle cause of the scale of WWII was the fear caused by WWI. It would be a shame to re-enact that supine complicity to mass murder. C'mon: everyone--from Brighton to San Diego to Jakarta to Delhi to Paris KNOWS THIS.

My God, who knew how dangerous it was when civilizations disintigrate?

7/12/2005 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I haven't taken any marketing classes, but came up with an idea for a snack item:

"Smoking Imam Bits"

...sound catchy?

7/12/2005 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

The "blood feud" is not eternal. It only lasts until every last person on the other side, who has any interest in continuing the feud, is gone.

7/12/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Ladder, for commenting on my remarks distinguishing blood-feud style tactics from jihadi strategy.

You're probably right that it's not exactly "tactics" that captures what the jihadis are doing with their kind of attacks.

It might be "capability," as you suggest.

Or it could just be that the jihadis are trapped in a blood-feud pattern of fighting.

Or maybe it's the ghazavat-style of raids that Amir Taheri sees.

But if it should happen to be tactics, the aim is to foment as much terror and chaos as possible in the kufr societies.

Whatever we call it, the longer-term strategy is Islamic hegemony -- as everyone, really, knows.

By the way, I prefer "Jeffery" to "Horace."

7/12/2005 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Good discussion...Roger Simon has this on UK response. A 90% public-opinion agreement? Wow!

(BTW Dymph, wrt spanking Doug & me, I've for some time been chipping in, here & at my other favorite blog, Roger Simon--but you're right to remind folks of the overhead. Go Kerry, '08!)

7/12/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

re: Marcus Aurelius' comments about blood feud:

The desert is a place of limited resources, mainly water and access to oasises. In this zero-sum environment, if my tribe is to grow, it necessarily means that your tribe needs to shrink, by whatever means necessary. The New York mafia feuds had a similar logic, in that there were a finite number of niches for loansharking, drug dealing, etc. For one group to grow, it must take territory from another.

In this environment, failure or unwillingness to respond savagely to any infringement is a sign of weakness which would invite more attacks.

The rational response of a predator is to select a weak victim and avoid a strong one. The Clinton administration's weakness in responding to prior al Queda attacks gave al Queda the idea that America was weak, and thus invited the attack. The Bush administration's response to 9/11 is almost certainly the reason why we haven't had further attacks on US soil

7/12/2005 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Doug - "Smoking Imam Bits" goes good over baked potatoes with sour - very sour cream.

The Imams believe Allah protects them. By leaving this assumption undisturbed we are not doing ourselves any favors in the wot.

As far as I can tell, we are in no way fighting a propaganda war. In a war of ideologies this absence is dangerous.

The best way to win an ideological fight is to attack the assumptions and presuppositions of the enemy. A great way to attack the presuppositions of our enemies would be to smoke a significant number of hate-spewing Imams worldwide. It would be unnecessary for us to take credit for doing so. If a new product comes out of this - "Smoking Imam Bits" – so much the better.

7/12/2005 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Good to know, Hodges.

7/12/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

What would it take for the Jihadists to win?

Bin Laden's vision is a long term conquest. He knows he can't compete with any Western power in a direct battle- so they must use an 80/20 combination of soft/hard power. Since they are coming from such a weak position militarily, they must rely on propaganda and weak attacks.

If I was Bin Laden - my gameplan would be something like this:

1) Continue with the terror attacks on anyone who sides with the United States. This includes any country that shows any appeasment or moderation. Moderate Muslims must be included in your terror attacks to keep them in fear. This reminds me of the Muslims killed in the British attacks, and the continued Iraq campaign.

2) Continue the propaganda using the complicity of the MSM. Play up the victim card. As long as the US looks like the bully, then you will keep your 'insurgent' supporters.

3) Have a political wing that is 'legally' recognized. This worked well for the IRA, and with varying success with the PLO. You can then start to play good cop / bad cop - using one wing to enforce your ideology, while the other can play the victim. This component seems to be missing, or is especially weak in this case.

4) Most importantly, you must have a large victory. Taking control of a country with oil reserves would be a major turning point. If they took over Saudi Arabia and overthrew the government, while keeping the US tied down in other theaters, then there is a chance that the coup could go on without any intervention. Control some major oil reserves, and you can damage the economy of the major countries. I think this possibility can only happen if the United States is weakened enough that they won't intervene. This can only take place if they continue to wear us down to the point where we won't respond anymore. Another Clinton type in office would meet their needs.

5) After you take over one country, then others can fall with a combination of terror and direct action.

All of this looks good on paper, but there are many obvious flaws in this plan. As several people have pointed out, the Chinese and Russians don't seem to be included in their plans if they truly want an ALL Islam world. And I also think they don't truly realize the strong Christian strain here in the United States. There are millions here in the Heartland and the South who will die to save their country.

7/12/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We learn and forget, as individuals and societies.
Early during the US involvement in Indochina we deployed small teams of men with the indig population. These populations, subjected to years of persecution from both warring sides, became the core of our anti VC program. Success was coming quickly, more villages turned as the lethality of the of the indig troops improved. This success was viewed as a threat by our allied indig government. When our conventional military began it's campaign of increased troop levels and enlarged US footprint, the indig programs received short thrift.
A decade and 50,000 US KIA later our public could no longer stand the stress. Today the costs in blood is much less, but the stress still builds.
Use the indigs, it is their country, their past and their future.
They will find their way, with our guidance and finacing military support helping them stay on track.

If 200,000 native troops cannot secure Iraq, no number of US troops will have a long term effect.

7/12/2005 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The Europeans more than anyone know the emigration takeover is the real arm of conquest--as the Russians know of the Chinese moving north into Siberia. One day they will simply own it--like the Israelis owned what became Israel. Maybe civil war within the host countries is the long-term strategy--or mere victory through democracy and parition, like the Sharia-compliant banks in Western countries, or Gorgeous George Galloway's pandering to his constituency, soon to be replaced by a member of that constituency.

I suppose this is obvious.

The next most obvious thing, only slightly less well known, is begin mass deportation and implementation of French rules, or beyond. The guy in Britain on trial has one eye and a hook hand, for God's sake--implement the piracy laws! These people are cartoon caricatures of an "enemy." Destroy the Iranian Navy in its harbors!

7/12/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Before we destroy the Iranian Navy it has to be declared hostile.
This has not occured.
As has been mentioned numerous times Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia are NOT included in the WoT.
While Iran is an Axis of Evil partner as well as it's high senority on the funding of terrorist list and the fact it has elected a terrorist to it's Presidentcy. They are not currently on the military menu.
We are four years into this War and we still have not identified who is the enemy.
It is well passed time to get serious.

7/12/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Maybe they'll do us the favor of interdicting more British vessels and imprisoning their sailors.

7/12/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


First, this was an excellent commentary.

The issue of 'blood-feud' is but one aspect of an important social perspective few in the west grasp. Associated cultural practices include 'first-cousin marriage traditions' (my son will marry my brother's daughter) and daughter-murders (I must execute my daughter if she refuses to marry my brother's son or her actions preclude that marriage). As a group, they represent an insular world view which encourages the nuclear family to wield life and death decisions abandoned in the west about 300 years ago.

Perhaps we should look at the 'war on terror' as a struggle over norms of family succession. At least this that addresses the issues in terms al-queda understand. In other words, does the practice of daughter-murder enhance the chances of your family surviving 10 generations?

You are correct to point out the danger of being engulfed by the 'blood feud' ethos, but engagement also offers the possiblity of rising to great acts of faith. We need not shrink from the test. Discovering what one is willing to die for isn't an entirely worthless pursuit.

7/12/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

KStagger-Don't forget the growing masses of Christians in China. They don't much like the rabid Islamists either, and while they're supposedly communists, they aren't the namby pamby leftists of the West either.

And that's still not counting the millions of Hindus and Sikhs in India with historical reasons to be angry with Islam.

If the West falls, the Chinese and the Indians will be the last bastion, and I think they will be relatively unaffected by the defeatist strain of thought that has somehow permeated Western civilization.

7/12/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...


I don't think it is the price of oil.

First, put a backward culture into an unholy pressure cooker around 700AD.

Don't lift the safety valve of new ideas for 1400 years.

Then introduce jet travel, then television, and now the Internet. To improve the flavour add cheap Kalishnikovs.


all true. but I also think starting in the 1970's the moslem world smelled blood in the water. That blood was coming from the west. part of it was demographics and cultural matters. part of it was oil.

when hydrogen gets to be cheap it will take oil leverage off the table.

7/12/2005 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I Was Wrong About The Roots of Terrorism--or--How I Came To Understand the Reasoning of Bob Herbert

This ironic writer compares the genius of the NYT to Milestones by Sayyid Qutb, published in 1964.

I wonder what Bush was doing in '64 to make them mad at us?

"The reasons for Jihaad which have been described in the above verses are these: to establish God's authority in the earth; to arrange human affairs according to the true guidance provided by God; to abolish all the Satanic forces and Satanic systems of life; to end the lordship of one man over others since all men are creatures of God and no one has the authority to make them his servants or to make arbitrary laws for them. These reasons are sufficient for proclaiming Jihaad. However, one should always keep in mind that there is no compulsion in religion; that is, once the people are free from the lordship of men, the law governing civil affairs will be purely that of God, while no one will be forced to change his beliefs and accept Islam."

"Those who say that Islamic Jihaad was merely for the defense of the 'homeland of Islam' diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life and consider it less important than their 'homeland'. This is not the Islamic point of view, and their view is a creation of the modern age and is completely alien to Islamic consciousness."

Why can't we all just get along?

7/12/2005 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...


It's good to know you use the tip jar, too. Thanks for the response on that. As someone mentioned, this place enlarges one's vocabulary and ability to think analytically. Sometimes it seems like a Socratic dialogue where Wretch proposes a scenario and everyone riffs on it. Such is the aggregate wisdom of crowds.

Horace Jeffrey Hodges said:

Or it could just be that the jihadis are trapped in a blood-feud pattern of fighting.

I think it's more a world view than just a pattern of fighting. It's the motive behind the fight, the strength behind the fist.

Right now, it doesn't seem like much of a fist. The London bombing was dreadful for the loss of life, but on the whole there's been a decline from 9/11 to 7/7.

Doug mentioned the total killed by terrorists world-wide, something I've been following, too. When you compare it with our own annual traffic fatalities -- 38,000 in 2003 -- you get an idea why people go about their daily lives with such indifference.

There's been mention of market forces as indicators of *our* strength and in this I heartily concur. Our energies emerge from different motives and seek different aims. While Thanatos is always threatening, Eros usually wins (on the macro level). Love is stronger than death, even an OBL-influenced death.

7/12/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That besotten extrotsite is writing again, this time at

Commenting on Jeffersonian Democracy. It's spread and basic premises.
Done in his usual pipinsqueak style

7/12/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Yes, the human impulse is to make things better, and altruism is born implicit. The counter force, apple in the garden, is that it's far easier for a person to surrender their light than it is to scatter their dark. The struggle, the old gods' favorite spectator sport.

7/12/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919.

Robert Frost. 1875–

64. Mending Wall

SOMETHING there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing: 5
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made, 10
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go. 15
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 20
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 25
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. 30
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him, 35
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me, 40
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

7/12/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let's be like London and be even friendlier to people that hate us so we too can have more home grown terrorists.
While the "experts" pondered, I predicted as much.
We're friendly to the left:
They hate us too.
Be Diverse!
Support Treason!
It's SO compassionate!

7/12/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The thing we need to realize - as the Islamofacsists surely do - is that the migration into Europe is not being done on an individual level in order to create the Greater European Calipilate, but because the immigrants are seeking to escape from that very philosophy. Bombs in London and Madrid and the 9/11/01 attacks in the U.S. are, as much as anything, message to the escapes that the "Long Arm of Bin Ladenism" can reach them. The immigrants spout Bin Laden propganda because of the rabble rousers that move freely among them and Political Corectness in the west, which enables and encourages separatism on the basis that all cultures are of equal value, and the recent legacy of western meekness. Roll up the leaders, demonstrate the ability of the west to eradicate any culture with no more than a whim, and Islamofacists will be relegated to the caves of distant mountains and will have the same political clout as the Klu Klux Klan or CPUSA does today.

7/12/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Here comes the end.
I support the "Levin" plan
How could any tinking person not?

"...the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a report on his visit to Iraq last week. It is refreshingly balanced and free of ideology. The good news, Levin said, is that there is "a high level of optimism" among Iraqis that they will meet the Aug. 15 deadline for writing a draft constitution. The bad news is that the "insurgency is not weakening and that the flow of foreign jihadists into Iraq has increased."

What's needed, he says, is a clear American signal to the Iraqis that they must meet the deadline on the constitution. We also need a "road map for Iraqis taking ownership of the risks and responsibility for their own security and survival."

"If there is any prospect of defeating the insurgency," Levin argues, "we need to make clear to the Iraqis that if they are unable to reach agreement on the constitution, we will reconsider our presence in Iraq and that all options will be on the table, including withdrawal."

Levin's call for "measurable benchmarks" is designed to make clear how many Iraqi units "capable of counterinsurgency operations" will be needed "so that coalition units can first withdraw from cities and other visible locations and begin a withdrawal from the country as a whole."

Levin is calling for a policy of achievement, not cut-and-run. As he puts it: "Without adopting and implementing a measured and credible plan, coalition forces could be needed for an indeterminate time. Without such a plan, Iraqis may never assume responsibility for taking back their country from the insurgents and taking the risks and making the compromises necessary to chart their own destiny." ..."

7/12/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Traffic, 38,000.
9-11 ~ 3,000
No Problem!
Be Happy!
(Subaru is planing a self-detonating nuclear model for the 2008 model run.)

7/12/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I tink not, therefore I yam.

7/12/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

If the blood feud becomes symmetrical then every moslem on the planet is in grave danger...

...after all, who has the nukes to visit the ultimate blood feud revenge?

7/12/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Curtis LeMay?
(I fear we may never use one, no matter what.)

7/12/2005 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Wretchard writes:

...this development is undesirable because it will, at the limit, result in the destruction of Islamic society and make us all murderers.

If blood feuds are eternal (until one or the other side is exterminated), then it is better to be a live murderer than a dead victim. The islamo society is a Darwin award candidate, and they visited their destruction on themselves. I would no more consider myself a murderer, than I would if I were a cop and someone decided to commit suicide-by-cop.

7/12/2005 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But, as Wretch reminds us, there are the Ruskies and Chicoms. least we will not have died in vain.

7/12/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


All that's left is our fervent promise to support the Iraqis after we leave, should anything go wrong. We'll support them as long as ... the Democrats don't take over Congress.

Was Levin alive in 1975 y'think?

7/12/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have always been afraid we could, indeed would.
Better to fight them on their ground and sustain these light casualties, as we must, than to commmit genocide in the name of liberty.
There are much better ways to proceed than to yearn for the death of millions.

7/12/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Thomas Friedman wrote:

...The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks.

Derelict hell, has he or anyone else seen an arab moslem parent discipline any of their male children for misbehavior, ever? I sure haven't. Islam society seems to be engineered to permit males to run amok throughout childhood. Discipline is something that is NEVER taught by them.

7/12/2005 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That guy that flew a lawn chair over LAX was a lot more creative and entertaining.
Maybe we need to add a talent requirement to the Darwin Award?
(If they don't meet it, we get to kick them around a bit for fun before they go to Hell.)

7/12/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That was positing that we don't tink more than we are now, and leave it to the Ruskies.

7/12/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and yes, Levin was born at the same time as the rest of us in the Loser Generation.

7/12/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(I look over my glasses too, but their normal glasses and I ain't no Levin Loser anymore.)

7/12/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I know Levin was alive in '75, I was, and he looks MUCH older than me.

Iraq has no claim on perpetual US aid. It is their country and we are there until the 'job is done'
Levin calls for defined benchmarks, a matrix of success.
I am all for that.

What exactly is the "Job"
and how do we know when it's "Done"

How else do we define Victory?

7/12/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're normal,
(speculation alert: "I am too.")

7/12/2005 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"How else do we define Victory?
When we confront the enemy here at home like men.
Instead of Eunichs.
(aka metroliberals, tm.)

7/12/2005 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger mledeen said...

wretchard, thank you very much, both for taking me seriously and for your terrific commentary. that's why you get those big bucks, i suppose.

on the blood feud theory, i hope it is wrong, for the reasons you give. i have always looked at bin laden et al as leaders of a messianic mass movement against us, our values, our society. the best way to end such a movement is to defeat it in the real world. a failed messiah rarely inspires his contemporaries. ask gorbachev. so while i have a great deal of sympathy for tom friedman's call for muslims to gainsay the terrorists, i agree more with my colleague reuel gerecht, who says that the 'solution' lies with radical muslims, not moderates. they have to abandon their own cause.

and the only way i can see this coming about is for us to defeat them, above all the terror masters in riadh, damascus and tehran. politically, not militarily (i always have to say this, even though the likes of Juan Cole and William Beeman constantly accuse me of advocating armed invasions all over the place).

thanks again

7/12/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger mledeen said...

wretchard, thank you very much, both for taking me seriously and for your terrific commentary. that's why you get those big bucks, i suppose.

on the blood feud theory, i hope it is wrong, for the reasons you give. i have always looked at bin laden et al as leaders of a messianic mass movement against us, our values, our society. the best way to end such a movement is to defeat it in the real world. a failed messiah rarely inspires his contemporaries. ask gorbachev. so while i have a great deal of sympathy for tom friedman's call for muslims to gainsay the terrorists, i agree more with my colleague reuel gerecht, who says that the 'solution' lies with radical muslims, not moderates. they have to abandon their own cause.

and the only way i can see this coming about is for us to defeat them, above all the terror masters in riadh, damascus and tehran. politically, not militarily (i always have to say this, even though the likes of Juan Cole and William Beeman constantly accuse me of advocating armed invasions all over the place).

thanks again

7/12/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

When I look in the mirror, I often tink I'm still in college!

7/12/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/12/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, we all know that NEOcon, mledeen:
Nuke em, ask questions later!

7/12/2005 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What if Horowitz is a really really Rilly clever Soviet Agent?

7/12/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Another suicide bomber goes off in Israel.
The insurgents / Opfor still fighting there. Police on the scene of the attack.
Not the Army
especially not OUR Army.

Stand those Iraqis up, they will rise to the occasion.

7/12/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mr. Ledeen, I know you must've written it elsewhere, and I vaguely remember Gerecht's thoughts on the radical Islam solution, but having had a correspondance with your colleague Mark Krikorian, who advocates letting militant Islam take over and then destroy itself through its inevitable incompetence, I am reasonably convinced that time is not on our side for such a policy. Terrible regimes last a depressingly long amount of time when not engaged in open war, therefore inviting the military option. The mass of Muslims seem--largely due to press control--to be occasionally horrified at individual acts of terror, and may be as averse to terror (i.e., murder + propoganda) as a tactic as much as the average member of any other population, but seem nonetheless to retain, overall, a willingness to remain at best indifferent to the policies of their masters. It may be true that certain groups are potent enough to exploit weaknesses in police regimes, and that they may be sufficient to achieve a coup in the context of a reasonably popular revolution or mass assault, but isn't it as likely that such a movement, against the backdrop of unwilling masses, would be crushed, as at Tienamen Square? And what of the reported fanaticism of the intelligence agencies and presumably of the great majority of the military in Iran, or Syria, for example? Or are those misreadings of the situation?

It strikes me that without at least a minimum of Coalition military strikes, suitably based on actual activities of the terror regimes, internal movements are at present insufficient, and could be made so only in a prohibitvely long time-frame. I would gladly adopt your position, and it is occasionally advocated here, but, as you often write, "faster, please" ought to be the ur-mantra, and it seems unavoidable that "faster" must include some at least gunboat diplomacy.

7/12/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

umm. Its been two or three decades since I've last looked at Frost's poem The Mending Wall.

It doesn't fit here nor is it fitting though its true that that the walls to the south in Russia Europe and America are broken.

Its not fitting because those walls in the past were not walls at all. certainly not walls of stone and mortar.

"no ideas but in things" the poets of the early 20th century claimed. they were wrong.

7/12/2005 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I wonder about the Afghan villagers who helped the SEAL. They must have confidence that in a month or a year the snake won't double back.

7/12/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

mledeen posts, but now appears to be tempering his military triumpalism message of 2003 a bit. No more using Iraq as a launch point for invading Syria to get the vast stockpiles of buried Iraqi WMD. No more "cakewalk" toppling of Iran by a few thousand special ops forces who pro Democracy Iranians greet as liberators. The "New Ledeen" appears to be saying First Iraq, then Iran, then Syria, then Saudi Arabia. Faster America! Faster, please! Ummmm, by, ummm political means if not military...

rwe writes:

The thing we need to realize - as the Islamofacsists surely do - is that the migration into Europe is not being done on an individual level in order to create the Greater European Calipilate, but because the immigrants are seeking to escape from that very philosophy.

Sorry, rwe, that may be true of a fraction of the Islamic immigrants, but it appears the majority wish to come to the West purely for economic opportunity and yet keep their philosophy and customs intact and NOT assimilate into the host country.

Honor killings, dress to set them apart, avoiding friendships with the kuffir. And remain politically active in the affairs of Islam. Pro-jihad. Thinking Israel v. Palestine remains paramount over any Labour-Tory issue - even if they are British-born, that all the Great Islamic grievances remain. Strong opponents of infidels going into Afghanistan to clean up Al Qaeda, let alone the Iraq conflict.

The Islamic migration into Europe and other places in the West is not people seeking to cast aside the old ways as they seek freedom from stultifying Islam, but about making bucks in countries of degraded infidels they dislike, even hate.

Sayyid Qutb and others like bin Laden, Atta, al Zaywahiri, Ayatollah Khoumeni lived, studied or traveled in the West and their hatred of the West, their sense of humiliation only grew. Qutb wrote extensively about how seeing the West up close only convinced him that it was best destroyed, or, if that was not possible, to eliminate Westerners and Western influence from the Ummah.

7/12/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger mledeen said...

to cedarford:

Not I. I wrote that the invasion of Iraq was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I forecast the terror war that we are now fighting, and I said over and over again that the nature of this war was primarily political, not military, and should be waged primarily with political weapons.

You haven't read The War Against the Terror Masters. Which was written before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

So go invent stories about somebody else.

7/12/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


Thanks for your contribution.

Koran 2.0

Troughout the thread, we see many condeming the imams who preach their jihadist insanity, and rightfully so.

If our choices range from "doing nothing" to the "nuclear option," I'd suggest we need to help the Muslim world recognize its peril.

Since it seems that higher priced oil fuels the terrorist movement, it also makes sense to become energy independent ASAP. But, even if we all agreed, it would take years, and do nothing to reduce the funding from the KSA (and elsewhere). And, on the way to energy independence, the mullahs will continually jack the price of their oil, adding mkore of our treasure to their war chests.

Way short of the nuclear option, we need to signal the Muslims that we are very tired of their sitting on the sidelines.

How big a signal will suffice? How do we reach every Muslim worldwide, with our message that they must reject the promotion of jihad from their radical imams?

While I can agree to refrain from the "totally destroy some Muslim cities" solution, my patience is limited ad wearing thin.

As I have posted previously, let's embargo the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina; the Haj.

By quarenteening the two holiest cities, until the terror stops, we might just persuade the "moderate" muslims to step up to solving a problem of their own making, and do it without visiting mass destruction upon innocents.

7/12/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger heather said...

Back in 1970, I attended the U of Washington in Seattle. This was at the heighth of the anti Vietnam War protests. As a Canadian, I took no active part in anything beyond going on a Peace March; however, I had sympathy for the "radicals." Now, at one point, while in the cafeteria, someone pointed out someone else and whispered that "he is a member of the Weatherpeople, on the run."

The point is, a LOT of people in that building were aware of that fellow, and knew that he had participated in the murder and mayhem of his group. But NO ONE REPORTED HIM. HE COULD SIT AND EAT AND SOCIALIZE AMONG HIS FELLOW STUDENTS, KNOWING THAT HE WAS AMONG EITHER FRIENDS OR AT LEAST PASSIVE SUPPORTERS.

And that is why the Muslim populations in Europe should be held accountable for the Murderers among them.

7/12/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

C4, do me a personal favor, wouldja, in honor of our past battles, and hold off the anti-neocon jihad when against a commenter whose thoughts happen to be published and in world-wide circulation, and only subject to bending by someone trying to win a thread-contest, okay?

7/12/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger heather said...

The real value of Lee Harris' insight is that by defining this war as one against a "blood feud", then we can better see that forcing our opponent upon OUR field of battle, forcing them to fight LIKE WE DO IN THE WEST, then we can - at the least - successfully kill off a lot of their leadership. (See John Keegan's book on History of Warfare, by the way.)

As to the worry about the USA cutting and running - this assumes that this struggle is optional. Well, it isn't. Bush's idea of implanting democracy is a noble one - and even more important is his push to send little girls to school, and enabling their mothers and older sisters to vote, like citizens.

You see, the Blood Feud is a feature of the unbroken Tribe/Family. The modern West broke those ties long ago, and its populations, in non-socialist countries, are Citizens, Adults, Individuals.

And so, when we go to war, we battle face to face, with not relatives, but with fellow Citizens. And when we leave the Field of Battle, there is an Absolute winner and there is an Absolute loser.

Bush is trying to avoid such a Terrible end to the Muslim world, for such it will be, if his approach does not work. Think what happened to Germany, after 2 wars - it was a wasteland.

7/12/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Projecting some guilt there, arn't we, heather

Guilty as charged, we have politcal opponents, gang members, illegal migrants, mobsters, spousal abusers and child molesters all living amongst us.

We do not punish the populations of our Judical Districts when the Judges there allow some miscreant bail and the opportunity to strike again.
Punish the Guilty as cleanly as possible. Leaving the populations as intact as possible. Better they have a chance to convert to modern, liberal living, then US having to resort to killing large numbers of them.

7/12/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Very informative blog!

7/12/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger heather said...

Desert Rat
"Converting" to modernity is not a simple or easy or happy process. The Tribe is the usual mode of human organization. And the Blood Feud is part and parcel of the Tribe.

In Italy, at the time of the High Renaissance, a man was murdered. Since it took him some time to die, he had time to will a sum of money to be awarded to one of his descendents who would exact vengeance. One of his grandchildren collected that reward, by killing a descendent of the murderer.

Some historians maintain that when the Blood Feud died, and by implication the Tribe, the Middle Ages gave way to Modern Times in Europe.

Back in the European dark ages, the first "national laws" were really only lists of money values to be placed upon people: the idea being to replace the Blood with Money. It was to the King's advantage that these laws be imposed, because he was "above" and even "outside" the various Tribes comprising his kingdom, and the money went to him, and his supporters.

7/12/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Lanny Nugen said...

I believe it's both capability and tactic since they are coming to us from a weakness position and limited in their weapondries (as you have mentioned) but also they have driven by belief that the West are coward and weak in resolution to fight. They believe that with brutality methods, they will cause the West to call uncle, hence the means fits well with the goal to collapse the will to fight of the West and this belief is enforced daily by MSM, the headless PC crowd and leftist liberals. Nuclear is just another option to escalate their brutality and that will come, I am sure unless we can diverse that option.

W. Interesting that you mention that hysterical leftist crowd will start lynching people when their homes are ruined and smoked for I believe that the cognitive dissonance got them to the point not seeing who is their enemy today will not help them to see who is their enemy tomorrow. I have no hope for the Muslim moderates to solve this problem because as someone has mentioned earlier, that they lack cultural and institutions support. The few people in Afghanistan is exceptional and not the norm. Democracy and liberty doesn't occur overnight. It takes years and years of practices. Iraq & Afghanistan today are still in its infancy and if not allowed to mature, we will go back to square one.

7/12/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Couldn't more be done on the propaganda front? Couldn't the US fund some modernized film-making by and for Muslim youth, ridiculing the circular logic of worshipping a death-god configured out of Koran interpretations? I see a million videos & CDs flowing out thru Araby--smart, funny, and subversive of fundamentalism's bent spawn.

7/12/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

do unto others,
what we have done to ourselves

No wonder some of them hate us

7/12/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

rat, some of us hate us.

7/12/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...


You're right: the necessity for the tribe died out in Europe, but it did so because what replaced it was stronger and more resilient and to the advantage of those in charge (as you say).

But part of what pushed the change was technology and the unquenchable curiosity of Western man. That curiosity was given scope -- okay, limited scope -- and legitimacy by those in power.

The cosmology of the West, be it Greek, Roman, or Jewish (and the eventual amalgam of these) allowed for much more than did/does the collected sayings of one man in a limited lifetime of limited vision.

That's why we'll succeed long term.

Doug: Comparing our traffic deaths and the terrorists' imposed death toll is to point out how hard it is to get our attention when we're so busy with our self-inflicted atrocities. And death by car is indeed that.


7/12/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well, Cederford, I think that you are you are quite right, unbelievably. They do not wish to assimilate - they are not unique in that - but at the same time do not come on a jihad. They come for a way of life that they cannot have at "home." Of course that is because of the very culture that they treasure, and we try to acommodate their wishes.
When the U.S. went to aid Somalia in 1992, our troops found that part of the problem was that the locals sat around all day chewing "kat", the leaves of which acted as a drug, and the ran around all night shooting. The U.S. troops started confiscating Kat and in response one Somali doctor - an educated man - said "You should not keep eopel from using Kat. You are here to help us, not change our culture." But the culture was the main problem.

7/12/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

If 200,000 native troops cannot secure Iraq, no number of US troops will have a long term effect.

- desert rat

I believe, desert rat, that if all goes as planned up to and through January, then we're looking at roughly 30,000 US troops mid-2006 to 2008. (Surely this has been conveyed to all parties.) It's the minimum number we can keep safely garrisoned there without departing entirely. When the 30,000 go, as they undoubtedly will, the sh** hits the fan. And GWB will be back in Crawford, and some other poor bastard will be left to contemplate the mess.

Again, this is if all goes as planned through January. I imagine, come hell or high water, it will.

7/12/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

As to movies, films, etc: the most individualistic story is 'Romeo and Juliet', Two people, from 2 Feuding Tribes, fall in love.

In the Arab world, people MARRY their cousins. Even Saddam Hussein's wife was his cousin. This is why many people (like Stanley Kurz) believe that in fact, change in that world is almost impossible. We should hang onto that "almost." And Pray.

These Tribal people hate us because we are rich and successful, and they are poor and powerless. Their hate has absolutely nothing to do with what we "have done to them." According to the rules of their world we should be in the gutter, begging - and we aren't.

7/12/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Gaza mosque welcomes London attacks

Preacher welcomes the “blessed acts” that took place recently in Iraq and Britain; highlights their proximity to selection of Olympic host for 2012 games
By Roee Nahimas

GAZA - In a reaction similar to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, the blood spilt in the London terror attacks has been celebrated within the Palestinian territories.

London Attacks
Hamas threatens suicide attacks in U.K. / By Aaron Klein, World Net Daily
Warning follows leader's call for attacks against U.K. targets; however, fundraising successes may dampen interest in high-profile attacks
Full Story

The Gaza based Sut Al Quds radio station, which identifies itself with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has praised the London terrorist atrocities.,7340,L-3111465,00.html

The engine that drives the jihad is the Imam. Any Imam that preaches violent distruction of the west should be fair game. As it is the Imams believe Allah is protecting them from personal retribution. They should be disabused of the notion. No one in the west need take credit for the action.

Anyone notice how the Terrorist leaders don't send their own children on suicide missions?

Isn't this fact at least ripe for propaganda purposes?

7/12/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Places from where hate speech emerges are sooner or later going to suffer property damage, if history is any guide.

7/12/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Imam, you silly bitch, look your ignorant murder-ranting has gotten our bloody mosque burned down! Afraid you're sacked, old man!"

7/12/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Am I completely wrong in thinking that Iraq is a speedier, less deadly version of Vietman? My ignorance of the latter is quite large, so it's possible I'm wildly off the mark.

I don't quite envision rooftop and parking lot evacuations as tanks clatter into Baghdad. Nothing that grand and complete. Just a good old fashioned civil war; a bloody crack-up of a nation badly drawn to begin with. Perhaps I'm underestimating Iraqi nationalism, but since overestimation led us to error in the beginning, I'm inclined not to invest much hope in it.

7/12/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

of course the drive to modernize the living conditions in the Islamic world is going to be difficult.
Many of the peoples are hostile to 'liberal' values, more are indifferent, and only a few are actively supportive.
We have been able to assist in transforming both European and Asian societies in the past, whether it can happen in the Middle East, is still open to debate. If we cannot modify their behaviour the numbers of possible dead brought on by real "Clash of Civilization" is substantial.
Most of the dead will not be US

7/12/2005 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Trish, the locusts could come back, too, don't forget that!

7/12/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Nice Flash from Winds of Change:

listing all of major Islamist attacks since '98

7/12/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

In the Arab world, people marry their cousins.

People in the deep South used to marry their cousins for the simple fact that there were literally no other people around who were not their cousins; but that changed.

7/12/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

cut and paste:


7/12/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

These Tribal people hate us because we are rich and successful, and they are poor and powerless. Their hate has absolutely nothing to do with what we "have done to them."

Wash. Rinse. Put on "repeat" cycle until it's over. Why not 'up' their hatred indicators? At this point, what harm can it do?

Ridicule wouldn't hurt, either:
Dhimmi Wash

(Buddy, you'd especially enjoy this, being of the same demented nature as the artist)

7/12/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Heather said:

>Some historians maintain that when the Blood Feud died,
>and by implication the Tribe, the Middle Ages gave way to Modern
> Times in Europe.

Keep in mind the technical change involved at this time period. Gunpowder allowed masses of tradesmen to overcome knights (men trained from birth to kill). Knights and blood-feuds go together like hand and glove.

It isn't clear to me that the internet isn't tilting the balance between 'massed tradesmen' and individuals trained from birth to kill. True, the modern 'knight' cannot match up with a mechanized military unit (made of young tradesmen), but they need not pick that battle field. Their battlefield involves the use of urban environments, mass media, selective photogenic bomb blasts and disenchanted wannabe warriors with a suicidal bend.

The propaganda about the caliphate is simply hot air. The goal of the jihadi leader is little different than of any arab raider (and is typically medieval): women, ransom and tribute. Hey, its just a family tradition.

7/12/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The whole "Middle Eastern nations were badly drawn" meme has to be retired: a quick glance at territorial disputes of the 20th century among those nations who allegedly drew the Middle Eastern and African maps following native empire and foreign colonialization will quickly notice that nations cannot be drawn in a way that diffuses territotrial or tribal/ethnic ambition, whether it's done by foreigners or the natives themselves, whether it be Germany, Russia, Poland, France--even England.

Concentrate on the worldview of the inhabitants. Colonialization rarely caused problems; rather, it drew an alien civilization's atteniton to a region theretofore unknown to it, unknown often to itself, and from thence entered the occupiers discourse and consciousness--and transfering its own conceptual vocabulary from that discourse to the native populations, who typically lacked their own vocabulary for crucial aspects of their new experiences.

The "civil war" in Iraq, if it is to come, will arise out of Sunni implacability, crystallized in the jihadi platoons, not out of some structural centrifugality we've created. The motive to attack was the same motive as that to terrorize the populace and rape them into submission under Saddam: the tribal logic of domination and incorporation and control. Which is incidentally the same core feature we are fighting against in the GWOT in general.

7/12/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The breakupp of Iraq has always been on the table. It appears that much of the 'go slow' approach implemented by Bremer & Company was an attempt to save Iraq in some form of Federal System.
I have always been skeptical that Iraq could function in that manner w/out a 'reckoning'. To much blood has been shed over the last thirty plus years to let bygones go 'bye.

7/12/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Am I completely wrong in thinking that Iraq is a speedier, less deadly version of Vietman?

Yes. Don't tie your thinking down to historical mimesis.

7/12/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

It is not a matter of modernizing the 'living conditions' of the Middle East. It is a matter of changing their entire family/tribe and social structure.

England made it happen in Scotland - from 1603, when clan Chiefs were forced to send their children to school outside the Highland Tribal Territories; to the late 1600's, when you see the Stewart Clan (the King's family) slaughtering TWO Campbell Clan chiefs; to 1745, when entire tribes/clans were murdered by the British and their Clan allies; to Parish Schools and Presbyterian kirk sessions replacing the Laird's word; to highways into the Highlands; to the Clearances, when the remaining Highlanders were scattered across the globe.

Before that, of course, for some 250 years, the Border between Scotland and England was a war zone, and the people in response formed warrior family gangs. Most of these people - in the name of peace and order and good government - were transplanted to northern Ireland (at least, they were Protestant); and then more of them went to the US, where they became the Scotch Irish. An early manifestation of these people was the Hatfield and McCoy Blood Feud.

In fact, I think that our social structure is like a rubber band. Since the Middle Ages, the West has stretched this rubber band - but it will take very little to let go, when we can rest - again - into the 'natural' arms of the Tribe.

7/12/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"'We have made a slogan of democracy abroad, imagining it is a practical means when it is, in fact, the glorious end of a long and difficult road,' Ralph Peters wrote in his invaluable book, Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World. 'Democracy must be earned and learned. It cannot be decreed from without. In a grim paradox, our insistence on instant democracy in shattered our greatest contribution to global instability.' The acerbic Mr. Peters also assigns a superb moniker to advocates of instant overseas democracies - they are 'the ass end of imperialism.'"

Imperial Hubris,
Michael Scheuer

7/12/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Name 5 examples where democracy has not been decreed from without.

We must really retire this one too.

7/12/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I married my cousin 'cause she's beautiful.
Like me.

7/12/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I have two: Turkey & England.

Nothing in the former English Empire counts, by the way; nor do countries liberated from the former Soviet Empire, in my opinion.

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

I think it was Netanyahu who pointed out - to ignorant old me, anyway - that the post-Cold War world is unraveling roughly along its post-WWW1 lines.

7/12/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lyndie England?

7/12/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I just read last night somewhere that Democracy is unraveling in Turkey.

7/12/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Oh definitely: this whole soup is the consequence of the ancient empires committing suicide in one way or another. English, French, German, Austrian, Russian, Ottoman, Chinese, Japanese--you name it. All kaput. Thus you have Western ideology. In comes Islam as a late competitor, bearing the worst aspects of totalitarian reactions to the disatisfaction with either empire/monarchy and/or their liberal alternatives. Back to liberalism we go; that is the current point. Evidently it will be kicking and screaming, and partially successful. Well, there's only so much we can do, really.

This won't be over for a long time. In fact, it will never be over. The king is dead! Long live the king!

7/12/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Heather - The Greeks first made the transition from tribalism to the rule of law in the 5 and 600's BC. That is why they are the fathers of Western Civilization. The rule of law vs. the blood fued.

7/12/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those wonderful Turks.
Armenia and Kurdistan, examples of their love of freedom, liberty and human rights.

7/12/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yep, as it is unravelling in Russia; as it is ultimately doomed to be crippled in the Phillipines, evidently.

But it hasn't come completely undone yet. There is hope, Doug Skywalker!

7/12/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Some people... they take your money in the form of bribes or payoffs for over fifty years, a faithful retainer, until the day comes you need their help, passage through their property, a simple overland transit.

7/12/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yes, dan obi wan
there is always hope
three steps forward, two steps back

7/12/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Douglas Skyraider.

7/12/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought the Rocket Plane was the skyraider.
I am Batman.

7/12/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Preach, oh Yoda Rat!

7/12/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just call me "Sky."

7/12/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

First there was Lab Rat.
Then Desert Rat.
Now comes SPACERAT!

7/12/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Imam Ali doug el Belmonti
hail hail
the gangs all here

Or are you the walrus
coo coo kachoo

7/12/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Original Rocketplane .
. Plane of Fame .
(I had the 558 right.)
But then, I tink therefore I Yam.

7/12/2005 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Plane of Fame

7/12/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's me taking off in my Big Rig.
(Things turned out poorly.)

7/12/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Couldn't the US fund some modernized film-making by and for Muslim youth, ridiculing the circular logic of worshipping a death-god configured out of Koran interpretations

I'm pretty sure that's what the Internet is doing. Any literate English-speaking Arab who logs onto the Internet in any way must have run smash-boom dead up against rejection of his history, his religion and his assumed superiority in no uncertain terms these past three years in the form of playful (and thoughtful) Westerners being delighted to let him know what a pathetic barbarian he is considered to be by the rest of the world.

Interesting that no one ever seems to comment upon the singular lack of humor or jokes in the Middle East. Doubtless laughter -- like everything else -- is also forbidden by the Koran. But how can they call themselves a mature civilization withOUT humor?

I think of it as the Chinese water torture method of Pavolovian reflex training, that the first cartoon you send to a Saudi of a jet chasing a jihadist on a camel might not get through, but maybe the 331st cartoon, joke, or sly remark will find a target. And a sudden smile of recognition.

You know all the educated (and dreadfully ignorant, too) newspaper editors, opinion-writers and conference attenders in that part of the world also get regularly deluged via their computer screens with comments, history, factoids and derisive raspberries from the West with great regularity.

I think it's great that after the London bombing, Pierre posted a link here on Belmont to a picture of a man holding up a sign reading, "You call *that* terrorism!?!" and making fun of such a piffly little effort at horrifying the world. If anything can make Zaqarwi gnash what's left of his teeth, I'm pretty sure that being laughed at would do it. That humiliation/honor thing, you know.

7/12/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

disaster - to say the least
master of - clearly not

The London bombers "are people not thinking clearly" - Fox News

7/12/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Name 5 examples where democracy has not been decreed from without."

Name 5 examples (exempting, as you say, former British colonies and former Soviet satellites) where it has been decreed from without with enduring success. Then we can examine what prior conditions made that possible.

Ask yourself, dan, if we ourselves could function as a free and democratic people if at the same time we possessed the attitudes, habits, history, and traditions of the Iraqis.

Look at Afghanistan, dan. What would you identify it as? How would you classify it? What category would you put it in? That of a free and democratic state? But free and democratic states have an exceptional intolerance of tribal chiefs, warlords, ecclesiastical law, and clan systems. These are a fierce and honorable people, but freedom and democracy have no wide purchase there. Does it matter for us that this is the way it is? Not in the least.

7/12/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


7/12/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The correct person to ask about Afghanistan is Tony, Trish.
Comeon, Tony, let it rip.

7/12/2005 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The idea is that the lure of freedom breeds the intolerance of the clan system.
If all the women were armed, it could not fail!

7/12/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Germany, France, India, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Greece, Indonesia, Russia, Phillipines; the entire Eastern Bloc, including Russia, and Taiwan (all in a qualified sense)...

I know less about South America than even any of these places...

How enduring are you talking here?

And I sympathize with the idea that the native culture's mores have a vast influence on whether democracy takes hold and is lasting, but we are faced with a deep strategic problem that somewhat obviates the concerns arising from that--i.e., the advance of radical Islam through a thoroughly ruined culture.

I think Iraq and Afghanistan--both of which I would call fledgling democracies under our tutelage and adapted to their cultural environments--are well within the model of Japan and Germany, but with the updated strategy suitable to an environment not yet embroiled in the total war which, left uncontrolled, this problem would inevitably involve us in--and may yet.

The problem is articulating an alternative. An Aghanistan-only policy would not have the required effect on the Arab world, which views itself as very much apart from, and superior to, its Afghan neighbors, regardless of their common faith.

7/12/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How many of us have personally learned via the Nahncee method?
(trying to think of my equivalent of the F-16/Turban Combo Comic.
Obviously I will not disclose here.)
Maybe that's why guys learn better than gals?
(Locker Room Learning)
...and gals do a better job at covert ops?

7/12/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My short version of Dan's excellent post, Trish is:
What is the (your) alternative?

7/12/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Imam al Space_Rat"

7/12/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"An Aghanistan-only policy would not have the required effect on the Arab world, which views itself as very much apart from, and superior to, its Afghan neighbors, regardless of their common faith."

In the Arab world generally, you much the same unfavorable admixture as in Afghanistan, with one additional ingredient: regular and profound corruption.

7/12/2005 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


My alternative is not to bother with the democratization at all. I don't believe it's necessary when organic conditions already favor it, and when conditions don't, it is fruitless at best.

7/12/2005 02:42:00 PM  

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