Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Provincial West

Terrorism Unveiled describes the growth of Islamism in Central Asia. Expansionist Russia and its successor, the Soviet Union, temporarily established a land empire over traditionally Muslim Central Asia. The collapse the Soviet Union began a process of decolonization second in size only to the liquidation of European empires in Asia and Africa following the Second World War. It was an emerging entity in search of a unifying consciousness, which Islam was determined to provide.

Central Asia could very well be the next large breeding ground for Islamist terrorists. Islam was suppressed during the years of the Soviet Union, but the mujahideen in the 1980s found many supporters in the Central Asian states with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It is alleged and logical that the "stan" states would serve as a springboard to a degree, and certainly a place for routes of travel, over and down through Iran and Afghanistan. The Central Asian states' strong governments have generally suppressed Islamist sentiment, because the sentiment has called for an overthrow of their ruling regimes---and called for the creation of an Islamic Caliphate where the state is run completely by Islamic law. In a way, it's a vicious cycle. When the government has to protect its position of power from calls for changes in regime, it oppresses the population for control, but that only leads to more radicalization of the populace calling for those changes.

The Terrorism Unveiled article linked to a four-part series by Radio Free Europe describing the history of Islamism under the Soviet Union and its revival following its fall. Osama bin Laden may have sensed the opportunity to unlock a vast Muslim region, not just Afghanistan, following Soviet defeat in the 1980s. It is a feat he may hope to repeat on a global scale by defeating the United States. One Radio Free Europe segment says that talk of an "Islamic Caliphate" isn't simply idle chatter.

Across Central Asia, governments have coped with the Islamic revival by asserting their control over the religious establishment and banning groups that refuse to cooperate. The governments are motivated by fears that uncontrolled Islam could be a potent force for political opposition. But despite these government efforts, homegrown and foreign-inspired militant Islamic groups have arisen to challenge the status quo. The most widespread is Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization that calls for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate to replace the region’s existing governments.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not confined to Central Asia. It was recently banned in Britain, following the London subway attacks. Australia had considered banning the group but decided against. The notion that September 11 was somehow the manifestation of a criminal act, an act of vandalism by individuals on a large scale, was to misunderstand the problem entirely. In a 2002 article in Parameters, Ralph Peters argued that groups like radical Islamism had to be understood as a geopolitical force that went beyond the Middle East and a few radical centers in Europe. It also spanned Central and South Asia. Peters wrote:

"In terms both of population density and potential productivity, wealth, and power, Islam’s center of gravity lies to the east of Afghanistan, not to the west. The world’s most populous “Muslim” countries stretch far to the east of the Indus River: Indonesia, India, Bangladesh . . . Pakistan . . . and other regional states, such as Malaysia, make this the real cockpit of crisis."

Osama Bin Laden did not regard himself as some petty criminal but an inspirational leader on a global scale. But just as demonstrating Soviet impotence in Afghanistan was the key to Central Asia, Islamists may hope that an American failure in Iraq will establish the unstoppability of a universal Caliphate. What Kabul signified to the 'stans Baghdad could represent to the world. Although Islamic arms in Iraq have met only with military defeat, they have been much more successful in showing that the Western world lacks the will to resolutely oppose the emergence of a Global Caliphate. The Sunday Times says it is because President Bush declared war while refusing to name the enemy.

Under siege last week at his holiday ranch in Crawford, Texas, from the peace activist Cindy Sheehan, one of the military’s “gold star” mothers whose son died in Iraq, and under pressure from opinion polls showing dwindling American support for the war, Bush is on the defensive. Blair by contrast is getting credit for naming the enemy as Muslim extremists and for criticising the Wahhabi ideology spreading from Saudi Arabia, which remains a leading American ally. Although faulted for allowing “Londonistan” to grow into a haven for terrorism in the first place, the prime minister is regarded as going on the offensive while the Bush government dithers.

However the Scotsman observed that the proscription against self-defense had been baked into the structure of the Western political system itself. Describing the obstacles facing Tony Blair's attempts to deport murderous Muslim clerics from Britain, it wrote:

Guy Goodwin-Gill, a barrister and senior research fellow at All Souls College at Oxford University, summed up the mood within the legal camp. "I think Mr Blair has lost the plot," he said. "For a lawyer, he says some of the daftest things. It is simply not serious." Lawyers like Goodwin-Gill now contend there is no way on earth that the crackdown will survive the courts.

The problem for ministers is the array of legislation now enshrined within British law which offers protection to the very foreign extremists they are trying to expel. It is now 50 years since Britain signed up to the Refugee Convention, which, as the European Convention on Human Rights, was then incorporated into British law in 1998. Signatories must ensure "freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment"; "the right to liberty"; and "freedom from discrimination."

While Islamist leaders have grasped the situation in the broadest strategic outlines, Western political systems continue to conceive the problem in the narrowest possible terms. The enemy consists of a few troublemakers within the 'Religion of Peace'; the war is confined to Iraq, or at least to that portion of the Sunni Triangle where most fighting takes place; the legitimacy for any force consists solely of denying Saddam Hussein arsenals of weapons of mass destruction under UN resolutions. Lawyers wrangle over whether it is appropriate to commingle intelligence investigations with criminal probes. Great Britain asks whether it is allowed to expel those sworn to destroying it.

Historically, most catastrophic defeats -- at Gaugamela or France in 1940 -- have not been consequent to inferiority in arms but to infirmity of concept. Defeat occurs first of all in the mind. By that standard the Global Caliphate is well on its way to imposing its will on Western politics which is intent, like some demented person, on rearranging objects on a green baize table.


Blogger Boghie said...

A Global Caliphate will require centralized command and time to nurture and maintain.

The weaknesses in liberal western cultures are resolved under conflict.

Without centralized command and strategy, those that desire one form of Caliphate over another will strike the west in ways divergent from a global strategy. Such attacks will unify the divergent western cultures in ways unforeseen.

Osama bin Laden attacked financial and military centers. His brethren (who he cannot separate himself from) attack tourists and commuters. The next attacks of any scale will undoubtedly be directed against the decadent culture of the west. Even the ignorant lefties will come aboard after some zealot attacks San Francisco, Hollywood, Toronto, Paris, Rome, etc…

8/14/2005 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

All this confusion and infirmity of purpose means we will have to do much more killing in the end, to defend ourselves. As we will.

It is in this sense that Bush has been and is a moderate, while the pacifists are more horrifyingly lethal than they know.

8/14/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...have not been consequent to inferiority in arms but to infirmity of concept. Defeat occurs first of all in the mind. By that standard the Global Caliphate is well on its way to imposing its will on Western politics ...

I simply don't see how you can predict imminent defeat without taking into consideration the individual citizens of the West. Even if our governments and our courts can't deal with the Islamists right now, today, I do *NOT* see individual citizens ever agreeing to live under Shariah law.

I know Wretchard has real problems with the concept of vigilante-ism, but it seems to me that in order to put a new Caliphate in place, you have to have beaten the Caliphate's newest citizens into submission to where they will agree to pledge allegiance to the Muslim king.

And that just simply is never, ever, gonna happen. In the first place, how are all those blood-thirsty little terrorists going to over-run America to MAKE us do what they tell us to? Even if they could convince all the leftist people who live in Berkely, California, to do such a daft thing, the rest of the U.S.'s citizenry will have armed themselves and be sitting behind every tree and in every ravine, muttering, "Here, muzzie muzzie muzzie. I've got a present for you!" In fact, many of us are already more well-armed than the terrorists we see blowing up civilians in Iraq.

But frankly, I don't ever see it getting that far. This is a new war, and we're making it up as we go. So I don't know that you can predict how it will be fought - or lost - on what's ever been done before. For one thing, it seems to me that if laws were written in the first place (such as the laws on deporting people back to where they might be tortured) those same laws can be rewritten and/or repealed. Just because Britain can't deport their Muslim terrorists *now*, doesn't mean that they won't be able to deport them for-ever.

8/14/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Absolutely spot-on. We are somewhat similar to the fictional detective "Monk", rearranging silverware on the dining room table while the walls are burning down around us.

And the lawyers and politicians amongst us still insist everything be arranged to their idea of perfection before we are allowed to phone the fire department.

How many of us will actually survive? Intact? Free?

8/14/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

One of your finest posts, Nahncee. Tough and encouraging and frank. By all means, change the law, once it is obsolete. Man-made in the first place. Then, hell, re-liberalize once the threat is defeated. I know, this isn't 'clean'--but it's practical, and necessary. We're at war, and are going to lose some things. Perfected legal theory may be one of 'em. So USSR 'suppressed' radical Islam? What form did this suppression take? Can we do it, too? Outlaw a few identifiable barely-legals? Broaden the definition of 'incitement' for an administration or two? Clamp down on these retail entrepreneurs of Islamic aggression? Let's fool bin Laden, who counts as victory the making of western society less free. Let's be bad for awhile, and then switch back to liberalism. Peoples who elect their leaders can do this--we have that advantage. Let's not allow the idiotarians to make us so defensive and self-conscious that we can't use the powers of our system.

8/14/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Bush, Blair, and Berlesconi know what Total War is.

They have been trying (somewhat successfully) to provide a solution short of Total War.

If the west did not have so many ignorant pacifists and anti-western neophytes we probably would be much farther along than we are now. The Left’s mistrust of our culture and the use of power is hindering the effort to open the gap countries to prosperity and success. I really do not care what form of politic or nationalism develops in the gap as long as those forms are relatively peaceful and can coexist with the other civilizations in the world.

The neophytes and reflexively anti-western troglodytes are inadvertently guiding the world toward a calamitous confrontation – like those pacifists who watched Hitler reoccupy the Rhineland and consume Austria and be offered the Sudetenland. We are talking about the difference between thousands dead and a hundred million dead… We are talking about the difference between an era remembered with pride or one remembered with anguish and doubt. One of relatively ‘bloodless’ progress, and one of necessarily bloody destruction and occupation. See the self-flagellation occurring on the anniversary of the atomic bomb. Would such a weapon have been developed without the neophytes forcing us into Total War.

Luckily, neither America nor Brittan is led by a Neville Chamberlain…

8/14/2005 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It is a dark tragedy that the governments of the Stans, as terrible as they may be, really are protecting their (citizens? slaves?) from an enslavement far worse - as the former slaves of the Taliban could tell them, but they ask. The governments crack down, and it produces feedback based on the _mistaken_ belief that Sharia would be the better alternative. It won't be until after the lessons of Afghanistan and Iran are learned by a plurality of citizens of Central Asia that tyrannical crackdowns will produce the correct, democratic, response, as seen in Ukraine, Lebanon, and Georgia.

As for the British, they will learn. Although a source of weaknes, the ability to make fine distinctions is also a source of great strength. The ability to make distinctions is a skill, and one that can be applied to any system of classification. For years the British (and even we Americans, to a lesser extent) have followed the Europeans down an ill-thought path, classifying people based on the culture's past, instead of their personal present and future. We have classified our own actions, and the actions of others, based on how desginated class representatives perceive them, instead of their real world consequences to each and every man.

But classifications systems can be thrown out, rebuilt, made stronger - and our ability to apply them will remain. It is no weakness to distinguish, with fine granularity, Good from Evil, so long as Good and Evil are clearly defined.

The utility of the Belmont Club and places like it is that we can test our understandings of Good and Evil. We can compare them with our own, and look for inconsistencies.

As boghie suggested, everything about Western Culture is decentralized, including our ability to learn. It must filter upwards from individuals to institutions. Is that not the purpose of The Belmont Club? Is that not its mission? Have no doubt that faults of Leftist though are being revealed far and wide. Let this process take its course, and the West's response will be organic, well considered, and unstoppable. Islam has no comparable system, just as the USSR did not. The strength and depth of the deeper Western institutions (speech, debate, democracy) are such that there is literally nothing Islam can do to dislodge them. We will find the answers, and convince the Middle of their worth.

My only fear is for the people who live on the edges of civilization. During our period of debate, how many will be lost on the periphery to an active and violent Islam?

Faster. Please.

8/14/2005 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

Jakita -- it never ceases to amaze me how many of my 'anti-war' and ACLU-supporting acquaintances, if pushed, advocate the use of secret extra-legal death squads to 'take care of this problem.'

Wretchard -- i take it you read Rich's execrable column in the NYT?
(HT: powerline)

8/14/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

There is no way a Muslim caliphate can arise, but there is a way to weaken America and cause "another Vietnam" in Iraq and Afghanistan. That way is in full view and gathering steam right now, in the main story on Drudge: "You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism," Sheehan declares."

8/14/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Telling that a half-dozen posts written more or less simultaneouslt have each--in very different and distinctive ways--said exactly the same thing: We CAN beat these bastards without becoming the friggin' Gestapo. Let's quit buying that leftist anarchic hogwash.

8/14/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Why can't a free people vote in an Iron Fist, when needed, and then vote it back out again once it has punched out the oppo?

8/14/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Hell, we did it last time we needed it--the four terms of FDR (not to say we need four term presidencies--just by way of making the point that an inflexible system can kill itself).

8/14/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

To segue off Nahncee's post--I can see legalized vigilantism--Robespierrian citizen committees--roaming the streets 'examining' Islamic organizations for subversive activities. Horrors, you say? Right! Horrors. But the better horror than the other. And reversible, once past the urgent exigency.

8/14/2005 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard - please note changes in law and public opinion since we decided to fight.

Each western nation determines when the fight is on.

It is on for America and Brittan and Australia.

The disparate Islamist movement, through unguided hate and envy, will ensure that they force the fight to Paris and Berlin and Moscow and Tokyo and even Beijing...

The Caliphates (there were many) depended on centralized leadership, large populations, and financial strength. I cannot see, with the west’s extreme advantages in military and economic power, a Caliphate forming. Our military and economic resources can touch all parts of the globe – in hours, not years.

We have our issues – but those who seek a caliphate will resolve those inherent weaknesses of democracy. It will be the lack of a supreme leader, ensconced on a stable throne, with a reasonable military that will doom the concept of a caliphate. That is, terrorism will doom the goal.

To that end, the west is changing. See the death throws of moral relativism, political correctness, and silly multiculturalism. See the reemergence of the concept of barbarism. The west is changing faster and more decisively than the enemy. Time is not on the side of the Islamists.

8/14/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"No shirt, no shoes, no service!"--signed, the management.

8/14/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Piercello said...

The challenge facing us lies chiefly in defining the way forward with sufficient abstraction to include all of us, but with sufficent positive detail to inspire cooperative action. Simply opposing jihadism is reactive, leaving us without the capacity for positive change, while being vaguely for freedom and human rights is merely pro-active (somebody do something!). We need a more active, positively defined philosophy!

The hard left seems to think that if we reached out to and understood the jihadis, they would not fight us, but they give the political right no quarter and no attempt at understanding. The vigorous democracy expansionists on the right maintain that we can transform a radically different culture overseas through human universals like the desire for freedom, but many of them write off our own militant pacifists (or passive-ists!) of the left as unsalvageable.

In short, we need a new, robust statement of a humanist philosophy with which to fire the imaginations of people everywhere on all parts of the political spectrum. Anybody got one?

8/14/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Different note:

I visited Turkey and came away impressed. I expected and Islamic Mexico and instead viewed a more traditional Europe. Coming back from Turkey (Istanbul and North Cyprus) I postulated with friends the concept of:

Turkey becoming the center of the Islamic Caliphate - in the sense of being the center of Islamic culture.

A new and vibrant Iraq could gain that precedence as well.

There is no inherent reason that Riyadh, Damascus, or Tehran must be the center of Islamic society. If vibrancy, economic power, and cultural development shift to more modern and tolerant centers than the culture will become more tolerant. Both Istanbul and Baghdad served as capitals of Islamic caliphates in the past.

BTW, the people of Turkey were fantastic – and their women the most beautiful I have ever seen (sorry about that – but it was a side note).

8/14/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The Leftists complain that our entering Iraq increased the number of terrorists and hightened the draw of Radical Islam, yet they advocate a policy of surrender that would open the floodgates of Islamist prestige and recruiting power and cause a geopolitical tsunami of the most terrible kind.

We must not give Osama any symbols he has not earned. We must win in Iraq, or, if we cannot, we must escalate the conflict.

We must not appear defeated. Everything is riding on it.

8/14/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Buddy:  You've forgotten the will to power which drives so many politicians.  Once you've empowered a group of people willing and legally entitled to use such force, history shows that they are very likely to use it to maintain their power as well as (or instead of) against the enemy.

The only way to make certain this doesn't happen is to appoint people who don't want the job, but are willing to do it so they can finish it and go home.  Good luck finding people like that in this cynical day and age.

Regarding vigilantism, I expect that fully half the mosques, halal butchers and Islamic centers and schools in the USA would be burned within days of a nuclear attack on the USA originating from an Islamic source.  Head scarves would be unseen in public, and the airports would be packed with people leaving for Asia.

And speaking of testing understanding... The West has been propping up Islamic expansionism by refusing to overthrow the Wah'hab regime in Saudi Arabia but buying oil from them anyway.  Replacing oil with something else would collapse that revenue stream (and probably cause mass starvation on the Arabian peninsula, the psychological impact of which would be immeasurable).  Technology is a neglected front in this war; The Ergosphere is devoted to analysis and discussion of such possibilities.

8/14/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

How a Caliphate could form:

I think there is some agreement that a caliphate cannot form unless there is charismatic leadership in a stable capital with a devoted and militarily adequate following.

Here is how that could form – an odd concept.

Let us postulate that:
New forms of energy management result in a decline in oil exports from the Middle East
However, those exports are concentrated to a stable nation or region

Saudi Arabia is in chaos as a result of a weakened monarchy
Iran becomes a pariah state as a result of WMD ambitions
Syria breaks down into factions and chaos
Iraq revives politically and economically and militarily

Iraq controls much of the oil exports, much of the regional wealth, and much of the cultural heritage of the ‘caliphate’.

Odd in that it would be the success of current western ambitions that might lead to a strong, centralized Islam.

Good, bad, indifferent. Would a vibrant Iraq be an aggressive Iraq? Could America challenge its progeny?

8/14/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

"The problem with liberal democracies is that many of their residents have no beliefs at all."

But they do believe in something. The non-believer multi-cultis may impede our progress now, but when their cozy world crashes down around them and their God is slayed, the demand for slaughter will be raised most vociferously by the nihilists.

When this happens, who is restraining who will be ironically, and tragically, reversed.

8/14/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...and the airports would be packed with people leaving for Asia.

Betcha if the current population of Muslims living in the West are faced with a choice between going back to where they came from, and being burned out if they stay here, the hijabs will come off, the beards will be shaved, and they'll become More Better Americans pretty damned fast.

8/14/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

David--thanks for the critique. Don't assume that I was writing from what I believe to be a virtuous position. "You guys believe this" is the only irritant in your otherwise fine post. But what I was getting at is that we need to let enemies of our system in on a little thing that tyrannical organizations always forget. Western systems--or the USA's, anyway, can change fast and hard. "Had Tojo looked at Gettysburg" sort of thing: Why would farm boys mount Pickett's Charge into those massed batteries firing canister? The flag they willingly died to defeat was their own but a few years earlier. Tolerant Islam might feel more like putting pressure on intolerant Islam, if the consequences of not doing so were sharper and more proximate.

8/14/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

Why do we continue to look at this movement as a religion?

Once we brand it as other than a religion, it becomes much easier to eradicate.

8/14/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"When Rome became an empire it did not slip back to being a Republic."

We defenders of the West are not proposing the birth of an Empire. That would unseat the true rulers: the people; and dislodge our deepest well of power: free speech and democracy.

We are merely proposing that within a democratic framework a hard and dirty fighter, a Sherman or a Grant, be put in charge of our military resources, and that our other institutions allow him to do his job.

For the most part we are already well on our way down this path, and recently Britain has also learned this lesson anew.

8/14/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Cardozo has exactly what I was trying to say. Lincoln handed over so much autonomy to Grant and Sherman that there were fears that no barrier other than their characters would prevent them from marching on Washington and unseating the boss. Those fears are in the press archives, and seem from this era to've been misplaced, in that the unit cohesion of the two armies would've dissolved in short order once any such movement initiated. Too many rank and file understood our mercifully few pages of plainly-written Constitution. Meanwhile, that unsettling and risky autonomy enabled the two commanders to finally bring the war, stalemated by 1864 and threatening to become a negotiated settlement) to a rather sudden early-1865 end--mercifully for the South as well as the Union.

The command style Grant replaced was the press-influenced bureaucratic style. Political generals, compared to Grant. And no real blame attaches to leaders who seek to execute consensus policy--such is the heart of democracy. But if a time comes when it's lethally too much of a good thing, then better hope you have a centered, self-contained chief to identify that turn. as Lincoln did with his appointment of Grant. Advisors told him that Grant couldn't get the job, because he was a drinker. Lincoln--with the Vicksburg campaign in mind--said that he wanted to know which liquor Grant preferred, so he could "...send a barrel of it to every genetral in the army."

Sorta reminded me of GWB a few weeks ago in re OIF, saying that he was listening to "...opinions that matter."

8/14/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A recent and recurring theme of many of Wretchard's posts has been the reluctance among the West's elites, to include the current U.S. administration, to clearly name the enemy, which Wretchard apparently believes is not just a radical fringe within Islam, but a disfunctional Islamic culture itself.

There will a kind of biological response, if you will, within most societies to defend themselves. Governments should organize the defense, but if it won't, others in society will. Thus we get Neighborhood Watch (docile), the Minuteman Project (more aggresive), the posses of the Old West, and finally, vigilantism itself. U.S. society will defend itself; the political class will catch up with that reality, if it comes to that.

A post on our blog Open range- the war without borders discusses how U.S. policy-makers should change their strategy in the event nation-building in Iraq fails and civil war breaks out. Special operators, working with local tribes and militias, will need to range the world, with the U.S. becoming the insurgent, not the counter-insurgent. And even if Iraq turns out well, the U.S. will need a new war-fighting model; this post describes what it might be.


8/14/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think people read too much into the significance of the targets of 9/11 and what Osama's intentions were. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and like Mt Everest, the nut-jobs chose the World Trade Center buildings "because they were there".

8/14/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Slightly off topic, but this is a sobering essay in the Telegraph by Niall Ferguson:

""In Iran," President Bush himself declared in a speech back in November 2003, "the demand for democracy is strong and broad." Dream on. Far from being on the brink of democracy, Iran is now on the brink of becoming the single biggest threat to democracy in the world."

Then later:

"The point is that President Bush's "axis of evil" - Iran, Iraq and North Korea - was never an "axis" at all. Iran and Iraq were historic adversaries. To weaken one was, inevitably, to strengthen the other. Moreover, as the British Government knew all along (see the Downing Street memorandum of July 2002), Iran was significantly closer than Iraq to acquiring real weapons of mass destruction. Now it is even closer. And, worst of all, no one in Iran wants WMD more avidly than President Ahamadinejad.

So where do we go from here? Plan A - the European carrot - has failed. Plan B - the flaccid UN stick - will also fail. Unfortunately Plan C - American (or Israeli) air strikes - is fraught with peril. According to Michael J Mazarr of the US National War College, Iran could retaliate with "an elaborate, ferocious, global provocation designed to draw the United States into a protracted conflict".

That translates into more terrorism in our cities and an escalation of the war in Iraq. "If Iran wanted," Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Al Bayati said in February, "it could make Iraq a hell for the United States."

Taking out Saddam was a good first step, and completely justified, but its long term effectiveness depends on the next step being taken. That next step is Iran.

We cannot allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. The threat from Al'Qaeda pales in comparison to a newly muscular proselytizing Islamism coming from Tehran and Qom. With a nuclear Aegis in the hands of the mullahs, our dangers will grow exponentially. If we think we have problems in central Asia now, wait until Tehran stands up to the Americans, and wins.

Why, in all the world, would we live with that?

8/14/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I have to admit, Cedarford, for an evil bastard, you're pretty entertaining.

8/14/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

That's right. What have you got against decent chow, Lindsey?

8/14/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

I see 20-year, 15-year and 10-year horizons bandied about here. It seems impossible to my mind that in even the next 5 years of dialogue about the terrorism facing the western world, there would not be at least ONE PUBLIC discussion involving the antithesis of the Caliphate, the Baha'i Faith.

We don't want to investigate it. We're wary of 'religions', and it might be 'religion'. What can it possibly hold?

How can a 'Universal House of Justice' POSSIBLY bear on the thuggism, ideology and Wahhabi poison facing us today?

Let's be "lukewarm" and ignore it, while thugs shoot our children! Better thugs than The Glory of God!

8/14/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

I see it differently.

The irrationality and legalism of Islam will be its undoing.

Is it Sharia to wear silk ties? Ans: as long as it does not touch your skin.

This is stupid. And a waste of time. And ripe for Satire.

The West will and does have much tighter OODA loops unadorned with Sharia and Legalese.

As once East Minus West was Zero, so is Islam Minus the West equal to Zero.

I for one am sick of Western Culture being called Decadent. Sienfeld is uproariously High Comedy on par with anything Voltair or Camus did. Most of the books on the bestseller lists are very well written and have good plots. This is the Age of Biography in Letters. And I am glued to Vality Fair, The Atlantic and the New Yorker when they arrive, even if I diagree with the editorial slant.

And I love hunting hogs all day then going into town in any major city and dancing to great music until 2 am with my wife.

Western Culture is Great and I love it.

Stick it up your ass OBL.

It is Islam that is decadent and rotten.

8/14/2005 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


England fought Religious Fanaticism before.

Under Elizabeth, England fought Spanish-trained Jesuit priests who secretly entered England to expand the Catholic base and to set the stage for the conversion of the country from Protestantism. I think that over her reign over 1000 priests were sent into England. These priests had the full support of Spain and France.

England perservered and not only did it survive but it became the dominant global power.

Something to go look up.

8/14/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well john
John Wayne as John Bernard Books (The Shootist):
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."

8/14/2005 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like Desert Rat's better.

But it still isn't the answer to piercello's question; because there isn't one.

One statement that will fire up everyone? Don't kid yourself. Some people just don't feel the same way you do. Even your requirment that it be 'humanist' guarantees that a number of people will never agree with it.

Pick your friends, and get the job done. Waiting for everyone to get on board first is a loser's game.

8/14/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


You mention that criminals should not be allowed to operate. Well and good.

Now explain this:

Republican Socialism: price supports for criminals.

Did I mention the Drug War?

8/15/2005 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Replacing oil with something else.

What would that something else be?

What are the bottle necks?

How soon can it be deployed?

See the problem? We do not know the answer to those questions. All we do know is that in time we will find the answers.

8/15/2005 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

American Thinker had a great post Sunday, on "10 Reasons Shari'ah Is BAD for Any People."

But in a certain sense, it doesn't matter HOW bad Islam is, it has been superceded and unauthorized, by the same Source that sent Krsna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.

We can continue to discuss it, and protect ourselves FROM it, but Islam was, like Christianity, never designed or purposed to be the standard for THIS Day!

Islam will disappear from the world scene, with truly startling speed, when once the ummah are allowed to learn of the coming of the Best-Beloved.

Scoff and deny all they want, it will NOT make Baha'u'llah cease to exist, or cease to exert an effect on motives, hearts and minds.

8/15/2005 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

I wonder if Wretchard is not granting the enemy a bit too much organizational prowess. Remember the main idea of the enemy is founded upon hatred and hatred, like a lava flow is self-consuming. I mean the Jihad murderers (and their supporters) talk a good scary rhetoric down pat but in action they often immolate themselves- literally and tactically.

I have a good imagination but I can't really see a caliphate seting up in the US. How would it come about? Oil bribery maybe? A couple images of resistance come to mind: 1)At the gun show in Puyallup (a town in the Seattle and Tacoma axis in the US Pacific Northwest) a couple years back I saw 6000 men circulate through the show grounds in the space of an hour. Friends that's a lot of guns n' ammo. 2) My neighbor at the lake property practically starts firing on my kids if they wander 3 steps onto his raggedy property - what's he going to do with a bunch of muhajideen? Just curious - cheers.

8/16/2005 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/16/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

The right and far right struggle just like the left and far left in an effort to keep their over simplified bumpsticker wisdoms alive.

'Failing to name the enemy' is a meaningless mantra repeated by those who failed to understand the strategies and concepts within the struggle against terrorism.

It is common to those who continue to believe against all evidence and statements that the WOT is a WAR and not a struggle.

The terrorists will be named locally as the are killed, jailed, or deported.

The terrorists organizations have been named for several decades.

The US as a nation/state will name state supporters of terrorism and will work to advance our agendas within them with everything at our disposal to include WAR.

We have named the enemy quite well.

8/16/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

your typical simplistic mind,
it is not that those who want to "name the enemy" do not know who the enemy is.
It is the 58% who disapprove of Bush's performance, that do not know who the enemy is.
What are your tactics to bring the US Public to support your unending 'Struggle'?
The US Public will not support 'Struggles' against nameless foes.
They will support a War against an understood and defined enemy.
That is why Bush is engaged in a War on Terror, not a Struggle against Islamo-fascists. It was a well thought out Policy Position by the Administration. Bush has rejected the 'Struggle' agenda, he supports, by choice, a Warrior agenda not a Struggler's.

8/16/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Actually, desert rat I think you and many regulars demonstrate on a daily basis that you don't in fact know who the enemy is, or where we are at WAR.

I'm also not that concerned by Bush's approval rating, or surprised that 58% endlessly assert that the don't know our enemies name. One thing Bush does consistently is define himself as a man not tied to his latest approval ratings.

However, Bush's arrogance and stubborn refusal to acknowledge that that his War on Terrorism has become a tool used by his enemies against him does concern me.

However, I do see movement away from the rhetoric, and a renewed effort to propery define our efforts according to context.

I'm also seeing the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being properly defined and the political objectives by which we will define our victory being consistanly and clearly stated.

I'm sure you find the changes frustrating.

8/16/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would guess it is due to your lack of personal history, but for those of US that lived through our last multi-year conflict can attest to just how important Public Support is to a successful resolution of the conflict.
You may shrug off the need for public support, firm in the belief that the President can persevere in the face of public rejections of his policy.
A foolish and uninformed opinion, I would say.

What I find frustrating is the garrisonning of US troops in Iraqi cities when agressive actions on the frontiers would severely restrict the Terrorists. I am frustratd by the lack of speed with which the Iraqi Forces are being brought up to speed and given security responsibilities.
I am frustrated that we are not supplying the Iraqis with heavy weapons (tanks & artillery).
This indicates we do not plan turning over the External Defense of Iraq over to them any time soon.
I am frustrated that after more than two years of occupation the Iraqis are far from ready to defend themselves and the Insurgents are still as active as they are.
I am frustrated that we are not operating in a better anti insurgency mode than we are.
I am frustrated that John McCain cannot drive from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone on the surface streets.

8/16/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Desert Rat, I have no doubt that you are frustrated. I also understand that you have a son serving in Iraq.

So, let's just lay our cards out on the table. I see your position and advocation for your position as part of the problem not the solution.

My perspective is that the eroding of public support for our efforts in Iraq can be directly linked to manipulation of the "WOT" concept through willfull ignorance and political propaganda. So, I hope that in the end we will stick this out regardless of the daily tics and flow of public opinion. If we do I'll credit it all to lessons learned from Vietnam.

I am hesitant to proscribe either of the above attributes to you because of your personal stake in the outcome.

8/17/2005 03:28:00 PM  

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