Saturday, April 29, 2006

Reconsidering victory conditions in the wider war

[NOTE: This post is an updated and somewhat rewritten version of a series of arguments that I have been making for the past year or so about the real measure of progress in the war on Islamic jihad. Some of The Belmont Club's readers have probably stumbled across it in other forms, but I have been so impressed with the commenters here that I thought I would offer it up for your thoughtful debate before the sun sets on my time here.]

Today's news brings an unusually thoughtful wire story from Alfred de Montesquio of the Associate Press bearing the title "Rift Grows Between al-Qaida, Muslim Groups." The article is interesting for the point made by the title -- that Islamist groups are rejecting and even denouncing the tactics of the violent jihadis -- and for its claim that the United States has done a poor job of distinguishing between mere Islamists who do not blow people up, local groups who blow people up but only in accordance with national or territorial objectives (e.g., Hamas), and the "international revolutionaries" -- such as al Qaeda -- "who excoriate not only non-Muslims but also Muslims who fail to follow their views." The story includes this very encouraging bit:

"The rift is widening, partly because most governments have become more open to engaging in a dialogue with hard-line Islamic voices if they give up violence," he said in a telephone interview.

And in most Muslim countries, he said, the population has been more willing to engage with national radicals than with "millennial" movements that view Israel and the West as apocalyptic enemies. In Lebanon, for example, al-Qaida-style groups had little support, but Hezbollah became the leading political force among Shiite Muslims, he said.

By cracking down on al-Qaida but allowing more freedom to political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood — a rising force in Egypt with more than 80 lawmakers in Parliament — Arab states were in effect "creating more daylight" between revolutionary and reformist radicals, he said.

For the reasons discussed below, this "daylight" is the key to victory in the wider war, for it hints at the weakening credibility of al Qaeda's ideology, which is the real basis for that organization's ability to attract new recruits, money and weapons.

It is not necessarily obvious how a shadow war will end, even during the waging of it. In 1950, the West had no idea that the Cold War would end 25 years later with the Helsinki accords, 39 years later with the fall of the Berlin Wall, or 44 years later with the fall of the Soviet Union. Similarly, we cannot know today how the war against Islamic jihadism will end, or how clear it will be when the end comes that it has come. Nevertheless, the very ambiguity of this war makes it all the more important to debate the question of victory conditions. There will be no surrender ceremony on a battleship or signing of a cease fire agreement, so we need to know what to look for instead.

These questions have become especially acute in light of the flagging support for the war in Iraq and the raging debate, at least among the chattering classes, over balancing security and privacy interests. In that political argument, opposition to the Patriot Act and outrage over the NSA's dropping of eaves seems inversely correlated, however loosely, with whether one actually believes we are in a global war for our survival. Even those of us who accept the gravity of the war, though, want to know what victory will look like, both so that we do not extend wartime exceptionalism beyond its useful life and so that we do not quit the fight too soon.

With that in mind, this post will discuss victory conditions in the wider war against Islamist jihad, and ways to measure our progress in the meantime.


About six months ago I published an updated version of Steven Den Beste’s famous “strategic overview” of the war on Islamic jihad and the position of Operation Iraqi Freedom within that struggle. Most of this post is not backed up by links, but if you read the strategic overview (not a short document) you can find deeper arguments to support the points I make here.

A note on Iraq

The most complicated and contentious part of the discussion involves Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom had many objectives, some of which were largely unrelated to the war on Islamic jihad (the elimination of Saddam Hussein and his sons as a strategic threat to the region, the ending of the sanctions regime, the securing of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the redemption of the United Nations Security Council), and some of which were very relevant. We have manifestly achieved the former, and in that sense have already "won." But the Iraq war is also a battle in the wider war, which we have not yet won. Most public discussion of victory conditions in Iraq fails to distinguish between these two different purposes, partly because the Bush administration has not done a very good job of articulating these purposes, partly because it has to some degree intentionally dissembled, partly because it has failed to refine the distinction discussed in the linked article at the top of this post, and partly because the mainstream media and domestic and foreign opponents of the Bush administration have willfully ignored what the President has said. This post encompasses the battle for Iraq, but does not try to define victory in that battle independently of the wider war.

What we may say about the war

Al Qaeda -- by which I mean the organization itself and its networked allied groups -- is an ideological movement with a deep philosophical history. It seeks to establish an oppressive regime run on roughly the same basis as the Taliban ruled Afghanistan -- anything less is "apostate." This “Caliphate” is to extend to the high water mark of Islamic conquest in ages past. In al Qaeda's vision, the Caliphate’s lands embrace essentially the entire world from al Andalus (you might call it “Spain”) in the west to East Timor in the east. In the extended version, the Caliphate eventually rules the entire world. (The most accessible book-length treatment of this subject is Mary Habeck's Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, which I highly recommend.)

The Caliphate cannot emerge, al Qaeda says, as long as "apostate" regimes rule Muslim lands.

Accordingly, Al Qaeda’s primary enemies are the “apostate” regimes that rule the Muslim world under an authority or according to laws that are inconsistent with al Qaeda’s ideology.

The occupation of “Muslim lands” by Jews is particularly offensive to the jihad.

Al Qaeda believes that neither the apostate regimes nor Israel can defeat al Qaeda over the long-term without the support of the United States and its allies. Therefore, the United States must be induced to withdraw all support for Muslim apostate regimes and the “Zionist entity.”

Al Qaeda means "the base." According to its ideology, it does not intend to win the struggle itself, but to create the conditions under which the Caliphate can emerge.

Al Qaeda and its affiliated and allied organizations are networked. It disseminates its ideology over the web and its orders through routed messages and public pronouncements. If we destroy one part of that network, it will eventually route around the damage.

Al Qaeda’s resources are not, however, unlimited. It relies on supporters for money and people. Therefore, al Qaeda can raise money and recruit people only for so long as its ideology remains credible enough to attract money and people.

The credibility of al Qaeda and its ideology derives from victories against al Qaeda's declared enemies. Bin Laden and his old guard established their credibility against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and strengthened it since through victories in numerous attacks (e.g., Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen, New York, Washington, Bali and Madrid).

Al Qaeda’s ideology has roots that go back a long time. This ideology has significant support throughout the Muslim world and some support in the West. This should not surprise us. Communism also long enjoyed considerable support in the non-communist world, until it was discredited. We should assume that al Qaeda's support will persist until its ideology is discredited.

Jihadis in al Qaeda’s networked war are embedded throughout the world, including in the West. Some of these jihadis were trained in Afghanistan during al Qaeda’s golden years, and others are locally recruited amateurs. Some jihadis are unrecruited amateur rogues who believe the ideology they hear from radical imams or read on the web and decide to act outside the network.

Al Qaeda and its followers are of greatly varying training and competence. A veteran of Afghanistan who can travel in the West is extremely dangerous. An untrained Dutch Muslim on the streets of Amsterdam can kill a few people, but probably cannot kill a great many people and certainly will not be trusted by the people in al Qaeda with that organization’s most precious secrets or assets.

It is therefore important to kill or capture al Qaeda veterans. Yes, others will spring up as long as the ideology remains sufficiently credible to attract new blood. But -- and this is a huge "but" -- the new recruits will take time to train (especially now that Afghanistan is interdicted) and an even longer time to earn the leadership's trust. Every new recruit is a potential spy, and will not soon be trusted with weapons of mass destruction (of which more in a moment) even if the network acquires them in deployable form.

At least until the end of the petroleum era, the interests of the United States in the Middle East are so deep that it will not be driven away by garden-variety terrorism. Even multiple bombings such as in London or Madrid would not do it. Only massive casualties might provoke a revision of American policy in the region. Everything else would stiffen American resolve rather than erode it.

Mass casualty attacks are tough to conceive, plan and execute. After September 11, they are even tougher for people who do not blend in well in the West. This means that well-trained Westernized jihadis are even more valuable than they were.

Recognizing that the collapse of the Twin Towers was a “lucky break” from Bin Laden’s perspective, mass casualty attacks are hard to pull off without weapons of mass destruction.

WMD are difficult to obtain, develop, transport and deploy without the resources of a state and a refuge in which to operate.

There are many states in the world that would love to hurt the United States. These states need not support al Qaeda’s ideology to be willing to strike the United States through al Qaeda.

Nevertheless, many, if not most, of those states can be deterred from doing so, however much they wish it were otherwise.

Our ability to deter these states depends not on our capacity to retaliate (which is indisputable), but on the credibility of the threat that we would retaliate.

A few states have demonstrated such total irrationality that they cannot be deterred, or we cannot rely on the mere hope that they will be deterred. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was one of these regimes, as were the Taliban. The jury is out on Iran. Undeterrable states must be interdicted.

“Soft” considerations such as the alleviation of Arab Muslim poverty or a two-state peace in Palestine will have little or no impact on the credibility of al Qaeda’s ideology. There is no evidence that leading jihadis are now or have ever been poor. The sort of people who would be attracted to al Qaeda's ideology are not interested in peace with Israel, only its annihilation. Therefore, these otherwise positive developments will not weaken al Qaeda, at least not in the short term. (Of course, al Qaeda will exploit Arab grievances over Palestine in its propaganda, but that does not mean that recruits who volunteer for al Qaeda, as opposed to national movements such as Hamas or Hezbollah, will cease doing so once Palestine reaches its full potential as a nation.)

Al Qaeda is so embedded in the Muslim world that the West alone can neither destroy its organization nor discredit its ideology. We need help from Muslims, particularly Arabs, to create "daylight" between the neutrals and the allies. Muslims -- including the millions Islamists who may hate the United States and Israel but do not support the international obectives of al Qaeda -- must bear the brunt of this war, which is for the political heart of Islam.

In the long run, al Qaeda poses an existential threat to Muslim regimes. In the short run, they will respond in the war according to short-term interests. For example, for more than a decade the Saudis bought peace from al Qaeda. Pakistan's cooperativeness ebbs and flows with the pressure brought to bear on its government by the United States and the Islamists, respectively. Both al Qaeda and the United States coerce front-line states into cooperating with varying degrees of success.

For the United States, cooperation means deploying the assets of the state, including the police, intelligence agencies, and military, to fight Islamists, prevent sympathetic citizens from supporting the jihad, deny the jihad safe haven and support American counterterror operations.

For al Qaeda, cooperation means "neutrality," plus a refusal to cooperate with the United States.

Until September 11, the government of Pakistan cooperated with al Qaeda. Since then, it has cooperated with the United States within its political constraints. Those constraints include strong support for Islamists among its population and within its army and secret police. The United States pressures Pakistan whenever it waivers by playing the India card, which the Bush administration has done deftly.

Until the invasion of Iraq, the government of Saudi Arabia cooperated with al Qaeda. Since then, Saudi Arabia has waged a ferocious war against al Qaeda. This switch occurred because the willingness of the United States to put soldiers into the heart of the Arab Middle East redefined the credibility of America's threats, and constituted a commitment from which the United States couldn't easily withdraw. This meant that the United States was deadly serious about the war, as it had not been during the Clinton years, and that gave the Saudis assurance that we would not retreat behind our oceans when the going got rough.

Today's Muslim regimes cannot win this war in the long term. Most of them are absurd governments of kings and princes or brutal generals whose idea of succession planning is primogeniture. (Kings?!? How often do we Americans, who institutionalized lèse-majesté, consider how idiotic a system monarchy really is?) These kings, princes, sheikhs and generals-for-life are clowns, and anybody who views any of them -- even the "moderate" ones -- as better than contemptible is seriously deranged. History is against them, and every thoughtful person in the world knows it. The question is, what will replace them? The jihadis are fighting to install a Caliphate and lower a dark curtain over a fifth of the world. The United States and its courageous allies are fighting to create room for modern democratic governments based on popular sovereignty.

Since the region's clown governments lack credibility and citizens who are willing to take great personal risks to defend them, al Qaeda is able to create spaces in those countries in which to operate (see, e.g., southern Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's "tribal regions"). Where al Qaeda flourishes, it is able to cajole and coerce the local population -- the Average Abdul -- into cooperating. This creates a local base from which it can "vex and exhaust" the apostate regime.

We need Average Abdul to stop cooperating with al Qaeda and to start turning in the jihadis in the back of the mosque. Unfortunately, he won't turn in the jihadis because he is more afraid of them than the local regime and he will not bear any risk to defend the clown regime. The jihadis will kill him and his family for blowing the whistle, but the clown regime will neither punish him for keeping silent or induce him to fight the jihadis out of patriotism. Average Abdul, simply put, is unwilling to risk his life for the clown regime, which has not earned his devotion, even for money.

Average Abdul will, however, risk his life for an idea, just as al Qaeda's jihadis do. Once, that idea was pan-Arabism, or Communism. Today, both are discredited. "Moderate Islam," whatever that means in a dusty town in Syria, Jordan or Egypt, obviously does not have the fire to motivate Abdul to risk his life to fight the Islamists. The only idea with the juice to do the job is popular sovereignty. Democracy. This is the realist case for the Bush administration's "democratization strategy" (although it is not entirely clear how many people inside the Bush administration understand the realist case for their most important strategy).

The jihadis understand this, and fight against democracy in the Arab world with everything they've got, even if it costs them their Ba'athist allies.

In fighting against democracy in the Arab world, the jihadis polarize Arabs. While many decry this polarization as "instability," by its nature polarization creates more enemies of the jihad. Some of these new enemies of jihad will be disgusted with al Qaeda's mass casualty attacks, or they will be "national aspiration" Islamists who are threatened by the jihad's internationalist reach and ambition. Others will be inspired by their last, best chance at some form of representative government. Either way, enemies of the jihad pick up a weapon, walk a post and -- most importantly -- drop a dime on their enemy, even if they don't like Americans. Wherever a reasonably representative government emerges, Average Abdul will start to turn in the jihadis in the back of the mosque, now for his own reasons.

Of course, the clown regimes will also try to subvert the democracy movement, which is ultimately as great a threat to their longevity as al Qaeda. That is why they are at least tacitly supporting the resistance in Iraq and fighting political reforms in their own countries tooth and nail, hammer and tongs.

In Iraq, al Qaeda is so concerned that democracy might take root that it has drawn a line in the sand. Having fled Afghanistan and taunted the West with bloody but fundamentally low-impact attacks from London to Bali, al Qaeda has finally put its credibility on the line in Iraq.

Unfortunately for al Qaeda, Iraq is a strategic trap, because the conditions of the battlefield are forcing al Qaeda to inflict massive collateral damage. Its only tools are targeted assassinations, publicized atrocities (such as webcast decapitations and the bombing of mosques) and indiscriminate mass casualty attacks. None of these is endearing al Qaeda to Arabs. It is one thing, after all, to slaughter Westerners, Russians and Jews, but Arab children and holy places are another matter entirely. And al Qaeda has no opportunity to build support by doing good in Iraq, as it did in the Taliban's Afghanistan (and as even Islamist "national aspiration" insurgencies, such as Hamas, have done). In Iraq and elsewhere in the Muslim world, the jihad cannot build schools or help the poor -- it is the Americans who are doing that. Al Qaeda can only lash out.

In Iraq, al Qaeda's indiscriminate violence does not stand a snowball's chance in Ramadi against 9 million purple fingers and the revulsion of the average Iraqi. Even its Sunni rejectionist allies are deserting the jihadis. This is powerful evidence that the credibility of al Qaeda's ideology is declining. Al Qaeda has staked its prestige on Iraq. If it is discredited there -- whether by our guile or its own lack of it -- so will its ideology be.

As al Qaeda suffers defeats, its ideology will slowly lose credibility, just as happened to communism. As the jihad's ideological credibility degrades, it will be much harder for al Qaeda to attract recruits and money. Also, al Qaeda's ability to coerce the front-line apostate regimes will diminish, and those governments will increasingly cooperate with the West, hoping to preserve some measure of privilege once the war peters out.

So, progress in the war against al Qaeda consists of these elements:

Over the short-term

a. Arrest or kill the jihadis whenever and wherever possible. Yes, their network will route around the damage, but new fighters need to be trained and trusted enough to deploy. When we destroy the old guard we buy critical time.

b. Coerce Muslim states, including especially the clown regimes, into cooperating with the United States. If successful coercion requires that the United States stake its own credibility -- as in Iraq -- so be it.

c. Interdict states, Muslim or otherwise, that we cannot reliably deter from assisting jihadis to acquire and deploy WMD.

d. Do not lose a chance to humiliate al Qaeda on the battlefield.

Each of these methods will inspire -- and have inspired -- resentment against the United States in the Muslim world and, indeed, among anti-Americans in the West. While that resentment costs us something and more skillful management of the war might mitigate it, we cannot allow the resentment of others to stay our prosecution of the war.

Over the long-term

x. Give the average Muslim an idea worth fighting for. Average Abdul need not "like" the United States or give us "credit" in any way, shape or form for this strategy to work. He only needs to want to choose his own government and have an idea how to do that.

y. As the winds of history sweep away clown regimes, see that credible, serious, non-jihadi governments take their place. These governments need not be secular, and their institutions do not have to be instantly mature. But they need to be credible and serious, and derive their legitimacy from a broad swath of the population willing to defend them against jihad. In this regard, we should not be afraid of "national aspiration" Islamist movements. These organizations are hostile to Israel and the United States, but as long as they aspouse popular sovereignty they are rejecting al Qaeda's vision. That rejection is more important than their acceptance of the United States and Israel.

z. We must do what we can to humiliate al Qaeda on the battlefield and foster the repudiation of jihadi ideology in the Muslim world. While public diplomacy may help, one lesson of Iraq is that al Qaeda will discredit itself if we goad it into fighting in the Muslim world rather than in the West. By some accounts, bin Laden wanted the United States to invade Iraq, thinking that it would be a strategic trap for the Americans. If al Qaeda fails to stop the new democracy there, however, Iraq will have been a strategic trap for bin Laden.

The victory condition

Once sufficiently discredited, the ideology of the jihad will no longer attract money and volunteers. We will have won when al Qaeda no longer has the human and financial resources to develop or acquire mass casualty weapons and deploy them in the West or against Western interests in the Middle East.

A final observation

There are more lessons in the Cold War than Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft ever will admit. Like jihadism, communism was conceived 70 years or so before it established its first regime. Thereafter, like jihadism, it enjoyed considerable support even within the countries of the West that opposed it. Nevertheless, after most of a century communism as anything other than a name was discredited everywhere that mattered, and could no longer attract money or volunteers or even favorable coverage in university newspapers. It will take much less time to discredit the jihad because its first regime was Afghanistan, not the largest Great Power of its age. But we will not have won until we have done so.

Of course, your comments are what I live for.


Blogger Doug said...

Hate to start with a downer (via 'Rat, of course!) but Iran has been a leading sponser of Terror since '79 at least.

" ... Condi and her colleagues may come home and say, privately, it ain't so. But it is so. Much of the U.S. government no longer believes in, and is no longer acting to enforce, the Bush Doctrine.
"The United States of America understands and believes that Iran is not Iraq." That's a diplomatic way of saying that the United States of America is in retreat.
-William Kristol ..."
"Iran Is Not Iraq"

I often don't care for some of Kristol's views, but this one is hard for me to argue with.

4/29/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


4/29/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

The big questions are

1) whether or not our side will lose momentum before the Islamists make gains that are too significant to overcome (i.e. in Europe and Africa)

2) related to 1) whether the west has the willpower and the foresight to fight

4/29/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Measuring in the way you suggest, I believe we are doing very well. We've made a lot of progress in the relatively short period since 2001, especially when compared to the Cold War, and even more so against the background of our fecklessness, and the way we indeed actively presented an open invitation to further attacks, during the decade leading up to 2001.

Much of the credit for this sharp turnaround has to go to GWB.

4/29/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"The United States of America understands and belives that Iran is not Iraq."

You betcha.

4/29/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Very, very well constructed post, Tigerhawk. I think you're right, up and down the line.

Be prepared to be branded a Pangloss Bushie, as waves of sneer ungulf anyone who holds that this war is not only far from a disaster, but had to be fought regardless.

It *is* to open up possibilities for Average Abdul that we fight this war in the manner fought, as opening up a new world for Average Abdul is the only way to peace for our own people as we are now.

And, as crazy as it may sound, our best chance at avoiding open war with Iran is to be willing to fight it, on behalf of the democracy project, and to keep the worst WMD from the Jihadis.

I'm really heartened to read your post, as it's clearly a point of view that can be defended on realistic merit, by anyone unbound to "willfully ignore everything the President says".

4/29/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...


When I read your article in an earlier form, I found it to be excellent. However in its current form it is even better.

You said the following:

"By some accounts, bin Laden wanted the United States to invade Iraq, thinking that it would be a strategic trap for the Americans."

Who can say what went through bin Laden's mind when he was planning 9/11? However I suspect bin Laden's assumption was the US would attack the Taliban in Afghanistan directly with American troops (like the Soviets did) rather than use the Northern Alliance as a proxy. Bin Laden tried to remove the Northern Alliance as a viable player when 2 days before the 9/11 attack he had Ahmed Shah Masood assassinated (Masood was the charismatic leader of the Northern Alliance). Also I suspect bin Laden intended for the US to invade Saudi Arabia rather Iraq. The overwhelming majority of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi citizens. Because of Bin Laden's world view, he would have seen the 9/11 attack as a perfect excuse for the United States to seize the Saudi oil fields (on 9/11 we had troops remaining from Operation Desert Storm on Saudi territory). Again bin Laden's strategy was anticipated and the United States did the precise opposite by withdrawing our remaining troops from Saudi Arabia.

IMHO, Iraq was not a significant factor in Bin Laden's original planning. However the United States made Iraq a signficant factor after our military victory against the Taliban. By doing so, we stopped merely responding to Al Qaeda's original strategy and forced Al Qaeda to respond to our strategy (we seized the initiative).

4/29/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Most excellent!
You might well be the next SDB.

Our ace in the hole is the fact that populations that succumb to the Jihaidsts are taken out of play for a long time. That is why it doesn't matter (to America) if the Sudan or Europe falls to the Umma. They can contribute nothing to the fight for either side as Islamic states and they are not helping us now, so it's no biggie.

4/29/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

An initiative which OBL has partly regained fabian-like, by staying visible only enough to emphasize the lack of further attacks on US soil, by which he intends to become a paper tiger to the part of the American electorate than can be counted on to misconvert the ploy.

4/29/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Buddy Larsen said:

"as crazy as it may sound, our best chance at avoiding open war with Iran is to be willing to fight it, on behalf of the democracy project, and to keep the worst WMD from the Jihadis."

This is obviously true. However the problem we face with the Iranians is the question of what is motivating them. Cases in point:

1) With their nuclear facilities: Are the Iranians being supper subtle and playing "Brer Rabbit" begging not to be flung into the briar patch?
2) Are the Iranian comments about nuking Israel just propaganda noise for internal consumption?
3) Are the Iranian leaders a bunch of crazed towel heads running around in circles chanting "Jihad, Allah Akabar!" but having no real plan and ultimately hoping that Allah will save them in the end?

If they're following Case 1) then we're in business because I think we can eventually out smart them. However if the Iranians are following Case 3) then unless we're alot smarter than I think we are, we'll probably end up nuking them (that's NOT a victory condition!).

4/29/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"anyone unbound to "willfully ignore everything the President says."
"That would represent a substantial change on the part of the Bush administration, which just last year said it *opposed* a path to citizenship for those currently here illegally."
He was against it before he was for it.
(But of course he is now for it only in "Closed Meetings" w/Reid, the Rinos Hagel et al, and McCain.
Scratch Kyle, Cornyn, the GOP House, and the American people.
Not to mention the law and his oath of office.)

4/29/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

4)Are they to be believed when they vow they will spread their Nukes around the ME and beyond?

4/29/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ric said...

It seems to me that Iran is spoiling for a fight for a reason, but why? Do they seriously think they could win? I think not. Kristol's comment that the U.S. is in retreat sounds suspect to me. I think it is more likely that something is happening on the ground in Iran. For some reason the U.S. thinks that the goal can be accomplished a different way than in Iraq. I've heard theories about forces in Iran that could topple the govenment due to resentment among the people. Why assume that because the B-2's don't have their engines running there is no plan?

4/29/2006 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

FOCUSING [Michael Ledeen]
Let's start with this bulletin from the Marine Corps in Iraq:
HADITHA, Iraq (April 27, 2006) -- Staff Sgt. Jason C. Ramseyer will be remembered for the countless sacrifices he made for his brethren Marines.His final sacrifice came when he was killed April 21, 2006, by an improvised explosive device while on a convoy in Haditha in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province.
The Hawaii-based “America’s Battalion” arrived in Iraq about six weeks ago to replace another Marine battalion conducting security operations in this region along the Euphrates River.

“He had courage,” said Ferguson, who was also exposed to the blast that killed Ramseyer. “He would always go to the front line and he never showed fear in doing so. He had the mentality of a true warrior.”
“He would never put a Marine in a dangerous situation he was not willing to put himself in first,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Kiernan, 33, company gunnery sergeant for the battalion’s Headquarters and Service Company.

“His Marines respected him because he treated them, regardless of rank, with the respect and dignity they deserved. He was a great friend and a great Marine. We will all miss him.”
Ramseyer is survived by his wife, Amanda and his three children, Caleb, Riley and Cadence.
Now two questions, one for the president, and one for those generals demanding that Rumsfeld resign:
Mr. President:
You know, as those Marines know, that the IEDs are coming from Iran. Staff Sgt Ramseyer certainly knew it, as do his men from 3rd Marines.
Why are you not ordering the military to act against the sites where the IEDs are being assembled?
And why are you not ordering strikes against the terrorist training camps in Iran and in Syria?
Is that not legitimate self-defense?

4/30/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

America. Hezbollah, Illegal Immigration, and the Next 9/11
In a speech in September 2002, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage described the danger of the organization:
Hezbollah may be the A team of terrorists and maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B team.”
In a November/December 2003 Foreign Affairs article, Should Hezbollah Be Next? , national security expert Daniel Byman makes the same point about Hezbollah’s impressive track record compared to al-Qaeda:
In the U.S. Demonology of terrorism, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are relative newcomers.
For most of the past two decades, Hezbollah has claimed pride of place as the top concern of U.S. counterterrorism officials.
It was Hezbollah that pioneered the use of suicide bombing, and its record of attacks on the United States and its allies would make even bin Laden proud…
In the course of its 20-year history, Hezbollah has amply demonstrated its hostility, its lethality, and its skill. (pp. 56-57)
We began this discussion by mentioning FBI Director Robert Mueller’s recent testimony to Congress about busting up a Hezbollah Mexican smuggling ring . But several years ago, Director Mueller admitted in a very candid moment while speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee that a wave of suicide bombers being unleashed throughout America was “inevitable. At the time, he wasn’t aware that an Associated Press reporter was in the room to record his comments.

When asked about the possibility of suicide bombings in America, Mueller said, “I think we will see that in the future – I think it’s inevitable,” adding that, “There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it. It’s something we all live with.”

Mueller’s statements should make the point that illegal immigration is not just about poor Mexicans trying to find a decent living; it is also about America’s enemies entering our country with every intention of causing mayhem, destruction and death.

4/30/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hezbollah was responsible for the single most deadly terrorist attack against the U.S. before 9/11 - the Oct. 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 243 U.S. troops.

In November, an al-Qaida operative who was on the FBI's terrorist watch list was captured near the Mexican border, housed in a Texas jail and turned over to federal agents, according to Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas.

"A confirmed al-Qaida terrorist, an Iraqi national, was held in the Brewster County jail," Rep. Culberson told ABC Radio host Sean Hannity. "He was captured in Mexico. This was within the last six weeks. He was turned over to the FBI."

4/30/2006 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

Overall I think this posting has a realistic view of things. One thing I find troubling is that I feel our administration's strategy is misunderstood by many on both the left and the right in the US. This is due in no small part to a seeming unwillingness on the part of the administration to market it.

Many of the Islamist movements in the region are born out of total frustration and a search for an idea (as you noted) that people could fight for. In the past, people who tried to champion a political idea such as democracy have been seen as a threat by the leadership. Using Islam as their rallying point was a way to choose a cause that the leadership could not put down without appearing to be anti-Islamic. It was the one issue that was allowed to exist by the leadership. At the same time, while being allowed to exist, these movments were kept out of politics. Egypt, for example, prevented them from standing for elections.

When a group is prevented from taking part, they have a tendancy to radicalize. There is a certain frustration. It isn't very much different from a teen-ager as they get close to adulthood demanding more in the way of self-determination. At some point they need to be given responsibility. Once they have this responsibility, most moderate as it dawns on them how difficult things really are at that level.

Same things with the Islamist political movements. It is in our interest to get across to people in the Middle East that we do not support Israel because they are Jewish, we support them because they are a democracy with a capitalist economy. They are a showcase of what economic miracles can come from such a system even in the middle of a desert.

So the Palistinians elect Hamas, a radical Islamist organization who endorses terrorist action to reach their objectives. Now they are suddenly in charge. We say fine, congratulation on your election, if you want us to deal with you, you must renounce terror and abide by past agreements.

We have not called the Hamas victory invalid and we have left the door open to working with them if they act responsibly. The people voted for them not because they were terrorists, but because they were seen as less corrupt than Fatah. Now the terrorist aspect of Hamas is becoming a problem. There is pressure building from both world governments (potential aid, development, and trading partners) and from the people themselves (who might toss Hamas out of power the first chance they get) for Hamas to do something.

I believe holding power will change Hamas more than any other thing that can happen. It will be a maturing experiance and result in changes we could never hope to accomplish from outside. They must be learning a million lessons a day at this point. I believe this experiance will moderate them.

Now should they moderate and we engage with them, I also have a feeling that real political movements based on democratic ideals and not religious ideals will begin to flourish. Over time these movements (probably political parties) will begin to displace the Islamist movements. The more moderate Islamist movements are, I believe, a transition phase. They were borne out of desperation when people wanted some self-deterministic government and the Islamic path was the only one allowed to exist as to crush it would be seen as heresy.

It probably ISN'T in our best interest, however, to support movements in countries where they have not already been recognized by the government and been allowed to participate. It would be foolish to back a movement in Jordan or Saudi Arabia, for example, that could be seen by the ruling monarchy as a threat. The downside potential far outweighs the downside potential. When, however, groups ARE allowed to participate and elections are held and these groups take office, it is in our long term interest to engage with them in order to show them that it is democracy that we support, not one religion over another. This will, hopefully, cause them to moderate. This will, hopefully, allow existing governments to lose their fear of allowing political participation. And that will eventually allow non-religious poltical forces based on the concept of secular democracy to sring forth.

4/30/2006 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

The West is far tougher than either our enemies or we ourselves imagine. This is not because we are Westerners, or because we live in a democracy which we ultimately treasure enough to defend, nor because we are Christian, Jew, or Secular Humanist educated better than the great majority of the third world. It is because we are human and share in a legacy of persistence that, if anything, has been distilled by the self-selection process by which immigrants have concentrated themselves in North America.

It is not much recalled in daily conversation that Russia lost some twenty millions of its citizens as casualties of The Great Patriotic War (WWII) — 10,600,000 armed forces, and 11,500,000 civilians, by some counts. What is recalled even less is that Stalin slaughtered and starved AT LEAST that many Soviet citizens simply imposing agricultural collectivization and consolidating control over the populace. Some estimates for the total number of soviet citizens murdered, executed, starved, or worked to death in gulags range as high as fifty million people between 1919 and 1989. Considering this horrific bleeding, the nation managed many astonishing achievements.

My point is that we in America lose almost as many citizens every month to drunk drivers as we lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Without boring all of you with the elementary math involved, it would take a huge number of similar attacks to approach the total casualties we absorbed in World War II. And part of the reason 9-11 was so disruptive is that we were unprepared, and pissed away enormous energies and efforts in what after the fact amounts to hand-wringing and fault-finding. I don’t want us to ever become accustomed to such outrages, but we will learn to focus increasingly on dealing with terrorism much more rationally and effectively.

I salute Wretchard again for doing such a magnificent job of clarifying the issues with posts such as this one.

4/30/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

I wanted to add, based on other reader comments, that Hezbollah is a different sort of animal. It is basically an Iranian proxy in Lebanon. When Iran experianced their revolution, they vowed to export the concept of the Islamic Republic. Lebanon was weak and overrun by external influences. It was easy for Iran to set up shop there as Hezbollah. Iran provides funding, training, and other support. Syria, an Iranian ally, provides arms and equipment.

The recent events in Lebanon surrounding the bombings there has caused public sentiment to reach a "tipping point" as a new Lebanese nationalism has emerged. There are louder and more frequent calls for Hezbollah to disarm and become a political party.

In their current configuration, Hezbollah is increasingly being seen by Lebanese as a threat to Lebanese national security. Under the control of Iran, heavily armed, and unpredictable, Hezbollah must be brought into the Lebanese political system and cut their ties to Iran and Syria. And again, I believe that if they do this and take their place at the table of elected leadership in the country, they will moderate. Their security will be tied to the security of Lebanon and the voters that put them in office, and not the security of Iran.

Don't expect this to change overnight. Things like this take time, longer than US election cycles. But what we need to do is make it clear that if and when they decide to change their ways, we will be there to engage with them to show them what democracy can accomplish. If they see a better life for their children and grandchildren going this route, then it has a chance. Radicalism is born out of frustration when you have nothing to lose.

Dying doesn't matter when living doesn't matter either.

4/30/2006 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hawk claims to have prepared this post while doing this:
Live-blogging the White House correspondents' dinner
Multithreading Multitasking MoFo Hawk.
Belmont Club has piles upon piles of stuff on McCarthy.

4/30/2006 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger dog of flanders said...

Does anyone think that all the crazy rhetoric coming out of Iran is actually helping the US negotiating basing rights with Iraq?

If I were an iraqi leader, and the US were to ask "hey, can we have a base to station a few early-boost interceptors?", I wouldn't bother to negotiate, I'd just say, "Sure, go pick a location".

4/30/2006 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hawk's Alma Mater Shines:
Princeton Students Pass the Academic Bill of Rights
A thumbs up for academic freedom and intellectual diversity. LINK

4/30/2006 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Asheesh Siddique '07, the leader of Free Exchange at Princeton, led a campaign against the SBOR.
"The Republicans did a good job misleading people."

Siddique plans on filing a complaint with the USG regarding an introductory economics course, because it ignores "Marxist economic viewpoints, privileging capitalist ones exclusively."

Jeez Louise, Asheesh!

4/30/2006 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger CorporateCog said...

Rumsfled recently said we are losing the propaganda war.

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya could be very usefull metrics for determining victory. Perhaps some simple metrics such as hours per day, or simply number of blurbs per day, of pro-al Queda coverage compared to pro-Arab democracy.

My gut feeling is that we would also need some kind of metric concerning the number of sectarian schools, or pupils, compared to the number of islamic schools or students. But this would actually be a metric measuring the progress in the defeat of political Islam, not of the "millenial movements".

4/30/2006 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

AL Queda/Taliban continues to train and gain recruits in Warizistan, (land of Nukes) and Wahhabist Terrorists are gaining strength in Bangladesh, where they recently had 500 bombings in ONE Day!

4/30/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

Hey, folks, take a look at this:

Scary and it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck now that I remember seeing the other day that muslim organizations were going to join in Monday's demonstrations.

4/30/2006 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Without Iran there is no longer a base for radical Islam. It is the real al-Qaeda. Iran has some glaring weaknesses. The regime is hated by a large part of its population. It has no natural allies. It is being played by China because China needs its oil. It’s being played by Hugo Chavez, because he wants to humiliate The US. The Russians, ever the opportunists, see economic advantage, but no country will fight or ally itself with Iran, not Afghanistan, Turkey, Russia, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian government is desperately weak. They want to do what a weak smart fighter does and provoke the US to come in flailing away and punch itself out. They know that when the US bombs start falling they win. They will eradicate their opposition and use the renewed Iranian nationalism to fight the aggressor. We will have been sucked into their lair.

We need to get a grip. The first thing to do is to drive down the price of oil. That does not mean cheaper oil. It means the opposite. The US should tax imported oil up to between four and five dollars per gallon and keep it there. There are many ways to help those who are hurt. The important thing is to drive down consumption and this will drive down producer prices to Iran and others. As the producer price declines, increase the tax maintaining the new high consumer price. The tax revenue could be recycled into the economy with infrastructure such as a national "trucks only" highway system. This takes away clout away from Iran and can incubate a new synthetic domestic fuel industry. It takes a politician with stones to tell the American people higher gas prices at the pump beats more artificial limbs on twenty-year-old marines.

The US needs to demonstrate to Iran that any action by them or their surrogates will be met with a guaranteed measured response. The first response will be against the regime, including homes, palaces, administration, police and mosques of the regime. The second against military targets and the third against their nuclear facilities. This should not be pre-emptive as it will cost us political support and gives Iran no incentive.

The most powerful picture for the world would be that of Iranians overthrowing the mullahs. The mullahs know that could happen and they also know the one thing that could save them would be George Bush. There is no urgency on the part of the US to attack Iran.

4/30/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hezbollah’s ability to smuggle terrorist personnel and equipment into the U.S. seemingly at will, potentially to launch terrorist attacks against America, makes their activity south of the border all the more important.
It should provide much-needed clarity to the present discussions in Washington D.C. about our border security and illegal immigration."

4/30/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Harrywr2 said...

"Iran is not Iraq"

From the Jihadi perspective, Iran was "The Model". Just as Russia was "The Model" for Communism.

But the model has been rolled back in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and to some extent Palestine.

The real question is whether Ahmadinejad of Iran is the Historical equivalent of Stalin or Andropov.

Hardliners tend to signal either the end of the beginning, or the beginning of an end of an idealogy.

4/30/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Excellent, Tigerhawk.

Just one point:

These kings, princes, sheikhs and generals-for-life are clowns, and anybody who views any of them -- even the "moderate" ones -- as better than contemptible is seriously deranged. History is against them, and every thoughtful person in the world knows it. The question is, what will replace them?

I think we make a mistake in the West in associating kings, princes, sheikhs and generals-for-life as the only rulers of people. In Arab countries(?), we must include the Imam. Of all the clowns in the world, the most ridiculous is the Imam.

Just a simple question - suppose the shake-down bully-boy tactics of the Imams were actually reversed, and one or two of the radical Imams 'disappeared' after a fiery speech designed to keep Joe Abdhull in his place, would that open some daylight?

Just asking.


4/30/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

The US should tax imported oil up to between four and five dollars per gallon and keep it there.

Well, let's see, with 42 gal/bbl, and
14,000,000 bbl/day imported, that is a new tax of (4.5 x 42 x 14,000,000 x 365) = $965,790,000,000. Or about 7% of GDP. Of course, with the world spinning into a new depression, I'd guess receipts wouldn't match expectations. Would definitely help assure GWB a place in the history books.

My math is an approximation, but I hope you get my drift.

4/30/2006 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Right now the US pays a tax to the oil producers which is the marginal revenue over whatever the real price of oil is. The pricing , revenue and economic decisions are out of US hands. If the US decides to develop a synthetic fuel program, the oil producing countries can stop it with price reductions. We are not in control of our energy program. The way to stop that is to discourage imports of oil, develop a domestice synthetic oil policy and take back the initiative on strategic energy decisions. Brazil figured out a way to do it. Brazil, I think the US can compete with Brazil don't you? The UK pays $6.50 a gallon and their world has not collapsed. The tax on imported petroleum can be offset by the reduction of social security witholding tax if you like.

There are intelligent ways to get hold of your own destiny and foreign policy if you do not fall into the trap of believing the nonsense that an increase in the price of gasoline is going to destroy the American economy. If you do noy believe that and most people do not then you are addicted to a pernicious economic drug, imported oil. The dealers consist of countries that are hardly your friends. If you think you are helpless, then perhaps you are.

4/30/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

" ... And, in any circumstance, the proportion of oil supplied from the Middle East will rise from around two-thirds today to more than 80 per cent by 2020. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is right to think Iran holds all the cards. One of the geopolitical consequences of the invasion of Iraq - and why the fight to establish some form of democracy there is now so important - is that world oil supplies will be controlled by Islamic fundamentalists, Shia in Iraq and Iran and Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.

Oil is transforming world politics. Iran can afford to face down the wrath of the West and be robust about becoming a nuclear power because it has the cast-iron support of China - secured by oil.

In November 2004, Iran gave China the rights to exploit the giant Yadavaran field. Importantly, China plans to bring this oil into China, not across the Indian Ocean and through the Malacca Straits, but by pipeline across central Asia, free from the surveillance of the US fleet. China's attitude to Iran is foretold; it has refused to condemn Sudan over the killings in Darfur since Sudan allowed it to build a 500-mile pipeline to the coast. Ahmadinejad can therefore be 100 per cent certain that China will veto any attempt to win UN approval for military intervention in Iran. ... "
by Mr Will Hutton.
from the Observer, which is part of the Guardian group

With the ascention of Mr Maliki in Iraq, the degradation of the ISF into a corrupted force is sure to follow. The integration of the Militias into the ISF structure is no way to remove the Militia's disruptive influence from Iraqi society. It is going to further empower them.

aQ is but a portion of the Mohammedan threat.
The idea that Mohammedan aggression in Sudan, Warizistan, Georgia or Chechnya can be overlooked, 'cause those aggressions are not "aQ" and not about oil and do not affect US, is shortsighted at best.

What I was saying months ago, that the US was not really at War, is now echoed by many pundits, Mr Kristol just being the latest.

The Administration purposfully confused the War on Sunni Insurectionists in Iraq with the War on Terror.

The Administration is now handing Iraq over to it's dominant political class, one of our Strategic opponents in the War on Terror.
The Enemy of our Enemy, is not our friend. Because in reality, they are but an extension of the next Enemy.

4/30/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

desert rat -

"The Enemy of our Enemy, is not our friend. Because in reality, they are but an extension of the next Enemy."

True, but may I gently suggest that would have been the argument against helping the Soviet Union stay in the fight against Germany. In a short period -- 1939 to June 1941, we went from an alliance (or at least an arrangement) between the two totalitarian powers to war between them, a war that was very advantageous to us, however ruinous it was to them. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were closer in form than either were to the West, but there were fundamental and irreconcileable ideological differences between them. We did not interfere with the full development of those differences, and exploited them to shift the real burden of the war against Germany on to the Soviets.

Yes, there are lots of arguments about the strengths and weaknesses in that analogy to the present day. Point is, we have to get a lot more nuanced in our thinking about Islam, not just distinguishing between liberal, relatively secular Muslims and Islamists, but looking for critical differences among the Islamists. Some Islamists are radicalized to the point of violence, others are not. We need Muslims to identify these differences for us, and we need to start dividing these people rather than pushing them together. The good news is, I think that is happening.

Now, the question of Iran is an interesting one. If you read guys like Kenneth Timmerman, all of these guys are the same. My own view is that there are massive differences between the Iranians and al Qaeda, even though the former were inspiration, in a sense, for the latter. Yes, the Iranians created the modern example of ascendant Muslims who wouldn't take any guff from the West, and particularly the United States. They created a society that was, in its heyday, an inspiration for the jihadis, even if it was at the same time Shiite and therefore apostate. But they arre not ideological bedfellows, they are allies of convenience.

Timmerman and a few others aside say that Iran and al Qaeda are all of a piece. I think that is a dangerously simple way of looking at it. For starters, it is the case that Iran viewed al Qaeda and the Taliban as a huge threat, and was astonishingly cooperative with the United States in the period running up to and including Operation Enduring Freedom (offering to let damaged planes land there, and to help in search and rescue). Does that mean that the Iranians won't also get their hands dirty with al Qaeda if they think they can get some leverage on the United States? Of course it doesn't. Whatever the documentary evidence that has been adduced, it is obvious that al Qaeda has been more than willing to work with "apostates" that can help them, including certainly the Iranians and plausibly the Ba'athists. Well, Hitler was willing to work with Stalin to buy time for his war against the West.

My own view is that our objectives are best served by getting all these groups fighting with each other. Yes, it makes for more violence in that part of the world, so the State Department's "terrorism" report makes it look as though things are getting worse. But the key to this war will be the ability of the counterinsurgency -- whether represented by the House of Saud or General Musharraf or the government of Iraq or Thailand or the Philippines -- to infiltrate the insurgency. That becomes a lot easier if the Muslims are all fighting each other.

Sorry for the long comment -- probably getting incoherent here.

4/30/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

While the main point of raising the gas tax (but not $4/gal?!) would be suppressing oil demand, what is the confidence level that our elected representatives would use the windfall revenues for the good? Something in me foresees more bridges to nowhere and mohair price supports.

4/30/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

doug -

Thanks for the link to the story about the Princeton Students Bill of Rights. Very interesting, and also (for me) gratifying. I had missed it.

Asheesh Siddique is sort of the all-purpose lefty on campus. He usually shows up an asks questions when political figures come to speak (I see a lecture or other event on campus about once every six weeks or so, real job permitting). Siddique is not a bad guy, for a commie, though. He has a sense of humor -- he was the guy who organized the "filibuster" against the "nuclear option" in front of the Frist Campus Center a year ago (for those of you who followed that uniquely American controversy). I covered that affair rather extensively in early May last year. Here a link to a post with a photo of Mr. Siddique, in fact.

Sorry to take it off topic.

4/30/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Tigerhawk said:

"My own view is that our objectives are best served by getting all these groups fighting with each other."

That lesson was lost after Afghanistan and that is astonishing to me. The US and every other occupying power has time running against it when it chooses to stay too long. There is a civil war going on within Islam. 911 was the all time sucker punch and unlikely to be repeated. The response to eliminate the Taliban and the host government by forcing Pakistan to take a side and using the Northern Alliance was brilliant. It started to go down hill with the establishment of a war-on-terror beauracracy. Guantanamo was a bad idea. Giving captured jihadists a Koran via the gloved hand of an American GI is PC gone wild. There are plenty of opportunities to assist disparate Islamic forces who are opposed to the jihadists. If we get smart, and stay smart we will be there to see the jihadists disappear, at the the hands of Islamic forces hostile to them, democratic or not..

4/30/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would agree with the thrust of the what you said, but the implementatin of the balancing is all important.

aQ is itself, a diverse ill defined group.
Mini Z joined late, but previously had always been an active jihadist.

Dr Z and Osama are the ideologes at the "base", they are the foundation of aQ, but not Jihad.

Will Nationalism trump Religion, in Iraq?
Not, I predict, in the person of Mr Maliki. He was Mr al-Jaafari's spokesmen and by extension Mr al-Sadr's faction, prior to his ascention.
I have seen no evidence to lead to a contrary opinion.

When the Supreme Council Islamic for Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI, is considered to be the "moderate" group....

When the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army are all outfitted in ISF uniforms, that will be a good day for US, bringing Victory in the Mohameddan Wars and Stability to the Middle East ever closer?

4/30/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

400 or so T-72 tanks that Saddam's forces had, they are stockpiled and as of six months ago, were being refurbished.

If the Mahdi Division of the restructured ISF gets it's fair share, General al-Sadr will get his own Armored Brigade.

4/30/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

...the other gladiators laugh at him, as he stares and sniffs at his gruel, and then the black African gladiator says,
"Eat! First, he must kill your name, THEN he can kill you."

We're putting the hurts to al-Qaeda, and its supporters and its cadre...

First, we kill its field operatives, THEN we kill its name while we're killing its leaders...

4/30/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

no karridine, not tomorrow.

You never win by doing it tomorrow.

Once the decision to take action is made
Move aggresively until Victory is achieved.
Do not wait, do not hesitate.
He who hesitiates is lost
Who dares, wins

It is the maxim of The Five Rings, the essence of attaining victory in combat or war.

Take decisive action, now

4/30/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Read Bill Roggio current update on the Battle for Warizistan, aQ's newest training grounds. The Taliban are in effective control of the countryside, both North and South. The Pakistani Army, garrisoned and harassed in two major depots, does not control the landscape.

Pakistan's Taliban Insurgency
" ... Pakistan remains in a largely reactionary posture in North and South Waziristan, while the Taliban continues to openly consolidate power. A Pakistani Taliban commander is openly recruiting jihadis to fight in Afghanistan while calling for further implementation of strict Shariah law, according to Pakistan's Daily Times. ... "

4/30/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

Al Qaeda absolutely remains a huge threat, and they will try to carve out areas of control in the borderlands of Muslim countries until they are defeated. If they are driven out of Pakistan, they will go someplace else. It will be a long war.

4/30/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

but, tigerhawk, if the Enemy iss not persued, harassed and destroyed, daily, he will consolidate and grow.

When allowed Sanctuary, the Enemy takes full advantage.
Whether in Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Cambodia or Laos.

The song remains the same

The US is only at War with two acknowledged Enemies, one is in the Docket, political peace is at hand.

The others roam the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Where our proxies are not up to the task at hand.

4/30/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

FoxNews is reporting Iranian artillery firing across the Iraq-Iran border. In the north, the Kurdistan area. The Iranians are firing into Iraq, at "rebels" who've "taken refuge" in Iraq.

4/30/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

To me, geopolitical babe in the woods that I am, it all comes down to what we do or don't do about Iran. Iran with nukes, if they don't have them already,seems to me to make any planning in M.E.really tough. Not that it isn't already. I think we are going to bomb, sooner rather than later. I have bitten my hand, and hope we do. And keep on again and again if we must. A humbled Iran would seem to me to make many of the other problems spoken of a lot easier. But then there is that law of unintended consequences...

4/30/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now, if Mr Bush were to declare US at War with Iran, under his Authority provided in the Auhorization for Use of Force, 14Sep01, my targeting priorities would change.
He has made no such declaration.

We should be actively engaged against the aQ/ Taliban elements, in Warizistan, in a very public way.
Covert operations, at this point, are not enough. We are beyond the need for deniability, if we are at War.

Indeed being seen as on Offense, in a battle most of US would support, the War against Osama, would be a "good thing" in the PR Battle, both here and abroad, as well.

Give the Democrats what they've been asking for, War on Osama.

4/30/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I'd love to see the Mullahs find themselves in a major "unintended consequences" situation. Some of the Hezzbollah-style tactics blowing back on them. Tupperware, as much and as long as it takes. A viet-cong level insurrection on their hands, would do wonders to discredit that caliphate megalomania.

4/30/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Our Enemies know the truth about Sanctuaries, buddy.
They will not stand for it, lines on the ground be damned.

4/30/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Welcome aboard, buddy!
Back to the fifties, aye.

4/30/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

I agree with Doug (and the Israelis) that Iran and Hezbollah are the greater threat than Al Queda and its strain of Jihad. Thank you, Doug, for all the links to articles supporting that view. Michael Totten has a good report on the latest Iranian deployment of Hezbollah forces on the Israel-Lebanon border, which Iran now considers the new 'front line' in its battle against Israel. Go to

Tigerhawk's post is too macro and not sufficiently grounded in empirical evidence to be very useful or convincing. The advice is vague. "See that credible, serious, non-jihadi governments take their place" is of course the great task, but saying so is not much more helpful than saying "See that the world becomes a better place."

4/30/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The 50s would've worked far better had not McArthur's Plan--the one that got him fired--not included 26 nukes, including Vladivostok. It was just too much. So we flipped the other way, and settled on the 38th parallel. Outside 1.5 million KIA, the invasion cost the Coms nada.

Today, April 30, BTW, is the 31st anniversary of the official unconditional surrender of South Vietnam to North Vietnam. Which itself was 30 years to the day of Hitler's suicide. That long negotiation at Panmunjon, with the NoKos screaming and pounding the table while our guys stared astonished at the theatrics, was Sanctuary 101, Lesson #1.

4/30/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Without doubt there is and will be conflict within the various schools of Islamism. For instance, it remains to be seen whether the Shi’a of Iraq will agree to Iranian suzerainty in the long run.

It must be recalled during the analysis of the radicalization of the groups referenced within Tigerhawk’s lede that the Islamists have benefited greatly from nurturing Western confusion. Consider the experience of Israel.

For decades the Israelis have had to contend with so-called “political” adversaries, while simultaneously fighting the so-called “militant” wings of the self-same adversaries. This situation allowed for attacks on Israel with very flimsy plausible deniability of responsibility by the political branches. It is likely that the US is now and will be subjected to the same duplicity, Islamic radicalization or ideology, notwithstanding.

4/30/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen, 9:43 AM

Iranian shelling

If true, this would correspond with the upcoming battle for control of Mosul. The Iranian's are sending a message?

4/30/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I don't, Allen. The learning curve is part of nature. Israel was never fooled by the Arafat game -- nor was anyone -- the problem was the UN "officially" buying in to the storyline.

Re 'learning curve', for example, the USA just today rejected an Iranian ploy, to allow greater monitoring of their "peaceful" nuke-up in return for no more complaining about it.

4/30/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Maybe whomever the Irans were bombarding has already been "sending"?

4/30/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

If the Iranian's are sending a message, what message will the US send back across the border. A border, by the way, that nicely corresponds with some of Iran's petroleum fields. It would be a shame if the Iranian side of the border would have to be demilitarized by coalition occupation.

If this report is true, the Iranian's are once again punching the snout of the Great Satan. Think Ms. Rice will notice?

4/30/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

If the US ceased importing it's 14,000,000 BBL/day of crude/refined products, the posted price for oil would plummet, maybe to the $12/bbl range of the last price collapse of the late '90s. Our domestic oil industry would get hammered, while the various mega-plants making liquid fuels from corn, oil-shale, tar-sands & coal would be puking out $100/bbl fuels and CO2, mine waste and fouled water to a degree that would be very hard to manage.

As a chemical engineer, I am well aware that technical solutions exist . The economics and politics are the problem. It has been argued, and I am inclined to agree, that it
is $3.00/gal gasoline that is most responsible for GWB's slide in the polls, and not any real or imagined news from the GWOT.

There are lots of incremental things that can be done to reduce our dependence on imported oil, and a well thought-out energy policy would be welcome. Just can't get ANWAR, CAFE standards, gas-well drilling and what not past the congress.

4/30/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

Very publicly punching the snout of the Great Satan. Good PR?

Lobbing artillery into the territory of a neighbor is not covert. This should get Iran some points with the Islamic world generally, if they get away with this obviously inescapable act of war.

I will bet that, if true, Ms. Rice will be righteously indignant, giving the Iranians a royal tongue lashing for the benefit of her “world community.” That will have a profound effect on the Security Council, I bet.

4/30/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Occam Razor assumes there are some actual Kurdish rebels giving enough fits to the Mullahs that the arty is just what it appears to be--field combat. of course they could be just firing into the hills, and not so much to provoke USA, as to support a claim that Iran is under attack.

4/30/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

In a book I have been reading 'Where God Was Born' by Feiler, he talks about a sort of invisible line in the sand between Iraq and Iran that according to him has been there all along. If he is right, it would be doubtful if the two Shias can ever really get it together, a good thing I would think, and to be hoped for.

4/30/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It's goin' to rock the foundations of the Chinese, that's for sure, allen.

As Mr Kristol noted, we're in retreat.

Watch Darfur,
the litmus test of seriousness

As the Iranians move beyond their proxies

Just who is taking decisive action?

4/30/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

rat, we have a large expeditionary force in Baghdad (Baghdad!). What's not decisive?

4/30/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

while they may never be blood brothers, kissin' cousins is bad enough.
At least 'til this War is over.

So the "longer" it is, the more important to have maintained Mr Allawi, Chilabi and Talabani in control of the levers will have been, in projected historical retrospect.

They, at least were "our guys".
They understood US Goals and tried to accomadate them. The newly empowered, will not.

We have gone from creating another ME country in the Turkish model, to one more closely mimicing the Iranian.

That, in my mind, is not the path to victory.

4/30/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Securing the Cit, that would be decisive.
As per General Casey, the city is unsecure.

There is a difference between presence and control, buddy

Decisive vs not.

We've been not.

4/30/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

If ya live in Florida and sleep in on a Sunday, you come late to this party. Then you have codex bellicoso to wade through so you cann attempt to add something of value.
I missed it all. You folks are all over this stuff..great work.
Of course I couldn't depart to without saying that The Persians since Athenian times have wanted to control that area of the world. We don't need there culture and they want to do us harm...they'll be nuked before the mid term elections with a iron clad casus belli.

Good day Trish

4/30/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We took Baghdad over three years ago.
To have the Commanding General describe planned Operations that will "secure" it, three years on, is indicitive of the indecision and hesitentcy that has plauged the US during it's occupation of Iraq.

The lack of an articulated overall Goal and a true definition of the Enemy is coming home to roost.

4/30/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Every passing day makes the case against the Mullahs ever more clear. Some things just take time. The coalition armies on all sides are vibrating the Mullahs colors into view, and the world is making its judgments.

4/30/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Raymondshaw-10:50-Here in Northern Idaho and Southeast Washington a plant is nearing completion at the Port of Wilma,Clarkston, Washington, for bio-diesel production. Contracts have already been let to the farmers for rape seed production for next year. Every little bit helps I quess, but I believe we best get really busy building many more nuke generating plants, a real solution to the problem.

4/30/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Uranium prices are way, way up--and the stocks of the outfits which mine it, are up even more--the money is betting on new nuke plants--and is putting the money down to do it. We need only send the political message that the Green Movement's anarchic play-days are now over.

4/30/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The world?
Now you sound like JFKerry, buddy.

The French have retargeted their arsenal, already.
The Brits, Mr Straw is not combative.
The Chinese and the Russians?

The world will see?
When did the world get to decide what is best for US?
When did you begin to advocate for that, buddy?

4/30/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

If the Iranians have decided to blatantly involve themselves in the struggle for Mosul, that may prove advantageous to the US and the Kurds.

The Iranian government is not beloved by its Kurds. Should the Iranians provide a casus belli, for instance lobbing artillery into Kurdish Iraq, then, joint action by a united Iraqi-Iranian Kurdish front, backed by US logistics and firepower would put the Iranian government in a real bind and place at risk its control of its own petroleum fields in the north. Additionally, it might serve as the cause for a general uprising within Iran, something Ms. Rice et al never tire of pontificating.

4/30/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'll post this linkDomestic Threats to Iranian Stability: Khuzistan and Baluchistan
by Michael Rubin
JCPA Jerusalem Issue Brief
November 13, 2005
for any that have not seen it, before.

4/30/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


In the event that non-virtual distractions intrude, permit me now to thank you for the opportunity to participate in a number of thoroughly entertaining conversations. Well done!

4/30/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

You caught me with one foot in the domestic-politics camp, for sure, rat. face it--the people who know the score are scared sh*tless of the shameless, relentless, media-controlling fools.

Can't even bake half-loaves when you're shut out of the bakery. All your positions count on no split electorate, rat. that's how you achieve clarity. But--you gots to face the facts, we're the Disunited States.

4/30/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Tigerhawk: Well and fairly completley said!

And I heard a remarkable comment on FNC by a guest "expert" a few days ago that bears on this.

He said that Al Queda was highly distressed that the conflict in Iraq had transformed the Jihad war into a internal conflict within Islam.

If that is true, it is more than we could have hoped for! Hooray!

4/30/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Allen, 11:39--there ya go. The "provocation" gambit--the bad guys have been teaching it to us for years. Is it exam time?

4/30/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...


So, bizarrely enough, do we define "victory" as attaining a state of warfare within Islam?

A war which might transform the religion, or ar least exhaust its energies?

And if so, we will have a great deal of trouble declaring victory, since by the standards of the Left, such a conflict would define defeat or at least, represent horror, - being as it is outside the control or even the interest of the UN.

4/30/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, buddy, my positions depend upon a Commander commanding.
The amount of dissention to a more aggresive Policy would be no greater, in fact, I think, less.

If we were actively prosecuting the War. If Osama was percieved to be once again under the gun, but by the 82nd Airborne, not Muslim mercenaries, the President's approval would be solid.

In 1979 I became familar with a Latin term, one that I took to heart.
It led me to adventures and hardship, love and hate. But in the end, after the romance and questioning is done, the tenets of the phrase ring true.
Beyond creed or race
De oppresso liber

4/30/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2006

Defense bill compared to U.S. holiday spending

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Americans spent as much on "plastic Santa Clauses," tinsel and other holiday purchases last year as they will for defense in the coming year, the Army's top general said Wednesday, lamenting complaints about the military's budget requests.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said: "I just don't understand. ... What's the problem?"

Schoomaker said the defense budget the Bush administration requested for the fiscal year starting in October - nearly $440 billion - plus the costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, is 3.9 percent of the nation's nearly $13 trillion overall economy.

During World War II, military expenditures accounted for more than one-third of the economy, he said, calling today's piece of the pie the "lowest percent ... that we've ever spent in wartime."

"Here's what is amazing to me. ... What do you think we spent on plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel and all this stuff for Christmas last year...?" Schoomaker asked. "The answer is $438.5 billion, roughly equivalent to the defense budget."

The general said he got the figure on Christmas spending from a newspaper clipping quoting the National Retail Association.

The actual number from the National Retail Federation was a few billion less - $435.3 billion - and it was a projection for "winter holidays," meaning it included Thanksgiving turkeys and other seasonal spending, said federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.

Even so, the general's point was clear: America is a rich country, and he thinks it needs to spend more on defense.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

4/30/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Oh, habu,
Every one here is familar with Don Juan and the Tales of Power.

We are neither as ill read or conservative and square as some may think.

Both buddy and doug have seen the crow fly.

4/30/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Habu-1--Isn't that the truth! I can remember when dad got a car of his own--that was a BIG DEAL. Now here in my family of four we have four cars. What is all the pissing and moaning--people have no memory or sense of proportion, so it would seem. And we were just as happy back then.

4/30/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I'm over allotment, so I'll just sign out with note to habu & rat, that the solution for these problems can come from nowhere but the ballot box--the two sides in America are bunkered-in with their world-views. Whatever will keep the pander-bears and surrender-artists out of office is what we need to define and execute.

4/30/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

from the ballot box view, no one could have commanded a better position than Mr Bush in December '04.

His window is closing, as all calendars foretold.

4/30/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A Public Image from that eros spy bird the Russians launched, for the Israeli

4/30/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This though is even BETTER

" ... A month before I met her, her village was attacked by Arab militias known as the Janjaweed -- slang for devils on horseback. The militiamen galloped into town, burned homes and buildings, raped women and killed dozens of men while government aircraft bombed the area. ... "

4/30/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat, 11:45 AM

Thanks. Great links that led, inevitably, to equally good links. No excuse at Belmont for ignorance of facts, although, interpretations vary, as should be the case.

Kurdistan has the world's 6th largest pool of petroleum reserves and enormous natural gas deposits, as well. Why shouldn't the US maximize this "friendship?"

Per this thread, the Kurds have no history of Islamic radicalization. Indeed, one of the causes of Kurdish persecution has been Kurdish insistence on defending their cultural uniqueness. Again, why shouldn’t the US maximize this “friendship?”

4/30/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Tigerhawk - Al Qaeda’s ideology has roots that go back a long time. This ideology has significant support throughout the Muslim world and some support in the West. This should not surprise us. Communism also long enjoyed considerable support in the non-communist world, until it was discredited. We should assume that al Qaeda's support will persist until its ideology is discredited.

I would also say that the Average Abdul can be swayed by realization that the other 80% of mankind is beginning to view him and other Muslims as potential maniacs, potential time bombs due to the present violence of Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamoids - as they foray outside the Ummah in search of jobs and a better life.

Nothing shocks the average Abdul so much as realizing other people do not consider Muslims the pinnacle of civilization - but more and more these days as the potentially dangerous lepers who refuse to assimilate and who are prone to crime and murder. And realizing the the stigma comes from tenets of Islam that are incompatible with global civilization.

That the USA and Europe have no alternative but to accept Muslims as workers and refugees rests on very old notions that only people at your back door can immigrate, and past feel-happy notions that a few refugees had a "right" to flee their dysfunctional homelands rather than stay and work hard to fix them.

America has 12 million unwanted illegals, most Mexican, here now. With over 100 million in Latin America alone, not to mention several hundred million more in Asia wanting in. So Europe can, if it wants to, easily "switch" to Latins that already speak Spanish and Portugese "romance languages" and come from a Western culture, and who are Christians that will assimilate. There is no need to take in Muslims to alleviate labor shortages. Same with French-speaking Vietnamese, English speaking Mayanmarese or Filipinos.

If the ease of global transportation means not having to take "the Muslim next door" over the Brazilian ready to work hard and never blow up fellow Christians...the ease of global transport has also meant that instead of small numbers of refugees, they have become a flood of millions....and revision of both US and European refugee law is called for. Europe is ahead of America in finally having it's last EU members ban birthright citizenship and the dropping of anchor babies...and in progressive elimination of "chain family reunification-immigration" that has moved whole towns of Iranians, Paks, Moroccans into Europe from letting in just one refugee 30 years ago...

4/30/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Past my number of posts too, but Cedarford's last post is right on target.

4/30/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ollie North's Fox show "War Stories" tonght--
"Was Patton Murdered?" ...right up the alley of this site's collection of paranoid schizophrenics--

4/30/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I resemble that!

4/30/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


4/30/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

your recent resent "resent" \;-)

4/30/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Loved Bob and Ray!
Now prepare to hate and spew invective at the xenophobic, racist Doug on a Rant:
"If the ease of global transportation means not having to take "the Muslim next door" over the Brazilian ready to work hard and never blow up fellow Christians..."
On the Magic Isle, a new development:
Some enterprising Venezuelan lady got here, saw the free money work little jobs in Govt, and said: "I want your job."
So she took it from the Govt assistant that greeted her with tax dollars when she arrived. (I'm sure the displaced troll has a cushier job now)
Now she is busily recruiting more socialist freeloaders to encourage more less than patriotic "workers" from Latin America to come here and breed on the dole.
Has 3 helpers already, "needs" more, claims a 10% Latino population here, which is news to Kaamainas, also known as self-serving BS.
So now, indigent peasants from So America somehow make it here, and are greeted with more tax dollars, Spanish language services, and etc, MORE services are needed of course, always more.
Somehow, the Filipinos that have been coming all these years did not "need" all these FREE services, and somehow have been able to learn and speak English free of charge.
They also fight and die for their new country, but NO we need more of these government produced leeches that never learn the language on their own, always "NEED" special services to subsist on their assisted lives, ad infinitum.
A pox on them all and the president that pretends it is not a growing problem caused not by capitalist "greed," but Socialist Decadence and Corruption now in the guise of "Compassionate Conservatism."
The point is, people like our politicians, leftists, and Amerika haters that pretend ALL new arrivals have the same intentions, and produce the same result that the deservedly praised immigrants of the past did are practicing an evil and destructive demagoguery often verging on racism themselves, and certainly demeaning their fellow citizens when they start applying all their hateful labels like racist, xenophobe, vigilante, and etc.
For GWB to lecture us on how WE should talk about the issue is insulting in the extreme, given all the liberties he has taken with the language, the truth, our tax dollars, our security, and the law, on the matter.

4/30/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Meanwhile we put quotas on well educated immigrants, lowering the average quality of the new citizen labor pool while protecting higher paying jobs at the same time we are driving down wages on the lower paying jobs.
NOT a very smart policy for our future, to ENGINEER disparity of wealth, education, and incomes.

4/30/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

hey, i speak Spanish, can i come to Hawaii and get a no-show Gov't Job?

4/30/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Iranian Army Attacks Inside Iraq

Yourish is reporting that not one but two such attacks have been reported in as many weeks.

"Iranians fire artillery at Kurds in Iraq" -

"Iran shells Kurdish rebel positions in n. Iraq" -

"So this must be fine, then." -

There is no reported US response. I guess that would be imprudent, provocative, impulsive etc. etc. etc.

4/30/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

doug, 4:45 PM

If I didn't know better, your re(s)ent posts would suggest that Incongruous George might be less than trustworthy on the issue of immigration. Why, if true, that might make him less than reliable on other matters, say, foreign policy, for example. Surely not!

Hey, how sounds Bayh-Ford in ’08? It sounds almost Republican by comparison to the current crew of RINOs holding the reins. What a difference an election makes.

4/30/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We need to provide a militarized buffer zone next to Iranian territory to protect innocent life.
...filled with Slant Drilling Rigs.

(Buddy: What's the old Oilfield Term for Slant Drilling?
...used to be the name of our Rotary Newsletter, but somehow has slipped the aging braincells.)

4/30/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/30/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't infer too much (truth) from my words!
Uh, who's Bayh-Ford?

4/30/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

With modern technology great feats can be achieved.
Whereas 20 years ago wells drilled at 60 degrees through the reservoir were achieved, horizontal drilling is now quite normal.
However, drilling out far from the surface location is still something that requires careful planning and design: the current record holders manage wells of over 10,000m (32,000 ft) away from the surface location at a depth of only 1,600-2,600m (5,200-8,500 ft). These are all wells drilled from a land location to underneath the sea

4/30/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"directional" drlng

4/30/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nah, a slang term like "Whipsaw" or something.
...I thought YOU were an old tymer.
"9-11 Timeline"
(a bit of a lefty slant, but helpful, nonetheless)

4/30/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I'm watching Oliver North's production of Patton. In the coverage of the American incursion into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa, there was no sensitivity demonstrated for Mexico's sovereignty and humiliation.

Oh, Villa raided across the border with merely scores of bandits, nothing like the numbers of today. The US protected its border by sending in the Army. Wow, I thought Wilson was an effete Harvard prof.

4/30/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Tactical Nukes"

4/30/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

Guys, this isn't about oil except to the extent that oil provides a cash supply to the terrorist supporting Iran. You are still living in the 1990's when you think that the US cutting imports will have any impact on world oil prices. It won't.

China is set to far surpass the US in oil consumption. Add India's growing oil demand to China's and we become increasingly insignificant in the global market. China plus India will swamp the US in oil demand within the next 5 years or so if their economies continue to expand. Those two countries account for about 1/2 of the population of the planet.

For ever barrel we don't burn, China and India will.

Half of our imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere, not the Middle East. Mexico and Canada are our #1 and #2 sources of oil. Taxing oil imports is going to hurt our neighbors more than our enemies, it is a short-sighted solution that lacks any real impact, and the US currently imports not a drop of Iranian oil so any impact to Iran will be indirect.

Oil isn't the way to do it. The oil problem will solve itself as it runs out while world demand increases.

Further taxes on oil imports will harm Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, the UK, Nigeria, Angola, and many more.

4/30/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

More information on US sources of oil here:

Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports

4/30/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Strategic Nukes"
I guess it was "The Whipstock"
Yuganskneftegaz is the second largest oil production complex in all of Russia.
Its main oil fields are Priobskoye, Prirazlomnoye, Mamontovskoye, Malo-Balykskoye and Salymskoye.
Quiz on Tuesday.

4/30/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

soy oil and canola oil can be blended and used in all diesel engines without any conversions at all

this can replace 30% of our diesel usage in a DAY.

why not discuss this?

I purchase soy and canola oil and run it at varying concentrations in my diesel benz, from 100% for about 5 tanks to a 50/50 to "clean it out", and in winter 70% veggie oil, unless it's below 8 degress F..

4/30/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

China's crude oil imports rose 25.3 percent in the first quarter of the year as vehicle sales also soared, official statistics show, putting further pressure on world oil prices.

China's oil imports soar as auto sales hit record highs

4/30/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

soy oil and canola oil can be blended and used in all diesel engines without any conversions at all

Yeah, but the trouble is they take more energy to produce than they provide. If you take into account the energy required make the fertilizer, power the tractors that work the ground and harvest, carry the beans to the plant, the power produced by the plant, energy used to get the oil to the pump ... it all adds up to more energy used to produce than it provides. If all those steps ran cannola/soy oil, we would run out of the stuff simply from trying to produce it.

It is much more energy efficient to drill a hole in the ground and pump out a much higher grade of energy for years until it goes dry.

4/30/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

Oops, in my previous reply I ment to say the power CONSUMED by the processing plant, not produced.

4/30/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

This thread began with the examination of what would constitute victory in the GWOT. Little has come of that during the day. However, General Powell had something to say today on the matter of how victory was denied the US in Iraq. According to former Secretary of State Powell, he vigorously argued for General Shinseki’s troop strength assessment; thus, joining a growing list of administration critics, including former commanding officers in Iraq.

It appears that regular Belmont participants completely missed this salient event. Oh, and if I recall correctly, Mr. Powell downloaded this tidbit in an overseas venue, yesterday. Ms. Rice, when repeatedly asked today about Mr. Powell’s observations, was curiously none committal. Hmmm.

4/30/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


4/30/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

start here:


Sustainability is a requirement for all new biobased technologies. Sustainability is dependent upon; acceptable environmental impacts of products; economic viability for all participants; and a positive social impact of the product and its production. Over the past four years the Integrated Farming Systems group at Prosser, WA has been recommending that growers incorporate oilseed cover crops that contain glucosinolates in rotation to control soil pathogens and protect soil resources. Growers incorporating these cover crops have experienced savings of up to $130/ha by offsetting soil fumigation costs. As a result, the area planted to oilseed cover crops has increased from 400 to 8,000 ha (20,000 ac). In response to this increase we are developing an additional strategy that further improves farm profitability while maintaining the desired benefits of biofumigation. Currently, mustard cover crops and other oilseed green manures are planted and incorporated in the fall prior to reaching seed maturity. We have initiated a series of studies evaluating a number of oilseed crops grown to maturity for an emerging biodiesel market and how they will fit into current high value irrigated vegetable cropping systems. We are evaluating five oil seed crops that can be grown in the PNW, as well as, nationally. These include: spring and winter rapeseed, mustard, sunflower, safflower and soybean. For each of these crops the general production practices; date of planting, flowering, harvest date, oil production etc. fertility, pest management, irrigation and soil quality issues will need to be addressed for this industry to become sustainable and economically sound for U.S. agriculture. Our preliminary data indicates that approximately 7-15 million liters (2-5 M gallons) of biodiesel can be produced on the area currently growing the cover crop, using such crops as safflower or winter rapeseed. In the Midwest, production of biodiesel using soybeans averages 3.8 M liters (1 M gallons) on equivalent acreage.
The developing U.S. bioenergy market is an opportunity for PNW growers to fill a feedstock production niche. Nationally, annual production of biodiesel has reached approximately 20-25 million gallons. The use of petrodiesel in the U.S. averages about 43 billion gallons a year. The U.S. currently has an oil supply problem with the Middle East, and a need for oil that will not decline in the near future. U.S. agriculture can add to the fuel pipeline by producing biodiesel which would have significant impacts on local economies.”

4/30/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

Nobody doubts we can produce veggie oil. It is just that the burning of it releases less energy than it takes to produce it is all.

It "feels" like a good solution until you do that math.

We have the technology right now to produce boatloads of energy. We need a combination of MODERN nuclear reactors and fast neutron reactors to process the waste. The result is 1/10 the waste produced now and what waste is produced decays to the level of natural uranium in only 300 years rather than tens of thousands of years.

See the December 2005 issue of Scientific American for details.

4/30/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

stated: Nobody doubts we can produce veggie oil. It is just that the burning of it releases less energy than it takes to produce it is all.

please prove this...

4/30/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I propose we fatten up some Gitmo Jihadis on Wesson Oil, put them in a Calorimeter, set them alight and determine this matter scientifically.

4/30/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

What we need is a nitrogen fixing crop like peas that can be crushed for oil. There isn't one that I know of but perhaps genetic engineering might have an answer in the future.

4/30/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

stated: I propose we fatten up some Gitmo Jihadis on Wesson Oil, put them in a Calorimeter, set them alight and determine this matter scientifically.

excellent idea...

how can we stuff one of these jihadists into my fuel tank?

4/30/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


4/30/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Want the numberz?

4/30/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

My original points remain:

China and India's oil consumption is rising so fast that what the US does isn't going to matter on a global scale. The time when we could unilaterally influence commodity markets is fading quickly.

Over half of our oil imports are from North and South America, not from the Middle East. Our cutting off oil imports is going to hurt Canada and Mexico most, not Iran. We don't import any oil from Iran. If we cut off all our imports, it would simply leave more for China and India.

In addition to the increase in China's imports, get a load of the increase in India's imports:

NEW DELHI, April 7 (UPI) -- India's oil imports bill rose 32 percent to $43 billion in Fiscal Year 2005-06, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Friday, citing global oil prices.


... India buys some 73 percent of its crude requirements from foreign countries ...

These are the two fastest growing economies on the planet and combined account for 1/2 the population of the world.

We have to begin to realize that in the overall scale of things, as those two economies get larger, ours is going to play an shrinking role in world importantce.

4/30/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

...or go to the CHART!

4/30/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

World oil consumption rose by about 2.7 million barrels
per day in 2004, with the mature market economies
accounting for only about one-fourth of the increase.
Demand in the emerging economies rose by almost 1.9 million barrels per day, with China accounting for more than one-half of that increase. Current growth in the emerging Asian economies is beginning to show signs of a return to the rapid economic expansion of the early and mid-1990s.

I would quote additional information from that source but it is already obsolete. It was forecasting about a growth of about 5% in oil imports for India and China but their economic growth is exploding and oil imports are increasing at double-digit rates while ours are increasing only slightly.

That was quoted from this PDF document

4/30/2006 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Good info on Iran's economy (well--NYT, so read skeptically)

4/30/2006 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Iran's profits from oil rose last year to more than $45 billion from $15 billion, and Olmert gets okay to fence off Jerusalem. Connections, everything is connected to everything.

5/01/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

buddy thank you for proving my point, soy oil as a diesel fuel is cost effective at 3.80 cents a gallon

Fuels for diesel engines made from sources other than petroleum are known as biodiesel. Among the common sources are vegetable oils, rendered chicken fat and used fry oil. In fact, Rudolf Diesel's demonstration engine ran on peanut oil at the 1900 Paris World Exposition. Processing these oils into fuel involves removing glycerin and other contaminants through a process called transesterification.

Unlike spark-ignition engines, diesels rely solely on high compression in the cylinder to raise the temperature of the air enough to ignite the fuel. Consequently, diesels are tolerant of varying-quality fuels and the high compression results in high efficiency. Diesels extract more energy from each gallon than gasoline engines, and less energy is lost as heat leaving the exhaust pipe than with a gasoline engine.

Case For: Modern diesel engines can run on 100 percent biodiesel with little degradation in performance compared to petrodiesel because the BTU content of both fuels is similar--120,000 to 130,000 BTU per gallon. In addition, biodiesel burns cleaner than petrodiesel, with reduced emissions. Unlike petrodiesel, biodiesel molecules are oxygen-bearing, and partially support their own combustion.

When Willie Nelson heads out on tour, he fuels his bus with BioWillie, his own brand of biodiesel--it's FarmAid in action. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NATKIN/AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS

According to the DOE, pure biodiesel reduces CO emissions by more than 75 percent over petroleum diesel. A blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petrodiesel, sold as B20, reduces CO2 emissions by around 15 percent.
Case Against: Pure biodiesel, B100, costs about $3.50--roughly a dollar more per gallon than petrodiesel. And, in low temperatures, higher-concentration blends--B30, B100--turn into waxy solids and do not flow. Special additives or fuel warmers are needed to prevent fuel waxing.

Outlook: Good. Biodiesel has a viable future as a major fuel for transportation. According to the National Biodiesel Board, production of biodiesel in 2004 was about 25 million gal., tripling to more than 75 million gal. in 2005. The trend is solidly upward, thanks to government incentives, the growing number of new diesel vehicles for sale and a grass-roots groundswell of support.

Like E85, biodiesel began with farm co-ops and local entrepreneurs. High fuel prices affect farmers, too, and here was an opportunity to make money from otherwise fallow farmland. Country singer Willie Nelson, in partnership with several Dallas businessmen, has lent his name to Bio-Willie, a brand of B20 marketed mainly to long-haul truck drivers in California, Texas, the South and the Midwest. Drivers praise the fuel for its low emissions, but obstacles to mainstream acceptance include a higher price than petrodiesel (seasonally and regionally, 10 to 25 cents a gallon) and the need to heat storage tanks in colder climates to prevent the fuel from gelling.

5/01/2006 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Talking about victory in Iraq, the BBC has a report of actual physical incursions by Iranian forces into Iraq. Reportedly, this has happened twice, according to Iraqi government(?) officials.

I'm waiting to hear of the loosing of some of Dr. Rice's quivering arrows, diplomatic or otherwise. How does one say "Beeyatch" in Farsi?

Iran 'attacks Iraq Kurdish area' -

5/01/2006 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

Best to use caution when reading some of this 'alternative fuel' propaganda.

That Popular Mechanics piece compares costs of gasoline, ethanol and methanol fueled cross-country trips. Uses a cost of $2.89/gal for methanol.
My most recent quote for methanol is $1.37/gal, delivered. Most, if not all, US methane based methanol plants are currently shut-in because of the high domestic price for natural gas. Natural gas is mostly burned for residential heating/cooking and gas turbine electricity generation, where fuel cost competativeness is secondary (doesn't that sound absurd?). Methanol is now imported from regions where natural gas is relatively plentiful & cheap, and barge/tanker pricing is likely closer to $1.00 per gallon. Not even close to the $2.89 in the PM piece.

Methanol also permits higher compression ratios in IC engines, so greater thermal efficiency is possible, similar to diesel engines (although not as high).

I'm no expert on the various alternative fuel schemes out there, but I know enough to be skeptical.

5/01/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

As far as a goal to inspire the Average Abdul, Democracy is not necessarily the thing.

The American Revolution was not about Democracy. It was about Liberty, which is an entirely separate thing. Democracy (more accurately, a Constitutional Republic) was simply judged to be the best means by which the ultimate goal of Liberty was to be secured.

What is Liberty? It is the ability of each man to live his own life, to persue his own goals, to acquire property and have it be safe from being taken from him, and to be able to talk about what is meaningful to him without fear of being killed as a consequence

5/01/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...


I read your comments.

Although you may be correct in a tactical sense, the United States (as well as Europe) has no meaningful strategic plan to win against our enemies.

Firstly, I am not convinced that the "daylight" between Hamas (and the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood) and al-Qaeda is anything other than rhetorical. Even if "bin Ladenism" is defeated, we still need to defeat the ideology of Sayid Qutb on which his rantings are based. Also, I think the fundamental cause of al-Qaeda does not reside in Islam, but actually resides in the West. That is, with the retrenchment of western empires in the late 20th centuries, the "West" in general and the United States in particular are regarded as weak. The problem is that America's internal politics has not given al-Qaeda much reason to think otherwise.

The way to inspire the "average Abdul" is to (1) show the vast technological and cultural superiority of our society, (2) create monuments to our power and their impotence al-Qaeda cannot easily destroy, and (3) demonstrate our implacable will to survive and prevail.

Sadly, ever since 1950, the United States has done an excellent job of convincing our enemies that military force is a substitute for our desire for victory, not an expression of it. We may have superior technology, but al-Qaeda seeks to use our technology against us. And our society has become so enfeebled by self-doubt that the other two requirements to defeating our enemies aren't likely to happen soon. Sure, we can create war weariness within the ranks of Islamism, but I'm not convinced that Americans believe in themselves enough to withstand their assault.

Europe has been even worse. If present trends hold, it could become al-Qaeda's principal stronghold irrespective of anything the United States does.

Part of our war must be fought militarily, but another part of our war must be fought domestically because we must show that seeking our destruction is futile at best. It's partly the big things (such as a robust space program and taking the world economy off petroleum) and partly the little things (such as publicly paying one's taxes on February 23 each year). The important thing is that we advance forward and do everything within our power to undermine our enemy's faith in his own identity. And this is something we can only do as a society; we cannot expect our government to accomplish this for us.

We must be willing to fight as long as it takes. The problem with calling this a "short war" is that our press will demand "are we there yet" at every turn. Yet, the problem with calling this a "long war" is that it looks altogether too much like a bureaucratic power grab by the FBI and other federal police agencies whose interest lie less with defeating al-Qaeda than keeping our enemies around as bogeymen to scare ordinary citizens into submission. We must see this struggle against al-Qaeda as a temporary event. It may take five years, it may take five hundred years, but it will be temporary and our enemies will be defeated. And then, we can go back to normal.

And what then? What would the world be like with al-Qaeda defeated? What would the world be like once our present struggles are a minor footnote in history, as minor as the struggle against the Anarchists one hundred years ago? You see, to defeat al-Qaeda, we must not only destroy their organization but we must defeat their memory. No, not erase it like a man in Stalin's portraits, but make it irrelevant and absurd to the point of silliness. (How many people seek to revive the Aztec religion with its industrial scale human sacrifice now?)

The Bush administration asks us to trust its judgment while the Democratic Party is more interested in making Republicans squirm than doing anything constructive. Most political books at Barnes & Noble can be summed up as "folks on the Left/Right are idiots who are out to destroy our country". We must be focused on not only defeating al-Qaeda decisively, but building a new world that will leave al-Qaeda's dreams in the dust.

The democratization of the Middle East will not solve all of humanity's problems, and it certainly does not mean that people won't vote for terrorists. Still, it is a foundation for a future without al-Qaeda.

5/01/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I strongly suspect that Charles de Gaulle did not give Algeria independence out of fear of the FLN terrorists of his day. (After all, the FLN was defeated by the French military!) Instead, he turned against the Pied Noir because he wanted to destroy the power of France’s kingmakers.

The French Republic’s parliamentary system was the best defense for the interests of Algeria’s French colonists. After Charles de Gaulle came into power through what was essentially a coup d’etat, the right-wing monarchists who put him into power found that he was determined to be his own man – and nobody’s puppet. To do this, he needed to make the cause of his opponents politically irrelevant. And that is exactly what he set out to do.

To defeat al-Qaeda, we must not only defeat it ideologically, but we must make its cause politically irrelevant. We have partly done this already by acting in a quasi-imperialistic manner. I say quasi-imperialistic because I think American actions are less conditioned by the desire for empire than they are by the necessity for creating an ideological nightmare for al-Qaeda. The idea is to create the impression that al-Qaeda is the principal cause of a more powerful, more aggressive, and more hegemonic America.

Once our ideological rivals see al-Qaeda as a force that keeps America powerful and aggressive, nations such as France, China, South Africa, and even Egypt would seek to aggressively undermine al-Qaeda. In this sense, anti-Americanism would be harnessed as a means to defeat al-Qaeda because our rivals would want to make sure that (1) the credit for defeating al-Qaeda wouldn’t be hogged by the Americans and (2) Osama bin Laden wouldn’t be around anymore to push the Americans to greatness.

For this reason, the Left needs to be as forceful in its opposition to al-Qaeda as possible.

5/01/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger CPA said...

Analogy from WWII:
We have three main enemies in the Middle East:

Baathism: these are like Italy: washed up, annoying, but strategically important.

al Qaeda and its fellow-travellers: these are like Japan: the people who actually attacked us and provoked our entry into the war.

Iran and her allies (Hezbollah, etc.): this is like Nazi Germany, the most effective and potent long-term enemy of the US and the country that the Baathists and al Qaeda, even when they resent her, are being forced more and more to rely on.

5/01/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

It appears that Iran might be driving themselves off an economic cliff. Unemployment is stuck over 10%, 25% of the population is at or under the poverty line. Oil wealth is being used to import foreign goods resulting declining domestic manufacturing, increased inflation, and further losses of jobs.

Economists within Iran are raising the alarm that the country is on a slope to severe economic trouble. They rightly see the current administration's nuclear dance as a distraction. It is ment to give people a sense of pride, something to feel good about, lift morale, in the face of economic gloom.

But enriched uranium will not put shoes on their feet, food on their table, money in their bank account, or buy their kids an education. The people are hurting while the government says "let them eat yellowcake".

5/01/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


We are well on the way to defeating Iran through economics.

Iran is having money troubles

At War With Iran

Their economy is crumbling. They recently had to withdraw $30 bn in cash and 700 tons of gold from European banks. The cash is no longer earning them interest.

Which may explain the war talk. They are hoping for a war to distract the populace. However, it may be a double edged sword causing a run on the banks.

5/01/2006 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Methanol has something like 40% of the energy content of gasoline.

Which means that given $3 gasoline methanol ought to cost about $1.20 a gallon at the pump.

Wholesale its cost is quoted above at $1.37 i.e. it is no bargain.

5/01/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

m. simon,

8:43 PM

Thanks for the informative links.

5/01/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

-----------BTU/US gal





5/02/2006 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

Whatever makes you happy...

...or in this case; perhaps, least unhappy...

That is one way of defining success.

In this case, I see two versions of victory: 1) Achieving victory with the least disruption to our everyday life, which means a stable economy, or 2) A military victory where we topple the bad guys, taking off the gloves if necessary and doing whatever it takes to win.

It is helpful to examine OBL's strategies and goals (ignore the mullahs for now, opportunistic jackals that have lost the intellectual high ground).
AQ first hit the World Trade Center - why? to disrupt the world economy, of disrupt the driver (open markets = integration) of what they see as the co-mingling and intermixing of our vile culture with knock the great satan back.

After 9/11, we dusted ourselves off, and got back up; our economy bounced back...
...AQ's strategy turned to the life-blood of our economy - oil, which was a nearby target, with an added bonus of wreaking havoc with what they saw as the West's local stooges.
Until the pain becomes too unbearable, or our anger too irrepressible the first course of action allows us to use our greatest strength, our economy, and also frustrates our enemies goals the most.

Tigerhawk's discussion is superb; however, one of his long-term goals, point Y, having to do with acceptable new governments, IMO needs to be defined as a short term goal...because it equates with accepting hypocracy...

...words do matter...

...that is also how we will recognize victory: when respect for others of differing views is internalized by an overwhelming majority of moderates currently behind the moslem curtain - where freedom & truth become values...
...Polarization may be a useful tool at times; but, is a double-edged sword that pushes healthy discourse from the mainstream...
...we do not want a siege state, where they hate us and we hate them...

5/02/2006 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

The Caliphate cannot emerge, al Qaeda says, as long as "apostate" regimes rule Muslim lands.

And isn't that what Walmart is really all about?

5/05/2006 01:10:00 AM  

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