Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Clipped Wings of the Flightless Dodo

Richard Miniter reports that CIA teams operating out of the Green Zone have had their wings clipped by the State Department ban on Blackwater escorts. Blackwater Blogger correctly observes the issues involved are far broader than the identity of the security contractor itself. It goes to the heart of how "diplomacy" should be conducted in the age of terror.

Embassy Security For Dummies: OK, this is put together on the fly, in about five minutes of internet research, but it is apparently necessary because the idea that there might be security personnel as part of a diplomatic mission and host nation security personnel as well is apparently quite a complex one. At least we make some effort to document our assertions of fact.

Yes, the U.S. Secret Service does provide some security, stationed outside embassies, for our foreign guests. Just like other nations provide external security for U.S. missions overseas.

But the diplomatic mission itself has its own inherent security force. (Some, e.g., Jamaica, probably not so much, mon. But a G8--you bet.) Whether those individuals are hired as employees or are provided to the embassy by a private security company, when the individuals are providing security services to the diplomatic mission, be it on embassy grounds or in embassy vehicles, our understanding is that the professional licensure requirements of the locality do not apply. Specifically, those places are islands of sovereign territory of the foreign power, and the applicability of licensure is at best quite unclear. If someone can document that it is otherwise, we'd genuinely be glad to know that. But we’ll put money that the answer is no.

And to put a point on it: Nobody's claiming that traveling through the Mansour district is like rolling Anacostia after dark. (Even if it sometimes seems close.) We're just saying that there is far more to this than: "Who has a license?" 'Course we're just dumb bunnies who don't bother to research facts before we speak. ...

IF Blackwater followed the U.S. government-issued Rules for Use of Force (and that is really the $800 million dollar question of the day--one to which we won't know the answer until DoS/MoI complete their investigation), then this is actually a dispute between the MoI and DoS over RUF. Because plugging in DynCorp or Triple Canopy won't change anything. So it will be interesting to see whether the two bureaucracies get together and throw Blackwater under the bus. Pinkertons, anyone?

Addressing this issue broadly is the key to fixing one of the key shortcomings in Iraq and elsewhere: enabling the projection of nonmilitary components of the nation's power. Unless some way is found to secure AID personnel, civilian advisers, diplomats and spooks, then embedding with the military is the only way to survive. Ryan Crocker has had to waive State Department security regulations simply to get diplomats into the field legally. Now with their Blackwater escorts grounded (by the State Department itself) the need to find some way to allow "nonmilitary" elements to operate in the War on Terror environment is greater than ever.

But I have little confidence the issue will be addressed in these terms. It is far more likely that "Halliburton"-type talking points will be bruited about instead. If America loses the War on Terror, the politicians in Washington will have deserved to lose.


Blogger Unknown said...

Blackwater security contractors don't get much benefit of the doubt. The Haditha Marines didn't get much, and neither did the MARSOC company that got kicked out of Afghanistan last spring. There are way too many minds open to the suggestion that DOS hires undisciplined, "mercenary cowboys" who spray and pray and indiscriminately kill innocent Iraqis out of sheer meaness. This is believable because of Soviet/Leftist/anti-war movement Information Operations Preparation of the Battlefield over the last decades.

Iran might score a non-kinetic kill on a high vis PMC, shutting down DOS movement and any other BW missions until other PMC's can pick up the contracts. Forcing the U.S. military to assume PMC missions would be a good way to throw a monkey wrench into The Surge.

9/19/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"professional licensure requirements of the locality do not apply."
Except in cases of Voluntary Dhimmitude.

9/19/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Forcing the U.S. military to assume PMC missions would be a good way to throw a monkey wrench into The Surge.
Ask for volunteers for a mixed-services special mission platoon.

9/19/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Blackwater employees are part of an estimated 25,000-strong corps of private military contractors who protect diplomats, reconstruction workers and government officials in Iraq.

That's not all they do. They escort a lot of military logistics convoys and man the towers and ECP's at a lot of big FOB's, freeing up soldiers and Marines.

25,000 armed contractors, out of More than 180,000 Americans, Iraqis, and nationals from other countries.

9/19/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(multiplied by the number required)

9/19/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pretty big numbers!

9/19/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Betcha Al-Sadr wishes he wielded such a large Monkey Wrench.

9/19/2007 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let Donna Fend for Herself.
Bet she volunteered, anyway.

9/19/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Well Wretchard, the alternative is simple.

"Kill everyone" ... i.e. large scale bombing of the enemy and expulsion of Muslims from the West. I think that's where we are headed, politically.

Ahmadinejad and his enablers: the media, Columbia University, Dems, Bloomberg, US State Dept. are provoking the American people with his planned antics at Ground Zero (he will of course visit there and dance around, even though all deny the visit will be allowed). He'll give his usual threatening/provocative speech at Columbia. One more bit of evidence to enrage the American Street. Rudy and Mitt immediately denounced it.

No of course things like Blackwater are messy, as is rebuilding Iraq into civil society after Saddam and AQ and Iran brutalized it into degeneracy.

So we'll just respond ala Kosovo. Bomb the living daylights out of the enemy and call it a day. No need for 25,000 armed contractors.

When a fleet of planes and missiles can reduce cities to rubble.

Iran's bet is on nuclear/chemical missiles. The only way to beat that is to destroy anything and everything that moves, and hit missile sites regardless of civilian shield casualties. We will get there soon enough, tragically.

The Left HAS won a great victory: Muslims are no longer seen as people to be liberated but the enemy to be destroyed. Groveling behavior like Bloomberg's and Columbia only encourage that view as much as Iraq and the mess there.

9/19/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


That's unlikely to happen and in my own personal opinion, the wrong thing to do under the circumstances. The situation as it stands is that the West is truly divided. About half the people in the West are actually unwilling to defend their culture, even minimally, without further extreme provocation. As a practical matter, all schemes founded on "nuke 'em all" are simply off the table.

There are no shortcuts to process of painstakingly changing liberal attitudes and getting them to see that appeasement will in the end increase the liklihood of a catastrophe. It's better to get tough on the guilty than wait until you have to war indiscriminately on everyone. In the early 1930s it might have been possible for the British and French to strike at the embryonic Nazi Party. The Second World War could have ended with 30,000 deaths instead of 300 million. Unfortunately they elected to wait until bombing German cities became a military necessity. How soon we forget. In our haste to provide every convenience to the enemy in the mistaken belief that our comfortable world will never change we increase the risk that our comfortable world will in fact, be shattered forever.

Of course, I am past believing that argument alone will convert hardened liberals. So I am resigned to the prospect that further disasters must be endured until reality itself changes people's minds. Each generation must learn up from down for itself. If it were otherwise history wouldn't be the sad story that it is.

9/19/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

It seems like somehow we should be able to call Maliki's bluff - if Blackwater is not welcome then obviously he's got everything under control so he doesn't need American troops either, and the whole shebang can pull out.

Hasta la vista, baybee. We won't be back.

I'm getting so I detest that sweaty little weasel even more than I dislike President Ahmadinnerjacket.

9/19/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

further disasters must be endured until reality itself changes people's minds.

Changing people's minds is what the GWOT is all about.

Reality alone won't change their minds. Their perception of reality, and the information sources they trust to evaluate reality, will have to change as well.

9/19/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

30.000 Troops home for the 4th of July!!

Stay the Course!!!

Welcome aboard, nahncee

9/19/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Everyone has their price, and one certainly cannot exclude Skull and Boners.
YALE LAW GIVES IN: "Yale Law School will end its policy of not working with military recruiters following a court ruling this week that jeopardized about $300 million in federal funding, school officials said Wednesday. . . . Jan Conroy, a Yale Law spokeswoman, said the school would waive the requirement that military recruiters sign the nondiscrimination pledge. The Air Force already has asked to participate in a job interview program that starts Monday, she said."

MICHAEL TOTTEN ON the next Iranian revolution.
- Glenn Reynolds

9/19/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Given the suspicious nature of the accusation, and the veracity of the people who defended the convoy, should we not tell the Iraqi government where it can shove this and then go on about our business? What have we got to lose?

Why is it always our State Department that is at cross-purposes with the real mission in this war against the Islamofascists?

The stakes are too high to accede to this thuggery on the Iraqi Interior Minister's part. We have the power to tell that monkey where to shove it.

And if he doesn't like it, he can always resign and then take up residence in Iran and work for his true masters.

9/19/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...


I've been following your comments for some time about how divided our societies are, and how we are indeed not in any position to win this conflict with recrudescent Islamic jihad. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that it is indeed going to take perhaps several terrible instances of murder on a horrific scale before the West gets the gumption to defend itself aggressively and effectively.

Very few people want to face the truth of this. You are one of the very few, so I feel less alone in harboring that insight.

Do I want it to happen? Absolutely not. But, how I see the world and analyze its condition is not a widely held view. I can only console myself with the thought that when the many, many thousands die at the hands of these 7th century savages I at least do not have blood on my hands and I tried to tell anyone who would listen that this moment would come. Appeasement has its price, and this price is going to be a butcher's bill served up by the Devil himself.

9/19/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bell will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest pleasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home

9/19/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Wretchard --

I think I understand WHY Liberal elites in the 1930's and now recoil from War.

It's profoundly threatening to their power base. However, there are people who find surrender in their own country intolerable. And find Muslims all around to be the enemy. In that the conflict ITSELF drives harder positions. The War Aims of the Allies and Germany constantly escalated in WWI. What the Kaiser wanted in 1914 was not what he wanted in 1917 for example. That was true of the French and British as well.

I think that cycle of conflict hardening positions has already happened. I agree with what you say but I think the "Golden Hour" is long past.

Most Frenchman for example, after Car-b-que Jihad, have IMHO decided that it is only a question of how and when the 10 million Muslims are kicked out of France. Certainly they cannot be Frenchmen in France next to Muslims. And they have decided to fight in electing Sarkozy. To remain French. To retain France.

As for bombing them all -- the standard critique on Iraq is that the deaths are not worth it because Iraqis (and Muslims) are incapable of civilized behavior in any form. Accepting that critique which is widely held on the Right as well as the Left logically demands a series of punishments meted out to the entire people that minimizes US casualties and committments. Which means the US Navy and Air Force.

Considering Westhawk's critique of Nuclear Proliferation: everyone wants them because they are a trump card against US power, this only becomes worse over time. Nukes can forestall the current Iraq venture or anything like it. Imagine a nuclear Iran demanding we get out or they nuke Baghdad and LA. Deterrence ala Abazaid requires MORE nukes, not less, plus an inarguable will to use them if threatened. Down to the level of a Jihadi leader in Pakistan with influence on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Which means unmistakable deeds. Otherwise the US will lose cities and respond as in 1945 -- with the systematic elimination of the enemy with whatever weapons can kill the most.

[Clearly, Iran has threatened France as the "protector" of France's Muslims. This accounts for Chirac and Sarkozy's statements.]

9/19/2007 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


You are right; the West is truly divided. And the divisions are fracturing both the Right and the Left.

Some on the Left may not see the point of defending their culture, but I don't think that is the only viewpoint within the Democratic Party. Moreover, I think there are others who are so convinced that the Republicans/Conservatives/Bushies are the enemy that they cannot comprehend an enemy even worse -- Michael Moore epitomizes this myopia to the nth degree. From a classic socialist perspective, al-Qaeda is a cross between neo-feudalism and oriental despotism; making common cause with the bourgeoisie (and that includes even George W Bush) against such goons is natural for men like Christopher Hitchens, just as supporting the Union against the Confederacy was natural for Karl Marx.

The Right is caught between those who seek to work with Muslim allies and those who see Islam in its entirety as the enemy.

Let's not forget that David Duke is part of the anti-war movement, shaking hands with none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now, am I supposed to believe he is now on the Left?

I think winning over liberals to fighting this war is possible. It is also absolutely necessary. Conservatives do themselves no favors whenever they try to drive liberals out of the war coalition.

From my perspective, the American Civil War had three phases -- the conventional phase, the guerilla/terrorist phase, and the legal phase. The Union won the conventional war, but the Confederacy (under Forrest and Co.) won the peace afterward through terrorism. I would call the "civil rights movement" the third phase of the American Civil War, as a combination of legal challenges and asserting the right to protest (helped at a critical moment by a personal vendetta between LBJ and the KKK) led to black people enjoying rights guaranteed them by the Constitution -- rights often not enforced until the 1960's.

Likewise, the war against Islamist terror must be fought conventionally AND through insurgency/counterinsurgency AND through the legal system. Instead of arguing over which means to use against the enemy, let's use all beneficial means at our disposal.

Fundamentally, we need to imagine an endgame to this war -- we need to not merely imagine military victory, and not merely consider what kind of future we would like to live in, but what kind of people we would like to become. I suspect that neither Thomas Friedman's transnational capitalist utopia nor a socialist utopia nor a reactionary desire for the world of September 10 will work; it needs to be new and futuristic, yet realistic.

Meanwhile, I hope it doesn't take as long to defeat al-Qaeda as the century it took to defeat the Ku Klux Klan.

9/20/2007 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Steve J. said...

There are no shortcuts to process of painstakingly changing liberal attitudes and getting them to see that appeasement will in the end increase the liklihood of a catastrophe.

Sorry pal, this is another incredibly lame talking point. We liberals don't want appeasement, we want victory over Al Qaeda and allied extremists. The GOP simply cannot achieve that.

9/20/2007 01:02:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Sorry pal, this is another incredibly lame talking point. We liberals don't want appeasement, we want victory over Al Qaeda and allied extremists. The GOP simply cannot achieve that.

I think most people would be perfectly willing to follow a Democrat who can propose a credible winning strategy. After all, most people were willing to follow Roosevelt in a much larger war. The question of who wins the war is secondary to winning it.

My guess is that a great many people have been hoping, these last six years, for someone in the Democratic party who might vaguely resemble a latter day Roosevelt. Now today, who would it be? Hillary, Obama, John Edwards?

9/20/2007 02:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/20/2007 02:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The French National Assembly early Thursday adopted a government bill tightening the rules for immigrants wanting to join their families in France and giving the nod to DNA tests to prove family ties.

In a late-night vote the bill received support from deputies of the ruling UMP and the New Centre party, while the Socialists, Communists and Greens voted against.

It also adopted the principal measure in the government bill: an evaluation in the candidates' home countries of their knowledge of the French language and the "values of the Republic."

Drawn up by Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux, the bill imposes new conditions for relatives wishing to join families in France, including knowledge of the French language and proof of financial resources.

An opinion poll Tuesday showed that a large majority of the public wants tougher rules to control immigration.

Seventy-four percent were in favour of immigration quotas, and the same amount supported limiting the right to come to France to those who understand French, according to the OpinionWay survey in Le Figaro newspaper.

Eighty-seven percent were opposed to a blanket regularisation of illegal immigrants, who are estimated to number between 200,000 and 400,000 in France.

The French government aims to deport 25,000 illegal immigrants before the end of the year.

9/20/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger Steve J. said...

I think most people would be perfectly willing to follow a Democrat who can propose a credible winning strategy.

Kerry had a credible winning strategy.

9/20/2007 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Here's Kerry's strategy as articulated by himself on his own site entitled Two Deadlines and an Exit. Neither Kerry nor Bush have ever categorically said who we are at war with. It it al-Qaeda? Is it Islam? Is it Iran? But ok. Let's take Kerry's ideas as a starting point and go forward with good will.

The first and immediate problem with going forward is that John Kerry is never going to be nominated again by the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States. That just seems to be a fact. John Kerry's strategy, assuming it is a good one, won't be guiding anything over the next four years and likely never anything at all.

But I digress. I've often written that neither the Republican party nor the Democrats have articulated a strategy for winning this war -- which is bigger than Iraq. Obama seems to think -- and he is right -- that it also encompasses Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. My impression though is that from Obama's viewpoint the war doesn't involve Islam as an ideology or a religion. I could be wrong. But then again, that's George Bush's view on Islam too.

The thing is a muddle; both parties have made a hash of it and the only reason many people are sticking with President Bush is not because of any great confidence but simply because he seems the lesser evil, being at least willing to go through the motions of fighting the "enemy" whoever it may be, where others seemingly can't be bothered to do even that.

9/20/2007 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama vs Osama lends itself to good copy, though.

Obama vs Osama: Year Six.

9/20/2007 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The current world crisis is actually several crises all piled one on top of the other. One component is a threat from nation-states, like Iran and Syria. Another component is a challenge by a militant ideology, radical Islam. Yet another aspect of it is springs directly from the revolutionary changes in the world brought about by globalization and technology.

Correspondingly, the American strategy will naturally have several components as well. In some cases armies or covert armies will have to fight the secret services or armies of Iran, North Korea, etc. In other cases the US must "mobilize all the sources of its national power" to win the ideological war. To some extent this is happening through grassroots organizing in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. In other places it is happening through the clash of ideas. In other cases we can only hope to harness countervailing trends arising from globalization itself to neutralize its negative effects.

It's bigger than Iraq. But Iraq is part of the equation. Now I'm not going to pretend that I can sit here and spin out all the answers. But I would like to hear some senior person, like the President or a Presidential Candidate or perhaps a Party through its platform think through these problems and explain them to the public. The national leaders must name the enemy or enemies and "sell" the public on a program for defeating them. I don't hear this, in all honesty, from the Democrats and not even from the Republicans.

My guess is that the mere act of publicly articulating America's war aims would cross so many red lines, create such an uproar and generate so much controversy that an idiotic silence is now the better part of valor. We're in a trance, a spell, something that was cast over an entire period by the events of the last few decades, beginning perhaps in the 1960s. We're like one of those fantasy towns where people have lost their voices, waiting for a someone to set us free. I think much of the frustration you hear now is a strangled inner voice straining to break out, to overcome the paralysis.

Once upon a time both the Democratic and Republican parties were two wings of an American political system. Together they won not only World War 2 but the Cold War. On the day the spell is broken they may be that again.

9/20/2007 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Hunting Dogs under Bush's Crucifix"

LP: Bin Laden to declare war on Pakistani president in upcoming video, al-Qaida says

CAIRO, Egypt — Osama bin Laden will release a new message soon declaring war on Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, al-Qaida announced Thursday.

The announcement of the upcoming message came as al-Qaida released a new video in which bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, boasted that the United States was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts.

Speakers in the video promised more fighting in Afghanistan, North Africa and Sudan's Darfur region.

In contrast to past videos that showed al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in rough desert terrain, Abu al-Yazeed and the commander were shown sitting in a verdant field surrounded by trees as a jihad anthem played, extolling the virgins that will meet martyrs in paradise.

Al-Zawahri called on supporters in North Africa to "cleanse the Maghrib (western region) of Islam of the children of France and Spain ... Stand with your sons the mujahideen against the Crusaders and their children."

The video also included what IntelCenter said appeared to be old, but previously unreleased footage of bin Laden.

He condemns Arab Gulf governments that have allied themselves with the United States, saying they have "sold the Islamic nation, colluded with the enemies of Islam and backed the infidels. And this is the greater form of being an infidel ... But Allah permitting, they shall leave the Gulf under the blows of the mujahideen," bin Laden said.

9/20/2007 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In addition to the Crises you mention, there is the approaching collision of the Oil appetite of the Developing World with an inadequate Global Supply.

9/20/2007 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Feelings, oh these feelings... Who was that great and most sensitive man who said: "I feel your pain"?

Today I just don't like the color of your shoes, tomorrow I won't like the color of your lipstick, and you can surely bet the following day I will have some thing about you I won't like then, too!

This is a story for that intrepid reporter, Dan "the man" Rather! He needs to take Rosie O and Oprah over to Iraq (with a little opium stopover in Afghanistan) in his search for the truth, the search to find the real reason for these feelings...

We need fresh faces, fresh troops, and fresh ideas.

9/20/2007 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Till now, I think the Democrats are in denial that there really is any antagonists to win any thing against, other than our US political contests. Mostly the Democrats see the whole 9/11 terrorisms et. al., as an exercise for Law Enforcement agencies, and not a matter for military entanglement at all.

Even if the Republicans could vocalize a coherent plan for winning the War on Terror, the lack of Democrat recognition that a state of war exists renders any such tender of intent useless. And recognition that the enemy has been at war with us since at least as far back as 1979, is a stretch even many republicans will not attempt.

The wide gap narrows only slightly, with some Democrat Representative's acknowledgment of the situation we are in (despite disagreement on how we got there) because the focus is too narrow.

The war that I see, goes beyond Iraq and Afghanistan including the entire Middle East (Lebanon and Palestine too), South Asia, SE Asia and much of Africa in active armed insurgency and counter insurgency operations.

The Legal debate is a part of Active national and local law enforcement efforts world wide and does not include the mental wars fought for and against the notions of Jihad.

Islam itself is not the enemy, but radical forms of that religion are home to those we fight. The decision by those Sunni West of Baghdad and by those Shi'ah to South of the city to reject the radical POV is a huge step in overcoming the hold that men such as OBL and his Iranian counterparts have on Muslims. The results of that rejection may well be a very long over due examination of the various forms of Islam, and agreement on just what the prophet really meant. That would be huge as well.

The creep of Globalization and the competition for resources is something that will require agreement on what is and what is not acceptable behavior by nations, states, NGO's and even armed security forces. The dance will continue around Blackwater, and Blackwater will keep on rolling, because it is less about the actions of Blackwater and more about the political assertions of the Iraqi (Iranian?) MoI.

What it says about Malaki, is that he does not yet have complete control of that agency. That the vetting process is not complete. I am sure there is more to follow.

The way forward for Al Malaki is perhaps clearer for him than our efforts at fighting and defeating Al Qaeda et al. Countering terror and countering an insurgency are similar, but the quarry is elusive and the star fish like qualities make it difficult to target or kill. While it is easy enough to define, agreement on what to do or even how to proceed requires we figure out what works.

It is also what makes many believe some on the left and some on the right are a part of the problem, and not just seeking a solution. What we know works is limited, and what we know does not work is now filling volumes, that may be revisited from time to time just for review. Our military's Institutional memory is not as long or accurate as tribal or political grudges tend to be.

9/20/2007 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Like the Battle of Jenin in 2002, Haditha was a firefight where civilians were caught between terrorists and troops engaging them. The goal was, if defeated in the actual battle, to make the public relations aftermath so messy that the public would demand retribution against the United States.

9/20/2007 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Oengus said...

Wretchard: "…I am past believing that argument alone will convert hardened liberals. So I am resigned to the prospect that further disasters must be endured until reality itself changes people's minds."

I notice that here you have simply restated in different words what I previously have called the Three Cities Axiom.

9/20/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

We liberals don't want appeasement, we want victory over Al Qaeda and allied extremists.

Does the name Zell Miller ring a bell? How about Joe Lieberman? 2 Democrats who wanted victory over the extremists. Both rejected by the Democratic Party.

The problem is that the Democratic Party and the Islamists share common cause. Both would prefer that the Democrats rule in Washington. For the Democratic Party, all other considerations are secondary.

9/20/2007 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

People generally assume that the left will come around if/when we undergo another mass casualty attack. I do not think that is a correct assumption.

The trend is actually the opposite. There is an observable convergence of the left with the Islamists against the USA and Western democracies. Even bin Laden is spouting Marxist BS and finding a receptive audience among the chattering classes. Why not? It's the same stuff you find on any leftie website.

An optimist by nature and by choice things are not going to turn around against the Islamists without a simultaneous victory over the left. And that ain't gonna' happen until there is a massive, probably generational, turnover in academia, the media, and Congress.

9/20/2007 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Edwards said...

Wretchard, "My guess is that the mere act of publicly articulating America's war aims would cross so many red lines, create such an uproar and generate so much controversy that an idiotic silence is now the better part of valor."

Your comment was great. However, just to be clear. I don't think it's so much that it would cause an uproar, as it does not make strategic sense. It doesn't make sense to tell friendly dictators that all dictators are in a queue to be toppled, eventually. It makes more sense to try to rope in as many people as possible, dictators and all, against the dictator of the month.

As for naming the enemy, here is the articulation of that:

I am AGAINST racism.
I am AGAINST sexism.
I am AGAINST religious discrimination.
I am AGAINST dogma.
I am AGAINST subjugation.
I RESPECT INDIVIDUALS who VOLUNTARILY donate to COMPLETE STRANGERS (ie different race, different sex, different religion, different nationality) using their OWN HARD-EARNED MONEY.
I will FIGHT using my BRAIN subjugation of ANY HUMAN.

I am AGAINST nationalism.
I am AGAINST non-humanist behaviour.

That doesn't mean we need a hot war against all those enemies. It's just an ideal to work towards. Islam isn't so much the enemy as religious bigotry. The fact that 99% of Muslims are religious bigots etc, is just a coincidence.

9/20/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Bush has been executing a plan in Iraq. Kerry/Clinton/Obama wouldn't have able to get to that point. Key points.

Bush has done the heavy-lifting. The Democrats may well win the Whitehouse, but does it matter? You may know who preceeded Winston Churchill, everyone knows Churchill, but does anyone remember his successor? Same situation now. Bush has done the heavy-lifting, America can live off the Bush achievements for a while and afford B-team players like the current crop of anti-war Democrats.

Democrats have never articulated a better plan either because (a) they're too stupid (my favorite) or(b) it is secondary to capturing the Whitehouse. In any case, it is always easier to stand on the sidelines and criticize others work.

9/20/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I agree with Peter's statements. Unfortunately, the best that the liberal Democrats can concede is that this is strictly a law-enforcement problem. At worst the Left sees its goals as somewhat overlapping with traditionalist Islamic utopianism. As a veteran of the Left many years ago, I can plainly see that my former comrades have not changed a lick.

9/20/2007 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Steve J: Kerry had a credible winning strategy.

Just because you say it, does not make it so.

When I see a comment like this, I have to wonder if you're deliberately lying, or just merely incredibly stupid, naive and believing of the bullshit Kerry spouted at that point.

What I remember is that Kerry's plan was so secret that he couldn't tell anyone about it until he was elected, but we should trust him because it was a really really good (secret) plan.

9/20/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger lion said...

big deal, Blackwater can't operate in Iraq? Let's just reorganize Blackwater under a different corporation name (Whitewater maybe???). Isn't capitalism great? Capitalism has its' benefits as well as drawbacks and nobody does capitalism as well as the good old USA...

Semper Fi

9/20/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Blackwater is far from being kicked out. Relax.

PS. I noticed another blob gives out a hall of fame type accolade,some with oak leaf clusters.

If you do that here can I get sprinkles on mine?

9/20/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...


An optimist by nature and by choice things are not going to turn around against the Islamists without a simultaneous victory over the left. And that ain't gonna' happen until there is a massive, probably generational, turnover in academia, the media, and Congress.

Such things have happened before. The key is to control the streets.

Five little old ladies, three middle aged hippies, and a bum will be able to control the streets if their opponents sit around grousing at the local bar. And the most frail demonstrator controls the streets against the toughest Hell's Angel when he has police protection and a permit.

Ninety percent of success is showing up.

--Woody Allen

Although student demonstrations in the Vietnam Era had the effect of sending academia lurching to the left, other student demonstrations throughout history have had the effect of lurching academia, the media, and Congress to the right. He who controls the streets establishes ideological hegemony and sets the political agenda for the next generation.

Have you ever met or talked with professors? Most professors are inert; they bend to whatever wind blows strongest on campus. Although it would be nice if most professors were brave, most tend to be careful about offending powerful or assertive political factions. The sad effect is that any faction that flexes its poitical muscle has an effect on the faculty, and be extension, the media, the schools, and politics.

Seen this way, much of talk radio is like hearing a dog wailing because it's sitting on a nail, but it too lazy to get off it. Talk radio is highly effective at blocking legislation and general grousing, but it is not terribly effective in taking back the streets from the Left. So long as the Left's monopoly over street demonstrations remains unchallenged, academe will continue to be strongly influenced by leftist loonies and conservatives will continue to grouse about it on talk radio.

To influence those who watch which way the wind is blowing, get a fan to blow the wind in the direction you want.

9/20/2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

As I understand it, Blackwater consists of highly trained and mature former special forces operators and not wild eyed pistol wavers.

It seems, as usual, there is much media spin. Like Haditha, this could also be debunked but maybe too late.

Regarding the big strategic picture, there is headway when it comes to who has been elected in France, Germany, Ausralia and Canada. Maybe more Coalition help will come.

America needs to better learn the culture, environs and people in the places she projects her power. America needs to develop a coherent workable strategy to bring more than military power to bear on her efforts. The overreliance on firepower has proven to be counter productive to the point of hurting her credibility worldwide.

The leadership should do a better job of communicating this strategy to the American people. This has been disappointing to me.

I propose a peace corps with a media presence and protective force embedded within it. The U.N. consistently fails at this and I believe America with her mix of nationalities within her borders has this capability herself.

With bases containing quick reaction forces and aircraft to back up this peace corps the non-combatant volunteers could be just the ticket knowing the "calvary" is on hand if they are threatened.

If the democrat hippies could just buy into this plan.....

Salaam eleikum, y'all

9/20/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Let's see, I'm a Blackwater guy running shotgun...first thing I really want to do is get into a fire fight.

Just love confronting death and hurting other people...right?

How long do you think it would take a crew to discover if they had this kind of idiot in their midst? And then what do you think they would do about this nut job?

Get rid of him, real fast! Unless, they too were trigger happy clowns just itching for some action!

At some point the higher ups would get wind of these boys and make a decision to limit their efforts to those runs that had the highest level of hostile action...put them right in the Sh*t!

You want a fight, we got the guys to bring it to you, hard!

Nope, I ain't buying that Blackwater is the bad guy here. Doesn't mean they don't nor haven't had bad employees--trigger happy boys, just means the very nature of the job and those who do it is one of loving the action and the monies attending to it. You gotta stay alive to spend the money.

I smell politics at play...wedge issue kinda stuff. Kick the kid when you want to get at the parent kinda stuff.

These are some of the fruits one harvests when the wrong seeds have been planted. I just love those lawyers who created our Rules of Engagement! Bet me Blackwater doesn't have a few of these stupid-smart lawyers slithering around somewhere in their organization wrecking havoc!

Hilliary is a lawyer too. She suspends belief...for a lot of people, including me!

9/20/2007 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Steve --

In all aspects, Dems have a surrender/appeasement strategy with the enemy. Which is basically Islam and Muslims, world-wide.

Domestically Dems want to require warrants for monitoring even IM conversations between a foreigner in Germany and one in Pakistan (if the IM traffic passes through US fiber optic cable). They want 200 man hours for each warrant to listen in on AQ message traffic. They want full civil criminal rights for terrorists captured on the battlefield. Which means letting them go -- soldiers are not cops. Dems want to close Gitmo (and realistically, release all prisoners so they may kill more Americans). Dems are against monitoring the 80% of US mosques funded and controlled by radical Wahabbist Jihadis. Dems are for submission to Islam's demands for footbaths in universities and airports, no dogs/booze/"uncovered meat" or unveiled women/gays etc. in Muslim-operated taxis. Something denied all other religions btw. Dems want no questioning of captured terrorists without lawyers and all other civil rights protections. Dems won't even respond to a nuclear attack on this country other than hugging responders.

Dems are not stupid. They know very well this will lead to more terror, more aggression, more 9/11's. That's precisely the point.

Dems aim to use Muslims and Muslim terror as shock troops and tactics against average Americans to make us submit. First to Islam and thence on to other things. It's the same tactic Liberals used against the average person during the 1970's and soft-on-crime liberalism. Hug a thug. Because the thug victimized ordinary people who are the Dems enemy.

Kerry voted against condemning the MoveOn "Betray Us" ad. No Dem has condemned Ahmadinejad's prancing on Ground Zero stunt. No Dem stands for America.

And that's just DOMESTICALLY.

Foreign policy wise they offer surrender, appeasement, groveling, a world "apology for America tour." Waving pieces of paper signifying "Peace in Our Time." Because Dems ARE weak, appeasement driven, filled with hatred of the Military. It was not always so. But Kos and Moveon and ANSWER are the beating heart of the Dem Party. Moveon RUNS the Party.

Wretchard -- you are right about the loss of voice and PC religion redlines. I think we are in for some vigilantism. Ahmadinejad is determined to prance around at Ground Zero to show US impotence. The Secret Service will escort him. There will be a massive protest (I imagine Rudy, McCain, Romney, Fred and every other Rep candidate will be there).

Over at Liberty Film Festival there is a summing up of the Death Wish films. Main point -- it's the impotence in the face of evil (and uncaring/incompetent/PC-bound authorities) NOT revenge that drives the hero. Charles Bronson's Paul Kersey is driven by despair not white-hot revenge. And finds that the very middle class qualities that made him a good architect make him an excellent killer.

I think events are now out of the hands of the political class, for good. For better or worse they are in the hands of Petraeus and his brave men, Ahmadinejad and Zawahari (who declared war on Pakistan), and unknown Paul Kersey's driven by despair over their impotence.

I think that wave of vigilantism in whatever political form it takes will wash away most of the Dems. Dems can't even condemn Ahmadnutjob.

[Surely Wretchard you have not failed to notice the politics between Adm. Fallon and Petraeus? Fallon would love to go back to the Kosovo strategy. More play and toys for his guys (and the Air Force). The Army gets to go back to running tanks around at Fort Knox.]

9/20/2007 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Edwards said...

Fred, "Unfortunately, the best that the liberal Democrats can concede is that this is strictly a law-enforcement problem."

It should be. Interpol should be arresting Osama. The goal then gets transferred to making sure that Interpol is operating in the NWFP of Pakistan etc.

"As a veteran of the Left many years ago, I can plainly see that my former comrades have not changed a lick."

Can you tell me what caused you to leave the Left, and whether that can be replicated with the rest of the Left?

9/20/2007 03:00:00 PM  
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9/20/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Most Effective Leader on the Face of the Earth today:

- Robert Kaplan
on Hewitt

9/20/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


"An Organically created Model Democracy."
Next up:
The B-2's.

9/20/2007 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Today's Carriers.
w/a crew of 2.

9/20/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

krikThe MSM, ie. ABC, CBS, CNN, NYT, WAPO, LAT, etc. have always been mouth pieces for Dem Party.

Now we have pulling them farther to the left.

If PCs are watched more that TV, voices of reason like this blog,, Captains Quarters and others like these will win this 4th Generation War we are in.

Then I read about vigilantism I think about 5GW. It is on the net but not yet on the street. I liked Bronson's Kersey character but his time is not at hand here in USA. I wait for 2008 and hope the 4 stars in the Pentagon get it right or get replaced by colonels who think like Boyd.

Whiskey, you are right about the politics between Fallon and Petreaus. It may just be political theatre. As stated in my earlier comment, too much reliance on hardware for this scenario. Petreaus is on a better track. As a student of Boyd, it takes people, ideas and hardware in THAT order.

Salaam eleikum!

9/20/2007 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

Marzouq is off to Valhalla.

9/20/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Wretchard wrote: The question of who wins the war is secondary to winning it.

That is true, if one accepts there is a war. Clearly, there are many who do not.

If the Islamists really do have central command & control, the smart choice would be to stay away from the US until immediately after the next presidential election -- less than 14 months hudna, nothing when they are in this for the long haul.

Then, when Mrs. Rodham-Clinton gets sworn in, test her -- and test her hard. Sort of a reverse of what the Iranians did when Carter was replaced by a real President.

The Islamists could reasonably expect Mrs. Rodham-Clinton to bask in the world's pity at the US's prostration and pull the US back from the entire Eastern Hemisphere.

But they might possibly be mistaken. A weak Democrat woman with little humanity might be the one finally to decide that this really is a war, and push the button.

From the Islamist point of view, that must be a risk well worth taking. Rule on earth, or rejoice in heaven. Both are acceptable.

9/20/2007 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clinton I and II were quite risk-averse, although some of the risks taken, with catastrophic results, were Madam Hillary's decisions.
Paula Jones being one.

9/20/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When Capital Punishment is too Kind:
Police Say Man Fed Cats to His Pit Bulls

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) - A man captured neighborhood cats and kittens and fed them live to his pit bulls, authorities said Thursday...

9/20/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

"Can you tell me what caused you to leave the Left, and whether that can be replicated with the rest of the Left?" - paul edwards

It's a very long story and I'm not sure it can be replicated exactly. Plus, I am not sure if your question is sincere or not. Also, given the rules of etiquette on this forum, I am sure Wretchard would frown on me posting even a summary of my experience.

This question to you is sincere and direct: why do you treat this recrudescence of Islamic jihad to NOT be a war? Why do you not take the Islamic enemies' words at face value? They do have the precise scriptural and theological principles quite correct for waging jihad against the kafir. The example of the Prophet, dozens of surahs in the Qur'an, and citations from the two most authoritative ahadith, Hadith Muslim and Hadith Bukhari, all pass muster in every accepted, traditional school of Islamic jurisprudence.

It is an odd disconnect that one side wants to deploy Inspecteur Clouseau while the other side has declared war, and has been at war with us unbelievers since the 7th century. There has been no repudiation of the doctrine of jihad by all the authoritative schools within Islam. Not one surah and hadith has been invalidated as not being uttered from the lips of Allah.

9/20/2007 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger rickl said...

Doug said...
When Capital Punishment is too Kind:
Police Say Man Fed Cats to His Pit Bulls

Simple, really. Just put a rattlesnake in his mouth.

9/20/2007 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Edwards said...

Fred, "It's a very long story and I'm not sure it can be replicated exactly. Plus, I am not sure if your question is sincere or not."

Why would you think my question is not sincere? I have talked to hundreds of pro-war people, thousands of anti-war people (literally and deliberately - via chat rooms) to try to understand the diametrically-opposed positions. I have a deep understanding of the positions, but what I don't know is how to get an anti-war person to see reason and become pro-war. I have only briefly chatted to two such people. We are at the stage where to win this ideological war we need to figure out how to get people to make the transition. We only need to get about 1% of America to switch sides and the war will pretty much have been won, as a Republican president will hopefully see the job through. You can possibly provide the key. I have no idea. As despite thousands of debates, I'm not sure I managed to get a single person to change sides. I managed to totally destroy thousands of people's "logic" though.

"Also, given the rules of etiquette on this forum, I am sure Wretchard would frown on me posting even a summary of my experience."

I'm sure Wretchard is as interested in winning the War on Terror as I am, and knows full well that we need to find a way of getting at least swing voters to vote Republican.

"This question to you is sincere and direct: why do you treat this recrudescence of Islamic jihad to NOT be a war?"

You probably misunderstood my position. Individual acts of criminality, such as Osama's, are indeed a police matter. Interpol is responsible for manhunts of wanted criminals, not the US military. The US military should in the first instance be used to make sure that Interpol is able to work effectively on every country on the planet, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

However, there is a broader ideological war against those who would harm innocents. The Muslim religious bigots are only one such enemy. We have rapists who are Christians, we have Filipinos who are communist, and the list of enemies is broad (and I summarized it earlier). Instead of merely eliminating the latest flash in the plan - people who have a literal interpretation of the Koran and are acting on it - we should go much broader, and attack dogma in general (ie those who believe in Marx's perpetual revolution etc). And we shouldn't just be eliminating the people who are currently acting on that dogma. We should be working to make sure that even friendly people don't pass on any dogma at all to their children, in case their children end up acting on it. The war on dogma is too broad to have a front with 99.999% of the world's population. But that's the ideal.

"Why do you not take the Islamic enemies' words at face value?"

I do.

"They do have the precise scriptural and theological principles quite correct for waging jihad against the kafir."

Indeed. Just as Christians have scripture telling them to stone to death people who work on the sabbath (and before you try to write off the OT, read Matthew 5 verses 17-20).

"There has been no repudiation of the doctrine of jihad by all the authoritative schools within Islam."

And no-one has bothered to delete all the rubbish in the OT either. Or the Torah.

"Not one surah and hadith has been invalidated as not being uttered from the lips of Allah."

Except by the Mu'tazilah sect, and I think converted into figurative meanings by the Sufi sect. Perhaps there's a solution in there somewhere?

9/21/2007 02:00:00 AM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

Paul Edwards,

Thanks. I have begun to see the same things. This is why I see this war as a war within Islam.

Salaam eleikum

9/21/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

US Resumes Blackwater Convoys in Iraq

Sep 21, 9:08 AM (ET)

BAGHDAD (AP) - American convoys under the protection of Blackwater USA resumed on Friday, four days after the U.S. Embassy suspended all land travel by its diplomats and other civilian officials in response to the alleged killing of civilians by the security firm.

A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had earlier conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government to follow through on threats to expel Blackwater and other Western security contractors.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation into Sunday's shooting was ongoing, said a way out of the Blackwater crisis could be the payment of compensation to victims' families and an agreement from all sides on a new set of rules for their operations in Iraq.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the decision to resume land travel outside the heavily fortified Green Zone was made after consultations with the Iraqi governments. She said the convoys will be limited to essential missions.

Nantongo declined to comment on an Interior Ministry report that officials said concluded that Blackwater guards opened fire Sunday from four positions on a square in western Baghdad after a vehicle near their convoy failed to stop.

"We're waiting for the results of the investigation, which we are conducting as quickly as we can," she said.

The U.S. ban announced Tuesday had confined most American officials to the Green Zone, a 3 1/2-square-mile area in the center of the city that houses the American Embassy and thousands of U.S. soldiers and contractors.

The decision kept them from visiting U.S.-funded construction sites or Iraqi officials elsewhere in the country except by helicopter - an indication of how dependent the State Department is on Blackwater protection.

Blackwater has said its employees acted "lawfully and appropriately" in response to an armed attack against a State Department convoy. Several Iraqi witnesses and officials claimed the security guards were the first to open fire.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have formed a joint committee to probe the widely differing accounts.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said a report found that the security guards opened fire first on Iraqi drivers.

The report, Khalaf said, recommended annulling a legal provision that gives immunity to foreign security companies operating in Iraq. It also recommended Blackwater compensate the victims' families and that all foreign security companies be replaced by Iraqi companies.

According to Khalaf, a car bomb detonated around noon Sunday near al-Rahman mosque in Mansour, a mile north of Nisoor Square. "Minutes later, two mortar rounds landed nearby Nisoor Square and they (Blackwater) thought that they were under attack," Khalaf said.

"They started shooting randomly from four positions in the square, killing 11 civilians and injuring 12 others. The first one who was killed was a driver who failed to stop and then his wife," Khalaf said.

9/21/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

America needs to better learn the culture, environs and people in the places she projects her power.

Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper and ever so much more efficient to just nuke the troublemakers into a parking lot, and then re-build from the ground up using OUR standards?

Why on earth should we bother to learn the "culture" of a bunch of murderous barbarians? That merely does the honor of treating them as equivalents, and to me a religion / culture / society that practices female genital mutiliation, honor killings, and fatwa's issued helter-skelter by every third illiterate imam is NOT something I either want to honor nor to treat as a peer.

9/21/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Paul Edwards, repeating a common mistake, wrote... Indeed. Just as Christians have scripture telling them to stone to death people who work on the sabbath (and before you try to write off the OT, read Matthew 5 verses 17-20).

Christians are not Jews. The Mosaic law was given to the Jews. Jesus was obviously speaking to Jews, since Christians didn't exist then.

Muslims have no such distinction. They have only one version of the Quran, and they don't allow textual criticism of it. So if it says "kill", they can logically argue that it is their religious duty.

9/21/2007 10:16:00 AM  

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