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Put the bullet where the finger points

I can only hope that the Americans keep their nerve and use the wide scale of the uprising to not just decapitate the more florid Islamist leadership but also place clear ‘markers’ as to what the response will be to armed uprisings during the de facto ‘protectorate’ phase of Iraq’s post-Ba’athist reconstruction.

As things are developing day by day, it is pointless for me to just reiterate the reports filling the news media as to the current state of the cut and thrust on the ground, but there may indeed be an analogue with the Vietnam war here… and it ain’t a ‘quagmire’… the Tet offensive may have been a political disaster for the USA but it was a military triumph and more or less wiped out the Vietcong as a significant military and political force. If the US can do the same to not just Muqtada al Sadr’s Islamo-fascist militia but also to any the militias of any who make the mistake of supporting him, it will have profoundly useful effects long after the fighting fades into history and the US and UK forces have gone home.

follow_finger_and_shoot.jpg

Translation: Follow my finger and shoot… here

Although Ali Sistani is, in the overall scheme of things, someone that the occupying powers can probably do business with (though that remains to be seen), it can only be helpful to his education if Muqtada al Sadr, that heir to the ‘Mad Mahdi’, can be seen to come to a fairly public and messy end surrounded by as many of his supporters as possible. Notions of putting this man on trial are to say the least ‘unhelpful’.

If a successful confederated Iraqi republic is going to come out of this without falling into a democratically sanctified ‘popular Islamic’ tyranny like that which so many in Iran are trying hard to throw off with their own efforts right now, it is going to take some serious stick, and not just carrot, to make things come out more or less the right way. That is, alas, the way the real world works and hopefully the US and UK have the fortitude to see it through to its conclusion without cutting and running prematurely. So far the signs are reasonably good as only the usual suspects are bleating for political defeat to be plucked from the jaws of eventual military victory.

75 comments to Put the bullet where the finger points

  • Scott Cattanach

    One fiasco at a time:

    …Still, given that its been two and a half year since 9/11, and bin Laden is still running around loose, and Al Qaeda is able to put 500-man units in the field, and the warlords are quickly tearing down whatever semblance of stability Centcom has been able to build in Afghanistan — shouldn’t all this quality for at least a little more coverage in the corporate press?

    I thought not. The media understands that the Iraq fiasco has not been a deadly distraction from the war against Al Qaeda. They understand that Iraq is now the “central front in the war on terrorism.” After all, that’s what Dear Leader says. And we all know Dear Leader never lies.

  • Scott Cattanach

    BTW, we nuked Hiroshima and firebombed Tokyo and Dresden the last time we fought “a war for our very survival against a totalarian ideology” – at what point will we be justified in doing the same to Baghdad, oh believer in limited government?

  • rkb

    Scott, I find you amusing, at least until you become tedious.

    bin Laden is, at this point, an annoyance but not the main threat. His network is mostly decapitated; while al-Qaeda is recruiting new leaders, many of them are untried, leading to simplistic plots rather than the more sophisticated plans that led to 9/11. The European security agencies have broken up a number of these in the last few weeks.

    Yes, they need dealing with, but they are scarcely the center of mass of Islamacist threat.

    That center of mass lies above all in a nexus of hateful ideology, fascistic will to power and massive funding from states like Iran and the Saudis. It cuts across many groups and many countries. Unfortunately, the West as a whole waited way too long to oppose this threat, so now it will need to be dealt with in crisis mode.

    For better or for worse, Iraq is one place where that opposition is now being offered. Not because the Coalition wants that – we’d be happy simply to help Iraq rebuild and prosper. It is expensive and wasteful to rebuild the same pipeline multiple times because idiots keep sabotaging it. But we continue to do just that, and Iraq has now begun to meet its OPEC quota for oil production for the first time since 1979

    This is one of the real battles taking place in Iraq, as real as dead and wounded on all sides.

    This is not theoretical for me. My husband is a retired military officer. We both teach at West Point, so many of the young men and women being sent to Iraq and elsewhere are people we know personally. We occasionally have held funerals for some of them here at the Academy this past year.

    We have a close family friend, a retired man in his 70s who agreed to go to Iraq to help the Iraqis build a banking system that would meet international accounting and procedural standards. He has been drawing on friendships built during decades of international banking to do so, but like all the others there, he sleeps in a modest cargo container fitted with two beds and a few amenities and he is regularly in danger of bombardment or an IED as he travels throughout the countryside .

    Moreover, both my husband and I have volunteered to go to Baghdad to help bring the university’s library, courses and technology up to date. So far during the initial visits the authorities are not sending civilians, even retired officers like my husband, but we keep pressing them to do so. In the meanwhile, I’ve send a fair portion of my professional (technical) library there, along with software they can use without royalties.

    The US has furnished an initial lot of a hundred or so PCs for class and research work, so those books and software will come in handy. Several of my colleagues in uniform have already visited to consult with the faculty and dean, offer classroom lectures (all are Army majors and colonels with PhDs from places like Stanford and Cornell ) and plan what resources are most needed and wanted at Baghdad Univ.

    Now, this may seem quaint in the face of the current violence. But in fact it goes to the heart of the matter. Capturing bin Laden will eventually happen, or not. But what will address the wider issue of Islamacist violence will be Muslims who have no time for such things because they are productive, proud contributors to the world economy and to their country’s prosperity.

  • Scott,

    You truly are a blowhard. If and when Bin Laden is finally nailed (assuming he is not already dead) you will be seething and whining about “state murder”.

    If would be a far more productive use of your time and energy to seek to come to terms with your festering grudges about the Allied victories of WWII.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Again, at what point will WWII-style city levelling be justified, since we’re fighting WWIV? Is it unreasonable to ask how many people you’re willing to kill (or “sanitize”, in RCD govt-speak) to get what you want out your war?

    When do we start carpet-bombing Iran, since we lack the troops to invade and occupy it (or is that another country where you harbor neocon fantasies about everyone there throwing flowers at our feet when we invade)?

    Don’t start a war unless you’ve decided how far you will go to win.

  • Steve in Houston

    Guys, I think your arguments with Scott Cattanach would be bolstered if you included pictures of dead babies along with about 15 posts asking/stating the same thing over and over.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Steve, if they’d answer my questions, I wouldn’t have to repeat them. Instead, the worse things get in Iraq, the less they have to say about it (this is Perry’s second post that said nothimg more than the uprising is good news ’cause that means we’ll kill the small, finite number of enemies we have just because we are good).

  • Scott,

    Okay, I think we should 16,234 people and obliterate between 3-5 urban centres.

    If, for any reason, these parameters are exceeded then the military commanders should revert to me for further instructions.

    Happy now?

  • Sorry, I was so overwhelmed by furious neo-con bloodlust that I omitted a crucial word.

    The above should read:

    “Okay I think we should kill 16234 people….”

  • Scott Cattanach

    “Okay I think we should kill 16234 people….”

    In other words, you haven’t thought thru your war, and are hoping that escalating emotions will sell the plebes on actions they wouldn’t have supported at the beginning.

  • Robin Burk

    I am willing to kill as many Islamacist fanatics as offer themselves for martyrdom by attacking our troops.

    Ditto for ex-Ba’athists who are not willing to allow Iraq a peaceful future under a representative government based on law.

    I am willing to sacrifice money that could go into other things in my community, not only to support this war but also reconstruction in Iraq. So far, beyond my taxes, I have sent well over a thousand dollars of direct personal contributions to do so.

    I am ALSO willing to continue to do what we are doing right now: sacrificing the lives of some of our very best young men and women so as to minimize the number of Iraqi civilian deaths while we accomplish the above.

    If you want to face unpalatable facts, Scott, consider these, which I and my colleagues face today.

    The ratio of US deaths to the deaths of combatants over the last week is approximately 1 to 10.

    Do you have ANY doubt that that ratio could easily have been 1:1000 or more? We have chosen to leave Fallujah standing and her population mostly unharmed AT THE EXPENSE OF U.S. LIVES.

    Don’t you dare lecture me about facing the facts of death in war. I’m pretty sure I face it more directly than you have done or ever will, each day in my military family and amid my colleagues here.

  • Scott Cattanach

    I am willing to kill as many Islamacist fanatics as offer themselves for martyrdom by attacking our troops.

    Does that mean limit the killing to shooting back, or does that include flattening buildings and city blocks where you think someone might be shooting from (or think someone may have shot from and someone therefore needs to be ‘punished’)? How many people need to attack for you to conclude that “nation building” is doomed and your only two options are leaving and basically levelling the place?

    My beef is w/ the politicans, not the guys on the ground in Iraq shooting back, so spare me the “only war supporters support the troops” BS.

  • Mark

    Scott, how many Iraqi deaths are you willing to step up for by us pulling out and unleashing the even greater anarchy than they’ve already got, just so you can say “neener neener, Bush was wrong!”. Rightly or wrongly, we’re there and have to see it through. I think even Kerry understands that though I’m not completely sure. And regardless how many nations nominally step up to offer help, as we have seen, the only ones we can count on to really help are the Brits and the Aussies. UN assistance is a farce even if both sides end up wanting its participation.

    This isn’t easy and nobody said it was going to be. Thanks for helping braveheart.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Mark, your response assumes the govt will succeed, and my question was at what point will the War Party recognize a failure, should we get to that point. I’m sorry, but I don’t take govt success as a given.

  • Scott,

    If anyone round here is ‘escalating emotions’ it is you.

    The ‘how-many-innocent-children-must-die?’ rhetorical device is tiresome and vacuous regardless of how often it is repeated.

    You asked the question. I have given you the answer. New devices needed now.

  • While I would rather ignore the troll, because Scott’s ideas are so easy to refute, I’ll comment:

    The US has made amazing efforts to protect “innocents”. We could have easily destroyed that entire region of the world. There are more books translated by Spain into Spanish every year than have been translated into Arabic by all 22 Middle Eastern nations combined, EVER. We wouldn’t be losing much culturally, but this might change as we rebuild Iraq’s universities.

    BUT, we aren’t animals, and the threat can be dealt with in a more reasonable fashion.

    We could have carpet-bombed large areas of Iraq. Instead, we use extremely expensive, but precise, munitions which can attack a target below a bridge, but keep the bridge intact.

    We could be arresting tens of thousands of people, in order to keep our soldiers safe. Rather, we are working to build the first Arabic democracy.

    We have spent more money on Iraqi schools, power supplied, water works, hospitals, transportation infrastructure, among other areas, than was spent by Saddam in the past 20 years combined.

    The numbers simply fly in the face of your lack of foresight.

    Also, you need only look to the rape of Nan King to see why the Allies were better than the Japanese. And I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t forget the Holocaust when judging allied action in Dresden.

    But maybe you’re right: we should have been using our not-yet invented precision munitions rather than fire bombing. That would have been nice.

    I also really wish I could use my “convince-backward-thugs-we-are-on-the-Iraqi-people’s-side ray gun” and put this whole conflict to an end.

    People didn’t answer your question directly because we are already doing everything we can to achieve victory for us and the Iraqi people.

    In terms of the number of people necessary before we give the war, there is no limit. Either the insurgents will run thin, and we will win, or it will turn out everyone in Iraq is a terrorist, and we will kill them all.

    Clearly, the first option is by far the most likely to happen. That knowledge alone will convince most Iraqis to be on our side: they really just want to join with the eventual winner.

  • Lemuel Kolkava

    Please, you are turning this rather intelligent site into a parody. More and more you are starting to look like this, but this at least is a joke, I think:

    Warmongerz Blog.

    Please, stop it, or I will be forced to reconsider my judgments about your sanity. :-)

    BTW: Are all samizdatistas “bloodthirsty warmongers“, or are there any dissenters? (in other words, is there still hope?)

    Best Wishes

    Lemuel

  • Aral Simbon

    Ivan Kirigin:

    I don’t understand. If

    “The State is not your friend”,

    then how can the American government be a friend of the Iraqi people?

  • D Anghelone

    …but there may indeed be an analogue with the Vietnam war here…

    There is if you see this as a battle and not the war.

  • Shawn

    “Don’t start a war unless you’ve decided how far you will go to win”

    We have already decided this. The President has made it clear, and I agree with him, that we will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to defeat political Islam. Which par of “whatever it takes as long as it takes” do you find difficult to understand.

    And by the way, WE did NOT start a war. The Muslims started this one long ago.

    Sept.11

    Sept.11

    Sept.11

    Sept.11

    NEVER AGAIN.

  • Aral Simbon:

    I don’t understand. If

    “The State is not your friend”,

    then how can the American government be a friend of the Iraqi people?

    In Adam Smith’s short list of actions the government can legitimately take, the very first is, “the duty of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies.”

    In this war of cultures, we wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if the government eliminated the “invading” culture (Islamic fundamentalism), through overt military power alone.

    What we will tolerate is the spread of values which reflect why our culture is successful. Liberal (in the 19th century sense) democracies do not attack other liberal democracies. Iraq, followed by the other states of the region, will be forced into moderation, if such a thing is possible.

    I am certain this is the reason for our noble humanitarian efforts in Iraq. It indeed perfectly qualifies for the rubric which I use to justify any government action: could it reasonably be done by the voluntary actions of private citizens and enterprise?

    Clearly with the prohibitions by the past tyranny, and the simple lack of efforts, there was no private action in Iraq to start this domino effect of change. Military action was necessary.

    The fundamental reason I support the war in Iraq is that our government is spawning a sea change in the culture which produced the 911 attacks. This is the only reasonable way to fight terrorism, other than killing terrorists, which is hard because they are hiding and you never know when you are done.

    They should trust our government because our interests coincide. We want out of there as soon as stability is created. They want us out of there as soon as stability is created.

    Just because I believe in limited government, and distrust the snow-balling nature of expanding government, does not mean there is no action which the government can legitimately make. I believe that makes me an anti-idiotarian, no?

  • Hylas

    “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

    “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

    “Speak softly and carry a big stick”

    Theodore Roosevelt

  • Jake

    The Democrats and the media are putting a huge amount of pressure of the President to cut and run. It will take a tremendous amount of courage on his part to stay the course.

    However, most Americans including me, think that he will persist and prevail.

  • You know, as I watch Iranian Revolutionary Guards stream into Iraq to get a chance to kill Jew-pig-dog-monkey Americans, and as I watch a number of the religious leaders in Iraq start calling Hezbollah for help, and start waxing all Bin Laden-esque and calling for the death of all Americans (not to mention the British Jew-Pig-Dog-Monkeys and the like), I feel an answer to Scott Cattenach’s inevitable “how many dead bodies would satisfy you” post is in order here. So how many dead bodies would satisfy me at this point?

    Every one of the Islamacists. Every goddam one.

    I don’t care what anybody’s religion or politics are, with one exception: if it involves killing lots of innocent people to (1) vindicate your wacked religious beliefs; (2) to finish up the job that weak-Willy Hitler started, but couldn’t finish; (3) to kill everybody who doesn’t think and worship just like you, and even lots of the people who do — well, then if you are one of these people then by God, talking just isn’t going to work, is it? Nor will mercy. Nor foreign aid. Nor economic development. Nor strong language from the UN urging a diplomatic resolution, or democracy, or peace, or our conversion to your wack-job interpretation of Islam, or more porno and pot, or any other friggin’ thing anybody can do, anywhere. We’ve tried everything, and the only approach that works is specific deterrence. For those who don’t remember their Bentham, that means eliminating the specific threat posed by specific criminals, one at a time.

    Dealing with the Islamacists reminds me of that scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation, the first one, where Chevy Chase finally gets to Wally World. He’s had it with things, and he’s finally figured out the problem, and why everything was so miserable on the trip. “Know what your problem is?” he asks his family. “It’s that you’re all just fucked in the head.”

    That’s a pretty good diagnosis of what troubles the Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah, Hamas, the “Mahdi” al Sadr’s boys, and to a large extent the straphangers of torturers, the Fedayeen Saddam. Basically, they are all just fucked in the head.

    And thanks to our good pals, the peace lovers in North Korea and Pakistan, they are well on their way to having nukes in Iran, which has pretty openly stated that the first goal of their program is to nuke Israel.

    So Scott, chew on this a while. When ought we to start taking action in the Middle East? After 6 million more Jews burn? After we lose Baltimore or Southampton? Should we just pull out of the middle east, go into our little anarcho-capitalist shell, and trust the Islamacists to leave us alone? Or should we try to clean out the Augean stable of the Middle East before any Western cities or the one tolerant democracy there gets burned; should we give a helping hand to those who want to pull themselves up, and a kick in the teeth who want to pull us into their pit?

    Sorry about the language folks, but I’m pissed, beside myself really, because I’m starting to get dragged, unwillingly, into the “clash of civilizations” mode of thought, and I don’t like it at all. But I don’t see how the present goings-on in Iraq can otherwise be explained. Either a substantial chunk of the Islamic world is all about a war against the West generally, or every little horror that has been visited on the West in the last 30 years by Islamacist terrorists has been fully justified as Noam Chomsky insists, and we’re just getting payback for it.

    Visiting this site has been refreshing as the going gets tough in the Middle East – especially reading Perry’s stuff. I get a sense that there may be some other people outside of the U.S. who really get it, that there is a serious war going on, and it’s not about some pissant tinhorn dictator, it’s about a substantial chunk of the world who are bound and determined to have us all (at least the survivors among us) living in caves. I recognize the Islamacists; I’ve seen their type in history books, in prisons, in every nasty little shithole I’ve ever traveled to in the world. The difference being, most places in the world, their violent, nasty type is in jail. In the Middle East, they run a lot of things. This is our problem, and it isn’t going to go away unless we solve it.

    After 9/11, I thought there was a war on. Turns out, I was wrong, and there’s actually a WAR happening out there.

  • Aral Simbon

    Al Maviva:

    So how many dead bodies would satisfy me at this point?

    Every one of the Islamacists. Every goddam one.

    You are aware, aren’t you, that you are advocating genocide? Have you really thought this through? How many innocent civilians are going to die for each Islamacist you kill? How are you going to reliably identity all the Islamacists? Suppose you could round up all the people suspected of being Islamicists and gas them, would you? Is that the morally correct thing to do?

  • Dan McWiggins

    David, Al,

    The better argument has been made here on Samizdata before. It’s that if the war in Iraq isn’t won by conventional means, with corresponding change in the ME, there will probably at some point be a massively deadly terrorist attack in the West. If that attack comes the pressure on the West to respond with nuclear force will be all but overwhelming. Then we really will be in “clash of civilizations” mode.

    Now, is there anyone reading this board that doubts Al-Q or Hussein’s willingness to use a nuke on the West? Does anyone believe if Al-Q had had a nuke to use on 9-11 they would have refrained from using it? If anyone does, they are living in a fantasy world. They certainly aren’t taking either entity at their oft-reiterated word.

    Changing the ME by conventional force, as is currently being attempted by the Americans in Iraq, is quite probably the only way to prevent it from being changed by nuclear weaponry into a charnel house. After 9-11 the problem of fundamentalist Islam could no longer be left to fester. What America is now doing in Iraq is almost certainly the last chance to avoid the WMD terrorism/ Western nuclear response scenario. If you think the Marines are indiscriminate, take a look at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    America’s intervention in Iraq is truly a preventive measure. There is an excellent analogy to be made here with arming airline pilots. Those who oppose allowing armed pilots in the cockpit because of the supposed risk are by default proposing a much greater risk. A pilot with a gun certainly has the opportunity to create mischief. However, deprive him of that gun to protect himself and you’ve guaranteed that if he is successfully hijacked there will either be another suicide crash or the plane will be shot out of the sky by military aircraft. Seems to me the lesser risk is preferable–in both instances.

    People like Scott who oppose this war need to understand that they are arrogating to themselves a lot of moral responsibility for what will happen if it isn’t successful. Anyone wanting to see much of the ME turned into a sheet of radioactive glass should be wishing for American failure in Iraq. If the latter happens, the former choice won’t be long in coming.

  • Charles Copeland

    Dan McWiggins writes:

    “People like Scott who oppose this war need to understand that they are arrogating to themselves a lot of moral responsibility for what will happen if it isn’t successful. Anyone wanting to see much of the ME turned into a sheet of radioactive glass should be wishing for American failure in Iraq.”

    Only the Muslim world and leftist diehards are ‘wishing’ for American failure. The chief pragmatic (as opposed to ‘moral’) argument against the occupation of Iraq was that, while it might succeed in toppling Saddam, it would not succeed in turning Iraq into a haven of brotherly love and democracy. Rather, it would become an anarchic Islamic hellhole rather than a secular law-and-order hellhole as under Hussein. And that apparently is what is happening: the Americans are inadvertently fostering the very ideology they wish to defeat. They fuck you up, as Larkin said about your mum and dad, they do not mean to but they do …

    A pity – to many of us, it sounded like such a good idea at the time. Garlands, dancing girls, cheering children in the streets, residents shaking hands with their liberators … and now, a fresh bouquet of barbed wire day by day, hour by hour.

  • Verity

    Perry – “the more florid Islamist leadership” – very apt.

    Aral – you say that Al is proposing genocide, but he is not. He is proposing to wipe out the enemy and render it permanently inoperable. We could not hold off from wiping out the enemy of civilisation just because they all happened to be of one race. It’s not the race we are focused on – it’s the aggressive bigotry and intolerance of a certain section of Islam.

    All Islamics aren’t Arabs, you know. Pakis aren’t Arabs. Iranians aren’t Arabs. N Africans aren’t Arabs. Somalis and Senegalese aren’t Arabs. Nigerians aren’t Arabs. Indonesians aren’t Arabs.

    It is militant Islam we are set on destroying permanently, not a race of people. Al Maviva referred to every last Islamist – meaning every last fundamentalist fanatic, no matter what their race.

  • Frank P

    Al Maviva

    You are the man! My optimism is based on the fact that there are perhaps millions more like you, but without the eloquence to express what’s in their hearts and heads and therefore remain ‘the silent majority’. But they have to get out and vote when the day arrives. The Cattanachs of this world will be the death of Western Civilisation if their prattle is not put into perspective and is ridiculed with the powerful invective that you so flexibly and consistently muster to destroy his pontifications. SC is a sneer incarnate. He belongs to the league of knockers thankfully, not the league of doers. His negativity can be ingnored or merely serve to rouse the ire of you and your ilk and therefore become a positive. Keep it up.

  • I don’t understand. If

    “The State is not your friend”,

    then how can the American government be a friend of the Iraqi people?

    If we come down from our ivory tower for a moment, and realize that life is not an ideal situation of empirical truth, but rather a collection of messy compromises, then it’s really simple:

    For almost all of the Iraqi people, the repressive Bush regime of the United States is a far better friend than the genial, live-and-let-live government of Saddam Hussein.

  • The state is not your friend – the state should be your servant when it come to its only legitimate function – protection. That is why we are not anarchists but minarchist… [says she for the gazillion hundredth time]

  • Scott Cattanach

    David, the people chanting “9/11″ (which Iraq wasn’t responsible for) are the ones fanning emotional flames. Al, you present a false choice between invading Iraq last year and letting him set up death camps to kill 6 million people. Your hysteria is better suited to the looney environmental left (“the govt has to take total control of the economy because GLOBAL WARMING WILL DROWN US ALL!!!!”).

    This thread is amazing. War supporters are alternating between “this war proves how saintly we are” and “kill every goddam raghead”, and neither side calls the other out, showing how little either one actually cares about the truth of their justifications for their war. Otherwise, the saintly war supporters would have something to say to the genocidal war supporters.

    Guys (and you know who you are), one-handed typing calls for continuing this war doesn’t prove how tough you are, or how much ‘resolve’ you have. Particularly when you’re doing it at a website where you can expect everybody to tell you how wonderful you are for doing so.

    BTW, if you’re among the “Bush, our Dear Leader, will save us” war supporters, I do hope you realize the PTB here at Samzidata are laughing at your stupidity behind your back, as they egg you on in supporting the war.

  • Scott Cattanach

    And why are all of you equating any Iraqi resisting occupation w/ “Islamofacist”? Might at least some of them just not want foreign occupation (particularly when we say we aren’t leaving until we change them into what we want them to be), and just not see(mistaken or not) your motives as being as pure as the War Party claims they are?

    That’s not to condem our guys for shooting back, just to address the “every resisting Iraqi we kill is one dead Islamofacist” argument.

  • Marcus Lindroos

    Let’s revisit the clear centerpiece of this Administration’s argument for attacking Iraq, namely, that it would make America safer. Every dollar spent on military action in Iraq is one dollar less for pursuing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere, or homeland security improvements. What do we know, one year later?

    We know the weapons of mass destruction weren’t there after all.

    We also know the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection has been virtually non-existent; in any case so insignificant even the increasingly desperate defenders of this Administration really have not been able to make any use of it.

    More than two years after 9/11, it is becoming increasingly clear just how relatively insignificant state sponsorship of terrorism really is. As Fareed Zakaria correctly pointed out in NEWSWEEK, terrorism supported by “rogue states” has been a waning problem since the end of the cold war. The real problem is INTERNATIONAL stateless terrorism, which tends to be more of a leaderless mass movement supported by the local Islamic community. Such “franchise” groups carried out the 9/11 and 3/11 attacks — not Saddam or Moammar. Now, what moron spends $200 billion and diverts 150,000 soldiers to a faraway place that’s about as far removed from 9/11 and the “War on Terror” as Helsinki, Finland is??

    To me, it’s just amazing how completely misconceived the President’s “War on Terror” policy is. He is spending money on the wrong priorities, in the wrong places, for all the wrong reasons… His falling approval ratings show even “Red” Americans are finally starting to grasp this.

    MARCU$

  • Scott Cattanach

    Marcus, its even weirder that the people at LS seem to believe only states can be a threat, and only govts can do us harm (hence downplaying stateless Al-Queda in favor of going after the govt of Iraq). I can see a socialist thinking only a govt can organize and fund attacks against us. Hey, wait a minute, that’s just another example of Samizdatists thinking like socialists.

  • Marcus Lindroos

    Dan McWiggins:

    > It’s that if the war in Iraq isn’t won by conventional
    > means, with corresponding change in the ME, there
    > will probably at some point be a massively deadly
    > terrorist attack in the West.

    Now, who the hell thinks terrorists are DISCOURAGED by military failure?!?! Israel has won every single military battle since 1949 — has it actually discouraged Arab resistance? Why does virtually everyone in the pro-war camp automatically assume the Mohammed Attas will be bitterly discouraged by the United States invading Iraq or putting troops in their “land of the holy places?”

    > there will probably at some point be a massively
    > deadly terrorist attack in the West. If that attack
    > comes the pressure on the West to respond with
    > nuclear force will be all but overwhelming

    Nonsense. Terrorists generally have no return address.

    > Now, is there anyone reading this board that doubts
    > Al-Q or Hussein’s willingness to use a nuke on the
    > West?

    You are right about Al Qaeda for the reasons given (=they generally operate in the shadows ), but there is some strong indirect evidence from GW I that Saddam Hussein was *not* willing to use his biochemical weapons against American troops. Of course, he wasn’t willing to die as a martyr either.

    In any case, the most likely source of terrorist WMDs was never Iraq — we have a lot more to fear from poorly guarded post-USSR labs in Russia.

    MARCU$

  • Johnathan

    Marcus has a good point about the dangers of what happened in the post-Cold War Soviet Union with lots of stuff flying around. Hmmm. I actually wondered about this as an immediate threat after 9/11. I would have thought we should be targetting the Russian mafia almost as intensely as the Islamists.

  • Marcus Lindroos

    Al Maviva:


    Should we just pull out of the middle east, go into our little anarcho-capitalist shell, and trust the Islamacists to leave us alone?

    Pretty excellent idea! Would we be left alone if we did not meddle in their affairs? Let’s do a historical fact check: how many terrorist strikes have Al Qaeda carried out in Zurich or Stockholm to date? Even if we adjust for population density, it is pretty clear that the United States as well as Western European nations having a strong post-colonial presence in the Middle East have been by far the most popular targets.

    True: Islamic terrorism remains (to a certain extent) a potential problem anyway as long as there is a Muslim underclass. Hence they are taking the problem seriously in Paris as well as in London. The West will need to remain vigilant about homeland security no matter what Middle East policies we pursue. But only a fool would deny that maintaining a powerful military presence in certain places in the Middle East does not make it more likely that the Mohammed Attas start looking for the next NYC skyscraper to annihilate.

    This is not “appeasement”, folks, it is common sense! If you whack the hornets nests, you are more likely to get stung than if you mind your own business. If Al Qaeda & co. were encouraged by “appeasement” and military “weakness”, how come the Muslim immigrant population in staunchly neutral, morally relativist Sweden didn’t detonate any bombs on March 11?


    Or should we try to clean out the Augean stable of the Middle East before any Western cities or the one tolerant democracy there gets burned; should we give a helping hand to those who want to pull themselves up, and a kick in the teeth who want to pull us into their pit?

    The problem with that “strategy” is it seems “the silent majority” in Iraq as well as elsewhere in the Middle East is not terribly pro-American/pro-Western after all… This means the war will be costly in economic terms (unlike in 1991 the United States is essentially paying the full cost of the Iraqi occupation) and will cause further “public relations”-related setbacks in the Arab street. Since it has now been firmly established that Saddam possessed no WMDs worth talking about and wasn’t providing any meaningful assistance to Al Qaeda & co., the U.S. does not directly benefit from removing him from power in terms of “national safety”. Instead, Islamic people everywhere (including relatively moderate countries such as Turkey) are now significantly more anti-American than they were 3-4 years ago if opinion polls are believed. This, in turn, makes it more likely somebody will spend an insignificant sum of money on blowing up 200 innocents in Oklahoma City or Madrid — not less. The necessary counter terrorism measures tend to limit personal freedoms, which makes me wonder how any self-proclaimed civil libertarian could support this kind of “War on Terror…” which relies on bigger government abroad (=larger military budget, more manpower) as well as back home (=patriot act, department of homeland security etc.).

    The economic benefits also seem rather questionable. The Middle East is important mainly to religious types and because it has oil — apart from that, it remains a backwater that is not very well integrated into the world economy at all. Since fossil fuels will become increasingly irrelevant during the coming decades, why not simply make a virtue out of necessity by walking away from this mess…? The Arab nations are (relatively speaking) far less powerful than Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR were and their economy isn’t going to sustain bin Laden’s fantasies of restoring the Caliphate in any case.

    Kirigin:

    The fundamental reason I support the war in Iraq is that our government is spawning a sea change in the culture which produced the 911 attacks.

    Do you know where Mohammed Atta came from? Or Osama bin Laden? An amazingly many terrorists have spent long periods of their lives in the West. If you believe the neoconservatives, everything will be fine once Muslims experience “freedom” and “liberty”. The problem with that line of thinking is they already KNOW our culture and they want none of it — apart from perhaps our higher standard of living!!

    MARCU$

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    As a libertarian I believe one of the few legitimate functions of a state is national defense. I see the War on Terror as misnamed…it’s One Battle Against Islam. The war has already been long…it will continue to be bloody…and we must win.

    I have been an infantry platoon leader and don’t need any lessons from anyone about the nature of patriotism, fear, motivation in stressful situations, who needs killing or who deserves a parade when it’s over.

    My belief is that people like SC and his fellow travellers should be put up against the wall and shot with shit then hung for stinking.

  • Marcus Lindroos


    I see the War on Terror as misnamed…it’s One Battle Against Islam.

    Gee — what is the name of this particular political fraction? “Libertarians for Pat Robertson” perhaps?

    MARCU$

  • Scott Cattanach

    My belief is that people like SC and his fellow travellers should be put up against the wall and shot with shit then hung for stinking.

    And you are going to teach the Muslims about liberty?

  • “The state is not your friend” does not mean “the state is your enemy”. Why is this so hard for people like SC to understand? The Iraqi action is against Islamo-kazis. The people leading the so-called resistance are in fact Islamic extremist zealots who share beliefs with OBL and his ilk.

    Most of the Iraqis who have been killed in the last month were shooting at our soldiers. Don’t they have a right to defend themselves?

  • Scott Cattanach

    Most of the Iraqis who have been killed in the last month were shooting at our soldiers. Don’t they have a right to defend themselves

    I specifically said I didn’t condem any of our soldiers or marines for shooting back, and that my beef was w/ the idiot politicans responsible for this totally optional war (in Iraq, which didn’t attack us on 9/11).

    The people leading the so-called resistance are in fact Islamic extremist zealots who share beliefs with OBL and his ilk.

    Share what “beliefs”? OBL and “his ilk”? You’re painting w/ quite a broad brush to ignore any possibility that we’re not wanted in Iraq by any Iraqis who otherwise wouldn’t have had any particular desire to do anything to an American or Brit.

    Saddam is gone, we’ve cleared up any concerns about Iraqi WMDs, and our being there is the current driver of people getting shot and killed over there (ours and theirs). Declare victory, pull out, and let Iraqis learn about running their own lives by letting them run their own lives.

    This is the point where the “every dead Iraqi is a dead Islamofacist” crowd pretends to care if they kill each other in a civil war. That presumes we can do anything more than delay it a bit, and possibly make it worse w/ our govt’s inteptitude in the process.

  • Johnathan

    Marcus’ clings to the hope/notion that we could avoid the wrath of the islamists if we were to pull out entirely from all parts of the world in which these radical islamists operate. But pulling out might not be enough. Consider – Turkey refused to co-operate with the Coalition in the recent Iraqi invasion, and yet dozens of folk were still bombed in Istanbul.

    Ditto Bali. Apparently it was bombed because of East Timor. Quite how that slots into the “blame the victim” approach adopted by the isolationists is a mystery.

    Yes it is true that the Swiss rarely get attacked. I would be wary of basing the foreign policy on a country with the reach of the US on the relatively small landlocked state of Switzerland, mind. Always a bit dodgy to draw implications from such examples.

  • Dan McWiggins

    Marcus,

    The breeding grounds of terrorism in the ME are places that need some serious change in order to come into the 21st Century. The majority of the people, and especially the women, very much need and want liberation from their current set of repressive governmental and religious restrictions. Until that happens ugly and dangerous excrescences like Atta will continue to emerge from that section of the world.

    Saudi Arabia, among others, is a horrible place. Altogether too many of its young men live in a situation of no job, no school, no women, and no hope. They’re a fertile field for terrorism-inspiring mullahs, as 9-11 showed. Without change they will continue to be.

    As for state-sponsored terrorism versus individually-funded terrorism, I think those equating the dangers of the former and the latter are greatly mistaken. It takes serious cash and infrastructure to mount the kind of terrorism that the Israelis have fought for years. Al-Q made great use of the cover Afghanistan’s statehood provided to move people, money and equipment around the world. The Afghan national airline was a particularly useful tool. Iraq had a lot more money and resources than Afghanistan. Yoked to Al-Q they posed a considerably greater problem.

    Individuals either don’t have that kind of cash or don’t want to spend it for such sterile objectives. Hell, all the Saudis backing Bin Laden were interested in was buying him off and keeping him away from SA. If that happened, they didn’t give a damn who in the West he attacked.

    That brings up the next point. Neither Hussain nor Al-Q would have any ethical qualms about using a nuke on the West. They were, however, both very concerned about being fingered for it. Al-Q is inherently elusive. Hussain, since his location was known, had to make certain that his anti-Western terrorist support was plausibly deniable. Still, he was known to funnel cash and assistance to terrorist organizations, including Al-Q. Those of you denying this are willfully ignoring factual evidence (Czech intelligence on Atta, Zarqawi’s past relationships with Iraqi intelligence, etc.).

    WMD’s in Hussain’s hands would have ended up in Al-Q’s hands eventually, probably as soon as sanctions were lifted. Iraq’s state infrastructure and financial resources were completely subordinated to Hussain’s whims. He was letting his own people suffer bitterly just so he could build more unnecessary palaces. Why would anyone assume that in a post-sanctions Iraq he wouldn’t clandestinely use the assets he controlled to attack his most hated enemies in the West. That includes using his cash to buy illicit Russian nukes, BTW. Taking him out was the first part of preemption; rebuilding Iraq is the second. It may not work. If it doesn’t, the consequences of the failure have the potential to be the worst disaster in history.

    One last thing: anyone who thinks there aren’t Americans wishing for a military failure in Iraq so as to benefit the Dems at this next election hasn’t been watching the Dem rank and file very closely. Read some of the Iraqi bloggers’ comment sections.

  • Scott Cattanach

    “The state is not your friend” does not mean “the state is your enemy”.

    Is there a blog somewhere that Mr. Dodge can read about the erosion of personal freedom in the UK? One that discusses government’s active measures that introduce new means of control such as identity cards and surveillance cameras, and the passive measures such as weakening of double jeopardy and presumption of innocence?

  • Scott Cattanach

    WMD’s in Hussain’s hands would have ended up in Al-Q’s hands eventually, probably as soon as sanctions were lifted.

    An assertion backed up by no proof whatsoever.

  • Shawn

    “An assertion backed up by no proof whatsoever.”

    After Sept.11 we dont need proof, just the possibility.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    SC asks, “And YOU are going to teach the Iraqis about liberty?” What? What induced you, SC, to think I have any interest whatsoever in teaching the Iraqis about liberty?

  • Shawn

    “Pretty excellent idea! Would we be left alone if we did not meddle in their affairs? Let’s do a historical fact check: how many terrorist strikes have Al Qaeda carried out in Zurich or Stockholm to date? Even if we adjust for population density, it is pretty clear that the United States as well as Western European nations having a strong post-colonial presence in the Middle East have been by far the most popular targets.”

    This is Marcus’ theory. The “if we leave them alone they will leave nus alone” theory that is common amongst those who oppose the war against political Islam.

    It is totally wrong, and displays a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of Islamic fundamentalism.

    They do not intend to leave us alone no matter what we do. They intend to convert us to Islam or kill us. They intend to complete what they began in the 8th century, which is the total submission of the West, and in fact the whole world, to Islam. Islamic fundamentalists have made this clear repeatedly. As one leader of HAMAS once said in response to a question about the ultimate goal of this Palestinian terror group, the aim of HAMAS was not simply to destroy Zionism and Israel, it was “to see the flag of Islam flying over every nation on earth”. Of course there have been no attacks on Zurich or Sweden, yet. These are soft targets, not yet worth the attention and resources of the Islamists. Better to use the money and men necessary on those countries most committed to and capable of opposing political Islam with force. Moreover, Marcus ignores the attempt to swamp much of Europe with Islamic immigration and the startegy of Islamification by stealth from within Western nations.

    Marcus is dead wrong. And his kind of ignorance about the nature of the enemy we face is enexcusable. The intentions of political Islam can be easily discovered on the Net with a little effort and research. That Marcus instead simply falls back on knee jerk “anti-Western-imperialist” sloganeering is proof that many of those opposed to the war against political Islam are both profoundly ignorant of the subject they are pontificating about, and proof of their total lack of concern for the defense of the lives, liberty and property of free people.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Shawn, “you not believing what I do just proves how stupid you are” isn’t an argument. Its not even a reasonable approximation of one. “The possibility” isn’t enough, when you completely isolate it from any question about just how possible it is. Lets invade Turkey; they’re Muslim, and you cannot prove its impossible for them to give chemical weapons to Al Queda.

  • Shawn

    Scott:

    “Shawn, “you not believing what I do just proves how stupid you are” isn’t an argument.”

    Belief has nothing to do with it. Its about facts. Facts both you and Marcus coveniantly ignore.

    “”The possibility” isn’t enough, when you completely isolate it from any question about just how possible it is. Lets invade Turkey; they’re Muslim, and you cannot prove its impossible for them to give chemical weapons to Al Queda.”

    I did not say anything about the possibility being based on Iraq being Muslim. I based it on the fact that Iraq and the U.S. were ALREADY at war and had been since 1991, and on the FACT that Saddam was virulently anti-American and a supporter of Palestinian terrorism.

    Trying to compare Iraq with Turkey, a country that is part of Nato, a friend of the U.S., and that has good relations with Israel, is a monumentally stupid argument.

    The truth is that you ignore facts and play childish word games with this subject. Just admit that you have no intelligent argument to offer, and are just spouting defeatist whining propaganda, and save us all the trouble of wasting time on you.

  • Shawn

    Educating Scott.

    Fact 1. Iraq and the U.S. have been at war since 1991. Only a ceasefire agreement stopped all out hostilities.

    Fact 2. Iraq repeatedly violated this ceasefire agreement by shooting at aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones. This act alone gave the U.S. the right finish what Iraq had started in 1991.

    Fact 5. Iraq refused to declare all its weapons as required by the ceasfire agreement. U.N. inspectors STILL say that large amnounts of chemical weapons remain unaccounted for.

    Fact 4. Iraq tried to assissinate a U.S. President AFTER it had agreed to the ceasefire.

    Fact 5. Iraq financially funded and supported Plaestinian terrosists.

    Fact 6. Saddam was an unscrupulous tyrant who would not have thought twice about arming America’s enemies.

    But according to Scott, a country that shoots at U.S. pilots carrying out their lawful duty, that suppports and funds terrorism, and that tries to assissinate a U.S. President, SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE TO CONTINUE ITS ACTIVITIES.

    I say again, such a stance after Sept.11 is one of truly epic and monumental stupidity and ignorance.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Number 4 is iffy, and number 6 (at least the second part – I’ll grant Saddam was a tyrant), which is the basis of your claim that its likely that he’d give WMD to Al Queda, is nothing but a raw assertion.

    Number 5 is more Iraqi WMD bullshit. He didn’t have any.

  • Shawn

    Number 4 is a fact, not iffy.

    Number 5 (which should be number 3, should have used the preview option) is also a fact. U.N. weapons inspectors continue to say that large amounts of chemical weapons remain unaccounted for. Your claim that he had none is utterly unfounded, and given Sept.11, a huge risk to assume

    Number 6, I didn’t say Al-Qaeda specifically, there are numerous terrorist groups that he could have sold them to, not all of them even Islamic necessarily. As to it being a raw assertion, it was in fact a serious possibility given Saddams continued conflict with the U.S., given his attacks on American pilots, his attempt to assassinate Bush snr, his support for Palestinian terrorists, and his often voiced hatred of America and Israel, and one that after Sept.11 we could no longer dismiss. Perhaps YOU want to put American lives at risk by ignoring possible threats, I do not, and nor does our President.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Chimpy isn’t my president, I claim no ownership of him, so don’t call him “ours”. Saddam didn’t use WMD against us in Gulf War I, because he wasn’t suicidal. Deterence worked. That’s why I disagree with you and The First Simian about there being a high probability of Saddam handing WMD to people he can’t control, but who could bring down a retaliatory strike.

  • Johnathan

    Scott, like other isolationists, asserts that Saddam was deterrable. I would not want to bet the house on that, Scott. I just don’t think the sort of experience we had with the Soviets up until the end of the Cold War could have been replicated with him. He invaded Iran in the 80s at huge risk to his regime. Then, after a crippling war, he gambled again and invaded Kuwait. After that humiliation, he still continued to violate the 1991 ceasefire, was almost certainly involved in the attempted murder of Bush snr and possibly the first WTC bombing of 1993. His breach of the 1991 ceasefire was done in the knowledge that it could have destroyed him. Yet he still broke it. Deterrable?

    Deterrance depends, as a theory of how to conduct foreign policy, on the essential proof that one’s adversary is rational and reacts to carrots and sticks. Saddam was a huge risk taker, and for that reason alone it is a good thing he is out of the way. These things cannot be proved with 100 pct certainty, of course. Certainty was not a luxury we had after 9/11, which is surely the point.

    As for whether Saddam’s fall would have resulted in WMDs getting into terrorists’ hands, one doesn’t know, but as a working assumption, it makes sense, just as it makes sense to assume that WMDs in the former Soviet Union may be in danger of entering the Russian black market. Any intelligence service worth its pay would be looking hard at such eventualities, and planning accordingly.

    I agree with 100 pct with Shawn’s bullet points above.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    Dear Theodopoulos: The reason I raised the issue of YOU teaching the Iraqis about liberty is because I really like to shoot my mouth off…being a traitorous, peace-at-any-price, cowardly, sophist motor flutter and all. Don’t take it personal or nothing.

    Scott

  • Scott Cattanach

    So Theo, what did you think of Monkey-Boy’s press conference last night?

  • A_t

    “Fact 5: Iraq financially funded and supported Palestinian terrosists.”

    … & this has relevance how? Does this constitute a threat to any of us in the West? I know Israel & the US are allies, but support for Palestinian terrorism, which is a reaction to occupation of palestinian land & their current oppression by Israel, is quite different from (and much less hazardous to a leader than) support for Al-Quaida and their ilk.

    Unless you buy into the ‘culture war’ BS, & conflate all muslim terrorists into some supra-organisation which is out to eliminate the West & our freedoms, I’d say Saddam’s support for one side in a dirty, local war does not mean he’d have been into providing support to an organisation which had sworn to overthrow him, among other objectives.

  • Marcus Lindroos


    Consider – Turkey refused to co-operate with the Coalition in the recent Iraqi invasion, and yet dozens of folk were still bombed in Istanbul.

    However, the (local) terrorists clearly had a non-Turkish “third party target. Of course, I never said terrorism will entirely cease to be a problem if we pursue a neutral, isolationist policy vs. the Middle East. My point was that a bellicose, provocative foreign policy encourages terrorism.


    Ditto Bali.

    See comments above.


    Yes it is true that the Swiss rarely get attacked. I would be wary of basing the foreign policy on a country with the reach of the US on the relatively small landlocked state of Switzerland, mind.

    Nonetheless, countries having a large footprint on the international map can stay out of harm’s way by pursuing a Swiss policy.

    MARCU$

  • Frank P

    SC

    ‘So Theo, what did you think of Monkey-Boy’s press conference last night?’

    Don’t want to speak for Theo – he’s still abed, probably, and will respond in due course, but I’ll tell you what I thought about it: the most powerful man in the world told you how it is and how it’s going to be for the forseeable future. What are you going to do about it, other than draw attention to his somewhat simian appearance? Post your own photo in this comment section and let’s see how you compare. At least George Jr has big balls, so you’d better include a skinny shot, if you think yours are bigger.

  • Marcus Lindroos


    “An assertion backed up by no proof whatsoever.”


    After Sept.11 we dont need proof, just the possibility.

    So, if the United States government thinks it is “possible” somebody might eventually want to give weapons to terrorists, it is free to preemptively kill or imprison said individual?

    MARCU$

  • Marcus Lindroos

    At least George Jr has big balls

    .

    Probably explains why, among many many other things, he doesn’t dare to face the post 9/11 commission without Dick Cheney.

    MARCU$

  • Marcus Lindroos

    The breeding grounds of terrorism in the ME are places that need some serious change in order to come into the 21st Century. The majority of the people, and especially the women, very much need and want liberation from their current set of repressive governmental and religious restrictions.

    Sez you. The males currently running Middle Eastern society would most probably disagree “violently” with that point of view.

    Until that happens ugly and dangerous excrescences like Atta will continue to emerge from that section of the world.

    You are actually dead wrong about this. By and large, the 9/11 had a middle class or even upper class background (homegrown local terrorists e.g. in Palestine are somewhat different in this regard, though, although it seems suicide bombers tend to come from all walks of life). Atta was an exchange student in Germany, for example. By your logic, shouldn’t he have “seen the light” in Hamburg and started to fight for freedom and liberty in Egypt instead…?

    Saudi Arabia, among others, is a horrible place. Altogether too many of its young men live in a situation of no job, no school, no women, and no hope. They’re a fertile field for terrorism-inspiring mullahs, as 9-11 showed. Without change they will continue to be.

    This is indeed correct to a large extent, but how do we get from point A) to point B) given the strongly anti-Western feelings that permeate the Middle East? If the place is burning, you don’t solve anything by throwing gasoline on the flames!

    The realization that things have to change will have to come from within Arab society, much like it did here in the West a few centuries ago. I am saying it is probably less difficult to reform the moribund Saudi economy than to directly challenge, head-on, half of their society to embrace political and moral values that are anathema to them.

    As for state-sponsored terrorism versus individually-funded terrorism, I think those equating the dangers of the former and the latter are greatly mistaken.

    Are we? Look at the track record to date, which is more than 3000 dead on Western soil and all because of terrorism that was primarily financed by individuals rather than governments. I guess Khaddafi’s fingerprints are indirectly on the Lockerbie disaster, but the norm has clearly been that states are less important players.

    Individuals either don’t have that kind of cash or don’t want to spend it for such sterile objectives.

    Another factual error. Islamic terrorist groups tend to receive money from many different sources, including donations from ordinary individuals living in the West as well as from criminal activities.

    What makes you think Islamists will be any different from European terrorist groups such as IRA and ETA, which have survived quite nicely without state sponsorship??

    MARCU$

  • Marcus Lindroos

    Of course there have been no attacks on Zurich or Sweden, yet. These are soft targets, not yet worth the attention and resources of the Islamists. Better to use the money and men necessary on those countries most committed to and capable of opposing political Islam with force.

    This comment reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how Muslim terrorism works. We are dealing with a fairly loose network of local self-supporting organizations which apparently are inspired by bin Laden’s vision and possibly receive some relatively minor support and advice. But the actual execution is left to local Muslims for the most part. Note, for example, that the Madrid bombings apparently were carried out by Moroccan immigrants while Turkish Islamists were responsible for the Istanbul attacks. Ditto for Bali. The planned attack on London (thankfully prevented by British intelligence) was entirely the work of people born in Britain as well. These guys were planning to detonate half a ton of explosives and they apparently received no support from Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein whatsoever!

    What this means is that bombs would be just as likely to go off in Stockholm and Zurich, if the local Muslim communities there (relatively larger than in any American city, BTW) reacted the way “Shawn” thinks.


    Moreover, Marcus ignores the attempt to swamp much of Europe with Islamic immigration and the startegy of Islamification by stealth from within Western nations.

    Immigration is a problem, yes, but does it really represent a conscious “attempt to swamp much of Europe” by some Islamist illuminati? I don’t think so…

    MARCU$

  • Shawn

    A_t states: “… & this has relevance how? Does this constitute a threat to any of us in the West?”

    Culturally Israel is part of the West, but more importantly, Muslims see it as part of the West, which is why they hate it. And yes, the war against Israel is part and parcel of the war against the West.

    “I know Israel & the US are allies, but support for Palestinian terrorism, which is a reaction to occupation of palestinian land & their current oppression by Israel,”

    No, it is a reaction to Israel’s right to liberate its land from Islamic slavery. The concept of a “palestinian” people and a “palestinian” nation is an Arab fraud.

    “is quite different from (and much less hazardous to a leader than) support for Al-Quaida and their ilk.”

    Wrong. All Islamic terror groups, including HAMAS, are motivated by virtually the same ideology of Islamic imperialism. HAMAS has stated that their goal is not the destruction of Israel, but to see “the flag of Islam flying over every nation of the earth”.

    “Unless you buy into the ‘culture war’ BS”, & conflate all muslim terrorists into some supra-organisation which is out to eliminate the West & our freedoms”

    Except its not bullshit, its the truth. You can discover this easily by simply reading the words of Islamic terror groups, their leaders, and the promoters of political Islamic ideology. This is the fundamental flaw in the thinking of those like you, Marcus and Scott. Political Islam IS out to destroy the West. They have said so. They have written about this repeatedly and extensively in articles and books, many of which I have read. But you, Marcus and Scott dont want to bother actually researching this because its far easier to spout poltically correct anti-Western-imperialist bullshit. This is lazy to say the least, and given the lives being lost to Islamic terrorists, enexcusable. The truth is there, much of it on the Net. But go to any Islamic bookstore in Europe and especially Britain, and READ what the Islamic “radicals” are actually saying. Until then your opinions, and those of Marcus and Scott, are just uninformed politically correct drivel.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    Shawn is exactly right, of course…except, perhaps, for the attribution of laziness. I think there is a certain “type” that draws selfish pleasure from making the best possible case for the least tenable position. This takes a sort of low cunning and requires enough study to get a handle on the issues. A post about G. B. Shaw above on Samizdata relates to what I think about such people but doesn’t really explain what motivates them.

    Their sort of attitude can be mildly amusing, but when it touches on the proper response to outright threats to national/cultural survival I think it’s extremely dangerous and tedious. Then I lose my temper for which I hereby issue a blanket apology.

    My dream would be to have such people in a training company for a few months. ["Stand tall you sacks of shit. Thumbs along the seams of your trousers. Roll that flabby ass under your ponderous gut. Chin in. Chest out. That's a rifle in your right hand at order arms. When you hear the command, 'Right face!' turn toward the rifle pivoting on your right heel and the ball of your left foot then bringing your left heel smartly together with your right heel; your feet at a 45 degree angle. 'Right face!' Together, dumbasses together! This is the army. 'Right shoulder arms!" 'Forward march!' ] Oh, yes.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    “Hut, two, three, four, left, right, left, right…YOU, Crapinasack, or whatever your fucking name is…do you think everybody else is out of step? Get with the program or fall out and give me ten.”

    Oh, yes, yes, yes.

  • Marcus Lindroos

    My dream would be to have such people in a training company for a few months. ["Stand tall you sacks of shit. Thumbs along the seams of your trousers. Roll that flabby ass under your ponderous gut. Chin in. Chest out. That's a rifle in your right hand at order arms. When you hear the command, 'Right face!' turn toward the rifle pivoting on your right heel and the ball of your left foot then bringing your left heel smartly together with your right heel; your feet at a 45 degree angle. 'Right face!' Together, dumbasses together! This is the army. 'Right shoulder arms!" 'Forward march!' ] Oh, yes.

    Sounds like an excellent idea, if it means supporting the war in Iraq actually means one is expected to participate in the fight! There are quite a few bloggers that I would love to see transferred to the Sunni triangle. After all, if some war protesters felt strongly enough about this issue to actually go to Iraq…

    By the way Theodopoulos, I have completed my national service. Do you have any military experience yourself?

    MARCU$

  • Marcus Lindroos

    its the truth. You can discover this easily by simply reading the words of Islamic terror groups, their leaders, and the promoters of political Islamic ideology. This is the fundamental flaw in the thinking of those like you, Marcus and Scott. Political Islam IS out to destroy the West.

    Yes, they have said so. Will they succeed? Get real:-) These guys are resorting to terrorism because they are weak, period. I am saying Islamic terrorism needs to be dealt with pretty like any other form of organized crime or ethnic terrorism, which means it’s mostly a matter of law enforcement and international intelligence. Certainly, WMD proliferation issues are important but it seems Russia actually is a bigger concern than the “rogue states” in this regard — if we are worried about terrorists obtaining nukes etc..

    They have said so. They have written about this repeatedly and extensively in articles and books, many of which I have read. But you, Marcus and Scott dont want to bother actually researching this because its far easier to spout poltically correct anti-Western-imperialist bullshit. This is lazy to say the least, and given the lives being lost to Islamic terrorists, enexcusable. The truth is there, much of it on the Net. But go to any Islamic bookstore in Europe and especially Britain, and READ what the Islamic “radicals” are actually saying. Until then your opinions, and those of Marcus and Scott, are just uninformed politically correct drivel.

    I do not dispute what they are “saying”. I simply don’t take their threats at face value becuse there is no way they will ever conquer 700 million Europeans who are much stronger economically and militarily. I am saying we need to fight Al Qaeda & co. but we should do so without needlessly inflaming anti-Western opinion in Middle East, since they are not *that* much of a threat.

    As for being “poorly informed”, I have challenged your claims on a number of issues. Why don’t you address the following postings:

    Posted by Marcus Lindroos at April 14, 2004 03:11 PM
    Posted by Marcus Lindroos at April 14, 2004 03:54 PM
    Posted by Marcus Lindroos at April 14, 2004 04:29 PM

    Waiting for your reply,

    MARCU$

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    So Islam is not *that* much of a threat. What an astounding statement. 9/11 was bigger than Pearl Harbor. Would they do it again?

    Read the Koran. It’s not just A-Q. Believers may not all choose to drive airplanes into our tall buildings, but they cannot opt out of the “ummah”…cannot reject universal imposition of Shari’a Law.

    Congratulations and sincere thanks to all who may have served in the militaries of the U.S., U.K. or their allies…even if they were draftees.

    Me? U.S. Army MOS 7-1542…too long ago to be of much use now sadly…but recent enough to allow me to criticize the candy-assed appeasement nematodes who can’t see a global threat beneath the smoke billowing up from the wreckage of 9/11 and who are too morally fastidious to believe in revenge.

  • Shawn

    “Yes, they have said so. Will they succeed? Get real:-)”

    Of course they cant succeed, but thats not the point. What they CAN do is kill a very very large number of innocent people. So far we have in fact been lucky. But when the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons are finally in the hand of the terrorists, and this really is just a matter of time, then we will learn what hate really means. No, they cannot conquer us, but they can slaughter us in the millions, and they are going to try. Our only choice in any serious sense, is to play to the Arab mindset, which means convincing them that any attack on us will result in a far larger attack on them by us. This sounds crude, but remember that much of the Muslim world (not all though I admit) still thinks with what amounts to a medieval mindset. Its is strength that they respect. Displays of appeasement, like worrying about needlesly inflaming Islamic opinion, only convinces them that we are weak, and therefore is encouragement to more attacks upon us. We must show an iron fist with regards to poltical Islam. We must defeat Islamic radicals on their own terroritory, and Iraq is the best place to begin.

    And as far as I am aware, I have responded to all your posts.

  • A_t

    “No, it is a reaction to Israel’s right to liberate its land from Islamic slavery.”

    Shawn, if you believe this, you are a religious fanatic with beliefs as wrong-headed as any on the al-quaida side, only (hopefully) less inclined to murderous violence.

    Do you buy into this “the jews lived here 2,000 years ago, so they have the right to take the land off the people who’ve lived there since” thing then? really? wow.