AnalogKid

Deo volente.

75 Virgins if you _Just_ kill yourself

Dear Mr. Homicide Bomber,

Whether your weapon is a belt, a bus, a car, or an ambulance, I would like to make you an offer on behalf of the West.

You can have 75 virgins if you’ll just kill yourself. That’s 4 more virgins for simply putting a gun to your own head, or taking the bomb to an unpopulated culvert and detonating it there.

It’s important that you succeed. You are welcome to film it or not, to do the suicide note, or not. But it is important that the event ends with your demise. Otherwise, the 4 virgins are off the table.

Thanks,

The West

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October 20, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Philosophy - General, Terrorists | 2 Comments

Republican Dissatisfaction … with the GWOT

Ace is part right …

Why Are Conservatives So Down On The GOP? … The reasons offered, usually, are immigration, overspending, corruption, and general political ineptness. But I wonder about that. At least, I wonder about the first three. One that’s not mentioned as frequently is the War in Iraq. Which I think is more of a factor in conservative disatisfaction that many conservative war-supporters are willing to admit, perhaps even to themselves.

Good so far.

I also wonder if the War in Iraq has an effect. The war isn’t going well. We expected a fairly quick war and a fairly quick occupation; we got the former, but definitely not the latter.

See, I differ. I don’t think the issue is that the War isn’t going well. I’m not sure that any clear thinking person expects perfection or even competence in a war. War is a messy business, not least because fighting one successfully is at least as much art as science. An assymetrical war, which the Global War on Terrorism is, at least in part, has never really been fought on this scale with this technology. There is a learning curve for us that is driven by our enemies.

But The Battle of Iraq is certainly not assymetrical, at least in its essentials. Our strategy seems to be to localize the enemy, bring him out in the open, set the terms of his defeat. It is an attempt to negate the assymetrical character of our enemy’s tactics and turn this into a war drawn along lines. And we have been largely successful – enemy deaths are up, his ability to wage assymetrical war worldwide is down. He has had to concentrate his resources – men, money, materiel – in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. He has had to fight pitched battles in Fallujah, Kirkuk, Mosul where for a period of time we could engage the enemy “out in the open” (or “out in the streets”) where America is stronger, faster, and better.

For all of this, the enemy is stubborn, resourceful, and has a deep bench. When the “insurgency” in Iraq ran dry with the locals, they imported it from Syria and Iran and the Phillipines. For all their bluster, Al-Quaeda and the Shi’a states of Iran and Syria bought the premise that Iraq is a central battleground in the GWOT, and they poured in to stop America. They didn’t have to fight together – they were fighting in the same area against a common foe.

Put another way, if Iraq had been quick, it wouldn’t have had the chance to be decisive. And because it is decisive, it simply wasn’t going to be quick.

If Iraq had really been over in 3 months, the battlefield would have moved – perhaps to Sudan or Somalia, perhaps to the Phillipines, perhaps to Pakistan, perhaps to Indochina, perhaps to Tunisia, or Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan. Perhaps even Turkey. And then the Democrats would be crying that we couldn’t bring the enemy to the battlefield, that we were chasing our tails, &c.

So let’s be clear: both we and our enemies believe that The Battle for Iraq is central to the GWOT (everybody agrees except the Democrats). So this Battle is not only decisive in and of itself, but to the larger War. It is decisive in the same way that Midway was decisive – the elusive enemy made a strategic calculation and tactical mistake and has suffered losses that are crippling. Or they should be.

What didn’t happen – and what conservatives, RINOs, and Republicans are mad about – is that we didn’t do what was easily within our power to win what we could once we made the battle decisive. We have not

  • Engaged Syria – we could have diplomatically or militarily engaged, cut off, and diminished Syria as a threat. Given that Syria was both a base for the Insurgency, a freeway for Hezbollah, and a threat to Israel, this would have been a potential move that would have furthered our regional advantage and brought the war closer to being completed
  • Strategically and decisively engaged Iran – There are many accounts of Iran sending insurgents into Iraq as early as the Summer of 2003. They clearly have pulled Syria’s and Hezbollah’s strings. They have engaged America and the West by proxy at every opportunity. Certainly decisive diplomatic or military action was warranted in 2003 when America and Iran first started going toe to toe. Instead we chose to allow the enemy his facade.
  • Destroyed the Iraqi Insurgency – This was militarily possible by doing one of the above, or by curfews, or by assassinations, or by effective control of Iraq. We chose to nurse the crippled democratic Iraq along, letting her have the successes. There was a cost.
  • Destroyed the regional non-state actors that are puppets of Syria, Iran, etc. – It was a reasonable expectation that having established an effective beachhead in the region that we would be able to strike at the non-state actors therein. Based in Iraq, SEALS and other SpecOps were within striking distance of every major terrorist organization. Not all of them are hiding in caves in Pakistan – I bet you could look Hezbollah up in a phone book in Tehran.
  • Eliminated the regional non-state powers supporting Terrorism as threats – It was not unreasonable to expect a severe restriction on, say, the House of Saud’s support of Al Quaeda or Wahabbiism, no matter how unofficial. Fatah and Hamas should have ceased to exist as regional centers for funding. The Palestinian state should have remained on a wish list until a more apropriate time.

You can put all of the successes that you want against that list. Had we or our allies done any two effectively, Republicans would feel justified in the course of the war. People would have accepted as the nature of this war another attack on America – as long as we were taking 100 of the enemy to their graves every day. We’re not talking about democratizing (in the short term) or about saving Israel. We are talking about winning. Patton was right:

[Y]ou are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

So Ace is missing the salient point.

So I wonder if there’s a bit of buyer’s remorse here, magnifying the GOP’s failings on other issues due to a possibly-unconscious need to lash out at Bush for the continuing chaos and violence in Iraq.

It’s neither the battle nor the occupation nor the war nor the casualties nor the timeline – it is the way that Americans are fighting. Americans fight to win. When we are not fighting to win, we ask why not. When we our leaders who were fighting to win suddenly stop fighting to win, they lose our support.

People would be fine with an extended occupation if we could point and say, for example, “Hezbollah ceased to be an effective organization” or “Iran chose to go nuclear. Iran chose wrong.” People would have accepted a major strategic initiative in the Phillipines or in the Tri_border area if it had been to engage the terrorists decisively. To win. Americans would have supported greater intrusion in American phone records and bank accounts if it would have led to arrests, convictions, incarcerations, and executions for treason. That would have been decisive. People would have been fine with more troops in Iraq if it had been to engage the Syrian border – decisively. To win.

But we are losing, or have lost, whatever decisive characteristic the Battle of Iraq had.

The Generals of WWII knew a little more about PR than most people give them credit for. MacArthur knew that he had to island hop to Japan, and he told the press that he had to island hop to Japan, and the people accepted that this was the course of the war and he island hopped to Japan. It was a long, bloody business. But it was also goal-oriented and decisive. When we took Iwo Jima, it was definitively gave America an air base within striking distance of both Okinawa and Japan. People understood that.

People also understood Iraq. You could almost sense the “Good … we’re taking the fight to the enemy.” And a hard fight was expected – remember the surprise when Sadaam’s forces collapsed (again). And people expected an insurgency – remember Sadaam’s hand picked insurgency which we kept hearing about in June and July- the Fedajeen? Baathist money was flowing in the country inciting rebellion against the evil imperialists, etc. We were told to expect the insurgency. But we were ready to stay the course. To win.

Look at Israel this summer. Remember the sense of relief when Hezbollah pulled the trigger. “Ah, at last, Bush will unleash the dogs of war, even if only by proxy.” Nope. A bunch of people got killed, and the only thing people hate more than their war dead are war dead who died in vain.

I’m not saying that Iraq was wrong, and I’m not saying it’s wrong now. But what was clearly a leap into the heart of the enemy is … still … going … on … We’re not leaping to the next fight. We’re not taking the fight to the enemy. We’re not winning. And when you’re not winning a war, you are losing. And Americans are simply asking not was Iraq right or wrong, but are we still fighting to win?

It’s as if Bush decided to listen to his critics. The daring and determination that we saw in 2001, 2002, 2003 went away. The active impatience with the UN was replaced with a quiet acceptance of process. The active seeking of the enemy was replaced with a slow churn. The Supreme Court found Guantanamo unconstitutional and Bush accepted that. The NY Times found SWIFT subpoenas unconstitutional, and Bush accepted that.

And Bush reined in Rumsfeld who acted decisively. He reined in Cheney who seemed to steer a decisive path. He let Frist run the Senate. And he reined in Israel, who in our stead could have struck a decisive blow for the West. Conservatives of all stripes are mad at the Republicans because they started acting like a party in power instead of a war party. The rest is anecdote.

And if you want proof, watch the newly conservative Britain or the resurgent Australian administration – the conservatives will win in those countries because they are acting like conservatives.

One more quote by Patton:

“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin”, he yelled, “I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!”

October 13, 2006 Posted by | Battle of Iran, Battle of Iraq, Battle of Israel, GWOT | 4 Comments

Lancet Debunking Redux

This Lancet crew … they have a limited bag of tricks. For what it’s worth, I had an argument on Eric Raymond’s now nearly defunct site here about the October 29, 2004 BBC article talking about the original Lancet study.

From the 2004 article:

Dr Les Roberts, who led the study, said: “Making conservative assumptions we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most of the violent deaths.”

He said his team’s work proved it was possible to compile data on public health “even during periods of extreme violence”.

The sample included randomly selected households in Baghdad, Basra, Arbil, Najaf and Karbala, as well as Falluja.

Lancet editor Richard Horton said: “With the admitted benefit of hindsight and from a purely public health perspective, it is clear that whatever planning did take place was grievously in error.”

Odd, no? that Fallujah and Baghdad were included at random. That is a very nuanced “random.”

On Eric’s site, I mentioned this link from LogicTimes, and it is an excellent, precise fisking of the shoddy moralism and methodology exhibited by the Lancet authors.

From the article:

There is indeed a mind-blowing story about collateral damage that needs to be told, but that story is one in which we honor the extraordinary achievement of the United States military: two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad, much of it urban warfare, with less than 1,000 civilians killed as a result of U.S. action:

And it’s backed up with statistics, methodology … all the stuff missing from the Lancet report. Good stuff.

Day by Day Update:

More after the bump …

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October 11, 2006 Posted by | Battle of Iraq, GWOT | 1 Comment

Our Responsibility to our Media: Redux

It would be too much to say that Malkin is getting on board, but it’s good to hear the words:

You tell me: What exactly is the journalistic value of having Hussein hanging out in the desert with civilian-slaughtering terrorists and snapping Theater of Jihad glamour shots for them? Why doesn’t the American media leave that job to as Sahab, al Qaeda’s media production unit, and its analogues?

Urging news organizations to think twice about being used as tools in the terrorists’ propaganda war isn’t “thuggery.” It’s responsible journalism and responsible citizenry. Oops, did I say a bad word?

This is what I was talking about here. It is incumbent to our victory on the GWOT that the Western Media take a reflective look at what they are doing and why they are doing it.

From my earlier piece:

The Press is the force multiplier for the groups who now call themselves the enemies of the West, and so there is no better place to draw a line in the sand.

The Western Free Press, in all of its iterations from the blogosphere to Reuters to AP to CNN to Fox, can and should acknowledge:

  1. that it needs to put in controls to deal with questionable sources so that there are no more Hajj-like replays.
  2. that it is an essential aspect of the terrorist’s method and strategy, and should allow for that in their editorial decisions.
  3. that a Free Press can and could do damage to the West, and to its War on Terror.
  4. that its best interests lie with the interests of the West, and that to fundamentally damage one is to damage the other.

It’s not pie in the sky to want a free and responsible press, and they are no more mutually exclusive than the Blogosphere is.

September 21, 2006 Posted by | Free Press, GWOT, Philosophy of the Commons | 1 Comment

David Gregory – Entangled

Even Hot Air is muscling in on my act and putting NBC’s David Gregory in the spot light. Why? Because he continues to be a jack ass.
I preserve the entire transcript here for two reasons: Bush, who supposedly can’t talk without reading the text from a comic book, does a nice job of dealing with this guy. And secondly, Bush’s point is well taken re: the detainees at Gitmo and the Detainee Detention Act.

But note that at the end, DG is still a jack ass as he insists on trying to make his non-point. Bush does some nice jiu-jitsu to get him to STFU.

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September 17, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Jack-Asses | 1 Comment

The Disputed “Path to 9-11” Scenes

Red State has the disputed videos available in Quicktime format. As I won’t destroy my computer by loading this demon application, I won’t be able to watch until somebody gets it in an open format. RS also links the letters that the Clinton Lawyers sent to Bob Iger, head of ABC. I reproduce chunks of the entire text here because it looks like the site is getting deluged and service is spotty.

Dear Bob, Despite press reports that ABC/Disney has made changes in the content and marketing of “The Path to 9/11,” we remailn concerned about the false impression that airing the show will leave on the public. Labelng the show as “fiction” does not meet your responsibility to the victims of the September 11th attacks, their families, the hard work of the 9/11 Commission, or to the American people as a whole.

How does this work exactly? What should ABC have labeled this? – Shitty Fiction? Is there some categorization for “Making my boss look bad?” No, what is really being set up here is the moral highground. This is like doing it for The Children ®

At a moment when we should be debating how to make the nation safer by implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, …

Sorry … Stop the tape. If I didn’t know this was written by Clinton’s lawyers, I could have told you that this was written by Clinton’s lawyers. This is almost verbatim, “I need to get back to doing the work of the President for the good of this country.” The arrogance is astonishing.

…”The Path to 9/11″ calls into question the accuracy of the Commission’s report and whether fabricated scenes are, in fact, an accurate portrayal of history. Indeed, the millions spent on the production of this fictional drama would have been better spent informing the public about the Commission’s actual findings and the many recommendations that have yet to be acted upon. Unlike this film, that would have been a tremendous service to the public.

Of course, no one was that concerned about Reagan or F911. But the real issue is whether any of this would have been a problem if Clinton’s team hadn’t been portrayed as incompetent and unfocused (allegedly – just like Clinton’s team, I still haven’t seen the movie either). As I said earlier, the problem is not the dramatization, it’s what’s being dramatized. The truth hurts.

Although our request for an advance copy of the film has been repeatedly denied, it is all too clear that our objections to “The Path to 9/11” are valid and corroborated by those familiar with the film and intimately involved in its production.

QED

You know, I have no clue what my wife is giving me for Christmas, but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to suck. And I’ll go ahead to file for divorce because I know this thing. NOT. Because I live in a little place I like to call reality.

Continued after the bump …

Updates: Allah has the blogo-perspective on the videos.

And WND has Clinton’s aide Buzz Patterson saying that the film is correct (more on this below).
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September 10, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Philosophy of the Commons, Politics, Terrorists | Leave a comment

Hezbollah: Public Enemy #1

Let me just throw this out … the number one (#1) terrorist enemy of the US is not Al Quaeda. It is Hezbollah.

Consider:

  • Apart from September 11, Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization.
  • Apart from Al Quaeda, no other terrorist organization has the depth and scope that Hezbollah has. Consider the international presence – Hezbollah is in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and has deep root in South America.

For what it’s worth, i think this is exactly why the Bush administration has always called this the War on Terror instead of the War on Al Quaeda. And I think this is why there is general dismissiveness in the intelligence community about the nature of Bin Laden – he’s a cog in the machine, and due to recent efforts, a pretty small one.

Now, they are promising to re-arm for a fight in Gaza

Israel’s spy chief has given a warning that Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are garnering increasing numbers of weapons and tactical expertise from Hezbollah fighters since the war in southern Lebanon erupted earlier this summer.

Thank God they don’t collaborate.

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September 3, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Terrorists | 1 Comment

Bush should listen to Larry Kudlow

I love Larry Kudlow – the guy has quals and a great demeanor. He’s also insightful like a satellite in a hurricane:

Folks are very unhappy about Republican management of the war. Voters on the left want an immediate pullout — a terrible idea. People on the right, like me, want to win the war, but the president is not unveiling a truly new victory plan. His own Pentagon just issued a gloomy Iraq report that chronicles near-civil-war sectarian violence and the security problems in that country….But this will not resonate for the election. … It is too late to make this sale.

He’s right. What’s starting to scare me is the lack of a nationalized Republican campaign to get the local politicians elected.

The ACLU Democrats will keep carping about chemical plants, bridges, and tunnels. And Republicans must counter with highly publicized votes on surveillance expansion. This is what stopped the terrorists in the London plot. Folks know this. There’s also the issue of probable-cause warrants, which could delay FISA approval. Crucial days could pass as the government authorities argue needlessly about criminal intent and the matter of detaining suspects for tough-minded interrogation. Republicans must get loud on this front. There also should be no question about the legality and utility of the SWIFT financial tracking program. Or NSA wiretapping of al-Qaeda phone calls to people living in the United States. Or telco data-mining for phone-call patterns here at home.

Bush’s administration repeatedly acts like the crusty veteran who gets the work done (good), but whose myopia is thinking that the job ends where the work does (bad). For what the administration has actually engaged on, they get nearly an A every time, which is true even for the B- they get in Iraq. But what good is it to create Guantanamo if you’re not going to protect it for the tool that it is? What good is it to go after Al Quaeda’s finances with operational success if you give up on the legalistic wranglings that will let the programs continue?

Anyway, Kramer is worth listening to. What’s the use of his having a blog if you’re not going to listen to him?

September 2, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Homeland Terrorism, Politics | Leave a comment

Jihadists and Terrorists in South America – The Next Front

Gateway Pundit (h/t LGF) has a good piece on Hezbollah operating in South America:

The Hezbollah group invading Venezuela is doing its work openly in the Venezuelan side of the Guajira Peninsula. They are disseminating, via Internet, a strategy “to change Venezuela,”

The whole post is good, and lays out Hezbollah’s intent in the region (death, destruction, conversion – you can guess that part).

When I read this, I recalled that in 2002, there was concern and some evidence that Al Quaeda was operating in the tri-border region in South America. After the bump is a collection of links that point to a threatening Jihadi presence in South America, including Colombia, Brazil, and the Tri-Border Region. This evidence should play a part in our current immigration debate as well as in our evolving relations with these countries. And I’d be very interested to hear an administration official respond to how these puppet actors are influencing our efforts at winning, not managing, the Global War on Terror in the Middle East.

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September 2, 2006 Posted by | GWOT | 8 Comments

Slate – Idiots who Cater to the Elites

Did you know, a la this graphic , that …

  • The EU and Israel are friends?
  • That the realationship between Iran and Lebanon is “complicated”?
  • That Lebanon and Syria are enemies?
  • That Al Quaeda ad Hezbollah has a “complicated” relationship.

I smell nuance. It’s on my shoes.

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August 23, 2006 Posted by | GWOT, Politics | 1 Comment