Monday, August 29, 2005

A War to Be Proud Of

Well well well, in a typical blogosphere convergence, I find (via Dr. Sanity) a few days after writing my "Why We Fight" piece that Christopher Hitchens also lays out the benefits of the war in Iraq and why it's one "to be proud of."

And my main points are half of his! Too funny.

So those "critics" of my reasons now find themselves essentially arguing against Hitchens.

Good luck with that!

In his article, the ten benefits listed are (with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9 being essentially what I had argued):
DOES THE PRESIDENT deserve the benefit of the reserve of fortitude that I just mentioned? Only just, if at all. We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves. But a positive accounting could be offered without braggartry, and would include:

(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.

It would be admirable if the president could manage to make such a presentation. It would also be welcome if he and his deputies adopted a clear attitude toward the war within the war: in other words, stated plainly, that the secular and pluralist forces within Afghan and Iraqi society, while they are not our clients, can in no circumstance be allowed to wonder which outcome we favor.
He takes Bush to task, of course, for not being more effective in driving these points home, and puts some blame on a deep rift between the Pentagon and the CIA for policy mis-steps.

Of course, the whole article is worth a read; Hitchens is always amusing. He takes the dishonest war critics to the woodshed with such passages as:
I am one of those who believe, uncynically, that Osama bin Laden did us all a service (and holy war a great disservice) by his mad decision to assault the American homeland four years ago. Had he not made this world-historical mistake, we would have been able to add a Talibanized and nuclear-armed Pakistan to our list of the threats we failed to recognize in time. (This threat still exists, but it is no longer so casually overlooked.)

The subsequent liberation of Pakistan's theocratic colony in Afghanistan, and the so-far decisive eviction and defeat of its bin Ladenist guests, was only a reprisal. It took care of the last attack. But what about the next one? For anyone with eyes to see, there was only one other state that combined the latent and the blatant definitions of both "rogue" and "failed." This state--Saddam's ruined and tortured and collapsing Iraq--had also met all the conditions under which a country may be deemed to have sacrificed its own legal sovereignty.

To recapitulate: It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United Nations, in this crisis, faced with regular insult to its own resolutions and its own character, had managed to set up a system of sanctions-based mutual corruption. In May 2003, had things gone on as they had been going, Saddam Hussein would have been due to fill Iraq's slot as chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Meanwhile, every species of gangster from the hero of the Achille Lauro hijacking to Abu Musab al Zarqawi was finding hospitality under Saddam's crumbling roof.

One might have thought, therefore, that Bush and Blair's decision to put an end at last to this intolerable state of affairs would be hailed, not just as a belated vindication of long-ignored U.N. resolutions but as some corrective to the decade of shame and inaction that had just passed in Bosnia and Rwanda. But such is not the case. An apparent consensus exists, among millions of people in Europe and America, that the whole operation for the demilitarization of Iraq, and the salvage of its traumatized society, was at best a false pretense and at worst an unprovoked aggression. How can this possibly be?
After qutoing from a story by Saki, he demolishes the defeatists with
Childishness is one thing--those of us who grew up on this wonderful Edwardian author were always happy to see the grown-ups and governesses discomfited. But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire." I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra.

It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.
We've got ourselves another "Good War"!

Saturday, August 27, 2005


It seems someone copied my previous post to a discussion board. That's great that it's getting around.

Then on that forum, someone else going by the name geerair attempted to fisk it. The half-truths and distortions are so outrageous that I will present the rebuttal here, because apparently many are "thinking" in the same sloppy manner and it would be useful to have all the counterarguments in one place.

The basic advice to geerair, for those who don't wish to wade into the text below, is that arguing by appeals to authority are rather weak when the authority is one's own anonymous self, and that arguing by pure assertion is even weaker.

My original text will be italicized in the blockquotes to distinguish it from geerair's responses.
First, let's review the "mistakes" of the war. There was a plan for the postwar, namely that certain exiles would quickly take power being welcomed by the people. Events however turned out to make that plan worthless, as the exiles had no clout, so a new plan for the postwar had to be improvised. Also, no large WMD stockpiles were found, which is (incorrectly) given as the only "justification" for the war. These two facts are taken to make the whole effort a "failure."

Yes, we already knew Bush lied about the reasons for his excursion into Iraq and that he had no workable occupation plan. Nothing new here.
Bush lied? Do you know the definition of the word? Tell me specifically what he said that he knew at the time was false -- not merely disputed among advisors, but known at the time to be an untruth. Prove he lied. You can't, because that claim is intellectually dishonest. Not a good way to start off...
For example, we had no idea about the UN's Oil for Fraud program that was undermining the sanctions and funneling money to weapons, terrorists, and the corruption of Western politicians.

Really? Seeing as how the Bush administration was itself fraudulently circumventing oil for food and that a U.S. oil company was in it up to it's neck, that assertion doesn't hold water.
The war put an end to the oil scam. Its breadth would not have been known to the general public otherwise. If the administration was benefitting from it, they would have cut a deal with Hussein like the French and Russians. The U.N. was running it, not the administration.
We had no idea about Libya's advanced, secret nuclear weapons program.

Ummmm.......We knew about Libya's nuclear programs for quite some time before the war

Which the war ended.

Ummm.....Negotiations had been ongoing for quite some time before the war.
It was suspected he had a program, obviously. As it was suspected of Hussein and Iran. That mere suspicion wasn't enough to make any of them quit now, was it? You make my own point for me in say ing the negotiations were underway before the war. They didn't get anywhere until right after Hussein was dragged from his spider-hole, did they? Don't be deliberately naive. A sting operation has no persuasive power by itself without the credible threat of serious consequences, which the whole ME had flaunted for years. Until that moment.

The scope of the secret program turned out to be a surprise.
We had no idea about Dr. Khan's vast nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan and supplying Iran, Libya, and North Korea with weapons know-how and parts.

Ummmm.......A.G. Khan was known as a nuclear black-marketeer for quite some time, even U.S. intelligence knew it.

Which the war ended.

Sorry, the consensus view is that combined intelligence investigations and a nicely turned sting ended Khan's activities.
Sorry, again you make my point. Even though we "knew" about it, you just proved we hadn't been able to shut him down before the war. That required it becoming well-known so that our govt. couldn't avoid the issue, as well as having credibility that regime change is really on the table to force compliance.

The Libya sting showed just how big the Khan network was and spurred us on to pressure Pakistan. And as above, the Libya sting wouldn't necessarily have yielded as much fruit without ol' Qadaffi having second thoughts -- due to the war.
And most importantly, we had no idea how threatened the jihadists felt from the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq.

Which the war revealed.

Anybody who thinks jihadists are motivated by a Democratic Iraq has little understanding of the region, it's motivations or history. Of course that is one reason Bush's little excursion had turned into a bloody, costly quagmire. Bin Laden and other terrorists and Islamic radicals have consistently stated their reasons for their actions and a democratic Iraq or "they hate our freedoms" (as Bush continually bleats)were never listed among them.
So I have "little understanding" of history? Oh, that's rich. That's really funny. Readers who know me will find that particularly amusing.

And you do have this knowledge? The argumentative style of "appeal to authority" is rather weak when the only authority you appeal to is apparently your anonymous self.

You haven't been following the intercepted Zarqawi letters, have you? You have little understanding of islamism if you don't see what a mortal blow our freedoms are to their vision of reviving the caliphate.

And please, it's no quagmire -- as shown here, the total number of military deaths (including combat in Iraq) per month is indistinguishable from the normal monthly death toll during peacetime in the 1980s and 1990s due simply to accidents. Astonishing, but true.
One reason the "insurgency" caught the planners by surprise is nobody appreciated how much the al-Qaeda types as well as the Iranian clerics -- our deadly enemies -- saw the result of the war to be a Very Bad Thing for them.

Really? Rational people ascribe it to Bush's bungling and disastrous decisions.

Being unforeseen, it's taken as a "failure", but the jihad the war encouraged just proves how right the whole enterprise is.

Bush bungles into a stiff resistance which is killing our troops, emptying our treasury, turning Iraq into ruins, crippling our Army, dividing our people and increasing terrorism and this Bozo thinks that is just wonderful?
It would be bad if all those things were true, but they're not. You're perceptions are flawed. Would you have advocated retreat in 1942 because fighting with Germans had increased? You've just stated a bunch of opinions without backing them up. Here are some concrete facts about how Iraq is not in ruins. You can start with "good news from Iraq, part 23" and then work your way through parts 1-22.
As Tilo Reber mentions at Belmont Club,

Yep, Bush has never understood the threat that democracy poses to Islamofascism. He really did believe that Islam was just another religion and that Al Queda was a small group of radicals. But that is what most people thought. And many still believe this today. Few understood then and few still understand today that Islam would be put in a position of having to fight for it's life on it's home peninsula. The fact that Bush did not understand this puts him in no worse a position than most of humanity. The left still doesn't understand it.

Another uninformed Bozo with little understanding of the ME, it's motivations or it's history.
Like Tilo said, the left still doesn't understand it, and neither do you.
There were upwards of 10,000 jihadists that trained at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. There could be thousands more than that. Or at least, there WERE that many, until they all started swarming into the meatgrinder of Iraq where we have a free-fire zone and a geared-up military to take them on.

What we are killing is mainly Iraqis. Army and CIA intelligence estimate that foreign fighters in Iraq make up no more than 10% of the total of the insurgent forces. CIA estimates that very few Al-qaeda "regulars" are participating in the insurgency, mainly in training roles. The most credible and extensive study of foreign fighters reveals that most of the fighters were not terrorists and did not have ties to terrorism before the occupation of Iraq.
I made reference to the locals. Most of those are either criminals or former regime elements that melted away. That the foreign jihadists are "only" 10% still makes a big dent in their absolute numbers. You mention a study without providing a source.
They do this because they know a free Iraq will be mortal blow to their ideology.

Already mentioned, still wrong.
You haven't read the philosphy of Sayyid Qutb that drives al-Qaeda, have you? You aren't familiar with the instructions of radical imams to their followers in democratic countries about not participating in such kafir "unbelief", are you?

If you think they attack us just to get us to leave the ME, why do they take such pains to attack the Iraqi people themselves who they claim to be liberating, if not to undermine the prospect of some form of democracy? What about Iran's motivations?
So we stay to send them to "paradise" as long as they keep coming.

Ah, I hear the call of the Chickenhawk.
Ah, I hear the call of a desperate ad-hominem attack.

Don't even pretend to know me.

You don't think beyond slogans, do you? The logical conclusion of such an argument is that what, only military people should have a say in foreign policy? Are you really advocating that? Be careful what you wish for.
For one thing, it is KNOWN Hussein was supporting terrorism in general.

For another thing it is known that every nation in the ME supported terrorism. Saddam was a minor player and his focus was Israel. I wonder if this doofus remembers where most of the 9/11 highjackers and Bin Laden were from? Here is a hint: None of them were from Iraq.
Now you're really getting yourself tangled. What, you're advocating an invasion of Saudi Arabia? Might be a good idea. First things first, however. But your argument is really stupid. The nationality of the 9/11 footsoldiers is a factoid of no importance in the separate issue of Iraq's role in world terror. You're using a strawman in which you implicitly posit that I'm claiming 9/11 is a purely Iraqi operation, which is the only thing that would make the hijackers' nationality relevant as a disproof -- but nobody is saying that, doofus.

Hussein a minor player? Surely you jest! Here is a list of 59 connections of Hussein to terrorism and al-Qaeda, all with full documentation. Are all of them false? You can't find a single casus bellum among them?

That's just what's known publicly!
For another, there are several open-source links between Hussein and bin Laden.

That his regime was having cooperation talks with al-Qaeda is not disputed.
That's pretty serious. Al-Qaeda openly declared war on the U.S. and bin Laden explicitly stated in 1998 that he would make no distinction between civilian and military targets and meant to kill us in large numbers.

Now in my book, anyone who would so much as give such an enemy the time of day, let alone talks about cooperation, needs to be destroyed along with them. You disagree? You have no understanding of the threat we face.
Of course these talks led nowhere.
How do you know that? Sources, please. You can only claim that if you take it as an article of Faith, and ignore all the connections listed above.
Why do we have to prove he drew up the plans for 9/11 specifically to take him out as a supporter of our mortal enemy? Did Bush not say "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them?"

Did Hussein not harbor arch-terrorist Abu Nidal as well as bin Laden lieutenant Zarqawi before the war?

Harbor? More like house arrest. Saddam's agents are killed Abu-Nidal. Zarqawi? Was in Northern Iraq, a region over which Saddam had no control.
Killed him when they wanted a dead man to tell no tales. And Zarqawi first freely travelled through Baghdad, getting special medical care in an exclusive VIP hospital there on his way to the North from Afghanistan. All under Hussein's nose? In a police state?
Did not extant news reports just prior to 9/11 mention the curious fact that German officials arrested several Iraqi intelligence agents for planning attacks on American interests? Whether that was 9/11 itself or a different attack they were planning should be irrelevant.

Later reports confirm the two men arrested had no ties to Iraqi intelligence.
Interesting, if true. Sources? Links? What reports? Speculation doesn't count.
And -- AND! -- there even ARE growing links between Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers: the Czech intelligence report that Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague has not been withdrawn

Dear Zeus,the Atta in Prague myth again. Noboby but Bush apologists buy this old yarn. The FBI has documentary evidence that Atta was in Florida at the time of this meeting.
You mischaracterize. All they know is somebody used his cell phone -- a phone that would not have worked in Europe, so it's likely he'd leave it behind. That proves nothing. Don't you know anything about counterintelligence operations?
and some of the other 9/11 hijackers are known to have definitely met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Malaysia.

Mistaken identity. The man who met with the 9/11 highjackers had no ties to Iraq intelligence.
BZZZZZ! Now you're really being either dishonest, or you lack elementary logical reasoning powers. You conclude too much. It was for a time thought this man might also be an officer in the Fedayeen. It turns out the Fedayeen officer is probably someone else with a similar name. It is the Fedayeen officer who is the one lacking further ties to terrorists. But that still leaves the original guy who "worked for the Iraqi embassy" in Malaysia who met the terrorists! And if you knew anything at all about real-life spies, you'd know what "worked for the embassy" means.

Here are the facts, which ones do you deny?
This is a man who, undeniably, was called from a 1993 World Trade Center bombing safehouse, got a 9/11 hijacker through Malaysian customs, apparently attended a foundational 9/11 gathering, disappeared from sight (as did the hijackers and their co-conspirators) right after the Malaysia meeting, and turns up in Qatar a few days after 9/11 with contact information for the brother Khalid Sheik Mohammed (the 9/11 mastermind) and other terrorists. What is the good reason not to be curious about this apparent co-conspirator (whom the CIA once thought important enough to travel to Jordan to interview)?

Just because he also wasn't in the Fedayeen doesn't change a thing.
What more do they want?

The truth, not some inept Bush apologetics
Argument by pure assertion is even weaker than appealing to yourself as an anonymous authority.
How about attempted assassination of Bush the Elder?

There is doubt that Bush was the intended target and that the evidence is conclusive.
Who doubts? You? Seymour Hersh? So, they were after Chief of Staff Sununu instead? Articles like Hersh's contain no hard facts, only innuendo and speculation.
How about violating the cease-fire agreement of Gulf War 1 repeatedly?

How about Israel's repeated violations of cease-fire agreements?
Now you've really gone stupid.

You don't answer my question because you can't. Instead you pose another, which is a whopper of a non-sequitor.

Are you saying Israel has violated cease-fire agreements with the United States of America? If so, you're loony.

But of course you aren't saying that. You're saying Israel has violated them with some palestinian entity (which is generally a lie -- your anti-semitism is showing). So what's your point? What does that have to do with Iraq violating a cease-fire agreement with the United States? If you're implying we should take action against Israel, surely then you'd agree we should against Iraq. If you're implying we shouldn't against Iraq because we don't against Israel, that's the looniest apples-oranges argument I've ever seen!
How about material breach of UN resolutions?

The Security Council didn't find material breach of 1441.
The Security Council's failure to act on the truth due to conflicts of interest doesn't change the truth. The material breach is clear for anyone to see.
How about still to this day failing to account for tons of WMD the UN inspectors themselves believe was produced?

It was destroyed as the inspectors reported.
They reported no such thing. Apparently you and Hussein are the only 2 people in the world who know what happened to it. And maybe Scott Ritter. Get your facts straight.
Not to mention the strategic goals of pressuring Iran and changing the whole dynamic of the Middle East.

Yeah, that worked out well. Bush's ignorant remarks helped elect a Radical over a more U.S. friendly moderate.
Are you a willing tool, or just naive? You think those elections were real? As if the president in Iran has any power at all anyway? A "U.S. friendly moderate"??? You must be joking.

I'll wrap up with the final opinions of geerair:
We stay in this quagmire because Bush hasn't the moral courage to admit his lies and appalling bungling.
All Bush has to do is come up with a compelling, noble reason for the death of Sheehan's son. So far, none of his everchanging reasons for this quagmire have come close to meeting this standard.
I'll let your unreasonable, petulant, and unhelpful demands speak for themselves.

I won't respond further unless a rational discussion of actual evidence is presented.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why We Fight

Now to put some quick answers up as to not only why we were right to invade Iraq, and also why we should stay.

And not vague "seeing it through" types of answers concerned with nation-building as good humanitarians, but with more concrete national security reasons.

First, let's review the "mistakes" of the war. There was a plan for the postwar, namely that certain exiles would quickly take power being welcomed by the people. Events however turned out to make that plan worthless, as the exiles had no clout, so a new plan for the postwar had to be improvised. Also, no large WMD stockpiles were found, which is (incorrectly) given as the only "justification" for the war. These two facts are taken to make the whole effort a "failure."

It turns out, however, that many things happened to work in our favor as a consequence of the war that we even had no idea about -- they were the "unknown unknowns", as Rummy would say.

Some may not wish to give Bush credit for these things, since they weren't foreseen. That's pure politics. We benefit from them -- and hence the war -- nonetheless.

For example, we had no idea about the UN's Oil for Fraud program that was undermining the sanctions and funneling money to weapons, terrorists, and the corruption of Western politicians.

Which the war ended.

We had no idea about Libya's advanced, secret nuclear weapons program.

Which the war ended.

We had no idea about Dr. Khan's vast nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan and supplying Iran, Libya, and North Korea with weapons know-how and parts.

Which the war ended.

And most importantly, we had no idea how threatened the jihadists felt from the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq.

Which the war revealed.

One reason the "insurgency" caught the planners by surprise is nobody appreciated how much the al-Qaeda types as well as the Iranian clerics -- our deadly enemies -- saw the result of the war to be a Very Bad Thing for them.

That's why they're waging it so desperately!

This is a key point.

Being unforeseen, it's taken as a "failure", but the jihad the war encouraged just proves how right the whole enterprise is.

As Tilo Reber mentions at Belmont Club,
Yep, Bush has never understood the threat that democracy poses to Islamofascism. He really did believe that Islam was just another religion and that Al Queda was a small group of radicals. But that is what most people thought. And many still believe this today. Few understood then and few still understand today that Islam would be put in a position of having to fight for it's life on it's home peninsula. The fact that Bush did not understand this puts him in no worse a position than most of humanity. The left still doesn't understand it.
Which is why we stay in Iraq for the time being, to mow them down in droves.

Bush himself now says it:
Bush: Terrorists converging on Iraq, US must stay

Bush said foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria,Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya were targeting Iraqi civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks.
Some say we're just "making more terrorists as fast as we kill them." This is wrong.

There are 3 major elements we're facing in Iraq. The first is the "former regime elements" who are diehard holdouts. They have no future and they're getting what's coming to them. Their numbers are dwindling.

The ones that do seem to be in large supply are the "ali babas" (as the arabs themselves call them) -- a criminal element that doesn't mind taking a few hundred dollars from the terror masters to fire off a few potshot mortar rounds at us. There is a deep well of them, but their creation poses no threat to us outside Iraq's borders, they are not very effective, and local tribal sheikhs will rein them in as the new government takes control.

That leaves the real prize we never expected: the foreign al-Qaeda fighters.

There were upwards of 10,000 jihadists that trained at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. There could be thousands more than that. Or at least, there WERE that many, until they all started swarming into the meatgrinder of Iraq where we have a free-fire zone and a geared-up military to take them on.

They do this because they know a free Iraq will be mortal blow to their ideology.

So we stay to send them to "paradise" as long as they keep coming.

What, you'd rather they had time to sit around and plan more suicide attacks against our own country?

Because as outlandish as that sounds, that's what they'd otherwise be doing, we now know.

And they aren't easily replaceable; these are trained pros whose lives are devoted to jihad. I'm sure we're encouraging some more who were borderline to take up the call, but it's best we get them out of the woodwork now, and kill them off while they have little experience.

But look at how al-Reuters spins this!
"The stakes in Iraq could not be higher. The brutal violence in Iraq today is a clear sign of the terrorists' determination to stop democracy from taking root in the Middle East," Bush said.

His comments came on a day when dozens of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked police checkpoints in Baghdad.

More than 1,800 American troops have been killed in Iraq. The Bush administration's initial justification for the war was that Iraq posed a threat because it had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.

Bush has increasingly tied staying in Iraq to the need to fight terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Critics say the administration is trying to shift justification for the war despite lack of evidence linking prewar Iraq and September 11.
What evil liars!

For one thing, it is KNOWN Hussein was supporting terrorism in general.

For another, there are several open-source links between Hussein and bin Laden.

That his regime was having cooperation talks with al-Qaeda is not disputed. Why do we have to prove he drew up the plans for 9/11 specifically to take him out as a supporter of our mortal enemy? Did Bush not say "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them?"

Did Hussein not harbor arch-terrorist Abu Nidal as well as bin Laden lieutenant Zarqawi before the war?

Did not extant news reports just prior to 9/11 mention the curious fact that German officials arrested several Iraqi intelligence agents for planning attacks on American interests? Whether that was 9/11 itself or a different attack they were planning should be irrelevant.

And -- AND! -- there even ARE growing links between Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers: the Czech intelligence report that Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague has not been withdrawn, and some of the other 9/11 hijackers are known to have definitely met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Malaysia.

What more do they want?

How about attempted assassination of Bush the Elder?

How about violating the cease-fire agreement of Gulf War 1 repeatedly?

How about material breach of UN resolutions?

How about still to this day failing to account for tons of WMD the UN inspectors themselves believe was produced?

Not to mention the strategic goals of pressuring Iran and changing the whole dynamic of the Middle East.

That's why we went in.

And to kill al-Qaeda terrorists is why we stay.

And we'll "leave" (which really just means not having responsibility for security; we'll always have a reasonably large presence there, one would hope!) when the Iraqi security forces are trusted enough to have control of their own supplies, transportation, and intelligence, which we haven't given them yet until they have a real government.

This should all be obvious.

It seems like people won't accept these reasons, however, until Bush personally meets with them not once, but twice, to explain it (as Sheehan is demanding), using formal debating rules, with his performance judged by media pundits as to whether he "won" the debate or "made the case".

As if this were some sort of game.

Going Wobbly

UPDATE: The Skeptic Rant takes issue with this post for looking at absolute casualty numbers rather than death rates. The distinction is an important one, and both numbers can be useful if one is asking the right question. And also I must pre-empt possible complaints about what appears to be my statement that bringing the troops home would make them less safe: I assumed that would obviously be taken as rhetorical sarcasm, not a literal assertion. Clearly, combat is generally more deadly than peace, for the individual soldier; but still there was a factualy point behind my "what do you want to do, get them killed?" line -- there would still be significant numbers of accidental deaths in the military if they were brought home, so there is still a non-zero cost to be paid for peace.

Now, as to death rates, yes, since we have only a fraction of the army in Iraq, the actual death rate is higher than that due to accidents. But rates measure the danger to the individual soldier, and do not speak to the gross cost borne by the country. Instead, it is perfectly appropriate to look at the absolute number when considering the question of "quagmire", which was the point of this posting and Powerline's. The media headline number is always an absolute amount, and more than a rate is what affects public morale. If one demands a rate, the assessment of whether this is a quagmire or not should take the total population of the country as the divisor, not the (artificial!) size of the army.

So in that sense, the total military-related death rate today, EVEN including Iraq combat, as a percentage of total "strength" (population) of the country IS INDEED lower than it was in the peacetime of the 80s! This is the proper measure of "quagmire", and shows decisively that it does not exist.

See here, for example.

And as far as a combat intensity measure goes (which relates to the safety of the individual soldier -- a different question altogether!), the actual soldier death rate in Iraq should be compared not with peacetime rates (using the number of soldiers deployed) -- because duh, we know combat is more dangerous than peace -- but with combat death rates of other conflicts. I don't have that handy at the moment, but it would be an interesting comparison. I'm fairly confident it will show Iraq to be relatively low-intensity as wars go.

The original post follows:

Behold the amazing power of propaganda!

Due to the psychological "error of availability" most people easily succumb to being manipulated just by having certain numbers emphasized, devoid of context.

Hearing daily casualty counts and relentless calls of "quagmire" from Iraq is painful, so the impulse is to Bring the Troops Home.

Because, you know, "we support them", and want them to be safe.

But my goodness, why would we want to bring them home? What is the urgency to do so?

What do you want to do, get them killed???

Because the actual truth is, normal training exercises in the military killed TWICE as many American soldiers per year from 1983-1996 than the vaunted, undefeatable, deadly "insurgency" in Iraq has been able to do.

I mean really, if you bring these adult volunteers "kids" home, you're signing their death warrants!

And God forbid any of them leave the military, because civilian accidental deaths happen at a higher rate than in the army.

Given how insanely safe it is to be fighting in Iraq for our armed forces by any standard -- the casualties don't even make it out of the statistical noise of accidents! -- I shudder to think what would happen on the home front if we had a more efficient foe to face, we have grown so pathetic, effete, and weak in our decadence.

It's only because of media reporting that we think, say, 40 deaths a month from combat is something to get all hyper about, when every month 120 were dying just accidentally in the military for the previous 20 years. The media could have made that front-page news every day -- another 4 soldiers killed! -- but they didn't mention it, so nobody got demoralized. But now they make sure you hear about EVERY SINGLE DEATH, without context.

They don't tell you those 40 died, for example, in the course of not a mere training exercise, but while killing off professional al-Qaeda terrorists by the bucketloads who otherwise would be planning mass murder attacks on our schools and churches.

Here are the numbers from the Department of Defense, as revealed at Powerline.

From 1983-1996, there were about 1,300 accidental military deaths per year. (And that was over a period of rapid decline in accidents, by a whopping 2/3; it was much worse in the 1970s.)

By contrast, we've lost about 600 per year since the fall of Baghdad to the mighty "insurgents."

I've heard 879 men drowned just in rehearsing for the D-Day invasion of Normandy alone.

Have some perspective! Don't go "all wobbly", as the "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher admonished Bush the Elder after Hussein invaded Kuwait.

Powerline elaborates:
It is universally acknowledged that public support for the Iraq war is eroding. Some of the polls supporting this claim are faulty because they are based on obviously misleading internal data, but the basic point cannot be denied: many Americans, possibly even a majority, have turned against the war.

This should hardly be a surprise. On the contrary, how could it be otherwise? News reporting on the war consists almost entirely of itemizing casualties. Headlines say: "Two Marines killed by roadside bomb." Rarely do the accompanying stories--let alone the headlines that are all that most people read--explain where the Marines were going, or why; what strategic objective they and their comrades were pursuing, and how successful they were in achieving it; or how many terrorists were also killed. For Americans who do not seek out alternative news sources like this one, the war in Iraq is little but a succession of American casualties. The wonder is that so many Americans do, nevertheless, support it.

The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made, and often fail to put military operations into any kind of tactical or strategic perspective, they assiduously avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channelled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into bizarre ideologies and terrorism. Partly this omission is due to laziness or incomprehension, but I think it is mostly attributable to the fact that if the media acknowledged that reforming the Arab world, in order to drain the terrorist swamp, has always been the principal purpose of the Iraq war, it would take the sting out of their "No large stockpiles of WMDs!" theme.

One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?
We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.

Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town.
The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq "on President Bush's watch." As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime.

What is the President's responsibility? To expend our most precious resources only when necessary, in service of the national interest. We would all prefer that our soldiers never be required to fight. Everyone--most of all, every politician--much prefers peace to war.

But when our enemies fly airplanes into our skyscrapers; attack the nerve center of our armed forces; bomb our embassies; scheme to blow up our commercial airliners; try to assassinate our former President; do their best to shoot down our military aircraft; murder our citizens; assassinate our diplomats overseas; and attack our naval vessels--well, then, the time has come to fight.
All they ask is to be allowed to win.
Don't go wobbly!

Big Blowup

Having found a focus in the "peace mom", and relentlessly trumpeted a casualty list devoid of context for two years, the ministry of propaganda MSM has managed to reduce support for the war effort.

People now question not only whether we should stay in Iraq, but whether we should have gone there at all, with a majority calling it a mistake, according to recent polls.

The reasons both for the "why" and the "still" are, truly, self-evident and as valid now as ever. They've been gone over ad nauseaum. Those posing the question really are not in a psychological mood to rationally assess those questions. They are instead enormously frustrated by the steady drumbeat of bad news.

This psychological effect is well known.

In short, propaganda works, and for the first time ever our own media has acted as an enemy propaganda outlet rather than the opposite.

Humans are just hardwired to act irrationally in certain circumstances. This is known in the financial world, for instance. See this article from the New Yorker about hedge fund risk, entitled Blowing Up:
What Empirica has done is to invert the traditional psychology of investing. You and I, if we invest conventionally in the market, have a fairly large chance of making a small amount of money in a given day from dividends or interest or the general upward trend of the market. We have almost no chance of making a large amount of money in one day, and there is a very small, but real, possibility that if the market collapses we could blow up. We accept that distribution of risks because, for fundamental reasons, it feels right.

In the book that Pallop was reading by Kahneman and Tversky, for example, there is a description of a simple experiment, where a group of people were told to imagine that they had three hundred dollars. They were then given a choice between (a) receiving another hundred dollars or (b) tossing a coin, where if they won they got two hundred dollars and if they lost they got nothing. Most of us, it turns out, prefer (a) to (b). But then Kahneman and Tversky did a second experiment. They told people to imagine that they had five hundred dollars, and then asked them if they would rather (c) give up a hundred dollars or (d) toss a coin and pay two hundred dollars if they lost and nothing at all if they won. Most of us now prefer (d) to (c). What is interesting about those four choices is that, from a probabilistic standpoint, they are identical. They all yield an expected outcome of four hundred dollars. Nonetheless, we have strong preferences among them.

Why? Because we're more willing to gamble when it comes to losses, but are risk averse when it comes to our gains. That's why we like small daily winnings in the stock market, even if that requires that we risk losing everything in a crash.

At Empirica, by contrast, every day brings a small but real possibility that they'll make a huge amount of money in a day; no chance that they'll blow up; and a very large possibility that they'll lose a small amount of money. All those dollar, and fifty-cent, and nickel options that Empirica has accumulated, few of which will ever be used, soon begin to add up.
"We cannot blow up, we can only bleed to death," Taleb says, and bleeding to death, absorbing the pain of steady losses, is precisely what human beings are hardwired to avoid. "Say you've got a guy who is long on Russian bonds," Savery says. "He's making money every day. One day, lightning strikes and he loses five times what he made. Still, on three hundred and sixty-four out of three hundred and sixty-five days he was very happily making money. It's much harder to be the other guy, the guy losing money three hundred and sixty-four days out of three hundred and sixty-five, because you start questioning yourself. Am I ever going to make it back? Am I really right? What if it takes ten years? Will I even be sane ten years from now?" What the normal trader gets from his daily winnings is feedback, the pleasing illusion of progress. At Empirica, there is no feedback. "It's like you're playing the piano for ten years and you still can't play chopsticks," Spitznagel say, "and the only thing you have to keep you going is the belief that one day you'll wake up and play like Rachmaninoff." [or have a freer, functioning Iraq! -- ed.]

Was it easy knowing that Niederhoffer -- who represented everything they thought was wrong -- was out there getting rich while they were bleeding away? Of course it wasn't. If you watched Taleb closely that day, you could see the little ways in which the steady drip of losses takes a toll. He glanced a bit too much at the Bloomberg. He leaned forward a bit too often to see the daily loss count. He succumbs to an array of superstitious tics. If the going is good, he parks in the same space every day; he turned against Mahler because he associates Mahler with the last year's long dry spell.
The parallel with the war effort is nearly exact.

Those who wish for it to just end want the news to turn good for most days, even if it means risking the "big blow up" from another 9/11 that's made much worse by having rogue state sponsorship that provides a nuclear weapon. On the other hand, putting up with the "bad news" (which future posts will show is an illusion anyway) runs the small but real chance of a big victory -- true change in the Middle East that saps islamism of its appeal!

The only rift in the analogy is we can't reduce the risk of the "big blow up" to a quantified actualy zero, but we are surely reducing it drastically.

And this we must do EVERYTHING in our power to do!


Again, the well-spoken Aristides sums it up at Belmont Club; in response to someone who posited:
The consequences of being wrong about WMDs -- a simple nuke detonated in in Rotterdam, Hong Kong or Newark/New York would effectively shut down global trade, throw hundreds of millions out of work, and lead to chaos and misery on a scale modern humans can't imagine -- are too awful to contemplate.
Aristides elaborated:
"Too awful to contemplate" is a formulation that seems at first to be sophistry, a brief rhetorical flourish to make an otherwise non-radical point about some impending circumstance.

It is not.

We do not know, nor cannot know, what the world will look like after D-Day. Will markets crash? Will commerce stop? Will grocery stores be raided by armed men who want nothing more than to feed their families and stock up on canned food? What about our power grid? Will we have running water?

The kinetic force emanating from a nuclear explosion in Manhattan will seem small compared to the entropy that will envelop our system and our way of life. We must not allow this to happen, yet many Americans are fatalistic about it. Worse, many Americans don't think it is even worth avoiding (Iran!).

It may be inevitable, no matter what we do. To paraphrase Wretchard in an earlier post, it may be that some decision taken in 1991 has already killed most New Yorkers in 2011.

More likely, there is something we can do, but we won't. In hindsight our lost chances will look so obvious, like Atta's flight lessons or bin Laden's declaration of war, but they will be small comfort to those that survive. If such destruction indeed awaits, there's nothing for it but to buy yourself some guns, store up on ammo, plan for your family and make real nice with your neighbors. When the flash hits, these will be all you've got.
Many like to complain that Bush "hasn't made the case", and unless he does, they're not going to support the war.

In this country, we don't have warriors or dictators running the show. We have politicians. They respond, when forced, to We The People, who are really in charge. As adult citizens we are resonsible for informing ourselves, evaluating the evidence, and taking a stand.

Victory is the only option.

We must are on the frontlines of a meme-war and must steel ourselves to withstand the pessimism and defeatism so that we keep down the risk of the Big Blowup.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Whoda Thunk It?

Blunt and to the point:
Muslims who want Islamic law told to leave Australia

SYDNEY (AFP) - Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law should get out of Australia, a senior government minister has said, hinting that some radical clerics might be asked to leave.

Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament, Treasurer Peter Costello told national television late Tuesday.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," said Costello, who is seen as heir-apparent to Prime Minister John Howard.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false.

"There's only one law in Australia -- it's the law that's made by the parliament of Australia and enforced by our courts. There is no second law.

"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he replied: "Where a person has dual citizenship, it might be possible to ask them to exercise that other citizenship. That might be a live possibility."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


After Iraq, the next step must be Iran. A commenter (Aristides) at Belmont Club sums it up well; this is what I'm hoping is really going on behind the scenes:
Patterns are emerging in the statements and actions of the administration, and we may be close to predicting the next step in the GWOT.

Rumsfeld on August 11:
"It's a problem for the Iraqi government. It's a problem for the coalition forces. It's a problem for the international community. And ultimately, it's a problem for Iran," he said.

Asked if that amounted to an implied threat, Mr Rumsfeld said: "I don't imply threats. You know that."

Pressed on what he meant, Rumsfeld said, "Well, they live in the neighbourhood. The people in that region want this situation stabilised, with the exception of Iran and Syria."

Rumsfeld this week:
"They're making a mistake, in my view. I think they're going to have to live with their neighbors like any country does over time."

Bush on August 11:
U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday he was "deeply suspicious" of Iran, but was not ready to seek United Nations sanctions against Tehran for its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Why is he not ready? There are many possible answers to this, and Wretchard hit on the most probable:

One possible reason for turning a public blind eye to Iranian belligerence is that any administration which very strongly emphasized it would logically be compelled to do something about it, a step which the Bush administration may be unprepared to take or believes cannot be sustained by domestic political consensus.

If Bush is waiting for something, the most obvious answer is that he is waiting for the true government of Iraq to stand up following the ratification of an Iraqi-created Constitution. If we are to assume that this is indeed what Bush is waiting for, then our inquiry moves forward into why.

The most obvious answer to "why" is that a stable Iraq will free US assets to better deal with Iran.

But look to Rumsfeld's statements. He consistently refers to Iran's problem as being regional, that Iran's "neighbors" will create an unattractive situation for her because of her intransigence.

I believe that Bush is waiting to gain a principal ally and a primary actor in this drama, which is what he will get when Iraq's government stands up on its own. With Iran's misbehavior in Afghanistan and Iraq added to the rap sheet of NPT violations, the case against Iran will certainly be improved from a media standpoint. Talk will shift from "Is Iran a danger?" to "What should we do about it."

From a purely political standpoint, Hawks (Republicans) will win the "What should we do about it" argument. Any Democrat that argues against punishing Iran will have to explain why a government can kill American troops with impunity. Dems will have to explain why they won't stand with our Iraqi friends when they plead for international help in dealing with Tehran. Perhaps most devastating for the doves, they will have to explain to the American people why they would allow the number one terrorist-supporting regime in the world to acquire nuclear weapons.

Michael Barone compared the Bush presidency to a pulsar: a star that goes dark for long periods and then bursts forth in a sudden spurt of activity. I think in the near future, say right before the 2006 elections, we will see another such burst.

Foreign policy is the weakness of the Democrats, and Iraq is the weakness of the Republicans. One of these weaknesses will eventually disappear, and one of them is terminal. I bet you can figure out which is terminal.

2006 will be all about foreign policy; Bush will make it so.
We should not underestimate the enormous coup it will be to suddenly have Iraq as a strong ally in the Middle East.

It would change everything.



The finale to the "Inside 9/11" documentary on the National Geographic Channel was just outstanding.

It ended with a dwell on a fade to black against the white printed words of bin Laden to a Pakistani journalist in November, 2001,
We love death. The U.S. loves life. This is the great difference between us.
The narrator set that quote up as the bedrock definition of radical islamic philosophy.

And they also connected 9/11 to world-wide islamic terror attacks.

This was preceded by analysts lamenting that far too few people, still, were taking this danger serioiusly. That should help wake some up!

And many are.

We are so much better off now than we were a few years ago in terms of understanding and responding to the threat.

The context of the Iraq war was even mentioned as simply the "new direction" of U.S. foreign policy, without further editorializing.

I couldn't ask for a more accurate, less-PC take-away message!

Monday, August 22, 2005

National Geographic

There's a special on the road to 9/11 on National Geographic right now ("Inside 9/11"), and it's great. Part one (2 hours) is tonight, part two is tomorrow.

It's very comprehensive, and straightforward in its reporting.

It begins by going over how islamists in great numbers, in this very country, were openly preaching jihad, murder, and war (in arabic) against us infidels to large crowds for years.

These rallies of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, and others were documented in Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. 32 cities in all are known in the "jihad network", according to National Geographic.

They even have video footage of these large meetings, with the "clerics" caught on tape saying things like:
Blood must flow. We must make widows and orphans.
And other statements that muslims must conquer the West by bloody jihad.

Make no mistake.

They are among us in large numbers, and mean to kill us without mercy.

The "muscle" hijackers even practiced throat-cutting on camels so they'd get used to killing without remorse.

UPDATE: I can't stress how comprehensive and free of politicization this program is! It clearly points out the alien mindset of these "simple" [i.e., deeply ignorant of the "modern" post-Renaissance world] people from Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is, in that they really, truly believe that killing for allah sends them to a literal paradise.

The vastness of the anti-American islamic networks and the depth of their implacable evil is clearly shown in this documentary.

It makes clear that bin Laden's goal was indeed to goad the U.S. to invade Afghanistan. Except he thought it would be a quagmire for us like it was for the USSR and lead to our similar dissolution.

The reasons the government didn't get bin Laden in the 90s are also shown, even though he opoenly declared war against us and attacked our embassies and other targets. In one case, his encampment seemed to have children in it, so the attack was called off. In another, he was out away from his children, but was on safari with an Arab prince from the United Arab Emirates, and it was deemed too important not to risk harming him. But on the other hand, one is known by the company one keeps, and he surely knew bin Laden was at war with the US at the time and therefore should not have been spared.

This is war, not law enforcement!

They mean to destroy our civilization, not steal some money!

Our response must become like a great blunt fist that starts pounding, and anything even remotely close to the target will be crushed. The obvious corollary is those wishing to avoid being crushed should get as far away as possible from our enemies, lest they be mistaken for one themselves.

Getting this information out 4 years late is better than never.

Everyone should see it.

UPDATE 2: This documentary also points out that some muslims in this country knew the attacks were about to happen. They were gleeful about it, of course. One story that has held up is that of a young student in NY who told his teacher on September 6 that the twin towers wouldn't be there next week. An LGF reader brings up this Mark Steyn piece:
Among the more interesting Muslim items this past year was a story that appeared last October 11 in the Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper. It concerned a student in a Brooklyn high school, who, on September 6, 2001, stared out of the window and told his teacher: "See those two buildings? They won't be standing there next week."

Many of us heard similar stories - supposedly "urban legends" - in the weeks after September 11, but only one reporter did anything about them. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro interviewed the teacher, Antoinette DiLorenzo, and the boy's brother - they're Palestinian immigrants. The Journal News ran the piece on page seven, lest it provoke - all together now - "a backlash". The story held up, which is more than Shapiro's career did. By the end of the day, he was no longer the Journal News crime reporter.
Don't forget how muslims cheered.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


A Changing World

Some complain about the destabilization of the Middle East, like this moron Senator Hagel:
WASHINGTON - A leading Republican senator and prospective presidential candidate said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.
Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you.

To look like Vietnam, chicken little, first things would have to get twice as bad.

And then worse again by at least another factor of 10.

But go ahead and give succor to the enemy.
"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning," he said.
By any standard?

Quite a bold claim.

And wrong.

And what is this fetishization of "stability"?

So-called stability in the Middle East generated 9/11.

Instead, the World is Changing.

Besides the Grand Experiment of injecting a new meme into governance in the Arab world, the farce of a "peace process" for the "palestinians" has been ended, though few realize it yet.

The bluff was called by Sharon.

And I'm LMAO!

As David Warren elaborates, this is actually what the anti-Israel side never wanted!
Mr. Sharon, as everyone else who understands the background situation, is fully aware that, “Post-occupation Gaza will become a Mediterranean Somalia: an unstable failed state in which gangs compete for power and extremist Islam finds a sanctuary.”

But by allowing this to happen, he puts an end to the silly game, in which prevaricators in the West and across the Muslim world attribute every Middle Eastern disorder to Israel’s supposed refusal to allow a Palestinian state. He is now prepared to let them have that state, unconditionally, and let the world see why it should never have come into being.

Let the foreign ministries of Europe now panic about this triumph of Islamism on Mediterranean shores. Let the Egyptians now panic, as Israel removes the watch that protected Egypt as well as Israel from Islamist insurgency. Let Egypt and Jordan be compelled to send their own troops, respectively, into Gaza, and soon the West Bank. Let them take over Israel’s thankless task -- or suffer the consequences of it not being done. (The Egyptians have already sent into Gaza their first 750 troops to replace the IDF.)

For that matter, let the international community of professional apologists for Palestinian terrorism now drop their pretensions, and let the world know that what they actually demand is the annihilation of Israel.

Let Israel secure itself within the most defensible available frontiers, and complete the Wall it has been building.
Let me add, that the Israelis are, on this theory, returning to their much more successful survival strategy, pre-1967. It was, similarly, to seal the borders on the ground, and meet each successful Arab incursion with a brutal and unambiguous retaliation, on ten times the scale.
From your lips to Jehovah's ears...

If it were up to me, I'd cluster-bomb these mass demonstrations of masked demons in human form, without the slightest qualms or hesitations.

Just like turning out a light.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why Iraq

Soon, God willing, there will be an Iraqi Constitution.

Usually, arab constitutions come about like this, according to Amir Taheri in the London Times:
A MAN SPORTING a ferocious moustache, and wearing a military uniform covered with medals, appears on television to address the nation as martial music plays in the background. “Brothers,” he shouts, “I have just written a new constitution for you to raise the flag of Arabism, destroy our enemies and march on to Jerusalem.”

This caricature depicts the way people in many Arab states, from Algeria to Yemen and passing by Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Iraq, have learnt about their new constitutions over the past six decades of military rule. So it was a novelty to witness Iraqis struggling in public to write a democratic constitution based on wideranging consultation and compromise.
Perhaps it will be a travesty of a mockery of a sham that imposes all the grotesqueries of islamic sharia "law."

In that case we'll know that not only is islam the problem but also that the people are irredeemable. Total War will then ultimately be our only option for survival.

But on the other hand, the islamic terrorists themselves are terrified of what might happen if Iraq succeeds. This is not a pundit on fox news talking, this is the strategists of al-Qaeda themselves:
Iraq is the ideal choice as a model of democratisation in the Arab world. It faces virtually all the problems that Arab states face, including the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, the status of women and the role of the clergy. Success in Iraq could inflict a strategic defeat on all despotic ideo- logies in the region.

Soon after the liberation of Iraq in 2003, Yussuf al-Ayyeri, a chief theoretician of al-Qaeda, published a book entitled The Future of Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula after the Fall of Baghdad. In it, he designated Iraq as “the greatest battlefield of Islam against the infidel and its native allies”. Al-Ayyeri wrote: “It is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, its very survival, is American democracy. To allow Iraq to build would represent Islam’s biggest defeat since the loss of Andalusia.”
Shortly after 9/11, I was berated by some (former) lefty "friends", who denied the terrorists "hated our freedom", as the President summed it up. Yes, that simplifies a lot, but it is ultimately truthful. They sure hate the freedom of women. Instead, these ex-"friends" declared it was the fault of "our policies", which is code for "supporting Israel's right to exist."

All those on the left who are rooting for this project to fail just to spite Bush and the neocons are bad people who must be ostracized and made irrelevant. Debate the strategy and criticize the effort by all means -- that's vital -- but demand victory rather than withdrawal!
This is why all reactionary forces, from pan-Arabists to Islamists, and their sympathisers in the West, have united to prevent Iraq from succeeding. Iraq has become the litmus test of the success of the democratic experience in the region. There is no guarantee that it will succeed. But it is vital for everyone concerned that it does.
Indeed! Isn't this worth giving it a real chance?
This was the first time that Iraq, created as a state 84 years ago, was allowing its people to write a constitution. The first one, establishing monarchy in 1921, was written by the British. The second, in 1958, was the work of colonels who copied the Soviet model. Subsequent constitutions were written by the so-called Revolutionary Command Council of the Baath party with no popular input.

This time it was different. Talks on writing the new constitution started soon after liberation in 2003 with a series of town-hall-style meetings in which citizens could walk in and say their piece. For a nation terrorised into silence for half a century this was a moment of catharsis. The process was then formalised with the creation of a multiparty commission to come up with proposed drafts.

For months the shaping of a new constitution has been the theme of popular political debates throughout Iraq. More than 300 conferences were held on the subject throughout the country, allowing an estimated 50,000 people to express the views of countless cultural associations, trade unions, guilds, tribal groups and religious fraternities. Iraq’s newly created free media, including more than 150 newspapers and six television stations, almost all privately owned, have brought the debate to every home in the country.
And yet this is how the seditious MSM works against us:
The terrorist campaign [aided by the media! -- RDS] has obscured the immense successes that the Iraqis have achieved. The most important of these is the destruction of the physical edifice of despotism and the slow but steady crumbling of its intellectual and moral infrastructure.
It's gotten so bad, even the AP is beginning to notice how biased they themselves are:
Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

“Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?” the anonymous polemic asks, in part. “Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?”

“Of course we didn’t know!” the message concludes. “Our media doesn’t tell us!”

Ms. Goudreau’s newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.

Ms. Goudreau’s query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

“The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we’re making progress in Iraq,” Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question…
John Wilkes Booth could have been referring to the MSM when he gasped, cryptically, with his dying breath, "Useless! Useless!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Able Danger Still Alive

This story may be getting firmer. In the New York Times of all places, a colonel is coming forward to spill the story of how lawyers (during the Clinton administration, in line with the Gorelick-Reno "wall") nixed meeting after meeting the Able Danger intelligence team tried to have with the FBI to alert them to a terror cell operating in the United States.

You see, if they had green cards (though apparently they really all didn't), then they were "legal" and military intelligence couldn't touch them -- even if they were planning to wage sneak-attack war against us.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.

"I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001.

He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.
This colonel isn't the only one:
The account from Colonel Shaffer, a reservist who is also working part time for the Pentagon, corroborates much of the information that the Sept. 11 commission has acknowledged it received about Able Danger last July from a Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name has not been made public.
Somebody's lying:
Colonel Shaffer said he had provided information about Able Danger and its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving. Commission members have disputed that, saying that they do not recall hearing Mr. Atta's name during the briefing and that the name did not appear in documents about Able Danger that were later turned over by the Pentagon.
Hmmm, what about those documents Mr. Berger destroyed from the National Archives? The official position, so far, of the 9/11 Commission, is that:
In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant."
But that's the answer we'd expect from a group with Gorelick on it, who was the architect of the Reno-Gorelick Wall that apparently caused the whole botch-up in the first place, isn't it?

Watch for further developments -- will this fizzle...or explode?

One Year Old!

This blog is one year old today!

Just as it closes in on 25,000 hits as well.

Which is really more like 15,000 + one weekend of 10,000 from atrios, who came, howled, and recoiled.

Thanks to all readers, especially you 40 or so daily regulars!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Iraqi Intelligence

Evidence of connections between Hussein's Iraq and al-Qaeda -- if not directly to 9/11 (the standard dodge employed by those against taking the War to Iraq) just arne't going away, and are getting stronger.

Captain Ed notes:
Germany has long been known as one of the primary logistical areas for the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed Atta and several of the 9/11 hijackers spent considerable time in Hamburg especially during the recruitment and research effort in 1999 and 2000 before coming to the United States to begin the actual work of preparing the attacks.
With all of these references to Germany and Hamburg, the 9/11 Commission oddly failed to include a published report from March 2001 in a Parisian Arabic newspaper, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, about the arrest of two suspected Iraqi spies -- based on a tip from the CIA (boldface mine):

Iraqi Spies Reportedly Arrested in Germany 16 March 2001

Al-Watan al-Arabi (Paris) reports that two Iraqis were arrested in Germany, charged with spying for Baghdad. The arrests came in the wake of reports that Iraq was reorganizing the external branches of its intelligence service and that it had drawn up a plan to strike at US interests around the world through a network of alliances with extremist fundamentalist parties.

The most serious report contained information that Iraq and Osama bin Ladin were working together. German authorities were surprised by the arrest of the two Iraqi agents and the discovery of Iraqi intelligence activities in several German cities. German authorities, acting on CIA recommendations, had been focused on monitoring the activities of Islamic groups linked to bin Ladin. They discovered the two Iraqi agents by chance and uncovered what they considered to be serious indications of cooperation between Iraq and bin Ladin. The matter was considered so important that a special team of CIA and FBI agents was sent to Germany to interrogate the two Iraqi spies.
Contemporaneous reports of these arrests 6 months prior to 9/11 have been corroborated from other news sources as well, such as the BBC and Reuters -- see the rest of the updates to that link.

The 9/11 Commission seems to have been curiously uncurious about lots of things!

Able Danger

Perhaps you've heard of the Able Danger controversy buzzing around the net. If the claims of Rep. Weldon are substantiated, this could be much, much bigger than Watergate.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a good summary of what's known so far. The whole thing should be read.

But for a flavor,
Able Danger was a military intelligence unit set up by Special Operations Command in 1999. A year before the 9/11 attacks, Able Danger identified hijack leader Mohamed Atta and the other members of his cell. But Clinton administration officials stopped them -- three times -- from sharing this information with the FBI.

The problem was the order Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick made forbidding intelligence operatives from sharing information with criminal investigators. (Gorelick later served as a 9/11 commission member.)

"They were stopped because the lawyers at that time in 2000 told them Mohamed Atta had a green card" -- he didn't -- "and they could not go after someone with a green card," said Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who brought the existence of Able Danger to light.
This now could make the bizarre behavior of Sandy Berger make sense, because one doesn't just stuff classified documents in one's pants and shred them by accident:
It was in October 2003 that Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger stole classified documents from the National Archives and destroyed some. Berger allegedly was studying documents in the archives to help prepare Clinton officials to testify before the 9/11 commission. Was he removing references to Able Danger? Someone should ask him before he is sentenced next month.
Why would the 9/11 commission (apart from being an assemblage of white-washing weasels intent on election-year grandstanding) ignore this key information in its report?
After having first denied that staff had been briefed on Able Danger, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said no reference was made to it in the final report because "it was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks," the AP reported.

The only dispute over Atta's whereabouts is whether he was in Prague on April 9, 2001, to meet with Samir al Ani, an Iraqi intelligence officer. Czech intelligence insists he was. Able Danger, apparently, had information supporting the Czechs.

The CIA, and the 9/11 commission, say Atta wasn't in Prague April 9, 2001, because his cell phone was used in Florida that day. But there is no evidence of who used the phone. Atta could have lent it to a confederate. (It wouldn't have worked in Europe anyway.)

But acknowledging that possibility would leave open the likelihood that Saddam's regime was involved in, or at least had foreknowledge of, the 9/11 attacks. And that would have been as uncomfortable for Democrats as the revelation that 9/11 could have been prevented if it hadn't been for the Clinton administration's wall of separation.
Oh, that Mr. Atta!

Big rundownn of links and sources about all that is known about Able Danger and the controvery is here, very vital stuff!

This was all found via Dr. Sanity who is following the story with loads of links.

The Reno-Gorelick "wall" preventing information sharing remains a mystery as to why it was constructed, as it was not required by law, but was merely a rule-based policy. There is of course speculation, but that must wait for substantiation. It makes the weirdness of Berger and Gorelick explicable, however:
Jamie Gorelick and her ilk had to realize that if this information became public, it would be devastating to the Democrats. After all, they set up the wall. Furthermore, at the time, Sandy Berger was an adviser to John Kerry and helping his Presidential run. If Berger was found to be the one who reinforced the wall in 2000, it would have reflected rather poorly on Kerry. Since part of the Politically Correct world view is to divide the world between the Peace loving, all nurturing Mother-State and the evil, warlike Father-Oppressor, it was literally life and death to many of the Democratic supporters to have Kerry win the election. Thus, they could rationalize leaving out such crucial information, believing that the good of the country required a Democratic victory. They truly believed they were not pitting narrow partisanship above the nation's well being.

Finally, in order to maintain the fantasy of a peace loving, nurturing world, it was absolutely necessary to deny and minimize any connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. If there were a connection, the rationale for war with Iraq would be unassailable. We would not now be arguing about missing WMD or counting American bodies to determine if the war was worthwhile or justified. This is by far the most benign view of the 9/11 Omissions' omissions.

I can only conclude that the mental set of the 9/11 Omission members either actively or passively lead them to not see crucial information that would have changed the entire discussion of 9/11, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and almost everything else that has gone on since the World Trade Centers came crashing down.
Captain Ed is less generous:
Without a doubt, the policy instituted by the holier-than-thou attitude of the Clinton administration contributed mightily to the inability of the security services to protect the US from the 9/11 attack. The developments now before us showing that the Commission deliberately omitted evidence of this from their report strongly suggests that one or more of its members (and their staff) had a vested interest in keeping that as quiet as possible.
See the rest of the analysis as well as the comments.

Janet Reno, overseer of Waco and Ruby Ridge and Elian Gonzales, now part of putting up the Wall. Worst Attorney General EVER!

Note that the "datamining" that picked up the names of 4 hijackers by Able Danger was very successful, but the expansion of that project was squashed by civil libertarians. Note that the Patriot Act has done much to remove the ridiculous "wall" between agencies, but remains decried by the left.

What is wrong with these people?

Stopping Iran

Iran has pledged to continue its atomic program, as Europe's negotiators are humiliated:
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran will never again suspend conversion of uranium ore, but it is willing to pursue talks with the European Union about its uranium enrichment program, Tehran officials said Sunday.

The comments came as Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nominated hard-liners for all his key ministries, signaling the likelihood of an intensified confrontation with the United States and Europe over the nuclear program.

Iran already rejected Thursday’s resolution from the U.N. nuclear agency urging it to halt the conversion of uranium into gas at its atomic plant in Isfahan. Conversion is a step before enrichment, which produces material usable for both energy-producing reactor fuel and atomic bombs.

After the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board issued its appeal, diplomats familiar with the proceedings said Iran was being given until Sept. 3 to halt uranium conversion or risk being referred to the U.N. Security Council for consideration of sanctions.
Needless to say, if Iran gets the bomb, we can't assume they'll act benignly, since they've been in a state of war with us since 1979 and open each session of their puppet-parliament with rousing chants of "Death to America!" to this very day.

If they have it, then their terror proxies have it, and they can't be assumed to be deterrable.

Instead, we'll then have to choose between surrendering to nuclear blackmail or being destroyed, or taking the last option of having to annihilate much of the Middle East, with the possibility of mass casualties here at home as well.

Far better to stop them NOW, with conventional weapons, and relatively lower loss of life. Target the leadership, the religious centers in Qom, the hardline militias, and the uranium processing plants. No need to "occupy" them conventionally.

Just keep killing whoever's in charge until they change their policies.


For that other branch of the decision tree has no good outcomes, once they get the bomb.

The good news is, President Bush has said the following recently on Israeli TV:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - President Bush said on Israeli television he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear programme.

"All options are on the table," Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview broadcast on Saturday.

Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: "As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."
That W, he sure knows how to drive them crazy!

Speaking of crazy, Germany's Schroeder then chimed in unhelpfully,
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has warned the US to back away from the possibility of military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

His comments come a day after President Bush reiterated that force remained an option but only as a last resort.
Let’s take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn’t work,” Mr Schroeder told Social Democrats at the rally in Hanover, to rapturous applause from the crowd.

Mr Schroeder said it remained important that Iran did not gain atomic weapons, and a strong negotiating position was important.
Well Gerhard, you just made your negotiating position impotent, didn't you? And how have we seen that it "doesn't work"?

Force took out your Nazi predecessors, didn't it?

Force took out Hussein's regime, didn't it?

Well, a rebuttal quickly came from Senator McCain:
WASHINGTON - The president must keep open a military option in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) said Sunday, calling recent Bush comments appropriate.

"For us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do and we won't under any circumstances exercise a military option would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do," the Arizona Republican said on "Fox News Sunday."
I wonder what the Democrats have to say. Or are they as insanely useless as the Germans?

The Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luckily, neither America nor Brittan is led by a Neville Chamberlain…
This is why I have so little patience (actually, none) for the multi-culti relativists. They don't seem to take the threat seriously. For example, this is what Sharia means in Pakistan today: you can go to jail for life (if you're lucky) just for writing a book:
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court sentenced a man to life imprisonment for writing an allegedly blasphemous book about the Quran and the Islamic justice system, a lawyer said on Friday.
It can never happen here? How about religious segregation, supported by your tax dollars, to bow to the will of muslims in Seattle?
Last month there was an article in the Seattle Times on a program where city public swimming pools have regularly scheduled hours for the exclusive use of Muslims: "Preserving modesty, in the pool"

It's Saturday evening, the end of a hot day, and a group of women and children have gathered at North Seattle's Meadowbrook Pool for their monthly swim ... The women and children — all Muslims — have been swimming in private once a month at Meadowbrook as part of a program organized by the North Seattle Family Center.

I made some calls and learned that the program, called "Muslim Sister Swim", is treated by the city's Meadowbrook Pool as any other private rental, which would be exempt from the city non-discrimination policy. However, the outfit that organizes and pays for the Muslim Sister Swim is the North Seattle Family Center, a unit of the Children's Home Society, a non-profit that gets most of its money from various government sources. As such, it should strictly comply with non-discrimination guidelines. Nevertheless, the Muslim Sister Swim is open exclusively to Muslims, no infidel women need apply. I asked a representative of the North Seattle Family Center to explain this, and she told me that it was to respect these immigrant women's culture.

But if there's ever a reason for taxpayer dollars to be used to support an immigrant's culture, it should be to support them in learning to shed whatever aspects of their culture are incompatible with American culture. The last thing we need to teach immigrants is to expect publicly-subsidized religious apartheid.
Hey, how about a whites-only day?

Where is the ACLU???

What a miserable bunch of worthless know-nothings.

As a commenter notes,
Something is beingoverlooked here- the entire premise of a Muslim-only swim isn't simply that Islam forbids swimming with non-Muslims- it forbids it because non-Muslims are unclean.

This amounts- quite literally- to taxpayers funding the continued religious bigotry of Mulims.
For the good news, things may be turning in Iraq, in spite of the wishes of the anti-Bush fanatics (via Bernoulli Effect):
Rising up against insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, Iraqi Sunni Muslims in Ramadi fought with grenade launchers and automatic weapons Saturday to defend their Shiite neighbors against a bid to drive them from the western city, Sunni leaders and Shiite residents said. The fighting came as the U.S. military announced the deaths of six American soldiers.

Dozens of Sunni members of the Dulaimi tribe established cordons around Shiite homes, and Sunni men battled followers of Zarqawi, a Jordanian, for an hour Saturday morning. [...]

The leaders of four of Iraq's Sunni tribes had rallied their fighters in response to warnings posted in mosques by followers of Zarqawi. The postings ordered Ramadi's roughly 3,000 Shiites to leave the city of more than 200,000 in the area called the Sunni Triangle. The order to leave within 48 hours came in retaliation for alleged expulsions by Shiite militias of Sunnis living in predominantly Shiite southern Iraq.

"We have had enough of his nonsense," said Sheik Ahmad Khanjar, leader of the Albu Ali clan, referring to Zarqawi. "We don't accept that a non-Iraqi should try to enforce his control over Iraqis, regardless of their sect -- whether Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds."

The fighting in Ramadi suggested a potentially serious threat to Zarqawi's group, al Qaeda in Iraq, which is made up of Sunni extremists from inside and outside Iraq. [...]

Masked men distributed leaflets that declared the city's tribes would fight "Zarqawi's attempt to turn Ramadi into a second Fallujah," referring to the nearby city that U.S. forces wrested from insurgent control in November.
Maybe they don't want Ramadi to become Fallujah because of the pounding it took from the Marines, as seen in this music video made by Cpl. Bender of the 3rd battalion, 1st Marine Regiment in November 2004. And exercise in urban renewal.

Also be sure to read Micahel Yon, embedded with an army Stryker unit in Mosul. You won't find this kind of story told anywhere else.