Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Let Communism Reign


Allah never fails to amuse me.

Friday, June 25, 2004

End Game

I just got back from Borders and I picked up the latest issue of The New Republic, the special issue consisting of 12 essays by (mostly) liberal hawks reconsidering their support for the war in Iraq. I recommend that everyone pick up a copy.

In light of yesterday's dreadful multi-city strikes that claimed the life of over 100 people and injured about 320, I have comtempleted abandoning this cause. Now, I advocated long and hard for this war and I still believe it was the right thing to do. But Bush's mishandling of it has created a situation that cannot conceivably produce the stated reason for many of us hawks support for the war, a (semi-) liberal democracy. Abu Zarqawi has, I believe, succeeded in Iraq. For the first time since the start of the war, the majority of Americans believe it was not right for us to invade and that Iraq has not made the world facer from terrorism. Our capitulation in Fallujah is at the center of this problem. It has become a Taliban-like city and the base of operations for al-Tawhid (Zarqawi's network). The situation is untenable. I expect the assasination of the Prime Minister and/or the President of Iraq shortly after the June 30th handover.

Where do we go from here?

Friday, June 18, 2004

They Hate Us For What?

Matt Yglesias makes the obvious point about "why they hate us." Saying they (Islamic fundamentalists worldwide) hate us because we are free might sound cliched and maybe it is. But that doesn't mean it isn't true. They hate everything we are, because we aren't like them. They stay us for being in Iraq, but they'll still hate us the same if we leave Iraq (or if we never went). I hear a lot of my friends cower in isolationist sentiment in the face of terrorism, "we should just stay out of their business and then they won't bother us." But in this day and age, isolation is no longer an option. If we pull back all our resources (which not to mention, is next to impossible) what's to stop terrorists from staging coups in many different countries? Isolation is a short term solution that only creates more problems in the long run. They would hate us then too. They will hate us unless we all convert to Islamism. Which, even then, they probably won't find sufficent enough. That's why this war needs to be so proactive and needs to take the fight to the terrorists. If only the average American understood this...

al-Qaeda Inc.?

I'll start off with two must read posts by Dan Darling, who I consider one of the foremost experts on al-Qaeda and the War on Terror, in the blogosphere.

These are very comprehensive (and long) posts, but as always with Dan's writings, you have to read the whole thing. The posts are a masterful fisking of the 9/11 Commission's report on the history of al-Qaeda.

Next we have two very important events happening in Saudi Arabia today. (1) The vicious beheading of American citizen Paul Johnson and (2) the killing of al-Qaeda Saudi Arabian leader al-Muqrin. There is something fishy going on that Saudi Security forces just happened to find al-Muqrin a few hours after Johnson was murdered. Incidentally, Dan also notes that same irony in a WoC comment section:
Don't ya just love how they managed to find al-Muqrin only after he and his thugs had murdered Johnson after nearly a week of "intensive searching" in one of the most totalitarian societies on the planet?
Surely Dan, this was just a tragic coincidence...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

At last...

Finals are over. I did good on them, I think.

I should be posting a lot more often nowadays.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Byebye Tony Blair?

Tony Blair is my favorite poltician and has been for years. His speech justifying the Iraq War to a joint session of Congress last July, remains the best articulated out of all the arguments I've read for the war. But unfortunately, it became apparent even before the war started that it was deeply unpopular with the average Briton. Yet, he believed in the cause to his bone. But, sadly, I have also long believed that this will cost him his Primership when the next UK elections are held in 2005. Today this prediction was omniously foreshadowed by the Labour Party's humiliating third place finish behind the Conservative Tories and the strongly anti-war Liberal Democrats.

What would it say to the world if both the Bush and Blair governments were to fall over Iraq?

Public Opinion

In How Terrorism Breeds, I talked about the fact that there is a sense of defeatism over Iraq in the general public and even in Washington itself. This was validated to an extent today by this article from the LATimes which states:
Most U.S. voters now say it was not worth going to war in Iraq, but an overwhelming majority reject the idea of setting a deadline to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country, according to a Times poll.


But voters were uncertain about the prospects of achieving broader goals in Iraq. Just 35% said the U.S. was "making good progress in Iraq," while 61% said they thought the U.S. was "getting bogged down." Three-fifths of independents and more than four-fifths of Democrats shared the sense that the effort was stalling.


In perhaps the most emphatic measure of anxiety about Iraq, 53% said they did not think the situation there merited the war; 43% said it did. When Times polls asked that question in November and March, the numbers were essentially reversed.
Now, these numbers are very concerning indeed. I don't really see how to positively spin this. The American public is growing tired of this. How do you curb this trend? First and foremost, President Bush needs to make another speech and be honest with us about the situation on the ground. He displayed some of this thee other day when he conceded something that comes as no surprise to anyone who follows this closely: that it's highly unlikely that NATO will contribute any more troops to Iraq. And as FH notes in the comments, if Bush pulls out he will fall. This was always that situation. Bush has staked his entire political career in Iraq, yet has so sloppily handled this occupation that his supporters are having to lower expectations. Yesterday, I caught myself thinking that we'd probably just be better off with a vaugely democratic country as long as the country is stablized. Wow, look at me, I'm sounding more and more like John Kerry everyday.

If Bush losses this election because Iraq is a mess, it will roll back all of the progress we've made in the War on Terror this far. But potentially more important, it will severely limit a future American president to pursue "convienent" military action, unless directly provoked. I can even see a certain degree of isolationism take over. An American withdrawl from Iraq would be magnatudes worse than the American withdrawl from Vietnam.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

How Terrorism Breeds

As I was going off on my usual daily rants about politics and terrorism to my disinterested friends, one friend asked me a question so simple, yet so profound that it stopped me dead in my tracks: "Why is terrorism so prevalent in the Muslim world and not in other countries?" Now, I was attempting to answer when it occured to me that there was really no "right" answer. At its root, this is what the War on Terror is about; stopping terrorism where it comes from. Many of us Iraq War supporters supported the idea not only for humanitarian reasons, but also to "drain the swamps" in the Middle East of the virulent hatred and violence sought by Islamic fundamentalists. The neo-cons call for a need to democratize the entire Middle East. On the surface, I am supportive of that idea. I think that a democratic regime in Baghdad will be the worst thing for terrorism (and Abu Zarqawi agrees).

However, there is a continued insurgency going on and there may be a point when the American public decides to call it quits and starts the loud murmurs of troop withdrawl. If this were to happen, it would be al-Qaeda's biggest and most stunning victory over the West. A few months ago, I was talking to Wretchard via e-mail and he basically said that were the United States to withdraw from Iraq, we would cease being a super power. And this is what concerns me, the Iraqi state is extremely weak right now. Its own security forces fleed from a rag-tag militia run by Muqtada al-Sadr. So, were we to withdraw, the Iraqi state would collaspe and there would be that dreaded Civil War™ we've been hearing about since the fall of Baghdad last year.

But the chattering classes have already sown the seeds of defeatism into most of the American population. This is evidenced by the outbursts of many war supporters last month going crazy over the increased level of violence (myself included). It caused even top ranking conservatives to call for withdrawl. So, I think that all that would be needed would be a series of coordinated massive casualty attacks and public opinion in support of the war would effective end and Bush would have to leave for the sake of saving his presidency (although, he would be utterly disgraced in the process). The Soviets were in Afghanistan for 10 years before they were forced to pullout, will we suffer the same fate down the road, only much, much sooner? The consequence of that will reverbate around the world for decades.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Debate Over Reagan's Legacy

One thing that bugs me about all this talk about what legacy Ronald Reagan will leave behind is that it's increasingly partisan. Many on the right view him with iconic status (similar to the FDR worship by many on the left) and because of such, they refuse to hear anyone criticize any of his policies. I have friends on the right who call him a hero and the "greatest president ever" and friends on the left who say he was the worst ever. So, which is it? I don't think I am qualified to say. I was only 2 years old when he left office.

Anyway, Christopher Hitchens is a highly respected figure among those of us who believe he gets "why we fight" and can articulate it better than most anyone else. That's why it saddens me to hear that because he wrote a piece very critical of Reagan that he'll never be read again by Caerdroia.

Monday, June 07, 2004

School is a Pain

Yes, I still have another week of school left and my teachers have seen fit to pile on the work recently. That's why there has been very little posting as of late. I started my new job yesterday, I work at a place called American Science and Surplus.

I'm going to post some required reading to keep everyone occupied:
  • British historian Niall Ferguson writes in the current issue of The Atlantic on "Our Imperial Imperative" This is not as you might suspect the common call by a conservative to shy away from having an empire, but actually, it's directly the opposite. Ferguson says we have an empire, but that we did to study history and not repeat the mistakes of Rome, Britain or even the Soviets. He makes a very persausive argument. Michael Totten also discusses the article and his comment section is a must read.

  • In the wake of the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, we have a tendency view the Second World War as the last "good war." Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum writes a brief description of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and explains why it was anything but good to those involved. Wretchard also weighs in a bit here.
I should post more within a day or two.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Breaking News

MSNBC's Lester Holt is reporting that President Ronald Reagan has died today.

UPDATE: Here's his obituary from the AP.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


CIA Director George Tenet has resigned.

That is great news, albeit almost 3 years too late, as I've been calling for his resignation since 9/12/01. And ironically, Tenet becomes the first high level Bush administration official to leave office.

Now, the blogosphere is buzzing about who his replacement will be. I haven't the slightest clue who it will be though.

As many others have pointed out, the timing for this is really curious. I'm not one for conspiracy theories or anything though, so I won't speculate. But the confirmation hearings for Tenet's successor will be fun to watch. Can you say "partisan-wrangling"?

This will be a very interesting summer, indeed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Every war with fascism is our business

This interview has been circulating around the blogosphere for the past few days and I just couldn't pass it up without comment.

Many others have expanded upon it, but I just want to quote the best parts. You need to read all of this.
Edelman: Now, now. Who started killing people? Americans didn't invade a wonderful democratic Iraq. There was a dictatorship there, torture, terror.

Interviewer: But there are people who say it's not our business.

Edelman: And whose business is it? Every war with fascism is our business. In 1939 there were also many people who said that the war in Poland was not their war, and what happened? Great nations fell because politicians listened to those who were saying that it's not worth dying for Gdansk [Danzig]. If only we'd intervened militarily after Hitler re-entered Rhineland we probably would not have had the war and the Holocaust.

Interviewer: Many people do understand that, but they don't understand why the Americans have to go to the other side of the world and fight over Iraq now.

Edelman: And why did they go to Europe then? Who defeated Hitler and saved Europe from fascism? The French? No, the Americans did. We thanked them then because they saved us. Today we criticise them because they're saving somebody else.


Interviewer: But the Americans aren't going too well with introducing democracy in Iraq.

Edelman: That's true, but it's a difficult war. The Second World War went for five years. Democracy tends to be structurally weak. Dictatorship is strong. Hitler was able to mobilise several million people and chase another few million into gas chambers or slave labour. But only democracy saves the humanity and saves millions of lives. The more I see people getting murdered the more I believe that we need to put a stop to that. The murderers understand only deeds.
Now this is a man who understands "why we fight." He has my utmost respect.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A Must Read

Wretchard at the Belmont Club pens a "Memo to Osama" that is an absolute must read for anyone hoping to understand al Qaeda's strategy in defeating Western Civilaztion.

UPDATE: He writes the sequel here. This outlines a fictional al-Qaeda strategy to target highly populated targets consisting mostly of children with stolen Anthrax spores. It will potentially kill millions.

He says 20 million, but that to me sounds quite alarmist. I'd consider any AQ attack that kills over 20 thousand Americans to be a disastrous achievement.