June 2007

We lived in London in 1989/90. One evening we heard a tremendous explosion. We thought an IRA bomb had gone off in our street. We rushed to our windows to see what had happened. About 100 yards up Inverness Terrace there was a smoking ruin where an old stone house had stood. The walls had collapsed onto the sidewalk and the cars parked next to it. Any pedestrians walking near by would have been killed. Luckily, none were. The windows of every building on the other side of the street, almost down to our flat, had been blown out.

It turned out that the owner of the house wanted to develop the property but was restricted from doing so because it was listed. He had decided to burn the building down and had taken drums of petrol into the basement. Perhaps he’d paused for a smoke after he’d emptied the petrol out. Whatever the spark, the explosion was devastating. The arsonist was the only fatality, but it could have been far worse.

A bomb using petrol, shrapnel, and propane gas cyclinders, encased in the body of a car, that exploded in a crowded London street, would have had devastating consequences.

Keith Olbermann would do well to take such attacks seriously.


Michael Totten links to a piece at Small Wars Journal, by Dave Kilcullen, that describes the strategic thinking behind the surge. Dave Kilcullen is Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General Petraeus, so one suspects he knows a little more about what is going on than the likes of Harry Reid. The key points:

When we speak of “clearing” an enemy safe haven, we are not talking about destroying the enemy in it; we are talking about rescuing the population in it from enemy intimidation.

The “terrain” we are clearing is human terrain, not physical terrain. It is about marginalizing al Qa’ida, Shi’a extremist militias, and the other terrorist groups from the population they prey on.

It is not about being “nice” to the population and hoping they will somehow see us as the “good guys” and stop supporting insurgents. On the contrary, it is based on a hard-headed recognition of certain basic facts, to wit:

(a.) The enemy needs the people to act in certain ways (sympathy, acquiescence, silence, reaction to provocation) in order to survive and further his strategy. Unless the population acts in these ways, both insurgents and terrorists will wither, and the cycle of provocation and backlash that drives the sectarian conflict in Iraq will fail.

(b.) The enemy is fluid, but the population is fixed. (The enemy is fluid because he has no permanent installations he needs to defend, and can always run away to fight another day. But the population is fixed, because people are tied to their homes, businesses, farms, tribal areas, relatives etc). Therefore—and this is the major change in our strategy this year—protecting and controlling the population is do-able, but destroying the enemy is not. We can drive him off from the population, then introduce local security forces, population control, and economic and political development, and thereby “hard-wire” the enemy out of the environment, preventing his return. But chasing enemy cells around the countryside is not only a waste of time, it is precisely the sort of action he wants to provoke us into. That’s why AQ cells leaving an area are not the main game—they are a distraction. We played the enemy’s game for too long: not any more. Now it is time for him to play our game.

(c.) Being fluid, the enemy can control his loss rate and therefore can never be eradicated by purely enemy-centric means: he can just go to ground if the pressure becomes too much. BUT, because he needs the population to act in certain ways in order to survive, we can asphyxiate him by cutting him off from the people. And he can’t just “go quiet” to avoid that threat. He has either to come out of the woodwork, fight us and be destroyed, or stay quiet and accept permanent marginalization from his former population base. That puts him on the horns of a lethal dilemma (which warms my heart, quite frankly, after the cynical obscenities these irhabi gang members have inflicted on the innocent Iraqi non-combatant population). That’s the intent here.

(d.) The enemy may not be identifiable, but the population is. In any given area in Iraq, there are multiple threat groups but only one, or sometimes two main local population groups. We could do (and have done, in the past) enormous damage to potential supporters, “destroying the haystack to find the needle”, but we don’t need to: we know who the population is that we need to protect, we know where they live, and we can protect them without unbearable disruption to their lives. And more to the point, we can help them protect themselves, with our forces and ISF in overwatch.

Still, the enemy relies on financing and logistical support from Syria and Iran, and covert support from across the Muslim diaspora. We can never win this war until those sources of support are destroyed.

Bush, Kennedy, Reid, McCain and the rest of the pro-illegal immigration brigade lost big-time. My wife called, emailed and faxed Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich dozens of times. Both Ohio Senators switched their votes. She was one of half a million Americans outraged at what the senate was trying to do.

We hope the politicians got the message that they need to close the border and enforce the law first. Once that has been achieved, then the people might trust them to overhaul immigration.

The MSM will spin this as a defeat for Bush. The reality is that the red-state Democrats, who helped the Democrats win in 2006, yanked the chain on the rabid left of their party. Powerline notes that:

Given that 34 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted for cloture, while 16 Democrats and 37 Republicans voted against, the result was primarily a defeat for the Democratic Party. My guess, however, is that the press’s ability to spin it as a defeat for President Bush will cause them to go easier on the anti-comprehensive “reform” forces than would otherwise have been the case.

Who were the defiant Democrats? I count the following 15 Senators:

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Harkin (D-IA)
Landrieu (D-LA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)

These Senators understood that legalizing millions of illegal aliens via Z-visas was going to adversely impact union members, already upset at jobs being out-sourced to Mexico. Union workers, manual workers and tradesmen would not take kindly to a Democrat congress in-sourcing millions of Mexican workers to compete with them in the legal job market.

Numbers USA has been leading the charge against the comprehensive immigration bill and making a difference.

The MSM is slowly realizing that America is fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is difficult to claim that America is in the midst of a Sunni vs Shia civil war in Iraq when the Sunni triangle is switching sides and supporting the US and the Shia dominated Iraqi government. The Times has a report from the battle-front in Baquba:

The platoon’s push began shortly after 4 a.m. on Saturday, as American forces continued their effort to wrest the western section of this city north of Baghdad from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Tracer rounds zipped through the air as the soldiers fired antitank weapons, mortar shells and machine guns at the abandoned houses they planned to inspect across the street.

They calculated that the firepower would blow up any bombs the insurgents might have planted in the houses, while providing cover so the first squads could move south across the thoroughfare.

Of course, the Times is still a bit confused. One dictionary definition of insurgent is:

in·sur·gent (n-sûrjnt)
1. Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government.
2. Rebelling against the leadership of a political party.
One who is insurgent.

The resident Sunni forces that were fighting US forces and the Iraqi government would qualify as insurgents, except that they have switched sides. Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia would not qualify as insurgents.

Joe Public will slowly realize that the War in the Sunni triangle really is a war with Al Qaeda. The Democratic mantra that the US is involved in a civil war and should get out is starting to sound very hollow.

Solomonia links to some of the good lord’s word:

Honouring a man who has blood on his hands goes too far.

Rushdie exercised his right to free speech. Muslim nutcases went crazy and murdered people who had translated or otherwise dealt with Rushdie’s book. Had they gotten hold of Rushdie that would have torn him limb from limb. Somehow, that puts the blood on Rushdie. Such is the logic of a Lord of the realm. God help the realm as it goes on appeasing the unappeasable.

We lived in England in the late 1980s. I do not recall all the details, and Google comes up a blank, but we saw a newspaper survey that showed global concerns by religion. Most religions came up with issues like the environment, world peace, and poverty, but to Muslims the most pressing issue was killing Salman Rushdie.

This is the Fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie:

The author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, against the Prophet of Islam, and against the Koran, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to capital punishment. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to execute this sentence without delay, so that no one henceforth will dare insult the sacred beliefs of the Muslims.

His knighthood has brought the issue back into prominence in the Muslim world. No moderate Muslims have spoken out defending Rushdie. Few Westerners have, either. Tim Rutten, writing in the L.A. Times makes that point:

Equally to the point, what is the societal cost of silence among those who have not simply the moral obligation but also the ability to speak — like American commentators and editorial writers?

What masquerades as tolerance and cultural sensitivity among many U.S. journalists is really a kind of soft bigotry, an unspoken assumption that Muslim societies will naturally repress great writers and murder honest journalists, and that to insist otherwise is somehow intolerant or insensitive.

Lost in the self-righteous haze that masks this expedient sentiment is a critical point once made by the late American philosopher Richard Rorty, who was fond of pointing out that “some ideas, like some people, are just no damn good” and that no amount of faux tolerance or misplaced fellow feeling excuses the rest of us from our obligation to oppose such ideas and such people.

If Western and, particularly American, commentators refuse to speak up when their obligations are so clear, the fanatics will win and the terrible silence they so fervently desire will descend over vast stretches of our world — a silence in which the only permissible sounds are the prayers of the killers and the cries of their victims.

When a nation imposes a death sentence on the citizen of another country then it has declared war on that country. It is a pity the West has not yet understood that Rushdie is us.

Next Page »