THE TWIN DISASTERS- FALLUJAH AND ABU GHRAIB
It is alleged that during the Vietnam War, the key South Vietnamese administrator behind the Strategic Hamlet policy, the one that brutally uprooted the peasantry from their ancestral villages and forced them en masse into stockade-like compounds and consequently drove tens of thousands of unhappy peasants into the NLF, was alll along a Viet Cong agent .
Which makes me wonder what high level operative in the Bush administration is working for Osama bin Laden ?
This past week has been an inexcusable disaster. Fallujah gave the Arab world the impression of American indecision, weakness and retreat mixed with indiscriminate firepower. Abu Ghraib
adds the specter of tyranny.
Juan Cole had a guest commentary today on Fallujah
. It's important so go read it. If Fallujah was the center of an insurgency run by up to 1000 of Saddam's spetsnz-trained, Special Security Organization and Special Republican Guard
then it was important to finish the job and dig them out even if it meant fighting block by block, bringing back the heavy armor and announcing a " major combat operation " was in effect. Instead, after fighting our way part-way in to Fallujah and inflicting serious collateral damage on civilians, we halted while the bad guys remained intact as a fighting force. Then we bugged out. The worst of all worlds.
Fallujah is a military matter where the fault lies with the strategic judgement at the White House. It was a mistake but one that can be rectified with greater forethought in the future. Abu Ghraib is a moral problem, one that war supporters must take seriously. It is as if we re-opened the Dachau of Iraq and decided we liked the place. No, unlike the days of Saddam the electrodes were not actually turned on and no one lost their fingernails or were dipped into a vat of acid. And yes, most of the prisoners were themselves most likely vile and evil murderers and torturers themselves - the wretched flotsam of the Baathist regime and insurgent terrorists. That doesn't matter. There is no excuse. What happened at Abu Ghraib is appalling and it violates everything the United States of America stands for.
We do not have the luxury of stupidity and cruelty. It is very possible that we can lose this war and if we do it will be because Fallujah and Abu Ghraib defined our cause.
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HATE-AMERICA SYNDROME
Many liberals object quite rightly to talk radio conservative criticism of various anti-war positions as evidence of " hating America", particularly when the broad brush of rhetoric lumps them in with the wingnuts and Communist front groups like ANSWER.
However, in some instances the charge is accurate and the " anti-" position being taken is less " anti-war " than visceral " anti-Americanism "- a reflexive and instinctive loathing of mainstream America for it's virtues rather than it's vices. This poisonous mindset is overrepresented in our universities and was exemplified by outbursts from academics like Nicholas DeGenova
and various pro-Terrorist student Muslim activist groups led by Islamists and secular Marxist radicals. Here's a new one
. Read it and ask yourself what the author really is objecting to in this piece.
has pointed on his blog to an H-Net book review
of Micheal Burleigh's The Third Reich: A New History
- a book I'm about half finished reading. I too recommend that you read the review (as well as the book) but here's my take thus far on Burleigh. It's excellent - to sum it up, even more than Ian Kershaw, Burleigh demystifies the glamor of evil that enshrouds Nazi Germany as a historical subject. His thesis meshes nicely with that of Paul Berman's analysis of Islamism as a phenomena deeply influenced by 20th century totalitarianism in Terror and Liberalism
. "Political Religion " appears to be an analytical trend these days.
Speaking of which....
Jeff at Caerdroia has an interesting essay " A Broader Jihad "
on the congruent nihilism of various totalitarian philosophies and Islamism posted today.
AND JUST FOR FUN, ADOLF HITLER'S OSS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE
If you like your dictators with a South Slavic flavor here's a psychological profile of Slobodan Milosevic
IT ISN'T ONLY CRYPTOME THE FEDS WILL BE WATCHING....
Earl at Prometheus 6 reports that intelligence agencies are going to start monitoring blogs
. For all of you out there who get goofy, untraceable .mil and .gov details on your sitemeter this should come as no surprise, it's been happening informally for a long time. Most so-called spooks are simply Ph.d's or bright, global, analytical thinkers with an affinity for seeing patterns among disparate variables. They have varied interests and like anybody else get bored at work and surf the web where the blogosphere - at it's best anyway - offers well-informed discussion and provocative ideas.
It would be really amusing to see how NSA type computers would pull out patterns from the blogosphere as a whole based upon particular keywords and discover what type of events cause the widest memetic dispersion. Of course, once the DARPA geniuses do that and discover the particularly potent emotive-memetic " triggers " the temptation to direct the conversation or engage in disinformation will become overwhelming...which will then ruin some of the blogosphere's value as a source of intelligence.
Hard to keep that cake once you've eaten it.
HOW WILL THE COURT RULE?
My guess is that the high Court will split on Hamdi and Padilla
, upholding the military detention of the former but not the latter. In other words, a decision that will synthesize the opinions in Ex Parte Milligan
and Ex Parte Quirin
on the subject of American citizens and military authority. ( Hamdi clearly was not a civilian, captured while bearing arms on a battlefield, Padilla was arrested at O'Hare airport in Chicago- unless the Justices wish to extend civilian trials to all POWS captured in future wars, Hamdi is going to stay in the hands of the Pentagon. Padilla could go either way depending how the Justices view al Qaida membership.....or they may just horse-trade on votes and rationalize the difference ).
The Solicitor - General missed an opportunity to more heavily ground his argument in the fact that a Congressional resolution to use force and a declaration of war are legally indistinct under international law and the Constitution. The difference in wording is strictly for political consumption and has no bearing on the war powers of either the Executive or the Legislative branches.
SOME EXPERTS PESSIMISTIC ON IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAMS
THE UPCOMING ASSASSINATION OF YASSER ARAFAT
In all likelihood, before the end of Summer, Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon may make good on his threat to kill Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
I base this assumption on a number of factors:
* Sharon is old and this government is most likely his last hurrah. He faces potential ICC prosecution for his role in the massacre of Palestinians by Christian militiamen during his command of Israeli forces in Lebanon and allegations of corruption at home. Arafat has been, after Nasser, the primal enemy of Israel for most of Sharon's career. There are scores to be settled with Arafat that only Israelis of Sharon's generation can recall. If Sharon must go out he'd rather close his career with Arafat's head on a plate.
*Arafat, who may be somewhat addled, gives Israel no profit by being left alive and enables much harm. Arafat is demonstrably faithless in terms of keeping agreements and despite his numerous tactical retreats, Arafat promotes and encourages terrorism by other Palestinian groups when his personal and official PA forces are not actually commiting it. Arafat cannot deliver any kind of a peace not actually enforced by Israeli arms, even were he sincere and his iron control over the PA prevents any other Palestinian leader from exercising meaningful authority.
* If Israel is to have American support through the diplomatic storm that will ensue by killing Arafat it will only be while George W. Bush is president. President Kerry would not approve of such a step if for no other reason than the EU would go ballistic - the breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel by some European states could not be ruled out. However, Sharon cannot kill Arafat too close to the November elections for fear of tipping the scales to Kerry, so if this act is to be done it would have to occur before Labor Day - my personal guess is during the middle of the Democratic Convention.
* Sharon has followed through on similar threats to kill bloodthirsty sociopaths like Yassin and Rantisi. Why doubt him now ?
Juan Cole has pointed out that Israel's targeted assassination policy has caused the U.S. needless difficulties in Iraq which is true and that such extrajudicial killings are " illegal under international law " which is frankly incorrect if the target is part of a hostile military organization - certainly the case with Rantisi and Yassin. Distinictions between " political " and "military" wings of terror groups are a specious political fiction - by that logic Osama bin Laden heads al Qaida's " political wing ". Israel may however still have active and binding agreements with the PA that may still be in force ( I haven't had time to retrace all the minutia of the second intifada - I vaguely recall Arafat saying " this is war " but I'm not sure what formal steps each side has taken ) which need to be terminated prior to taking any action against Arafat.
The best long-term strategy for the War on Terror is much like Great Britain's treatment of slave traders and pirates in the 18th and 19th century- characters like bin Laden, Arafat, Yassin, Mullah Omar and the like who target civilians, do not bear arms openly or follow the other rules of war should simply be attacked on sight and given swift military justice if captured - no Guantanamos and culturally appropriate meals but firing squads. Of course, if such tactics caused these various terror groups to sue for peace a la Gaddafi or follow the rules of war in subsequent attacks then they could be treated as lawful opponents with combatant rights under Geneva. We should not make it impossible for our enemies to rejoin the ranks of civilized mankind.
Israel killing Arafat could engender a tremendous crisis but it would also be a step toward the crushing of terrorism as a de facto legitimate vehicle of international relations ( Given the status of Arafat in the eyes of Europe it's hard to argue that his tactics of suicide-bombings are not indulged and winked at by our allies as at least tolerable behavior). In any event I think it is an even we may soon see come to pass.
THE NEW THREAT FROM AL QAIDA
"Al-Qa'ida already has transcended its original structure to become an ideology of global jihad. Its goal is to inspire a global intifada."
Brian Jenkins, RAND Corporation
At a joint Frontpagemag.com -RAND symposium
hosted by Jaime Glazov.
UPDATE - MORE ON ALLEN WEINSTEIN
Noted historians Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes have risen to the defense of Allen Weinstein against the charges of Roger Sandilands
" Roger Sandilands is entitled to trumpet his unhappiness with the nomination of Allen Weinstein to be the next Archivist of the United States. But there is something odd in being lectured to in strident, self-righteous tones about an internal American governmental appointment by a British citizen relying on the undocumented claims of a Russian, an unrepentant former KGB general, to smear a respected American scholar.
In the twenty-five years since Allen Weinstein published Perjury, his masterful analysis of the Hiss-Chambers case, no one has been able to challenge his conclusion that Whittaker Chambers told the truth and that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy. The only other full-length scholarly study of the case, Sam Tanenhaus's Whittaker Chambers, reached a similar conclusion.
Professor Sandilands repeats the canard that Chambers was a "fantasist," a lie first leveled by Hiss's lawyer, the late John Lowenthal, suggesting that Chambers made up out of whole cloth his story of involvement in Soviet espionage. This requires that Sandilands ignore the voluminous evidence offered by former spies with whom Chambers worked, the handwritten and typed documents that Chambers saved and produced to verify his claims about Hiss and Harry Dexter White, and the enormous raft of material and evidence produced at Hiss's trials and in the decades since confirming Chambers's story and demonstrating that Hiss was a perjurer.
Professor Sandilands and a handful of other espionage deniers have frantically tried to discredit the Venona decryptions that made crystal clear the work done for the KGB by such American spies. He claims that "few scholars now accept the official NSA [National Security Agency] line that ALES was “probably Alger Hiss” in one of the telegrams. He is wrong. And his reliance on Major General Julius Kobyakov is strange. General Kobyakov has stated his nostalgia for the days of Soviet power and his disapproval of the partial opening of KGB archives in the early 1990s (ended by 1995). Why are Kobyakov's undocumented statements acceptable while the documents that Weinstein's collaborator, also an ex-KGB officer, Alexander Vassiliev, located in the KGB’s archives during its partial opening - documents quoted in The Haunted Wood - dismissed by Sandilands? Would Professor Sandilands similarly accept the unsupported word of a unrepentant Nazi intelligence chief about the files of his agency? If Ales is not Hiss, why doesn't Kobyakov tell us who Ales, this high-ranking State Department employee who spied for the Soviet Union, really was? Kobyakov once directed Soviet espionage against the United States. He has chosen not only to stonewall about what he knows but to attack those who attempt to bring to light the facts of Soviet espionage in the United States.
In the meantime, we are pleased that Dr. Weinstein, a distinguished scholar and writer, has been honored by this nomination to be Archivist of the United States".
Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes
IRANIAN SHIITES TURN TO THE PERSIAN VERSION OF TAI'CHI
The BBC reports on the rebirth of an ancient, semi-mystical, Persian martial art among Iranian men called varzesh-e pahlavani
. While I'm not an expert on either martial arts or Shiite Islam one is struck by the similarity to the meditative aspect of Tai'Chi, Yoga and Eastern martial arts. I would wager here that Sufism has been an influence but perhaps I am wrong. perhaps Juan Cole could shed some light on this story.
Rafsanjani as the king of baksheesh
This is the sort of information that should be shouted from the rooftops.
NEOCONS AND REAGAN FOREIGN POLICY
Yesterday, Geitner Simmons responded to charges made in the American Spectator that Neocons were seriously diverging from the foreign policy tradition of Ronald Reagan
. Specifically, the implication was that if Ronald Reagan had been president after 9/11, the United States would never have invaded Iraq. There's a lot of problems with that counterfactual thesis and Geitner dealt with many of them, if you haven't read it yet I urge you to go back and read his post on Regions of Mind.
Ronald Reagan had a deeply divided foreign policy apparatus but it would be no more accurate to argue that neoconservatives were not a key component in shaping administration foreign policy than it would be to argue that they were running the show by themselves. Moreover while ideology was a factor in these internal disputes, personality and institutional turf battles were equally or often more important than political philosophy in determining alignments within the administration.
The Reagan Neocons, People, Positions, Policy and Power
The Neoconservatives were numerous in the NSC and in the mid-lower levels of the appointed positions at Defense, State,CIA, PFIAB, UN and other bureaucracies having been selected like other appointees during the transition by Ed Meese and Pendleton James. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 had vastly expanded the range of presidential appointments in the upper tiers of the Federal bureaucracy and Reagan's team were determined to fill these posts with reliable conservatives of all stripes. The Heritage Foundation provided critical personnel recommendations but the Neocon presence was also strong. The Committee on the Present Danger
sent sixty members into high and mid-level posts in the Reagan administration including William Casey, Paul Nitze, Eugene Rostow, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Allen and David Packard. Nitze's Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy, contributed Peter Wilson, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz.
The Neocons had a significant power base that centered around William Casey's special position as DCI that was buttressed by an executive order (NSDD-2
) making the DCI a member of the cabinet and a foreign policy principal on par with the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State. Casey enjoyed a close political relationship with Reagan " that amazed " his moderate deputy, Bobby Ray Inmann; Casey also placed a close associate as vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council
and placed some of his people on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Papers from the CPD and the Committee of Santa Fe became foreign policy blueprints at the NSC, an anti-Communist bastion that included Harvard historian Richard Pipes, Chris Lehman, Lt. General Gordon Summer and RAND's Constantine Menges, who authored the initial paper that later germinated into " The Reagan Doctrine ".
(Menges also served under Casey at the CIA as a National Intelligence Officer)
In addition to the Reagan Doctrine of supporting anti-Communist fighters across the globe, neocons can count in their policy column SDI which brought the Soviets back to the negotiating table and Richard Perle's " Zero Option " bargaining position much reviled by the liberal foreign policy establishment that led to the historic INF treaty. Eventually, the neocons were routed but only after many of their ideas had been adopted by their bureaucratic rivals. George Shultz, Casey's nemesis and a leader of the more pragmatic officials, for example overruled his own State Department on Afghan aid and saw the very tough positions taken by the neocons and hardliners as a good " bargaining chip" for negotiations with Gromyko and Shevardnadze.
The Reagan administration contained a wide spectrum of figures on the right - Pat Buchanan,Richard Perle, Jim Baker, George Schultz,Jude Wanniski,Paul Wolfowitz, George Bush - some of whom later became bitter enemies. Libertarians, Paleocons, Neocons and mainstream Republicans all contributed to and can lay a claim to part of Reagan's legacy. Sectarian arguments to exclude on group or another on some alleged basis are ahistorical at best.
TAKING ON MULTICULTURALISM
Clare Spark, author of Hunting Captain Ahab:Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival
, has an article on HNN examining some of the sinister intellectual roots of the Multicultural approach to history
. Clare's primary source research into this topic is exceptionally deep
- too deep for the standard 1500 word HNN format - she's read the notes, marginalia and papers of the American intellectuals from the 1930's who spearheaded this movement. In short, she's done some groundbreaking work though you'd probably have to be an American lit specialist to appreciate the scope of her contribution.
GEITNER SIMMONS, NO MERE SPECTATOR
The host of Regions of Mind cooly dissects an anti-Neocon jeremiad
from Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke in print edition of the American Spectator that argues that today's neoconservatives are far outside the foreign policy tradition of Ronald Reagan. Geitner is right on target in his critique - the two scholars in question seem to be either constructing a polemical argument by ignoring contrary historical evidence or they are not terribly well informed about the details of Reagan administration foreign policy.
I will have some comments of my own to add to Geitner's in an update explaining why Clarke and Halper's thesis is a relatively weak one.
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE
I've found a wealth of material tonight, more than I bargained for really, on Reagan's Foreign policy and the role of neocons in shaping it. Plus, why viewing internal conflicts over foreign affairs inside the Reagan administration as a primarily ideological struggle of Conservative realists vs. Neoconservative ideologues is not only simplistic but frankly incorrect. I'm batting it into shape to post tomorrow morning.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN AT THE NEW YORK TIMES
Judith Klinghoffer of Deja Vu sent me some thoughts in an email on a recent New York Times " analysis " of how the invasion of Iraq affected the larger War on Terror:
"This absurd deception goes even beyond what Jean Francis Revel in Anti-Americanism calls "a mechanism for reversing responsibility for crime." It is possible to argue that terrorism in Iraq (though not Iraqi sponsored terrorism) followed the overthrow of Saddam. It is not possible to argue that terrorism in Colombia, Chechnia, Nepal, Kashmir, Israel, Somalia, ect. began after 9/11 and, hence, are the result of the war on terror. Yet, that is precisely the impression Don Van Natta's article seeks to give. "
Judith has put the contents of her email on her blog, for the full post go here.
Foreign Affairs review
of five books on the subject of " American Empire".
A SMEAR CAMPAIGN IN THE MAKING - THE HARD LEFT GOES AFTER HISTORIAN ALLEN WEINSTEIN
To become the head of the National archives is an honor for a scholar but it hardly makes you a household name even among academics, so normally Allen Weinstein's nomination for this nonpartisan post would sail through without a second glance.
Well, except for two things: first this is an election year and the President nominating Weinstein is the much reviled George W. Bush, so naturally academics are starting to leap to the conclusion that this must be part of a grand neocon conspiracy cooked up by Karl Rove to shut off access to Bush administration records forever
. I'm not sure, if that was the case, why the alleged cabal in the White House would not have picked a lesser known academic of reliably conservative views when Weinstein's historical writings are apt to attact much attention from the wingnuts of the Left and the Alger Hiss defense league
over at The Nation Magazine
Weinstein as the author of both Perjury
and The Haunted Wood
is anathema to the Old Left, the New Left and many liberals of the anti-anti-communist persuasion who hold the schizoid view that Joe McCarthy and Joe Stalin were roughly co-equal threats to liberty and democractic society. Weinstein is now the focus of an incipient smear campaign, more in an effort to destroy his reputation than actually derail his nomination, that began in an HNN article by Roger Sandilands, himself an apologist and apparent protege of unmasked Soviet spy Lauchlin Currie
- a relationship Sandilands had not bothered to disclose in his attack on Weinstein.
This is a pattern we have seen before. Ideologues floating vague and ominous allegations in journals and on the net until mainstream press reports begin treating the charges as if they had merit without examining who is making them and why. Eventually, a Democrat will rise up in the Senate and sonorously ask that the President put the nomination " on hold " so that the Senate can investigate the fabricated reports of " extreme " political views. The game is most often played with Federal judicial nominees but the practice is now creeping down to the most obscure of federal posts. How many emails with the subject heading " Allen Weinstein" are currently flying back and forth between Democratic Senate staffers and wingnut academics like Cass Sunstein
is anybody's guess but I'd wager that the traffic is steady and increasing.
Let's call them on it before the ball gets rolling.
THANKS FOR THE LINK !
Kind thanks to Accidental Verbosity
! I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on my housekeeping duties in terms of the blogroll and there are many fine blogs that will be added soon. As an excuse I can only plead an incredibly hectic series of personal and work commitments in the last three months - something that seems to be changing for the better.
A SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATION, EASILY PREDICTED, BY ANY PARENT OF A SMALL BOY
Will most Women's Studies activists argue that chimpanzee behavior
is socially constructed ?
"Verges is a living fossil, his ideology a Jurassic Park of twentieth-century criminal thought. "
Micheal Radu on the French equivalent of William Kunstler on steroids
HAVE THE PALESTINIANS REACHED A DEAD END ?
It is easy and partially correct to read President Bush's dramatic shift on Israeli settlements
as another election year tilt toward Israel, albeit a more consequential one than the usual aid package. On the other hand, I question whether the Palestinian political leadership composed mostly of Arafat's highly corrupt leftist gangsters and the Islamist extremists of HAMAS and Islamic Jihad have reached a historical dead end ? `
Justice makes a claim for a Palestinian state. The ideal solution to the Mideast would be two states, Israel and Palestine, both liberal and democratic, as part of a regional free trade organization or common market. However, politically there seems to be a creeping realization caused by Arafat's endless terrorism, intifada, corruption and intransigence that in essence, expending any effort to work with these people is worse than useless. They want a state and the " right " to commit terrorism and if forced to choose between the two the Palestinian leadership will choose terrorism every time. The Palestinian celebration of 9/11 stuck a raw nerve in this country; outside of leftist and anti-semitic circles the Palestinians are becoming identified erroneously in the public mind with al Qaida, Saddam and Hezbollah into a generic " enemy ". This is a shame because the PA is not a democracy and the average Palestinian has little control over the PA, still less over Hamas type extremists.
The objection can be made that Ariel Sharon is also an anti-Arab extremist, which is true and that Israeli settlements are a major obstacle to peace, also true. However, had the PA not launched it's suicide-bomber campaign against Israeli civilians, Sharon almost certainly never would have been elected and the PA might have reached a livable compromise with a Labor government. Not an ideal bargain for revanchist nationalists and Islamists but something that would have allowed both Palestinians and Israelis to live relatively normal lives in separate states.
Palestinians do not have the strength to wrest their demands by force. Their leaders have brought them into a diplomatic and moral blind alley and earned the hostility of the world's most powerful nation. What they need most now is a Mandela or a Gandhi, not an Arafat.
THE EVOLUTIONARY BASIS FOR ARCHIMEDES AND DA VINCI
Neuroscientists have discovered clues to two tantalizing aspects of human cognition that have a fundamental relationship to the advent of civilization - aesthetics and insight.
According to Scientific American
, brain mapping experiments have pinpointed the prefrontal cortex and the right hemishere's temporal cortex respectively as the locations where appreciation of beauty and creative, intuitive, thinking take place. These findings may explain the relative explosion of tool-making, decorative ornamentation, symbolic conceptualization and emerging social complexity among humans in the last 10,000 - 100,000 years as Homo sapiens sapiens superceded Neanderthals
and earlier hominid relatives.
TOO MANY CHIEFS AND NO ONE IN CHARGE
Much has been written- some of it hysterical, some of it pollyannish - about the current uprisings in Iraq. Set aside the complexities of Iraqi society for one moment because recent American occupation policy would be counterproductive if implemented virtually anywhere. I say this as a fervent supporter of the war who considered Saddam's Iraq to be part of one interrrelated set of strategic threats facing the United States that encompass the War on Terror - we are disorganized, uncertain and are losing our way at a critical moment.
I'm not certain which conflict is most responsible for the current debacle - Rumsfeld vs. Powell, Bremer vs. Abizaid
, Army vs. Marines, neocons vs. pragmatists but I do know President Bush is responsible for not choosing one approach to occupation policy in principle and insisting that we stick with it !
. Iraqis are coming to see the occupation as ineffective yet brutal, trigger-happy yet weak, determined yet confused - a dangerous, lurching, incomprehensible giant that they wish to depart yet fear will abandon them in the lurch.
It did not have to be this way.
What sense was there - militarily speaking - in the midst of an important punitive operation against Fajullah to suddenly and incompetently provoke the Sadrist lunatic fringe while allowing al-Sadr free movement to set an uprising in motion ? Al-Sadr, the Shiite equivalent of a noisy, up and coming " punk " out to make his bones has been elevated from a minor nuisance to a potent symbol of anti-Americanism. Does Somalia and Mohammed Farrah Aidid not ring any bells within the bureaucracy ?
If Fajullah was going to face an operation along the lines of Abraham Lincoln's General Order 100
then the task should have been taken to completion or not begun at all. Now we stand with hundreds of Iraqi dead but American forces prematurely halted but still not in control of the city and seemingly afraid or incapable of asserting martial law. Al-Sadr, instead of being dead or in jail, is going to be perhaps going to be allowed a dignified, negotiated surrender that makes a mockery of CPA bluster. What conclusion It is better to be feared than loved but not if you make yourself hated.
Worse. The headless occupating policy will make America both hated and ridiculous. A mean achievement that. Mr. Bush needs to get engaged or lose the war- a war that Mr. Kerry and his party have no stomach for any more than Spain's Socialists or Labor's dissident backbenchers.
A CASE OF LIMITED INTELLIGENCE
Ted Gup, author of The Book of Honor
, takes America's Intelligence Community to task
. This is a friend of the IC speaking so perhaps, in psychobabble parlance, we can consider this an " intervention ".
THE RETURN OF ZENPUNDIT
I'm finally back. Actually I've been back but a number of projects have fully engaged my time to the point where blogging was very far down my list of things to do. Thank you for the well-wishes via the comment board and email - Mrs. Zenpundit and I enjoyed the time away, neither of us having had a vacation for several years.
Many topics to tackle tomorrow - especially Iraq.