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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why I Have Grave Doubts About Iraqi Democracy

I have put off writing this post for a very long time because, honestly, it is perhaps the most depressing thing I have ever felt the need to write. It will not be well-written. As I set out to write it, I do not even know if I will complete it.

Last night I posted an article by Ralph Peters wherein he expressed the following sentiments:


Iraqis deserved their chance. They got it. They voted. Three times. Each time along confessional or ethnic lines. They elected ward bosses, not national leaders.

Iraq doesn't have a democracy in any meaningful sense. It isn't even a nation. Iraqis didn't vote for freedom. They voted for revenge against each other. Iraqi democracy hasn't yet failed entirely. But it looks as if it might.


Fellow Infidel JayMac left an angry comment:


Where does this guy get off claiming that Iraq isn't a democracy or even a nation? I hear the same crap about Amercia from people who can't stand that Bush was elected to office. Tell that to the millions of people who braved the threat of terrorism to simply go and vote.


Yes, I remember the elections. I remember those heady days well. I remember how proud I was at the time. I felt as if people like us had fought the brave fight and that we were seeing the first fruits of victory. I didn't think at the time that victory was assured, but I thought we were on the right track.

But, many things have happened since then that have slowly brought me to have serious doubts as to whether Iraq was ever headed in the right direction. Now, understand, I do not read the leftist media. If an article seems to be biased against George Bush, or against the idea of the Iraq war, I rarely bother with it, so the negative opinion I have formed about our democracy project in Iraq has come over time as little pieces of information slowly began to pile up in my conciousness and form themselves into doubts.

One of the first things I began to notice was that each time there was an election in Iraq, I saw fewer women wearing anything other than the blackest burqa or chador.

Yes, it is true that Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion was Saddam Hussein's personal S&M dungeon, (and certainly I would never argue that it is not a postive thing that we ended his regime), but Iraq was also known for having a relatively educated and secular populace by Muslim-world standards.

So what's with all the burqas? And, when is the last time you saw a photograph out of Iraq which included a woman who was not wearing a burqa or chador? Do you think all these women have freely chosen to wear burqas?

If Natan Sharansky's book (upon which George Bush constructed much of the inspiring rhetoric with which he supported our efforts in Iraq) is correct, then the hallmark of a free country is the ability of its citizens to walk into the town center and express their opinions without fear of violent reprisal.

If every woman feels the need to don a burqa or chador, then how do you think that town hall test is faring for the female half of the population in Iraq?

And, I must say, I remember being thrilled at the sight of women in Burqas voting. But, as time has passed, and each succeeding election only seemed to bring on more burqas I began to wonder, according to whose will does a woman vote when she votes in a burqa? Does she cast her vote freely according to her own will, or has she been instructed how to vote by her husband, or by the local Imam?

How would you expect a black man to have voted in the pre-Civil War American South, if he showed up to cast his vote chained together with a whole group of slaves?

The burqa is the chains of female slavery. Do not fool yourself. It is possible that many of these women were voting according to their own will, but let us not let our guard down on totalitarianism, and the burqa is a very clear sign of totalitarianism.

Now, let us look at exactly who the Iraqi people voted for. Ralph Peters stated that the Iraqi people didn't vote for parties of ideas, but instead they voted for revenge against each other. I'm not going to defend that statement, except to say that Ralph Peters spends a lot of time in Iraq. This means that he knows better than I which sects of Iraqi society the various political parties represent.

All I can tell you is, from what I have read, the Iraqis elected parties which are largely Islamist or Communist in nature. The largest coalition in the Iraqi Parliament is called the United Iraqi Alliance. The UIA garnered 41% of the votes and now has 128 of 275 seats in the Parliament.

The Alliance is made up of primarily Shiite groups "most importantly the Islamic Al-Da'wa Party and Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq." Now, it is true that Ahmed Chalabi's group was also part of this alliance, and he is a supporter of secularism, but he has since left the coalition.

The Alliance also includes supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr. Muqtada al-Sadr is the radical Shiite cleric who led the Mahdi Army in a seige against coalition forces in Najaf. We surrounded al-Sadr and his army in a Mosque, but then, afraid to enrage the populace by sending troops into a "holy" place, we instead chose to make a deal with him. In one of our greatest failures during the course of this war, we guaranteed al-Sadr that he would not face arrest in turn for his laying down of arms.

We should have killed him. I don't know of any supporter of the war who does not think so.

Now, the man has his own political party with seats in the Iraqi Parliament.

The second most powerful coalition in the Iraq Parliament is called the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan. This alliance has 22% of the seats in the Parliament. I will not go into detail about all the separate parties which go to make up this alliance. Suffice it to say, there are good and bad things. Jalal Talibani is a principle in one of the parties. However, his group states that they are working towards "Kurdish self-determination." Another party is an entity of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave rise to Hamas and CAIR. Another party bills itself as Communist.

Clearly, this is an alliance the component parts of which do not fit together in any way except that they are all Kurdish. The ideologies do not go together. Instead, tribal concerns trump ideology.

The third most powerful coalition in the Iraqi Parliament is called the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front which has 15% of the total seats. A prime player in this alliance is the Iraqi Islamic Party. "The Iraqi Islamic Party (Hizb al-Islami al-Airaqi) is a Sunni Arab Islamist political party in Iraq. The party was founded in 1960 and evolved out of the Muslim Brotherhood movement."

The next largest coalition is called the Iraqi National List. This coalition "was meant to offer a secular, cross-community alternative - composed of both Sunnis and Shiites - to the religious Shiite United Iraqi Alliance and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front." That is clearly a positive. However, this party has a mere 8% of the total seats in the Iraqi Parliament.

Additionally, it is instructive to view a list of the various parties which go together to form this alliance:

Iraqi Communist Party
Assembly of Independent Democrats
People's Union
Al-Qasimy Democratic Assembly
Iraqi Republican Group
Arab Socialist Movement
Independent Democratic Gathering
Iraqi National Accord
League of Iraqi Turkmen Lords and Tribes led by Abd Al-Hammed Al-Bayati
Independent Iraqi Sheikhs Council

I apologize for being snide, but that list is hardly Jefferson, Madison and Adams.

We have now looked at the four major political alliances which comprise 81% of the Iraqi Parliament. The first three are tribally based. The third is not, but is, instead composed of socialists, communists, sheikhs and "lords and tribes."

Now, to be fair, this does not mean that there is no real Democracy at work here. The title of this post expresses "doubts", not conclusions. However, viewed from the much-maligned "Western perspective" it is hard to view alliances comprised of Islamists and communists as being as being the bedfellows of freedom and human rights.

Ask yourself, would you align yourself with Islamists and Communists? Against who, and under what conditions? These coalitions sound more like the types of alliances one makes in a war. In World War II, of course, the United States aligned itself with the Soviet Union in order to vanquish Germany and Japan. But, one would never expect such an alliance in a sane world.

Hey look, I want to be argued out of my doubts. Fire away. Convince me. I recognize that I am likely to lose friends over the ideas I am expressing, just as I lost friends when the war began and I went from a lifetime of leftism to being a supporter of George Bush.

Hopefully, some of you can convince me that I am wrong. I do wonder whether the old phrase "things are darkest before the dawn" somehow applies here, but I can't see how. This dawn seems to have broken a while back, and the new light shines down on an Iraq that looks a lot like the rest of the Middle East, only instead of being governed by a thug, this Iraq looks like what you'd have if you put all the countries and competing ideologies of the Middle East into one pot and left it to boil.

Maybe some good soup will come from this, but in order to have good soup, don't you have to start with some good ingredients?
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38 Comments:

Blogger reliapundit said...

democracy is a process, npt an event.

we need to pressure muslim democraies to become humanitarian, libertarian and pluralistic - and end misogyny and other anti-libertarian practices.

but changing the norms takes time.

diligence and time. pressure, and time.

be patient. keep the pressure up, maintain beief in the ultimate goals, but also have resolve and patience.

the enemy is counting on us losing resolve.

if we donlt lose resolve we win.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 3:50:00 pm  
Anonymous WC said...

I felt Iraq and Afghanistan were lost as soon as they included in their constitutions that Islamic Law was the highest law of the land.

As I stated before, battlefield for the coming war is being shaped resulting in a Shiite caliphate from Pakistan to Syria and the goal of Iran's old Persian Empire will be realized.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:20:00 pm  
Blogger Michael van der Galien said...

I agree with reliapundit.

Pastorius, I believe that the US made a lot of mistakes in Iraq. It seems that they weren't knowledgable enough about the different sects, about the hatred, about Iran's possible influence, etc.

But that doesn't automatically mean that bringing democracy to the Mideast is a mistake an sich.

What we should do is to truly commit. I wrote an article about that not too long ago, but what the West must do if we want to bring democracy, or least moderation to the Middle-East, is not just to wage war and give them democracy and wish them well...
We should combine it with an incredible big plan, something like a new Marshall plan: secure zones for zones, work with them politically, build schools with the help of locals, build hospitals with the help of locals, help them start businesses: show them how and provide them with the means... etc.

This can only be done if the West (or at least some Westnern nations) unite and commit to the cause: it will cost all of us a lot of money, but what we need is to influence their every day life. They need to see Westerners as the ones who are rebuilders: one's who improve their lives and their countries, instead of simply attacking it.
We must take out the extremist leaders, but we must work together with the locals.
This has been done, too little in Iraq. We all realize that there wasn't much of a plan about what to do once Saddam was removed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:24:00 pm  
Blogger Michael van der Galien said...

Here, this are some thoughts about that.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:26:00 pm  
Blogger Michael van der Galien said...

and here

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:27:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Michael,
I absolutely agree with you. But, we haven't done that, as you say, to nearly the extent we needed to.

Additionally, we did not deal extremists the kind of defeat needed to put fear into them. To win a war you need to convince the enemy he is defeated. When we let al-Sadr get away, we convinced the enemy that we are the same old pussy United States that gave up when the going got rough in somalia.

I am not advocating cutting and running. I think we need to remain committed to doing as best as we can there in Iraq. But, at this point, I think the best we can hope for is moderation, not a real human rights respecting Democratic Republic.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:49:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Hi Reliapundit,
I have a question for you. How can we pressure Iraq to become more humanitarian when by our plan we have passed the point during which we had the greatest influence on their form of government.

In the beginning we had influence. Now, we have less and less all the time, as we hand over the reigns of power in more and more territories.

Wouldn't it have been a good idea to have come up with a definition of "Islamofascism" and then to have banned it?

We didn't do that. Al-Sadr and the Muslim Brotherhood are Islamofascists. There is no doubt about that. I suspect these other parties which call themselves "Islamists" are also Islamofascist.

We would not have allowed the Germans to vote the Nazis back into power in the aftermath of WWII, so why have we allowed the equivalent to happen here in Iraq?

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:53:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

WC,
When the Iraqis enshrined Sharia in their consitution, as I recall it, they named it as "a source of law" not as the highest law. However, I think Sharia is evil and therefore the fact that they were allowed to do so gave me misgivings. However, many people more knowledgeable than I expressed the opinion that things were ok, so I kept my mouth shut.

The truth is, Sharia can be defined in many ways. Sharia can be, and often is, the full court press Sharia, including stonings of apostates, gays and adulterers. But, it can also be a more moderate set of laws which do not include all those abuses. As far as I know, almost every Muslim country names Sharia as a source of law, but not every Muslim country enforces strict Sharia.

Once again, why did we not agree upon a definition of Sharia before we allowed it to be enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution?

Saturday, August 26, 2006 4:58:00 pm  
Anonymous WC said...

Pastorius - good point about Sharia law.

But - based on the recent history of the mid-east and it's application of Sharia law I think all we have done is let the camel's nose into the tent.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 5:30:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

That seems true. That's why I have "grave doubts." The thing is, as I said, what they have in Iraq simply looks like all the other ME countries put together. These factions that we see in Iraq are the same factions that exist in every other ME country, but what happens is one faction takes over and runs a thugocracy.

In Iraq, they are making a go of it as a Democracy instead, but as far as I can tell, there are precious few votes in the Iraqi Parliament voting in support of Western style democracy.

Voting for Islamists and Communists is not voting for a free human rights respecting Democracy. You can vote an Islamist or Communist (or an Islamic communist = Baathist) into power, but the track record is, after that you will not have voting rights for long. The track record is, these people take over and stay there.

The fact that they have Sharia in their constitution makes things even more problematic, because the inevitable Islamist thug can say, "Well look, not only was I elected, but I'm going by the Constitution."

Saturday, August 26, 2006 5:43:00 pm  
Blogger Michael van der Galien said...

Additionally, we did not deal extremists the kind of defeat needed to put fear into them. To win a war you need to convince the enemy he is defeated. When we let al-Sadr get away, we convinced the enemy that we are the same old pussy United States that gave up when the going got rough in somalia.

I am not advocating cutting and running. I think we need to remain committed to doing as best as we can there in Iraq. But, at this point, I think the best we can hope for is moderation, not a real human rights respecting Democratic Republic.


Ha.. the problem with extremism is that they don't stop fighting once they think they'll lose. Instead they'll become more aggressive, commit more attacks, raise the amount of propaganda they spread, etc.
Taht being said, your point is that the US / allies didn't weaken the extremists enough and didn't rebuild the country in the way it should have been.

With that, I can only agree. Bush and the republicans should be held responsible for that. The problem is that once that happens, the democrats will take over.
That means cut and run.

That will, of course, make Iraq is worse than it is now and a true safe haven for terrorists. it will, i am afraid, become a proxy for Iran then.

Your general attitude seems to be that it's too late now. I don't think it is. Rick Moran hit the nail on the head when he wrote that there are only two options now:
Quit or commit. There is nothing in between.

Committing means that Bush should try to get other countries involved in Iraq, which will be difficult yet not impossible to do, that he must promise quite some things, that the US should spend billons more in Iraq, etc.

Quitting means... well, we know what that means.

So, is it too late? I don't think so. However; time is running short.
To continue on the same road as the US / allies did for 2 / 3 years in a row would be useless: it would only cost money and lives... but won't do any good.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 7:21:00 pm  
Blogger Redneck Texan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 7:21:00 pm  
Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Welcome to the dark side of the force.

America has always tried to paint an evil face on our enemy's leader (Hitler, Noriega, Saddam, Ahmadinejad, etc), in order to personalize the war as being against the innocent people's evil leader....not against the people themselves. It eases our conscience when we are killing them. It makes for better PR at home. We always take the tact that we are at war with a nation's political leadership, under the guise that we are doing that nation's citizens a favor by replacing their leadership. Sometimes that may be true.....sometimes its not.

Maybe its a western thing, I don't know, but we just cant seem to bring ourselves to admit that sometimes the "innocent civilians" we hear so much about are actually the real enemy. And that in some cases those evil leaders we target are merely a accurate reflection of the society we pretend just wants to live in peace, and perhaps better for both themselves and America's best interests than a government of their choosing.

In Iraq, I guarantee you, many American soldiers were killed by AK-47s and RPGs whose triggers were pull by purple fingers. Those same smiley faced civilians, who wave at our soldiers when they drive by, are the same ones that shoot them in the back, or activate the IED via cell phone after they drive by. Its the "innocent civilians" that partied in the street as Americans were dragged, burned, and hung on bridges. Its the "innocent civilians" that blamed the Americans when other Muslims blow up their Mosques. And it was the "innocent civilians" that voted for Sadr's mouthpieces in Iraq, or Hamas and Hezbollah in Palestine and Lebanon, yet we still can not shake our predisposition that the civilians are the good guys and just their leaders are evil.

Thats just another weakness of western society that this enemy has studied and is now exploiting to his advantage.

Do you think the Islamists in Egypt and Pakistan are not hoping that "Democracy" hurries up and comes to their neck of the woods, like Bush and Condi are pressuring for? They cant wait till the religiously brainwashed people in their precincts get to vote them into legitimate power.

There is a damn good reason why Democracy has never taken hold in Islamic societies without external firepower. Its a cultural thing. And as soon as that external firepower leaves, which it always does, the society reverts to its cultural equilibrium. Its their way.

The only real question is is what will America learn from all this. Are we too proud of our own vaunted political and legal systems, and the success it has enjoyed in the western and far eastern societies to ever admit it may not be applicable to Islamic societies? Are we going to keep promoting Democracies in the Middle East until every secular leader that America can deal with has been replaced by an Cleric controlled one that cant be bargained with......at the voting booths? Is that Victory?

Or maybe, after the initial wave of Islamist candidates serve their terms the people will start to understand they can vote a better government in the next time....if their is ever is one. Or more likely, once the Islamists are incumbents, any future sane secular candidates will be gunned down on the Arab street before the elections. Thats their way too.

I think, like Ralph Peters does, these ignorant folks are getting the government they both want and deserve.

I know it troubles you Pastorius to see this Iraqi adventure as a failure.....It does me too. But the alternative is to ignore the facts. Politicians can do that until their terms are over in order the save face, but honest folks find that harder to do. There is nothing wrong with you believing what your eyes and heart are telling you. It doesn't mean you're anti-American, or that you are not supporting our troops, its just mean you are observant and honest.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 8:04:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Michael,

You say our option is quit or commit. Yes, ok. But, we can't keep doing what we have been doing. Someone has to say that, if we keep doing what we have been doing, Iraq will become just like every other Islamic state. We have to change.

This does mean we have to criticize Bush. We can't do it without criticizing his lack of followthrough on his stated goals and strategies.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 8:11:00 pm  
Blogger Michael van der Galien said...

You say our option is quit or commit. Yes, ok. But, we can't keep doing what we have been doing. Someone has to say that, if we keep doing what we have been doing, Iraq will become just like every other Islamic state. We have to change.

This does mean we have to criticize Bush. We can't do it without criticizing his lack of followthrough on his stated goals and strategies.


O yes, I agree completely with that. The pressure has to be put on the administration.
Conservative bloggers are starting to realize that as well lately.

Bush should be criticized and all of those who supported the war, should come up with comprehensible plans. In other words: provide an alternative.
(that's also what the Republicans must do by the way)

Saturday, August 26, 2006 8:26:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Yes, that's right.

Now, the problem is, in Iraq, we have already allowed them to elect a very flawed government and that government has established a very flawed Constitution.

I believe that left to their own devices, Iraq will turn into just another Muslim country.

For the past year, we have been in the process of working a slow disengagement from Iraq. We are gradually handing over the reigns of power to the Iraqi people.

So, that would mean we will have less and less say over what happens in Iraq.

do you see the problem here? What can we do about the problem without reasserting ourselves?

Saturday, August 26, 2006 8:51:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Pastorius,
Hello again. It has been a long time! I have been off fighting battles (really more like planting seeds) elsewhere.

Re: Iraq, I have come to the same conclusion that you have in about the same time frame.

Without getting into my reasoning, I think Peters is right. I think the Iraq and Hezbollah wars have shown us that we must regroup and rethink our approach.

We must use ALL the tools of warfare, not just the traditional military ones. But these will still be needed.

And first on our list should be mimicking our enemies approach and then improving on it. All in a covert way (with plausible deniability), except when being overt is to our advantage. It's time to crank up the west's PR/propaganda machine and defeat the enemy by using its own approach against it.

We may have lost the first campaign(Iraq) of the war on Islamic Totalitarism but we needed this loss to refocus our efforts accordingly. Sad, I know but we are far from defeated. All a part of the learning curve.

My biggest concern is Bush's unwillingness to adapt and his latest recommittment to Iraq "while he is still president". Pulling troops from the Anbar province to address the security issues in Baghad is more of the same MO. Sad!

Unfortunatley, I think democracy is a loser in the Middle East. Hopefully, I am wrong. We must either redeploy or pull out of Iraq and concentrate our efforts in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan is no sure thing either. But it is our best hope. And still it may fail.

We still need a major energy policy change that will allow us to weather a long term regional war in the ME between the Sunnis and the Shias because that is next on the agenda.

I think Israel should know that they will have to deal with the Iranian nukes issue. The question is how soon. Hez is rearming at an alarming rate and I think the Iranians know that the window is closing on Israel's vulnerability.

As a side note, I read that Israel bought another nuclear capable submarine. I think that makes 4.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 9:43:00 pm  
Blogger turn said...

er...Don't we have to win what will amount to WW4 against Islamofascism?

Almost 3 1/2 years ago we went into Iraq with the hope that a smaller war could be fought there and, in so doing, bring freedom and democracy to an oppressed nation thereby inspiring others in the region, presumably yearning to experience liberty, to pull down their corrupt and oppressive leaders and bring stability to the Middle East after decades of strife and...

Then the handsome prince kissed Sleeping Beauty on the lips awakening her from...a pleasant fantasy.

Things are heating up fast worldwide. We've been thwarting a lot of plots but the civilized world missed in Mumbai and it's inevitable that, with the number of attacks planned, one or more will get through.

If a 3/11 Madrid or a 7/07 London happens in the U.S. there will be wholesale bloodletting (as there needs to be).

The world of Islam needs to be beaten into submission (yeah, I get the irony) so no member will ever think of breaking into another Seattle Jewish center. They need to be made to understand that individuals or groups acting out will be met with what they intend for us--there is no middle ground here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 9:55:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Hey JMJ,

Glad to hear from you. I agree the fact that because we don't achieve our objectives in Iraq does not mean we are defeated.

The Taliban are gone. That's a victory. Hussein and his sons are gone. That's a victory. Zarqawi is gone. That's a victory. Hizbollah got hit pretty hard, and they have lost some support in Lebanon because of it, but our negotiations on the cease fire are a complete joke.

All in all, we're three steps forward and two steps back.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 9:59:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Turns email is an example of how an army has to think in order to win a war.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:01:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

The world of Islam needs to be beaten into submission (yeah, I get the irony) so no member will ever think of breaking into another Seattle Jewish center.

I totally agree!! I think we tried it (half heartedly) with Iraq and it has failed. We need leadership that will educate and motivate the western world about what we are facing.

We need to use everything at our disposal without a "lack of imagination".

I think our approach should be more aggressive 10 fold but more covert by 10 fold as well. We do all the things we do covertly but deny and decieve and divert our accusers with all sincerity. (ie) Profile at the airports but "officially" be against it and am "outraged" that anyone would suggest such a thing. But we continue our profiling policy.

The Russians, back in their day, knew how to fight covertly very effectively. Now the Islamists have taken it to a new level. We need to do the same and much, much more. We need to turn the Islamist's weapons on themselves.

And when military force is needed, we hit so HARD and quickly that the enemy fears us more than anyone.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:20:00 pm  
Blogger turn said...

Thanks, Pastorius. I do try.

Was it the film "Pulp Fiction" that first referenced "going biblical" on someone?

There's a reason for that description. In some Old Testament battle records every last man, woman and child were slaughtered. This is almost inconceivable to us today, but there are regions where this is the mode even today.

There's a subject so basic to this problem of understanding the peoples of pan-Islam that it's mentioned more or less in passing.

These folks have not developed socially and culturally beyond tribalism. A national identity can't be sustained because there is very limited trust beyond the tribe and temporary alliances between tribes.

Our military may do well to study and learn from the conquest of America's Indians. We didn't exactly commit genocide, but we were as brutal as we had to be.

War IS hell. The acts it makes us commit make it more so than what we suffer on the receiving end. Because of Hammurabi and millenia since ("an eye for an eye" actually means NO MORE THAN an eye for an eye) we tend to have measured responses. But it's better to commit to the field and do what's necessary for unconditional surrender--no temporary retreat.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:43:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

All in all, we're three steps forward and two steps back.

Nicely put. One overall step forward is STILL one step forward. Sometimes resizing one's ego (the west's) can be the most productive thing one can do. That is if we are humble enough to do it.

One step at a time. Regrouping and restrategizing can be the first part of that next step forward.

Admitting to this need must come first and we should NOT wear this in shame.

This war has only just started. We are just getting warmed up.

We are living in historic times.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:43:00 pm  
Blogger turn said...

jmj said "We are living in historic times."

Chinese version(curse) "May you live in INTERESTING times."

Well, my interest is piqued.

O.K. It's a slow slog forward and we can't let ourselves get distracted or off-point. Tactics and strategies must be completely revamped or (now I know everybody hates the Viet Nam reference, but it's necessary to make this particular point) we'll continue to win every battle and lose the war.

Virtually all martial doctrine since WWII has been of somewhat set-piece battles between national entities, i.e. 'nation-states'. The very concept of war against a people is not in our current military conception. Unfortunately, this is the only mindset that can be employed to achieve the favorable outcome.

The blind notion that the evil resides at the top and if only we take the brutal leaders down we can claim victory is just that--blind. All the evidence is in front of us to see. Youngsters (mostly male) are radicalized and recruited at a grass-root level to join in jihad and are brought to understand by their elders (imams, whatever) that killing infidels, even if it means suiciding, advances the cause of islam. Many are poor--but many are not; they're gainfully employed or children of affluence. The one thing in common is the seething anger that their Friday religious duties inspire.

From the Philipines to Sweden to Argentina to Canada to Australia, young males, acting alone or in (that most simpleminded social group) gangs don't just commit mischief--they're out for murder. These are people in very limited control of what we in the west learn as teenagers--controlling our hormonal responses.

They call us Crusaders and they believe we are. Maybe we need to believe we are, as well. At the end of every battle we should give simple choices to enemy survivors: convert or be sterilized.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 11:55:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Turn,
You say we need to acknowledge that our war isn't with nation states in this case. You cite the American Indians as an example of a war we fought against a people

We also fought a war against the Barbary Coast pirates, who were Muslim and were using Islamic ideology to justify their raping and pillaging.

So, we've fought these kinds of wars before.

I do have to wonder, though, if there is a strategy by which we can severely weaken the Jihad by fighting nation states. What if they had no access to the revenues from their oil?

How effective could the Jihadis be then?

Sunday, August 27, 2006 1:12:00 am  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Turn said:
Youngsters (mostly male) are radicalized and recruited at a grass-root level to join in jihad and are brought to understand by their elders (imams, whatever) that killing infidels, even if it means suiciding, advances the cause of islam. Many are poor--but many are not; they're gainfully employed or children of affluence. The one thing in common is the seething anger that their Friday religious duties inspire.

I think addressing this issue should be a major tool in our long term approach, both relative to the young and the mullahs. I am uncertain how though. What about a massive infiltration of the mosques and secretly videotaping the Friday prayers. Then exposing these to the public and closing mosques that have demonstrated this seditious activity. Push everything underground but follow it there as well. I can't believe this is not being done already.

If so, bring it to the surface. Make the islamists paranoid to even speak in goroups or on the internet.

***********
Turn said:
The blind notion that the evil resides at the top and if only we take the brutal leaders down we can claim victory is just that--blind.

I disagree. See below.

"Those who oppose the mullahs oppose Islam itself; eliminate the mullahs and Islam shall disappear in fifty years. It is only the mullahs who can bring the people into the streets and make them die for Islam--begging to have their blood shed for Islam. -Ayatollah Khomeini

Maybe the conservative blogosphere could flood the Islamic discussion boards with "mullahs" using the names of actual mullahs. And with enough credibility that once this phenomenum has spread and people know that there are fake mullahs out there, Islamists begin to question the real mullahs as well. And they don't know who to trust.

Just brainstorming here. How can we get to the mullahs???? They are the power!!

And that is not to say that the youth should not be targeted as well. They should be. It's just that if there are no teachers(mullahs) or the internet is a "polluted" environment, the twisted ideas of Islam will not be as available.

********
Pastorius said:
What if they had no access to the revenues from their oil? How effective could the Jihadis be then?

I couldn't agree more therefore the need for a change in our energy policy. But unfortunately we have oil men running the US for the next two years. Definitely a must do for many reasons.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 1:52:00 am  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Turn said:
with the number of attacks planned, one or more will get through. If a 3/11 Madrid or a 7/07 London happens in the U.S. there will be wholesale bloodletting (as there needs to be).

Sadly, I am now resigned to fact that another major terrorist attack needs to be successful in the US in order to really awaken the apologists and the world as a whole. I have also come to the conclusion that the Cartoon War was the best thing that could have happended to the west. It awoke "some/many?" in Europe and showed the world what Islam's true nature really is.

After all this time and all that has gone on, I am totally amazed at how so many people continue to want to hide their heads in the sand. I have even seen some newcomers joining them in their denial!

F*****ing amazing!!

***********

On a side note, I would really like to see a right vs left debate about the causes of terrorism. Religious jihadism vs the west's foreign policy. I see people flirting with this but they never pursue it with vigor and to its conclusion. I know Spencer has debated some on the Islamic side but the videos seem hard to obtain. I would also like him to debate the liberals on the left.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 6:03:00 am  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

There is no economic, or political program which can trump the quran being trumpeted about by those with untrammeled consciences who hold the microphone.

FORGET IT.

No moderate movement HERE will speak out loudly despite this nation's entire politial heritage, and civil protections because of the social, religious and physical intimidations, even IF they want civil laws thought up by men to rule.

To expect this to sping whole from the soil of a sunni shia hatred of more than a millenium old is ABSURD.

Never the less, Bush's conclusion that the entire structure of 1924 needed a starting point to demolishment IS correct.

Let the civil war happen. American forces to Kurdistan. You think Basra wil be a bastion of Shia/Pasdaran/Iranian peace?

We have bigger fish to fry in the short term. Fish who demand real weapons.

If Iraq will become in 100 years, a 'REAL' democracy, history can say so. That is up to them. If Sharia/Quranic/Hadith based law remains the supreme law, it will remain a desert of the mind and spirit.

I only care that we end our enemies' existance. Whether we have to kill them or not to achieve this is up to them I suppose.

WE SHOULD WRITE HISTORY, as we did in 1989, 1945, 1918, and 1865.

BTW jmj, what on earth makes you think that another attack will do the trick here?
Soros et al will simply says Bush caused the attack by his stupid policies. To them it's about better 'social justice' here, not killing those who want us dead.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:15:00 am  
Blogger Jay.Mac said...

BTW jmj, what on earth makes you think that another attack will do the trick here?
Soros et al will simply says Bush caused the attack by his stupid policies. To them it's about better 'social justice' here, not killing those who want us dead.


Either that or it was a Bush-Blair-Zionist conspiracy. Anything to avoid looking reality in the face.

I think we've made huge mistakes in Iraq- Sadr among them- but I also think it's a mistake to claim that the democracy experiment has failed. That's a step away from cutting and running, which I believe will be the biggest mistake we could make. The Islamists will see it as another victory for terrorism.

Sure, the parties in power are predominantly Islamic and socialist in nature. Can you tell me though, what were the alternatives? Were there many secular, progressive parties running? Did they have any chance of success, a base of support?

Tribal concerns or Islamic concerns may not seem like they have anything to do with a free and democratic process but at the end of the day we have to realise that the people of Iraq are going to vote for their own self-interest, for the parties who say that they are going to best serve what those people want. We might have a government that does not mirror what we want to see happening in Iraq but we have to realise that instead of a totalitarian dictatorship which ruled for a generation, we now have a free and liberated country.

That's a massive step forward. Things may not develop as we wish them to- the country may either grow more liberal or descend into Sharia-nightmare, but at the end of the day it will be their choice, their decision. And that's the only way it should be- we can't force them to be free.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 2:07:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Epa said:
BTW jmj, what on earth makes you think that another attack will do the trick here?
Soros et al will simply says Bush caused the attack by his stupid policies. To them it's about better 'social justice' here, not killing those who want us dead.


Epa,
Good to hear from you again! Hope all is well with you!
I agree that there will be some who will say this but it will mainly be the Kos kids and the extreme left. Let's say that would make up half the democrats.

My thought is that the left of center democrats (the other half) are vulnerable to understanding (via another successful attack) that their very survival is threatened, no matter the root cause. (ie) Like the people that refused to fly on the airliner recently until the "asians" got off the plane. Their survival was threatened in their everyday life. I guarantee that these people were not thinking of the west's foreign policies when they stood up and said "enough".

I see many educated (re: world affairs) people at my work who have just stopped keeping up on world affairs because I assume it is either too painful or they just want to be in denial or have given up. These are people that, in the past, I was able to discuss these things with. But they have become disengaged.

And some of these people are also right of center.

I think their survival instinct is the only thing that will force these people to face reality.

The far left are like the Islamic fascists. They will always be a hard sell.

But the low hanging fruit (as noted above) should still be picked in order to gain a momentum in numbers and eventually reach a tipping point that will pull the far left along as well.

I know, probably not. But that does not matter. Their numbers are small.

The point is we still need to increase the numbers of people that see and are willing to react to the reality of the threat we face.

Would I rather not have a successful attack occur? Of course. But I continue to see, to my utter astonishment, the head in the sand syndrome (by college educated people). This MUST be overcome. Therefore, my resigned willingness to see another tragedy.

Sometimes it is necessary to crawl before one walks and walk before one runs.

We tried to run before we crawled by taking on Afghanistan AND Iraq. Now the far left is using Iraq against us and we have no good response for them. It has now made the middle passive in their assessment of the threat. People want to close their eyes so it will all just go away.

I think it is also because our society is too comfortable and we are consumed with our consumerism.

We need to downshift in many aspects of this war so we can make another, smarter run at the Islamic fascists. But we need a more united effort (more people need to see the threat) with leadership that will do its job of motivation and education of the country's people.

And our next campaign MUST result in a victory or we will really be in deep shit.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 5:33:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

jay-mac,
I agree with much of what you said but for the west to continue to financially and militarily support a country that is leaning more and more toward a sharia state is simply luncay.

As Epa said, time to pull back and hook up with the Kurds and let the civil war begin in earnest. Then we can play the spectator role of Al Quada and Iran. Let them beat themselves up while we watch.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 5:51:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Jay Mac,
I'm with you. No cut and run.

We need to revamp our strategy.

Here are some possible strategies for the future:

1) imperialism
2) destruction followed by allowing them to figure their shit out for themselves
3) installing a thug who will work with us
4) admitting Iraq is probably just another Islamic state, albeit one we can contain to some extent, and moving on to do the same thing in Iran, only doing it right the next time.

I like option number 4 best.

In order to do it right, we need to beat the enemy so badly that they are convinced they are beat. And, then when that is over we need to define Islamofascism in a very strict manner, and we need to ban it altogether.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 6:44:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

JMJ,
I agree with you that a big attack would wake us up.

Political correctness, as it is simply a variation on manners, is just a thin veneer on our civilization. It covers up the beast beneath.

If we are hit hard most of our citizenry will want blood. If our leaders don't get it for us, we will go after our leaders.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 7:31:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Pastorius said:
In order to do it right, we need to beat the enemy so badly that they are convinced they are beat. And, then when that is over we need to define Islamofascism in a very strict manner, and we need to ban it altogether.

I totally agree but this needed to be done right after the fall of Bahgdad. Now it is too late or the window is almost completely closed. Hopefully, I am wrong but I don't see it.

And I had always been of the mindset to stick this thing out until 2008 if need be. But that was with the understanding that we would really try to win this thing. But Bush (meaning Rumslfield) has shown he is not interested in winning this thing.

Just enough troops to lose.

It is three years out and now the country is war weary and our armed forces are stretched thin. And Bush's unwillingness to expand the military or find another way to increase the troop level in Bahgdad is reflected in his redeploying troops from the Anbar province to Bahgdad. Since the 2004 election, Rumsfield and Bush have not changed their MO once. Get one area cleaned out and move to another. And once we are out, then the insurgents move back in.

When you don't have enough troops, what else can one do. Our military is great but they cannot produce miracles where they are not present.

And now al Sadr (Iran) is doing his part from the Shia side.

Bush said he was betting his presidency on Iraq and now he gets to reap the benefits of his efforts. Hopefully, he will prove me wrong. But he is even losing the support from his conservative base.

Guiliani or McCain are my votes for 2008. In no particular order.

Guiliani has the charisma and leadership skills. McCain has the foreign policy and government experience.

I really could care less who it is. We just desperately need some real leadership because time is getting critical. Otherwise the bigger the hole we will need to dig ourselves out of. Lincoln had the same problem but he kept trying different generals and that's why they won. True leaders understand the need to adapt if something is not working. FDR did. Lincoln did.

And the Islamists are showing themselves to be very cunning and obviously deadly serious and are in it for the long haul.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:25:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Pastorius said:
admitting Iraq is probably just another Islamic state, albeit one we can contain to some extent, and moving on to do the same thing in Iran, only doing it right the next time.

Pastorius,
I agree with this but this seems very vague to me. Can you explain this in greater detail how this would be accomplished? It would seem very difficult to do this.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:31:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Well, as you point out in your previous comment, we can not do it with the amount of troops we have.

But, what I mean is, when we do finally decide to get serious and attack Iran, we can't just wage a nice clean war. We have to beat them very badly, and then, when it is over, we have to totally remake their country.

As I noted in earlier comments, we have to define Islamofascism and Jihad and we have to ban these things, so that no politician can be elected into the future iranian government if he is an Islamonazi.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

By the way, was that too vague?

Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:36:00 pm  
Anonymous JMJ said...

Pastorius,
Not too vague. Thanks.

Monday, August 28, 2006 12:18:00 am  

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