29 April 2007

Terrorists breaking with civilization

One of the great and grand things heard of are the 'human rights of terrorists' concept floated by so many. Yes, they do point to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over at the UN which gets into areas of hot dispute, especially rights to: education (which is compulsory at the elementary level!), a standard of living that allows for health care and 'necessary social services', rest and leisure, holidays, periodic and genuine elections, and on and on. It would be very nice if those that have come out in favor of tyrants and then cite these things would, please, mean them. But they don't. It is used as a bashing point against democracies which, by and large, offer these things because they do not offer them in enough *quantity* while those Nations that offer few if any of these things, just somehow escape judgment. And that gets us to judging and law, which this fine document covers and some assume it to be over-riding in all circumstances. In point of fact this entire listing is very good save for one very salient area: wartime.

That lovely Universal Declaration covers civil rights, not martial rights. It cannot contravene the set of Treaties that *do* cover martial rights, which is the Geneva Conventions. The reason that the Universal is *not* universal is that its own language pertains to social, civil criminal and political rights, not rights during wartime. As the GC has precedential order before the Universal Declaration it must give way to that precedent in those areas and may not contravene them in any way. As an example, Article 11 (2) of the Universal states the following:

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Note that the emphasis is on mere civil offenses. That is the right not to be tried for crimes that are not crimes or are ones ex post facto. But with terrorists you get a problem of them not adhering to the Nation State framework that is necessary to formulate these civil human rights. Here is a relevant passage from the Universal Declaration:
Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
This talks about 'arbitrary' decisions and those are referencing tribunals and such. But what of individuals who renounce their Nationality so as to no longer be held accountable by its laws? While an individual does have the right to Nationality, they may exercise or non-exercise such right as they see fit. There is no obligatory Nationality placed upon anyone, save by lawful functions of Nations, and when individuals renounce such Nationality they no longer fall within the National framework between Nations. Here the National Law must be seen as enforceable only to the extent that *voluntary* disassociation happens. And when an individual adheres to a creed or group that has no Nation? That is the problem when fealty is sworn to a terrorist group by an individual: they have moved outside of this Universal Declaration by adhering to no Nation or State.

I really do hate to say this, but the other rights of being a *person* are only enforceable upon Nationals. Persons who abjure affiliation to Nations start to get very little in the way of National rights when they are working against Nations. That is expressly reinforced in this:
Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Notice that the emphasis is on being a member of a society within a State, and has been seen before that is accorded to Nationals, or individuals adhering to Nations. And at the very end this is clearly stated:
Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
This is the final statement of the Universal Declaration and makes it perfectly clear that those that fall within this Universal Declaration are State, group or person. These are the legal identifications of States, sub-state groups and persons who are Nationals. Of course this brings up Non-Governmental Organizations, which have entered upon the stage of human activity and have very weak affiliation to a National precept. Even worse are terrorist organizations which support NO Nation, NO State and engage in activities to attack same. These clearly do *not* fall under the Universal Declaration and when individuals adhere to such groups they are also stepping, consciously, away from the Universal Declaration by their ACTIONS.

Over at the GC they do reference all the other applicable Treaties, but there are scant few dealing with martial laws and rules of war. Those pertain to Genocide and certain classes of weapons, like landmines, which Nations sign on to or not as they please, like all other Treaties. What the GC does set out is an orderly view on how some basic things can be done to ensure that barbarism does not degenerate during time of war. But even here there are discriminations about who does and does not fit under the Treaty language. In particular the US has *not* signed on to the 1977 language covering terrorism as that is an infringement on the Non-National Armed Forces capability of the US Constitution granted to Congress by the People under the Letters of Marque and Reprisal language. That is the Nationally sanctified and allowed Power granted to Congress to wage war by other means while still adhering to the Nation State concept. Terrorist language infringes on that clear understanding that Nations can, indeed, field non-National forces that are still fully accountable to Nations. And as other Nations no longer make that distinction and attempt to lump it all together based on their prior outlooks, the US cannot, Constitutionally, sign that agreement and give it any force at all.

During times of war the GC makes clear distinctions between Soldiers and Civilians. Again these are Nationals, particularly Soldiers, that must wear uniforms, have accountable command structure, have a governmental point of contact and other needful things to ensure that National combatants are recognized as honorably serving a Nation. Civilians are the unarmed individuals caught up in conflict and have specific rights and responsibilities, and are to be given protection and refuge if at all possible during wartime conditions.

That now leaves us with the Terrorists: individuals or groups adhering to no Nation, flying no flag, having no command structure, having no governmental contact point and using force of arms to cause death and destruction outside of the scope of National laws and International warfare agreements. They wage, in short, illegitimate warfare without recompense of any Treaty or National law to hold themselves accountable. By doing so they have stepped away not only from the pre-1977 Geneva Conventions but from the Universal Declaration by voluntarily removing themselves from it. By taking up weapons of war and waging illegitimate warfare upon peoples and Nations, they seek to remove the National structure of protection *for* people and impose terror, chaos and barbarism. The Universal Declaration, in point of fact, DENIES them the right to do this. By doing these actions they have put themselves BEYOND the Universal Declaration.

Yes, they have not only given up National affiliation, but they have BROKEN with the Treaty for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They have disavowed civilization so as to freely attack civilization in a way that Nations do not normally have recourse against, save the United States and its Letters of Marque and Reprisal language. Pretty strange, that, to have the perfect war power available and not use it to protect the Union.

That said there are still those that would purport that terrorists still HAVE rights, even after they have BROKEN with these declarations and have taken ACTIONS to demonstrate that they do not consider them to be valid. Those same actions nullify the Treaty for them, and wishing it back to them is a blatant disregard of the Treaty language which forms the basis of 'international law'. Thus the entire concept of using Civil Law to prosecute them is ill founded on two bases: first these individuals have removed themselves from Nation State framework, and, second, they take up war in organizations that are illegitimate under the Nation State framework.

In other words: war crimes.

This comes back to bite those Nations that try to treat these illegitimate actors as merely breaking civil laws when it comes to prosecution of same. Witness the aftermath of the 1993 WTC Bombing and its leader Sheikh Rahman, from Strategypage, 29 APR 2007:
The recent disbarment of Lynne Stewart is one of the latest examples of what is wrong with using the law-enforcement approach to dealing with terrorism. Not only is there the fact that all too often, treating terrorism as a criminal matter to be dealt with by law enforcement agencies, leads to terrorists going back onto the street, but there are problems with the lawyers.

Stewart was convicted for providing material support to terrorists while she was representing Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman during his terrorism trial. One of the things she did was pass messages to Rahman's supporters – including exhortations to kill those who opposed his brand of Islamic fundamentalism. Also, during Rahman's trial, evidence was turned over to his attorneys. At least one of the documents handed over in accordance with rules of discovery ultimately found its way to al Qaeda headquarters in the Sudan. That document contained a list of people who were on the government's radar screen – and thus alerted al-Qaeda to the possibility of surveillance. This was an intelligence disaster.

Once a person, group, or country find out that they are of interest to an intelligence agency, two things happen. First, they tend to become very careful with regards to communications – they take steps to throw off surveillance efforts, and they will even shift to means that cannot be intercepted (like couriers or flying for face-to-face meetings). Second, they begin to wonder how the information is acquired – and try to cut off the flow. If they find out enough of what an intelligence agency knows, they will have an idea of who might be a source. The suspected source's ending will not be a happy one. This not only deprives intelligence agencies of a source, but also makes recruiting future sources more difficult.

The risks of compromised intelligence are serious, and should be obvious. They primarily include the loss of sources of information (due to death or non-cooperation) and decreased efficiency from methods that have been compromised due to adaptations by terrorists (for instance, if they know cell phones are being intercepted, they will shift to messengers). These could potentially lead to successful attacks in the future.

This is why the Department of Defense is trying to clamp down on the number of meetings lawyers have with detainees. In at least one case, lawyers gave the detainees information about Amnesty International conferences and terrorist attacks that boosted their morale, increased resistance to interrogation and which encouraged attacks on guards. Over 600 attacks have occurred, many involving bodily fluids. This is not a small concern. If terrorist morale is low, there is a better chance of getting them to give up information that may help prevent future attacks.

The Guantanamo Bay setup is not the best situation, but other alternatives do not seem any better. Terrorists need to be kept out of circulation, and methods of gathering intelligence and sources of information need to be protected. A number of human rights groups are complaining about these clampdowns, claiming that the Administration is turning Guantanamo Bay into a legal black hole. Since real black holes are not presently accessible, dumping terrorists into a legal black hole will have to do. – Harold C. Hutchison
This is what happens when you treat terrorists like mere criminals, instead of illegitimate war fighting groups. First they get access to sensitive information pertaining to terrorist organizations that may be critical to the sources and methods involved in gathering same, and, second, they get access to communications with their organization directly through their attorney.

The civil legal system in most Nations is set up as an 'adversarial' process within the framework of a Nation's laws. Terrorists are outside that framework as they adhere to no Nation nor any reciprocity between Nations such as diplomacy and Treaties. Within an 'adversarial' system the emphasis turns into one of 'advocation' or having someone work to ensure the rights of those involved and their legal status is garnered by a robust gathering and presentation of evidence. Terrorists are not 'adversaries' but 'enemies' of that entire process and the entire National establishment which makes such a process have utility for Nationals and Citizens. By trying to claim 'human rights' for terrorists, the outlook being purported is one in which treatment of persons must NOT be accountable to the Nation State system, while every Treaty and obligation by Nations says just the opposite.

Anyone pushing to afford such 'rights' to terrorists, must then confront the fact that they are looking to erode the Nation State system that affords them those very same rights. We do decry outrageous treatment of these individuals, because that is beyond the norm of civilized treatment that we have come to expect through our civil law establishment and Nation State interactions. Even worse is such treatment reduces the moral of the troops involved and disassociates them from normal war time rules of war. In the US, Congress has set out some basics on treatment for terrorists via the UCMJ, which is a pure recognition that those taking warlike acts under no National system must be treated under rules of war. Anything afforded to them is under the good grace of the People of the United States via Congress, which must *also* adhere to the Treaties the Nation has signed up to and recognize the base facts that these individuals have broken with civilization.

By attempting to put terrorists on par with Soldiers is a debasement of the concept of Soldiers fighting honorably for their Nation.

By attempting to put terrorists down as mere civilians, the debasement of National Law is seen as these individuals will use any and all means given to them to attack Nations and further their causes outside of the reciprocity framework between Nations.

As Mr. Hutchison points out, these individuals get put into a Black Hole, legally.

That is, however, by their Actions that puts them there.

To safeguard our rights as Nationals within the Nation State system, these unaccountable actors in the interstices of Nation State frameworks must be curbed and some way found to abolish and end them by ALL NATIONS.

Or have our own rights put at peril by them.

Breaking the logjam of Iraq

One of the major things that is putting Iraq at risk is, needless to say, oil.

Now, beyond a ready petrochemical basis for funding, the actual stuff itself is useful, but only after going through refineries and such, which is being targeted by the various terrorists, militias, and insurgents. Crooks leave it alone as it is a source of revenue, by and large. And the reason so much violence gets concentrated in Baghdad is that it is the seat of government and has all that lovely oil wealth running through it. Getting an equitable oil deal for sharing profits is seen as a major necessity for the Nation for two reasons:

1) It will ensure that all of those who have stayed through all of the troubles get recompense and will deny returnees and criminals of funds, and,

2) It gets the money out of Baghdad.
What has been going on, however, is political posturing and stonewalling by oil secure areas, mostly the Kurdish region and Arab Shia region, to get a 'bigger slice of the pie', or all of it for their regions. That has left the Arab Sunni population out in the cold as a sort of 'political revenge' and for a few other reasons this has been lagging in parliament. A very touchy issue there, to say the least.

That, however, may just change due to this little report from IHS via the TMCnet Business Wire for a report of 18 APR 2007. They have just come out with their Iraq Atlas of oil reserves and where does oil look to be available in great quantities? Well, read on:
The Iraq Atlas, which will be available from IHS on May 9, is a unique overview of all known prospects and fields in Iraq, and estimates oil reserves at up to 116 billion barrels, ranking the country number three in the world. The Iraq Atlas estimates that there could potentially be another 100 billion barrels of oil in the Western Desert of Iraq.


-- The Western Desert of Iraq, which is believed to hold exploration potential of approximately 100 billion barrels of oil and a large amount of gas


"Most of Iraq's oil production comes from the south of Iraq and is exported via the Persian Gulf because of repeated sabotage attacks on facilities in the north," said Mohamed Zine, IHS regional manager for the Middle East. "This has resulted in a current production capacity of two million barrels of oil per day. However, the Iraq Atlas estimates indicate that given a stable political and civil environment, Iraq has the potential to produce four million barrels a day in the near term if necessary investments are made in repairing and modernizing facilities."

Zine added: "The cost to produce oil in some Iraq fields is less than $2 per barrel according to our estimates and investments involved in developing the fields are minimal."
And who, praytell, inhabits the western desert area? Arab Sunnis! This is al-Anbar province and such. Which suddenly puts a whole different complexion on the entire al Qaeda in Iraq trying to take over Anbar and environs. And that amount? Well if 116 billion gets you up to #3... then you are looking at a totally differnt complexion to the Nation which, out in the western desert regions, there appears to be a whole SECOND #3's worth sitting around waiting to be explored fully. Even at 1/5 that size, a mere 20 billion barrels, you are looking at a sizeable amount of available oil.

And who is on hand to help out?

The one Nation that has been giving the shaft to Iran by denying it funds to explore and upkeep its equipment and encouraging its trading parterns to do likewise: Japan.

From the visit of al Maliki to Japan and meeting with Japanese officials (Via TMCnet and Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge):
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday promised visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Japan will continue to support reconstruction efforts in Iraq and the two leaders agreed to further build a "long-term strategic partnership" to strengthen political and economic ties.

"Stability in your country is essential for the stability of the Middle East region, is extremely important for the world as a whole and is linked to Japan's national interests," Abe told al-Maliki at the outset of their talks. "We would like to continue to fully support your efforts as prime minister."

In response, al-Maliki described Japan's assistance as a symbol of bilateral friendship and said, "Iraq is in a new era and facing a lot of new challenges, but we would like to overcome the difficulties in order to realize to the fullest the potential that our country possesses."


Japan views building a strategic partnership with Iraq as important as Iraq's oil supply and its stability greatly affects the national interests of Japan, which is heavily dependent on energy resources from the Middle East.

Japan was among the staunchest supporters of the United States, its closest ally, in the war in Iraq, sending ground troops on an aid mission to southern Iraq and air troops to operate between Kuwait and Iraq. It has also provided financial support to Iraq in the form of yen loans and debt relief.

Amid withdrawals by other countries that sent forces to Iraq, Tokyo pulled out ground troops from the southern Iraqi city of Samawah last summer but has since expanded the air operations.
Right now the money is minimal and going to water projects and the such like, but this is just a few days before the IHS announcement and these things *must* get a government OK and review, so it is more than likely that Japan now has a good and solid inside track on investing in the oil infrastructure in Iraq.

America seems to forget that we have vital allies *also* helping us out and one of them is Japan which has been stoutly enforcing a no-investment policy in Iran for years and that has been hurting Iran deeply. Japan has had to weather higher oil prices and pressure to end that as they see a long term benefit in removing support to the regime in Iran. They still need the oil, but that does not mean they are going to further help a regime that can't manage its own finances. Now here comes Iraq with the possibility of a whole new set of oil fields easily able to replace the Iranian oil supply and stabilize market prices in the next 5 years or so, if the insurgents, terrorists and militias can be put to rest.

Running out and leaving *that* to al Qaeda to try and establish a base upon over that same timeframe should be an absolute non-starter.

Unless, that is, you really look forward to al Qaeda having a its very own oil funding stream.

If the provincial elections can be held and figured out by the end of the year, which should be very possible in most of Iraq, then the entire political center of the Nation gets an easing as money no longer *ends* in Baghdad but then goes outwards to the Provinces. And that will change the complexion of what Iraq is, more than anything done heretofore. As these umbrella National parties suddenly find themselves in purely *local* politics.

That political logjam will give out, one way or another.

Because 'all politics is local'.

27 April 2007

Bill O'Reilly drinks Kool Aid, finds it yummy

Last night, on the Mr. Bill show, we got a look at the mind of Mr. O'Reilly as he not only decided to indulge in Kool Aid but add a lovely word to the 'Culture Warrior' lexicon: defeat. Somehow I just can't see 'traditionalists' liking that idea nor looking to embrace it with any great degree of love and caring. He has decided to actually agree that questioning the Iraq war was 'right' with respect to Bill Moyers - Bill O'Reilly now *agrees* with that. He does state that in the 26 APR 2007 Talking Points Memo. One does question this from the very same man who, on 07 FEB 2007 put forward this:

Nearly every intelligence agency on this earth believed Saddam had an arsenal of deadly weapons. But poor WMD intelligence doesn't excuse the poor post Saddam planning by the Bush administration or the failure of the Iraqis to put aside ancient hatreds and work together for freedom. — That combination, poor planning with hatred on the part of the Iraqis might doom Iraq.
Yes, nearly every INTEL Agency on the planet believed this, including UK, France, Russia, China, Israel. Given the stocks of weapons, the amount of raw material and the processing facilities that were THEN in-place at the end of Desert Storm, there was no question of Saddam's capability to research, make and produce chemical weapons if not more. In point of fact there are numerous citations that I rounded up in this post. This sort of information garnered AFTER a war in which individuals of the prior regime and the documents of that regime are available was something that NO INTEL Agency on the planet could accomplish in any way, shape or form. No *journalist* could either. The folks at Regime of Terror continue to hound down documents, interviews, citations and the such like so that a fuller understanding of what Saddam's regime *was* doing can be seen.

What Bill Moyers and other Leftists are looking for is to enforce some sort of 'perfect world' standard on wars, as seen in this post on Dan Froomkin encouraging journalists to break the code of standards and ethics at the WaPo, and giving terrorists a full panoply of rights after waging illegitimate war. Saddam aided such organizations and utilized them in attacks against the West and in other ways to have the West remove restrictions on trade with his regime. That lovely world got us to 9/11. I have some news for Bill O'Reilly: there is no such thing as absolute certainty on *anything* in the INTEL Community, just levels of confidence. If you wish a scientific rendition of facts so as to make something lock-solid, you may forget about it as that is not possible in this world of ours. NO INTEL on the planet is 100% right in all ways after it has been gathered and cast with other pieces of INTEL. That is a world of uncertainty and judging risks and the INTEL Communities do not, by and large, give much credence to the blustering and dissembling of tyrants, dictators and genocidal rulers.

For damned good reason: it can get you killed if you DO.

On post-war plans, none of them from DoD, CIA, State... you name the group and its pre-war plan would have fallen into complete shambles as the single, salient thing that they all depended upon was some part of the regime staying around. Anyone, really. I went over that problem with this post on why the 'oil drop' could not work. This has been *confirmed* by two journalistic sources that have been on the ground in Iraq: Michael Ware and John Burns. Particularly troubling is Mr. Ware's citation of the Iraqi WMD industry being *mothballed*, which more commonly refers to being stored someplace so that it can be restarted later. That, in point of fact is the most displeasing thing coming from Mr. Ware, beyond the harsh contradictions between his ideology and his experiences. From both of these men we get a view of a regime that disappeared and in a scatter-shot way, picked up its terrorizing again. That simple disappearance of governmental structure by those in power just upping and leaving, brought the entire thing down. Because we had such poor interior HUMINT in Iraq before the war, like most other Nations, we had no idea as to the truly horrific conditions Saddam was subjecting his people to. And Saddam had *videos* of torture and killing sessions made to distribute to the population so they KNEW what would happen to them if any crossed the regime.

Do that to a society for three decades and tell me what it looks like. Then include the harsh factionalization that is typical of such Arab regimes. No, I'm afraid that Mr. O'Reilly and the Left are a bit too caught up in decrying poor INTEL and that the journalistic segment was and IS doing nothing to remedy the problem. To date we still have no organization, no group, no news channel, no documentary, nothing that looks at the problems in Iraq as they came about and *why* the place was the particular kind of hellhole it was. Because doing so would show the bankruptcy of those that have attempted to paper over this with ideological venom, and the true vacancy of 20th century 'Realism' and our understanding of post-war situations. By not doing that the PRESS is at fault for not serving its educational and background purposes, to help place the present in context of the past. Instead ideological diatribes continue ever onwards and no one dares to actually address the problems of the Middle East without some sort of rose-colored lens arrangement.

But that was just the START of Mr. O'Reilly's inanity last night. Thank you to Hot Air for posting up the *other* segment that really takes the cake. In that segment Mr. Bill had on Ms. Rend Al-Rahim is the Executive Director and co-founder of the The Iraqi Foundation. Mr. Bill was ready to hit her with prime Defeatocrat work, with the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll as ammunition. Now as that report is still under wraps at NBC and WSJ, what can be done is to look at the summary data at a place like Pollingreport - Iraq polls. Politicians love polls as do television commentators and such, because they can be used to 'gauge public opinion'. Thusly, Mr. Bill now feels it high time to add in his grand idea to 'Traditional Values' that *not* supporting democracy and helping people who had been under the boot of a tyrant for decades, IS a traditional value:
I really hate to say this, because I really wanted your country to have a shot at democracy, but I don't think its gonna happen. And if I were an Iraqi Citizen right now I would do everything I could to get out of there. Because I don't think the Iraqi People have stepped up enough to help the American forces control the fanatics and the killers. The Kurds in the north, they're doing very well, they banded together. And Kuwait in the south has a Shia-Sunni mixture and they're doing very well. But for some reason, Madam, the Iraqi People are putting up with this terrorism and its going to lead to even more terrorism, am I wrong?
Yes, that 'Culture Warrior' also adds in the concept of comparing a small nation with limited territory, that you could easily lose in parts of Iraq to that of a much larger Nation. Perhaps he will next opine that Italians can't get the hang of stable government and he wouldn't be able to understand that because the Vatican CAN. Yes, those 2.4 million Kuwaitis living on 17,820 sq. km., which is about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island, can show how easy it is to those 26.78 million Iraqis living on 437,072 sq. km, which is a bit larger than California. And Kuwait hasn't had a vicious and brutal dictator killing them off for 30 years, but did get the lovely opportunity to get INVADED by Saddam's Iraq. The Kurds to the north, in case it escaped Mr. Bill, happen to have a strong ethnic tradition of success and have had over a DECADE of safe haven from the tyrant Saddam.

I guess the rest of Iraq doesn't deserve that much time, according to Mr. Bill.

Then he is told that the People of Iraq are, indeed, stepping up to problems, informing on terrorists, leading soldiers to weapons caches and terrorists, and working hard and risking their lives to do so. From that Mr. Bill starts to opine some *more*:
O: All right. We see...[cross talk]... we hear that...

R: We have seen an improvement.

O: We hear that, but we see the body count every day. You know there are either more terrorists in Iraq than in any other country on the face of the earth has ever seen. Or the Iraqi People simply aren't doing what they should. As you know, no insurgency can exist unless the population tolerates it. That's what happened in Northern Ireland. It got to the point where the Northern Irish said 'no more' and it stopped. Here you got the Sunnis and the Shia, they hate each other, they're bombing each other. It doesn't seem to me that they're gonna stop. And we can't make them.
Oh, my! Such a lovely example of an ISLAND Nation finally wanting to stop terrorism. Plus he pulls the old Maoist 'fish hiding in the school of fishes' bit. Of course it would be wonderful if there were a civil society that recognizes civil government, but Mr. Bill seems to have forgotten that for 30 years and more it was the rule of a dictator that worked hard to put people who had little in common together so as to play them off against each other and start breaking down communities and instill fear of government. Just what he wanted. Northern Ireland is so like that, isn't it? Dictatorial rule for decades on end by a single leader? No democracy or even memory of it there? Society torn apart and individuals videotaped as they were fed into plastic shredders feet first? Yes, Northern Ireland is just *so* like Iraq.

And some of that Mr. Bill even recognizes, but when he asks about how Saddam controlled the terrorism, even *I* can answer that: those that he did not invite in and train he simply executed via his multiple secret police organizations and the Republican Guards and various other paramilitaries that he had. His sons *also* had a few of their OWN secret police and paramilitaries, too. So abusing Iraq and using the Nation as a personal plaything was a 'family affair'.

Perhaps Mr. Bill just doesn't understand the concept of: Police State?

Tyrannical Dictator?

Really I have trouble describing the exact sort of leader that would order open execution of his political enemies, have that filmed and then run that on the nightly news and in theaters. One can find the videos out there, but I will not point anyone to such sickness and cruelty, lest they get a fine idea to start doing that *here*.
That works. Terror works. Terror works to destable... terror works to keep this madman in power. But look... you're an American citizen now. Look at it from our point of view, we're losing very fine Americans in the desert in a country that does not appreciate it. All the polls say the same thing. We got more than 10,000 wounded that are gonna feel those wounds the rest of their life. We have more than that... but I'm talkin about really severe wounds. You know... Americans say 'enough'. We gave you blood and treasure, we did everything we could and the Iraqi People are sittin there and watchin this garbage go on, and they're not joining with us in enough numbers to make a difference. And that is why you got 55% of the country goin 'get out'.
Why yes, Mr. Bill, terrorism does work so long as it is applied day after day, year on year without end. Works quite well, actually. And the moment you give up, you give up your rights because you are too terrified to do anything. It is very strange to put that context out and then point to 55% of Americans who CANNOT TAKE IT. Then Mr. Bill goes on to pontificate a bit on defeat, so that it can be excused:
Its most serious for the Iraqi People. See, we'll recover from this. It was the *wrong* battlefield. It was. And there's no gettin around that. We made a mistake. Alright. But when we pull back as the next President... Bush will keep them there as long as he's in office. That'll happen. But the next President isn't going to do it, Madam Ambassador. And unless the Iraqi People get the urgency of the situation, there gonna be a lot more dead people in the street.


Sometimes you have to retreat, regroup and come back.

Come back?

Just like we did for South Vietnam?

Have some Kool Aid, Mr. Bill. You deserve it.

Oh, Yeaaah!

On the day of 26 APR 2007, Mr. Bill is giving up. That is 1498 days since the start of fighting in Iraq. Time to take a look at wars in the past that Mr. Bill *could* have supported to their end, which I take from my previous article on Wars long, wars short: Quasi-War with France, The War of 1812, Mexican-American War, actual *war* part of the Philippine-American War but not the insurgency part, The Boxer Rebellion, World War I for the active US fighting, World War II, The Korean War, The Gulf War.

Now for those that he could NOT have gotten through with American blood and treasure being spent...

The Revolutionary War. So sorry, Mr. Bill, you would be a Loyalist... or turncoat.
The Barbary Wars. Islam over O'Reilly!
Northwest Indian War. Running back to civilization already?
The US Civil War. Bill O'Reilly, Copperhead.
Westward Indian Wars, cumulative. How the West wasn't worth it, I guess.
The full Philippine-American War. Islam over O'Reilly!
The Vietnam War. Groovy, huh?

And as I have had to go over casualty figures for a few things, lets take a look at where we stand, which is 3335, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty site, using only US casualties up to the 26th, which compares with the following:

Alcohol related vehicle deaths - about 17,000 per year. All voluntary.
All automobile deaths - about 42,000 per year.
South Fork dam collapse of 1889 - 2,200 dead.
The 1906 Earthquake and fire in San Francisco - between 700 and 3,000 dead.
1918 Spanish Influenza - 500,000 dead in the US *alone*.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire of 1851 - 1,500 dead... which is a lot for the size of the Nation then.
Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1881 - 2,200 dead.
Galveston Hurricane of 1900 - between 6,000 and 8,000 dead.
Steamboat Sultana explosion of 1865 - 1,547 dead, most of those wounded Union veterans returning home.
Septicemia, year 2000 - 31,224 dead. The #9 cause of overall death in 2000.

From the NIH at the Septicemia page: "Appropriate treatment of localized infections can prevent septicemia."

Yes, clean your cuts and scrapes as you can die from having the infect. In large numbers, every single year, Americans die, voluntarily, from neglect. Neglecting themselves. And not doing what they should have learned to do at age 5. Absolutely voluntary, not cleaning one's cuts and scrapes. I am sure quite a few people do that all the time.

The certainly do die from it.

And the estimated cost of the war is $456 billion for FY 07. Sounds like a lot, huh?

That is LESS than the Merchandise Trade Deficit the US ran up importing more than we export, which was $750 billion (thanks to the CIA Factbook). With an economy of just about $13 trillion. So add Iraq and the Trade Deficit TOGETHER and you are still not at 10% of the US economy. And with a 3.4% growth rate the US added another $442 billion dollars to the size of the economy during 2006. Yes, you read that right: the 3.4% economic expansion basically OFFSETS the cost of the war in Iraq. That 3.4% is *conservative* and may actually be HIGHER by a fair margin.

So there you have the Iraq War from Mr. O'Reilly's point of view.

A war that is offset by economic growth, that has so few casualties that a simple 10% of Americans taking better care of themselves would offset it per year, every year, and a length longer than most modern conflicts, but not all... and nothing compared to some of the things the US has gone through previously.

Obviously way too much for America.

Now about that Avian Flu... shall we surrender now?

24 April 2007

That 20% of victory smells like defeat to Sen. Reid

So lets say that you are Sen. Reid and needing to grasp at straws. In this Dana Bash interview, Sen. Reid tells us that he will not believe Gen. Petraeus when he tells him how things are going on in Iraq! Yes, he is such a lovely man, that Sen. Reid, probably set to do is great 'Karnak' bit, with putting an envelope to his head and foretelling doom and gloom. The Senator also boldly declares that Gen. Petraeus has said that the military is only '20%' of the solution in Iraq. Yes, indeedy, you do say that... but what is interesting is that it was Gen. Abizaid that said that. From Jim Hoagland, WaPo on 14 JAN 2007, who I got via the simple search of: petraeus "20 percent". And here is where it crops up:

The appointment of Petraeus is another indication of Bush's willingness to go on the offensive and his dissatisfaction with the cautious, bureaucratic approach taken to the Iraqi campaign by Gen. John Abizaid, who is departing as head of Central Command. Abizaid's repeated protestations to Bush and his national security team that military means could provide only 20 percent of what was needed to make Iraq secure wore thin in White House meetings, officials who were there have told me.
Now, I am looking around for the *real* Gen. Petraeus quote on that. Which comes from America Abroad Media, with an interview with the General on 17 SEPT 2006:
I: I wanted to get to the idea that counterinsurgency is 20-percent military, 80-percent political and sort of how that plays out.

R: Well that’s a--a common feature of counter-insurgency literature and--and Doctrine and has--has been for years. But it--well it’s--it’s from David Galula’s classic book, which in fact is read by all of the students at the Command and General Staff College, where I might add we had gone from having about five-percent of the curriculum of the average Command and General Staff College student covering counter-insurgency to over 40-percent and even higher depending on the electives. But Galula’s book--a number of others all certainly and you can certainly debate whether the percentage is 20/80 or 30/70 or who knows what but--but clearly there has to be a primacy of the political aspects. At the end of the day that’s what this is about--it is about helping another nation in this case forge a sense of political community, of unity, of moving forward together and then improving in the economic realm, improving in the realm of basic services, improving in terms of--of security, of justice, and all of the other aspects that any society aspires to enjoy.
Now, considering that Gen. Petreaus re-wrote the book on Counter-Insurgency, this is obviously interesting. So that 20-30% is first and foremost standard COIN training from classical literature on the subject, and, secondly, the other aspects are in the Nation being helped by the COIN work. The rest of that work is helping that Nation: stand up a viable and healthy political system, help the communities of that Nation coalesce into a National whole, improving the economic capability of that Nation so it can meet basic needs and provide good jobs, and ensuring that security is provided for safety and yet does not trample on justice.

Perhaps Sen. Reid was thinking of something else?

Suddenly that 20% is an *integrated* 20% which cannot be removed without the other 80% falling down. They are NOT separate pieces but an interlocking whole to make things work in tandem.

And then from Gen. Petraeus some insight as to what is necessary to facilitate that work:
I: In very clear terms – for listeners who at this point may see it as being very amorphous – who are the insurgents? Who are we fighting in Iraq and--and Afghanistan as well?

R: Well I’ll--I’ll leave Afghanistan to those who have served there and although I’ve visited there I would again defer to those who have been on the ground for extended periods. But certainly in Iraq the challenges right now are on the one hand the insurgents with whom we’ve been grappling and with whom the Iraqi Security Forces have been grappling since certainly mid-2003 but now also sectarian militias that have very much become active particularly in the wake again of the Gold Dome Mosque bombing on Samara when the third holiest shrine in Shia Islam was--was devastated by an explosion by--by insurgents we believe. And it was a time when as a result Shia militia in particular became much, much more active than they had been before and that has complicated things enormously. The insurgents certainly are a mix of some that are just literally religious extremists who will never reconcile with the kind of government that--that and society that Iraqis are--are striving to forge. There are certainly some former Saddam(ists), former regime members who again also will never have a place in--in the new Iraq. And there are--no there’s also a--a violent criminal element that has taken--taken advantage of the absence of the rule of law in certain parts of the country. Those are the kinds of challenges again that our Soldiers are--are contending with and that the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government as a whole are having to come to grips with and certainly Prime Minister Maliki’s initiative to reconcile with those Sunni Arabs in particular who felt that they did not have a place in the new Iraq is a very significant step forward and then the--the government will certainly have to come to grips with the militias who have caused such bloodshed, again particularly in the last six months or so.
It appears that in Iraq getting the *political* part of the mix along with the *security* part is necessary. In point of fact if you abandon the latter you do not get the former. Without fighting the Ba'athists, sectarian militias, and general plain thugs and killers-for-hire sorts, you don't GET the political part as there is no feeling of safety to take action, politically. And then the good General is asked if there is anything that people should know about what is going on:
I: Great; I feel like we’ve hit upon a lot of things. Is there anything in particular that you feel like people should know about? That often is overlooked?

R: Yeah; the Army’s response has been absolutely comprehensive and--and I think it’s very, very important to recognize that; this is not just the publication of--of a Manual; it’s not just changing the training at the National Training Center; it’s not just tweaking courses in the Command and General Staff College. It is across our Army. Our Chief of Staff charged those of us who are--are in this business in the institutional side of the Army to take an absolutely holistic approach and we have; so it’s all of our Doctrinal Manuals that are getting the--the re-look, the refinement--perhaps in some cases completely new Manuals. It’s all of our Commissioned, Non-Commissioned and Warrant Officer courses; it’s the training at each of our Combat Training Centers and even the Virtual Combat Training Center which uses simulations which used to be very, very exclusively kinetic. They were exclusively attrition models but now there’s even a non-kinetics effects model that has been developed and is being used on--on a larger basis. It is the capturing of observations, insights and lessons from what’s going on down range and providing those back and exploiting knowledge management tools to do that now as well, so that you can send them back with the touch of a send-key, so that you can share them in virtual communities and--and cyberspace and secure military networks. It’s revamping the organizational structures of our Army and it is adding certain Units that we need more of and then in some cases reducing numbers of others. So this is a very, very again comprehensive approach; it has been ongoing now for--for certainly for several years. We have a while to go but there has been very substantial progress that has been made in this effort.
Just some things that he sees as important to understand about how things are going. Which is a total overhaul of Doctrine, Training, feedback, organizations, networks, unit types and deployment, and turning that into a continual feedback environment. You know, not 'staying the course'? The thing that is harped on by so many critics. Guess things have not been staying the course for awhile now, but they just can't seem to pick up on that.

So what is it that Sen. Reid is thinking of? Surely not pure domestic politics? Because that has NO PLACE in outlook for the Foreign Affairs of the Nation. That was determined by the Supreme Court some time ago in the ruling on US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp.! This lovely ruling was handed down on 21 DEC 1936 and puts down the Law of the Land when addressing who can and cannot do Foreign Policy for the United States:

(2) The powers of the Federal Government over foreign or external affairs differ in nature and origin from those over domestic or internal affairs. P. 315.

(3) The broad statement that the Federal Government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs. In that field, the primary purpose of the Constitution was to carve from the general mass of legislative powers then possessed by the States such portions as it was thought desirable to vest in the Federal Government, leaving those not included in the enumeration still in the States. Id.

(4) The States severally never possessed international powers. P. 316.

(5) As a result of the separation from Great Britain by the Colonies, acting as a unit, the powers of external sovereignty passed from the Crown not to the Colonies severally, but to the Colonies in their collective and corporate capacity as the United States of America. Id.

(6) The Constitution was ordained and established, among other things, to form "a more perfect Union." Prior to that event, the Union, declared by the Articles of Confederation to be "perpetual," was the sole possessor of external sovereignty, and in the Union it remained without change save insofar as the Constitution, in express terms, qualified its exercise. Though the States were several, their people, in respect of foreign affairs, were one. P. 317.

(7) The investment of the Federal Government with the powers of external sovereignty did not depend upon the affirmative grants of the Constitution. P. 318.

(8) In the international field, the sovereignty of the United States is complete. Id.

(9) In international relations, the President is the sole organ of the Federal Government. P. 319.

(10) In view of the delicacy of foreign relations and of the power peculiar to the President in this regard, Congressional legislation which is to be made effective in the international field must [p306] often accord to him a degree of discretion and freedom which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. P. 319.

(11) The marked difference between foreign and domestic affairs in this respect is recognized in the dealings of the houses of Congress with executive departments. P. 321.

Yes, quite some time ago... that the sole organ of the Federal Government for international relations is the President. Not Congress in any way, shape or form. Now perhaps Sen. Reid can actually take that copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and READ THE DAMNED THING. The legislative is a check and balance as part of government and NOT co-equal as it has separated duties and responsibilities that are checks and balances to the executive and judicial. Perhaps that has escaped him, and he has forgotten the job description in the poor thing that hasn't seen the light of day, save when the jacket goes to the cleaners. Assuming he takes it out, of course.

To help out a bit here is the job description for this area. The following is from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, in part:
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Now, perhaps Sen. Reid can actually start DOING HIS JOB?

And if you cannot find it in your heart of hearts to actually do your job, Sen. Reid, then it is time to resign. I suggest you do so quickly after insulting the General commanding the forces of the Union in Iraq to help their people stand up for themselves after being ground under the heel of a tyrant for decades.

23 April 2007

Sen. Reid admits to not doing his job

Sen. Harry Reid does appear to have stuck his foot in it, then put that foot directly back in his mouth, which must be an unpleasant a metaphor as one wants to imagine. Take for example this little tidbit from the Newswire carrying his speech from the Woodrow Wilson Institute, 23 APR 2007 :

The very existence of this debate has already helped. The President's own Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, said that debate is essential to progress, that our efforts have been helpful to communicate to the Iraqis that American patience is limited.

Secretary Gates is right: American patience is limited. As the people's representatives, our patience is also limited.
I don't think that is a good rendition of what Mr. Gates put forth, like at the Leon Panetta Institute in 2005:

Robert Gates: I think an Iraqi government secure enough to invite us to leave we can count as a victory. My concern is that we have so little patience. We're so accustomed to watching television and we get irritated if it's a two-part series.


And we haven't wrapped it up by 9:00. Yesterday marked the end of World War II, sixty years ago. There are still American troops in Germany. We've had troops in Korea for over 50 years. The British have had troops in Cyprus for 40 years. I hope we're not in Iraq for those lengths of times, but if you want to change history, you have to be prepared to stay as long as it takes to do the job.


We all hope that it will be quick. That in a year or two the -- this government in Iraq will be secure enough that they will be able to invite us to leave and we can do so, leaving behind us a government that can survive and that will be very different from what preceded it.

Iraq is one of the oldest countries in the world, that in its thousands of years of history never known democracy.

We're irritated because the Russians haven't figured out democracy in 15 years. There are still all these problems going on in Russia, a country that in its thousand years of history has never known democracy.

We're still working on it after 300 years.

So I guess part of my concern is that there are too many in Americans in public life and in the media who want to know when it's over, who want to have a deadline for when we'll be out of there so we can write finish to this whole thing.

Well, for better or for worse, we have cast our lot and we need to stay there as long as necessary to get the job done. And it's been a long time in a lot of places. We hope it won't be nearly that long in Iraq. But I think it would be a disservice to the young men and women who have given their lives and been casualties in Iraq to leave prematurely and have everything go back to being the way it was.
Looking for the end credits to roll already, Sen. Reid? A commercial break in the program, perhaps? Something to make the world a much, much nicer place by running from terrorists? Apparently so, and suffering from Short Attention Span Theater Syndrome, to boot. Why's that? Well, a bit further into his diatribe of cowardice, Sen. Reid has this to say:
These are the facts on the ground, the hard truths facing our heroic
troops on the front lines:
-- American casualties are increasing, not decreasing. Four coalition troops have been killed each day this month, making it one of the deadliest months in the war in over two years. My home state of Nevada has lost 27 since the war began, and hundreds remain in harm's way, facing some of the most violent days since the war began.

-- Untold thousands of Iraqi civilians have died, while over two million more have fled the country as refugees.

-- The President used to talk a lot about establishing benchmarks for the Iraqi government. Yet despite our surge in troops and spending, they have failed to take meaningful steps toward achieving them.

-- Militias have not been disbanded and continue to cause terror. And now the Iraqi government itself, once the Bush Administration's greatest pride, stands on the brink of chaos.

-- Progress on amending the Constitution in order to ensure minority rights has languished, giving further fuel to the sectarian infighting.

-- Power, clean water and oil production - all of which are critical to establishing any kind of economic stability - are still not meeting minimum targets - leaving millions in despair.

-- 70% of Iraqi children are suffering from trauma like nightmares, bed wetting, stuttering and fear -- that some say could paralyze an entire generation that we had been counting on to harvest the seeds of democracy.

-- And to make up for shortages of combat-ready troops, tours of duty
have been extended, recently from 12 to 15 months, with many soldiers now on their third or fourth tour.
In short, there is no evidence that the escalation is working - and it should come as no surprise, because, as General Petraeus has said, the ultimate solution in Iraq is a political one, not a military one.
Now lets take each of those on its own, shall we?

First on the troop loss: I do mourn for the Voluntary Defenders of this Nation fallen in the Congressionally sanctioned warfare to remove a tyrant from power and help a people oppressed for centuries up from tyranny and despotism. Apparently Sen. Reid has forgotten that when one stands *with* the oppressed and weak, you become a target just as they do by those that would impose repression upon them.

With that said, that casualties mount is of some question as casualties always mount. The death toll from automobiles have been mounting since they were FIRST INVENTED. If you wish to stop those mounting casualties, we can all stop driving. And that might help on carbon dioxide emissions too! Until you put forth a better path to helping the weak stand against oppression, you might want to see what the US Armed Forces are doing in that realm, Sen. Reid. Or have you forgotten that the 'Tree of Liberty is watered by the blood of Tyrants and Patriots'?

Second: Strangely enough when you are too *strong* to be constantly targeted those that would prey upon the weak move to weaker targets. They no longer go full out against the New Iraqi Army and Security Forces because *they* have proven to be hard targets. So the terrorists go after civilians. Women. Children. Boys and Girls. Men and Women. Those seeking to make families and lead a peaceful life. Ever hear of those, Sen. Reid? Using the deaths of innocents to *abandon them* is pure and absolute cowardice and detestable for anyone who has within their power the ability to *pay* for helping them. I find that attitude reprehensible and disgusting in the extreme, as it is blatantly stating that the US will feed innocents into the hands maw of destructive tyranny when we get a few scratches from those that would do so.

And you may be surprised to know that many of those 2 million that left were individuals who *worked* and *cooperated* with the Ba'athist regime. They have left for a reason: they fear for their lives as those they tortured and the families of those they killed are out to get them. That is a reconciliation that only Iraqis can make, but NO ONE can do that until the terrorists, thugs, and would-be despots are put to heel.

Third: 'Benchmarks' are these things known as 'Goals'. Also 'Objectives'. The United States has a stated set of objectives for everyone in it, which includes: Forming a more perfect Union, Establishing Justice, Providing for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, Securing the Blessings of Liberty for Ourselves and Our Posterity. Apparently we have fallen short of the mark. Is it time to give up yet?

Fourth: Militias have been told to stop fighting and lay down their arms. They have not done so. The Coalition Forces and New Iraqi Army are finding and killing them. Why would anyone want to leave around armed thugs and terrorists? Seems a pretty silly thing to do, if you ask me. That those same militias want to *grab power* in any way they can and will NOT lay down their arms is pretty telling. That they have run out of places to run and hide is EXTREMELY telling. And those that try to 'lie low' are being ratted out by their neighbors who have had it with terror, death and destruction. If you leave those self-same militias around, they will do *worse*. There is no such a thing as a Legitimate Armed Political Party, Sen. Reid. Let us hope that you do not go down that path as it only leads to tyranny of the strong ruling the weak. Unless you think such things would be good in the US of A? Let me know when *killing* terrorists, gangsters, thugs, and armed killers wishing to impose their will upon others is NOT a good way to handle them.

Fifth: Constitutional progress is totally in the hands of Iraqis, Sen. Reid. They have this thing known as a democratically elected representative government. They are going to get more of that this summer with Provincial Elections. Those will shake things up a bit as their democracy gets stronger and breaks up the logjam of the current parties, as they aren't doing such a hot job of representing the Iraqi People. This summer will come the harsh dose of political medicine you are looking for IF you do not abandon Iraq to the thugs and terrorists.

Sixth: You may want to check with USAID and USACE on the infrastructure. There are actual, real timetables for ALL of those things. And do note: many of the people doing without NOW did without under Saddam. You may want to see what neighboring Syria is like which ALSO has limited power, potable water and sanitation capability. Seems that dictatorships only apportion those sorts of things out to favorites. We are working hard with Iraqis on that and the USACE timelines stretch out to 2015. You might want to think about putting those in danger by a quick withdrawal, Sen. Reid.

Seventh: Let me tell you a bit of oral history from my family. The prayers offered by Poles for generations and all the way up to the 20th century went something like this, after giving the major portion of a prayer: "... and God save us from Genghis Khan." That was in the early 20th century when that was finally DROPPED as WORSE had shown up. Children were still brought up to FEAR Genghis Khan right up to the modern era, Sen. Reid. A 'generation' traumatized? That Polish prayer started in 1278! Over 670 years of praying that the Khan did *not* return, Sen. Reid. Getting 'traumatized' by war and wetting one's bed is one thing... to have the fear of one man's Horde for generations...for centurie...makes that pale into *nothing*. Don't try to tell me that what they are facing is bad, considering what made Poles pray like THAT.

Eighth: Sen. Reid you may want to pay attention to the following which is from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, in part:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Guess who gets to help out and find more troops, Sen. Reid? Pick up a mirror and look deeply into it. You are complaining that you are NOT doing your job, Sen. Reid? That you are, indeed, unfit to be in the Senate? You are openly stating that for the Republic to hear? Much thanks, Sen. Reid! You may resign as soon as you like as this job is obviously too much for you. If you can't do YOUR job, then how dare YOU complain about other People who depend upon you when they have problems that are caused directly BY YOU?

In case you forgot, Sen. Reid, you have admitted that this is not the job of the Senate, this securing places. In 19 JUN 1996 you said the following during debate:

Sen. Reid: I think it would be bad policy for the U.S. Senate to start handling security for the White House. I think it would be bad public policy for the U.S. Senate to start handling security of the Capitol complex, especially without congressional hearings.


Based on information from the Secret Service, the closure is necessary to protect the President and all those who work at and visit the White House every day. The Department of Treasury remains committed to that decision. This, Mr. President, is not a decision to protect President Clinton. It is a decision to protect the President of the United States and those thousands of people that work in, and have contact with, the White House on a daily basis.

Closure was necessary because the White House security review was not able to identify any alternative to prohibiting vehicular traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue that would ensure the protection of the President and others in the White House complex from explosive devices carried in vehicles near the perimeter.

Mr. President, an explosive device in the trunk of a car out on Pennsylvania Avenue would do significant damage to the White House, its property, and the people in the White House.
Sen. Reid, if the Senate could not figure out how to secure a couple of blocks of downtown Washington, DC and had to hand that over to the Executive, then what makes YOU so fit to figure out how to run a war in Iraq? You cannot have 'security by committee' nor can you run a War that way. If the U. S. Senate cannot figure out how to secure things at HOME then how can it ever hope to do so in Iraq, Sen. Reid?

I suggest you resign, Sen. Reid.

You are unwilling to do the work of Congress in Wartime that has been authorized by Congress.

The United States cannot succeed if YOU fail it and the rest of Congress with you.

And by not doing your job, by not taking your responsibilities seriously from the day that Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq, and by not preparing the Union for War it is YOU that have failed, Sen. Reid.

You and every single Congresscritter that has not done their job.

If Congress fails to support ITS missions, then the Nation itself is on the edge of failure, too. A damned robust economy could support all-out war and our forefathers found one recovering from a Depression was able to fight a World War quite well. But an economy does not make a Nation, Sen. Reid. You volunteered for the job you are in.

And have failed at it, completely by your own reckoning, in not supporting the troops, not properly scoping out the needs of the Armed Forces, not ensuring that ready supplies and replacements are at hand and not adjusting the entire Nation to War.

Perhaps someone actually willing to do some *work* can be found to replace you.

Maybe one of those illegal aliens willing to do the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do.

21 April 2007

Peacebonding Weapons - For Responsible and Ethical Open Carry

Today the events in society have hit home with avengeance. One individual using weapons for wanton killing of fellow Citizens has grabbed headlines once more. And the sorrow over such deaths have called for some to re-examine that within context of society. Many have sought changes in gun laws which only addresses the weapon, not their use. Adding more laws into government that it cannot effectively enforce makes mockery of Law and Justice. That must not continue if Law and Justice are to have any meaning left within our society. And as our society of democratic ideals is based upon the individual Citizen and we are the final arbiters of what is Just for each of us, and we are enjoined to make a 'more perfect Union' amongst ourselves using our Rights to uphold our Responsibilities as given to us in the Preamble, I put forward a more perfect way of doing things, which, like all things created by man is imperfect, fallible and not pure light and goodness as that is incapable by the hand of man. But doing *better*... that we should be capable of doing by taking a step in the right direction, not in a 'non-wrong' one which may be wrong but in a different way.

The basis for ensuring domestic Tranquility through force of Bearing Arms is ancient.

To that end, as lawlessness and those of Evil or Reckless intent can be in any guise, any where within society and that we cannot find nor stop them from committing their acts, it is time to return to Ancient ways and remind ourselves that the basis for Civil society is Just use of Arms.

With Open Carry of Arms not banned in many States, I call for the Armed Citizens of those States to Carry their Arms of any sort, openly upon their bodies.

To demonstrate that an individual is NOT a Lawless nor Evil person I enjoin those that DO decide to carry Arms Openly to show Peacebond upon their Arms.

The Peacebond, as I am familiar with it, comes from various conventions and gatherings of individuals to show their Arms as part of Period Costumes.

The Peacebond is a simple strip of white cloth placed around an Armament or Weapon so that it is clearly visible at all times, and with seal, marking, tie, tag or other thing to identify the Bondsman or Bondswoman, and will requite the Breaking of the Peacebond to fully utilize that Armament. This is placed by a cognizant Authority at such gatherings to ensure that this Armament or Weapon will not be drawn in anger while it is carried and that the Individual assumes full and complete responsibility for its carry in Civil fashion. The individual and Armament or Weapon are duly noted in a book or register and simple enjoinment to go In Peace is given.

To the Individual Openly Carrying Arms this is a simple, visual statement that One acknowledges that they have Arms, are cognizant in Owning Arms, and will Use Arms to Defend the Peace. That Individual acknowledges that they will be held accountable for Any Breaking of the Peacebond by non-Bondsmen. The Individual Acknowledges full and complete Responsibility over that Armament or Weapon, will use it only in Lawful events, will put themselves at risk FIRST if it is taken from them for Un-Lawful use, and will safeguard themselves, their family and loved ones and the unarmed members of society with their Arms.

The Bondsman or Bondswoman has simple duty: To be the recognized Individual, Authority, Spiritual Guide, or other Acknowledged Individual to ensure that any Armament or Weapon brought to them is Properly Secured in fashion that such will be Visible at All Times and that the Imprint, Seal or Particular Cloth that can be Traced Back to YOU will be secured on that Armament or Weapon. An Individual seeking such Peacebond shall Openly Acknowledge that they will only Use their Arms in Lawful fashion so as to Uphold and Protect society.

Yes such simple things can be easily mimicked or forged. That is not the *point*.

The point is to ensure that society rests upon the firm foundations of Law and is Upheld by its Armed Citizens.

By putting on Peacebond to a Armament or Weapon, an Individual demonstrates their commitment to Lawfully Bearing Arms and using such in a fashion that will NOT endanger society. And that they will fully hold themselves accountable to that very thing.

A 'safety' is only a mechanical interlock on a weapon.

A Peacebond is the social interlock on an Individual to Uphold themselves in support of society.

Both can be defeated by simple means.

The second ensures that Others will self-enforce the Lawful use of Arms when No One Else is around to do so with civil means.

20 April 2007

A lone voice outside the echo chamber, Mr. Burns and the NYT

Mr. Burns for the NY Times is, apparently, not getting much of an airing by his company, even though he is their Bureau Chief in Baghdad. His recent series of interviews offer an interesting contrast on what he sees and what we see as pointed out by Bruce Chapman at Discovery Blog in this article of 16 APR 2007:N. Y. Time Bureau Chief versus N. Y. Times Editorial Page? (ht: PJM) The link at Discovery Blog will take you to the NYT video site and the CBC series featuring this is Battle For Baghdad: No Way Out and has a better linkage to the three different parts of the John Burns interview.

The first part is Chapter 1: Going Underground, Burns discusses the financing behind the insurgency. I offer up my best attempt at transcribing with this as Mr. Burns' view of the insurgency in Iraq. I will then comment after that [all emphasizing mine throughout].

The fundamental facts which we should have realized, those of us who were in Baghdad during the war, was that Saddam saw this coming from a long way off. Saying "Bring it on, Bush, we're ready for you. You can drive all the way to get to Baghdad, but when you get to Baghdad you'll be slaughtered." It was quite a good sucker play, because we actually saw the Saddam Fedayeen, really nasty black balaclava clad thug on the back of pick-up trucks, hundreds of them around Baghdad, and we thought, and I wrote at the time this could be a two or three month battle for the city.

But what happened? The Americans entered Baghdad from the south and the west. They ran a couple of exploratory reconnaissance missions and they discovered there was no resistance. They were in moving out towards the Green Zone, the Republican Palace, within 36 hours of arriving the outskirts of Baghdad. What did that mean?

It didn't mean that Saddam and his people weren't ready to fight, it just meant that they were going to continue to fight underground. That the terror, that had been very overt...

The striking thing about Saddam Hussein's Iraq was, unlike North Korea, and some of the nasty places I've been to, great effort is made to hide the terror. Saddam all along wanted the terror to be accessible and visible. Why? Because it was on that, that that minority government rested its power was on fear.


What did they do?

They took that machinery of fear and terror underground
. In Saddam's case, as we know, literally underground you remember the little...you know, in a spider hole when they found him. The Ba'athists went underground. They drove out of Baghdad the day American troops entered the city with $2 billion in cash. *In cash*. In steel trunks taken from the Iraq Reserve Bank, the Central Bank.

A great deal of that money has gone into financing the insurgency. Some of that money has found its way to al Qaeda. They still work in concert with each other, only very recently, since Bush announced his surge, we've seen the American military command announcing that they've done raids on insurgent, Sunni insurgent, strongholds. In which they have found evidence of this continuing interaction between the Ba'athists and al Qaeda. Its a tactical, of course, alliance on both sides, both sides will eventually have to deal with each other should they prevail.


And how do they finance it?

Part of it is the money they stole from the Central Bank.

Its sustained by corruption in the oil industry. That's theft, literally theft, from pipelines and refineries, of both crude and refined products that re-export to neighboring countries for resale at a much higher price.

Its sustained by counterfeiting. Including counterfeiting of American dollars. Very sophisticated operation.

And its sustained by kidnap. Kidnap for ransom, which is, I would say, next to the oil industry, the biggest industry in Iraq.


We have a secret document from American Agencies, which form their committee on the National Security Council, look into the financing of the insurgency. Which calculated two... two interesting figures. They calculated that the insurgency was probably financing itself, self-financing, on the basis, they estimated, $200 million a year.

I think it's a little low, but lets just take that figure and see 'what it does mean?'

The American military is spending $8 billion a month. 8,000 million dollars a month in Iraq. I did a little bit of arithmetic and it turns out that if the American military civil intelligence agencies are correct in saying that the insurgency is being financed by as little as $200 million a year, and they have the capability to continue that indefinitely, because it is internal and self-sustaining. It means that their operations are costing less for a year than what American military operations are costing for a single day.
That is why it is called 'asymmetrical warfare.'

I do have some quibbles about Saddam's 'saw this coming from a long way off'. His pre-war INTEL was being garnered from a Russian diplomat he had bribed and he had also worked with the Russians behind the scenes and was confident of his ability to stay in power. That was due to the Turks not allowing the US 4th Infantry Division to operate out of Turkey and into Iraq. That removed one-third of the US effective fighting force for months, while it trans-shipped from Turkey to Kuwait. Saddam knew the amount of time that would take and fully expected that a Gulf War, pre-attack bombing scenario would play itself out again. That is not to say that Saddam did not have contingency plans or had been preparing other plans to go forward. Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Commander of the Fedayeen Special Forces, confirms that there were such plans in-place as seen in an interview at Ray Robison's site:

Al-Tikriti says he knows Saddam's weapons are in Syria because of contingency plans established as far back as the late 1980s, in the event either Damascus or Baghdad were taken over.
"Not to mention, I have discussed this in-depth with various contacts of mine who have confirmed what I already knew," he said.
But his knowledge of what the battle plans of the Coalition was is garnered from Gateway Pundit's link to this information on 24 MAR 2006. From alocal Fox affiliate we get this information:

A Russian ambassador may have leaked U.S. war plans to the Saddam Hussein government on the eve of attack, recently released Iraqi documents say.

It is one of five documents dealing with Saddam, Osama bin Laden and others reported by ABC News. One document says Saddam personally approved substantive talks with bin Laden in 1995 that explored a possible operational relationship.

Two reports from March 2003 and addressed to a Saddam secretary, describe details of the U.S.-led invasion, reportedly disclosed by the Russian ambassador. One covered troop size and armament, the other the invasion route.
And from Moscow News comes this:

Two documents dated March 2003, on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion, and summarized by the ABC News Investigative Unit, described details of the U.S. military plan. The first document is a handwritten account of a meeting with the Russian ambassador Vladimir Teterenko and details his description of the composition, size, location and type of U.S. military forces arrayed in the Gulf and Jordan. The document includes the exact numbers of tanks, armored vehicles, different types of aircraft, missiles, helicopters, aircraft carriers, and other forces and also their exact locations. The ambassador also described the positions of two Special Forces units, ABC reported.

The second document is a typed account, signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hammam Abdel Khaleq, which states that Teterenko told the Iraqis that the United States was planning to deploy its force into Iraq from Basra in the South and up the Euphrates, and would avoid entering major cities on the way to Baghdad, which is, in fact what happened. The documents also state "Americans are also planning on taking control of the oil fields in Kirkuk." The information was obtained by the Russians from "sources at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar," according to the document.

This document also includes an account of an incident in which several Iraqi Army officers (presumably seeking further elaboration of the U.S. war plans) contacted the Russian Embassy in Baghdad and stated that the ambassador was their source. This caused great embarrassment to Teterenko, and the officers were instructed "not to mention the ambassador again in that context."

Teterenko is mentioned in documents released by the Volker Commission, which investigated the Oil for Food scandal, as receiving allocations of 3 million barrels of oil - worth roughly $1.5 million.
The outlook that Saddam was unprepared for the sudden change-up in Coalition outlook to strike so quickly is garnered from this US Joint Forces Command document that has analysis of the Iraqi view of events (24 MAR 2006). Here are the major findings:

According to USJFCOM officials, the IPP report provides useful lessons learned that can be factored into ongoing and future operational planning against a similar closed regime.
Noteworthy items mentioned in the unclassified IPP report include:
Iraqi regime belief that Russia and France would act on behalf of their own economic interests in Iraq to block any UN Security Council actions to authorize an invasion.

Fedayeen Saddam planned for attacks in Europe (including London) and the Middle East

Saddam was more concerned about internal revolt than a coalition invasion; therefore bridges were not blown, oil fields were not torched, and the south was not flooded - all part of the inadequate and ineffective military planning done prior to the invasion.

Saddam and his inner circle believed their own propaganda

Chemical Ali was convinced Iraq no longer had WMD, but many colleagues never stopped believing in them.

Years of UN sanctions and coalition bombing had reduced the military effectiveness and usefulness of the Iraqi military forces.

Military and ministry leaders lied to Saddam about the true state of their capabilities.

Iraq military capability was also eroded by irrelevant guidance from the political leadership, creation of "popular" militias, prominent placement of Saddam relatives and sycophants in key leadership positions, and an onerous security apparatus.

The regime ordered the distribution of ammunition around the country to support a prolonged war with the coalition, but not to support the insurgency or a guerilla war.
The IPP report is just one example of the work JCOA does on a daily basis.
Notice that Saddam was more concerned about an internal revolt, and needed his infrastructure intact in order to continue the regime on an even keel. So many people wondered 'why didn't he burn the oil wellheads?' That is your answer - he needed the oil and didn't think the Coalition could attack with 4ID in transit. Basically Saddam did not think, even with being handed the *battle plans* that the Coalition would go ahead without one-third of its force on the ground.

So, while I do respect Mr. Burns' view, the fact is that the type of internal damage that would be necessary prior to bollixing up a Coalition attack just was not done. Saddam, if he was that far-sighted, would *not* want to have a Nation without him to have easy access to petrodollars. The means for recovering without him would have been left behind and that is not in keeping with Saddam's outlook given the Iran-Iraq war and his invasion of Kuwait. The man destroyed anything that might help his enemies and was ruthless in that outlook.

What I can envision, however, is Saddam realizing that his forces are so out of place to counter a US attack that he formulated a scheme on the fly to save his skin and that of his closest advisers and contacts. That said, even up to 1 APR 2003 there was an attempt to put together an armored counter-attack by the Republican Guards, but they met up with Marines who coordinated a CBU-105 drop and destroyed the front one-third of that armored attack, causing disorder in the rest of the Guards. This is not to say that Saddam was not just 'buying time', and could well have been, but when a leader puts an entire armored force into motion to stop an invading enemy, one does not think that one-third of that force will be destroyed in 10 minutes.

That said, Saddam's departure, no matter what the reasoning was very, very hasty. In that Mr. Burns is absolutely correct and stands as the #1 problem to any post-war planner and to every single critic who puts forth that the US should have 'not dismissed the government and army'. That begs the question: what was left TO dismiss? I first looked at that in What is the strategy in Iraq? and with Dropping the dime on the oil-drop. Mr. Burns cites the reason why there was no government nor military nor police to dismiss.

They had run away.

The entire power structure of the Saddam regime evaporated leaving nothing behind in its wake. Every single post-war scenario is built upon having *something* left to transition *from*. They were not there. Every single plan, no matter its source, be it CIA, State Dept., DoD... none of them had that as a contingency to look to. Saddam dropped the whole damn country into the laps of the Coalition and ran to make trouble. Do remember this as we go on in the series, as I do not point out faults to just naysay, but to help show why things happened as they did. We do know that the Central Bank was being robbed blind because we ran across a tractor trailer truck full of CASH. As the Sydney Morning Herald points out with this 25 MAY 2003 article from the Sun-Herald, even gold bars were being transported:

US soldiers in Iraq seized a truck believed to be loaded with 2000 gold bars worth as much as $762.8 million during a routine search near the Syrian border.

"The bars may have a total worth of 500 million US dollars, depending on carat weight and purity," the US Central Command said.

Soldiers from the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment stopped the Mercedes-Benz truck and its two occupants yesterday in Al Qaim, finding the 18 kilogram bars, which measured 10 centimetres by 13 centimetres by 25 centimetres.

"The occupants told the soldiers that they had been paid a total of 350,000 dinars ($534) to pick up the truck in Baghdad and drive it to an unnamed individual in Al Qaim," the US Central Command said in a statement.
This and the seizure of funds at palaces and other locations, totaling over $1 billion dollars and the flood of money post-war, before the interim debacle, all point to much in the way of that initial money Saddam took being liberally *lost*. For that amount in paper cash and here $0.762 billion in gold being lost, the Saddam regime was losing money quickly during those first few months after the war. Not something you would expect from an orderly escape that was preplanned. Still to lose that amount through negligence and poor planning indicates that at least an equal amount is available. Otherwise folks would have been defending the cash that *was* found better. Basically, without good accounting by the Central Bank, which Saddam treated as his personal safety deposit box and piggy bank, there is no accounting for exactly how much money there was to start with in Iraq. So exactly how much the Ba'athists were actually able to retain as they scampered off is of question, but $2 billion sounds as good as anything, really. Just remember that it is not a really known, but inferred by later events.

Lastly, on the financial area, there is counterfeiting, which was rife for the Saddam Iraqi Dinar. When the presses weren't running for the regime, that is. Printing money is very easy. Making it worth something is much more difficult. On this front, however, there may be an insight as to *where* Iraq could get counterfeit US dollars from: North Korea. It is not beyond imagination that North Korea had something that Iraq wanted, and would offer supernotes instead of cash in large quantities. This is seen by the trade between Saddam's Iraq and North Korea for missile technology, as cited by the Washington Times in 04 OCT 2003 article interviewing David Kay:

Saddam Hussein's government paid North Korea $10 million for medium-range Nodong missile technology in the months before the Iraq war, but never received any goods because of U.S. pressure, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq said yesterday.

David Kay, who is leading the Iraq Survey Group, said there is "a lot of evidence" Iraq was rebuilding its banned missile program, which it actively hid from U.N. weapons inspectors.


On North Korea, Mr. Kay said the Iraqis launched negotiations for North Korean missile assistance in 1999 and the cooperation continued through 2002. It was the first time U.S. officials had disclosed a link between Iraq's missile program and North Korea.


Under the terms of the North Korean deal, Iraq was to receive "missile technology for the Nodong, a 1,300-kilometer missile, as well as other nonmissile related but prohibited technologies."

"The Iraqis actually advanced the North Koreans $10 million," he said. "In late 2002, the North Koreans came to the Iraqis as a result of the Iraqis inquiring 'Where is the stuff we paid for?' and the North Koreans said, 'Sorry, there's so much U.S. attention on us that we cannot deliver it.' "

Baghdad then demanded that North Korea return the $10 million. "And when Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced, the North Koreans were still refusing to give the $10 million back," he said.

The information was disclosed in documents obtained by the U.S. survey group that showed "the Iraqis attempting more vigorously every time to recover that $10 million."

Mr. Kay said the bad deal was "a lesson in negotiating with the North Koreans that the Iraqis found out the hard way."

"Money in advance may not come your way if there is nondelivery on a contract," he said.

And there we have paid for missiles not forthcoming and Iraq demanding payment.... why not get into the supernote distribution business and wage economic war on the US at the same time? Easy enough to do, and, considering Iraq did not have the complex paper making, ink making and variable press and ink technologies to make high class forgeries, using North Korean ones would definitely suffice. Forging the old Iraqi Dinar was pretty easy and a lucrative business by many in the Middle East. Forging US $100 bank notes, on the other hand, was and is very difficult and is a specialist's realm.

Of all the things that people do *not* understand about terrorism, the single largest is the cost of it. To put it frankly, it is damned cheap. From my article noted above for supernotes, let me pick out some costs of things on the open market:
Now they may only have a few $10's Million in circulation, but your average AK-47 is $300-$800 with a bit of fanciness to get you up to the high class $1,000 models. And your average RPG-7 launcher costs about $100-$500 each with each anti-tank warhead about $50-$100 each. So even $10,000 is enough to get a few folks started on the road to cheap jihad. This stuff is damned cheap, courtesy of the global armaments and export market, and the fact the AK-47 is so easy to manufacture that village blacksmiths can easily make spare parts and even whole weapons using a single original as a template. Those low-end, hand made in a village ones are on the low end of cost and reliability, but they still get the job done.
Hit a terrorist, get an AK-47 *free*! The AK-47 is the potato chip of the terrorism realm, you can't own just one. For $2 billion you can get a boatload of AK-47s, RPGs with tens of warheads apiece and they are cheaper by the dozen, detonation cord, plastic explosives, and even some high class weapons like the Dragunov Sniper Rifle of which we have seen more than a few in theater. In point of fact there is one thing that actually does translate well from the business world to the terrorist world: the most expensive part of any operation is the people, not the equipment. But beyond that, is the fact that $200 million/year is about what is expected for equipment upkeep on $2 billion's worth. Which makes the coincidence a bit suspect, actually. Be that as it may, even with *just* $200 million you find yourself in the same realm as FARC, Taliban and other organizations making more than that per year, but having limited appeal and lifespan. You find yourself running out of people before you run out of equipment. The huge numbers and size of weapons caches found in Iraq, often including *tons* of explosives and hundreds of AK-47s points to an insurgency that is swimming in cash. But dying for lack of people. This can be seen as early as AUG 2006 when the very *first* start of containing the violence in Baghdad got serious - tons, literal *tons* of weapons and explosives caches were found and continue to BE found by the Multi-National Forces in Iraq.

Ba'athism, for all of its Fascistic roots, has one huge problem in an era when they have been ousted from power. It is a cold, hard fact of life that they have been so used to being in power, that they have forgotten the basics of what it means to build a true insurgency. Funding is helpful, yes, and utilizing cronies, sycophants and those you can intimidate all to the good, but that still gets you no closer to the actual realm of State power than it does the Mafia. Actually, the Mafia by being at it for over a century have that pretty well down pat, and figured their way around those bottlenecks in many societies. Ba'athists turned to terrorism are just thugs with an attitude. Linking up with a known source of good knowledge of running terrorist operations is necessary if you want to succeed. The Ba'athists found that Hezbollah wasn't taking phone calls, the Fatah faction was out of time and power and busy elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood was cold-shoulder territory, the Kurds were killing them, and so that left the Saudis and al Qaeda, plus any residual good will with the butcher Zarqawi and the Ba'athist helped Ansar al-Islam, which was just an al Qaeda franchise operation.

One look at al Qaeda and suddenly you know you have problems as they, too, are cash rich and manpower poor. Even worse is that their recruitment hasn't helped them along with losing the the best middle-managers of the entire organization over the last few years. al Qaeda, after trying the Bojinka plot has just about sworn off of old fashioned terrorism and big complex plots. They found their perfect Template of Terror from another organization and now fill that niche in the terror ecosystem. Theirs is the long-range, well researched plot, that is tightly knit and limits its visibility. They are not the PLO or HAMAS sending out the suicide bomber du jour. al Qaeda is the 'big spectacle' group, that goes for the most gain from the least exposure. It has been long decades since they went after the USSR with many another organization in Afghanistan and those fighters have either drifted away from the organization or are dead. The 'corporate knowledge' of how to fight that kind of fight is limited to a few at the very top, and they were never out in the field sort of leaders. They are just about it for the Ba'athists in Iraq, unless they can get *any* help from their 'brothers' in Syria who are just shaking their heads in the 'you have got to be kidding' sort of way. al Qaeda can get that entree into the rest of the Transnational Terrorism internetwork, but they want control. And that is what the Ba'athists and Sunni Arabs are no longer doing.

The only way to end the insurgency is to end the corruption of low level officials and such in the government and industry. That is harder said than done as it is traditional in the Middle East to pay the overhead for corruption to get things done. South America has this exact, same problem going after narcoterrorists, and every Nation on the continent has problems with corruption aiding and abetting terrorists and gangsters of various sorts. Convincing the Iraqi People that this is *killing them* will be a very, very tough sell.

On to the second part at the NYT video site:

The country was held together by force. In the case of Saddam Hussein by extreme terror. And I think those of us who became mesmerized over the years... I went to... I've been going to Iraq since the late 1980's... by the scale of that terror... umm... that we failed to understand the history of Iraq.


That, if you went in there and you toppled Saddam Hussein and you then blew the whistle and said: 'Ok, there's a new set of rules here.' You are inevitably going to liberate passions and hatreds that have been locked up for centuries.


You can argue, and historians will argue about this, but I think, with one brief exception in the 17th century, the Maliki government represents the first time that the Shi'ite, who are in the majority in that part of the Arabian Desert that became known as Iraq, have got their hands on the levers of government.


If you add into this that the Americans have created the political process that brought these Shi'ites to power, and then armed them with the biggest militia of all, thats the New Iraqi Armed Forces which are overwhelmingly Shi'ite.


And all of the sudden they are back there and they ride in on American tanks, they compete in elections, they win a sweeping majority and they inherit a New Iraqi Army which is overwhelmingly Shi'ite. Of course they are going to want to consolidate this moment in history.


They've never believed in this idea of a Unity Government. After all, give them credit where credit is due, they know Iraq much better than we do. They've never believed that the oppressor... and they don't think that it was just Saddam Hussein, they think that oppression was an expression of the will of the Sunni people of Iraq, the 20% minority Sunni people. They believe it is going to come to a civil war. And they believe, too, and who could gainsay them, that the Americans are going to go... if not this month, then next month or perhaps the month after... and so everything they do is calculated on that. They regard these Armed Forces that they've inherited as being a trump card in that coming civil war, as they regard the militias.
The factor that Mr. Burns is glossing over is that the 20% Sunni population he is citing are Arabs another 20% Sunni population are Kurds. That does change the complexion of the overall state of things in Iraq, and does not allow for the simple concept he is putting forth.

One of the misunderstandings of the New Iraqi Army is that while it does, indeed, reflect the demographics of Iraq, it is patently *not* a sectarian Army but a National Army. This factor is something that the political spectrum refuses to digest and incorporate into their thinking. While the Shia political leadership may view the New Iraqi Army this way, the Army itself does not. The pure ignorance of what it takes to actually Create an Army that is reliable and adheres to its National Government is something that is so deeply ingrained in American attitudes that we take it as the *norm*. I devoted an entire article on Creating an Army and look at the history of the US Armed Forces and then look at typical Middle Eastern Armies and their defects. For all the fact that Americans think that a conscript Armed Forces have dominated the entire existence of them, they are, in fact, the minority of time for the Armed Forces of the US. Creating and sustaining an all-Volunteer force is something that has taken over a century for the US to get good at and that knowledge is hard won and interrupted by periods where conscription is necessary.

In the Middle East the exact opposite is true: Armies are from unwilling conscripts, poorly treated, and little effort is put into training such soldiers and they are seen as thoroughly expendable. Regimes use such Armies as bargaining chips amongst their Armed Forces, Secret Police, Regular Police, Paramilitaries, Political Groups and other groups. In a word these Armies are highly Factionalized. The backbone of an Army that can actually adhere to its Nation is *not* the Commissioned Officer Corps, which in the Middle East are plum jobs for favoritism, but the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps which must translate orders from on-high into something that works for their soldiers. In the Middle East graft and corruption are so rampant that the NCO Corps is seen as an opportunity to chisel money out of the conscripts. In the West the NCO Corps is the most highly trusted tier of soldiers as they have the knowledge and background of their soldiers, modern warfare and what it takes to ensure that a job is done well.

In Iraq one of the major things that is not understood is the integration of the Kurdish Militias into the New Iraqi Army. These units are highly dedicated and professional in their outlook and have some of the best soldiers and officers in it. A major problem for any purely religious division is having to deal with the Sunni Kurds and their competence. Many on the Left said that the Kurds would *never* die for Arabs, and yet there are five or more Brigades of Kurds in Baghdad right NOW. This is *not* a hallmark of a Middle Eastern force which just might not show up if such orders were given. It is the hallmark of a professional military establishment that has a level of internal order and discipline to it that is unknown in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Also in that article on Creating an Army article I go through how the New Iraqi Army is constituted and how it looks at its recruits. This may not seem like much, but to get a good NCO Corps in five years, you must treat the new troops *right* now. If that is not done then no precedent is established for future success. This esprit de corps is essential for any modern Armed Forces as history will show tradition of capability and competence to which future generations must live up to. That is easily destroyed by corruption, graft and incompetence on an ongoing basis as this is not only a recognition of modern trust amongst the soldiers and command structure but that this trust goes back in time, as well. Anyone wishing to assert that the Old Iraqi Army, if it could be *found*, was worth having for anything needs to demonstrate how an Army used to casual abuse, torture and killing of civilians is one that would not require more personnel to oversee than would put effective boots on the ground. That was a non-starter even if they *did* stick around which, thankfully, they did not. Soldiers and low-level officers have joined the New Army, but with the understanding that this is NOT the Old Army and that competence is first and foremost.

The Shia political parties are slowly coming to this realization that *other* militias are not being tolerated. In point of fact they are ALL the targets of the New Iraqi Army and this Army is slowly spiraling upwards in competence and capability. Creating a reliable Army takes years if not decades. It cannot be rushed as it requires passage of time to solidify into a cohesive force with history and background and implicit knowledge of how to act and react in any given situation. This is slowly dawning on the relatively thick-headed Shias that run militias and terrorist operations: the New Iraqi Army may be mostly Shia in background, but it is not Shia in outlook. And if the idiotic militias actually could figure out what they were doing to start fighting each other, the Army would not take sides and would let any head of government *know* that. And their backing would be the Kurds, who are the feared group in that region as they have fought and survived through some of the worst of tyrants and have a history of military leadership and competence. If the radical 15% or so of Iraq wanted to fight each other, they would be in the cross-hairs of the Army.

Beyond that the political and ethnic set-up for a civil war is a non-starter in Iraq. In my article Building the Mosaic of Iraq, I look at the necessary problems on the bottom-up side of things, once the top-down problem structure is in place. The hard work is being done on a wide and broad scale to actually create the necessary Civil Institutions that will *not* take sides in conflicts. That is damned hard to do, but to get a reliable government in place it is absolutely vital. You *might* be able to get a civil war started, but it would quickly devolve into tribe on tribe warfare and no longer be sectarian, as that is the most reliable affiliation for the people of Iraq. Government needs to actually win trust there, not kill its way to dominance.

On just the gross side of breakdowns, Iraq is essentially a three-sided Nation inter-divided between religion and ethnicity. Even if the Arab Shia majority tried to go after the Sunni Arab minority, they are effectively ceding power to the Kurds which would be the natural leadership and control of the Army. And if that Army had to step in, they would *not* choose sides amongst children. In a Nation of three sides in which two fight, it is the Third that wins. Like the tripartite Federal Government in the US that self-balances, this inter-division of Iraq can be made to be an interlocking whole. The way to do that is through non-sectarian government and non-aligned Armed Forces. While the Armed Forces are a reflection of society, in this instance it may be seen as the 'civilizing force' inside the Nation, attempting to finally quell fears and show the possibilities of working together and the success it can bring. And it does now hold the military power to assert that, even if it is still limited in depth and breadth.

Civil war is *always* possible in any Nation, even the United States. The likelihood of it however is another thing...

Finally there is part three of this NY Times video series for the CBC:
I think on the one hand that you have to say the war was lost if they didn't do it. As they found themselves at the end of 2006, they were going nowhere but to losing the war. At that point the choice was get out or reinforce and at least try to buy time by controlling Baghdad.


If you want to stabilize Baghdad, you probably need at least as many troops and police as Saddam had. And he had as many as 250,000 men for Baghdad. Even under the surge option, assuming that all the five brigades that Bush has said he wants, you're not going to have more than 30,000 American troops in Baghdad.


An astonishing fact about Baghdad... we learned as the new surge began, as the spring of 2007 approached, that 50% of the American troop presence in Baghdad before this surge, was tied up in what the American military command calls Force Protection, thats soldiers protecting soldiers.


The new troops will come in and most of them will actually be boots on the ground and will be operational as the American command says, the force protection bill is paid already. So you will have a more than doubling of effective American combat power in Baghdad.

My experience among Iraqis is, in both Shi'ite and Sunni communities, that they... whatever they may have felt about the invasion, they now want American troops and they want them in numbers as they see them as the only option for stabilization.


If you want to start dreaming, and who would not wish this to succeed as the cost of failure in Iraq... I'm sure that even the most vehement critics of Bush would understand the cost of failure are horrendous...


Its hard to imagine a situation along this historic fault line, between the Sunni and Shi'ite world, between the Arab and the Persian world, as sitting atop the second or third largest proven oil reserves in the world. Its hard to imagine... a civil war that would not draw in the neighbors. The Sunni Arab minority in Iraq under-armed against a Shi'ite, American equipped Shi'ite Army. The Sunni Arab world wouldn't stand by. They are going to get involved, the Saudi Arabians have already said they would in a situation like that.

The Iranians are not going to see this first Shi'ite government on their western frontier in at least 350 years ... you could argue 1,000 years... they are not going to see it go down... they're going to get involved too. The Turks are not going to see in a civil war a situation in which the Kurds of Iraq in effect create their own Sunni semi-autonomous State.

They're not going to tolerate that. They're going to get involved.

So quite apart from catastrophic levels of violence that civil war presents you really do have... this is not think tank talk... you have the real prospect for a complete implosion in the Middle East with...who knows what consequences?

Just think about oil. The throttling of oil supplies to the world. What would that do to the world economy?

Think about the State of Israel. Could King Abdullah of Jordan, a weak country, a rather civil country but small one on Iraq's western border... could he sustain himself in the face of a population which is overwhelmingly Palestinian and quite radicalized? I think it unlikely. And if he fell and you were in a radical government in Jordan what would that do to the State of Israel? It would certainly, whatever glimmering... small glimmering of a hope there is of a settlement between the Palestinian and Israelis would be gone. And you would have a really catastrophic situation for the State of Israel.

Are these things the American President, Republican or Democrat, and the American Congress, Republican or Democrat, can tolerate?

Before we begin to look, of course, at other intangible issues like whats it do to American prestige and power in the world?

I think there is no choice but to try and make this work.
With this Mr. Burns gives a very interesting view of 'the surge' and what it can do and why it must be done. Controlling the violence in Baghdad was never a major goal for the Coalition Forces. If it was it would have been done *sooner* than now. That is what every counter-insurgency pundit pontificated about for months on end with the 'oil drop' strategy. As I have cited it before, let me point out that with the on-the-ground Forces, lack of *any* internal structure in Iraq and having to continue fighting Ba'athist holdouts and incoming terrorists, that entire concept was a non-starter from the get-go. By changing the overall strategy on how to approach this problem, the Coalition Forces worked very hard to do a very few necessary things.

1) Stabilize the quietest regions. The hinterlands of Iraq and lightly populated areas were little touched by the invasion and the immediate aftermath. The work to ensure that they stayed quiet would guarantee that there would be a foundation for establishing a civil peace inside Iraq, and allow for light troop coverage to maintain that peace. For all the bombings, murder, and mayhem going on, it has been principally in two areas: Cities and roadways. Small towns and villages have been left out because the dispersed population base is not amenable to random thuggery. By doing this and gaining tribal trust the second objective was being worked towards.

2) Involve the population in the quiet areas with the rebuilding effort. Here all of those small contracts to build schools, furnish water and sewage capabilities and restore some semblance of government, no matter how basic, was critical. It would be from these stable areas that the first recruits for the New Iraqi Army would come and they would also have dispersed allegiance across so many tribes as to make factionalizing the New Army very, very difficult. For all the death and destruction going on, it would be these forces that would have the critical time to train and learn their jobs and start testing out their skills. That would take time and they were given that time to slowly work on things and figure out how to fight in this new kind of war. The reason there is a capable New Iraqi Army available *now* is that it was started in 2004. Their first small-scale work was hard and they had to rely greatly upon Coalition forces to leadership and support. That has changed over time so that they now have a competent internal command and control structure that continues to ramp-up in effectiveness. The 'oil drop' would not have afforded this, would have concentrated on less heavily divided urban areas and would have ensured major factional problems inside the New Iraqi Army. Even worse if the 'oil drop' tried to spread they would have encountered the standard urban/rural divide and be seen as outsiders in going after insurgents. That has not worked well anywhere it has been tried and would have failed in spades in Iraq.

3) Continued support, presence and demonstrating that the Coalition was dependable, reliable and non-sectarian has won over large segments of the Iraqi population. This is the outgrowth of the first area as Tribal assent and outlook is necessary to get that trust. That trust took years to build, but by late 2006 the Tribes of al-Anbar province turned heavily against the insurgents and terrorists. Now Sunnis are joining up with the police and army in droves from those tribes as the tribes now see which way the wind is blowing.

That leaves the major urban areas as havens for violence, and telegenic havens at that. What it now allows to have happen is to purge those areas of the militias, thugs and any gangs that get in the way. They are now running to other places but have the unpleasant surprise that the Iraqi Government and New Iraqi Army plus the Security Forces, along with the Coalition are already entrenched there. By eliminating the rural areas for places to run to, the terrorists, Ba'athist redentists and various other killers are finding that they have no safe havens *left*. And when they get to one it is soon identified by the population and is addressed by the Army and Security Forces. More and more 'the surge' is not the US Armed Forces, but is the competent Iraqi Army and Security Forces finally asserting Civil Government in Iraq. The US can *never* control Baghdad - only Iraqis can do that.

That said Baghdad will never be New York City or Los Angeles because of its geographic location. It will always need a higher security presence until the general atmosphere of the Middle East calms down. Baghdad has 5.7 million people in it, while New York has 8.1 million people and Los Angeles about 4 million people. New York City has nearly 38,000 police officers in it for a city 20% larger than Baghdad and it is a thoroughly modern force for a thoroughly modern city. Back in 1960 when NYC only had 7.78 million people, it had a force size of 24,590 officers. What the end-strength of police will be for Baghdad is a guess, but there will be less repression, overall and, with any luck, a lower unemployment rate than it had under Saddam. Violent sectarian groups will look to be a major problem, which Saddam did *not* have, but the countervailing is that more people should be gainfully employed, thus making sectarian militias less attractive. Time will only tell, but something triple the size of NYC's current force might be expected for some time in the way of manpower *if* the major militias can be broken and relative peace established. And that will, of necessity, be a mix of local police, national security forces and national armed forces.

Overall, however, I find Mr. Burns to be a *refreshing* view from Baghdad, as compared to the hotel-bound commentariate that pays for 'news' via unreliable sources. From his being on the ground we get to see some of what the fault lines of the Middle East are and their extent throughout the region. This is a view that I am familiar with and it cuts directly across that of the 'Realists' and those wishing to have perfection in all things post-war, while never getting around to defining what that perfection actually is. The stark reality of the place is the amount and depth of divisions amongst peoples across the Middle East and the extent of all of those fault lines. Beyond the religious, which is not even a primary driving force but secondary enhancing one, are ethnic, tribal, cultural, educational and old civilization viewpoints. These can be given framework to be worked out, but to get that established is the work of a generation.

But that cannot be done if the US tries to pull out of Iraq before the government and people have a chance to set up civil institutions that are effective and capable. Those wishing the US ill do not realize that in this fight, one without easy borders against groups that are not Nations, that any loss to those groups puts the entire world at peril. They are using the means of the modern world to attack it, and vigorously. And, as a people, if we do not come to terms with that, then we will be facing an end to ourselves as there is no easy cure to this cancer in the world, only combating it continuously wherever it shows up.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Burns' skills and talent are going to waste at a no-account news organization like the NY Times. Perhaps he could step up in the world to a paper that is *proud* of its photoshopping skills but still tries to *do* hard journalism... like the National Enquirer, maybe. As it is his outlook stands in stark contrast to that of the editorial board and outlook of the organization he works at. An organization that was founded on doing thorough analysis and backgrounding and listening to voices that were little heard. Now the editorial room doors are closed to that, and the voices heard are the echo chamber. Mr. Burns will be heading up the International Bureau from London for the NYT. Perhaps that will *finally* get him a little bit of clout with the Editorial Board.

I for one, am not holding my breath.

And I salute Mr. Burns as one of the last bastions of journalistic integrity at an organization going under in a sea of partisanship.