Wednesday, June 8, 2005
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The costs and benefits of military primacy
I've blogged in the past about the security benefits of American military hegemony -- namely, that when one state holds military primacy, the incentives for other countries to engage in arms races and military advanturish declines. One obvious measure of these kind of security benefits is the reduction of aggregate military expenditures. As Gregg Easterbrook noted two years ago:
Soooo..... I was a bit chagrined to read this AP report that says global defense spending is on the rise:
What are the normative implications of this? We go back to the AP report:
posted by Dan on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM
Just some observations:
(A) The Russians themselves don't know how much they were spending on defense during the COld War. "A lot more than anyone - even us - thought" is what the people keeping the books back then are saying today, but even they don't know for sure how much was spent.
(B) Purchasing power parity means a lot, especially when comparing the US to China. When my uncle joined the US Army in 1940 (before the draft) he made $21 a month. That's STILL more than Chinese (or South Korean, for that matter) enlisted are paid today.posted by: Jos Bleau on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Development of militaries by other countries is a good thing, if that means they'll help us shoulder more of the burden of global security.
Why is a strong, militarized India bad exactly? Because they might force China to consider 2 fronts before they invade Taiwan? Perhaps because India might want to do something about Darfur?
The "all militaries are bad" argument is as silly as the "all guns are bad" argument. Whether or not these tools are good or evil depends entirely on who has them and how they are used.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
India would seem to pose little threat to China. The Himalayas are quite a barrier, and make the Indian-Chinese border extremely easy to defend and the chances of a second front there very low. As a result, an increased Indian military presence, for instance, would be better suited to waiging war with Pakistan. The possibility of this war, with its nuclear undertones, makes a larger Indian military dangerous for world security.posted by: aaron on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
India won't be used as a hostage in our defense of Taiwan, which might happen were India as poorly-armed as, say, Canada.
It's not so much China having to worry about the second front as we not having to worry about it because we'd know India had it under control. We could focus on the war at sea, which is a big enough job by itself.
China, understanding this, will be less likely to invade Taiwan, thus a larger Indian military improves world security.
On the issue of Pakistan, the more well-armed India becomes, the less the liklihood of nuclear war, as Pakistan will see no benefit to a costly invasion of Kashmir and will thus be less likely to invade.
Were India militarily weak, on the other hand, Pakistan might take that as a signal to invade Kashmir, just as the appearance of weakness on the part of Great Britain led to Argentina invading the Falklands.
In both examples, a better-armed India leads to increased world security.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
The real problem with all this military spending is that it is making us more unsafe while also leaving true humanitarian problems to fester by wasting money on idiotic adventures in colonialism. I mean, with a fraction of the daily funding it takes to maintain the attack against iraq, the usa could be feeding the starving around the world and helping to eliminate world poverty and disease in the ways advocated by Jeffrey Sachs. Even if you are to agree with the statement above that not all military spending is bad, the way we are currently using the money we are spending on the military is obviously bad.posted by: pacifist on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
oh, and the numbers of SIPRI seem amazingly low. it actually does not make sense. if you look at the press release for regular defense spending that globalsecurity.org gives, it is over 400 billion for 2005 and set to go up another 20 billion next year.
Leaves out the possibility that various mid-sized states will feel compelled to develop and/or buy high-tech anti-aircraft weapons and of course nuclear weapons to ward off any possible attack by an out-of-control United States. Expenditures for such things would not have to be huge and would of course be carefully hidden in other national expenses.
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
About 15 years ago I had a conversation with a gentleman who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers about a project he had worked on out east. An old WPA dam built in the 30's needed to be replaced and, as part of planning process, a series of town meetings were held. The townsfolk were all of one mind - a new dam would be nice, but the old one still looked pretty solid. What they really needed a new community center and maybe some new roads, too, if the Corps had its mind set on building things.
Sorry, said the official. The Corps doesn't build community centers, we build dams and levees and bridges, and you if we don't build a new dam here we'll go build another one someplace else.
So the Corps built a new dam there and the townsfolk had to build their own community center.
If the defense budget were eliminated tomorrow there probably wouldn't be any more money for aid. Everybody in Washington who's already lobbying for their pet cause would step up the pressure, and after lots of fighting for all the new $$$ freed up, in the end, there would just be a lot more roads and dams and community centers built (and more tax cuts/breaks granted) but the aid lobby would still be about as successful as they are now.
Don't believe me? Most of our European allies are not bogged down in Iraq - have they upped their aid budgets to match their 'savings' realized by not going to war?
[I always thought it would be a great idea for the 'peace' lobby to demand that Europe equal the $200 billion in evil American war spending with 'peace spending' on aid to developing nations. Of course, that presumes that they're actually FOR helping other nations rather than merely opposing Chimpy McBushilter's America, or just free-riding.]
Coalition Builder: Your statement
The US doesn't need to be global cop. No one asked the US to do this. Don't. It isn't worth the money. The US hasn't achieved 'security' and won't. Back off, relax and make yourselves rich and happy. The Middle East would stop disliking America if America stayed out.
When large amounts of money is spent on the military there is an enormous temptation to use it, regardless of whether it is the right option. As Madeleine Albright said “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about, if we can’t use it?” If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Also, you wind up with military contractors becoming dependent on getting government contracts, regardless of how much sense it makes and a national security aparatus that is so powerful and has so much secrecy that it can't help but spy on the government. Bolton anyone?
posted by: Pete in Melbourne AU on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"I mean, with a fraction of the daily funding it takes to maintain the attack against iraq, the usa could be feeding the starving around the world and helping to eliminate world poverty and disease in the ways advocated by Jeffrey Sachs. "
posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
...in the ways advocated by Jeffrey Sachs.
posted by: rosignol on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"The real problem with all this military spending is that it is ... wasting money ... the usa could be feeding the starving ... the way we are currently using the money we are spending on the military is obviously bad."
A deadly canard. In the real world prosperity requires security. An insufficient military guarantees poverty, as any wealth a population accumulates will be expropriated.
Right now, today, Zimbabwe is diverting aid sent from countries including the United States to government loyalists whilst starving "rebel" areas that voted for the opposition. If those aid convoys were troop convoys no such hijacking could take place, nor would rebels be starving for exercising their [tragically attenuated] right to vote.
The taking of unprotected resources by force has been going on ever since the very first war in the earliest of prerecorded history: a tribe of bandits pillaged another tribe that had built a granary and naievely not realized they needed to defend it.
Fast forward a few millenia and there are still people who cling to the asinine fantasy that if we would just divert military spending to something else, some great good could be accomplished.
Then Robert Mugabe shows up like Lucy to yank away the football and you're flat on your back once again, no doubt blaming Republicans for being stingy whilst yet another dictator walks away with the loot and yet another population starves to death in the midst of plenty.
Some people never learn, I guess.
Meanwhile, over in Iraq, our War on Terror has done better by Iraqis by far than the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program. Turns out Saddam was cheating ... what a surprise.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"So you're back to fighting again, because the only reason anyone is starving in the world today is because some tyrant is pointing a gun at their head while they steal their aid package and stick some backwoods form of marxism down their throat."
You're kidding right Mark?
Poverty is caused by tyranny. Wait, no, tyranny is caused by poverty. Drat, what is the cause and what is the effect? Damn that professor who told me to pay attention to tautological mistakes....posted by: No von Mises on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"You're kidding right Mark?
Poverty is caused by tyranny. Wait, no, tyranny is caused by poverty. Drat, what is the cause and what is the effect?"
posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"Except that all that military power would have to be focused to actually getting the aid to the starving instead of it being ripped off by everyone in the chain starting at the UN and ending with Mugabe. So you're back to fighting again, because the only reason anyone is starving in the world today is because some tyrant is pointing a gun at their head while they steal their aid package and stick some backwoods form of marxism down their throat."
Posted by Mark Buehner
Well, people ripped off the oil-for-food program for what? - $20 billion US in 10 years? How much is missing (sorry - 'unaccounted for'; I'm sure it'll turn up any day now) from Iraqi oil money that the US was supposed to psend on reconstruction? $9 billion?
$20 billion/10 years = $2 billion/year;
If we're looking to stamp out corruption, DC is that place to go. And God only knows how much has been looted by the cronies of this administration, but marked down as 'necessary expenditures'.posted by: Barry on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
The level of political freedom in India has not really changed even as the economy was liberalized [ although new media like the Internet and cable and sat TV has probably increased public awareness].
Isn't the main way advocated my Mr. Sachs accurately summarized as "We haven't thrown enough money at the problem"?
Not at all. YEs, he calls for more aid, but also for a whole host of other policy prescriptions. And yes, he also insists on holding government's responsible. ZImbabwe may be beyond help, but Ghana, Uganda are most definitely not. Anyone who claims to support the war in Iraq (which costs nearly $100B per year) on humanitarian grounds, but dismisses something that could potentially help far more people at a lower cost is clearly being insincere.
Third comment: I wonder how much the asymmetric nature of terrorism has contributed to the lowered defense spending. 911 probably took no more than a a few million dollars to plan but cost the US 10s of billions of dollars. A car bomb in Iraq costs no more than a few explosives, a probably stolen car and a a fanatic willing to blow himself up -- and the damage caused can be disproprotionate.posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"..911 probably took no more than a a few million dollars to plan but cost the US 10s of billions of dollars."
Worse; probably a few hundreds of thousands, at most. And the stated cost of the war to the US taxpayer (i.e., the supplemental appropriations alone) is approaching $200 billion (?), with no end in sight. Plus how ever many more billions which came out of the regular Pentagon budget.
And that's only a little tiny slice of the costs -the costs to Iraq are immense.
Meanwhle, Al Qaida has profited immensely. Iraq is Afghanistan II in the sense of providing a new wave of jihadists. It's pretty well along the way to being Afghanistan II in the sense of humbling a super-power.posted by: Barry on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"Meanwhle, Al Qaida has profited immensely. Iraq is Afghanistan II in the sense of providing a new wave of jihadists. It's pretty well along the way to being Afghanistan II in the sense of humbling a super-power."
Unfortunately for them their jihadis are used up as soon as they are recruited. Iraq has been a black hole for AQ resources. They have resorted to using the mentally retarded as suicide bombers while pissing off the Iraqis mightilly. I for one am happier to see the marines wiping them out in Fallujah and Ramadi than trying to stop them from sneaking into San Diego or cops fighting it out with them in a mall in Orlando. The fly paper theory has worked, possibly too well, but it has worked. Better yet every time a foriegn terrorist blows up a car bomb and kills innocent Iraqis the rest of the Arab world sees AQ for what they are.
Mark -- your analysis shows why the military estimates of the size of the insurgency in Iraq has increased from 5,000 two years ago, to 10,000 a year ago and over 20,000 now.
Two years ago western reporters went anywhere they wanted to go in Iraq. Now, they spend all of their time in the green zone expect when going on enbedded operations.
It is why the CIA is now talking about the AQ operatives that went to Iraq to get live time experience are now starting to be found in Western Europe and elsewhere.
Keep up the good work.
Who cares if nation-states are spending less on military build-ups? It still leaves a lot of AK47's and other weapons on sale around the world. The future is probably not going to see a lot of inter-state conflict, but it is going to see a lot of intra-state war. The real danger is the chaos that criminal organizations will cause as well as the civil conflicts in failed states. I think it will actually be worse than the Cold War in that you will have more disintegrating states stuck in warfare and more criminal gangs operating in the First World as well (as they are in Israel, Taiwan, and Russia (2nd world) for instance.posted by: Patrick on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
I think what people like Mark and the "coalition builder" make completely clear is just how idiotic and hypocritical it is to continue to throw sickening amounts of money down the toilet of war and colonialism, while saying it is too expensive or unpractical (or whatever excuse you come up with) to address the needs of the most poor and helpless. If the military has managed to prove anything to us in this war against Iraq it should be exactly how unrealistic, wasteful (if not corrupt) and out of touch they are.
Like I said before, the military is making us far more unsafe and in the process is wasting hundreds of billions that could be used to actually help people in deep need. If that money were used well, just the pork on the last bill could have done more to protect the USA (and the world) then a wastewater plant in Mississippi or fish hatchery in Montana ever will (not to mention the leased tanker scam from Boeing or the billions of $ in other bullshit ("bullshit" being different then "garbage". "bullshit" = complete scams, "garbage" = not formally scams but still a big waste)).
And, I assume that the lack of response to my other post shows that I am not alone in thinking the SIPRI numbers are a joke.
Thanks to everyone else for making it completely obvious how strong our arguments are.posted by: pacifist on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
It doesn't take a lot of man power to attack the US. All it needs is a few dedicated cells. The 911 hijackers were only a few dozen people. If terrorists haven't attacked in the US, its because local defences are working -- not because the people involved are too busy in Iraq.
Many, many mujahdeen perished in the late 1980s in the Soviet Union. And of course, this lead to Afghanistan becoming a flytrap for Islamic terror ? To the contrary, it energized Islamic terror everywhere and created all sorts of terror leaders.
Who had even heard of Zarqawi before the war ? Now, he seems to have been played up into a full fledged terror mastermind.
Finally, what does it say about the morality of a war supposedly for the benefit of the Iraqi people if the end result is to turn their country into a battleground between the US and Al Qaeda ?
And how do you think Iraqis, even those who despised Saddam, feel about having their country turned into flypaper ? I hear right wing 'pundits' like O'Reilly and Austin Bay saying that Bush should tout the idea that Iraq has turned into a flypaper for terrorists and advance it as a benefit/motive of the war. It doesn't seem to occur to their brilliant minds that Iraqis would likely be greatly upset by Bush saying any such thing.
Besides, if we really needed flypaper, we already had one in Afghanistan. Why did we need another one ?posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"Mark -- your analysis shows why the military estimates of the size of the insurgency in Iraq has increased from 5,000 two years ago, to 10,000 a year ago and over 20,000 now."
Ok, but are you arguing these are largely or mainly foriegners or not? 6 months ago we were being told by the talking heads that this was a purely Iraqi insurgency and foriegner terrorists were but a insignificant part. That doesnt seem to be the case anymore, I havent heard that argument in a long time. You have to seperate the two. What is clear is that we are capturing and killing a large amount of foriegn Arabs, and I think most people would agree that if they werent going to Iraq they wouldnt be sitting home peacefully sheering sheep.
Manifestly not true. Western reporters never roamed Iraq at will. Now they can travel to Kurdish and Shiite areas freely at the least. That the bulk would rather sit by the pool at the Palestine Hotel instead of rumble through Basra is a different issue.
"It is why the CIA is now talking about the AQ operatives that went to Iraq to get live time experience are now starting to be found in Western Europe and elsewhere."
Funny they havent managed to make a noise in 2 years. And since when is the CIA a reliable source?
"Keep up the good work."
Thats for the troops.
"I think what people like Mark and the "coalition builder" make completely clear is just how idiotic and hypocritical it is to continue to throw sickening amounts of money down the toilet of war and colonialism",
Lol. Thats hilarious considering your alternative is to throw money at the corrupt institutions and individuals that cause military situations to fester. Down the toilet? And exactly who provided the most effective tsunami relief btw? The US Navy who were there in hours or the NGOs who are probably still at some retreat in Hawaii figuring out how to disperse the money?
Yeh, people like George Galloway probably are getting a little lean since the last UN bananza was shut down. Are those the people in need you mean?
In fact so obvious that you dont even feel the need to address counter-arguments. Send your own check to Mugabe and keep your hand out of my pocket thank you.
"It doesn't take a lot of man power to attack the US. All it needs is a few dedicated cells. The 911 hijackers were only a few dozen people. If terrorists haven't attacked in the US, its because local defences are working -- not because the people involved are too busy in Iraq. "
That is a totally subjective analysis. In fact it does take a lot of time and energy to coordinate the kind of big attacks favored by AQ, and if they are busy funnelling those limited resources into Iraq (which they are) and running for their lives, so much the better. I for one wouldnt be feeling very good right now with Zarqawi sitting in Baghdad rubbing elbows with Hussein and assuming the WMD assembly line was in full swing.
"Many, many mujahdeen perished in the late 1980s in the Soviet Union. And of course, this lead to Afghanistan becoming a flytrap for Islamic terror ? To the contrary, it energized Islamic terror everywhere and created all sorts of terror leaders. "
Cycle of violence refrain. While it is true that raw numbers of dead is not the decisive factor in victory, it is an important factor. More important is the morale implications of losing a lot of people and still failing to meet their objectives. You try recruiting somebody to go fight the Americans. Knowing your chance of dying is high is one thing, knowing it is high and feeling you really arent going to make a difference at the end of the day is fatal to a cause. We are hearing more and more about how the foriegn fighters are feeling deceived and cheated when they get to Iraq and are being exploited by AQ and the Sunnis.
A lot of terrorism experts. Who ever heard of OBL before 911? Whats the point?
It says nothing. We didnt ask AQ in. They came and we certainly have no choice but to fight them with the Iraqis increasing help. That it was predictable doesnt make it our fault.
"And how do you think Iraqis, even those who despised Saddam, feel about having their country turned into flypaper ?"
Blame the flies, not the paper.
For many reasons. One, AQ didnt have to fight in Afghanistan the way they must fight in Iraq. It is too important an Arab nation to let it go w/o a fight. Secondly, the terrain in Afghanistan is suited far better to AQ, it would not be good ground. Three, all the other excellent reasons to take down Hussein coincided with the ability to draw out AQ.
Depends on what you mean by large amount. The bulk of the insurgency still seems home grown although some parts (such as the car bombs) seem to be dominated by outsiders. Even there groups like Ansar Al Sunna, a home-grown group do exist. In any case, it seems clear that a large number of new terrorists have been created in the wake of the Iraq war. Even if you kill 80% of them, that still leaves many, many new terorrists. The new CIA director said as much, acknowledging that a lot of small cell leaders had formed, and underground pipelines as well. At least some will survive, for decades to come.posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
All indications are that Zarqawi is running a largely separate organization loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda. It is not affecting other Al Qaeada groups that have carried out terror attacks in the lsat few years in several places (Morocco, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey). In short, we have a new terror franchise being created and it doesn't seem to require that many resources from terror central.
Well, the number of suicide bomings in IRaq was a grand total of 2 during the war. After that, there were none for several months, and a few more in 2003. They have been at a higher tempo since.
Certainly the experience of Hamas and the Tamil Tigers would indicate that your theory isnt correct -- a lot of fanatics are willing to kill themself rather than loose heart.
The point is that Zarqawi was a nobody before the war, with some vague role in Jordan, now he seems to have been blown up into some Uber-Terrorist leader. I'm sure that several other smaller terror cell leaders have also emerged.
If it was no predictable, how come administration figures and prominent right wing pundits didn't predict it before the war ? I know you claim to ahve predicted it in this blog, but no else did. Among all the other reasons enunciated -- at no time, NO TIME, did the administration say this. And if it was so predictable, why weren't steps taken to stop it early on ? It took the army months to recognize that they were actually facing a full scale insurgency, and months after that before they realized the threat of suicide bombs. So it was definitely not predicted.
Maybe nothing we did could have helped, but certainly the crucial months after the war ended could have been used to tamp down the insurgency. It is clear that the insurgency grew a great deal in the year after the war.
If it had been predicted, it definitely makes it our fault to have not stopped it early so we would be better of claiming it was not predictable.
hardly. AQ had afghanistan as its base. afghanistan was crucial to them. AQ had practically no presence in Iraq prior to the IRaq war. Secondly, historically AQ was composed of people who had fought the Russians in Afghanistan so it would be far better suited (in theory) to them if they had the capability to fight.posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Nonsense. Many (most) NGO bodies provided a great deal of assistance in the wake of the tsuanmi. Its true that they did not do as much for immediate disaster relief as the US Navy did (or even as local groups like the Indian Navy did), but then they don't have huge aircraft carriers, ships and planes and have budgets that orders of magnitude lower than those of the US army/navy. Even then many groups did do useful work. Immediate emergency help can and is normally done by armed forces, but longer term work requires the NGOs. After all, armed forces leave in 1-2 months, but far more work is required later on.posted by: marsh on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
pacifist: "I think what people ... make completely clear is just how idiotic and hypocritical it is to continue to throw sickening amounts of money down the toilet of war and colonialism, while saying it is too expensive or unpractical (or whatever excuse you come up with) to address the needs of the most poor and helpless ..."
First, "colonialism" is a straw man. We're bringing Democracy, which is the same thing we did for France, Japan, and Germany. If you insist that we've "colonized" Iraq then you're using a definition that includes all the people we liberated from the Axis powers in WWII -- a meaningless definition.
More importantly, by calling the idea that dictators can't be trusted with aid money "idiotic" you're demonstrating a willful ignorance of history. By referring to me as "hypocritical" you're blaming the messenger whilst ignoring the message: prosperity requires security.
Others: "Homeland security is working!", etc.
Before we brought the fight to Al Qaeda they killed 3,000 of our people in 2 hours.
Since then they've only managed half that in 4 YEARS, against a force that has inflicted terrible losses in return. (The military doesn't measure success in body counts, but the terrorists' shift from targetting U.S. troops to Iraqi civilians tells the story.)
Do you really think "Orange Alerts" are what have been protecting you?
erg: "... how do you think Iraqis, even those who despised Saddam, feel about having their country turned into flypaper ?"
Angry at Al Qaeda for killing them. More to the point, this proves that democracy is the universal enemy of Al Qaeda and gives us common cause with Iraqis. They, like we, are fighting a War on Terror to save their democracy.
Barry: "... humbling a super-power ..."
We've already been humbled. It happened on 9/11. We learned of the fatal naievete of isolationism and arrogance of realpolitik pacifism. We learned that, for all our defenses, attack is the only defense against suicidal fanatics.
Today we remain humbled -- by the troops. They're literally taking the bullet for the rest of us. Remember the math: 3,000 dead in 2 hours versus 1,700 in 4 years. Those soldiers gave their lives to save many thousands more men, women, and children who would've fallen from the next burning tower. Even against Iraqis Al Qaeda hasn't managed that scale of carnage. Our troops are saving their lives, too. That is humbling.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Mark, Coalition Builder, can't you even keep your lies up to date? Today's lie is: "It's all Amnesty International's Fault!"
'Flypaper (i.e., let's get all of the terrorists into Iraq so that we can have a huge war there) was so late-2003'. It was replaced by 'We're helping the Iraqis!!!!!' Which is a total contradiction, of course, but only America-haters would mention that. Real Americans keep up with the latest lies, and don't mention yesterday's lies.
Coalition Builder, your lies are just as outdated. Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, or with any future attacks (well, Bush has changed that, I guess). The only pre-war connection between Iraq and Al Qaida was that there wasn't one; it might have been the only middle eastern country of which that was true.
But don't worry, guys - Amnesty International said 'Gulag'!!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!posted by: Barry on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"In any case, it seems clear that a large number of new terrorists have been created in the wake of the Iraq war. Even if you kill 80% of them, that still leaves many, many new terorrists"
Maybe so, but the Sunni ex-Hussein general willing to lob a grenade at a humvee is hardly going to hop a plane to Baltimore with a pound of dynamite strapped to his chest. Its those foriegners willing to suicide bomb and kill civilians indiscimiantely that we worry about, and those are precisely the ones we have killed a whole lot of from the neighborhood. If you read the bios of these guys, they are simply not the peaceful shepherds that snap when they hear infidel American boots are on Iraqi soil that the cycle of violence crowd would have us believe. These guys are professional losers that apparently have a pretty wide network that has existed for years, sharing propaganda and training. These guys werent just going to live and let live if we never set foot in Iraq.posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"All indications are that Zarqawi is running a largely separate organization loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda."
Al Qaeda is a loosely affiliated organization. That changes nothing. Its resources that are important.
"It is not affecting other Al Qaeada groups that have carried out terror attacks in the lsat few years in several places (Morocco, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey)."
All of which have one thing in common, they were in one way or another connected to the Iraq situation. You think the Spain bombers would have taken the decade off if it didnt have the Spanish troops in Iraq as a political objective? Or maybe they would have chosen another target ya think?
New? What exactly do you think Zaqawi was doing in Iraq? Working on his tan?
Both situations having the same thing in common, they have failed in their goals.
So what? Irwin Rommel was a nobody until the 8th Army chased his predicessor across Libya. Are you supposed to not attack your enemies because you risk them gaining a leader? Would you prefer Terrorist X who plans the attack on the Hoover Dam to be the next Big Man?
Honda. It was predicted before the war, it was argued as one of the rationale for the war by many, you obviously missed the NeoCon Cabal meetings. I'll send you the minutes.
"Among all the other reasons enunciated -- at no time, NO TIME, did the administration say this."
Duh. You dont announce your strategy to the enemy. An (obviously) its not real easy to explain to people who reject it out of hand.
"And if it was so predictable, why weren't steps taken to stop it early on ?"
This, im with you on.
"So it was definitely not predicted."
Sorry, lost you again.
Crucial? So where are they now? "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Afghanistan was useful. When the Americans showed up, it was abandoned. Its fairly clear AQ retreated to Pakistan hoping the Americans would follow in large numbers and provoke a 'Russian Afghanistan' style experience with the Pakistani tribals. That would have been a disaster, there was no political pretext or local hatred for the Taliban to play on.
"Secondly, historically AQ was composed of people who had fought the Russians in Afghanistan so it would be far better suited (in theory) to them if they had the capability to fight. "
Historically? Are you rewriting history here? Little advice, stop trying to explain something that didnt happen. The bottom line is AQ abandoned Afghanistan, which by definition means it wasnt vital to them. It was a wise and ultimately inevitable move. Putting 100k troops or whatever there would have been pointless except to inflame the population and play into the Talibans hands, and maybe give AQ an excuse to get back in country. Invading Pakistan to follow OBL would have been a bigger disaster. The enemy offered us 2 targets and we did exactly what you are supposed to do, we chose a 3rd.posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
So you're agreeing with me (and the CIA director) that the Iraq war may have created more terrorists ?
Aha, I see it now. Prior to the war, Zarqawi commanded a group of 10s of thousands incells capable of carrying out a dozen suicide bombs a week. Thanks for informing me.
Naturally, I live in the reality based community.
And of course, it would be real hard to explain to the Iraqis that we want to turn their country into a battlefield. I mean, I can buy the rationale that the (unspoken) rationale is to intimidate Syria and Iran, at least that makes sense. This makes no sense. We want to stablize the country.
Furthermore, if anything like this was predicted, why were there original plans to draw the force down to around 50K (according to Rummy) within a year ? The obvious answer -- it was not predicted.
What you don;t do is to create a situation that leads to numerous NEW leaders being formed while not capturing the old ones.
Both situations having the same thing in common, they have failed in their goals.
Hamas did very well in polls recently. The Tamil Tigers control a large chunk of Sri Lanka. In any case, your claim was that people would give up suicide bombings if they didnt' think they were making progress. That definitely has not happened for Hamas and the Tamil Tigers.
What part don't you understand ? That AQ was led by veterans of the war with the Soviets ? That AQ had their training camps and the bulk of their leaders ? AQ fled because they were being defeated and they had to save their lives. They were also used to doing this from the Soviet years, no doubt.
Aren't you the one saying that we shouldn't care if the population is inflamed if we can achieve our goals ? But I get it. Even though the group that originally attacked us was in that area (afghan/pak border areas), we don't want to 'inflame' them, but its OK to inflame Arabs by putting 150K people in Iraq.
Translation. Instead of tracking down the original perpetrators of 911, we chose to attack a 3rd country and spend 100s of billions of dollars there to turn it into a flypaper for terrorists.
Face it --- the whole flypaper idea is a post facto justification. Its not something that was seriously considered before the war, and its consequences are going to be widespread and unpleasant unless Iraq can be stabizlied.
And finally, how does this play into the 2 reasons for the mission far, far more cited
"Maybe so, but the Sunni ex-Hussein general willing to lob a grenade at a humvee is hardly going to hop a plane to Baltimore with a pound of dynamite strapped to his chest. Its those foriegners willing to suicide bomb and kill civilians indiscimiantely that we worry about, and those are precisely the ones we have killed a whole lot of from the neighborhood."
No, but the Sunni general could hire and recruit a few people capable of being suicide bombers. Its not the random suicide bomber that we need to worry about that much in any case. What we need to worry about is the Atta's of this world, people who are fanatics but are also intelligent enough to spend years preparing and are also willing to spend time and energy thinking up 'creative' destruction strategies. Even a few of these could be dangerous.
"So you're agreeing with me (and the CIA director) that the Iraq war may have created more terrorists ?"
No, those terrorists already existed. We refocused their strategy. Thats like saying we created more Nazis by invading France. Just because you dont see them doesnt mean they arent there.
Again, thats a silly argument. Who commands what changes in war. Certainly he commanded hundreds of terrorists before the war, and certainly those thousands he commands now werent working for the UN Arab beautification project. That our enemies will rally around someone isnt a very good excuse not to go to war.
Probably. But it wasnt an option. Eternal slavery under the Hussein clan or half a decade of dealing with your friendly terrorist neighbors driven by their religious calling to deny you democracy. Sometimes none of lifes choices are painless.
"This makes no sense. We want to stablize the country."
Yes. And you are right that we didnt send enough troops to do it. Had we, we could have simply sat back and let the terrorists essentially charge our impentrable lines. Things are messier now than they needed to be, but regardless if AQ had not come to Iraq they would be finished as an entity anyway, their money would dry up, because what good are they if they are too cowardly to face America right in the heart of Islam?
If the numbers are too low now, it should be obvious that Rummy didnt know what he was talking about then or now.
"What you don;t do is to create a situation that leads to numerous NEW leaders being formed while not capturing the old ones. "
Have you seen the AQ leadership list lately? Looking pretty sparse. And again, I dont see these 'new' leaders. Zaqawi has been a very wanted man for ages. He was caught up in the Aghan bombing remember? Just because _you_ never heard of him doestnt follow that he wasnt a very dangerous and wanted man.
Hamas goal is not to do well in Palestinian polls. Its to drive Israel into the sea which it has manifestly failed to do. Palestinians do not strap dynamite onto their chests in the hopes of Hamas winning new seats in Parliment.
"In any case, your claim was that people would give up suicide bombings if they didnt' think they were making progress."
Perhaps, but those are indiginous uprisings which makes a difference.
Whats your point? If Afghanistan is AQs vital base where are they?
When did I say that? The nation you are in is vitally important. What Syrians think about Iraqis getting democracy is what I dont give a damn about.
"But I get it. Even though the group that originally attacked us was in that area (afghan/pak border areas), we don't want to 'inflame' them, but its OK to inflame Arabs by putting 150K people in Iraq. "
I might kick over a honey bee nest by i wont stick my hand in a hornets nest. There are fights you can win and fights you cant. Are you suggesting we would have the kind of success (even limited success if you will) we are seeing in Iraq in Pakistan? Simply not the case. Sorry but invading Pakistan would have been a nightmare. Invading Iraq was doable. Demonstrably
They died on impact.
"we chose to attack a 3rd country and spend 100s of billions of dollars there to turn it into a flypaper for terrorists. "
Yeh. Thats the whole reason. Get a grip. You know thats idiotic oversimplification. The flypaper was a feature, not the entire program. Democratizing a middle eastern nation was even more important. Taking a wildcard like Hussein and his expect WMDs off the board was important. Scaring the crap out of Syria and Iran was important. This stupid game of 'you must pick exactly one reason why we went to Iraq' is tiresome. Show me one important decision you make in life that has exactly one rationale and no others.
"Face it --- the whole flypaper idea is a post facto justification. "
Face it, you are just saying that because you want to believe it. Im not going to agree with you because I know for a fact its not true. Sorry.
Its worked. Iraqis have seen their choices first hand, crazy Talibanesque suicide bombers running their nation, or driving the nutcases out and going with democracy and progress. Not to mention the madness of the foriegners may well be pushing the Sunnis into the government. Im not saying im happy the terrorists are there, I wish they didnt exist! But if they must be someone at least now they are somewhere we can battle them and some good may come of it.
The goal was to put AQ on the horns of a dilemna. Im sure the Dutch werent happy the Nazis and Allies turned their nation into a warzone. But we didnt start this fight, we didnt ask the terrorists to show up, we can only deal with reality. All you are advocating was sticking our heads in the sand and pretending the terrorists out plotting and biding their time didnt exist. They were there one way or another. If theyre evil intent brought them to Iraq, theres nothing we can do but fight them. Your argument is nothing more than the 'this is why they hate us' refrain. Would we be any better off fighting them in the Saudi oil fields and American bases in Kuwait while Saddam laughed? Would the Saudi and Kuwaiti civilians have been any less innocent when the car bombs started in Kuwait City and Riyadh?posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Saddam Hussein had all kinds of ties to Al Qaeda. He didn't plan 9/11, but he and in particular Qusay did have alliances and intelligence-sharing arrangements with Al Qaeda leaders including Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. In addition, Saddam's Iraq harbored Al Qaeda terrorists including WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin.
On the subject of the "Flypaper Theory", it and the bringing of Democracy to Iraq are correlated, not contradictory -- there is a price for democracy and Iraqis are paying it, just as we did on 9/11, and the Israelis before that, and the Allies in WWII, and Mahatma Ghandi's India (and later those who stood up to Indira), and so on throughout the history of the Free World.
More than just "America's enemy", Al Qaeda is a visceral threat looming over the promise of Iraqi freedom. If Al Qaeda wins they'll apply the Taliban model on all of Iraq as they did in Fallujah, and if America had left the day after we caught Saddam Al Qaeda would already be in charge.
By attacking Al Qaeda in Iraq we are not only killing terrorists before they make the trip to America, we are also helping Iraqis preserve their democracy. Both goals are best achieved by the same decisive action, taken by two free nations as allies.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
In short, we turned at least some people who were probably misfits and embittered but not explicitly attacking us into people willing to attack us. That seems like a real improvement.
If there are other good reasons to do so. In this case, its far from clear.
We know that new terror cells and leaders have emerged in IRaq. at least some will leave the country. Thsi is according to the new CIA director.
But you do care about whether Afghanis would be upset if we had sent more troops in to Afghanistan.
You claimed that Iraq was far more vital to AQ than Afghanistan in support of your thesis that afghanistan could not have been turned into the so-called flypaper. It should be clear and this is really should not even be a matter of debate that the country where top Al Qa folks fought for years, where they had their bases for nearly a decade etc. was far more vital to AQ than IRaq.
In which case the flypaper contradicts it. Seriously. Terrorist movements tend to lead to erosion of civil liberties, to undemocratic actions even in democratic societies. They tend to inflame ethnic passions if they have some ethnic background. Sri Lanka's democracy practically vanished in the wake of the Tamil uprisings. India passed half a dozen draconian laws in the wake of terrorist movements.
There is nothing in the actions of top military and civlian leades in the US to indicate that they thought that Iraq would turn into some flypaper. From promises to draw down the army, to promises that we would be greeted with flowers, that no forces woudl be needed stablize Iraq, to the fact that it took months for the army to recognize that they had an insurgency on their hands and so on. Everything seems to indicate they were caught by surprise.
"We must do something. This is somethiing, therefore we must do it"
You claim that we had thought of the flypaper idea originally. If so (and I dont' agree with that), we had a good inkling this was going to happen.
Car bombs did start in Riyadh, FWIW.posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
You must tell the various US commisions that investigated this. All of them have reiterated there are no significant and/or operational links with AQ. yes, there was the occasional meeting between reps of the two: in the shadowy world of intelligence and counter-intelligence it could hardly be otherwise, but that is it.
On the contrary, they are contradictory. Our goal is to stablize Iraq. Leave the country a model for the Middle East. Indeed, that is the only causus belli left now that WMDs have vanished and AQ links were essentially non-existent. Terrorists make it extremely hard to be truly democractic, even in countries with democratic traditions. Terrorists can inflame ethnic passions. The idea of turning a country into a battleground with terrorists totally contradicts the idea of stablizing it and leaving it as a model. And I'm sure IRaqis, even those who detested Saddam would feel likewise.
They was essentually no QA in Iraq before the war. So what we;re doing is killing people who would quite likely not have attacked us. We've also created a new enemy in the Sunnis who are fighting us and still account for the bulk of the insurgency. We also know the inusrgents have grown from almost nothing to a fairly large group. Most are Iraqis. These (at least the Iraqis) are NEW potential terrorists.
Maybe we can wean the Sunnis away from the jihadists. Maybe not. I hope so. But if not, there s's a good chance some may remain to target us in Iraq and elsehwere for decades.posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
" ... Saddam's Iraq harbored Al Qaeda terrorists including WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin ..."
Sorry to quote myself like that, but you seemed to miss that part, as everything you wrote afterward is fundamentally contradicted by it.
As casus belli go it's implacable.
So much of the rest of what you wrote is based on your fundamentally flawed belief that Iraq did not harbor Al Qaeda terrorists that I hesitate to address it, but I will touch once again upon the synthesis of the "Flypaper Effect" and Iraqi freedom.
So long as Iraq wishes to be a democracy, they will be enemies of Al Qaeda, a battleground just like every other democracy INCLUDING OUR OWN. It is the price of democracy, charged by Al Qaeda and paid for by the troops and innocent civilians of the Free World, American and Iraqi alike.
"Terrorists make it extremely hard to be truly democractic, even in countries with democratic traditions ..."
And yet we, India, Israel, Iraq, Great Britain, Australia, and all the rest somehow manage despite terrorists who kill us for it. You have, at long last, said something we both agree on: the price of freedom is dear. Where we differ is in our opinion on whether it is worth paying.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Heres what I said
'You must tell the various US commisions that investigated this. All of them have reiterated there are no significant and/or operational links with AQ.'
What part of that is contradicted by your statement ? Please name the official report that said Saddam was involved in the first WTC attack.
Implacable ? Hardly. The most IRaq seems to have done is to provide him with housing and safe haven after the attack. This is certainly a despicable act (on part with Saddam's providing money to Hamas suicide bombers families), but is a far cry from your claim. No documents or evidence to the contrary have been found despite the fact that we have practically all the Iraqi top brass and documents. We know for a fact from official intelligence reports that there were no significant operational links between Saddam and AQ.
Please tell the US intelligence agencies of this 'fundamentally flawed belief' since they seem to believe it as well after access to Saddam's intelligence agency files. I'm sure they'll welcome your insight. And do explain why the vast majority of the imprisoned insurgents seem to be Sunni IRaqis.
You are missing the point completely and totally. If our goal is to build a model democracy in the Middle East (which I believe is a worthwhile and attainable goal), then the absolutely last thing we want is a huge terrorist uprising in that country. Terrorists (especially those with some home grown backing) tend to bring about draconian internal measures. It can lead to disintegration of a democracy, as happened in Lebanon and partly happened in Sri Lanka. India has states and provnces essentially under military rule because of terrorist or separatist movements.
Yes, countries can and do overcome such movements especially Western democracies. But its much harder in countries that have no experience with democracy.
You get an 'A' for rhetoric and an 'F' for reading comprehension. Its not this price of freedom that bothers me so much (although I have to wonder about someone who seems to be so eager to let this price be paid by Iraqis).
The point is that it is far preferrable and far easier to build a stable democracy (which should be the greater goal) if there wasn't a partly ethnic insurgency brewing. All the wonderful rhetoric about democracies being born out of blood and fire (which isn't always true by any means, incidentally) is fine, but it makes our mission far harder. I still cannot comprehend why someone would consider it a positive that Iraq's democracy is facing serious terror threats.
posted by: erg on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
DD writes, "I've blogged in the past about the security benefits of American military hegemony -- namely, that when one state holds military primacy, the incentives for other countries to engage in arms races and military advanturish declines."
This makes no sense for 2 reasons. Many countries invest in a military based on local conflicts, or internal economic reasons, America need take no part in their thinking.
Secondly, an adequately trained and equipped small army, can inflict quite a bloody nose to the US, which already has a well known aversion to getting bloody noses in far away places.
Lastly, I just can't imagine that if Peru and Ecuador start warring, the US would do anything more than some saber rattling (if that).posted by: tubby on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
I'm with you there, tubby. Countries hostile to us are going to build their militaries no matter what we do. It is our allies we need to convince to arm themselves.
What, we're grading each other now? Okay, you get an "A" for "Arrogant" and a "C" for "Clueless".
Terrorism is part of democracy, every bit as much as crime and taxes. Of course I don't think it is "positive" -- once again you're blaming the messenger for the message -- rather I recognize its inevitability and the need to combat it.
"The most IRaq [sic] seems to have done is to provide him with housing and safe haven after the attack."
As I said, as a casus belli it is implacable.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Secondly, an adequately trained and equipped small army, can inflict quite a bloody nose to the US, which already has a well known aversion to getting bloody noses in far away places.
A well trained and equipped small army is basically a short-ish target list for the guys in airplanes. You can probably guess what a well trained and equipped medium or large army is.
It's insurgents hiding among the general population that the US military has a rough time dealing with- anyone who tries to give the US military a conventional battle is going to be slaughtered.posted by: rosignol on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
The US defense budget is $400 billion plus while the nearest rivals --Russia and China -- are on the order of $50-$60 billion. The budgets of the alleged threats --Iran, Iraq, North Korea -- are miniscule by comparison.
The US "defense" budget is sized for global domination --not for continental defense. Otherwise, 19 goatherders from a primitive country
Our wealthy elites are following the same course as the ancient Roman Republic -- engage in global conquests, seize the enormous profits , and dump the costs --in blood and taxes --off onto the stupid middle class. For good measure, destroy the middle class with imports of cheap foreign goods and labor so that you end up with a large mass of bankrupt citizens begging for your patronage.
What I find interesting is that Drezner does not mention the two possible outcomes in this imperialism. Outcome one is that the US loses --is bankrupted by the costs of empire and declines into a second rate power crushed by debt. In his book "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" Paul Kennedy noted that that has been the frequent fate of empires. Of course, "losing" may be far worse than a slow decline. Bush's aggression in
The even worse outcome is if the US government wins and creates a global government run by US elites. Such a government will inevitably become a vicious tyranny as the elites compete for supreme power because there is no refuge for the loser or inferior. The winner , of course, will make heads rolls because of constant fear that he is the target of plots. The veiled dictatorship of the divine Augustus will become the malign bloody purges of Caligula and Nero -- followed by the enormous loss of life in civil wars.
Edward Gibbon was a far better student of politics
"The division of Europe into a number of independent states, connected , however, with each other by the general resemblance of religion,language, and manners, is productive of the most beneficial consequences to the liberty of mankind.
A modern tyrant, who should find no resistance either in his own breast or in his people, would soon experience a gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies.
The object of his displeasure, escaping from the narrow limits of his dominions, would easily obtain, in a happier climate, a secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, the freedom of complaint, and perhaps the means of revenge.
But the empire of the Romans filled the world, and, when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary
The slave of Imperial despotism, whether he was condemmed to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the Senate, or to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair.
To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly."
The British chieftain Calgacus described the nature of the empire that Bush , the neocons, and
"you find in them an arrogance which no reasonable submission can elude. Brigands of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder and now they ransack the sea.
The wealth of an enemy excites their cupidity, his poverty their lust of power. East and West have failed to glut their maw.
They are unique in being as violently tempted to attack the poor as the wealthy.
Robbery, butchery, rapine, with false names they call Empire;
they make a wilderness and call it peace."
"Bush's aggression in attacking small nations must be worrying to the major powers ..."
If they think it's just Bush then they're not worried enough. It isn't just Bush, it is 52% of us, a majority of the American electorate, who voted for the War on Terror. The War is bigger than any single politician.
This should be worrying to ANY power, small, major, or in-between, who would harbor terrorists. In an age when terrorist bombers literally fall out of the sky and kill thousands, harboring them is an Act of War, and that's just as true when the American President's name is Condoleeza or Giuliani as it is when the Commander in Chief is George W. Bush.
Against those who would perpetrate another 9/11 our appetite for war makes your Roman Legions look like drunken sorority girls spoiling for a catfight.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Speaking as an American, I think we should reserve some of our hatred and anger for those business and political interests whose actions
What surprised me about the Sept 11 attack was the way in which it was exploited -- and the way in which the mainstream media helped Bush lie to the American people.
I remember that on the morning of Sept 11, the debris from the second plane had not hit the ground before James Baker --the oil boys go to guy down in Houston -- was on the radio saying the attack was the result of putting constraints on the CIA.
Even though the TV networks make billions using the public airways, they grumble every 4 years at having to give a few hours of free time to the Presidential debates. They give no free time to
To this day, the mainstream media has ducked the question of WHY the attack occurred -- they merely broadcast Bush's claim that the attack occurred because Terrorists "hate our freedom."
I don't like the governments of Russia and CHina. Yet I'm not going to go on the other side of the world, hijack a plane, and crash into their capital just because I don't like their government. The Sept 11 attack was motivated by strong hatred -- which had some cause behind it.
The US public never learned that reason -- because Condi Rice went to the CEOs of the Five US TV networks and twisted their arms to prevent broadcasts of Bin Ladin's complaints. Why? What did she not want us to hear?
The reason Condi Rice gave -- that Bin Ladin might have some hidden signal in his video (e.g., "if my turban is tilted to the right, attack the infidels in Seattle") was also utter bullshit. Since World War II , resistance groups and governments have found it easy to communicate ONE-WAY with spies in enemy territory. A shortwave transmitter the size of a shoebox --carried in a car and powered by a car's automobile battery -- can transmit worldwide. The message in the transmission , if encrypted with the simple one time key pad , cannot be decrypted even by the NSA.
Twisting the arms of TV CEOs to block Bin Ladin's
1) In 1998, Bin Ladin gave several interviews to US TV networks in which he gave THREE reasons why Muslims should go to war against the US : (a) US support of Israel's killing/persecution of Palestinians (b) Tens? of thousands of Iraqi deaths in the 1990s because of US embargo ( US had bombed Iraqi water supplies in Desert Storm and then blocked import of water purification chemicals --resulting in epidemics from drinking polluted water ) (c) US military occupation of Saudi Arabia.
In November 2001, Bin Ladin stated in an interview --published in a Pakistani paper -- that the Sept 11 attack was a response to US sales of advanced weapons to Israel.
For details and citations to information sources, see my post at
For example, an excerpt from a Nov 2001 interview Bin Ladin gave to a reporter from a Pakistani newspaper called DAWN:
""The Sept 11 attacks were not targeted at women and children. The real targets were America's icons of military and economic power. .....The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government, they elect their president, their government manufactures arms and gives them to Israel and Israel uses them to massacre Palestinians. "posted by: Don the Greater on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
I see, Don the Greater, Bush sells Israel in June 2001, and then bin Laden orders the attacks on the US. Uh, sure. Can you explain why the pilots were in the US since before Bush was president?
Can you explain to me why al Qaeda doesn't attack Israel if they are so concerned about "massacres of Palestinians?" And "massacres" should be in scare quotes because there haven't been any massacres, and because Palestinian murders of civilian Israelis are in the same order of magnitude as Israeli killings of Palestinian militants. And why isn't bin Laden concerned about the real massacres of black Sudanese Muslim's by his former cronies in the Sudanese government? Oh, I forgot, his fellow Wahabi Arabs are the ones responsible for this massacre.
As for this notion that bin Laden is attacking the Saudi gestapo, if I am not mistaken, bin Laden was angry that the US did not go ahead and sell advanced weaponry to the Saudi government in the early 90s after the Gulf War. Doesn't seem consistent with the idea of not supporting the arming of the Saudi government. And after all bin Laden is fond of arming the gestapos of Islamist governments like the Taliban.
And you are absolutely wrong about the idea that bin Laden didn't object to the US military being in Saudi Arabia on religious grounds. He said it himself, and has said that if the US left Saudi Arabia he wouldn't attack the US. Of course bin Laden says all sorts of things depending on who his audience is, and obviously he has provided another message tailored for the ears of leftists idiotarians like yourself. The simple fact of the matter is that bin Laden is an Islamic supremacist, a xenophobe, and a chauvistic bigot, who fears western ideas of liberty and democracy will take root in the Muslim world if the US continues to have influence there. That is why he sanctions the massacre of Iraqis supporting democratic government in their homeland and why he hates democracy in Afghanistan. I suggest you take your blinders and your tin foil hat off and look at the real world for a change.posted by: ATM on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"... fighting a war with 1 billion Muslims ..."
You mean except for the Kurds.
Oh, yeah, and the Northern Alliance.
Oops, wait, forgot about those Lebanese reformers ["protest babes"] -- you know, the ones who carried American flags as part of their pro-democracy demonstrations?
Then there are the Muslims living peacefully in America or fighting in our Armed Forces -- on OUR side.
Better not include the Kuwaitis in your one billion figure, either -- oddly, Kuwaitis seem to think Saddam is the Great Satan rather than us.
Lastly there are those heroic Iraqi police and armed servicemembers who come to work every day, who like our firefighters on 9/11 see the fire and run toward it rather than away.
If we didn't know who our real enemies were before 9/11, we didn't know who our real friends were, either.
You're going to have to find your billion somewhere else.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
To reply to the above:
18 May 2001
21 May 2001
14 June 2001
31 July 2001
10 August 2001
26 August 2001
c) The Islamic World holds the US Government responsible for the actions of Sharon because the US government has created Israel. When Israel uses F16s to drop bombs on civilians and uses Apache helicopters to fire missiles into
What does Israel give us in return? Nothing.
d) None of this is in the interest of the American people. We suffered 3000+ dead and $1 Trillion in lost wealth from Sept 11 because our politicans --in both parties --are whores to campaign donations from billionaire supporters of Israel.
That is not the fault of Sharon or Israel.
We didn't create Israel, the British did. We just prevented Israel from being destroyed.
Israel has survived two wars of annihilation, one on 4 fronts and the other on 2, thanks in part to our military aid. As the conditions that led to both wars have not changed, neither has the rationale nor necessity for continued military aid to Israel.
Our efforts to bring freedom to the Middle East may someday reduce the requirement for so much military aid, as will our efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue.
"What does Israel give us in return?"
Dead terrorists.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
We didn't create Israel, the British did.
posted by: rosignol on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Well, they apparently can recognize the truth, even when it is provided with citations.
Sharon and Likud could never have pursued their aggression if they did not know that billionaire donors here in the US -- men like S Daniel Abraham, Haim Saban, and Walter Shorenstein in San Francisco -- would ensure that the US continued to back that aggression via transfers of massive amounts of weaponry and money.
That is why the Islamic world -- and Al Qaeda -- held us responsible for Israel's killing of Palestinians.
Pace Coalition Builder, Israel gives us nothing.
Witness the latest news:
Law enforcement officials have previously identified them as Steve Rosen, who was AIPAC's director of research, and Keith Weissman, who was its deputy director of foreign policy issues. Neither still works for the group. The FBI has interviewed both, but neither has been charged.
CORRECTION: First line in above post should have read: "Well, they apparently can NOT recognize the truth, even when it is provided with citations."posted by: Don the Greater on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
"Pace Coalition Builder, Israel gives us nothing."
On the contrary, if the terrorists trying to blow up Israel would just as soon do it to us, which you've already made clear is the case, every dead terrorist in Palestine is one less to attack America.
We are all connected. What happens in New York affects Tokyo; what happens in Jerusalem affects San Francisco.
A dead terrorist anywhere is a dead terrorist everywhere.
Troll or moonbat? If you've ever read Noam Chomsky or Ward Churchill you'll realize DtG is representative of the "academic left".posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Re Coalition Builder's comment "Troll or moonbat? If you've ever read Noam Chomsky or Ward Churchill you'll realize DtG is representative of the "academic left"."
Hee hee hee. As a charter subscriber to Pat Buchanan's "American Conservative", a long time member of the National Rifle Association, and
Remember what they said about Barry Goldwater?
"In your heart, you know he's right"posted by: Don the Greater on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
Wow! I thought after 9/11 all you Israeli-conspiracy right-wingers had quietly removed your tinfoil hats, set aside your John Birch decoder rings, and quietly gone home.
I'll see your NRA and raise you a CHL, but my bearing of arms has more to do with foiling crime than fearing government.
To the Populist Right's credit you guys don't cut Pollard any slack, and your isolationism is way more honest than the sleazy liberal "pacifism" which amounts to the same thing smeared with a nauseating veneer of self-righteous rationalizing.
You're still wrong, though, about the war, about the Israelis, about the practicality of isolationism in the modern world, and more than likely about India and NAFTA and gay marriage and free trade and all the rest of the things that make you guys ill.
Climb out of the bunker, pal ... Y2k is so 5 years ago.posted by: Coalition Builder on 06.08.05 at 12:15 PM [permalink]
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