August 16, 2006

Turn The Screws

Pakistan does the dirty work, so we don't have to...

It appears some of the information that helped avert the terror attacks on British flights destined for the United States may have been, well, coerced :

Reports from Pakistan suggest that much of the intelligence that led to the raids came from that country and that some of it may have been obtained in ways entirely unacceptable here. In particular Rashid Rauf, a British citizen said to be a prime source of information leading to last week's arrests, has been held without access to full consular or legal assistance. Disturbing reports in Pakistani papers that he had "broken" under interrogation have been echoed by local human rights bodies.

Here's where the metal meets the meat on torture - what precisely is so disturbing that a conspirator plotting the murder of thousands was physically coerced into telling us his plans? Would they rather be undisturbed, free to know that when those planes started exploding, and thousands dying, that at least no terrorists were injured trying to uncover the plot? It is absolutely preposterous.

These people weren't going to rob a liquor store or smoke some weed, they were plotting death on a massive scale. And yes, in this case, torture is not only acceptable, it is mandatory. Failure to do everything to extract this information is putting the comfort of the conspirator over the lives of the victims. I have referred in the past to the Mohammad Atta test - if you, on September 10th, had captured Atta and knew he had information about an imminent attack, would you permit any and all methods to extract information from him? If you do not answer yes to the previous question, you have no business in a position of public responsibility.

Rather than pretending torture is an absolute evil - which it is not, and of which there are few - we need to define the policy better, and for what it is. Some have complained about Americans involved in such interrogations - John McCain in particular as a person who suffered at the hands of his captors in Viet Nam. But let's be specific - there was no moral end to McCain's mistreatment, no good, even for North Viet Nam, to be gained. It was mere abuse, savage, misanthropic, animal. Nobody supports this, ever, nor should they.

And despite the overweening consternation expressed about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, that was not torture, yet nor was it acceptable. Abu Ghraib's happen in prisons in every corner of the world - people held captive abused by those with unchecked control and inadequate supervision. Abu Ghraib has no bearing on the torture discussion, because the acts depicted were not truly coercive in nature - they were abusive. While discussions about "prepping" prisoners for interrogation was used as a defense, it's easy to recognize abuse when you see it.

Which hopefully helps us narrow our focus down to what American policy regarding coercion should be - the use of physical and mental maniplulation and coercion to obtain information only in those cases that warrant it. This is the challenge. Everyone should pass the Mohammad Atta test. Hindsight indicates it. But policy is carried out in the field without the benefit of a crystal ball. Who is the next Atta? Who isn't? How do we ensure that strong-arm tactics are only used on those who have information that can potentially be used to save lives?

Some would argue the only way to be sure is to not use coercion at all. That line of thinking puts one mans moral precepts ahead of another mans life and liberty, and that does not balance on the scales of justice. It's all very easy to unburden ones conscience without being burdened with responsibility. Those who have the responsibility of protecting the lives of Americans don't have the convenience of easy moralizing about how to treat evil men.

It is time we discuss forthrightly the use of coercive tactics to interrogate individuals. In the appropriate cases, with a high probability of having information that can save lives, this is a moral tradeoff worth making.


UPDATE: Great minds thinking alike at Politechnical...

Posted by MEC2 at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2006

Concealed Carry

Remember, guns don't kill people... people with guns kill people...

As the world pursues a 'peace at all costs' solution to intractable Middle East problems, it appears that the cease fire in effect in Lebanon that calls for disarming Hezbollah is already being gelded:

Hizbullah will not hand over its weapons to the Lebanese government but rather refrain from exhibiting them publicly, according to a new compromise that is reportedly brewing between Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Preposterous on its face. We have feared what a long series of half-measures may mean, and here begins the payoff - Hezbollah won't have to disarm, despite the fact they are an armed terrorist entity occupying South Lebanon. How the Israeli government can stand if this is allowed to go forward I do not know - however, we are counting down the days until Netanyahu retakes the leadership in Israel.

In related news, Iran no longer wants Israel wiped off the face of the Earth, agreeing rather that Israel not be exhibited publicly.

Posted by MEC2 at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Surprise, Surprise

Israel throws Hezbollah a curve...

Hezbollah spokesman Mahmoud Komati has said something, well, rather foolish...

"The truth is _ let me say this clearly _ we didn't even expect (this) response.... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel to the July 12 cross-border raid, in which three Israelis were killed.

We can all thank Mahmoud for putting to rest the big lie of "proportional response". As we explained just a post or two ago, tit-for-tat is precisely the game Hezbollah wants to play. Hezbollah has operated under the assumption that they will take a shot at Israel, and Israel will take a shot back. This in fact became standard operating procedure for Hezbollah, and they were willing to continue ad infinitum, or until they had developed an even more advantageous strategy.

Hezbollah counted on Israeli restraint and Western compunction and complacency to protect them. That's how the game had been played. But Israel, tired of this situation, sensed (if not outright asked for) tacit American support of action to destroy Hezbollah, to the extent it could be done without wholesale destruction of Lebanon.

The result has been this slow grind into Lebanon by Israel. As Hezbollah has to deal with this onslaught, it should know that many voices in the West are finally onto them.

At least it should come as no surprise...

Posted by MEC2 at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Shalom In The Home

Israel states what is needed to restore peace...

As Israel's slow incursion into Lebanon continues, and Condoleeza Rice make a round of visits in the region, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has laid their cards on the table.

It's not only about the goal of the military action but about the demands of the international community that we explicitly share. They are: there must be a government and an army in Lebanon. There can no longer be militias and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah must be completely disarmed. They should no longer have the ability to be armed by Syria and Iran. In southern Lebanon there can be no more Hezbollah bases. The Lebanese army must be stationed there in its place. The global community a while ago demanded that the Lebanese government fulfill its responsibilities. It hasn't yet done so.

Now, the Der Spiegel headline isn't quite accurate - Israel surely seeks to destroy Hezbollah (we are spelling with an 'e' today, check back for future spellings), but seems to leave the possibility open of Hezbollah existing as a political entity in Lebanon - after all they actually hold seats in the Lebanese parliament.

This holds generally with what we believe is the template for a post-action agreement. However, it appears Israel is holding back and leaving a door open that should be indeed closed. Leaving an escape route for Hezbollah to stick around is the same mistake US forces made in dealing with Al Sadr in Iraq. Peace requires victory, merely rooting Hezbollah out 40 miles further north simply mutates the problem, it doesn't solve it.

Our template for a lasting peace requries Israel and Lebanon and other nations to agree to the following terms:

- UN forces (peacekeepers, right...) replaced by NATO or Western regular military forces in an expanded DMZ between Israel and Lebanon
- Lebanon must renounce Hezbollah and remove it from participation in the Lebanese government (this is the key, and the one thing that will not happen unless Lebanon sees this as the only way to secure peace)
- Lebanon must effectively control all of it's territory to prevent Hezbollah or other groups from becoming the de facto power in the area

In a nutshell, Lebanon must start behaving like a sovereign nation. The goal would be to transition the DMZ forces out, replaced with effective Lebanese units. But Israel will not tolerate, nor should it, the creation of a power vacuum that is constantly filled by terrorist groups hostile to Israel who follow through on those intentions.

Unless Hezbollah is routed out of Lebanon's future, we will have exchanged one set of battle lines for another.

Posted by MEC2 at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

Fight Club

The first rule of Middle East Fight Club is... no matter what, you must Fight...

It seems obvious to us that the second Israeli invasion of Lebanon has commenced.

Two matters concern us. The first is the notion of "disproportionate response". This bit of feckless nincompoopery has been espoused by some who don't quite feel they have the cover to directly criticize Israel, so they are doing in indirectly. Of course the response is disproportionate. If it weren't, you'd have a mere tit-for-tat response - surely this is apparent and inarguable. Additionally, this notion of having a "proportional" response serves to defang the Israeli Defense Force, as they possess the clear battlefield advantage. What country would neuter it's actions against an avowed enemy in order to have "parity" in response?

Hizbollah is more than willing to engage in a calculated, morbid, dead pool kind of exchange with Israel. Why wouldn't they be? When it comes to a large number of Western voices, only Israel is expected to meet any moral obligation in it's conduct. Israel must take care to avoid civilian casualties, and bear the criticism when they inevitably result, despite the fact that their enemies not only deliberately target civilians for maximum casualties, but cowardly hide among them to exact both maxiumum deference from Israel, and maximum public relations gain when Israel does take aim at them.

Are critics serious when they espouse a "proportional" response? What was the proportional response to the killing of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife? What was the proportional response to 9/11? What was the proportional response to Pearl Harbor? Proportional response is what is advocated by those so fearful of war that they will do anything to prevent it.

Which lead us to the more serious issue. That issue is - there must be War. The West, crippled by grievous wars of the past, has inculcated the notion that war must be avoided, at any and all costs.

This is mistaken. The following phrase is axiomatic:

A bad peace is worse than war.

State this to those haranguing the Israeli response, and you'll likely see surprise and disbelief, as well as various attempts to argue the tired, bankrupt notion that indeed, war is the worst fate to befall mankind. Listen for a while, as they spill out enough rhetorical rope. For the gallows man will remind them - this nation, the United States, was founded by men who understood the inarguable truth at the core of that statement. Those who signed the Declaration of Independence both understood, and underwrote, that political truth. To these men, whose names are among the finest citizens democracy has known, living under English rule was indeed worse than war, a war to free themselves and establish self-rule. By the way, the greatest document ever written by man not inspired by God is indeed the Declaration. Read it if you have not lately, it will remind you why this nation exists and of the principles it should always stand for.

In Israel, and Lebanon, there was a bad peace. In fact, to call it peace is something of a misnomer, and it only qualifies under the notion that things could be more violent than they were. So, Israel sits across the border from a militant enemy, sworn to it's destruction, stockpiling weaponry and launching attacks. That is a bad peace. Living under threat, under tyranny, and under oppression, that is a bad peace. American blacks in 1860 were living under a bad peace. To argue that war is always the greater evil is to be willfully ignorant both of the history of man, of war, and of the nature of how their rights to espouse such nonsense came to be guaranteed by their Constitution.

War is not the end of all things. Nations that would call themselves good nations must ensure that in War, they seek just war. That means war to a just end. Relativists cannot understand this concept, but non-relativists can. Not all aims are just, justice is not a matter of perspective. Arguing that a war cannot be just, or unjust, is to argue that a tree can exist, or not, when it is in total an apparent fact - the tree is, or is not, there. Our evaluation is that Israel is pursing a just war, and executing a just war. Moreover, this war will come, be it willed by the compunctuous West or not - it's only a matter of when. If Israel does not defeat Hizbollah outright, then the bad peace will return, and when that bad peace finally erodes back into conflict, matters will be worse.

There is a season for all things. The season of war is upon us.

Posted by MEC2 at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2006

The Battle Is Joined

I seriously wonder if this is the beginning of the great battle of our time...

The simmering war that has never truly been settled in Israel between Jew and Muslim has erupted anew.

A bloodletting was inevitable once the Palestinians let their lust for violence and revenge lead them to elect a war party to lead them. Even if the Palestinians themselves didn't quite grasp what they were voting for, the Israelis heard loud and clear. Israel took the first opportunity presented to them to bring matters to a head, a single soldier captured has led to is a low-intensity war between Hamas and Israel. I say low-intensity because Israel has yet to dial the conflict up past the low end of the dial. Make no mistake - the cards are Israel's to play, for all of the Intifada's bluster and racket making, Israel can crush resistance in Gaza at any time. Their only decision is how messy to make it.

Now, Hizbollah, terrorist group proxy of Iran and its compatriot Syria, the shadow puppetmaster of Lebanon, have invited an expansion of the conflict by launching attacks against Israel proper along the Israel's northern frontier with Lebanon. Perhaps the goal was to create concern in the West of a widening conflict, and inspire Western governments to call to rein in Israel. Well, that isn't going to work.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict continues, and will continue forever, as long as both parties have what they feel are genuine grievances that have been unresolved by agreement or war. Neither party will agree. Therefore - war remains.

Peace through victory is axiomatic. The problem in Israel is that the problem festers, and like leaves and brush piling upon the forest floor, the longer before it burns, the worse it will be when it does. And believe me, it WILL burn. Perhaps the current flames are the start of it. But until one side loses, and one side wins, there will be no peace. The greatest massacre of human lives in history, World War II, ignited because in Europe, there were unresolved war aims and a sense that neither side had really won, or lost. Germany got hung with reparations, but they felt these were unfair terms considering that the Great War ended in roughly a stalemate. Now, after World War II, and the utter destruction of the German state, reconciliation and peace were finally possible.

Israel is at relative peace with two of it's neighbors - Egypt and Jordan. Both nations, after two destructive losing wars against Israel, reconciled with Tel Aviv and came to an understanding of co-existence. They did this both because they lost militarily quite badly to Israel, and because they directly border Israel. Countries that lose wars to direct neighbors can usually come to an accomodation. Of course, it is on the victors terms, but unless the terms of defeat are worse than the spoils of the war, they are gratefully accepted.

In the case of Syria, Syria was also manhandled repeatedly by Israel. But with Lebanon acting as a barrier, Syria remains much more belligerent, certainly moreso than if Israeli divisions were sitting on the county line. Hence, there hasn't been the same reckoning that has occurred with Jordan and Egypt. Those regimes recognized they could not defeat Israel, and rather than be defeated, they reached satisfactory terms. But those terms weren't the result of negotiation, they were the result of military defeat.

Nothing in the Israeli/Palestinian debate will be settled until both sides, both spoiling for conflict, have it out. Palestinians will never be happy with Gaza and autonomy until they are faced with the alternative - potential destruction. Unless Syria's government falls, Syria will continue to use Lebanon as a violent proxy against Israel, allow Iran to support anti-Israeli groups such as Hizbollah, and this will go on, and on, and on, until one side is defeated.

The only question is - will this conflicy bring any other actors on board? Believe it or not, the US invasion of Iraq greatly reduces this chance. Iraq, under Hussein, was a willing sponsor of anti-Israeli terror, and prior to 1991, would have been a potential threat to Israel. But with US troops occupying the country, and the country just trying to create a self-sustaining government, Iraq is both a non-participant but also much harder to use as a point of transport from Iran. The materiel of terrorism is harder to move through Iraq now.

Still, actions in Iran bode ill - Iran clearly has a hand in the new activity in the North, and Ahmadinejad's reckless rhetoric about Israel and their pursuit of nuclear technology should send a clear signal that while Iran right now poses little direct threat for widening the conflict, a nuclearized Iran would be much harder to contain.

For now, the conflict seems destined to bring the Israeli/Palestinian/Syrian issue to a head, and no more. But if Iraq turns into an unstable state, and Iran continues it's nuclear pursuits and reckless posture toward Israel, the next firestorm may engulf far more than just the regional actors.

Posted by MEC2 at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2006

Bad Advice

Sometimes, the posts just write themselves...

As the United States seems to have made a breakthrough in getting our ostensible European allies as well as China and Russia on board with a series of steps to engage Iran in a long, tedious, pointless bit of diplomatic longwinded prattling while Iran pursues it's nuclear ambitions, one might ask - who should be take some advise from on how to deal with Iran? Let's give some options:

a) the deceased Shah of Iran
b) Saddam Hussein
c) Jimmy Carter
d) Darius III

No really, one of them is giving advice - and somewhere, someone wrote it down...

Yes, the lovable, pertinent, relevant Jimmy Carter actually had the stones to offer advice on dealing with Iran. Really. This is not made up...

Noted via Instapundit through to Transterrestrial Musings...

Posted by MEC2 at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Release The Hounds !!!

Never declare war for your enemy when they outmatch you...

As the Palestinian Authority reaps the whirlwind of it's choice of a terrorist gang to rule them, it's not suprising that the rhetoric coming from Hamas spokespeople is a little unpolished. And as Israel and the West take back the piggy bank that helps fund the Palestinians, you can imagine there is some exasperation on their part.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement in Gaza that Israel's decision to sever contacts with the Palestinian Authority amounted to "a declaration of war and a failed attempt to cause internal divisions among Palestinians".

A declaration of war? Well, in that case, to quote Mr. Burns:

Release the hounds!!!

A key attribute for a spokesperson should be selective word use. Claiming Israel is de facto at war with them is not a smart thing to do, considering the relative strengths of these two groups. After a while, they might convince the Israelis of it. And that would bode most ill for Hamas.

Hamas hasn't yet learned to play the victim game properly to obtain the same support that the Fatah party did. Europe can be duped, but you at least need to make an effort at it. Belligerence may carry the day in the Palestinian Street, but not in the streets of Brussels...

Posted by MEC2 at 09:21 PM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2005

Best Friends

People let me tell you 'bout my best friend, he's a warm-hearted martyr who'll love me till the end...

Syria and Iran have announced they've formed a 'common front' in their regional dealings with certain nameless countries that invaded Afganistan and Iraq. This is also known in foreign policy circles as a "twofer" - and is the equivalent of the last two nerdy kids to get picked for dodgeball in PE class forming a 'common front' just before getting their asses handed to them by the other kids.

Syria and Iran, the two biggest sponsors of terror in the world, seem to have simply semi-formalized their mutual interests in supporting anti-Israeli and anti-Western terror, sponsoring and fometing unrest in newly democratic Iraq, and in mutual surivival of autocratic regimes.

Syria has managed to raise it's profile in the area recently, to the point of even getting France to agree with the United States on stronger UN condemnation of Syrian meddling in Lebanon. Syria maintains that it's forces there are there for stability, and that Lebanon must merely ask for them to depart, and they would "happily" do so. Of course, that's what former Lebanese PM al-Hariri did, and so the Syrians promptly blew him up. Well that can't be, as Syria rejected the notion they support terror. "Who, me, support terror?"

With the US withdrawing it's ambassador - considered a big deal among effete diplomatic circles - the stakes are rising in the region between the United States and Syria. With their longstanding support of terrorists in Lebanon, their occupation, their tacit support of insurgent Baathists in Iraq (remember, Assad is a Baathist as well), the United States is devloping a casus belli against Syria. Hence, Syria and Iran are drawn into each others arms, considering nobody else in the region will have them....

They should give this arrangement a catchy name, like "Tripartite Pact" or something.

Posted by MEC2 at 07:25 PM

February 13, 2005

Radioactive Mullah

Iran surprisingly rejects European demand - giggle, a European demand...

It appears Tehran is rejecting a European demand to stop working on a heavy water reactor. Well, duh.

Here's the thing about a demand - it has to entail actual consequences to be valid. Without consequences, it's not a demand - it's a request, a solicitation, a mere begging. Proof? Now that Iran has flat out refused, what is the consequence? A tersely worded letter?

There was a time when a European power was willing to back up it's demands - or simply knew when to demand, and when not to. As the United States has no formal diplomatic ties with the United States, it's been Europe taking the lead in trying to negotiate a solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Of course, Iran claims it doesn't want a nuclear weapon. The IAEA says there is no evidence of a nuclear weapon or program. Of course, the "evidence" when found will be an actual nuclear weapon, which of course is the horse out of the barn...

Europe seems content to play good cop, and let the United States play bad cop. Europe should make no demands it doesn't feel like backing up. There is an implicit "or else" that accompanies every demand. So, what else? In Europe's case, nothing, and it makes future demands that much easier to dismiss.

A demand without a consequence is like the Cliff Clavin rule - if you aren't carrying a gun, it's not a uniform, it's a costume...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:04 PM

December 12, 2004

Waiter !!!

There's a skull and crossbones in my soup...

As if the drama in the Ukraine wasn't already dramatic enough, we can add whodunit hijinx and intrigue to the mix - opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko was indeed poisoned, by parties unknown, but believed to be last seen wearing fur papakhas with the monogram K G and a letter they can't quite figure out, but it might have been a B.

Information indicates that dioxin, the substance declared to be involved, is a very poor poison - as clearly demonstrated here. That is - if your intent is to kill. The KGB has a proven track record with ricin, no need to quibble if we simply want someone taking a dirt nap. But the goal was not to get Yushchenko dead - merely very tired. What they didn't count on was Yushchenko's resulting chloracne, a result from the dioxin poisoning, that so altered his appearance and gave the world a before and after look at their handiwork.

You think Yushchenko and Ukraine presented a problem to Russia before? Try messing with a state's election and poisoning it's potential leader. Kick over any fire ant mounds lately? Poking beehives lately? The real poisoning has been in Russian relations with the West and with Ukraine. And how does this bode for Russia? I mean if they'll poison people and rig the election in another country, what wouldn't they do in their own?

George W. Bush's original optomistic assessment of Putin seems to be losing it's luster...

Posted by MEC2 at 09:33 PM

November 24, 2004

Your 15 Minutes Are UP !!!

Someone tell Richard Clarke, please...

In his new battle against irrelevancy, good old Richard Clarke has resurfaced to remind us he's still metabolizing oxygen somewhere.

It's time to dismantle this charlatan.

Now that the presidential campaign is behind us, it's time for the nation's political leaders to recognize what many experts in the counterterrorism field have been saying for a long time: America needs to change course in the war on terror.

Why sure, I mean now that we've been kept safe for over three years and taken the battle to the enemy, let's change that successful course. This guy navigates policy like Fred Noonan.

International jihadist groups have conducted twice as many attacks since Sept. 11, 2001 as they did in the three years prior to that date.

Duh - it's a WAR, tool. The US faced more attacks in the three years after Pearl Harbor than they did for the three preceding years - does that tell us ANYTHING useful? The real question is where are the battles taking place? In New York, or Fallujah? I'll take Fallujah... (sounds like a new musical off-broadway).

Jihadist membership has increased over the past three years, and leaders who have been killed or captured have been replaced.

Really? I mean is there a membership list? Because that might be an important find... And how can you bemoan that leaders have been killed and captured and yet are replaced? Does this argue AGAINST killing or capturing them?

Anti-Americanism throughout the Muslim world has been exacerbated by the war in Iraq, which also created a sanctuary for jihadists.

Alright, let's tackle this one-two punch of stupidity head on. First, that we've inflamed the "Arab street" - this meme that is always trotted out to argue against acting against anyone wearing a kufi. And yet, for all of the talk, the Arab street doesn't run with blood. Does the Arab street differentiate between taking out "legitimate" US targets in Afghanistan as opposed to "illegitimate" ones in Iraq?

As to making Baghdad a haven for terrorists, two points - first, the biggest terrorist is sitting in a 10 by 10 gray-green metal cell with damp, stinking walls and a wooden plank for bed. Secondly - why yes, there are more terrorist attacks in Iraq. Guess why? Because Iraq was a totalitarian police state under Hussein - just as there are more terrorist attacks in Russia now, because the Soviet Union was a totalitarian police state. Let's reinstate the Politburo and Hussein post haste...

It seems clear the United States has failed to eliminate or even seriously weaken the violent Islamist threat.

It DOES? How is that clear? It would seem to me to be most UNCLEAR at this point. And were we supposed to, three years later, have eliminated the violent Islamist threat? I'm all ears for the "Eliminate Islamist Threat in 3 Years, or your money back!" program.

Building on the commission's recommendations, a task force that I assembled and chaired for the Century Foundation has developed a blueprint for action to defeat the jihadists.

I knew the topic would turn to Clarke sooner or later. Enough about me and my task force... what do you think of me and my task force?

Clarify the threat: To be effective, we must have consensus about the nature of the problem facing us. That threat is not terrorism, or even all terrorist organizations, but rather the jihadist terrorists who seek to hijack Islam and use violence to replace existing governments with nondemocratic theocracies.

Wrong - dead wrong. If you expect to enlist the support of others, you can't just go after SOME terrorists. Clarke is like the stupid stormtrooper in Mos Eisley, where Bin Laden comes along in a landspeeder and waves his hand saying "These aren't the terrorists you're looking for". If the United States expects to enlist the help of others, we must declare all terror as the target. While Islamist fundamentalism is the predominant source, it'd be nice to be able to tell Spain, for instance, that we support them in their battle against terrorist actions by the Basque terrorists in ETA, rather than just say we aren't worried about THOSE terrorists, but by the way how about a hand against Al Qaeda?

Engage in the battle of ideas: In addition to countering the jihadist terrorists with law enforcement, intelligence and military measures, we must erode support for them in the Islamic world.

This is outright naivete - that somehow, the United States isn't propagandizing itself enough. This is self-delusion, to think that your opponent simply hasn't thought enough about their options to come to an informed choice. War is about what it always is about - power. Power over land and lord. Does anyone believe the well-educated Osama Bin Laden just didn't hear enough for us to win the "battle of ideas" with him? Gimme a break, Clarke, no wonder you got relegated to looking at computer porn and spamming in couterintelligence, you don't appear to have the knack for calling a spade a spade here. They want to kill us - you aren't gonna talk them to death, Richard.

Provide assistance to Islamic nations: Although jihadist terrorists are often not poor or uneducated, they use the underprivileged populations in some Islamic nations as one base for their support and as a lever for undermining national stability.

When did using the uneducated and poor to political ends become novel? Good grief, what do you think the Democrat party is? Clarke wants to hitch his wagon to the axiom that rich states don't support terror, and he's right - not out of any idealism, but because they have too much to lose to risk it. But you aren't going to buy your way out of this fight.

Tailor strategies for key countries: The United States must have detailed and integrated policies for enhancing stability and democratic forces in key Islamic nations, including Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq.

This seems like offering up the obvious to me. But one concern - do we place the idea of democracy above the idea of pro-Western policy? That is, is it better to have a co-operative government in Pakistan run by a ruler like Musharraf, or is it better to have an unfriendly government supported by the people, such as the Islamic Revolutionaries in Tehran circa 1980? I would offer the former is more important that the latter - pragmatism is the first rule of core -level politics, better a defective friend than an effective enemy.

Defuse sources of Islamic hatred for the United States: The jihadist terrorists oppose the United States not for what it believes or does, but because they see America as a barrier to their creation of theocratic nation-states or caliphates.

Here it comes - the list of reasons why America is a deserved target of terror, the "she was asking for it" line of reasoning. Islamists use the United States to coalesce their own cronyism - be it bemoaning our social openness, failure to stone homosexuals in the street, allowing women to vote and pole dance - we are a convenient target. But Clarke at least has admitted the truth - we stand in the way of their assumption of power. We support moderate or pro-Western governments, we support women's rights, we support Israel...

Oh yes, Israel. That great bugaboo. To his credit, Clarke doesn't state we should alter our support for them. Though the statement that we should "revive the Israel-Palestinian peace process" demonstrates a failure to understand what US policy has been the last three years. Arafat and the Intifada were persona non grata at the White House. After 9/11, there was going to be zero tolerance for anyone who uses terrorism - yes Richard, even THOSE terrorists who don't threaten the US. And this policy is in danger of leading to pragmatic leadership and the establishment of a Palestinian state on terms NOT purchased with blood.

Improve U.S. intelligence and law enforcement organization
Eliminate terror financing
Improve U.S. military organization
Prevent nuclear terrorism

File this under command of the obvious.

The war against the jihadists will not be easy or free of casualties. But, unless we learn from our mistakes and chart a new course, the struggle will be much longer, more costly and more painful than necessary.

Good grief, this closing reads worse than a ninth graders book report. What a trite, pointless aphorism. Allow me to close, Richard - it's about time we take those who say "Death to America" at face value. Not excuse them, prevaricate, justify, or handwring. Rather, treat those words as the threat they are. This means not making apologies for terrorism, not excusing it because it's the "wrong kind", not thinking we can simply throw pithy aphorisms and cash at the problem, nor underestimating our enemy as simply the great unwashed.

The bottom line is easy to get to. Those who use terror are evil. They must be defeated, at any cost. The strategy? Both barrels, everything and anything BUT accomodation or attempts to understand the terrorist mind. Examining their thinking is like staring at the sun through binoculars - blinding and pointless. You will undermine and defeat them not by demonstrating your greater humanity, but by your willingness to sacrifice everything to defend freedom and liberty and those things you hold dear - because they are willing to sacrifice everything to deny it to you.

Posted by MEC2 at 12:05 AM

November 15, 2004

God 1, Arafat 0

Mr. Arafat, this is Hell calling, your table for one is ready...

The long, tortured death watch of Yasser Arafat has ended a long, tortured life of terror, vile corruption, and exploitation of the Palestinian people.

While our choice of news was restricted to onboard watching of CNN, we were partially surprised to see at least some balance toward what we feared might be a tendency to lionize the utterly poisonous Arafat. Most accounts were unsweetened and fairly balanced.

Arafats long-overdue demise opens a new phase of possible hope for progress in settling Israeli/Palestinian disputes. Arafat was never a serious player to create a lasting peace in the region, as he relied on the dissonance of the people to support his cronyism and graft. Turning his back on the most generous offer the Palestinian Authority would ever get in the failed summit talks of 2000, Arafat's continued reliance on his people's misery led to his persona-non-grata status with the White House, which has enabled Sharon to impose a solution, rather than allow the Palestinians to negotiate one.

Before his death, Arafat and his Intifada had managed to alienate anyone inside Israel sympathetic toward their plight, created an enormous project to wall Israel off from the West Bank, and disinterested the United States from dealing with the Palestinian Authority whatsoever. A true disaster. With his passing, and the selection of Mahmoud Abbas to run to lead the PA under the Fatah party into the January 9th election to choose a new leader will close the book on the Arafat era and hopefully open a new one.

Abbas, removed from his prior position as Prime Minister after clashing with Arafat, has a chance to be what Arafat wasn't - a pragmatic leader who delivered statehood to his people.

Posted by MEC2 at 02:14 PM

October 11, 2004

You're Welcome, Eh

Friends help you move - real friends help you move bodies...

Following up on the previous story about the stricken Canadian submarine SS Minnow, er, we mean the HMCS Chicoutimi, it turns out that the United States took over towing the floundering vessel that Tom Hanks used to escape his island confinement in "Cast Away".

Let it not be said that this country doesn't come to the aid of it's allies, even when they stab us in the back and don't support us in our efforts to end the tyrannical reign of a murderous madman.

Yes - even then, we will come and help tow your rickety-ass boat back to shore...

Posted by MEC2 at 08:06 PM

October 10, 2004

Disloyal Opposition

Former British cabinet minister demonstrates the enemy within...

Demonstrating why the argument - that the left (on both continents) cannot be trusted with the war on terror - cannot quite ever be put to rest, former British cabinet minister Clare Short has confirmed such doubts by claiming that Al Qaeda's cause is "just".

There is a natural distrust of the left when it comes to active engagement against terrorism - the left has long been the refuge of pacifism, unilateral disarmament, isolationism, and demobilization. In it's nature, it is difficult to trust such a group to wage war. But going beyond this, it's the company the left keeps that raises eyebrows and concerns. And remarks such as those by Short, that there is little difference between the methods and outcomes of the US and UK and of the terorrists themselves, reveals a deeper disconnect and an astonishing amount of political self-flagellation.

Comparing Iraqi resistance fighters - who blow up children, Iraqi police, civilians - to the French resistance, Short reveals the undercurrent of moral equivalence and self-loathing of the left, both in Europe and America. It is a moral guilt, unassuaged by promoting democracy or liberty.

It is almost akin to the Stockholm Syndrome. Because the policies of the Euro and American left render them incapable of effectively dealing with an aggressive foe, there is almost a transferrence, or identification with the enemy - be it Soviet totalitarianism or Islamic terrorism. It's a pathological transfer that the political system has seen in the two recent struggles of our times - against Communism, where accomodation and justification for Soviet excesses was offererd and embraced, and now terrorism, where moral equivalences and excuse making and self-abuse for a murderous and barbarous enemy of order are de rigeur among the left.

That the party that has birthed Tony Blair, who history will regard as one of the most effective proponents of engagement against terrorism, also contains the apologist and compunctive Clare Short, is nothing short of astonishing.

Posted by MEC2 at 08:09 PM

October 06, 2004

Sloppy Seconds

Canada getting it's armed forces from the Goodwill, now armed as heavily as the Salvation Army...

A fire on board a second-hand submarine has Canada up in arms over buying British Navy surplus.

Canada has been in the lucky position of having it's neighbor to the south as security guarantor since, well, the war of 1812 really, when the new nation of the United States tried to wrastle up some more states north of the border and failed miserably. Since the end of the Cold War, Canada has seen a steady deterioration in readiness, equipment, and combat capability. This latest disaster is unfortunate, but indicative of the Candadian situation - with no perceived threat, Canada is satisfied to let the United States do the heavy lifiting to keep the peace, and is trying to get by on the cheap buying castoffs and hand-me-downs.

Canada took a beach at Normandy - today, they couldn't take a beach at a Sandals resort. They must do better...

Posted by MEC2 at 05:01 PM

September 09, 2004

Ya Think !?

Sometimes, the blog just writes itself...

Article titled Iran Seen Using EU to Buy Time to Get Atomic Bomb.

Gee, do ya think so?

Posted by MEC2 at 06:27 PM

September 08, 2004

Tipping Point

France and Germany approach the event horizon...

As the post Cold War world continues to unfold, the economies and social dynamics in Western Europe are reaching critical mass.

This outstanding read examines the current problems and what may lie ahead for the two socialist post-industrial economies in France and Germany. Quite simply, they've regulated themselves into a catatonic economic state. Relying on government spending for economic output, removing free market bargaining from labor, and creating a government welfare system that isn't a safety net but rather a hammock, these countries have created intractable problems. When those receiving the fruits of production outnumber of those required to produce, the tipping point is passed.

Radical reform is needed, but will be resisted by those on the receiving end of the redistribution equation. And pressure to congeal politically and economically with the EU runs counter to what will be required to enact much of the required change - nationalism.

Nationalism is remarked in the article as a dark force, understandably so in the case of Germany, but nationalism is a normal word that has been turned into an epithet. The "Made in the USA" campaign is nationalism - surely, nothing too harmful about looking for such labels on my clothing, is there?

It is not a question of if these dynamic forces will emerge, but when...

Posted by MEC2 at 10:03 PM

September 01, 2004

Beyond The Water's Edge

President Bush must make the case that the war on terror doesn't stop at the border...

Speeches during the first two days of the Republican convention have done yeoman's work for the President on many fronts, but most importantly they carried water that the White House has at times been careless with - that the war on terror is the trump issue in the election, and more importantly, that the war in Iraq is part and parcel of any long term strategic success against terrorism. In the next two nights, the vision of this effort must be broadened to once again recognize that the fight against terrorism must not stop at the water's edge.

The Republicans will be horribly remiss if they fail to mention what has occurred of late in Russia. The downing of two airliners was frightening enough. But the hostage taking of children - hundreds of them - at a middle school is an outright assault on human decency. Anyone who would hold a gun to the head of a child represents an evil that is both unspeakable and undeterrable. No amount of reason, rationalisms, coercion, sense, nor rhetoric can dissuade such an act that is borne of a mindset so utterly devoid of basic, cohesive human values.

The White House has argued that Iraq is part of the war on terror. The usual rebuttal concludes that as Saddam presented no imminent or proximate threat, and that since he was not responsible for 9/11, that Iraq represented a totally discrete issue. This is outright folly, and Rudy Giuliani said it clearly, stating that "in any plan to destroy global terrorism, Saddam Hussein needed to be removed." And this clarity must be extended - do we suppose that Islamist extremists that threaten the lives of hundreds of children in Russia do not represent an imminent, proximate threat to the United States, and therefore are not our sworn enemies in the war against terrorism? Are French journalists, held in Iraq because of their governments social policies, not held by those that would threaten any one of us? Are we neutral in the butchery of Nepalese cooks and launderers, who are massacred and dismissed as merely those who "serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God"?

Fighting Islamist terrorism, in Iraq, in Israel, in Russia, in Spain - these are not discrete problems. They are not independent, nor unrelated. They are part and parcel of a struggle against a fanatic Islamist movement that despises the West, despises Christendom and the existence of Jews, and seeks to exact through threat and the death of innocents what they cannot through popular choice. They are supported by bad actors and regimes that utilize them to their own ends - in Iraq, in Iran, in Syria. No permanent peace can come to the middle east with actors such as Saddam or Arafat in positions of power. Saddam most of all, with his history of regional belligerence, and his known history of seeking, possessing, and using unconventional weapons that can be wielded against civilian targets to devastating effect.

It is time to reaffirm the commitment to a truly global war on terror.

Posted by MEC2 at 07:41 PM

July 23, 2004

Warsaw Film Festival

Everywhere you sit, you're behind a Pole...

As the movie Farenheit 9/11 begins working it's way around global cinemas like a sexually transmitted disease, it's found it's way to Poland, and the Polish press has seen this song and dance before.

Having lived under both the jackboot of the Third Reich, and near a half-century of oppressive Stalinist tyranny, the Poles have a fairly fresh memory of one-sided propaganda, and they are remarking that they've heard Moore's tune before - same song, different verse:

"People are very sensitive to aggressive propaganda, especially when it pretends to be an objective documentary or a work of art."

That's cutting right through to point of the matter. While comparing the work to that of Nazi propagandist Riefenstahl is more than we'd allow from a domestic reviewer - Moore hasn't murdered anyone in the name of racial purity - the Poles earned the right to make the comparison.

Posted by MEC2 at 10:59 PM

June 18, 2004

Fools Rush In

Why the cries against the House of Saud miss the point...

With the recent killings of western workers in Saudi Arabia, and today's grim news of another barbaric decapitation of a US citizen, grumblings of policy makers and the public about Saudi Arabia are bubbling to the surface. While understandable, they miss the real point.

The House of Saud and the United States are in the same boat. Both have drawn the ire of Al Qaeda and other regional terrorists, with the goal being to drive both parties from the land of Mecca and Medina. Before it appears this is a defense of the Saudi Kingdom, let's be clear - it has done far more to harm the situation than help, especially prior to 9/11. But before we cry for the fall of the House of Saud, who do we think will fill the vacuum of power? This is precisely Al Qaeda's stated goal.

Al Qaeda decided to attack the United States at home, and has paid a fearsome price for it. There was no need - the more effective strategy, which Al Qaeda is now pursuing, is to attack western interests that support the Saudi government, carry out attacks that wedge Western popular opinion from supporting the regime, isolating it, to be followed by systematic attempts to sieze power and depose the House of Saud.

It is in this context that raising suspicions about the Saudi governments announced killings of it's most wanted Al Qaeda terrorist, Al-Moqrin, suggesting that it was too coincident with the announcement of Paul Johnson's death, miss the point. The House of Saud and America have a common enemy. Kicking the chair out from under the Saudis, and leaving them to the jackals of Al Qaeda, is a plan to their liking, and the US must not accomodate them.

Posted by MEC2 at 07:41 PM

June 13, 2004

Going Clubbing

The nuclear club prefers invitation only...

As Iran faces increasing internal dissent and decline both short and long term, the focus of Iran on joining the nuclear club is combatting internal political entropy.

Regimes in trouble often focus attention outside, rather than within. In the case of Iran's nuclear ambitions, the natural opposition of the rest of the world to Tehran's efforts creates a natural us-versus-them mindset that can tend to ease internal divides, as long as negative attentions can be focused on perceived outside meddling in domestic policies and efforts.

Globally, the world is getting caught flat-footed. With an election in the US and an Iraq that is still tenuous, the natural tendency for the US to provide leadership has been disappointingly muted. The simple fact is that introducing nuclear weapons into the Persian Gulf and terrorist sponsoring nations is likely the worst possible event in a world full of imaginable disasters.

The Israelis will not tolerate the bankrollers and puppetmasters of Hezbollah to go nuclear. The US knows this. Israel knows we know this, and we know Israel knows. Since everyone knows, the natural result will be inevitable US action against said facilities unless obscenely strict inspection protocols are met with 100% satisfaction. The US would rather take action itself, and take the international heat, than let the Israelis do it and destabilize the region. But Tel Aviv has clearly indicated to Washington that it cannot tolerate a weaponized nuclear capability in Tehran.

The rubicon is approaching...

Posted by MEC2 at 10:18 AM

June 08, 2004

Oh Canada

Jeez, even the French treated Reagan better...

The Canadian Prime Minister, in the midst of an election, will not be attending the state funeral for Ronald Reagan, and has been somewhat muted in remarks regarding his passing.

Apparently a bit too busy to attend, the Canadian PM seems to be letting his current election run blanch his previously stated goals of improved relations with the United States.

Canada could do well to be a little more appreciative, considering their domestic policies are utterly reliant on the United States as regional security guarantor as well as prescription drug subsidizer and emergency health care center. Kinder words cost little, but do much.

Posted by MEC2 at 08:37 PM

June 06, 2004

Freeing Europe

A momentous day, a great and terrible day...

June 6th of course recalls the heroic opening of the second front in Europe, the beginning of the liberation of France, the coming to an end of the Third Reich.

It should be remembered as we celebrate the day that marked the freeing of Western Europe, we also remember today President Reagan, the man who helped free the rest of Europe. For as D-Day marked a new hopeful chapter for a free Europe, it wasn't until 1989 that the same freedoms finally reached those behind the Iron Curtain, and to that end, few worked as hard or tirelessly as Ronald Reagan.

More to come in a few days... including how this event is going to greatly impact this years election.

Posted by MEC2 at 11:11 PM

May 29, 2004

The Hits Keep On Coming

Another one bites the dust...

Israel continued to hammer Hamas leadership in Gaza with a strike that killed another Hamas leader (is this an honorary position, because there seem to be as many 'leaders' as there are VP's at a large conglomerate).

It's become a familiar scene of late - a burned out car, a coffin carried through the streets, "God is Great", threats of revenge, yada yada yada. Lather, rinse, repeat. As Israel continues to gear up for a withdrawal from Gaza, the message from Israel, and by the US by proxy, is to change your behavior, or you will have a peace imposed on you, rather than negotiated by you. By marginalizing Arafat, the US has enabled Israel to bypass him as well, and will likely continue to do so until Arafat is out of the picture.

The Palestinians have yet to grasp that the US will allow Israel to impose a settlement far less lucrative than they might otherwise achieve at the negotiating table. The US focus on terrorism has reshuffled the deck, and the use of terror bombings to pressure Israel and carry weight at the negotiating table is now a handicap, not a benefit. The Palestinians may hold out for more, but the reality on the ground will dictate the terms, and the longer they dally, the less likely their hand will improve.

Time will legitimize the imposed Israeli partitions and policies - and time is weakening the Palestinians' hand.

Posted by MEC2 at 10:33 AM

May 14, 2004

The Sanity Defense

Joe Lieberman gets it - you don't change warhorses midstream...

Joe Lieberman, Democrat senator from Connecticut and former VP candidate, spelled out his opinions and cogent reasons why Rumsfeld isn't going anywhere.

Joe concisely understands - nothing indicates Iraqi prisoner abuse was directed by Rumsfeld or the JCS, the President has confidence in his SecDef, we are in the middle of a war, and nothing would make American policy opponents, like France, any happier than seeing a tough wardog like Rumseld taken off the line.

This should be the Kerry campaigns position - let other Democrats do the dirty work, be above the fray and unflinchingly pro-American. Instead, the Kerry campaign is muddling down in this, and will realize too late the folly of it.

Posted by MEC2 at 10:33 AM

May 06, 2004

Flock of Mullahs

Iran...Iran so far away...

Once the United States's greatest mideast ally, Iran is slowly festering a revolt against the aging anti-American mullahs the public once embraced.

Iran, oil wealthy but not overly so, non-Arab, former home to the great Persian empire, is a naturally more cosmpolitan and Western-oriented nation than it has been represented since the fall of the Shah. As the younger, resentful generations move into more important sectors of government and the economy, and as the mullahs age and wither, Iran could see a change in government before the next US election in 2008.

Iran represents a different challenge for regime change. Iraq was ruled by one man - Saddam. Iran is ruled by a religious oligarchy. Tehran was remarkably progressive before the Shah fell, and the populace that didn't flee still remembers a more open, carefree society. With American forces on both borders and an increasinly restless populace that nearly universally wants a change in government, the dice are rolling in Iran... the US should be the prodder, not the prod, for such change.

Insurgence from within, not from without, will likely spell the end of the mullahs and nearly 25 years of hostility between old friends.

Posted by MEC2 at 04:50 PM

May 01, 2004

Fiddling While The Church Of Rome Burns

The West sleeps while the fires are lit...

In Nigeria, one of the predominantly Muslim northern provinces has begun imposing Sharia law including the planned destruction of all Christian churches.

Imagine if Israel destroyed every Mosque in it's territory. Or if the United States destroyed every Temple. And yet... the sounds of silence.

When intolerance raises it's head, not in the form of opinion, but in the form of government action directed against the people, it must be stopped and not allowed perpetuity.

Let's ask ourselves - have we heard this song before? Destruction of religious symbols of other faiths, death sentences for women accused of adultery, removal of hands for thiefs, removal of women from co-ed schools and taxi cabs, imposition of Sharia... why, that sounds just like the Taleban.

When they executed women in soccer games, the West did nothing. When they destroyed the symbols of other faiths, the UN "warned of serious consequences", which of course mean the West did nothing. When they refused women basic human rights, the West did nothing. When they demanded abeyance to Islam or death, the West did nothing. The West allowed Afghanistan to become a wretched hive of scum and villainy. And was unwilling to act. Ask Han Solo - sometimes, you have to shoot Greedo first.

The question to ask the West is - what are you prepared to do?

In a nation swelled with corruption and oil, this is a development the West should be strongly condemning and prepared to act upon. Instead, it slumbers while one by one flames are lit against it throughout the world.

Posted by MEC2 at 10:25 AM

April 19, 2004

Everything Must Go

Bush Administration wants Hamas to conduct a going out of business sale...

Putting a fine point on the issue, a State Department spokesman today said the US considers "groups that are actively blowing up people to be terrorist organizations."

The spokesman went on to say the Palestinians should ensure that Hamas is "put out of business." But in impoverished Palestinian areas, it is the corrupt leaders who control the purse, who control the direction, who control the mob. When their money dries up, their power will. But with Europe and others insistent on pouring money into the corrupt coffers of Arafat and his cronies, little change will occur. The power of money and patronage in a violent, poor community is unmatched.

In related news, Hamas has chosen a new leader, but refuses to release the name of the man who drew the short straw...

Posted by MEC2 at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2004

The Hit Parade

Hamas leader Rantisi's number comes up...

Israel took out another leader of Hamas on Saturday, bringing immediate cries of terrorism from spokesmen of the terrorist organization...

US response was muted, and deservedly so. Hamas is Israel's Al Qaeda. The US is finally publically expressing in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict what it has privately held - terror is terror, there is no justification or cause that legitimizes it. The Palestinian terror groups have long used their political plight as justification for blowing up Bah Mitzvah's and pizza parlors, and the US has finally had enough of terror, of Arafat, and of Hamas.

Some of the chattering heads are talking about a possible alignment between Hamas and Al Qaeda arising from this attack. Possibly arising? Please, birds of a feather flock together. Bin Laden has been consistent in his praise of Hamas, and it was all too clearly demonstrated on 9/11 where the Palestinian populace stood, dancing in the streets in celebration...

Questions arise of Hamas striking in the US. Uh, sure, it's possible - if the Palestinians tire of living in Gaza. The fact is that the US requires a restraint on Israel it would never expect of itself. The United States would have no compunction in taking out an Al Qaeda leader anywhere in the world - at least the current Administration wouldn't, post 9/11. The United States wouldn't hesitate to lash out viciously at Hamas should Hamas decide it wants to bring suicide bombing to American shores. Hamas knows this, and has seen the President fully willing and able to follow through on it.

The other dirty little secret they also know it's not so much that the US guarantees Israel's existence - but that the US guarantees the Palestinians existence. Without the US to countenance restraint, Israel would have lost self restraint ages ago. Hamas knows this as well - which is why they contain their actions against Israel proper, while attempting to use the US as a leashing agent on Israeli actions while they seek maximum political benefits.

Some have decried the shift in US language toward Israeli action against Hamas leaders, stating it gives the appearance of tacit approval of their actions. Well, yeah...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:53 AM

April 07, 2004

Tripolitics

How is it that they get it in Tripoli, but not Paris or the DNC?

If the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi can clearly see that democracy and self-determinism are the only positive future available to Arab nations, why is it so hard for this to be seen elsewhere?

There is a natural inclination to be wary of anything coming from Libya - a grain of salt is minimally mandatory with this recent convert toward Western thinking. While it's easy to dismiss the remarks as pro-Western ingratiating pap, there is utter truth in his words.

This re-asks the question posed here in yesterdays article - can democracy to a tyrannized people only be gifted from a position of outright authority, from emperor to subject, or can it arise from the ashes of tyranny?

Posted by MEC2 at 06:44 PM

April 03, 2004

The Reign In Spain

The reign in Spain falls plainly to the insane...

With the panicked results of the Spanish election still reverberating, further reverberations are being generated by a realization that appeasement leads not to peace, but to more terror.

As explosions rock Madrid, and new explosives are discovered aimed at Spanish railways, the elected leader of the incoming Socialist government has, not surprisingly, ditched relations with the conservative US government, and raced to embrace the Socialist governments in France and Germany.

Lost in much of the discussion on Iraq is the most obvious lesson of all - support for the US fell along purely partisan lines. Only the Labor government in Britain proved to be an exception, because of the remarkable Tony Blair. The move of Spain from the senior circuit in the war on terror to the ladies auxillary league simply reinforces what should be obvious to any observer.

It seems the Spanish press may be getting it somewhat - as terror continues to haunt Spain, expect the eventual buyer's remorse to set in among the electorate. Though El Mundo clearly whistles past the graveyard defending Spain from the charge of appeasement, claiming another bomb indicates the terrorists weren't appeased. You're right, they weren't appeased - despite your best efforts to. Filed under lessons not learned...

Posted by MEC2 at 04:52 PM

Socialism's Dirty Laundry

I'm all for leaving laundry to the help, but it's German business that's being taken to the cleaners...

A new book detailing the current economic state in Germany is the clarion for the imminent collapse of the Eurosocialist nannystate.

The lessons for the United States, still a predominantly capitalism-oriented economy, couldn't be clearer. Germany and the other older European economies may have passed the tipping point in their economies - there will not be enough producers of capital to support the consumers of capital. You simply cannot keep leveraging economic redistribution against the producers in the economy. And you certainly cannot wield policies that discourage labor and participation in the economy - the social safety net must be a net, not a hammock.

As the former Soviet-bloc nations that have cast off communism develop labor and industry intensive, progressive economies, their ascendant trajectory will stand in stark contrast to the nannysocialist countries. The victors of the Cold War in western Europe will decline, victims of the same policies they struggled against - vanquished by self-inflicted wounds of the object of their former contempt.

UPDATE: Germans take to the streets to demand money for nothing, their chicks for free...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:04 AM

March 29, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

I find Russia's lack of faith disturbing...

Russia has reportedly unveiled a new weapons system that will bypass or otherwise circumvent the US missile defense system.

This announcement is unusual, and must be seen on the examining table to really understand it. Russia needs no special weapon system to bypass US missile defense. With thousands of deliverable nuclear vehicles, Russia can easily saturate any defense the US is likely to deploy for the next 35 years. Once again proving the Russian axiom, quantity has a quality all it's own...

So why the announcement? Why the lack of faith in their current nuclear stockpile? A myriad of reasons come to fore, not the least of which is the desire to still be seen as a counterweight to US global power hegemony. But a more worrisome matter lies at the heart of the US missile defense system - it's designed to interecept a relatively small attack, not a large one, at least with current and near-future technology.

By deploying this technology domestically, Russia can attempt to sanitize it publicly. The exportation of this technology to regimes that are unable to deploy a saturation attack on the United States, i.e. North Korea, will relegitimze a nuclear threat from the very countries that the missile defense system is meant to render moot.

A great deal of pressure must be brought to bear to prevent Russia from exporting this technology. In the end, this is likely no more than a chip Russia will play at the table with the US. As the US welcomes former Soviet satellites into NATO, the Russian leadership will be under pressure domestically, and will expectedly bark more, but hopefully bite less.

Posted by MEC2 at 11:49 PM