2007-02-28

 

Colonialism

I found an excellent article recently. Basically westerners have been brought up on an anti-western diet saying how bad we were going around colonizing others. It's complete bunk. It's just part of the Soviet propaganda which we have been suckered into believing. Bringing civilization to the 3rd world to lift them out of dire poverty was as good as the Romans coming to Britain. Especially bringing recorded history with them (in both places).

The end of colonialism has been a complete disaster. Good government was usually replaced by cruel tyranny. If anyone really cares about these 3rd world countries we need to think seriously about recolonizing them. We should probably get a non-white country to be the colonizing power, I'm thinking of Japan in particular, as an easy counter to the spurious "racist white" charge that these lefties like to throw at those of us who actually care about human suffering. Unfortunately besides Japan there's no real good non-white alternatives. South Korea and Taiwan are the only other ones I can think of, but they are both in the middle of military confrontations and probably aren't willing to take on a job such as this.

"White man's burden" is actually a misnomer. It should have been called "free people's burden". It's just that there is a scarcity of free non-whites, hence the mischaracterization. There was a similar mischaracterization done by the PNAC - Project for the New AMERICAN Century. The retards should have said Project for a New DEMOCRATIC Century or FREE Century. And the Americans still haven't got a clue. They've called the replacement organization American Enterprise Institution. When are the insular Americans going to wake up and realise it's NOT JUST ABOUT AMERICA???!!!

Hopefully we can organize the Iraqis, the most sensible of the Arabs (which isn't saying a lot), to colonize the rest of the Arab world. We need to see if the Iraqis come to the conclusion that they need to eradicate religious bigotry, dogma and racism. If they can figure this out by themselves, then we can help them to fix the rest of the Middle East, before we are forced to nuke the whole place. Let's see how it goes.

Another brilliant analysis here.

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2007-02-27

 

The Incredible Left

It is really amazing how the left is totally silent on all the atrocities committed by Muslims, going to incredible lengths to excuse them. But when it comes to the right-wing, nothing short of perfection is acceptable. And when you can't see anything the right is actually doing wrong, simply fabricate something. I hope this is the last gasp of the left. Their entire Soviet-inspired worldview is completely shattered.

Here are some obvious things that I expected to hear from the left, but didn't:

1. Well, I don't agree with this war, for various reasons, but I sure as hell am looking forward to seeing the Iraqi people freed and the criminal Saddam brought to justice for all the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. All feminists in particular should be overjoyed that the institutionalized rape is going to come to an end.

2. Well, I don't really agree with you that Saddam poses a threat to the US. But I can clearly see that you are concerned. And trust me, I care far more about your peace of mind than I do about some sadistic tinpot dictator in Iraq's "right" to enslave 27 million people. So, I will not prevent you from having access to the weapons you need to take out your enemies. They're sure as hell not my allies, I'm not going to do anything to protect them.

Do we see anything remotely like this? Nope. Well, there is this. But this is a Marxist who actually cares about human rights, rather than someone who is opposed to war but is genuinely concerned about his countrymen and tries to accomodate them.

It's amazing how low humans can stoop. Actually I can forgive the terrorists, they don't actually know any better. They are basically victims of child abuse, having been indoctrinated with an evil ideology. But the western left has been taught how to tell right from wrong. They should know better than to romanticize sadistic dictators while bashing the free world.

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2007-02-17

 

VDH on Fiasco

Victor David Hanson has reviewed "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks. Here are my comments on his review...

"None of this is to say that Ricks at times is not correct in his criticism. Tommy Franks should not have left the theater abruptly upon the conclusion of the three-week war. Moqtada al Sadr long ago should have been dealt with for the mayhem and murder he committed. We waited too long to hold elections. Not a single American from the occupation authority should ever have appeared on television. And the pullback from Fallujah in spring 2004 was a near-disaster.

But because the reason-to-be of the entire narrative is to prove the validity of the book's title, Ricks's identification of these undeniable lapses loses its force"


They're not undeniable.

Franks leaving had no military effect whatsoever.

Allowing Al Sadr to live allowed us to observe how the Iraqi people and government would react to this thug. It provided information we would not otherwise have.

We didn't wait too long to hold elections. Michelle Malkin is reporting that we held them too early. Reality is they were held at an appropriate time. We had just enough time to transition from decent US colonial rule to semi-decent Iraqi rule to whatever dimwits the Iraqis would elect. If it had been delayed any longer we risked getting a fatwa against us from Sistani.

Paul Bremer appearing on TV had no military effect.

The pullback from Fallujah served many purposes. We forced the Iraqi politicians to take responsibility for their own decisions. We
got to observe what sort of economy/Islamic paradise terrorists intended to establish. We got to see whether Iraqis actually liked living in a "Beyond Thunderdome" economy. And whether they would tell their friends "please don't vote for these nutcases at the next elections". We also allowed the beleagured Iraqis a chance to save face, so that they could claim that they defeated a superpower. I don't think it is wise to humiliate the enemy. The Iraqis gained instant popularity throughout the Middle East after Fallujah. And abandoning Fallujah for a few months had no military effect.

The objective of the US should be to allow the majority of Iraqis to implement a sort of "revolution". In their revolution they have installed Maliki and are trying to enforce the rule of law. The US is assisting in that process. All responsibility lies with the revolutionaries (which are a majority of the population), not the US. The US should be a disinterested observer, merely giving advice when asked for it, and providing muscle when asked.

The US has trained the security forces of the revolutionaries as quickly as it could. The insurgents did not interrupt that process. Nothing the insurgents have done has had any significant military effect. There is no fiasco. There is no problem. It has all gone as well as it could have. The sectarian violence has no military effect either. And is not the US's responsibility either. This is an Iraqi phenomenon for Iraqis to solve. That's what happens in revolutions...

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2007-02-16

 

Psychology of Victory

First of all people - CALM DOWN! We're in the middle of a complete and utter victory. All military objectives have been accomplished and training fresh Iraqi security forces is going as quickly as possible already. This is what victory looks like. Don't get distracted from the big picture.

In my life up until Sept 11, 2004 I was trying to isolate my ideology. That task has now been completed. But now I need to understand other humans. That looks like it's going to be another hard slog. Here is VDH providing some enlightenment on that journey:

"A majority of Americans, like a majority of mankind, does not embrace a strong particular ideology that keeps them levelheaded and always resolute through either bad or good news. Most simply wish to win, and to be identified with a winner — they are as giddy with success as they are dejected with disappointment, as quick to blame others for setbacks as they are to claim credit for progress."

Well this is certainly an eye-opener for me. Because Bush's actions have been exactly what my personal strategy was, I do not blame others, but feel compelled to justify every decision. It is a personal responsibility. A personal burden. In much the same way as any attack on the free world, of which 9/11 is just one example, is an attack on me personally, and I will do everything I can think of to respond. And it's not just members of the free world, but also innocent people living under dictators who want to be free. Enslaving them is an attack on me personally and I am in the process of responding. I've seen comments that I am out of my mind for wanting to attack Iran "unprovoked". Unprovoked? Like hell it is. You touch one hair on an innocent Iranian girl and you have directly provoked me. And I will respond. Using my brain. Using my brain to marshall all resources I can find in the entire world. Let's do it people.

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2007-02-12

 

Iraq War

Here is my analysis of how the Iraq war went down.

On 9/11, the US was attacked by Arab Muslims, not Afghans. The world knew that the Arab Muslims were angry, burning the US flag etc, but basically did not understand why they were angry with the US instead of their own dictators who were oppressing them. E.g. why were they burning the US flag instead of pictures of Saddam? The particular Arab Muslims that had caused 9/11 had been based in Afghanistan, so Afghanistan was liberated. But then we needed to do something about Arab Muslim culture, so that we could find out why they were behaving strangely, and then potentially kill them.

Iraq was the ideal place to find the answers to these questions. It had no history of Islamic fundamentalism, was under probably the most brutal dictator of them all, had a reputation for being the smartest Arabs, it had Kurds which seemed to be reasonable already, it had an active war that was only paused by a ceasefire, and it had 3 major groups. How exactly could those 3 groups live together in peace and harmony without a European-style liberal democracy? And surely the Shia must at least want democracy, since they have the numbers. That meant we should be able to get local allies to sign up to new security forces.

But really we had no idea what to expect. Some were saying that Arabs can't handle democracy. Some were saying that the Arabs would unite and fight to the death against the external invader. I personally was holding out the hope that the Iraqis would defect en-masse as soon as the planes were overhead, and their safety was assured. That is what I would have done had I been them. However, more realistically I expected them to surrender as soon as they were confronted by ground forces. I didn't expect anyone to suicide for a dictator. So I thought the war would take 3 days, which is how long it would take the tanks to get to Baghdad unopposed. In the end, neither the pessimistic scenario nor the optimistic scenario played out. It was something inbetween. Some people really did want to suicide for a dictator. Or more precisely, suicide so that they could kill some infidels. Or salvage honour. Or something like that. Whatever the reason, it needed to be investigated. This friend/foe determination is actually the most important scientific question in the history of humanity.

Given that war was going to be waged, we needed to decide HOW to wage that war. Afghanistan had shown that you can liberate a country with 200 special forces plus air power, if you can make use of local allies. There were no visible local allies in Iraq, except for the lightly-armed Kurds. Replicating Afghanistan didn't look very practical, plus, it was important to set up modern institutions to see if democracy "worked" if we just put all the components in place. It really needed an occupation in order to do that, rather than trying to get the Kurds to do everything. Plus the US had protection against chemical weapons which the Kurds didn't.

Another option would have been a 500,000 man army based on the standard doctrine "the more you use, the less you lose". It worked fine in 1991. But there were two problems with this. One is that it continues setting the bar high for liberating a country. If we talk about liberating a country and everyone says "well you need 500k troops for that", then we basically won't be able to liberate any more countries. Because no-one's going to spring for such a major commitment unless there is some widely-agreed-upon US national interest at stake, which there probably won't be. The second problem is that 500k troops would actually be sufficient to control the Iraqi people. It would have exchanged one authority for another. And there are two problems with this. One is that it might have provoked a war with the Iraqi people, who felt oppressed by the US. And since we didn't actually want to force the Iraqi people to do anything, that would have been a complete waste of life. The other is that we wanted to find out what on earth Iraqis would do if there was no-one controlling them. What values had they internalized? What forces would emerge from the vacuum? How would the Iraqi people react to the emerging forces?

So, for all these reasons, a relatively light force was used. About 113k coalition forces were used in the 3.5 week liberation. It was built up to 160k later. During the liberation, British forces got to Basrah fairly early, but didn't enter. The goal there (or at least, my goal) was to find out whether the Iraqi people would rise up against their oppressors by themselves. Surely at least the Shia would take their freedom? If not, perhaps they would collapse without a fight if their command and control from Baghdad was cut. So let the Americans cut that first before entering Basrah. In the end, Basrah seemed to collapse before the Americans had got into Baghdad. The British entered and THANKFULLY two things happened. First, some Iraqis started looting. Secondly, the other Iraqi people asked the British to do something about the looting. No-one was interested in fighting the infidels. What a relief! A large part of the war had just been won. The British didn't stop the looting. It was better to let the Iraqis let off steam instead of coming in to slaughter civilians. Property can be easily replaced from Iraq's oil wealth, whereas a war against the Iraqi people triggered by a heavy-handed response to looting would have been disastrous.

The Americans entered Baghdad. Fortunately most of the Iraqis chose not to fight. They trusted the Americans to not be conquerors. Well, some did, some didn't. Families like Zeyad's were split down the middle. A hell of a lot of psychoanalysis was required to explain this phenomenon. What made some Iraqis back the invaders while other Iraqis backed a dictator? Extremely divergent positions to take.

Prior to the war, the US had been talking about "shock and awe", a theory that if they dropped 10 times the number of bombs as they did during the 1991 war, that the Iraqis would become shocked and awed and surrender. It would have been an extremely callous thing to do if they had actually done it. Slaughtering huge numbers of conscripts who were probably allies or neutrals if we gave them an opportunity to escape. In the end, only 1/10 of the number of bombs dropped in 1991 were dropped. The US was benevolent and even tried to spare enemy soldiers, nevermind enemy civilians. And of course, the enemy soldiers reciprocated by both deserting and defecting. Much more of the former than the latter. This was all totally outside of standard military doctrine. We needed to form a new doctrine for wars of liberation rather than wars of conquest. Where the US is just a proxy for local freedom-lovers. That is also why the US soldiers weren't allowed to show the US flag. This was NOT to be seen as an American conquest. Some US soldiers were pissed off about this policy. TOO DAMN BAD! It was important to avoid riling the population by rubbing their nose in defeat. We wanted as many allies as we could get.

Another thing of note was that in the 1991 war, where there was a long aerial bombardment to soften up the Iraqis, it was basically a complete waste of time, money and lives. The Iraqis didn't need to be softened up. They wanted to surrender at the first opportunity. So in the 2003 war, the ground war started before the air war. To give the conscripts the best possible chance of avoiding needless death. Once again, totally against normal military doctrine. And once again, totally the correct thing to do. Even at 3.5 weeks, it set a gold standard for war. Only 100 allied lives lost. It was phenomenal.

After the 3.5 week war, the US was actually in a position to stick in a new pro-US dictator, sack a few people from the Iraqi army and replace them with people who had defected during the war, and leave. 100 allied lives required to change a country from foe to friend. But getting a new dictator wouldn't have gotten to the heart of the problem - what was inside Arab Muslim brains that made them fly planes into skyscrapers to see if that would help revive the Caliphate? We needed to tease that information out of them, with an environment of complete freedom (including being convinced that the US was not oppressing them, by seeing anti-US demonstrations etc), and taking opinion polls, watching political parties start, watching what religious figures did, watching freedom of speech take hold, seeing the results of secret ballots, and of extreme importance, allowing psychoanalysis to take place via the Iraqi blogs that emerged.

The Iraqi blogs showed that there were Arab Muslim Iraqis who were IDENTICAL to US neocons. So there was nothing genetic about Arabs that made them want dictatorship, and the label "Muslim" was no indicator of friend or foe either. The problem was something deeper. Something that split families. Families in both Iraq and in western countries. The answers were in the Iraqi blogs. Basically it revolves around the definition of "freedom". To the pro-war, freedom is "not subjugated" while to the anti-war, freedom is "not occupied". There's a lot more to it than that, as I have written about previously.

Unfortunately the Iraqi neocons turned out to be a minority. Their political party flopped. Iraqis instead chose to vote for the numbnuts that Sistani blessed. The Iraqis chose a constitution that says that Iraq is part of the Arab and Muslim worlds, rather than free world. Not even the Kurds thought that grossly offensive. However, they did get a bill of rights, and the numbnuts aren't that bad. The Iraqis voted along sectarian lines instead of economic lines, which is unfortunate. However, they have somewhat compensated for this by creating a national unity government. I don't see how they can make democracy work in the long term without mandating non-sectarian parties. Basically they need a Left and a Right party on economic lines. Have a 2-party system for a couple of decades before opening the system up for more parties. But I don't think this should be forced on them by the West. We should just suggest it as individuals. The Iraqis have freedom of speech with which to hear our suggestions, but it's in their hands.

Then we had the phenomenon of the insurgency. This was an absurd insurgency. People were throwing their lives away to oppose the will of the majority of the Iraqi people. How did they hope to win, quite apart from the immorality of it? In order to win they needed to somehow stop the US from churning out new Iraqi soldiers. They needed to find some way to cut the logistics. They failed to do this. And so they subsequently failed in battles against the US forces. In their frustration they resorted to random murder of Shiite civilians to see if that would somehow help. It didn't, and eventually drew reprisals and we had unbelievably vicious sectarian violence. All totally pointless as it had no military effect. The terrorists were fighting the wrong war!

Bizarrely, insurgents took over Fallujah at one point. No-one knew what they were hoping to achieve by doing that. When the US went to clear them out, the Iraqi politicians lied and accused the US of killing women and children. Fine. The US stopped what they were doing and let the Fallujans have a taste of "terrorist paradise". After a few months of that, the Fallujans were begging the US to come in, and the Iraqi politicians agreed! Hopefully the Fallujans spread the message about how living in "terrorist paradise" was not much different from "Beyond Thunderdome" and that everyone should vote for moderate secular parties instead of terrorism! Getting the Iraqis to vote for a non-enemy government was an extremely important objective of the war. The US soldiers were very unhappy about retreating from Fallujah and allowing the terrorists to boast that they were able to defeat the mighty US military. TOO DAMN BAD. There were more important things at stake than the US soldiers' pride. The Iraqis now have a victory to salvage some of their own pride so that they don't feel ashamed about the 3.5 week war. They can instead say "well, if we had WANTED to fight the US, we could have won, just like we did in Fallujah". It's important to not rub the Iraqi people's nose in defeat.

Al Sadr tried the same thing in Najaf. He took over Sistani's mosque. The people of Najaf got to find out first-hand what this thug was like, and to tell all their friends how bad it was. It was important that the Iraqis stop thinking in terms of a particular ruler who could come and save the day, but instead, vote for a party committed to solving their problems. Al Sadr was left as an interesting force. To see what the Iraqi people would do about this self-proclaimed saviour who was clearly not interested in human rights and freedom of speech etc. And the best thing that came out of his absurd takeover of Najaf was that Sistani issued a fatwah telling people to sign up to the new security forces. Previously he had actually been under pressure to declare a jihad. So, that's why Al Sadr wasn't killed by the US. He was left as a reminder to the Iraqi people about what a horrible alternative they faced if they didn't vote for moderate parties. The best advertisement against a theocracy was Al Sadr himself. My psychoanalysis of Al Sadr is that he was responding to a genetic instinct "subjugate or be subjugated" which occurs in a security vacuum. His poor understanding of modern warfare made him think that he had a chance of gaining power, so he took it. This is actually the natural state of humans - some sociopath risking all to seize power. These Arab dictators are not unnatural. It is our liberal democracies that are unnatural and require a lot of effort to organize fighters to pledge loyalty to the people rather than a ruler.

One of the elements to getting a democracy jump-started was to have professional security forces that the Iraqi people trusted. Given the horrors committed by the previous security forces, that was potentially an impossible task. How can you get the Iraqi people to believe, REALLY BELIEVE, that the new security forces are not just the old ones rebadged? The only way to be sure of this, or at least, have the best chance of success, was to disband the old army, and have a complete power vacuum while the new army was recruited. The Iraqi people knew that the new security forces really were new. Because they watched them being grown, and welcomed their presence to fill the security vacuum. It all worked! Polls showed that the Iraqi people loved their new security forces, and there was no shortage of volunteers to join them. That was another big part of winning the war.

Another point of interest was that the US needed time to set up elections. There was a hell of a lot of distrust at the US's motives. The entire world was telling the Iraqis that the US was there to steal oil. Even one of my otherwise-intelligent Australian colleagues thought this. To me it was totally absurd. But the rest of the world is not rational, and you must operate in that environment. Germany and Japan took 5 and 7 years before elections were held. The Iraqis were agitating for early elections. Even before the insurgency had been defeated. The best interests of the Iraqis would have been for US adminstration for a couple of decades to entrench good government, peace and security, and a non-sectarian 2-party system. But to do that would have required going to war with the Iraqi people, basically due to a misunderstanding of intentions. Not a good move!

Sistani was actually very agitated at the delay in holding elections. It took the UN to calm him down. For anyone who thinks the UN is useless, you only need to look at this. The UN served its purpose as a genuinely independent arbiter. When the UN said elections needed to be delayed, Sistani accepted it. Once again, a war due to a misunderstanding of intentions was avoided. That gave us the breathing space to transition from a decent US administration by Paul Bremer (basically the best government that the Iraqis will ever have), to a fairly decent SELECTED Iraqi government (Allawi), before transitioning to whatever numbnuts the Iraqis would choose. This gave the Iraqis an opportunity to experience first hand what good government looked like. They had an actual point of reference, and could say "we want to go back to Allawi" or "we need to copy the Americans". They are now empowered to do these things if and when they change their minds.

As I write this, the insurgency and sectarian violence still exist, and the "surge" is designed to try to calm things down. US soldiers are basically being used as policemen, which is not what they're meant to be used for, but there isn't much alternative when you need cops in a hurry. The real solution is for the Iraqi security forces to come online. And they are indeed very close to doing that now, at least in terms of the numbers. Now they're sorting out logistics. It's just a technical matter for the military to sort out, and shouldn't be interfered with.

Basically the actions Bush has taken have been totally correct. It had to be done this way. And the US should continue what it is already doing, which is organizing the Iraqis to take over security. That is meant to have happened country-wide by the end of November 2007. At that point, the US should only have token forces in the country to prevent military coups and external invasions. The troops are needed in other theatres now. The theory that Arab Muslims can't handle democracy is incorrect. They managed to produce a much better government than Saddam. There's still a hell of a lot of issues for them to sort out, but they are empowered to do so. The theory that you can't install democracy by force of arms is also incorrect. You can. The theory that you can't hand people freedom on a silver platter, that they need to fight for it themselves, was never true (e.g. Grenada and Panama), but in this case the Iraqis can genuinely say that they fought for their freedom themselves. Yes, the US took away Saddam's jackboot, but the Iraqi people did most of the rest.

This war was a complete and utter success. The high murder rate (how high compared to South Africa I wonder?) notwithstanding. The continued US presence is just a form of foreign aid, making the task of enforcing Iraqi law a bit easier for the Iraqi government. But even without the US presence, the insurgents have no chance at all of overthrowing the government, which is all that matters. The Iraqi government can take drastic action at any time if it wants, such as conscripting all military-aged males to go and guard the oil pipelines. No-one can stop this and it will halt the high murder rate. At this point in time there is no need to do so. The murder rate will be brought down simply by increased policing. At the current murder rate, it will take 20 years for the Iraqi population to be reduced by 1%. It is totally irrelevant. This can be sustained forever. There's no reason to give in to terrorist blackmail. Freedom is far too precious. Take a look at the price the Russians paid in WWII. And the Russians didn't even get freedom at the end of it. The Iraqis have paid a much lower price and they're actually getting freedom for it. Better than being killed by Saddam just to keep a dictatorship in place.

Iraq has indicated that it wants to join NATO. That is Iraq's future. Instead of wasting money on expensive planes, Iraq can bludge off the US like everyone else does. It could have been much better. It would have been wonderful if the Iraqis had turned around and said that they know how horrible dictators are, and they are going to lead the free world in liberating the rest of the non-free world, starting with Iran. That didn't happen. Maybe the Iranians will become the enthusiastic liberators once they have been liberated themselves? Let's hope so. I hope we'll find out in December 2007. In the meantime, we'll watch the effect that freedom of speech and a noisy parliament has on the Iraqi people. There's no obvious sign that they are a threat to the rest of the free world, so that's a good start.

When the history books are written, they are going to say "In 2003 the US led a coalition to replace a particularly nasty dictator in Iraq with a democracy". That's all. No-one's going to give a damn how long it took, how much it cost or how many lives were lost on any side.

There was one very exceptional thing that occurred during the initial 3.5-week war. In Najaf, some Iraqis had heard a rumour that the Americans were going to stop them from praying at their favourite mosque and were extremely irate. The basic problem here is that they are missing the bit from the Enlightenment where you get information from multiple sources. This is something that needs to be solved in time. Anyway, they were approaching the US soldiers in a threatening manner. They were unarmed. It could have been very nasty indeed. The US commander told all his soldiers to kneel down. And then they retreated. The only time the US has ever retreated was when faced with unarmed civilians. The way the US soldiers behaved on that day was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life and made me cry. The love of life they demonstrated was profound. They had no quarrel with these people, no matter what strange thing was in their brain, and avoided an unnecessary fight. If the world behaved rationally and morally there would have been a Nobel Prize issued for this. Instead, this blog post will have to do. I wish the rest of the world could see the beauty that I see. Far more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, Marilyn Monroe or the Mona Lisa.

The US is not getting a word of thanks for its effort in liberating Iraq. Instead it's having abuse hurled at it. The US continues to do the right thing by not responding to the abuse, not getting angry, and instead just calmly continuing to entrench freedom in Iraq. At least the US government is. Some in the US are getting frustrated and calling for ROEs to be relaxed so that some sort of carpet bombing can occur. Others in the US are calling for forces to be withdrawn and don't give a damn about what happens to the Iraqi people after that. But the US government itself, and the US soldiers, continue to be the most moral actors on the planet. Don't go to the Pope for moral guidance. Go to the US government. Everything you need to know can be derived from the US's behaviour as a nation-state as it interacts with other nation-states. Turn the other cheek, love thy enemy etc. It's all there. PLUS protecting the innocent. Something the Pope badly needs to learn.

However, I do have one complaint. Prior to the Iraq war, Bush told Saddam that if he laid out his weapons he could avoid war. If Saddam had reacted the same way that Gaddafi did, it would have been disastrous. All the above things would not have happened. 27 million people would still be slaves. So it is possibly only coincidentally that Bush did the right thing. SHAME ON YOU BUSH.

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2007-02-11

 

Afghan War

Here is my analysis of how the Afghan war went down.

Prior to 9/11 the US et al were hoping for a Northern Alliance victory (the Northern Alliance didn't beat women with sticks etc) but without really interfering in their war against the Taliban (note that America had actually agreed, as one of the conditions for getting the Soviet Union to withdraw from Afghanistan, that it would not interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan).

Then out of the blue, 9/11 happened. The natural instinct was to nuke Afghanistan off the face of the planet. But logic and compassion kicked in and the appropriate response was to find out WHY they did it and THEN nuke them off the planet if we didn't like the answer.

In order to find out why they did it, we needed to break open freedom of speech. At this stage, all we wanted to do was talk, and see whether the Afghans really wanted to be enemies. We suspected that they didn't, otherwise the Taliban wouldn't have needed to be a dictatorship and suppress freedom of speech. But in the initial phase, we weren't trying to force the Afghans to do anything, so we didn't want a war with the Afghan people. Afghans are well-known for digging in their heels against invaders, and that is what we wanted to avoid.

So the goal was to topple the Taliban without provoking a war against the Afghan people. The Taliban of course were saying that the Americans were just like the Soviets. The strategic thing for the Americans to do was to avoid having the Afghans think that the Americans were invading them. The way this was accomplished was to just assist the Northern Alliance to victory, and sort of pretend to be too scared to land on the ground. The Taliban were routed as the Northern Alliance swept to victory in a brilliant campaign, with the Americans barely getting their boots scuffed.

Now that the Taliban had been replaced by the Northern Alliance, the next goal was to basically defeat the Northern Alliance, as Rabbani was just another dictator, and was from a minority ethnic group, and we didn't want to alienate the major sect, the Pashtuns. So now we needed to get the Pashtuns back into power. Basically democracy would sort all this out, but we needed to get the Northern Alliance to relinquish power peacefully, to avoid having to go to war with them. We presumably would have gone to war with the Northern Alliance if they hadn't agreed to doing this. But the best use of resources was to try to use diplomacy to get them to stand down.

After much arm-twisting, the Northern Alliance agreed to allow Karzai to be president instead of Rabbani, while the minority Tajiks took over defence, interior and foreign affairs! We needed to protect Karzai from Fahim's goons. While still trying to avoid a war with anyone at all! The Northern Alliance reluctantly agreed to allow an international force into Kabul to protect Karzai. 5000 troops (all that Fahim would agree to) from the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) were allowed in. Once again, the US had been very careful to avoid accusations of a US invasion. The ISAF had no Americans in it, and was limited to Kabul. Fahim was allowed to think that he was still the goon-in-charge, and in some ways, he was.

Throughout Afghanistan, the Afghan people knew that they were being semi-oppressed by the Northern Alliance, not the US, and not even the ISAF. Which is exactly what we wanted them to think (and it was true, also!). If they wanted to fight someone, they needed to fight the Northern Alliance, not the US. The US then set about hunting down the Taliban and Al Qaeda, deftly avoiding coming into conflict with the Afghan people, who were treated as neutrals in this conflict. The US also set about training a new Afghan National Army (ANA). Fahim was very upset about this. Getting the ANA to replace Fahim's goons was the goal, but it was not known whether this could be done without having to go to war with the Northern Alliance (or even parts of the Northern Alliance, such as Ismail Khan in Herat).

Almost unbelievably, the US managed to pull this off. Through deft negotiations, the Northern Alliance was disbanded, all heavy equipment was transferred to the ANA, ISAF was expanded way beyond 5000 troops, NATO took over command of the ISAF, ISAF was spread over the whole of Afghanistan. Basically the end result of a NATO invasion had taken place, but without opening a warfront with either the Afghan people or the Northern Alliance, and without the history books writing that NATO conquered Afghanistan - instead, the Afghan people freed themselves. It was complete and utter brilliance. Democratic elections were held, cementing Karzai into power, and Fahim was finally kicked out of his Defence Minister position, so there was no longer a threat of coercion against Karzai by a warlord.

Some people still remember Karzai as the "Mayor of Kabul", which was sort of true in the beginning. But at the end, he was indeed President of Afghanistan. It just took a while to get the armed forces loyal to him. Now the armed forces are unquestionably loyal to the state, not a warlord. Just as was required to set up a normal democracy. And everything worked. There was nothing genetically wrong with the Afghans that prevented them from being able to handle democracy. There was no basis to the theory that democracy couldn't be installed by force of arms. The Afghans had no desire to be enemies of the US or support terrorism.

Another thing that the Afghan war did was invalidate the theory that people can be bombed into submission. Afghanistan actually came pre-bombed. It was total rubble. And yet, the Taliban were not submissive. The US could have bombed random civilians (ie terrorism), but the Taliban were brutal on the civilians themselves. Once again, the US had no options. It couldn't do anything to the Afghans that the Taliban hadn't already done to them. The Taliban didn't represent the Afghan people and therefore it can't be punished by attacking the country as a whole. This is a lesson to be learned if Iran chooses to nuke the US. There is NO RESPONSE. Nuking Tehran in response would actually just be murdering a whole lot of OUR ALLIES being held hostage by the Mullahs. Just as the Afghans are mostly our allies too. And the ones that aren't, are being killed by our Afghan allies.

Today the situation is simple. Afghans are being trained up so that they can take care of their own country, and be loyal to their citizens, protecting their rights. A very light footprint of foreign forces is in Afghanistan. The US has made good use of non-US foreign troops, especially to make clear to the Afghan people that the foreign troops are just a form of international aid, they are not there to subjugate the people. All the foreign countries are independent actors. The US isn't forcing them to be there, and is not forcing the Afghan people to do anything at all. The US didn't force the Afghans to put in their constitution that the Afghan president must be a Muslim. They came up with that by themselves. Hopefully with the freedom of speech that our soldiers have opened up we can get the Afghans to drop such religious bigotry some time in the future. But at this point in history it is not strategic to open a warfront with the Afghan people to try to ram western standards down their throat. We can reevaluate this policy at a later date, after we've got some feedback. For now there are far more important things to do.

Also, Afghanistan set a particular gold standard in warfare. If ever we have a civil war, or can artificially jump-start a civil war, it only takes a small number (about 200 special forces) of foreign troops to be able to win, when you have complete air supremacy. The trick then becomes whether or not we can jump-start civil wars in the future. Can we get part of the armed forces of a foreign country to split off and call in the US for help? That is the point we want to reach. Where all military people in the world are aware that if they want to overthrow a dictator, the US always stands ready to assist them to certain victory.

US policy in Afghanistan should be to continue providing assistance that the Afghan government asks for, preferably via NATO rather than directly to the US. See if Afghanistan wishes to join and is eligible to join NATO's Partnership for Peace, with a view to eventual membership. See what impact freedom of speech and democracy has, and just monitor it. There is no obvious danger in Afghanistan at the moment. The Taliban are vastly outnumbered and outgunned and it is simply bizarre that they could fantasize about overthrowing Afghan's democratically-elected government. But they're not alone. People all over the world think that the Taliban are a genuine threat rather than a complete joke. It will probably be years before the rule of law regarding opium is able to be enforced. As much as possible we want Afghans to be the ones enforcing that rather than foreigners.

Avoiding a conflict with the Afghan people remains the highest priority. NATO probably needs to stop bombing people's houses. Get the Afghans to take care of these problems. NATO forces will probably be upset about being lame ducks, essentially not allowed to do anything more than observe, but that's just bad luck. Karzai and Waheed have both reported that this heavy-handed bombing is not appreciated by the Afghan people and NATO should not continue to test the Afghan people's patience. Everyone's going to be sorry if the Afghan people suddenly decide to turn on the foreigners. It is a conflict that must be avoided. There should be sufficient Afghan forces available such that NATO can stop being the ones who inadvertently kill Afghan civilians.

UPDATE: The above is my rationale but there is evidence that Bush is not that smart. He inexplicably paused the bombing and gave the Taliban a chance to hand over Osama Bin Laden. It would have been disastrous if the Taliban had actually accepted that offer. As it was, it was a slap in the face to our Northern Alliance allies that Bush wasn't committed to helping them to victory, and a slap in the face to the Afghan people that Bush didn't care about their freedom. So hats off to the Taliban for doing the right thing! And SHAME ON YOU BUSH.

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2007-02-10

 

Setting Priorities

There was a great comment at ITM:

"there is evil subjugation all over the world, and we pick our battles by going first where there are additional national interests at stake, the primary one being protecting America, then protecting the rest of the civilized world, then fighting where we can get the most gain for our losses, and in places where there are people actually capable of acting civilized if they are liberated. Iran scores high on all of these factors, as opposed to say Africa, where there is also evil subjugation."

That's the first time I've seen an American outline America's priorities. It's not politically correct, but it's the real truth and also the rational course of action to take. There are reasons why the US government can't be so forthright in what it says, but this meme should be taken up by all right-wing American commentators and a plan formulated, to begin lobbying the government.

Other members of the free world should be doing the exact same thing, but obviously substituting "America" for their own country. Let's hope that this all comes together and Iran is liberated. It would be disastrous if this opportunity were missed and the US merely attacked Iran's nuclear facilities instead of ending the state-slavery of 69 million people.

I've no idea how accurate this is or how it was obtained, but here is an estimate that the dictatorship has 25% support with 25% opposed and 50% "impatient". Time to get some more accurate figures by liberating them and taking a poll. And then validating the opinion poll with the results of a secret ballot. Regardless of what the figures are, we should be caring about the wellbeing of those 25% opposed. They are our allies and I want to empower them to deal with the 25% in favour of dictatorship.

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2007-02-09

 

Hair-brained Logic

The violence in Iraq is hitting something far more fundamental than the Shiite/Sunni. Take a look at this.

Two people from the village had recently been kidnapped. One was found dead soon afterwards.

He told us people from the village responded by firing two mortars at a nearby district, where they believe the kidnappers had come from.

That district answered back, with a barrage of 11 mortars. Local tribal chiefs then intervened, but Ali fears a line has now been crossed from which it is hard to draw back.


Imagine that. Whenever you suspect some from a neighbouring suburb has done something you don't like, you just lob some mortars and hope that someone in upper management gets the message. This is not unique to Iraqis. I can remember Zeyad from Healing Iraq getting messages from Japanese asking for some Japanese nationals to be released. At the time I suggested he write back and demand the Japanese send 100k combat troops or else the hostages would be decapitated (or something similar).

And I read another report about a man whose cow was injured as he walked it through some university land, and he demanded compensation from the university?!

And on Kurdo's blog I can remember a Kurd screaming at a random Iraqi Arab that he wanted justice. As if this poor Arab had something to do with Saddam's crimes. I pointed out to the Kurd that this Arab was one of Saddam's victims, just like the Kurd himself.

Basically the essential problem here is that people with extremely poor logic skills have been given entire countries to run riot in. It's like a country run by kindergarten children. While we're assuming that they're rational actors like western governments.

Another instance was Alaa talking about the terrorists blowing up churches and even Alaa had to ask what the US response to that would be. It was a weird moment. There were Iraqis being blown up. Their religion is an unimportant personal choice. "thinker" pointed out that Christians are not tribal. I pointed out that they may as well be blowing up date palms as it has no military effect. There is a huge cultural gulf between the terrorists and the West. I don't think the terrorists are smart enough to spend the effort to understand their enemy, but the West should be taking courses in "terrorist logic" in an attempt to try to bridge the gap.

You know, one of the great advantages of training Indonesians etc in modern warfare is so that they can understand that they have no chance of winning. So that if their politicians ask them to attack the West, they will be laughed at by their own military. There's nothing more convincing than having your own military explain how they will be ultimately defeated. We somehow need to talk to the terrorists on their own terms. I fairly regularly chat (via MSN) to a Hizbullah supporter, who I am basically trying to kill. It is certainly interesting to be able to have a conversation with your enemy. I have not been able to penetrate his skull. He's convinced he's on the verge of wiping out Israel, in just a few months from now. It is pretty tragic that we're going to go to war over poor logic skills. The world's scientists should be working on this problem. Where are they? This friend/foe/neutral determination is the most important scientific question in the history of mankind.

Also, check out this article explaining that Islamic "logic" is of a dual nature compared to western logic of non-contradiction. Fascinating!

And here is another one showing the "logic" behind the mass murder:

"The Sunni Arab groups carrying out these attacks continue to believe that the Shia Arabs can be intimidated into allowing the return of Sunni Arab rule, or that the retaliation against Sunni Arabs will be so savage, that other Sunni Arab countries in the region will be forced to intervene. That this plan is so divorced from reality, is simply something you have to deal with in Iraq. Saddam created a generation of Sunni Arabs who were trained and encouraged to believe that boldness and ruthlessness would overcome any obstacle."

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2007-02-08

 

Takfir

As Caliph of International Mu'tazilah I hereby pronounce takfir (ie declare supposed believers as actually being unbelievers) on the following individuals and groups (more will be added as my attention is brought to them):

Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali
Osama Bin Laden
Al Qaeda
Hamas
Hizbullah
Nasrallah
Muslim Brotherhood
Islamic Jihad
Fatah
Yasser Arafat
Mullah Omar
Saddam Hussein
Bashar Assad
CAIR
Hilali
Ayatollah Khomeini
Ayatollah Khamenei
Ahmadinejad
Anyone who opposed America's jihad to spread Mu'tazilah to Afghanistan and Iraq
Hijackers who killed innocent Mu'tazilites in the World Trade Center

The grounds for pronouncing takfir in each case are:

1. Failure to think rationally as commanded by the Quran (30:22 etc).

2. Failure to incorporate the teachings of Prophet Isa (Jesus) into worldview, especially "love thy enemy", "turn the other cheek", "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone", "complain not of the speck in the other's eye while ignoring the log in your own eye" and "do unto others as you would have others do unto you".

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2007-02-07

 

Guerilla Myths

Someone else has written about the myth of glorious guerillas, the same as I have previously said. I in turn got my knowledge from reading similar articles (which I don't have URLs for), and applied critical thinking. I am bringing this up again so that I have an external URL for reference, and to comment on some of the points raised.

"Myths about invincible guerrillas and insurgents are a direct result of America’s collective misunderstanding of its defeat in South Vietnam"

This is exactly the problem. The left-wing has managed to completely brainwash the American public, on behalf of their Soviet comrades. It shouldn't have been possible. Someone on the right should have stopped this from happening. I don't know why the right-wing are taking no action against this serious problem.

"But it was not the mujahidin’s strength that forced the Soviets to leave; it was the Soviet Union’s own economic and political weakness at home"

It was neither. The Soviets simply had a new leader who didn't believe in applying the jackboot on other countries. They were not forced to leave Afghanistan any more than they were forced to leave East Germany.

"Of course, history is not without genuine insurgent successes. Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba is probably the best known"

This was won economically, by bribing the government forces to not fight. The insurgents did not win a military victory.

"there was the IRA’s partial triumph in 1922"

I can't be bothered looking this up, but I doubt that IRA goons beat the British military. Not sure what a "partial triumph" is either. Britain chose to leave Australia in 1901. Does that mean Australia won a military victory? Did Gandhi's "insurgency" defeat Britain? Just because some goon fires a gun does not mean that they had a military victory. Israel withdrew from the Sinai desert too. The US withdrew from France. So? Political decisions happen regardless of whether there was an insurgency or not.

"Algeria’s defeat of the French between 1954 and 1962"

Ok, I think this one might be correct. I haven't researched that. But I wonder where they got their weapons from? And from memory they suffered horrific losses to achieve that. And I bet that still came down to a political decision by France to leave rather than a battlefield defeat.

"The real question is whether the United States might have already missed its chance to snuff it out"

A load of claptrap. There's no such thing as "missing its chance". Even if the insurgency were to somehow manage to transform into a 500,000-man army with tanks it could STILL be easily defeated. Exactly as happened in 3.5 weeks in 2003.

"One tragedy of the Iraq war may be that the administration’s new strategy came too late to avert a rare, decisive insurgent victory"

More claptrap. Even if the US were to withdraw tomorrow, 300k heavily armed professional Iraqi security forces with majority support of the population will be able to defeat 20k goons. This is not rocket science.

UPDATE: A wonderful article here explaining how soldiers don't like playing "cops and robbers" - ROFL!

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2007-02-06

 

Civilians Setting War Strategy

There was an interesting post on LGF:

"Though the army is still composed of citizens of the land (and legal aliens who just want to become American citizens (since, you know, it's still the best country on the face of the earth)) it does not turn to its citizenry for advice about the war. They simply have not put forth the time, effort, training, blood, and sweat, to gain the experience necessary to make the right decisions, both tactically and strategically."

I disagree with this, so let me outline my reasoning.

This War on Terror is unlike previous wars. It basically requires that we talk to the protagonists and find out what the misunderstanding is that makes them think that flying planes into skyscrapers will somehow help to restore the Caliphate. (Actually, they turned out to be right about that, but that's a separate discussion). However, the protagonists were not state actors, they were individuals. We basically need to talk to citizens.

The first citizens we needed to talk to were the Afghans, to ask them if they supported the terrorists that their dictator was harbouring. Since we were only interested in having a chat, we weren't trying to force anything down their throat, it called for a whole different strategy. It was basically extended diplomacy. A traditional war was not required and so traditional war strategy was not required. The main strategy in the war was actually to ensure that we DIDN'T have a war with the Afghan people. The Taliban were trying to get the people and the Northern Alliance to unite against the invading infidel. We instead were trying to get those actors on our side. I'll write a separate post about the machinations of how Bush managed to win over these actors. But anyway, as a result of the Afghan war, we got to talk to the Afghan people, and we found that we didn't appear to have any enemies in this country. All they ever needed was help to get rid of their dictator.

Next we needed to talk to some Arabs. The Iraqis were rumoured to be the smartest and least radical of all the Arabs. There were other reasons why Iraq was a great target. So, we needed soldiers to break open a line of communication to the Iraqi people. Again, all we wanted to do was talk. To see if these people knew where we could find our enemies. They eventually did tell us, via the blogs. One of them directly told me that we'd come to the wrong country. We were after Wahabbis, who are in Saudi Arabia. I replied and told him that it was because Iraq was the WRONG country that it was the RIGHT country. There were less people required to be killed in order to set up a democracy.

So, the war in Iraq was far from a war of conquest. Once again we had no desire to ram anything down the throats of the Iraqi people. All we wanted to do was hear multiple opinions from them and have a debate and ask some questions. You could see this in the reaction of the Americans in the Iraqi blogs. All asking questions. Deciding who to kill was a different phase. First we just wanted an environment where we could freely discuss things.

The way Sadr was handled in Najaf and the terrorists in Fallujah was also something that was set by the civilians. We needed to get the Iraqis to speak out whether they wanted to be ruled by brutal thugs again, and let them decide what to do about the problem. The military was just a tool to be used to help implement whatever decision the Iraqi people came to. The people of Najaf appear to have asked Sistani to do something about Al Sadr because we got a fatwa out of him telling Iraqis to sign up to the new security forces. The residents of Fallujah similarly appealed to be liberated after experiencing first hand what life was like under terrorists. In all this, the US military successfully avoided waging war against the Iraqi people.

These wars were completely outside standard military doctrine. Standard military doctrine called for hundreds of thousands of troops to conquer both Afghanistan and Iraq, and large loss of allied life. Not only would that have been a complete waste of time, it would potentially have caused a completely unnecessary war with the people. So, we didn't need the military to set the strategy, we needed civilians engaging in clever diplomacy to set strategy. It was more diplomatic manoeuvering with force added at certain junctures than a war. In fact, so far, we've done everything possible to AVOID war. This is more of an "investigative phase". The "war to vanquish our enemies" phase hasn't even started yet. We haven't yet decided how to respond to 9/11. Which is why Bush isn't naming the enemy yet. And still kissing the Saudis as if nothing has happened.

No-one expected a religious war in the 21st century. It is not something our military trains for. The entire concept is absurd. It requires civilians to get us out of this one. There are some technical tasks for the military to carry out, and within certain constraints they can set their own strategy, but the overall strategy belongs with the civilians. Some people are complaining that a PC war is being fought. A PC war is exactly what is required! Even if the military thinks it is absurd. They won't think it is so absurd when Sistani calls a jihad! You're dealing with people for whom the entire Enlightenment thing was just something that happened to other people. It needs some time to bring them up to speed, with as little bloodshed as possible on the way. It may even involve a withdrawal from Iraq and letting the jihadis claim a victory (just like they did in Lebanon). So long as we get what we want (democracy, human rights and freedom of speech in Iraq), they can make whatever bogus claims they want.

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2007-02-05

 

Osama's Worldview

I have only just read Osama's letter to America. It is dated 2002-11-24. You have to scroll to the far right to read it. The worldview is basically based on Muslims vs non-Muslims, Arabs vs Jews, whites vs non-whites. He criticizes individual freedom due to his various dogmas. He goes against modern economic theory and free trade by condemning charging interest. He subscribes to a theory that the Jews are controlling everything, except where greedy corporations are doing so.

He does make one accurate point about democracy in Algeria being scuttled. This is something that could only be answered after Iraq was liberated - rational, humanist government trumps non-subjugation. He believes that the Arab governments are being controlled by the US despite the fact that they aren't remotely being run the way we want them run. He believes oil is being sold at bargain prices instead of market prices. Not sure why oil should be singled out, out of all the commodities sold in the world.

He blames the US for imaginary deaths of children in Iraq due to sanctions, despite the fact that there weren't sanctions on food and medicine, and declines to aportion any blame to Saddam for these imaginary deaths. No blame for any of the real deaths that Saddam caused either.

He complains about bombing Afghanistan but not about Taliban atrocities against Afghans. He soundly argues that it is OK to attack civilians in America because it is they who are responsibile for the planes that bomb him, both financing the bombs and directing the bombs. However, he doesn't seem to get the fact that two can play that game and both Arabs and Muslims face extinction, with minimal effort, under those rules.

He cares about the "rights" of combatants in Guantanamo Bay but not about the rights of civilians under the Taliban. Basically he comes from a mindset where Sharia Law with him as dictator is "freedom". He rails against Clinton for having oral sex, but no mention of Clinton bombing the sovereign state of Yugoslavia in order to protect Kosovar Muslims. Glad to see he has his priorities right. He somehow blames America for AIDS instead of creditting America for coming up with a treatment for AIDS, along with the many other medical advances emanating from America. Osama the Greenie has a whinge about Kyoto. No mention of creating a front against China for also failing to sign up.

It's basically a mindset diametrically opposed to mine and a source of war until one of our ideologies is defeated. His poor knowledge of warfare means that he doesn't know he was defeated the moment he made his presence known. Although we've yet to see what the treacherous left-wing will do when they're in power.

On the subject of worldviews, check out this from an Australian Muslim explaining how to avoid integrating with filthy kaffirs. I'm glad we've got people like this here freely expressing their views so that it can help us scope the problem. Then leave it to the Anglophones. We fix all problems.

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2007-02-04

 

Fatwa on Hilali

A couple of Australian clerics have hit the news recently. I especially want to concentrate on Hilali, who believes that Muslim immigrants have more right to Australia than descendants of convicts. An Australian Sunni Muslim body has condemned these racist remarks, but I am not satisfied with it. For one thing they have used the term "Islamophobia" - an irrational fear of Muslims. There is nothing irrational about fearing people who believe a book full of vile hatred towards non-Muslims is the word of God, and that a rapist, pedophile, enslaver, thief, mass-murderer is a prophet of God. Especially when we see significant support from Middle Eastern countries for someone like Osama Bin Laden who follows in Mohammed's footsteps. This body needs to answer some serious questions, and they do not respond to my emails.

As Caliph of International Mu'tazilah, let me issue my own ruling. First thing to note is the fundamental principle in Mu'tazilah that children are born free of sin and that guilt is not transferrable (based on relation, skin colour, sex, nationality, eye colour, surname etc etc). Even if your father was a serial killer, it does not mean that the child is guilty of, or an accessory of, or approves of, even a single murder. It is people like Hilali who don't grant children freedom from sin, and instead imply that they were born guilty of any number of crimes due to their skin colour, who are the real criminals.

Secondly, he seems to be under the impression that Muslims are pure and innocent. Given that they (most of them) revere the mass-murderer Mohammed instead of condemning him, they are guilty of gross immorality. Their morals are not compatible with Mu'tazilah morals (as taught in Australian schools, promoted by the Australian government, taught in most Australian religious establishments, and internalized by most Australians). I am glad these non-Mu'tazilah Muslims are here though, as it highlights the problem we face in the Middle East and gives us a deeper understanding into the Bali bombing etc.

I also note that Hilali had a spokesman running interference for him, saying the message was being taken out of context, instead of roundly condemning the message. I call on the Australian government to condemn this deceptive attempt at covering up and highlight that the deception itself is contrary to both Australian and Mu'tazilah values, where self-criticism and personal responsibility is valued. Any Muslim not ensuring that Hilali is marginalized is also failing to adhere to Mu'tazilah values, which require individuals to actively fight racism, not merely sit back and not be racist yourself. This is part of the "first they came for the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew ..." philosophy of neutrality which is completely bankrupt as Holland found out when it was enslaved by the Nazis.

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2007-02-03

 

Foddy Lists Mistakes

Someone called "foddy" posted a list of mistakes on ITM which I will dutifully answer.

"1) Invading Iraq, when there was NO need to do so."

What do you mean "need"? It's true you don't "need" to make the world a better place. Even when Hitler was on the rampage we could have just accepted Nazi slavery too. It depends what you're trying to achieve. I'm trying to create security for the existing free world, and to expand the free world. Invading Iraq achieved both of these objectives, which made it the right thing to do.

"2) Using too few troops, despite pre-war and post-invasion estimates that at least 500,000 were required in order to subdue the country (nearly 4 years on, 150,000 has clearly proved not to be enough)."

You have made an erroneous assumption that we wanted to subdue the country. The more strategic thing to do was to observe what forces would arise when there was no-one subduing the country. Find out what values the Iraqis had internalized, and what they would choose to do. Would they attack the US forces who clearly weren't oppressing them, or would there be some other reaction? No-one knew. It was a time to do science. The small number of troops were not just desirable, they also proved sufficient to do the job of transitioning a dictatorship to a democracy.

"Interestingly, it has been suggested that the Bush Administration didn't really want an international coalition for the war because "The Project for a New American Century" wanted to prove how easy it is to take over another country."

No, the right thing to do was to use an international coalition so that the Iraqis knew that America wasn't there to steal their oil and enslave them, unless all the other members of the coalition were somehow also "in" on this dastardly plot. Coalitions are really great. Even if a country like the Philippines only turns up with 50 troops, it is invaluable. So long as people provide SOMETHING it makes a huge difference. Even Afghanistan asked to have its name put on the list, although I don't know that they contributed anything at all. At least their heart was in the right place.

"3) Showing the world (and especially North Korea and Iran) that the US lacks a credible military threat by becoming completely bogged down in Iraq."

Another erroneous assumption. The US is not bogged down in Iraq. It can leave at any time and the democratically-elected government will not be toppled.

"4a) Failing to stop looting (including the looting of around 250,000 tons of ordnance!)."

Allowing looting was a strategic decision. It was a relief when the Iraqis decided to loot instead of attacking coalition forces. It was additionally a relief when other Iraqis complained about the looting instead of attacking coalition forces. The highest priority at the time was to avoid a war against the Iraqi people. We had no wish to force them to do anything, so a war against them would have been a horrible misunderstanding. A general war against the Iraqi people was avoided, which is all that matters. Material things can be easily replaced, now that the Iraqis no longer have a dictator squandering Iraq's oil wealth. As for the ordinance, yes, that's one of the downsides of the strategy that was chosen. Doing science was far more important.

"4b) Disbanding Saddam's army."

No. Again, the most important thing to do was to make a clean break with the past and give them brand new institutions with no blood on their hands. The old army needed to go, and more importantly, the Iraqi people needed to BELIEVE that the old army had gone and that the new army wasn't just the old one rebadged. This plan succeeded. The Iraqi people REALLY BELIEVE that the new army is there to protect them rather than oppress them. Even though a lot of members of the new army came from the old army. We still "got away" with it.

"5) Privatizing Iraq's industries."

This is in accordance with modern economic theory. If he had done anything differently it would have been a mistake.

"Jay Garner was eager to hold local elections. But Paul Bremer was sent to take over and cancelled those electons because Bremer was so eager to privatise Iraq's industries."

Not sure what local elections have to do with industry. Regardless, both of these issues are minor and don't affect the successful transition from dictatorship to democracy.

"6) Putting inexperienced people in charge of reconstruction. Twenty-somethings who had applied for Heritage Foundation jobs were put in charge of Iraq's reconstruction, though they were completely unqualified (and eminently qualified people were overlooked because they lacked the right political affiliation)."

I'm more concerned about policy decisions made by Bush than the prowess of those who actually carried out those policies. No organization is perfect. If negligence was involved, the organization should have internal procedures to prosecute those who were negligent.

"7) Failing to prevent a catastrophic amount of fraud and corruption in the reconstruction process. Billions of dollars have been lost, stolen or vanished."

Again, this isn't a mistake by Bush, this is the result of organizations having humans rather than perfect robots doing the work.

"8) Failing to secure other than very small areas of Afghanistan around Kabul."

What are you talking about? There's nowhere safe in Afghanistan for the Taliban to gather. Areas of America are not "secure", depending on your definition of that term. The Afghans are able to carry out reconstruction, democratic elections and build new security forces. A hostile dictatorship that supported terrorism was turned into a friendly democracy that fought terrorism. And you're still complaining???

"9) Failing to prevent the huge increase in drug cultivation in Afghanistan."

This is an Afghan problem for the Afghans to solve. It will be done when there are sufficient Afghan security forces to take care of the problem, since it is against Afghan law. There's no rush. No-one expected Afghanistan to turn into Switzerland overnight.

"10) Failing, after almost 4 years, to provide even a reasonable supply of electricity and water to Iraq."

It is not the US's job to do this. It is up to Iraqis to lift themselves up out of poverty. They've even got oil revenue to fund it with.

"This is just a handful of the many many mistakes."

List them and I'll answer them.

"And you can't just hand off blame for these to the Iraqis and Afghans."

Yes I can. It's their country, not ours. We've done our bit by giving them their freedom. It's up to them how they manage their country. If they want to be a colony of the US then it would be a US responsibility. They don't. And the US never intended for them to be so.

"The US was responsible for the invasion"

The US was responsible for removing sadistic dictators that were abusing these poor people, and they should be thanked for doing so.

"so they should remain responsible until order is restored."

No, the US is not responsible for what locals do with their freedom.

"If you break something, you are responsible for fixing it."

It was already broken. The US just empowered the people to fix it.

"And you can't say that the US couldn't know what the problems were going to be before they invaded. They should have done their homework and studied reports which warned that even 500,000 troops couldn't guarantee securing Iraq. Bush couldn't have cared less."

It was possible that 95% of the Iraqis objected to an external invasion and that they would fight tooth and nail against the US. If that is what the US found, it would have needed to react differently to the facts on the ground. The strategy was to find out what the Iraqi people's reaction to freedom was. 500k troops was neither desirable nor required. It would have just changed the oppressor. This was a war of liberation, not a war of conquest.

"To take just one example, he said that the U.S. government underestimated the security challenges in Iraq, to which you replied "The US doesn't have perfect knowledge. You're basically complaining the US doesn't have a crystal ball. The only thing you can do is react to the situation on the ground."That is just not true. The task of a government and military is to estimate what opposition they are going to face."

And they knew what Saddam's forces were and knew they could be beaten. And they were beaten, in 3.5 weeks. It set a gold standard. What we had no idea of was how the Iraqi people would feel about being liberated. No idea at all. That information was locked away in their skulls. Only a secret ballot would reveal what was truly in there.

"To say that they should just act and then react to what happens is patently ridiculous."

No it isn't. This is standard military doctrine. Haven't you ever heard "no plan survives first contact with the enemy"? The plan was to react!

"No army in the world is going to do that (and expect to last for long)."

Wrong. It is what the US army did, and it lasted fine.

"You then claim that the US invaded Iraq with no idea of what they were going to find there? Are you serious? Of course the US had an idea of what they would find, but either they only talked to people who were going to give the answers they wanted to hear (which means that they were wilfully irresponsible and should be charged accordingly) or they really knew what they were going to find and couldn't care less. I suspect the latter."

Predictions were all over the place. There were predictions that the entire Iraqi army would roll over as soon as they were given an opportunity to. And there were predictions that the army and the people would dig in and unite against an external invader. There was also the results from the "elections" that showed 100% of the Iraqis supported Saddam. No-one had any idea what was there. No-one knew that the poll results would show 50% feeling liberated, 50% feeling humiliated. I didn't see one prediction of any such thing. Nor did I see a prediction of Sunni terrorists blowing up random Shiite civilians to see if that would help bring them back to power.

"In fact you actually admit that some of the mistakes listed by Petraeus were mistakes, but brush them off as "short term pain". And the icing on the cake "it would have been nice if it had all been wrapped up in 5 weeks instead of 5 years". Fine, just brush off 5 years of kiling and destruction."

Short term pain is not a mistake. It's just (sometimes) a consequence of doing the right thing. Usually short term pain for long term pain, or some similar tradeoff. It's not a mistake. That 5 years of killing and destruction (mostly by Iraqis) was just what happens when you have a population with a mentality far removed from the Swiss. It's not the US's fault that the Iraqis have this mentality. It's just a feature.

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2007-02-02

 

Army Improvements

There is a great article from a soldier here with a list of complaints. If Bush doesn't take this seriously, he will be making a genuine mistake. Bush needs to make sure the army is running as efficiently as it can. Let me comment on some of it.

"I am tired of every Battalion Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major I see over here being more concerned about whether or not I am wearing my uniform in the “spot on,” most garrison-like manner; instead of asking me whether or not I am getting the equipment I need to win the fight, the support I need from my chain of command, or if the chow tastes good."

This is terrible. The military should be a professional body. They should be looking for ways to improve efficiency within the guidelines set by civilians. And that means getting feedback from soldiers, not doing something as inane as complaining about their friggin' uniform.

"I am tired of CNN claiming that they are showing “news,” with videotape sent to them by terrorists, of my comrades being shot at by snipers, but refusing to show what happens when we build a school, pave a road, hand out food and water to children, or open a water treatment plant."

That's life I'm afraid. No-one is interested in seeing schools being opened. Would you watch news like that?

"I am tired of following the enemy with drones that have cameras, and then dropping bombs that sometimes kill civilians; because we could do a better job of killing the right people by sending a man with a high powered rifle instead."

Ok, Bush - take note!!! There is NO reason to be doing things like this in an inefficient manner. Assuming the claim is actually accurate anyway. Is it? Can't drones travel faster than soldiers, and mean that soldiers are freed up for other work?

"I am tired of Code Pink, Daily Kos, Al-Jazzera, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, the ACLU, and CAIR thinking that they somehow get to have a vote in how we blast, shoot and kill these animals who would seek to subdue us and destroy us."

Not sure why they shouldn't express their opinion on that.

"I am tired of people like Meredith Vieria from NBC asking oxygen thieves like Senator Chuck Hagel questions like “Senator, at this point, do you think we are fighting and dying for nothing?” Meredith might not get it, but soldiers do know the difference between fighting and dying for something and fighting and dying for nothing."

More freedom of speech in action.

"I am tired of hearing multiple stories from both combat theaters about snipers begging to do their jobs while commanders worry about how the media might portray the possible casualties and what might happen to their career."

Ok, this is bad. There should be some way of reporting such commanders and getting them sacked. I don't mind the media circus so long as it doesn't interfere with getting the job done. Reports of Americans killing people are a dime a dozen. Any such incident is quickly forgotten, if it is reported at all. Unless you actually commit a crime. Commanders should not be analyzing newspapers etc. That circus is none of their business. I presume they don't get taught "media analysis" in their training, and I assume that they're not being ordered to analyze newspapers, so what the hell do they think they are doing? This is basically negligence.

"I am tired of hearing that the Battalion Tactical Operations Center got a new plasma screen monitor for daily briefings, but rifle scope rings for sniper rifles, extra magazines, and necessary field gear were disapproved by the unit supply system."

That's terrible. Both should be made available. There's relatively few soldiers deployed, it should be possible to equip them.

"I am tired of out of touch general officers, senators, congressmen and defense officials who think that giving me some more heavy body armor to wear is helping me stay alive. Speed is life in combat and wearing 55 to 90 pounds of gear for 12 to 20 hours a day puts me at a great tactical disadvantage to the idiot, mindless terrorist who is wearing no armor at all and carrying an AK-47 and a pistol."

Are you sure that tactical disadvantage is worse than the US lives saved? That is probably a difficult judgement to make. I would argue that the soldiers should be the ones making that decision, but reality is you need to deal with a public that can't stand seeing American soldiers killed. You need to deal with that reality. The main goal here is to just pass the job of killing off onto local allies. It's not the US's job. All you need to do is hold the fort until the locals come online.

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who take it out and "measure" every time they want to have a piece of the action with their helicopters or their artillery; instead of putting their egos aside and using their equipment to support the grunt on the ground."

Not quite sure I understand. Is it dickheads in the air who just like to bomb people to make themselves feel tough? That is atrocious. This is not a theatre for people to play "Top Gun" in. You need to instead use the available resources strategically. Cold, hard calculations need to be made. Not bombing people because you're bored. Professionals are required. Professionals who check bombing coordinates in case they made a typo. Twice.

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who are too afraid for their careers to tell the truth about what they need to win this war to their bosses so that the soldiers can get on with kicking the ass of these animals."

This is bad. We can only improve by having honest feedback and debate. I'm glad you sent this letter out anonymously.

"I am tired of Rules of Engagement being made by JAG lawyers and not Combat Commanders. We are not playing Hopscotch over here. There is no 2nd place trophy either. I think that if the enemy knew some rough treatment and some deprivation was at hand for them, instead of prayer rugs, special diets and free Korans; this might help get their terrorist minds “right.”"

It is strategic to pretend that this war is not against Islam and that the US respects Islam. Doing so has allowed 2 countries to be converted into allies with minimal fuss. And the enemy you face won't be fazed by potential rough treatment either. Just as you are not fazed by rough treatment at the hands of the enemy. Nothing is being lost strategically by current policy, and I believe much is gained.

"I am tired of seeing Infantry Soldiers conducting what amounts to “SWAT” raids and performing the US Army’s version of “CSI Iraq” and doing things like filling out forms for evidence when they could be better used to hunt and kill the enemy."

That's very funny! But someone in the comments section says you are wrong about that. It's above my pay grade too. :-)

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who look first in their planning for how many casualties we might take, instead of how many enemy casualties we might inflict."

Both things need to be taken into consideration. You must understand that it is the Iraqi's job to win this war, not the US's. The US is merely there to hold the fort and provide assistance when it is cost-justified to do so.

"I am tired of begging to be turned loose so that this war can be over."

I'm sorry, but I don't want to see western soldiers dying doing a job that can be done reasonably competently by locals. People have a responsibility to fight for their own country. We need to keep you alive so that you can do something in the next theatre (Iran) that the locals are UNABLE to do.

"Those of us who fight this war want to win it and go home to their families. Prolonging it with attempts to do things like collect “evidence” or present whiz bang briefings on a new plasma screen TV is wasteful and ultimately, dulls the edge of our Infantry soldiers who are trained to kill people and break things, not necessarily in that order."

I'm sorry, but this war can't be rushed. We need to give the Iraqis a chance to stand up and free themselves. It is not strategic to do all the work for them. We need to observe them doing it themselves and working out their own problems. Yes, it means you're in theatre longer, but it also means you stay alive. It also means we avoid a Muslim vs infidel clash.

"We are not in Iraq and Afghanistan to build nations. We are there to kill our enemies. We make the work of the State Department easier by the results we achieve."

Sorry, but nation-building is part of winning this war, and you're the person who can do that. It is not your job to kill your enemies. It is the job of your local allies to kill your mutual enemies. This is both deft use of resources and gives the locals a stake in their own freedom.

"It is only possible to defeat an enemy who kills indiscriminately by utterly destroying him. He cannot be made to yield or surrender. He will fight to the death by the hundreds to kill only one or two of us."

And there are Iraqis who totally agree with you. And they will happily take care of their own countrymen so long as you empower them to do so. They hate them even more than you do. They're not killing your relatives, they're killing theirs.

"And so far, all of our “games” have been “away games,” and I don’t know about the ignorant, treasonous Democrats and the completely insane radical leftists and their thoughts on the matter, but I would like to keep our road game schedule."

The schedule was adjusted according to new information that was found in Iraq. The new schedule is fine.

"So let’s get it done. Until the fight is won and there is no more fight left."

It is being done. As fast as it is wise to do. With the long-term objective of freeing the entire world and the US having no enemy governments or even enemy people.

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2007-02-01

 

Winning in Iraq

From the US perspective, the war in Iraq was won when the following occurred:

1. Iraqis turned out in large numbers to democratically elect a moderate government which is not an enemy of the US.

2. The Iraqi security forces reached a stage where they outgunned and outmanned the insurgents so that the insurgents would not be able to topple the government.

Continued US presence makes it easier for the Iraqis to defeat the insurgents, but it is not actually necessary. They will win on their own regardless, it will just take longer and be bloodier. The continued US presence can be considered a form of foreign aid. It's actually effective foreign aid, as opposed to pouring money down a rat hole in Africa.

So you can only talk about a future theoretical loss. This could come about by:

1. Iraqis democratically choosing to be an enemy of the US.

2. An Iraqi military coup.

3. An external invasion.

And any of these 3 things could happen even 1000 years from now, long after the US has left Iraq. Would that be called a "loss"?

You can prevent scenarios 2 and 3 happening by leaving a small number of US troops in Iraq, or AT LEAST be ready to reenter Iraq if it happens. To prevent scenario 1 from happening you have to be willing to attack Iraqi infrastructure from the air until they change their mind.

The fact that the US is being benevolent by helping the Iraqis out for longer than strictly necessary is irrelevant. The US is helping out Australia (troops in Pine Gap, ANZUS alliance) too. When will Australia be classified as a victory? The benevolence should end in Nov 2007 when the Iraqis assume control of all their territory. Then it's time to benevolently liberate the Iranians (but just do the initial war, don't disband the old army and don't hang around).

Also read this link about myths in Iraq.

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