This is a personal position paper of The Jacksonian Party.
Recently the Washington Post has decided to give the public a view from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction on the Baghdad Police College. This Washington Post article is 27 SEP 2006. The reporter gives us some view and into the opinions of those that are presenting the investigation and the Special Inspector General's dismay at the failure of this project. Of course one could actually peruse the good Special Inspector General's web site and learn quite a bit about the failure of Parson's *before* this. Indeed, Parson's has had many a problem with its contracting and holding sub-contractor's accountable and has turned in shoddy work. So, while the US Army Corps of Engineers may have set out the original design work, they are to be held accountable *only* for the poor workmanship that their Contracting Officer signed off on.
But the Washington Post had not *heard* about this before this report. Which is very, very strange because they had given a 'bad news on rebuilding in Iraq' story that was not only 'factually challenged' but presented some basic things that any reporter who actually KNOWS the Federal Contracting and Budgetary system would have understood. This was covered topically at the time by me, and my review of their numbers *before* the USACE weighed in demonstrated the problems of the reporters trying to make a 'hit piece' out of very, very little. That was supposed to be a 'hard hitting piece of journalism', which basically required the gumshoe effort of going to Iraq, being taken on tours, asking a few questions and then misreporting on what you heard.
At the very same time those reporters were over there, they did *not* bother to make local contacts, did *not* bother to contact the Iraqi Government, and did ZERO actual investigative work on their own. The Washington Post reporters were spoonfed information and they regurgitated it not only undigested, but with some of the dog's breakfast included. These intrepid reporters zeroed in on the favorite 'contractor the Left loves to hate' which is Halliburton and its KBR subsidiary. Bechtel and Parsons get mention for failure on projects at the time, but those were older projects which were either re-awarded to a local firm, in the case of Parsons or was being being reworked by the company responsible. By only looking at projects past and, in one case, months past, those intrepid reporters missed asking Iraqis being trained as policemen about this *blockbuster* mess at the Police College.
By being cowards, by not wanting to take initiative, by taking only what has been spoonfed to them, these Washington Post reporters missed the opportunity to GET THE SCOOP. They went on a junket to Iraq to 'prove that they had the goods' and wound up with the swell parting gifts given to them. Gifts that could have more easily gotten by a couple of phonecalls and having the Contract Officer's reports SENT TO THEM via e-mail. There was a day and age when a reporter, sent to cover a story in a far off land would then proceed to work his or her butt off to get MORE STORIES there so that their newspaper could inform the public of events in far off places. This gained *prestige* for those papers. It earned the reporters credit for being stalwart investigative journalists willing to 'go the extra mile' to bring news to the public. After that age such reporting was done to find the hidden corruption of public officials and misspent money by government so as to show what needed to be addressed and *why*.
Of course they might have to take some *risks* to get such stories. Perhaps be kidnapped and decapitated for a 'live studio audience' on "What's my Jihad?" for a competing Arabic news organization that shall remain al-Jazeera. They would have had to go beyond the bounds of what was handed to them, take a step 'on the wild side' and look around. Make some contacts. Take tea with local Arab tribesmen. Sit down and have a nice chat with a local construction foreman and the graft he had seen. Even, dare I say it, talk with some actual, real, live Iraqi Police Officers?
This is a *blockbuster* problem in that it is the largest screw up by one contractor that has screwed up a number of jobs and should have been *suspended* about 6 months ago from any more work. The Contracting Officer is in for a tough grilling and possible court appearance for abuse of position and mis-spending federal funds, perhaps facing long years in jail and having to repay the Government out of his or her own pocket. The nearly $20 Billion being spent on reconstruction, less than 5% and it looks to be in the neighborhood of 1% has been ill-spent on such things. A $75 million project that is screwed up after a similar amount at a teaching hospital and something near that at a prison by one Contractor is nothing to sneeze at. For what has been misspent you might be able to buy a single B-2 Bomber, out of funds necessary to by 10 or more of them.
What is truly and absolutely appallingly *blockbuster* is that the Washington Post wastes money on junkets for reporters to get spoonfed pablum who then gobble up dirt and spin it all as they spew it back and mis-report the actual situation. And because they have NO capability of doing their own, independent research outside of contacting Congresscritters, they MISSED this story. They are not only incompetent, but they are laughably incapable. They are cowardly. They have no intestinal fortitude to actually *find news* and *get the story*. They took the easy path to smearing the USACE and have been *called on it*.
And by having another reporter put forth a personal *smear piece* that is demonstrably false in its *facts*, the Washington Post is slipping into the fever swamps of partisanship and their bubbles of air are reaching the surface. Those bubbles are mixed with swamp gas and the stench of their reporting is foul both for what it says and for the structure of the organization that can no longer FIND investigative journalists willing to find stories and facts, and plainly present them to let the public decide on how bad they are.
The Washington Post now joins the New York Times, al-Reuters, AP and AFP as news sources that cannot be trusted to report *facts*. When I get a report by any one of them I look at who the reporter is and wait for at least one other source that is unaffiliated with them to *also* report on the facts. These news organizations now lie repeatedly and continuously and put their own partisan viewpoints ahead of the 'news', ahead of the 'story' and the *facts* are left for the very last thing of any importance to them. By abdicating editorial oversight, by not having capable and competent reporters and by putting 'viewpoints' and 'spin' ahead of 'stories', 'news' and *facts* they are purposely misreporting the news, refusing to print *good news*, missing vital stories and, in the end, destroying their profession.
Friday, September 29, 2006
This is a personal position paper of The Jacksonian Party.
This is a personal outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.
Now, after looking around at those folks with sour grapes about the conduct of the war in Iraq, especially those military officers who have retired so as to complain about things, a quick look at what it is, exactly, that would happen if you wanted the SecDef to be removed.
First, he is unlikely to resign on his own. He has stuck it out for nearly 6 years out of 8 and the only thing that would really cause him to move on is ill health. Apparently he is hale and hearty and up to the job, or so he believes. At least up to the kind of job he has done for six years.
Secondly, the President is unlikely to fire him. The *gross incompetence* charges from those who have left the armed forces have not resulted in a bloodbath of Americans, a liquidation of an entire Division, and a retreat before the enemy. He has led the DoD to victory in defeating the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and has had problems coping with the aftermath of both, but, as those critics so rightly point out, we have a Peace Time Economy and Outlook. The severe limits of providing things like: Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and such other 'entitlements' eat up a huge part of the Federal Budget above ALL discretionary spending *including* the DoD. Frankly, I am all for a War Time Budget and axing those things and putting an immediate system of private payer healthcare in place. That part about "provide for the general welfare" does not mean getting a Welfare State, but that the Citizens find means and methods to provide for their own welfare and that the Federal Government is one of those methods. It is *not* the job of the Federal Government to *supply* those. So, if you want a War Time Budget, prepare to hear the screams of the sick and elderly that will have to decamp from the Federally subsidized system to a 'pay as you go' system. If you don't want that, then you are saying that the economy needs to be hamstrung by these things and STILL fight a full out war. To those in that latter category: so what's your REAL beef with the SecDef? You don't want to fight a REAL WAR.
Third, removal via Congress. Taking a look at the calendar and you can wait until early December and the 'Lame Duck' Congress to begin talking about it... and they will know the election returns. If the Democrats look to be taking a majority, they will not get anything STARTED until mid- to late-January 2007. Republicans, unless they become mightily irked at the SecDef, will ask: "What's the Beef?" So, to get rid of the SecDef via Congress you are hoping for a Democratic majority in the House.
Lets say that you folks get that! A working Democratic majority so that even a few defectors on the issue will not move the House from stopping proceedings. With that the Congress can ask for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the SecDef... and get some stonewalling in that asking... call it 3 months to get anywhere... April 2007 at the earliest. Now, the House can set up its OWN investigating Committee... which will take just about as long, what with all the political posturing by both sides, and amendments galore and so on. So, real investigations begin in May 2007 once the SP or Committee is finalized, stood up, staffed and so on.
Investigations will run over the summer with attendant leaks, finger pointing, accusations, distractions and general mayhem that is the normal part of the slow news cycle of summer in the Republic. Throw in summer vacations, Congressional Recesses, having to conduct investigations with much fanfare overseas... September 2007 for that to finish up. Findings by November 2007 and presented to the House in December 2007. Christmas Recess!
Mid- to late-January 2008 and WELCOME TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR!
Congratulations, the clock has run out on replacing the SecDef via Congressional means unless a Deity or Deities or Werner Heisenberg pulls a fast one.
There you have it: if you want the SecDef to leave you had better ask him to or hope the President takes a sudden dislike to him.
And even if he *does* step down in December on his lonesome... a replacement has to be found, vetted, go through the Senate... hey, will it be a Republican majority Senate? So even if everything goes absolutely swimmingly and they can find someone competent and able enough to take the job for the remainder of the President's term, that individual will not get into office before May 2007 and need a few months BEYOND the transition time spent with the current SecDef to actually draft a new OPSPLAN. And the moment that is put in place, then the Summer of Political Theater over the plan can begin!
Oh, and good LUCK convincing a Democratic or Republican Congress to go for a *real* War Time Economy and Budget.
So, to those with sour grapes and venom towards the current SecDef: why is that you want to put Democrats in charge and ruin the military JUST LIKE AFTER VIETNAM?
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Now, for your reading enjoyment the analysis of the summary of the NIE! No, that cannot be good at all: doing an analysis of a summary of a larger analysis and not having the larger amount of material available. So, to look at the NIE Key Judgments, what must be taken into account?
First and foremost it is a bland cross-agency summary of where the INTEL Community thinks things were as of MAR 2006. And as it is a set of Judgments on that intelligence information, it is summary in nature and an overview of the material.
Secondly, this is a high-level summary for an Executive and so must be short and easy to read. The President has daily IC briefings with his Cabinet officers and can get the daily work and updates as necessary. Every so often, probably quarterly, the IC does a summation of their work and then tells what is going on. Thus there will be little to NO backing evidence in the actual summation, but an overview of what the actual information hold.
Third, while it tries to be predictive, it is done so cautiously and must gain adherence from the Agencies involved. Further, Federal Agencies have a large amount of CYA involved, and so try not to 'make waves' or put forth partisan views, but offer the best analysis on the facts.
Fourth and finally, INTEL in all of its forms (HUMINT, ELINT, SIGINT, IMINT, MASINT, etc.) is never, ever certain and has a probability of being correct attached to it or likelihood of certainty. Thus any analysis, even one that is apparently 'slam dunk' is only in the 85-90% certainty range and is seen as conclusive as nothing else fits the overviews when pieced together. The whole of the information shows up much more than the pieces by themselves do. This is 'connecting the dots' to form the larger picture, so that a bunch of unconnected dots have inter-relationships and form a coherent whole.
This does mean that things can get cast into a view that is NOT as it appears due to unexpected connectedness, lack of connectivity or causality that is not there, but apparently *is* there. The art of INTEL analysis is to cast worst and best case scenarios and see what the outgrowths of those are and how well each fits with new and incoming data. These models of how relationships form, work and reach outwards are then reviewed and adjusted to take new facts into account. Often entire structures need to be removed and rethought because facts fully contradictory to the existing models and with a very high degree of reliability come to light which invalidates previous worst and best case scenarios.
With that viewpoint and knowledge that we are not privy to the underlying factual data, let us look at the NIE Key Judgments.
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.al Qaeda has been hurt by the loss of upper level management in Pakistan, Afghanistan and lower level commanders in such places as Iraq and UK. As seen throughout the past few years a list of these individuals include: the top cyber expert, the top disguise expert, the top bomb making expert, and a number of INTEL and tactical organizers global operations. Regional and local al Qaeda operatives including in-nation terrorist organizers, financiers, and support groups have also been impacted. In many of these cases further fall out through lower echelons of the organization has caused localized 'roll-up' of al Qaeda operations.
• Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.
• If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.
• Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.
The nature of al Qaeda is a distributed organization adhering to no Nation nor to any set region, but is global is scope and capability. Thus while more obvious cells in the Middle East become apparent through operations, the support of al Qaeda in Indonesia, Philippines, South America and increasingly in Kashmir in India is also going on. And it is the support internetworking of al Qaeda for groups like Islamic Jihad, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abbu Sayyef, Ansar al-Sunna, Ansar al-Islam, Moro Independent Front, GSPC in Algeria, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and PLO that make it a dangerous organization. This does *not* address the non-al Qaeda group Hezbollah, which is armed and funded by Iran and has made inroads into Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. From that overview al Qaeda and *all* affiliated and non-affiliated groups are on the rise across the globe and have a sympathizer and support network that is present in nearly every Nation on the planet.
The spread of Islam is also spreading jihadism and violence with one of the main vectors being the prison systems of Nations, especially those secular Nations that allow religious practice and proselytizing within them. The US has seen a dramatic increase in the rise of Islam amongst the US prison population and the violent portion of Islam is very appealing to those that enjoy violence with a gloss of religiosity to it. Similarly this spread is happening amongst other regions in Africa, South America and Europe as violent jihadists get added into the regular prison population because of minor crimes being committed. This is a fast growing and spreading part of Islam that is encouraging jihadist outlook via appeals to the most violent people in the world: prisoners.
And as these native adherents of Islam move back into society, they spread Islam either by further proselytizing or threats and force. Because Islam makes no distinction between those brought 'to the fold' by violence instead of by choice, Islam spreads through terror, coercion and via normal individuals converting to it. Further as a conversion is seen as *permanent* any wishing to convert to a different religion later is targeted as an apostate.
Greater pluralism and better governance by Governments can do much to alleviate the social pressures leading to the spread of a violence oriented group within a larger religion. The number one largest cause for growth of Islam is that individuals are being oppressed by Governments and those Governments are seen as corrupt in their outlook and self-serving. Corruption and favoritism backed by Governmental force cause feelings of repression to grow and without any recourse via civil political means these individuals head towards mass movements for self-protection and then fighting the Government involved. In Europe in the post-WWI era the movements of Fascism, Communism and National Socialism were seen as ones that would be 'solutions' to dissolute democratic institutions and become 'saviors' for their Nations. In the post-WWII era, after the majority of colonies were divested from European powers, the governments left behind were seen as tainted and corrupt and many were overthrown and replaced with new and locally more corrupt governments. India is one of the few standouts in fighting sectarianism and offering a pluralistic approach to democracy that *is* responsive to the People. Autocracies in the Middle East along with dictatorships in Africa and South America saw the rise of National Socialist movements, Communist insurgents and, now, Islamic fundamentalists.
Do note that even *with* better and more responsive Governments, pluralism, and reforming of *all* of these things, violent jihadism spread through the prison system and inculcated by terrorist organizations will remain a major problem for the foreseeable future. And the Transnational forms of jihadism, especially that of al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and their Imperial viewpoints are ones that remain fully dangerous until the Transnational Terrorist support internetworking is addressed. Local law enforcement is a *start* of that, but it is no cure even in Western Nations in Europe, Australia, India, and Indonesia.
We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse. New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.Added in to the first findings are these findings. Terrorist organizations, as seen, are decentralized in their nature and when not using the interconnectivity of al Qaeda or sympathetic Governments or affiliated organizations, they act independently and with their own viewpoints on means and method of operation and goals. This overall diffusion and 'call to jihad' is part of the overall increasing level of violence being spread via Islamic recruitment via terror organizations, fundamentalist sects such as the Wahhabi, and prisoner proselytizing. Put these together and violence from Islam increases as it spreads and becomes more dispersed and unfocused. By being more locally situated these terrorist organizations and violent jihadis are easier to recruit into larger plots and schema via al Qaeda and other, larger violent jihadist organizations.
• We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalized cells will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad but also in the Homeland.
• The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.
As the US counters this internetworking via surveillance inside and outside the Homeland, cells will feel that they are being watched and attempt to gain favor and undermine such surveillance by claiming discrimination. By being 'resistance cells' they will gain in morale through cohesiveness and more rigid adherence to basic COINTEL methodology. When these groups are approached by larger, Transnational Terrorist organizations, they will then gain training and skills fostered by the larger interconnecting web and become more difficult to find and watch. This form of self-radicalization is inherent in any attempt to counter *any* resistance movement that turns to violence, be it the KKK, Black Panthers, Weather Underground, IRA, PLO, Hezbollah or al Qaeda. The roots of fundamentalist Islam spread the basis for violent jihad and the outgrowth of that root system is violent jihadist cells and terrorist organizations both locally and then internetworked globally.
With the spread of poor and repressed individuals from Islamic Nations to more affluent and open Western Nations, comes concepts of jihad, spreading the faith, plot-oriented views of governmental activities, and movements to not only self-ghettoize, but to form insular communities that attempt to force viewpoints on the larger Nation that they are existing within. In an attempt to flee to the West and losing moral and ethical guidance of their religion, more zealous forms of religion are brought in so that fundamentalism spreads to address the feelings of 'not fitting in' with these new societies they have moved to. Nativist Islamic terrorist organizations are thus born in second and third generation families that have not assimilated with the West and their children are now attempting to remake the West into something harsher and more repressive so that they can have a community that is simplistic in outlook and understanding.
The use of an anti-American agenda is natural for these groups as the United States is seen as the main source of 'moral decay' in the world and the worst opponent of Islam by not adhering to ANY religion and allowing individuals to freely worship as they choose. If the US were a harsh and repressive religious State, they would actually find more in commonality WITH the US than against it, as the basic understanding of 'enforced religion' is something that is being fostered within the Islamic diaspora. Fundamentalism, no matter how misguided or wrong-headed, is always a *first* source to turn to when individuals are no longer able to understand nor tolerate the changing world about them. Be it the fundamentalism of economics, Nationalism, religion or Imperialism, each of these gain adherents when people feel themselves to be repressed. By heading back to a 'truer' and 'closer to the source' form of belief, they hope to gain some clarity of insight on their position in the world. And when the world does not conform to those simplistic notions it is the world that is to blame, not those notions.
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
• The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
Here is a main point that those wishing to attack the Iraq policy attach to as an indicator that 'things are going to hell in a handbasket', to put it mildly. To understand what is being given to us to review, let us actually look at what is being said. The first sentence is in two parts and need some review in and of themselves.
By stating that jihad in Iraq is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders, many are pointing to this and saying: 'See? Surrender now, it is a failure.' But what, exactly, is the failure here? Look at the types of terrorism going on in Iraq and you will see targeting of civilians by bombings, shootings and other forms of mayhem. In particular unarmed men standing up for recruitment into the Army and Police are being targeted, but so are women and children. This is an outgrowth of the environment of jihad in Iraq: they can no longer easily target the US, Multi-National Forces, Iraqi Army, Iraqi National Guard, or Iraqi Police. In point of fact individual terrorist leaders both Nationally, Provincially and locally are rounded up on a regular and more frequent basis as the very terror they are using is losing support amongst those they have to live with. As Baghdad undergoes a process of cordon, clear, sweep and maintain with new forces, the violent jihadist groups are pushed to more violence on a 'use it or lose it' basis. Once a cell or cell system is penetrated, US and Iraqi Intel Units begin to unravel that system and find its lower level components and trace it back up the leadership. Muqtada al Sadr's organization is having to give up the violent aspects of their organization as it is NOW the main target of these operations. They have done that *before* but then it was an attempt to withdraw and regroup so as to 'fight another day'. This time their very home territory is undergoing the cleaning and sweeping and they are losing fighters and supporters at a high rate. If they wish to try and remain a political entity, they now *must* give up violence before they run out of PEOPLE.
Those 'experienced' jihadists that can actually escape Iraq have been fully trained. As butchers. Compare the standard jihadist attack in Iraq and contrast it to the standard al Qaeda attack. Iraqi terrorism is that of 'get it out the door quickly to kill as many people as fast as possible before we are caught'. That is the lesson being learned in Iraq by these fighters. al Qaeda, however, prefers the longer term approach building up to large, distributed attacks by cells well schooled in COINTEL techniques and patience. To actually *utilize* experienced jihadists from Iraq, they must undergo a thorough retraining so that they do not boil over the first five minutes into their first mission. They have been trained in exactly the *wrong* things to do from an al Qaeda viewpoint. Hezbollah is more willing to make use of such individuals, but mainly as inexperienced 'shock troops' against Israel. Hezbollah has demonstrated some military capability and fighting ability due to training by Iran and have a different outlook on jihad than do those 'experienced' Iraqi jihadists. These 'experienced' individuals will even have problems fitting into neighboring jihad movements and terrorist organizations as they are firstly outsiders and secondly unable to plan anything beyond mere butchery and attack.
To those wishing to say that this is making things worse on a global scale: you must now demonstrate HOW and WHY these 'experienced' jihadists in Iraq are so GOOD that they will be emulated elsewhere. These jihadists may, indeed, inspire other terror groups but what will they be inspiring? Mass distributed attacks on infrastructure including railways, skyscrapers and other critical facilities? Or will they turn to mere bombing and butchery which is relatively simple to do and gets you vehemently hated by those around you when THEY are the targets? These are very primitive KILLERS who mouth a religious agenda to excuse their acts. They are not skilled and competent terrorists able to target large numbers of people via a complex attack or series of attacks. Only when a society is in disarray *already* can they be somewhat effective and even *then* more localized groups will despise them. When Zarqawi attacked the wedding party in Jordan and tried to excuse it as something else, he was not looked upon with *favor* for his deeds.
Iraq has, indeed, become a 'cause celebre' for jihadis. And before that it was Israel and the Palestinians. And India in general and Kashmir in particular. And those awful Australians in Bali. And secular Turkey. And, in general, the entire world of Western Capitalism with its abundant decadence and idea that people should be free to worship as they want and act as they want so long as they do not harm others in doing so. Democratic governance is a 'cause celebre' for Fundamentalist Islam worldwide and continues to be so to this day. What this is indicative of is that the jihadist movements will use *anything* as a 'cause celebre' that is anti-Western, anti-US and anti-Israel or anti-anything they do not like that does not adhere to their fundamentalist view of the world.
For those that are actually able to survive Iraq, if they see that theirs was a fight that targeted Muslims, that went after innocent women and children, and was a jihad on the defenseless who already believe in some form of Islam, they may, indeed question if that is a way to *win* this fight. Is that any surprise?
We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
• Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq jihad;. (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims all of which jihadists exploit.
Surprisingly the jihadist movements have long memories and wish to fulfill their idealistic notion that wherever Islam once ruled it *continues* to rule and that is a major grievance against the West and those areas where it no longer rules. Some of *those* grievances go back hundreds of years and Osama bin Laden cites them for reasons al Qaeda would exist even if there were NO OTHERS. Corrupt Governments are a prime reason for the spread of jihadism amongst Muslim populations as they cannot believe that 'good muslims' would be repressive and, thus, their Government *must* be in a conspiracy against their own population. Autocratic and dictatorial rule are prime motivators for those 'not' in the ruling clique to fell dispossessed. That also happens to be the overwhelming majority of ALL societies under such rule. Highly brutal rule can gain submission, but deep seated resentments still fester as noted in Iraq where 30 years of brutal dictatorship did NOT remove religious grievances between sects.
The Iraqi jihad is seen as a something fueling jihadism. It is a 'cause celebre'. This point has been previously addressed.
The slow pace of reform on all fronts is an outgrowth of corrupt Governments that are repressive in nature and brutal in outlook. Those Governments offer scapegoats for problems in their Nations, Israel and the United States being two prime Nations cited for the incredibly poor capability of those Governments to actually bring prosperity to their people. It must be a *conspiracy*. Until the people notice that those in Government seem to get disproportionately rich compared to anyone else in the population. Then they posit that their Government is in conspiracy against them. It IS. All by itself, that ruling clique is in a conspiracy to remain in power and profit from it. That is what is known as dictatorial or autocratic rule. It is self-defining.
The United States is cited as bad for its licentious behavior, its non-adherence to Islam, the fact that it is open and allows all people to worship freely without coercion, that it is rich all out of proportion to other Nations. These repressed people see opulence amongst the infidels and cannot understand it and so come to hate it. They do not see that their own Governments are telling them these things to misdirect their anger *away* from their local autocrats and dictators and kings and princes. So long as that misdirection can continue safely these Governments are temporarily secure, until such time as fundamentalist religious movements turn violently against them.
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists. radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.
• The jihadists greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari'a-based governance spanning the Muslim world is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.
• Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.
• Countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.
How the these Islamic based Transnational Terrorist movements are limited are given here in this section. Muslim-related conflicts include all those that can be cast by radical and extremist Islamic groups as being an 'affront to Islam'. Like Danish Cartoons, the Pope speaking about the viewpoint of a previous era, like a Koran receiving an ill-watering. Yes, those are used to fuel jihadism and bad feelings. Imams issue fatwas and people rise up to call for 'death to the Infidel'. Again. And again. And again. Perhaps these overly zealous individuals can just do a recording and hit the 'play' button from now on and just let the recording speak of their fervent hatred of any mere hint or dust mote of criticism against Islam. That would save time, effort and basically achieve the exact same results, save for a few fewer heart attacks by those getting so worked up.
I would *love* to hear from the moderate voices of Islam. By remaining silent and speaking out only in their enclaves and mosques and NOT in the public forum, they are seen as giving tacit assent to jihadism. If you do not speak up for your beliefs they will be hijacked by those willing to do so. If those moderate muslims fear for their lives, then it is *really* time to take this concept of 'give me liberty or give me death' thing seriously. Otherwise the right to speak out will be lost by NEGLECT.
If shari'a law is so unpopular then it is best to repudiate it for something more amenable to the modern world and tell the world that shari'a law is NOT want you want for the entire world. This, again, cannot ONLY be spoken of in mosques, but must come into the public forum. Whenever some hot head condemns their treatment in the west for using shari'a law as their shield which they hide behind, their fellow muslims must speak out against that and point out that there is a law common to EVERYONE that must be adhered to and not some 11th century conception that was barely fit for desert dwellers and has little connection to the modern world.
When moderate muslims speak out about these things the MSM should cover THEM. Repeatedly. And point to their courage and bravery and steadfastness in upholding the rights of man within and amongst Nations. Of course that would be *supporting* liberty and freedom, which seems to be out of fashion these days.
The use of the MSM is *part* of this as reporters must come to understand that in becoming partisan against the United States and the West, they are deriding freedom and liberty and giving vent to the idea that 'slavery is ok to some societies'. Those that see submission to Islam as 'ok' on a Global Basis want an Empire out of the deal and there will be no liberty and freedom for individuals under that. Partisan attacks are undermining the foundations of Western society and attempting to replace it with something that has proven to be of no good to mankind: Empire. If this support for those promulgating anti-Western, anti-democratic and anti-individualist ideals continue, then what you will get is the negation of all the rights that have been fought for over the last few centuries.
If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.Yes, progress requires tearing down the wonderful pre-9/11 status quo world. That was the world that got lack of response to terrorist attacks again and again until they reached the shores of the United States multiple times. To get freedom, liberty and personal responsibility and individual rights, the systems of autocracy and dictatorship must go down either via gradual reform or revolution. Revolutions can be hijacked by those elements most willing to kill and exploit people and that is radical Islam in this day and age. All politics *must* become local for freedom to advance and for governments to be held accountable for their actions by their People. No wonderful 'international court' or 'larger system of governments' can work that out. If you have worn a 'one-size fits all' garment you also know it corollary: 'but fits NONE well'. There is no way to make governments accountable to their people save by reforming them into a process of gradual decentralization and distributed governance until the People are in control and their governments held accountable to THEM, not to some arbitrary Caliph, Dictator, Aristocrat or Bureaucrat. Things will get nasty in many instances. Welcome to the concept of 'change' which requires shaking up how we approach problems. Those wishing to RUN from this are saying that we cannot change things for the BETTER and must accept defeat as the world slides down into tyrannical rule. Into Empire. Which will come knocking on Our doors if we do not help to counter it NOW. The only way to demonstrate how this works is to be there and HELP, not to run away in fear and denial. People will die from this, get used to it. Standing up FOR liberty always seems to bring out tyrants who want no part of it and will expend lives to stop it. That is why the tree of freedom is nourished by the blood of tyrants and patriots. Without an effort to *stop* tyranny, freedom will die.
Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role.
• The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements. We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qa'ida.
• Should al-Zarqawi continue to evade capture and scale back attacks against Muslims, we assess he could broaden his popular appeal and present a global threat.
• The increased role of Iraqis in managing the operations of al-Qa'ida in Iraq might lead veteran foreign jihadists to focus their efforts on external operations.
The actual extent of the Zarqawi network sans Zarqawi and its actual level of integration with al Qaeda as a whole is unknown. This section is OBE: overtaken by events. However, the one pertinent part of what happens when upper al Qaeda leadership is removed is still operational. We do not know if there is a stand-by or secondary plan for leadership succession. There probably is *not* as anyone who held such a plan would then be in a prime position to work against the al Qaeda leadership so as to gain power. Thus factionalization and fracturing of the al Qaeda organization after the removal of top leadership is not only possible but likely. Without that coordinating leadership, the remaining groups would need time to work out a system of better internetworking to attempt al Qaeda level attacks. They have left a template behind for that and how to operationally move into Imperialism via their manuals. That sort of thing requires good funding on a Transnational scale and the question of how much of the financial network would be rolled up is *also* problematical. Much will be chaotic at such a time. We had best be ready to exploit that chaos.
The other thing of note is that al Qaeda has been able to recruit some local Iraqis into their operations under Zarqawi. These are, I believe, some of the ones that have been picked up since the loss of Zarqawi, so the ability of Iraqis to actually manage terrorism on their own without better organizational oversight has yet to be proven. Not mentioned is are the Mehdi Army under al Sadr, which have been getting backing from Iran. The number of Iranian fighters captured in Iraq, plus the cross-border supply of al Sadr's group leads to an analysis that while there is some local management of them, the general marching orders are coming from elsewhere. Which could help to explain why al Sadr is trying to reach a compromise with the government as his own skin is in the balance between continued fighting and retreat to Iran. Life expectancy for either may be a relatively low one.
Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.This would be such things as the Madrid commuter rail bombing in 2004, which has not been specifically pinned down, but prime suspects include everything from home-inspired islamic terrorists to Moroccan Islamic terror groups. Also note the increase of the use of sectarian violence in places like Darfur, which had not been traditional hotbeds of Islamic radicalism, and the spread of Hezbollah to Venezuela after firmly taking root in Argentina and Brazil. Further are the more recent attacks on Sweden which has *never* been a confrontational place for Islam in the modern era and one must go back to the Byzantine Empire to find even peripheral involvement with that. And even the western provinces in China are seeing some stirrings of unrest by Islamic groups, so this is not only an outlook or an opinion at this point, but a forecasting of actual happenings.
• We assess that such groups pose less of a danger to the Homeland than does al-Qa'ida but will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies and to US interests abroad. The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local regime targets and regional or global ones.
These groups are not al Qaeda but will pose just as much a long-term threat to the US as al Qaeda does today without any concerted effort against them by the West or the Nation State system internationally.
We judge that most jihadist groups - both well-known and newly formed - will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics.Here is the outlook for Transnational Terrorism by jihadist groups: they will continue on the one-man, one-bomb, one-event system on civilians for the near to mid-term future, especially in cities. Iraqi butchers will be seen as a good candidate for these groups as these will be individuals without scruples and will attack anyone. And they are all looking for bigger, better and nastier weapons of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear capability. That is their method and means of asymmetrical warfare and has been for decades.
• CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.
While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists.State sponsors of terrorism will continue to feed their most loved allies in this, but that capability will pass throughout the entire network of Transnational Terrorists and raise the overall capabilities of them on a global basis. Weaker Nations that cannot enforce their borders nor police themselves well will be prime areas for terrorists to hide and seek cover, and then use these Nations as shields for their activities. Like, say, Lebanon. Or Russia. Or the northern provinces of Pakistan. Or small islands in Oceania. Or the failed and turbulent Nations in Africa and the Balkans. Or the weak National governments of South and Central America that have been undermined by narcoterrorism, emerald smuggling, and more localized terrorist or mafia organizations.
Or the porous borders of the United States and its weak Federal Government.
Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.And this last one I address fully in this article because it is an outlook paragraph... and if you didn't like how the last sentence of that previous assessment went, then you will like this even less.
• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
This is a personal perspective piece from The Jacksonian Party.
Currently my life takes me away from blogging, but a quick response to the NIE release needs be done with a bit of overview.
The actual information is not new to anyone who reads either from The Jacksonian Party or the more free-form personal site, Dumb Looks Still Free. The last finding is the 'money paragraph' that sums up the entire problem facing the United States and all Nation States:
Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.This is nothing new and has been the operational assessment since the stand-up of DLSF and The Jacksonian Party. How internetworking of Transnational Terrorist organizations has grown was first examined in Template of Terror and from that the growing problem of terrorist organizations being able to exchange ideas, training and suppliers leads to a larger web of internetworking and support across *all* terrorist organizations. The year 1995 proved to be a key one in conceptualizing terrorist organizations as the attempt by al Qaeda to replicate the 1993 WTC bombing with its Oplan Bojinka plot fell through due to complexity and size issues which gives the 'bad luck ' of being discovered a higher probability of happening. Although direct ties between al Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo cannot be demonstrated, they do not have to be as Aum offered a methodology on 'how to do' large scale, concerted terrorist attacks efficiently. The following Oklahoma City bombing, to al Qaeda, may have served as a 'final sign' from Allah on exactly what to do next: synthesize the jihadist outlook with the Aum methodology and attack the US in a distributed form using small and secure cells to do so.
• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.
In The Web of the Supernote, there is an examination of *how* this internetworked Transnational Terrorist web can flex with help from a Nation, in this case North Korea. Not only are the direct ties to one of the IRA groups proven, but the early distribution of these supernotes in the Bekaa valley indicate high level contacts between North Korea and Syria and Iran. All three of these are needed to get the high quality supernotes from North Korea to the Bekaa as neither Syria nor Iran have demonstrable forgery capabilities on par with North Korea. Again, this is a flexing of the larger, internetworked web of terrorist organizations and the length of that web spreads INTO North Korea and then OUTWARDS to not only other Nations and terrorist groups, but into organized crime in the S.E. Asian sphere of influence including Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and Thailand.
Some indication of the kind of scope of this network as it extends into the criminal sphere was looked at as I went through the Tanzanite trade and suspected al Qaeda links. While some low level al Qaeda individuals were involved in the periphery of this, reading into the illegal gem trade found that emerald gangs and 'families' in South America are intensively competitive and are an additional overlay on the current narcotics problems there. Here the links are not as well publicized and span a wide area, and a few diverse topics on how networks work internally to common nexus points is given a quick overview in looking at the stolen car trade to Iraq, the rising drug kingpins in Peru and the Tokyo manufacturing company that was part of the AQ Khan network for laundering goods that should not go to terrorist supporting regimes from Western manufacturers. Because each of these organizations operates in similar spheres and locales as other organizations, they can no longer be approached as separate entities.
As an example: FARC, with ties to al Qaeda, IRA and PLO, must co-exist with emerald 'families' and other criminal smuggling organizations. FARC must also be able to deal with Shining Path so they know the delimitations of each other's territory and goals. That, in and of itself, is a complex web of terrorism and criminal organizations, and when a NEW player wants to get into the scene, one expects that it must either have entree to the area so as to not 'step on toes' or be seen as a competitor or that it is so capable as to dominate the local organizations. Here the organization intruding into this realm is Hezbollah, and it has *not* had noticeable friction with the local organizations and has now gained welcome to Venezuela to operate openly. By all reports it is 'spinning up' a chapter similar to its one in Lebanon in recruitment and training of locals.
For the US this is now a direct problem as Hezbollah is putting on a South American face, that is no longer Arabic. In one look at the Illegal Aliens problem, I looked at the Hezbollah sympathizers and operatives in the US working on bank fraud, marketing of black or grey market goods, and actively cooperating with Mexican narcotics gangs. These are all documented cases either in trial or finishing up with convictions. One does not *get* Hezbollah in the US with easy entree to the Asian black/grey market trafficking and with Mexican drug gang affiliation by *accident*. Hezbollah has been flexing the South American web of organized crime and terrorism to its own ends of replicating its Lebanese success in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela so as to stage attacks on the US once it can firmly get operations established here via the organized crime contacts that stretch to Asia. Iran, via North Korea, can *make* just such contacts and enable its Foreign Legion known as Hezbollah to expand globally.
When Israel retaliated against Hezbollah's attacks, I looked at the need for a broader peace plan for the Middle East that actually addresses the *real* problems there, not the one sponsored by Islamic recruiters for terrorism. Anyone who has read that document will see it as part and parcel of a larger package which I put forth in the Goals in the Global War on Terror document. This viewpoint is one that open warfare against Nations is the *sidelight* to the actual confrontation going on between the ideological conception put forth by the West in the Treaty of Westphalia that Nation States are the sole representative actor for Peoples and the Transnationalist conception that Nation States must be removed so as to put in 'Group' rule in which rights are apportioned by group affiliation: gender, ethnicity, skin color. Terrorists have taken up that goal of removing Nation States by illegitimate warfare outside of the Westphalian concept which gains the term: barbarism. And the now known goal of al Qaeda, using the means of terrorism is given in their Management of Savagery document which I do a partial overview on here and summary analysis for what it means, here.
In my Coalescence of Barbarism overview, this movement by those wishing to put in-place their group view ideology, be it from Progressivist, Islamic, Capitalist or Communist outlook, is seen as a threat to the entirety of all of Civilization and the norms of interaction between Nation States. This path is a Long Road back to Empires.
The Leftist Transnational Progressivist agenda, in the United States, has been one to diminish morale of the People and institute a long-term method to erode civil rights for individuals and institute this conception of 'Group rights'. Many people have bought into this conception and the idea that the Government is no longer representative of the People. The 'wedge issue' that was successfully used was the Viet Nam war, which saw the traditionalist Democrats, that were strong on Defense topics, lose out to the Left and Transnationalists starting in the 1968-74 timeframe, and then continue on ever since. The idea that the war to save South Viet Nam was ill-thought out, ill-timed, and blatantly lied about to the People was false and erroneous. It had been properly scoped in the 1960's as a defensive struggle against Communist hegemony in S. E. Asia and retreating there had long term and dire consequences for the US, the West and the World. I go over those consequences here, but in summation the step-wise fashion of eroding Western will to defend the Nation State conception led to an attempt by the Soviet Union to spread globally. The nasty side-effect of that struggle was to give birth to internetworked terrorist organizations that started by depending on demographics and geographic locales, but then spread globally. The loss of will to actually counter Iran is a major *win* for Transnationalists and Global defeat for civilization and now puts the concept of Nation State at risk.
In the United States, the anti-establishment media organizations have felt their power wax during the Viet Nam and Watergate era, but then slowly erode as the drumbeat of the negative about the activities of the United States has left the populace disillusioned not only with the US but with the Mainstream Media as a whole. By foisting off 'elites' that 'know what the people want' a line of ideology is pushed by the MSM that undermines the actual will of the People and the resolve to remain whole as a Nation. This marries up with the Transnationalist agenda of both the Progressivist and Terrorist stripe as they both now sing from the same hymn book and now outrage is 'manufactured' on cue by either the Terrorists or the Progressivists to gain attention. The objective of this is to totally disillusion individuals in America and the West to the point where retreat on a global scale will signal the rapid erosion of the Nation State as a whole.
And as the United States and Israel have been used as excuses by Transnationalists for the *problems* of the world, they have both been targeted by the MSM for direct attack. In their zeal to demonstrate the 'wrongs' of these Nations, the MSM is now finding that it needs to blatantly misreport, fake and otherwise misrepresent actual, factual happenings so as to give them 'spin'. Thus we find that the line between actual, factual reporting of events has been replaced by trying to get the 'real story' behind the events... even if there is no 'real story' there. The 'real story' is turning out that there is no method of holding the MSM directly accountable for outright falsification and fabrication of 'news' and events or for serving as a propaganda arm of organizations, be they terrorist, progressive or the even more unaccountable NGOs. By blurring these lines and not being held accountable, any scattershot of 'facts' can be woven into a fictitious representation of events backed by *nothing*. The NYT and AP were started to give straight factual accounting of events so as to combat 'yellow journalism', but have now morphed into advocacy journalism spreading their own color of yellow: cowardice. And so, real, actual, verifiable facts that represent 'news' do not get reported by the MSM.
Politics has followed suit in this movement and the United States now stands at a cross-roads with the Twilight of the Two Party State. Even if done for totally honest reasons, this has led to the beginning of the Zero Party State, an era which does not bode will for the Union. The current President is about as much as trying to steer away from disaster as confronting it, and little good and much ill comes from that. A President that is unwilling to remind Congress of their responsibilities is leading to a final calcification of the House of Representatives that began in 1913 and turning it into a form of Landed Aristocracy. The Supreme Court completes this 'trifecta' by asserting things *into* Treaties that have been specifically *rejected* by the Executive and Legislative branches of Government. And now those two branches are back trying to get something put together that represents something the Union actually has signed on to. And this, too, erodes the concept of what it means to have a working, integral Nation State. Concepts of 'holocaust', 'torture' and 'tyranny' are now bandied about for things that are blatantly NONE of those things. And those cities which have decided to secede from the Union are not held accountable, but are finding that their decisions are making them havens for criminals, killers and terrorists.
Which gets us right back to the question of the spread of terrorism on a global scale *beyond* the Islamic Imperial form of it. They *all* seek Dominion and Empire, they just call it different things, with the last favorite being 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. The United States is the ONLY Nation that gives that government flows *from* the rights of the People and that government protects but does not *grant* rights. Thus ALL the activities of the Nation are not only the responsibility of the Nation, as a whole, but to each and every individual within the Nation. That is what We the People agreed to when We got this ball rolling in 1787 and remains so until We yield Our rights up to the Progressivists or Terrorists that wish to enslave Us back into Empire. As a Nation and individuals We have grown so accustomed to the supremacy of the Nation State that actual, real powers handed to Congress are forgotten about, completely! And, as People within Our States we have *also* forgotten that Our States can ALSO hold the Federal Government accountable by the very Constitution We agree to. And as part of that Constitution, if the Federal Government does NOT uphold the Laws of the Land to Protect the Union, then We the People in Our States can join with Our States to protect THEM and hold the Federal Government accountable and ask: Where the HELL ARE YOU? The Federal Government actually has said it will Defend the Nation and it is no longer doing so and the responsibility for that accountability is NOT ONLY via elections as We the People have the entire suite of rights save those very few that We LEND to government to damn well GOVERN.
The United States is *not* in a traditional form of war. Fighting this sort of war is not something We the People have done for over 150 years, and yet, way back when, We the People ensured that We could FIGHT such wars. We the People purposely LIMIT the capabilities of Our Armed Forces so that they are not given the scope or power to deal with small, non-Nation threats for a REASON. Any Military organization given that MUCH SCOPE is a danger to FREEDOM and LIBERTY in conception and actual fact. That is why when the MSM reports on 'legitimate armed political parties' it is saying something that is ANATHEMA to a Free People: every single instance where such a 'party' has come to power has led to military dictatorship. We the People RESTRICT Our military and tell them that they are to take on the Mighty Nations of the World and We the People will deal with the bullies. That is the responsibility We the People agreed to in 1787 and that remains until this very DAY. I love and want a Mighty Military Machine to take out the truly abhorable Nations that threaten the Union. I do NOT want a Military with so much power that it can start thinking that it can run things better than We are SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.
The Transnationalists and MSM want us to be sitting on Our collective Asses and hand over Our rights to the next passing terrorist or 'victim group'.
A groups of sour grapes folk are complaining that We the People are not dedicating time and energy to fight Transnational Terrorism. And they are RIGHT. They want the Union to mobilize for a National war of the old style so that the Military can get all the 'tools' it needs to take power and in that they are WRONG. We have a groups of retired Generals complaining that 1% of the Nation has taken up the burden of defending the rest of the Nation. I will make the argument that a different 1% pays the majority of the taxes and are getting screwed in the process. The argument is *itself* illegitimate because that is how things are RUN HERE.
The legitimate argument is that neither the Executive nor the Legislative have properly scoped out the conflict, listened to all of their folks that actually run the Government and have *listened* to them. All of the parts of the Federal Government cannot WIN THIS WAR. Is that clear? Separately and collectively they can fight something known as a 'holding action' to keep things from getting worse *quickly*. To actually stem the tide and force it back requires that they gain some humility and realize that they do, indeed, Represent the People and have to tell us what needs to be done to WIN. Anything short of the People taking this fight to the enemy is guaranteeing that this struggle will go on for decades and may not succeed. Because the enemy is *not* a nice and civilized Communist system, but a barbaric formulation of Empire that by *any stripe* will enslave Free People to their will.
This is not the kind of war that We have fought for a long, long time.
It is a war that requires that We recognize that civilization itself is at stake, but *not* from Nations, by and large, although I expect a few of those will go down because of this war. The Mighty Edge of the Sword of the Republic can deal with those Nasty outer parts of this barbaric creature known as Transnational Terrorism. But bleeding it is not an option as it must cleaved asunder by the full weight and heft of that Terrible Swift Sword of the Republic.
And only We the People can take on *that* role.
And if you think it is bad *now*, just imagine it if We do *not* do so and let the world slide into chaos and hand Our children a losing battle because We were afraid to do the necessary things it requires to be a Nation.
To be a People.
We can go out and face the butchers down and force them back and make them realize that it was an ill-thing to take up ignoble arms against Us.
Or we can cower and retreat... and start fitting the fetters of slavery onto Us as Freedom is just not worth the fight.
Only We the People can decide this.
Which means: YOU.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
This is a personal perspective on politics by the founder of The Jacksonian Party.
I have previously looked at the role the President of the United States plays within the Federal Government for the Nation. There are, in actuality, a few roles that are put into play by the Executive and I will give a quick summation of them:
1) By swearing an Oath to dutifully defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, this individual takes up the protection of the compact between We the People. As with all things in the Constitution the broad outline of Responsibility is given FIRST and then powers to execute them follow on. When looking at all parts of the Constitution this is the case, including the Preamble, which is the Citizens Agreement of the things We stand by as a People and Federal Government is only ONE means to get to those ends that are outlined. When something goes BEYOND the powers outlined, then it is up to Citizens to find other means to address the problem. So it is with the Citizens and so it is with the President. The President gets extra powers added to the normal suite that a Citizen has, but the President *still* has those rights and responsibilities as recourse when the powers of the Executive run out of easy options. For those things addressing the Nation, however, the extra powers and responsibilities to see that they are addressed are given to the President to affirm, execute and uphold those responsibilities.
2) The Executive is Commander in Chief of the Federal Armed Forces of the United States. In that the President executing those things of military nature is under the UCMJ, save where the other powers and responsibilities of the Presidency over-ride them. The President is given those things outside of military capability and may not be restricted by them.
3) The Executive is the Head of the Federal Government and responsible for all aspects of running it in accordance with law set by Congress. That said, those laws may *not* over-reach into other areas of Executive power where the President is given freer reign. The President does those extraordinary things when the need is so absolutely extreme that the entire ability of the Republic to remain are put at danger.
4) Head of State. The Executive is the Head of State and sole spokesman for the course of the Union amongst the other Nations of the World. The President may sign treaties, but to give them full force the Senate must confirm them. Treaties may *not* over-ride the Constitution only give some clarity in areas that are brought into doubt and those treaties only hold sway at the level of the Constitution so long as they do *not* break the foundations of freedom and responsibility set by that agreement amongst We the People. Thus foreign policy is established and can move into a more permanent area, but can fall out of favor by announcing a treaty is no longer valid. Beyond that the Executive is in control of all Embassies to Foreign Nations which are considered the Sovereign Extraterritorial Enclaves and wholly American soil for all laws.
5) The Executive has a *negative* power, which is the Pardon power, to check unjust application of Federal Law and prevent the Judicial from imposing its will via the bench or to right wrongs or otherwise do things that are necessary to ensure that Justice is served within the United States.
Why do I bring these things up?
They are common knowledge amongst the Citizenry, and yet we rarely voice them save in negation to hold a President accountable for things some individuals many not *like* but which are wholly within the powers granted by the People to the Executive. It is by far and away the nastiest job ever invented for one individual to hold and it is *not* simply CEO of the Nation. I have written a basic note to any individual who actually *wins* the election for the Presidency to remind them that there is even *more* to the job than they ever expected. By executing these powers of the Executive the President is the sole decider on the upholding and security of the Honor of the Nation. And there is a large section of the People that see this as paramount as embodied in a quote by Andrew Jackson:
Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and its conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.This is not mere verbiage nor misplaced patriotism, but a foundational belief that government formed of, by and for the People is an Honorable undertaking and reflects the Honor of the Nation in that doing. As a Citizen, however, We the People agree to Defend the Nation, its Laws and do so in a peaceful manner and We expect the President to recognize this and ensure that the Honor given to the Nation by its Citizens is upheld in that Office and that it is vigorously executed so as to Protect the Nation.
Thus, when a President is asked to give account after the term of Office is over, the Citizenry expects that the President, now as Citizen, will give a true and valid account of their term in Office and explain themselves as best as they are able. After reading through the rough transcript of President Clinton being interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday at Think Progress, I see a President who clearly does not understand his role as President or, even worse, wishes to run from that time in Office and hide behind his subordinates as means of defending his decisions.
When Chris Wallace asks why President Clinton did not do obvious 'dot connecting' after the USS Cole attack due to the previous al Qaeda attacks on the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, what is being asked is why the President did not step up to defend the Nation after it had received attacks on Sovereign Soil and upon its military by al Qaeda. There is much that President Clinton cannot be held accountable for, but the increasing attacks upon the United States was obvious during his time in Office:
1) The 1993 murders of CIA personnel waiting at a stop light to enter their main facility. In Langley, Virginia.
2) The 1993 WTC bombing that was a cross-organizational plot that may have involved Iraq to get these disparate groups to cohere. Iraq is indicated in many aspects of this plot, including as a safe haven for some of the plotters.
3) The stopped 1993 NYC Landmarks bombing plot, involving many of the same individuals and groups in the WTC bombing.
4) The 1995 murder of two US consular officials in Karachi, Pakistan. The $5 million reward for information for their capture remains *unclaimed* and the murders were and still are unaddressed.
5) There was a nasty confluence of events in 1995 that saw three different terrorist activities that would serve as a wake-up call for any who cared to think about it: Oplan Bojinka led by al Qaeda to take down airliners over the Pacific Ocean, the Aum Shinrikyo Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subways, and the Oklahoma City bombing done by US Citizens. Here are the clear *dots* to see. al Qaeda looking to do a high level murderous attack, but failing due to complexity. Aum Shinrikyo carrying out a coordinated attack via an organization with good internal security and logistics. Disaffected individuals destroying a US Federal building in Oklahoma City. Put these *dots* together and the fact that al Qaeda had already targeted the US and you get: al Qaeda using a small and secure organizations to carry out a limited but distributed high visibility attack against US targets.
6) The 1996 Hezbollah attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia aimed at killing US Military personnel there to advise and support Saudi Arabia and ensure that Iraq did not become a threat.
7) The 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania carried out by al Qaeda. In this al Qaeda used a coordinated attack with two, secure cells to attack US targets. They only became high visibility due to the attacks, but those were attacks upon the Sovereign Soil of the United States.
8) The foiled 1999 Millenium bombing plot which was stopped by sheer *luck* by a border inspection official.
9) The thwarted attack on the USN DDG USS The Sullivans in 2000 that was being done by al Qaeda.
10) The 2000 bombing of USN DDG USS Cole attack in Yemen carried out by al Qaeda.
That is the quick listing of major attacks that should have served as major warning signs to the President of the United States. The African Embassy bombings should have been conclusive warning that al Qaeda had a new set of operational guidelines that it had installed to replace the cumbersome attempts at mass, distributed attacks. I call that a Template of Terror for good reason: it provides an operational template to deploy as a generalized concept and then adjusted to local circumstances.
When the territory of the United States is attacked, when its military personnel are killed by terrorists and when the high cost, high value military assets in the form of naval vessels are attacked, the United States has every right to *respond* and the President must *act* to ensure the safety of the Nation. And how does President Clinton respond to this basic question of *why* he did not act after the USS Cole attack?
Here is his first response of many in this interview, I will add bold for highlighting:
WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on fox news Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President. There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops. Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.Let us review that. President Clinton switches to an attack upon Fox News to one on ABC and claims that it mis-represented the 9/11 commission report. He then goes to Somalia and says that there was no al Qaeda connection there or that anyone even *knew* al Qaeda was a growing problem.
WALLACE: …may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20 20.
CLINTON: No let’s talk about…
WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?
CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of which this…arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network…ABC just had a right wing conservative on the Path to 9/11 falsely claim that it was based on the 911 commission report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 commission report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people.
They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in black hawk down and I refused to do it and stayed 6 months and had an orderly transfer to the UN.
Ok, now let’s look at all the criticisms: Black hawk down, Somalia. There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Bin laden had anything to do with black hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of 1993.
WALLACE: …I understand…
CLINTON: No wait…no wait…Don’t tell me. You asked me why I didn’t do more to Bin Laden. There was not a living soul…all the people who criticized me wanted to leave the next day. You brought this up so you get an answer.
Fact: The Battle for Mogadishu was on 9-10 OCT 1993.
Fact: On 24 JAN 1993 Mir Aimal Kansi had killed CIA personnel and then fled home to Pakistan after doing so.
Fact: On 26 FEB 1993 the NYC WTC bombing happened involving al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with possible Iraqi support and guidance.
Fact: On 24 JUN 1993 conspirators for the NYC Landmark bombing plot were arrested and contained many of the same individuals and organizations involved in the WTC bombing.
One might take a look at what was happening in the way of the US being targeted by terrorists and wonder what is to be accomplished in Somalia. In point of fact many people did just that as they were worried that it would be a *distraction* to protecting the Nation. And if the transfer of responsibility to the UN was so 'successful' then why did the US have to put forward Operation United Shield to withdraw from there in 1995? That wonderful and orderly transfer of responsibilities resulted in collapse of civil society and civil war breaking out in Somalia and the full withdrawal of US troops from there. And it still does NOT answer the question being put to the President about the lack of response to the USS Cole bombing. The question is about connecting the dots by the year 2000, not about Somalia in 1993.
One cannot use the failure of foreign policy and insight in 1993 to explain why repeated attacks and continued threats that pointed to al Qaeda involvement by the year 2000 were *not* addressed in the year 2000. Why did President Clinton not do *more* to connect the *dots*? While hindsight is 20/20, getting slapped around as a Nation by repeated terrorist attacks, one of which has the temerity to declare War on the US in 1996 does take some explaining to do.
President Clinton puts forth that Richard Clarke had, indeed, seen the threat and puts forth that he *was* taken seriously. Apparently Mr. Clinton is on a book tour for Mr. Clarke as he asserts over and over again that his Administration fully backed Mr. Clarke and avidly sought to stop terrorists. Indeed, Mr. Clarke is mentioned a number of times by President Clinton to try and back this line of argument. When Mr. Wallace tries to bring up the 9/11 Commission Report, President Clinton wants to talk about Mr. Clarke's book, instead. Previously when Mr. Wallace was bringing up a topic from a book, Mr. Clinton brought up the 9/11 Commission Report. This is not a line of reasoning backed up by knowing that there is a solid foundation to what one is putting forth as an argument. This is 'cherry picking' what one likes and does not like across various pieces and putting them together. This is evasion of a topic of the first order.
President Clinton puts forth that he backed up Mr. Clarke and sent the CIA out to 'get bin Laden':
CLINTON: I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet who President Bush gave the medal of freedom to and said he did a good job.. The country never had a comprehensive anti terror operation until I came to office. If you can criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this, after the Cole I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full scale attack search for Bin Laden. But we needed baseing rights in Uzbekistan which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in helicopters and refuel at night. Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now the 9/11 Commission was a political document too. All I’m asking is if anybody wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.Perhaps, if President Clinton believes the 9/11 Commission Report to be a 'political document' then he should STOP REFERRING TO IT. And if such a wonderful plan was drafted to go after the Taliban then, perhaps President Clinton, should be applauding MIGHTILY and continuously that his successor has done something that he could not do. In point of fact that successor had finally gotten fed up with Saddam Hussein, which President Clinton gave minor pin-pricks to in the way of reprisals and never held HIM accountable for his activities.
Even worse than that, however, is hiding behind the CIA and FBI refusing to certify that bin Laden was responsible for attacks. Mind you by the year 2000 al Qaeda's involvement with the 1993 WTC bombing, possibly the 1993 NYC Landmarks plot, the confluence of terrorism both planned and threatened in 1995, the 1998 African Embassy bombings, Millenium and USS The Sullivans bombing plots and the attack on the USS Cole might just have pointed to some minor amount of involvement by al Qaeda. If, from looking at the information, and then putting forth to his Cabinet the concept that al Qaeda was actively targeting US citizens, military and facilities and that it needed to be harshly dealt with, this thing could have been worked out between the 1998 Embassy bombings and they year 2000. Because the FBI and CIA do NOT hold veto over the President of the United States.
If the bureaucracy is doing CYA and yet the pattern that is emerging is evident to the President and he seeks advice from his cabinet that it may not be absolutely, positively, 100% certain, but in the 'such a high probability that it is unlikely to be anything ELSE' realm, there is then enough for the President to take ACTION. In point of fact Presidents have often acted with FAR LESS to go on because protecting the Nation is their very first DUTY. Rather to make a mistake and apologize for being a bit over-zealous than to not do so.... and have thousands of Americans killed.
President Clinton then continues on his tirade:
CLINTON: All I’m saying is you falsely accuse me of giving aid and comfort to Bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew al Qaeda existed then…If the Nation had such a good and systematic way of stopping terrorism, then why did it MISS the 9/11 cells that were working in the US when President Clinton was in office? And with all due respect al Qaeda, though small, was implicated in 1993 BEFORE Somalia. Unless you did not know that, Mr. Clinton.
WALLACE: Did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the US? Did no one know in 1998…
CLINTON: Absolutely they did
WALLACE: When they bombed the two embassies…
WALLACE: Or in 2000 when they hit the Cole.
CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that think Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…
CLINTON: I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin laden. I regret it but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending special forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.
Now as to not criticizing the current Administration, lets take a look at your speech in Doha, Qatar on 31 JAN 2006: "It amuses me that in all this time since the end of the initial hostilities in Iraq, they have had trouble reconnecting electricity, but they have all sorts of options to do that. But there is no consumer market here, nobody makes that." But then he obviously didn't know the conditions of the electrical facilities IN Iraq prior to the invasion. They were running on *crude oil* not refined petroleum. It was a gentle dig, but one that was unwarranted nonetheless. But following up that non-criticizing with direct criticizing and saying how you would have done things so much better is *also* non-responsive as the entire safety of the United States was at stake BEFORE 9/11 and in your hands, Mr. President. al Qaeda grew under your term as President and moved from minor actor on the world stage to a Prime actor in the terrorist world. Further, that criticism as regards to Afghanistan is not only ill-made but is counterfactual to what your own military were telling you. The reason they did not view major operations in Afghanistan as something that was warranted as it is a *small forces* theater of operations. Mountain warfare is one where the small unit reigns supreme, even in this day of extreme high tech. If you put in large numbers of troops that are not *specialized* in mountain warfare and combat, they will die disproportionately to the casualties they inflict.
President Clinton actually took the RIGHT steps to start a conflict against the Taliban but did NOT lay any preparatory groundwork for such a conflict. Small unit contacts and support won the early parts of the actual conflict and turned the tide against the Taliban. Forcing them to leave the country was something the US could help to do, but even WE need the help of the specialized mountain forces of our allies. If you propose NOW to increase the size of the forces there seven-fold, then the Armed Forces need to entirely re-tool, re-equip and re-train those forces for mountain fighting. That could take YEARS to accomplish and may still NOT get the job done.
The best way to get rid of insurgents in mountainous regions is not by large force movement, but by dedicated and knowledgeable small forces. The Nazi regime had problems in Yugoslavia due to just this problem, and even the AlpenKorps helped only some. India and Pakistan have waged the 'war of artillery' in the highlands as that is about all they can get their forces trained and equipped to do. The last major military campaign that was mountain based and won by the invader was Alexander the Great and his was about the largest size for small unit tactics that could be managed.
Setting that aside, the 9/11 Commission Report on page 109 indicates that even the CIA's own counter-terrorism unit referred to bin Laden as a 'terrorist financier' all the way up to 1997. During 1996 they did set up a special task force to track bin Laden and al Qaeda, so it may have taken those folks a bit to realize that he actually *was* a serious threat and they found out he had plans to attack US interests in 1997, so hopefully that straightened out his 'financier' status.
Prior to that, in 1995, when bin Laden was ejected from Sudan the Sudanese asked if we would like to have him for questioning. And since there were NO outstanding warrants on him the US said, 'no'. That on p.110 of the report and a good year and some after the 1993 WTC bombing. However, the uncovering of Oplan Bojinka in January might have tipped *someone* off that there might be a need to talk with bin Laden, at least on a provisional basis if any US airlines had been targeted. Conspiracy to terrorism would be a good charge, at the very least.
From 1993 onwards the US had good INTEL on bin Laden's movements and adding the plans found in 1997 allowed for him to be more directly targeted in 1998. Conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against US facilities was the charge and coincided with bin Laden's decamping and move to Afghanistan where the US had NO foreign policy. Those plans went undone as the Indians and Pakistanis went nuclear and the civil war in Afghanistan wound down.
When the CIA put a plan together in 1998 to capture and return bin Laden, it was sketchy, but it depended heavily on local contacts and knowledge and depending on CIA operatives to know their territory and mission and 'get the job done'. The CIA had a LOT of trust in its HUMINT operatives, but Richard Clarke on p. 112 calls them 'embryonic' when talking with Sandy Berger. Apparently, for all of his counter-terrorism chops, Mr. Clarke was not used to the very freeform ways of HUMINT work and the high risk environment it exists in. Further, Mr. Clarke saw fit to add in micromanagement to the mission, so as to ONLY go after bin Laden and not the entire compound. So making any opportunistic attacks to disable a terrorist organization would be *stifled* by that.
The CIA tracked bin Laden to a hiding location and was as certain of their INTEL as anyone CAN be in this world, and the DoD reviewed the plan and 'saw no showstoppers' on p.113. Sandy Berger, however, still expressed doubt and put his view on the reliability of tribal chiefs above that of the actual operatives involved. The CIA wanted more clarification and wanted institutional CYA from the Administration because the original authorization that President Clinton had signed had been vague as to restrictions and accountability. The risks of *any* casualties to civilians finally led the Administration to scotch the plan on p.114. Most of the fingers point to Richard Clarke and Sandy Berger here, as ones trying to make sure things went *perfectly*.
That is just the beginning of mismanagement, missteps and other bureaucratic bungling going on during the Clinton Administration. Claiming to have taken 'action' when, in point of fact, it was being so micromanaged by non-experts and not presented for higher level authorization is a major problem. The President had authorized things to be done and should at LEAST be informed on them. Even a nascent plan can suddenly turn into 'action' if the President judges the risks against the rewards and gives the go-ahead and will hold himself accountable to that. Not doing so gets you 'rogue operatives' out of the White House basement or bureaucratic inertia that stifles doing ANYTHING over the safe way of doing NOTHING.
By pointing his finger to the bureaucracy and the 'dedication' of his subordinates, President Clinton is trying to make the Presidency appear as a 'group effort' when, instead, it is one individual elected to the highest office of the land to Lead the Nation. Leading is not done by committee. It takes someone to Lead and the President wanted it and was elected to DO SO.
I will close with another quote from President Andrew Jackson: