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all wrapped in one neat little package

Still going to argue with me when I claim that al Sadr and company are not only being funded by Iranian mullahs and other terrorists, but have been joined by outside forces as well?
When the U.S. troops entered the abandoned factory shed Sunday, they found a hastily abandoned campsite full of jumbled clothing and bedrolls, scattered sneakers and gym bags, broken eggs and dirty cooking pots. But there were other, less innocent objects half-hidden in the gloom. Sacks full of chemical-coated rocks. Leather belts stuffed with explosive putty, and one smeared with dried blood. Boxes of batteries with wires taped to them. Instructions for making bombs. "This was a 16-man terrorist cell," pronounced a Marine captain, rifling through the mess. "See? All the bags and sneakers are brand new, all the same make. This took money and planning. Someone sponsored them."
Explosive putty. Chemical coated rocks. Sounds like a nice combo of Hamas and Iranians. Keep gathering, guys. It's good to see you all in one convenient place. And now they're kidnapping Russians. Smooth move. Really.

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» Not the Least Bit Surprised from dave's not here
Since the day I arrived in Iraq I have heard soldiers mention the nationalities of various individuals captured in the commission of terrorist/insurgent action, or caught before they can commit the actions. It comes as no surprise to me that [Read More]

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How does this prove an Iranian connection? I'm not saying those guys weren't sponsered. But even if it's a state sponser (and there are other options, like the big A.Q.) there are other candidates.

As far a technique goes, these guys can use the internet, too.

First Chinese
Now Rooskies
What's next French?

when it comes to Cluelessness
these creeps are in a 3 way tie
with the AWC & the LLL

I wonder if the Russian they kidnapped will be like the one Chrissy and Paulie Walnuts tried to kill in the Sopranos. That would be cool.

"This MF killed 16 Czechoslovakians. AND he's an interior decorator."

It was all planted by bullying american jew stormtroopers.

/moonbat

Sure, Bellman. They ordered the sneakers and the explosives from Amazon.com.

I know I should have commented 4 posts ago, (Ted Rall post) however:
I look at the diversity of opinions in America regarding this war the way I look at a fight in a relationship between a husband and wife.

I myself may never understand women. It's quite possible that is true. I might not know WHY they seem to change their mind so much, I might not understand why they have so many shoes, but in the end, I have to realize that shoes make them happy. I have to just come to grips with it.

You may not know why people are anti-war. You may try to rationalize it as saying we're just trying to force us into failure, just as I may rationalize that women just like blowing money. I may be INCORRECT in my rationalization.

There is a substantial portion of the population who, perhaps while not protesting actively, feels strongly this war and continues to be a bad idea. I know I'll be making this up 100%, but here's an example.

Pretend 50% of america thought this war was the RIGHT thing to do, 50% thought WRONG thing to do. You can rail against the other side, all day long. You can call them names, you can point out something they said or did that makes them seem stupid, but in the end, saying you HATE the other side, or think they're killing America, doesn't help bring the two together again.

America needs a marriage counselor real bad right about now.

Let me just make sure I've got your logic right here:

We find clear evidence of foreign support in Fallujah, which is a Sunni stronghold. Among that evidence are letters written home talking about how they are going to be fighting their enemies, the Americans, and the Shiites.

This, somehow, is evidence that Iran is supporting al Sadr, the Shiite cleric?

I haven't really developed an opinion on whether or not al Sadr is being funded by Iran. But I have developed the opinion that the evidence you're presenting for that position sucks.

Please do better next time. Thanks.

Peter, this is at least the fourth time I've written about the Iran connection. Check the Command Post today - I included links to two New York Post stories that present pretty damning evidence.

Peter, this is at least the fourth time I've written about the Iran connection. Check the Command Post today - I included links to two New York Post stories that present pretty damning evidence.

Hey Michele,

I went and read that article you exerpt in this post. Guess what? It has direct evidence that THESE guys are NOT in cahoots with Iran.

Sadr, maybe. Although there are some rebuttals to the idea that the mullahs are real tight with Sadr.

But these terrorists you are mention in THIS post are definitely NOT Iranian. They are Sunnis who seem to be planning attacks against other Shia Iraquis as well. Here's another quote from the article you quote:

In one letter, dated April 4, a man urged a friend to leave behind worldly concerns and come join a "beautiful" war against Shiite "nonbelievers" and Americans. "This is like Iran, there are many Shiites and we need to fight them," he wrote. "We are in another Kandahar, and we will burn the Americans." Kandahar, a city in Afghanistan, was the religious stronghold of the Taliban, the extremist Sunni militia that was toppled by U.S-led forces in 2001.

Yes, Bellman. Thus my contention that all the eggs are gathered in one basket.

Plus, it may not be Iranians who were in that hole, but the funding for the materials and weapons had to come from somewhere. If you are so naive as to think that Iranians would be picky as to who they give weapons to when those weapons will be used to take out Americans, then you have a lot to learn about how the world of the terrorist works.

You're not going to kill all the bugs by creating a big swamp and spending all your time "swatting flies" (heh) that spawn there.

The whole all in one place thing works... until you realize that no matter how many we kill this way, there will always be more.

Ugh, it's going to get really ugly there.

Well, that's a useful observation. What, do you want us to send Martha Stewart there to dress up the place with rugs made from old DKNY castoffs and silk flowers she found in a local souk?

Michele, while there may very well be evidence that the Iranians are supporting al Sadr, this ain't it. Admit your mistake here and move on.

It's a very -- dare I say it -- liberal position to look at a sign that says "The sky is blue" and show it to people saying "See? This says the sky is red."

There is absolutely nothing in this evidence here to indicate that Iran is funding al Sadr. I'll be glad to read your other links when I have a chance, but this particular dog won't hunt. It won't even bark.

Michelle, PB aint gonna fess up to an error, nor will he provide evidence supporting his contention. He's got his pet theory and he won't let it go.

Ignore him and we'll all get on with our lives.

I'll be glad to fess up to an error if you can explain what, exactly, I'm supposed to be fessing up to.

I didn't say "Iran is not supporting al Sadr." In fact, I explicitly admitted that I'm ignorant about it. They might be. That's irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. Maybe I was unclear. I'll try again.

I was commenting that here is a post saying, essentially "AHA! Here is your evidence that Iran is supporting al Sadr." The title of the post is even "All wrapped in one neat little package," thus implying that if you read just this post, you'll have all the evidence you need to discover that Iran is supporting al Sadr. Unfortunately the evidence presented doesn't actually support anything of the sort. It's like linking to an article talking about how, say, Libya blew up Pan Am 103. Interesting, true, but not directly relevant.

Words matter; the truth matters. Part of developing credibility as a commentator is in being scrupulously honest in what you represent. If you present a link that you claim "This link demonstrates that all roses are red," but when the reader clicks on the link they discover that the article actually says "Some roses are red; others are white, yellow, and other colors," that damages your credibility. (To be extra clear, I do not believe that Michele is being dishonest. I think she made a mistake, and simply didn't read the article very carefully, since it doesn't demonstrate what she says it demonstrates.)

Yes, I am fully willing to believe there's plenty of other evidence that Iran supports al Sadr.

The evidence presented in this article isn't that evidence.

There. Does that make my position more clear?

Re Sadr's link to Iran:

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD69204

Translated from London Arabic daily "Al-Hayat"

"Iranian Defector Claims Iran Spends $70 Million a Month on Activity in Iraq"

Read the article for many details.

"estimated that about 800-1,200 young supporters of Al-Sadr have received military training including guerilla warfare, the production of bombs and explosives, the use of small arms, reconnoitering and espionage. The three camps were located in Qasr Shireen, 'Ilam, and Hamid, bordering southern Iraq which is inhabited largely by Shi'a Muslims. "

"financial support to Al-Sadr in recent months have exceeded $80 million, in addition to the cost of training, equipment and clothing of his supporters."

"The newspaper also reported that the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad has recently distributed 400 satellite phones to supporters of Al-Sadr and to clerics and students at the A'thamiyya district of Baghdad, Al-Sadr City, and the holy city of Najaf"

Okay... after much inner-debate I've decided to show my (type)face here again.

The deciding factor was my reading of a recent post. I'll refrain from naming which one out of respect for those involved. Suffice it to say: JN went on at length. Regular visitors will (I think) recall the post to which I'm alluding.

Wait... he's always pretty long-winded. So in case there's any question.... a section of a novel was quoted

There were many comments made on both sides of the issue that led me to come back. It was also important to me to come back using the same name, so as to maintain as open a dialouge as possible.

Not to take this thread off on a narcissistic tangent, but I've come to realize that my justification for leaving was pretty half-assed. I made a stupid, disparaging remark about Otto without knowing him. This pretty much nullified any possible chance of "flameless" discussion.

Thus I made enemies of the core ASV readers, rendering any comment I made into a flame-session rather than a debate.

So. I'm back. Flame away. I'll do my best to ignore the fire and stick to the point.

Ironbear made a point in the aforementioned post that I sometimes lose sight of: "Either way, taking the whole thing too seriously will only give you ulcers, ne?"

But I think the main thing that brought me back was the same thing that brought me here in the first place. Michelle's ability to state her case (whether I agree with her or not) in simple, often blunt terms. As in her closing of the post I'm referring to:

"Josh N - I appreciate the time you took to try to explain your points.

For all - Josh N., while you may not agree with him, is not a troll in any sense of the word.

Also, in the future, please allow me to speak for myself when the issue demands it."

In my previous time here, I'd lost sight of the fact that our Hostess is open to discourse. The fact that many of her charges are not isn't her fault.

That being said....

I don't doubt the efficacy of your research (the NY post articles), my larger issue is that you've ignored the military's own release. The evidence from the campsite (according to the military) points to Afghanistan. Specificly to Kandahar, the former HQ of the Taliban. Not Iran.

Many experts throughout the world have been saying for almost 11 months that the post-war plan in Iraq was lacking. We assumed that our initial "shock and awe" strike was going to send these folks simpering into a corner. No contingency plan. Instead, we left the borders open and exposed our forces to insurgents from virtually everywhere.

Say what you want about Iraq. AQ wasn't in place there before the war. Now they are. Whose fault is that?

Don't misunderstand me on this; I don't discount the probability that insurgents from Iran are involved. I'm almost certain they are. I'd venture that there are members of every substantial terrorist group either in, or on their way to Iraq.

The point is: we didn't set anything up to keep them out. That's our mistake. They're simply taking advantage of it.

I encourage everyone to check out The Guardian, a daily newspaper from England. It's very interesting to see the news from a different viewpoint.

Here's the opening of a story by Rory McCarthy in the April 13, 2004 issue:

"America's military tactics in Iraq come with their own carefully constructed vocabulary. It is a sanitised language that talks of textbook style operations against a precisely defined enemy.
But the great challenge for US authorities in Iraq is that their "enemy" is now increasingly hard to define and cannot be neatly overcome.

When he stood up to defend the US marines' aggressive operations in Falluja last week, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, America's top general in Iraq, talked of "deliberate, precise and robust combat operations".

He said the goal was to "separate, isolate and destroy the enemy wherever we find him on the battlefield".

It is this rigid adherence to military doctrine that has repeatedly caused problems and why the tactics adopted in the past week have been so heavily criticised."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1190701,00.html

I know some of you believe that the international community has no say regarding our policies abroad.

I would point you to the rise of the Euro and the decline of the Dollar as evidence that you may be mistaken.

I further understand the sense of Patriotism garnered from supporting the President no matter what. I really do. The problem is, when you have an administration in place that is willing to dig itself in deeper rather than face the music... you have a problem.

While I disagree with our being there, I am not someone who claims we should unilaterally pull-out. We're there. We made our bed, as they say.

Throwing blame all over the globe is a cop-out. We threw our hat into the ring without thinking it through. The plan didn't work. Now we have to suffer the consequences. The sooner our leaders can admit it (at least to themselves) the better off we'll be.

Eventually every playground bully will be called to task. Once a smaller kid is able to get one shot to the bully's groin, all the others will pile on. If you're unable to see the comparison, I'm sorry. I truly am, but that is what we're dealing with here.

It's like the Lillipucian's in Gulliver's Travels. If enough small forces join together against a common foe, they CAN bring it down. Brute force is NOT always the strongest force.

How do you suppose these terrorists got their hands on US military-issue body armor. Does that not SCREAM "security breach" to you?

Come on folks...

I'm not here to claim that Clinton or Gore are the solution to this problem.

Nor am I here to tell you that Kerry is.

What I'm saying is that Bush is NOT going about this the right way.

This administration has shown utter disdain when it comes to informing the people.

Also,they have a very strict set of rules that were first drafted 12 years ago.

The world was a VERY different place 12 years ago. The world evolved over that time. Their doctrine didn't.

Wouldn't you agree - at bare minimum - that we deserve leaders who are able to gauge the climate in which their decisions are made?

In an effort to reduce the inevitable flaming, let me say a few things:

1. I do NOT believe that Bush could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, regardless of hindsight information.

2. I DO believe that actionable intel was in place before 9/11 that would have put us in a position to go after AQ had it been given higher priority.

3. I am not a lily-livered, yellow-bellied, anti-war zealot who is happy to hang his hat on this cause. This issue has caused me great internal strife and has caused major turmoil in my personal life. I would like nothing better than to support this war. But I can't.

3. I truly, honestly do not have as much time to spend online as many of you. I'm self-employed and am the only employee in the company. I also have a wife and daughter who I adore and spend most of my free time with. When I solicit email responses, I REALLY mean it. It could be a week before I have time to post again. I never know. Bare minimum, copy and paste your response into an email. Please.

4. DAVE in Texas, I've always appreciated your viewpoint. I recently reread my parting-shot and saw that my respect for you wasn't as apparent as I'd intended. I hope you saw it.

5. Who can disagree without attacking me personally? That's one question.

The REAL questions are: Considering my effort to keep this concise, will the attacks be on me or the message? Will I be accused of rambling on about nothing, or of incomplete research?

Will I be accused of ignorance or will the flamers take over with thier redundant postings and their name-calling?

We shall see.

Kevin E, read Greg Easterbrook's alternate timeline and tell me that this is not the way it would have went down if GW acted against OBL prior to 911.

Bellman, PeterB, go to Dan Darling's blog at regnumcrusis.blogspot.com.

He has the whole Iran/Ad Sar connection fully documented. Or look for his posts on Windsofchange.net.

Dan's argumentation is very convincing.

I go out of town for a couple of days and all Hell breaks loose in Iraq. Is it a coincidence? Anyways, here are a few random thoughts about stuff.

After a brief look around the blahgospere, I find out that a couple of days ago Instarepugnant declared the Sadr uprising in Iraq aint no big thang. No, really, he did. I have no joke, snide remark or even amazed “huh” in response to this, since I simply couldn’t top what that dumbass said.

You know, I used to think that all Americans were arrogant, narcissistic pricks. Then a couple of years ago I got on the internet newsgroups and discovered that it was the Reich Whingers who were the arrogant, narcissistic pricks. After a year of arguing with these rubes over the Iraq war and subsequent occupation, I really began to despise you. Now, after spending the past half year roaming through the right whinge blahgosphere, I just wish you Reich Whingers could be exterminated like vermin. Fortunately, the valiant Iraqi insurgents will do just that.

Unlike Kos, I have no intention of retracting or clarifying that last statement, so any Reich Whingers who take offense and cry can bite my shiny metal ass. Or they can stand still while I take my oversized shoe and squash em like the filthy roaches they are. To sum up, you Reich Whingers are nothing more than vermin who need to be snuffed out of existence, I have no advertisers for you cunts to complain to about what I’m saying and so you can go fuck yourselves.

Over the next few days, the Sadr City Insurgents will battle the George Bush Infidels in game sixty of a best of nine thousand series. This one promises to be another bloodbath. My money is on the Infidels to take this one, but in the long run I hope the Insurgents will prove to have the staying power necessary to take the series.

As I write this, I’m watching “The Daily Show”. Why does a funny guy like Jon Stewart only get a half hour when that Reich Whinge shill, Dennis Miller, gets a full hour? Damn that liberal media. Okay, I’ll be honest, Miller is funny too, but only in his delusional fascism

Well, whatever else he may be guilty of, we can never accuse Kevin of brevity.

Kevin E.

Reading Arabic sources (in 2001) I learned that middle eastern society is scarier than 1930 Germany.

It doesn't matter whether you are talking about Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or Saudi Arabia. The people there are of one mind:

Because all concepts of freedom threaten all of the authoritarian structures at all levels of their societies, because of traditional xenophobia and because of a true warrior religious tradion, the public is encouraged to hate and despise outsiders.

They're thoroughly intocrinated by their religous leaders and governmental institutions to think non-muslims are subhuman.

Many believe that God requires them to wage war against us, to kill us and to overthrow us.

And those who don't believe such, are sympathetic to the terrorists. As one Canadian-Iraqi blogger recently wrote about Palestinian terrorists, "they believe they are doing this for God, so who can blame them?" She does blame their victims though, and can't see anything wrong with that.

Middle eastern societies - Arabic speaking societies are possibley the most xenophobic - or to be precise, the most hostile to other cultures of any society. It's easy to show. About 300 books are translated into Arabic each year. Even small languages, with 1/100 the speakers of Arabic do much better than that.

More books are translated into Hebrew each year than have ever been translated into Arabic in all of history. The same is true for Spanish. Greek beats Arabic by (I think) 6:1.

Yet Arabic speaking people are not all illiterate (30-40% are illiterate). They're just hostile toward the outside world.

Add to that the fact that most of these countries were Soviet block. These societies absorbed anti-Americanism from
the soviet propaganda. Unlike actual Russians, they do absorb and believe propaganda whole heartedly - and improve on it in amazing ways.

Because of their religious tradition, saying good things about non-muslims is considered impious. Claiming that non-muslims are always conspiring against Muslims and evil is in line with their scriptures and is pretty much required whenever the topic comes up.

Ideas that the rest of the world has anything of value, that outsiders could be friends, or interesting or even useful are forbidden. You can't get an article that says such things published in the middle east.

I've seen attempts to say such things. It's consistant. They can only say that learning from the west is important if they make the context "otherwise, how will we kill the Jews" or "how will we beat them."

It's hard to fathom or even imagine, but public pressure to keep such ideas suppressed is even greater than government pressure. I've seen many examples. To say such things is to be a traitor - and professional organizations and religous organizations will organize lynchings even when oppressive governments don't want to.

Muslims are required to pay significant amounts of their income to charities, but not to generic charities - to those who will only help Mulsims. And the more radical interpretation is that they are required to fund Jihad.

The so called "neo-con" project is to create a crack in this impenetrible culture to let some light in.

The culture is so closed off, that even living in a society that allows the freedoms they never had back home - speech, religion - thought even usually brings no big breakthrough. They dont's notice our virtues because it would be a sin to admit than non-muslims have any virtues.

The so called "neo-con" project in the Middle East aims to end the hunger for Jihad by cracking the culture open - by giving their people a taste of freedom among their own. To create a space for a flowering of ideas.

...
Iraq was a target of opportunity, or so it seemed a year ago. Iraq was weaker and more issolated than the other terrorist supporting states - and it's people less successfully indoctrinated into facism than, say Syria's.

But most of the states in the middle east significantly support terrorism.

If we had a chance to break open any of the more powerful middle eastern states, that would accomplish our goal. We would succeed in destabilizing the culture.

There are other goals, also cultural. These warrior cultures don't make lasting truces based on good will or even self interest. Only fear. They only respect those they fear.

Yes that's very shallow and very "unevolved" as we say in California. But if we refuse to notice that our enemies are unevolved then we continue to do things that don't work with them over and over.

A goal in Iraq was to break the impression that we didn't have the strength to finish the war there.

But the main goal in Iraq was to break open the culture by hooking Iraqis on freedom. WMD's were the reason that the UN had approved of finishing the war - so that's what Bush focused on. Yes people thought they were there, but the fact that Saddam (like every other leader in the area) sent millions to terrorist groups was certainly a reason that overthrowing him was in our interests.

But Iran is a big threat now - they're very close to having nuclear weapons, and when Rafsanjani was president he made speeches promishing that the moment Iraq had nuclear weapons they'd destroy Israel. He said that of course the muslim world would get hit by retaliation nukes, but pointed out that there are only 4 million Jews and hundreds of millions of Muslims in the middle east - so, in his view Islam would survive and the cost was worth it.

This view wasn't unpopular. He probably said it because he expected it to gain him popularity. There's every reason to believe that Iran could be very unjudicious in its use of it's weapons.

Remember that all of these states are fighting a proxy war against israel using Islamist terrorists as their (unacknowledged) fighers.

Do you believe that we will be safe when they have nuclear weapons? How well does deterence work when your enemy is happy to deny responsibility? How well does it work in a society so enamoured of death that a polician can make a popular speech calling for his own people to be nuked?

The problem with this war is that Bush can't afford to come clean about it.

If he had admitted that the purpose was to destabilize middle eastern regimes and change middle eastern culture then:

1. he would not have been allowed a single base of operations in the middle east.
2. we would have NO allies. The world would have been too terrified of the reacion of the middle eastern kingdoms.
3. Ultimately, we wouldn't have been able to attack.

The fact that Bush revealed this purpose slowly and cautiously has made it possible to talk about freedom without bringing disaster down on our heads, but unfortunately it also meant that much of the American public doesn't believe him.

But he still can't afford to be too clear.

But the alternative could well mean that the entire world (starting with the US) eventually becomes Israel, with constant attacks from Jihadis.

And they probably won't bother attacking us with cheap little vest bombs. Eventually we'll have big weapons smuggled in, and our economy and our society will be completely ruined.

At least it will be for our grandchildren.

I've listened to Kerry's speeches.

His plan is to reasure the despots of the middle east and hope that he can have the (once again stable) despots squeeze the Jihadis for us.

This already failed. Only one country in the middle east has a population where some people love us.

Iran.

Because we declared that government to be our enemy.

Being loved by the despots only makes the Jihadis stronger and stronger.

Anyway, that's my argument to you.

Joshua Scholar

So, you're the Iranian government, and a country that has declared you to be an enemy has just invaded your neighbor and made semi-official noises about using it as a base to invade you next.

So what are you going to do?

Of course they're going to sponsor surrogates to hamper America's efforts to consolidate its hold on Iraq ... just like the United States did when it saw the hand of the Soviets in revolutionary governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada.

Please don't tell me the Administration wasn't expecting this.

Mork, perhaps a better analogy would be after the French Revolution, when every kingdom around France declared war on the new republic in order to destroy the dangerous heresy - democracy.

Anyway, expecting a war doesn't obviate the need to fight it.

No, Joshua, that's a poor analogy. The French revolution didn't involve an invasion by a foreign power that had semi-officially declared a desire to invade neighboring states.

You know, I used to think that all Americans were arrogant, narcissistic pricks. Then a couple of years ago I got on the internet newsgroups and discovered that it was the Reich Whingers who were the arrogant, narcissistic pricks. After a year of arguing with these rubes over the Iraq war and subsequent occupation, I really began to despise you. Now, after spending the past half year roaming through the right whinge blahgosphere, I just wish you Reich Whingers could be exterminated like vermin. Fortunately, the valiant Iraqi insurgents will do just that.

Reich whingers? Gosh, that's so clever.

When you can talk to me without resorting to idiotic name calling maybe I'll care what you have to say.

Hope fourth grade is treating you well, Robert.

I have been hearing from soldiers all along that they are getting reports of foreign nationals forming terror-cells for months. I wasn't surprised by it when I got here to Iraq, and I'm not surprised by it now.

No, Joshua, that's a poor analogy. The French revolution didn't involve an invasion by a foreign power that had semi-officially declared a desire to invade neighboring states.

Bullshit. What we have is an officially declared desire to promote freedom and democracy.

Our plan destabalizes unfree nations by what Chomsky would call "the danger of a good example" - if he were honest enough to apply his principles to the Arab world. They're destabalized because their people may start to hope for change.

From Syria, Saudia Arabia, Egypt and Iran's point of view the analogy to the French Revolution is precise.

Bullshit yourself. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. aren't worried about Iraq becoming a democracy, they're worried about being invaded.

Those poor Iranian mullahs, Syrian Baathists, and Saudi Arabian princes, minding their own business, when the US ups and decides to (without provocation) invade their friendly neighbor Iraq. Something like that, Mork?

Actually, both you AND Joshua are right, in a way. It's not an either/or thing.

One of the reasons we took Iraq was to plant democracy in the Middle East, because in the long term that's the only way things are going to get better there, and the only way to reduce the threat of terrorism.

ANOTHER reason was to show that, with sufficient provocation, the United States could and would invade and depose their governments, world opinion be damned. It's funny that the three nations you mention, Mork, are three of the biggest supporters of terrorism on the planet. And there are our forces, right smack-dab in the middle of them, able to use military force against them (should it be required) on very short notice.

So, yes, they're worried about invasion. AND they're worried about democracy.

Good.

Bullshit yourself. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. aren't worried about Iraq becoming a democracy, they're worried about being invaded.

Good. They harbor terrorists. Let them get the terrorists out, stop funding groups like Hamas and, especially in the case of Iran, stop beating and killing any citizen who opposes your mullahcracy and we won't invade. K?

Michele: Robert McClelland is incapable of posting any comments without resorting to namecalling. For better or worse, it's what he does.

PS: guys, Mork just argues the other side just for the hell of it. It's what he does.

Good. They harbor terrorists. Let them get the terrorists out, stop funding groups like Hamas and, especially in the case of Iran, stop beating and killing any citizen who opposes your mullahcracy and we won't invade. K?

Or they could just fund surrogates to harass U.S. forces in Iraq so that the U.S. becomes so bogged down and its goverment continues to lose credibility to the point that an extension of the war to any of those states becomes an impossibility ... which it probably is already.

You're Iran: which do you choose?

Or they could just fund surrogates to harass U.S. forces in Iraq so that the U.S. becomes so bogged down

How easy you make it sound. As if Iran has unlimited resources to pour into Iraq to keep the US off balance and bogged down. As if we might not have something to say about that. As if we couldn't play the same game in their unstable, hated government.

and its goverment continues to lose credibility to the point that an extension of the war to any of those states becomes an impossibility ... which it probably is already.

I guess we're beat, eh Mork? Time to call it quits, head home. There's simply no way we can match the cleverness and unlimited resources of the Iranian mullahs. Their waves of ill-trained, poorly-equipped "surrogates" are more than a match for our forces.

You're Iran: which do you choose?

Why don't you ask Libya?

Evil Otto - it's time to head home unless we are capable of fixing the problem.

And we are not capable of fixing the problem unless we are prepared to recognize its nature, respond accordingly, and devote the necessary resources.

The current Administration shows no sign of doing any of those three things.

Bullshit yourself. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. aren't worried about Iraq becoming a democracy, they're worried about being invaded.

Mork, did you make that up all by yourself?

Someone must have made that up, whole cloth, because that statement bears no relation to reality.

I suggest you spend a few weeks studying the middle east before you post again. Knowing nothing AND being angry that no one agrees with you is a shameful combination.

Andrea, if you're right about the new posters then Michele has officialy arived.

Her blog is big enough to have USENET style trolls.

Sure feels familiar. USENET made me lose all respect for humanity.

Who's getting angry, Joshua? Wouldn't that be the one who stoops to personal abuse when their pompous sloganeering and fanciful pretensions to scholarship are interrupted?

Which is to say: you?

For my part, facutal ignorance and blinkered ideology are what I expect to find on a site like this. It's always nice to have the expectation overturned, which sometimes happens, but when it's not, I'm hardly going to get upset about it.

Mork, "Scholar" is the name on my birth certificate - I have pretentions to nothing.

But I have spent months researching the middle east in 2001 and 2002, so I do feel that I understand the situation there.

You just assume that everyone who disagrees with you must be working from a base mere ignorance and idiology.

Actually when I was researching I pretty much found the opposite of what I expected find.

Funny how I went from being labeled a communist by people I talked to to being labeled a dittohead. What changed was not my idiology but my knowledge... But most people make the same mistake you do.

You assume that statements made from experience are "pompous slogans", so it will be impossible to communicate actual information to you.

Sorry that the rest of us mere humans aren't capable of understanding what we read and research.... Did you even read the long post I made earlier in the thread? I didn't get those impressions by reading other people's opinions, I went back to source material and made my own inferences? How the fuck can my opinions be mere slogans?

Oops - extra question mark in that last sentence.

er second last

Joshua - I made what I thought was a self-evident point about the rational and predictable response of a nation threatened with invasion. You rejected the observation, apparently because it suits your ideology better to believe that the Iranian government would be more concerned about the example of a democratic nation than they would about the threat of physical invasion.

That is so absurd that "sloganeering" is a charitable description.

As for your pretensions to scholarship, I was speaking of the type of claims you make in the previous post (which I have seen you make before), not your handle.

And you obviously didn't read and understand my long post.

You might also read the post I was responding to, for context.

I did read it, Joshua. If you're desperate for feedback, it seemed to me like the usual neo-con screed, full of half-truths, ideologically-derived assumptions and wishful thinking.

All in all, I didn't think it was worth commenting on.

As I said, you assume that what you call "the usual neo-con screed" is "full of half-truths, ideologically-derived assumptions and wishful thinking."

Perhaps your assumptions are wrong.

Perhaps it's an accurate description of reality.

In my case it didn't come from reading any neo-cons. I came to those opinions entirely on my own by reading Arabic news papers, political speeches, educational materials, scriptures and religious sermons.

Show that you have some mental abilities. Use your imagination, and imagine how you would think, what it would mean if my description were simply the truth.

It's true that it's often a useful rule of thumb to ask, "If this were not true, would there still be someone telling me this?" But if you don't have the ability to even consider the possibility that someone is truthful and insightful, then you're a locked vault. You will never learn anything new.

Oh I forgot one other important source. I looked for Arab peace activists.

There are very few, but what they say is important.

Ali Salem and Mohammed Mosaad are the most eloquent. Irshad Manji is also well known.

I should say that Irshad Manji is very good, but I didn't find out about her until recently.

Also, calling what I described "wishful thinking" is wrong. What I described is a desperately bleak situation. Our solutions are very long range and risky ones because the situation is so hopeless that there are no other possible solution.

Kevin E

Sorry for the late response, busy week here too.

I have dialogued with you long enough not to get upset when you say something that might otherwise irritate me...I think we call it the benefit of the doubt, and you have certainly shown me that courtesy.

You've made some good points. You know my position well enough without me having to reiterate it.

We could have a fun discussion about the Euro and the dollar, and the confusing economic terms "strong" and "weak" (i.e. I will go to GDP and we will walk away being unimpressed with Europe and the Euro).

But rather, let me ask you two questions.

One, why do you believe that it is important that we romance the friendship of nations whose interests are not aligned with our own? Are you telling me (ok, it's three questions) that without the support of, say a France or a Germany, or Russia that our motives must therefore be wrong somehow? Or are you willing to entertain the idea that their interests motivate them to choose a course that is opposed to our own?

Two (four, I've lost count), I have not heard you speak to the subject of US support for Israel (I may have missed it), which I am quite convinced is the root of Arab-Islamist hatred of the US, as opposed to our current occupation of Iraq.

As far as Bush leveling with the country, frankly I understand why the wagons are circled given the invective and the blame games that are played, but I'll suggest to anyone who wants to discuss it that Bush gets far more criticism from the right than anyone on the left gets from the left.

A daughter? I have two of them, both teens. We can trade commiserations sometime. While you're saving up for college, don't forget the wedding. I am reliably informed it will eat away every dime we have.

best

Keven E. has left the building.

Robert,

With friends like you ...

Shut the fuck up. Bile-spewing blow-hards like you are exactly what makes this discussion so important. Dick

Thanks but no thanks. Those of us with functioning grey matter will take it from here.

Look. Over there. No, there. Yeah, it's a jar of paste. Have some.... it's good.

Didn't leave, JS... just on east coast time.

Holy Crap! I've written this response twice only to be stifled by mother nature while proof-reading it. Power outages due to a storm. VERY frustrating.

Anyway.

Hi Dave,

I am constantly (pleasantly) surprised by your willingness to give credence to an opposing view.

Good questions, I'll answer them as best I can.

1. I was wondering who would jump on my Euro/Dollar comment first. I know, I know the economy is growing even though the dollar is down. I wasn't really pointing to the economics of it. I was making the point that there's strength in numbers. First example that came to mind. Otto made a comment to me a few weeks ago that has stuck with me. He said: "There is no 'rest of the world', just a bunch of other countries". I think that's a very narrow-minded viewpoint.

2. I'm not sure if you got the impression that I think we should "romance the friendship of nations whose interests are not aligned with our own" from a previous post or from this one. I've just re-read my post here and I don't believe I said that. What I did say was that the position of the international community DOES matter.

3. No. I am not saying that our motives are tarnished or rendered impotent by lack of the support of other countries.

4. Yes. I realize that a specific country's motivation could derail an alliance with us, and vice versa. As example, I might point to France and Germany. Two of the countries you mentioned in your post. Two countries who had a definite agenda when it came to invading Iraq. Two countries who might have been willing to join us if we hadn't stonewalled their oil interests in Iraq. We'll never know though, because we wouldn't negotiate. All European oil leases were to become null and void upon our taking the country. That spelled out a significant economic problem to those countries. One they could never sell to their citizens. What if we had agreed to negotiate a continuing lease on those fields?

What if we had continued to concentrate our forces in Afghanistan? This would have garnered us two significant benefits. 1. We would have driven much deeper into the heart of AQ, which is what we all really want. 2. We would have given the weapons inspectors the time the UN was asking for. As little as six months could have proven to be a big deal.

If after all that, we still had to go it alone, we would have been on stronger footing. As an example, it stands to reason that some of the AQ leaders who are now in Iraq would likely be dead or in custody. And in the meantime, the UNSC would have gotten what they wanted.

Not that I'm a big fan of bowing down to other countries. Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting we should have bowed down, I'm suggesting that we had another war to wage that took precedence over this one. A side benefit of that course of action MIGHT have been the backing of the UN. Instead, we thumbed our noses at them. We removed personel and resources that were needed in Afghanistan and redirected them to Iraq earlier than was necessary.

5. Ah. You're right, I haven't addressed the Israeli connection. There is no doubt that the US backing of Israel plays heavily into the perception many Muslims have of the US. I'd also venture that JS's point that Jihadist propaganda has weighed heavily on that is true as well.

This is a "thin ice" issue to me. And Bush is treading on it far too heavily. Just today he announced his support for Israel's unilateral move. In doing so, he killed any hope that the Palestinians would negotiate the "road map", and pissed off the majority of the Muslim world. Smooth move.

He could have told Sharon privately that he thought it was a good idea. Then made a public statement that "It's worth bringing to the table." Instead his public comment mostly said: "Hey, c'mon folks... the Palestinians are never gonna get what they want anyway... so this'll do."

How could anyone characterize that as "forward-thinking", or looking at the big picture?

6. Circling the wagons in time of war is one thing. I expect that. As a matter of fact, I think we get too much information about the daily activity. After all, the enemy has satellite tv too. My problem with this administration is their blatant unwillingness to admit that mistakes have been made. That the plan they went in with did not work out the way they thought, and needs to be revised. That the populace of Iraq has reacted in a decidedly different way than was expected and needs (and deserves) to be reassured that we're there for them.

Many of them are having a hard time seeing it that way. When you have an M1-A1 Abrams parked outside your house, it's hard to feel free.

We need to be spending the same amount of resources on educating and reassuring the citizenry as we are on fighting the insurgents, otherwise the insurgency will only grow.

JS made a valid point when he said fear is one thing these people understand. I think we've instilled that fear pretty profoundly in the majority of the population. Now it's time to foster the softer side of American might. Freedom.

We see it, we take it for granted. They've never known it. I think many of them look at their lives 1 year after the invasion and don't much like what they see. We need to change that.

Our military prowess is not going to do it. No one disputes our ability to stomp another country into the ground.

What needs to be displayed is our ability to build the trust necessary to form a bond. Guns and bombs are for the insurgents, I don't argue that. Where are the "social workers" (for lack of a better term)?

Right now they're afraid of us, but they're afraid to turn to us as well. We need to be showing them that they can.

Shutting down a newspaper that was printing lies about us didn't help our position, stupid as that may sound. Sadr is a piece of shit, don't misunderstand me. The thing is, we stomped in there claiming to bring democracy with us. One of Hussein's most vocal opponents (Sadr) prints a tiny little newspaper. Barely a pamphlet, really. It has a circulation of less than 10,000. He prints inflammatory stories designed to galvanize the Sunis and the Shiites. We shut down the paper and announce a months-old Iraqi warrant for his arrest. How is that supposed to spell freedom to these people?

Like I said, Sadr is a prick. I'm not supporting his actions in any way. But we don't shut down Tabloids here in America when they print lies. If we're going to convince these people we mean what we say, we have to roll with the punches. A strong anti-Sadr propaganda crusade would have done much more than the stifling of his tiny newspaper.

Don't we all realize that the seizing of his newspaper is what sparked the recent uprising? Bush said it himself; "They don't like being occupied..."

So. I've answered your questions as best I can with the spectre of another power-outage hanging over me.

2 girls in the dreaded teen years, huh? I feel for you. Mine is 6. You mentioned saving for college and marriage, subjects which do cross my mind from time to time.

I'm just glad you didn't talk about boyfriends or phone bills. Thank God for shotguns and pre-paid wireless. I plan to invest in both when the time comes.

Take care,

To all:

I'd just like to mention that Joshua Scholar was kind enough to email me his earlier response to my first post on this thread.

So I HAVE read and responded to it.

I had planned to include my response when I stopped by tonight.

Considering the space I've taken up responding to Dave, and considering that my reply to JS was fairly wordy as well I've decided not to post it here.

If anyone wishes to read it, I'll be more than happy to send it to you, or post it here.

Hmmm. I just received an email from JS telling me that he didn't receive my email.

To be safe, I'm going to post it here. It's pretty long, but his reply deserves a response, so here it is:

Thanks for the response.

I don't know if I'll be online tonight to visit ASV. I usually try to devote a rather large block of time if I'm going there, as there's always so much to take in.

You make many valid points about the culture in the middle east as a whole. I know a lot of what you say is true, and the items that were new to me still fit well enough that I'll not bother questioning them.

I also realize that your statement: "The people there are of one mind" is a broad generalization. You obviously don't believe that every single solitary person in the middle east subscribes to the views you describe. I definitely agree that the mindset you describe (especially it's xenophobic quality) is pervasive and scary as hell.

As I've tried to point out repeatedly; I'm not an anti-war zealot who thinks a hug and a bunch of money is the way to win these people over.

My problem isn't THAT we invaded Iraq, it's WHEN and HOW we went about it.

Afghanistan was a much more pressing issue. A strong, concerted, on-going effort against AQ and Taliban forces there would have drastically improved our footing in Iraq, as we're seeing now.

We're still in Afghanistan, but on a much smaller scale than is warranted due to the War in Iraq.

Iraq did not pose the imminent threat necessary to invade right then. We could have, and should have concentrated on AQ a year ago while we still had many of them in our crosshairs. As it stands now, we're just spread too thin to be as effective as we need to be in Afghanistan.

I like your image of "cracking the culture open". I even believe that you're right when you say that's what the "neo-cons" hope to do.

Unfortunately, too many assumptions were made about what the response of the Iraqi people would be. They just assumed everyone would be so grateful to see Hussein ousted, they'd line up to learn our ways.

They further assumed that the Shiite's and Suni's would maintain their conflict in the face of an invading army. There is historical evidence (as recently as the Iran/Iraq War) that in the face of a perceived enemy the two factions will band together for the fight.

I believe that if the Iraqi people had experienced ANY level of democracy by now, things would be very different. But their perception is that our so called "liberation" is being shoved down their throats. And a year after the initial invasion they feel worse-off than they did before it.

These are very real issues that need to be addressed. You made the point quite well that our lifestyle and form of government are alien and frightening to them. They've been conditioned as such by their culture. To many of these people, they're looking around right now saying: "If this is democracy..... I want no part of it."

I also take great issue with the perception many Americans have that Islam is this horrible, hateful, murderous religion. And that any person who was born in the middle east or is descended from someone who was are automatically the enemy. That kind of head-in-the-sand bigotry is exactly what we're fighting against. For us to perpetrate it here will only exacerbate the problem.

As to your points on Iran..... I gotta tell you, I feel like you're helping me make my point. A much more imminent threat than Iraq, yet ....

Or are you saying that by liberating Iraq, we'll somehow get to Iran? That the power of democracy is such that once we plant the seed it will effortlessly spread through the middle east? I guess that's my question to you: How is getting into the admittedly "weaker and more issolated" country whose people were " less successfully indoctrinated into facism" really supposed to further our cause?

Iran's near-nuclear capability makes me very nervous. I do not take that threat lightly. Even if they only produce 1 nuke and lob it into Israel. What do we do? Our position demands that we do something.... but no matter what we do, half the world will be gunning for us. Fuckin scary.

The thing is... how does our current posture in Iraq point to a cheery future in the region?

You've opined that the invasion of Iraq is a small part of a much larger plan. I say, if this one part was so badly planned and so ignorantly and arrogantly carried-out .... what do they have on tap for us down the road?

As I said in my post, I'm not claiming that Kerry is the answer.

I'm saying what we're doing now isn't working.

I'm saying the "stay the course" rhetoric leads me to infer that they're just going to stick with the plan and forge ahead.

I'm saying the thought-process and decision-making need to be more fluid, more adaptable, more agile.

I'm saying this administration has an abject fear of changing course. As though adaptability is a weakness rather than a strength.

We're there. We're committed. We have to make this work.

A little more patience a year ago would be paying huge dividends right now.

That's all I'm saying.