Friday, November 29, 2002

Invasion Plan

The more I think about it the more it makes sense that the main effort will come through western Iraq. When I thought the main effort would kick off from Kuwait, I was uncomfortable with the drive north to Baghdad. Crossing the Euphrates west of Nasiriyah and then driving north between the Tigris and Euphrates seemed rather plodding. The Iraqis could delay with their flanks relatively secure anchored by the two rivers. The terrain was dotted with urban areas, swamps, and rivers. The Iraqis would have an easy time lobbing chemicals along a pretty obvious invasion route. I even speculated that a heavy division and armored cavalry regiment would attack north going west of the Euphrates in order to keep threatening the flank of any defending Iraqis and keep them looking over their shoulder. Even this made me uncomfortable since I didn't know if we could really supply a thrust that way. And the wadis and rivers and swamps along that route are fairly significant too. Yet my discomfort with a simple drive straight up from Kuwait seemed to demand such a move. Sure, we could probably bulldoze our way through with our technical superiority, but it would lack the ability to really dislocate the Iraqis by surprising them. And although we could march that distance in a week against minimal opposition, the terrain would really slow us down if we are opposed.

All that discomfort disappears with an attack originating in Jordan. At least one heavy division invades from Jordan. Another heavy division either goes with it or attacks north out of Saudi Arabia to link up with the first heavy division in western Iraq before driving on Baghdad. The 101st is airlifted into western Iraq (H-3 may not make that much sense since it is so close to Jordan anyway-just don't know where it will be airlifted into at this point) to create a powerful three-division corps that hammers into Baghdad. This corps could also be in a position to seize dams northwest of Baghdad prior to crossing the Euphrates. And the terrain is nice and clear from Jordan to the Euphrates. No Iraqi troops or big cities to get in the way. One week to Baghdad, more or less. And once the corps crosses the Euphrates west of Baghdad, it threatens to cut off the escape route north to Tikrit.

A major question will be whether the Marines and British coming out of Kuwait then advance all the way to Baghdad after securing Basra. I assume they will to open up a supply line, but since the Iraqis will probably douse that route with whatever chemicals they have, this might not be ideal.

And the Marines are placing their headquarters in Kuwait. I had assumed the Marines would keep command and control afloat until the invasion. I wonder if this is a Marine Scud-me box like all those Army bases in Kuwait? Just another way to absorb Iraq's limited missile arsenal. Also, we are negotiating with the Turks for troops. I have assumed all along that the Turks would help us with a corps. If we are putting a corps way up there, a Turkish corps to keep the Iraqis in the north busy becomes rather more important. And our troops nearby would in turn make it easier for the Turks to invade since they will now have relatively nearby American troops to help them.

As for the inspections, I just don't think they matter. I don't think we are counting on them. I may be completely wrong, but I think the decision to invade has been made and we go when we are ready after Christmas. If it is mid-January and we haven't invaded yet, I start getting worried. If we make it to mid-February, I start getting panicky that we've lost our nerve. But in the meantime, I'm confident we go-December 27th. It will be on the evening news that night.

On to Baghdad.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Perilous Pledge?

Why on Earth is the president’s pledge perilous as this author states? Carpenter, of the Cato Institute, is actually upset that Bush noted that Lithuania’s entry into NATO means that should anybody attack Lithuania it will be an attack on all NATO members.

(Cue visual image: me scratching head with quizzical look on face)

Pardon my naiveté, but isn’t that by definition what a military alliance does for you? Didn’t he simply state the bleeding obvious? How is this shocking? I guess more to the point is how is this perilous for us rather than any fool nation that decides to take on the greatest concentration of military power in history by trying to capture Lithuania? Sounds like any aggressor should take on somebody else given the likely price one would pay to swallow the tiny country.

But no, Carpenter is worried specifically because at any moment the Russians might rouse themselves to revived-super-power-stoked irredentist fury and claim what was once theirs (and which we never recognized) is theirs again! Better for them they should retake Mongolia or Byelorussia. Has Carpenter not noticed that we won the Cold War and that the Russians, now free of communism, have decided that friendship with us is their road to prosperity and security? Are we to keep those red lines on the map that represent the high point of Soviet Russian imperialism and note to everybody within that line that we can’t talk to them because one day the Russians might get nostalgic for empire and want to reclaim them? Isn’t this just a teensy bit too panicky for the actual situation to warrant?

Is Carpenter actually serious?

Really, Carpenter is upset because defending Lithuania is not really militarily feasible; and besides, would we really count this as a “strategically and economically irrelevant” client over which we should risk nuclear war? I can only conclude Carpenter has been on a long sabbatical ever since Russia exploded its first nuclear bomb. We risk war over the security of France for God’s sake and they don’t even like us. And talk about indefensible states, how long were we going to hold most of Norway, Denmark, large chunks of Turkey and Greece, and even West Germany should the Soviets have decided to go west? Indeed, our early strategy for NATO called for us to retreat to the Rhine and hold there—sorry all you guys on the east side, we’re blowing the bridges. And what of West Berlin? Talk about strategically exposed. Yet the Russians knew, even when they had conventional force superiority, that they would risk nuclear war by attacking NATO—even the most strategically exposed portion. To all of these places we pledged our honor and our lives to defend.

Shoot, we would have gone to war, risking nuclear devastation of New York, Washington, and our other great metropolises if the Soviets had nuked Wichita. Wichita is strategically and economically relevant according to whose textbook? We’d risk our whole nation over one city? (Note: of course I’d defend the people there, for those reading too quickly) In the face of NATO conventional superiority that will not be challenged in my lifetime and the threat of nuclear war, a future Moscow would try to seize tiny Lithuania. Honestly, the Cato Institute crowd is perplexing to me. I sure wouldn’t go to war over that strategically and economically irrelevant organization.

Let me just say, that should the Moscow imperial school somehow gain power, they will look for a target a lot easier than any of the Baltic states. Say, a non-NATO state somewhere? As the president said, they’d make an enemy of us. They don’t want that.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Ready to Go

This article says we will be ready to go in mid-December with 75,000 troops. As I’ve said in the past, I’m not comfortable with numbers like this. What does it count? I’ve seen estimates that seem to count every support personnel from every branch which pumps the numbers up and low estimates that clearly only talked about combat units. If we are talking about just the combat divisions, 75,000 represents five large divisions (that includes a Marine division). That is sufficient. Plus throw in the British. Could we start the war with that counting on the supplies in theater already and then, after flying in the combat troops not yet in the Gulf, start the logistics train? Don’t know. I do know we did supply overkill the first time so I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve ratcheted down our supply requirements thus enabling us to start faster.

This is coming faster than most people think. The important thing is whether it is coming faster than Saddam thinks it will. He thinks he has until the 60-day Blix report. I think we are locked and loaded just after the December 8 deadline—mid December is a fine date, and then we pull the trigger two weeks after that. December 27, if I have to commit to a day. Not based on phases of the moon or anything like that. But the work week will be over by the time the bombs start falling and Americans will be home and away from downtown office buildings for two days should any wackos decide to strike then in solidarity with Iraq.

On to Baghdad.

Hate Crimes

Given an earlier mini-rant about the “Stop the Hate” public service announcements that I posted in List of Annoying Things and given my war essay I wrote shortly after September 11, I should post this article about hate crimes against ethnic Arabs and Moslems in our country.

It is a balanced article. It notes that FBI-counted hate crimes against these groups surged last year. Yet it also doesn’t descend into crisis hysteria warning about relocation camps or anything. The article notes the responses of two leaders in the communities saying:

Ibish agreed with Zogby that considering the devastation of Sept. 11, the problem could have been worse.

"This doesn't mean the people of this country acted badly," Ibish said. "It means there's a particular problem facing an exposed and vulnerable community that comes from people who didn't know how to control their emotions."


The article also noted that the president spoke out immediately to head off such crimes and that the crimes tapered off.

I am relieved that the crimes have dwindled. I am saddened that they spike up in the first place (perhaps at the time the Stop the Hate campaign was justified, but by the time it aired I imagine the crimes were dropping off anyway, making the ads seem hysterical to me anyway). I am satisfied that the authorities punish such crimes. I worry that another attack will prompt a new wave of violence. Yet the relatively small numbers are gratifying and speak well of our nation. Contrast our admittedly ugly response with the far worse—and murderous--behavior of Moslems in Nigeria, or those elsewhere who cheered 9-11. And the ability of the cited leaders to make level-headed assessments about the situation without screaming bloody murder is also encouraging. It is a good sign that we can all get through this as Americans.

And it is important in the war on terror too. Only small numbers of Arab-Americans or Moslem-Americans will actively support our enemies. A few will approve their tactics but will not be involved. Many will have some sympathy for their causes while deploring their tactics. Most will be horrified at the violence against us. Most will accept fighting the terrorists is just. Many will actively fight for America. Thus it has been in all our wars with all the many ethnic and religious minorities who have come here only to see their adopted home fight their home of birth—or the home of their parents. Shoot, a whole bunch of people in San Francisco and on college campuses actively oppose fighting terrorism yet we do not draw larger conclusions about their broader ethnic communities.

Essentially, don’t target Arabs and Moslems because of their ethnicity or religion (yet don’t fail to question any who behave suspiciously just because we fear looking mean—I’m still mad at those idiot med school students who decided to talk like terrorists because they didn’t like the looks they were getting in a Georgia restaurant. They harmed their community and our country with their little juvenile game) Don’t make them feel one with the few who fight us. Don’t feed the small amount of sympathy for the enemy that they may have and turn it into full-fledged support for the enemy that overrides every other loyalty they have. I can feel a little of this even in myself. I’m part Irish, yet I think Britain is a good ally. I support them. I think the IRA is wrong to commit terrorism to achieve their goals. Yet don’t push me to embrace British policy on the Irish question. They have treated the Irish fairly poorly and in the past it has been criminal. I would resent having to actively endorse British policy in this case even as I think of their government as a loyal ally. Who knows, maybe I would have contributed to the IRA, not thinking about what was done with the money while trying to ignore the contradictions of supporting the IRA and my own country. And it was my grandparents who came here! I have no idea what county my Irish side came from. The conflicting loyalties that Arab-Americans and Moslems must feel with relatives they still communicate with still in the old world must be terrible. And since we don’t require absolute active loyalty from those of us who were born here (if we did, we’d just fence off Berkeley and electrify the perimeter), don’t do that with our more recent arrivals.

Addendum: After reading this article, which notes that 80% of the anti-Moslem hate crimes took the form of graffiti or threats, I have to take some of the credit away from the Post author. Surely it is worthy to note that however noxious it is, our “hate” takes the form of graffiti and threats left on answering machines; while their hate results in mass murder. What we wouldn’t give for just hate speech directed against us.

Actually, we shouldn’t give a damn thing. Argue with Islamists who hate us—kill those who would hurt us. And break the Islamofascist fantasy of resisting us militarily by taking down Saddam’s thug regime.

Speaking of which, I mentioned a while ago my memory of an incident of the Iran-Iraq War (the real First Gulf War) that shows why I think Saddam is unlikely to do the smart thing and will instead fight (and why nobody will tell him not to fight). The gist of my story was true if not the specifics. From USA Today:

When Iraq's war against Iran was faltering in the early 1980s, Saddam Hussein startled his Cabinet with a seemingly uncharacteristic request. He sought advice, encouraging the assembled ministers to speak freely.

Health Minister Riyadh Ahmed took Saddam at his word and suggested that he temporarily step down to appease the Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. A peace agreement would be secured and Saddam could later return to power. Saddam thanked Ahmed and then ordered his arrest. The minister was sent home to his wife in pieces, the remains stuffed into a black canvas bag.


On to Baghdad.

Oh, and a little help to Nigeria to fight off the thugreocracy movement there would be nice.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Miss World

The Miss World people are actually blaming the press for the Nigeria riots.

Miss World chief Julia Morley blamed the media for the uproar and cited a Nigerian newspaper article that inflamed the nation's Muslim population by suggesting that were he alive, the prophet Mohammed would have wanted to marry one of the beauty queens.


It has nothing to do with the fact that the rioters are a bunch of fanatics who’d butcher their mothers over a view of an ankle.

Yet this situation is so familiar. Where have I heard this before? Then it hit me: The Life of Brian!

Recall this scene?
The sketch:

CROWD OF WOMEN: yelling

JEWISH OFFICIAL: Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath,...

MATTHIAS: Do I say 'yes'?

STONE HELPER #1: Yes.

MATTHIAS: Yes.

OFFICIAL: ...you have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of our Lord, and so, as a blasphemer,...

CROWD: Ooooh!

OFFICIAL: ...you are to be stoned to death.

CROWD: Ahh!

MATTHIAS: Look. I-- I'd had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was, 'That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.'

CROWD: Oooooh!

OFFICIAL: Blasphemy! He's said it again!

CROWD: Yes! Yes, he did! He did!...

OFFICIAL: Did you hear him?!

CROWD: Yes! Yes, we did! We did!...

WOMAN #1: Really!

silence

OFFICIAL: Are there any women here today?

CROWD: No. No. No. No...

OFFICIAL: Very well. By virtue of the authority vested in me--

CULPRIT WOMAN stones MATTHIAS

MATTHIAS: Oww! Lay off! We haven't started yet!

OFFICIAL: Come on! Who threw that? Who threw that stone? Come on.

CROWD: She did! She did! He did! He! He. He. Him. Him. Him. Him. He did.

CULPRIT WOMAN: Sorry. I thought we'd started.

OFFICIAL: Go to the back.

CULPRIT WOMAN: Oh, dear.

OFFICIAL: Always one, isn't there? Now, where were we?

MATTHIAS: Look. I don't think it ought to be blasphemy, just saying 'Jehovah'.

CROWD: Oooh! He said it again! Oooh!...

OFFICIAL: You're only making it worse for yourself!

MATTHIAS: Making it worse?! How could it be worse?! Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

CROWD: Oooooh!...

OFFICIAL: I'm warning you. If you say 'Jehovah' once more--

MRS. A. stones OFFICIAL

Right. Who threw that?

MATTHIAS: laughing

silence

OFFICIAL: Come on. Who threw that?

CROWD: She did! It was her! He! He. Him. Him. Him. Him. Him. Him.

OFFICIAL: Was it you?

MRS. A.: Yes.

OFFICIAL: Right!

MRS. A.: Well, you did say 'Jehovah'.

CROWD: Ah! Ooooh!...

CROWD stones MRS. A.

OFFICIAL: Stop! Stop, will you?! Stop that! Stop it! Now, look! No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle! Do you understand?! Even, and I want to make this absolutely clear, even if they do say 'Jehovah'.

CROWD: Ooooooh!...

CROWD stones OFFICIAL

WOMAN #1: Good shot!

clap clap clap

Yessiree, in the spirit of Monty Python, resisting such barbarism is only making it worse for ourselves.

Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

On to Baghdad.

Iraqi Letter of ‘Acceptance’: Part Deux

The Iraqi follow-up letter setting forth those vague issues of international law that could not possibly supercede UNSC resolution 1441 represent yet more ways that Iraq has not, in fact, accepted 1441. I honestly don’t understand how the press can go on about Iraq’s “acceptance.” They simply did not. And this adds to their failure to accept 1441.

While mostly it just makes me want to slap the authors around for their assault on our common sense, this part, in particular, is enough reason to invade now just to establish that we won’t stand for such drivel (I suspect the French taught them this stuff):


The fourth paragraph in the preamble indicates that Resolution 678 (1990) permitted the member states to use all necessary means to implement Resolution 660 (1990) and the subsequent resolutions in order to establish international peace and security in the region. This reference gives the false impression that the authorization to use force under Resolution 678 still stands. This authorization no longer stands from the legal and practical viewpoints, since Iraq withdrew from Kuwait late February 1991 in full implementation of Resolution 660 (1990). This authorization also became invalid from the legal viewpoint under the provisions of Paragraph (33) of Resolution 687 (1991). This resolution states that ‘once Iraq has officially notified the secretary-general and the Security Council about its acceptance of the aforementioned provisions, an official cease-fire shall come into force between Iraq and Kuwait and the members states cooperating with Kuwait under Resolution 678 (1990).

So get that, United States Third Army’s pursuit of the Iraqi army, with the Air Force bombing them as they went, until Kuwait was freed from Iraqi occupation, actually constituted acceptance of the 1990 resolution according to the letter, “since Iraq withdrew from Kuwait late February 1991 in full implementation of Resolution 660 (1990).”

Wow. Confident that the fine legal minds that drafted that statement will continue their work, I look forward to the December 8 declaration that proves that Iraq has in fact carried forth its obligation to end all weapons of mass destruction programs and all long-range missile work.

On the other hand, knowing that our enemy will interpret everything to fit in with Saddam’s notion of reality gives me confidence that we will go to war and crush the Iraqis. No country this addled in its perception of the world bearing down upon it can possibly resist effectively.

On to Baghdad. And slap Tariq Aziz until his beret goes flying off.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Fairly Odd Parents

Who says TV us bad for kids? On Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy wished for a "redo" button to allow him to undo mistakes. When he was trying to hit some bullies with a water balloon, he missed—repeatedly. He kept hitting the wrong target. Once, as the targets he hit starting getting more outlandish, one of his water balloons struck a Frenchman in the back of his head while he and a Frenchwoman were sipping wine at an outside table in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Both immediately looked alarmed, threw up their hands, and yelled, "We surrender!"

Nice to see our children our getting taught good values.

And I say this knowing that there are significant numbers of Europeans generally, and French in particular, who are not Euro-weenies. For the most part, however, the leaders, journalists, churches, and public voices generally are just anti-American zealots who will rouse themselves to action only to resist a new McDonalds. Any real threat that arises causes them to close their eyes tightly and deny anything is wrong. And then denounce America for prying their eyes open and disturbing their slumber.

Encouraging

At first I was a bit discouraged to learn that Blix was planning to act, well, Blix-like in his inspections. If he was going to waste time inspecting places the Iraqis would like us to inspect, how would that bode well for getting this wrapped up before the year is out? I was worried we would have less international support for invading.

But on a little reflection, this may actually work for us. Given that we probably aren’t expecting too much from Blix anyway, maybe this isn’t so bad. That is, if we are counting on the December 8 deadline to show that Iraq is lying, does it matter whether Blix plans to spin his wheels for years rather than weeks? Indeed, knowing that they will only have to meet Blix standards of inspections, they may be encouraged to hide more and fail to disclose their programs by December 8. If they thought they would have to face effective inspections (which would face a hard time anyway in the face of Iraqi deception) they might disclose more.

But now… we may get our reason for war with time to spare.

And this article notes the dramatic increase in our air strikes in the no fly zones. Blix shields us too, I guess.

Last, Globalsecurity.org’s list of equipment for our heavy brigades shows six brigades worth of equipment already out there from Diego Garcia to Kuwait. The two at Diego Garcia could ship to the Gulf or Red Sea without too much notice at all, I imagine. That’s all we need, folks—two divisions worth of heavy stuff, and it is already there. I think my guess of a month to be ready is too high—although I still think we go just after Christmas. And the carriers still need to gather, of course. Could we be planning a third heavy division? Now that would be a sledgehammer.

On to Baghdad.

Friday, November 22, 2002

First Things First

An Iraqi caught with a bomb in Kabul. The Iraqis pay suicide bombers who kill Israelis. Clearly, Saddam is desperate to bolster those over here who claim that yes, they really are behind the war on terror, but first we must solve the Palestinian problem. Or first we have to rebuild and completely pacify Afghanistan. Or first…something, anything, rather than admit that Iraq is a clear and imminent danger. Since these people argue that Iraq should be dealt with after something else, clearly they see Iraq as a threat—unless they are being less than honest.

Of course, insistence that other things must come first ensures that those second in line (the Tikritis of Iraq, just as an example) have all the motive in the world to make sure those “first” things never get solved. Keep the pots boiling and you are safe. The more basic problem is that it falsely assumes we can’t fight both Iraq and al Qaeda at the same time, while forging ahead to do something on the Israel-Palestine issue. If we can’t fight both Iraq and al Qaeda as some suggest, the correct response—since defeating both is critical to our security—is to expand our military, intelligence, and security forces sufficiently to fight both at the same time. You won’t hear opponents of fighting Iraq “now, at this very moment” making that argument.

A Berkeley gathering actually descends to new lows of public debate on the issue of war against Iraq. This use of children to promote their parents’ anti-war with Iraq ideology is disgusting. They get their children to spout anti-war slogans that they don’t even understand (both parents and children, actually, now that I think about it). So how do you argue against these little children to counter the propaganda? You can’t, of course. The children are innocent human shields for cowardly parents. The children have an excuse for not understanding that very evil people want to kill us—and have in large numbers. Yes, as the sign held by one child says, “War hurts children.” The orphans of dead from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, the Cole, the African embassies, the Beirut Barracks, the Saudi Arabia barracks, the Iraqi anti-Kurdish pogroms and assaults against the Shias of the south, the still-missing 500 kidnapped Kuwaitis who disappeared in 1990, all know that war hurts children. Clearly, it is only when we fight back that the protesters (and I mean the adults, obviously) get upset.

Can they truly look their small children in their eyes and tell them that mommy and daddy are only upset when the children of our enemies suffer? Will they explain that our orphans deserve no sympathy and that we cannot fight to prevent more orphans from suffering? Will they explain that tyranny hurts children, as this article about the hardships that widows of killed Iraqi men have endured trying to provide for their children? Will the Berkeley parents explain that “peace” has led to this and that war is the only way to end it?

Will they explain to little Celia that she “deserves it” when Islamofascists come here to kill mommy? Or her?

Skyler will of course understand should he be maimed and lose a couple limbs if we stand aside, as mom says we should, and terrorists bring bus bombings to California.

Don’t worry little Noah, grown ups wearing BDUs will defend you. Some will even die, leaving their own children without a mom or dad, so your mother and father can safely call them evil baby killers. One has to fight back tears of outrage that small children could be used so cynically.

Truly, it takes a Berkeley village to screw up a child.

On to Baghdad.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Peaceful, Peaceful, Peaceful

Rioting over the Miss World pageant in Nigeria. Yet another of our Western crimes for which we must atone and be punished. Mercifully, the Victoria’s Secret pageant wasn’t held there. (And here I must express confusion over PETA’s protest—and this is said having not seen the pageant—just how much fur could they have been wearing? And I thought celery and Tic Tacs were the extent of their diets. Do they really eat steak?)

Truly, we must fight the Islamists who have taken over the public face of Islam. Saying that the vast majority of Moslems is peaceful does not relieve us of the duty to fight against those who see us as the enemy and who will do their best to harm and kill us. It is mind boggling that dire consequences are predicted when Ashcroft is accused of covering up a statue for a press conference; but when something like the Nigeria riots occurs, it’s all just the wonders of a diverse world culture.

You know, when one of the contestants says her most fervent wish is for world peace, this time I’ll believer her.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Limits

I read this one after I wrote the inspections note below. “Iraq's vice president said Wednesday there would be limits on the U.N. weapons investigation, though the top inspector says Baghdad has agreed to unannounced checks even on Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s "special" sites.”


Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Wednesday that Iraq would fully cooperate with weapons inspectors, but he vowed to prevent them from gathering "intelligence."

"Any demand or question or a manner of work that conforms with the objective of the inspectors who want to verify that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction will be met with full cooperation," Ramadan said in an interview from Baghdad with the private Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

"But for demands which are clearly (meant) for intelligence or for other objectives that have nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction, we will act in such a way so as to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security," he said.

Iraq had raised sovereignty in barring inspectors from Saddam's palaces and other sites in the 1990s.


What kind of limits do the Iraqis have in mind? Here’s hoping the big-knuckled Iraqi guy is getting ready for Blix. He deserves it after this gem: “The question of unannounced checks on sites like Saddam's palaces, an issue that helped derail inspections in the 1990s, "is settled by the resolution. It wasn't even discussed," chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said Wednesday after departing Baghdad at the end of a two-day visit inaugurating a new U.N. oversight program, four years after the last inspections.” Wasn’t even discussed, huh. I guess that’s because the Iraqis have their own ideas about what it means and Blix didn’t want to appear rude by asking them just what they planned on doing. What a piece of work. It is just not possible for Blix to learn from experience, apparently.

Lord, that man will probably get a couple inspectors killed before this one is over. But Blix left Iraq. I hope he has the decency to go back. He probably will. I think he may actually believe the Iraqis will come clean this time. Of course, some have said they will need a year to determine whether Saddam Hussein is complying with his 1991 agreement to surrender all weapons of mass destruction and cease efforts to produce them.

Earth to Blix: he hasn’t and he won’t. And you have until Christmas to figure this out.

Start the War Now

Why don’t we just start the war now? Let’s use the inspections to aid us and not just let them aid the Iraqis. Let the inspectors shield us instead. While Blix is blixing around, and nobody at the UN seems to think there is any problem with the Iraqis shooting at us, let’s ramp up the air strikes. After all, the UN hasn’t repudiated our no fly zones and air strikes despite the lack of UN approval. They can’t very well repudiate us now.

Rumsfeld said we aren’t just going to take it so let’s start seriously taking out their air defenses and command and control facilities. Don’t wait for the Iraqis to fire to retaliate, just start taking their stuff out. Broaden the attacks to the loyal units that may fight for Saddam.

What will the Iraqis do? Kick out the inspectors? Refuse to cooperate? Strike us in some other way? As long as they think Blix will provide them cover to escape war, I bet they’ll just take it.

For a while anyway. And then they’ll do something stupid.

Inspections

The Iraqis say that the inspectors will have unfettered access to all sites. We shall see. I know that the press keeps saying they have agreed to unfettered inspections and the Iraqis publicly say that, but their letter “accepting” unfettered inspections did not say that.

And then there is this article, in which Iraqi presidential advisor Al-Saadi was asked whether Iraq would grant inspectors unfettered access to wherever the inspectors want to go. "Yes," he said, "as stipulated in the resolution and as we have agreed with them."

And as we have agreed with them? What the heck does that mean? To me, it sure sounds like they are saying very clearly that they accepted the UNSC resolution as the Iraqi modified it in their letter of “acceptance.” My guess is the Iraqis are not going to obstruct until they have to. After all, if the first ten sites Blix wants to visit really are harmless, why protest too much. Oh sure, protest and delay, but then let the inspectors in with an air of insulted dignity. But why stop them? Do that when an inspection team is heading straight for the cache of enriched uranium and not until then.

On another point, it is really torquing me off that the UNSC thinks that shooting at our planes is no big deal. Personally, I’d be tempted to tell Blix that it will be no big deal if the Iraqis want to perform a cavity search on him (with a big-knuckled guy) every time he wants to enter an Iraqi building. If we can’t have no-fly zones, neither can he.

On American mobilization, apparently we could mobilize with one day notice to our reservists. We may be set to go with the reservists we have already called up. Perhaps new reservists will only be needed to fill in for departing troops after they go, and for rotating into Iraq after the war is over. Or they could fill in for active duty troops that rotate in.

Our troops are training hard in Kuwait. Keep your eye on the ball…

Why They Fight—And Why We Must

After you read this lovely piece of work, explain to me precisely what policies we must change in order to have peace with al Qaeda and their ilk. What would satisfy our enemies? How exactly was September 11 our fault? How exactly do we read their words and then make excuses that they don’t really mean it?

I mean, really, these guys need some serious medication.

Of course, let me toss in the heartfelt caveat that this should not be a war against Islam as a whole. Failure to at least say that leaves one open to all kinds of accusations of terrible dark motives. Our enemies should be destroyed and defeated. Our enemy is a narrow sub-group of Islam. There is no reason why we can’t be friends with the wider Islamic world, and we have been and are on good terms with most.

These nutcases are our enemy, and they are proud of it. And they aren’t just aluminum-foil-on-their-head nuts—they’re killers too. It is suicidal to ignore that straightforward fact.

From MEMRI:


Al-Qa'ida spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith, originally from Kuwait, recently posted a three-part article titled "In the Shadow of the Lances" on the website of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, http://www.alneda.com/. Following numerous hacking attempts after the international media reported that the site was linked to Al-Qa'ida, its address was changed to http://66.34.191.223/.

Recently, the site published an article by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy and leader of the Egyptian Jihad organization. However, the Saudi London-based Arabic-daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the article had already appeared in the Al-Mujahiddeen publication.[1] The following are excerpts from Abu Gheith's article:

Part I: Why We Fight the U.S."…Perhaps the [Islamic] nation is waiting for one Al-Qa'ida man to come out and clear up the many questions that accompany any communiqué, message, or picture [concerning September 11], to know the truth, the motives, and the goals behind the conflict with the Hubal [one of the pre-Islamic Ka'ba idols - referring to the U.S.] of our generation…"

"Why is the world surprised?! Why were millions of people astounded by what happened to America on September 11? Did the world think that anything else would happen? That something less than this would happen?!"

"What happened to America is something natural, an expected event for a country that uses terror, arrogant policy, and suppression against the nations and the peoples, and imposes a single method, thought, and way of life, as if the people of the entire world are clerks in its government offices and employed by its commercial companies and institutions."

"Anyone who was surprised, and did not expect [the events of September 11] did not [understand] the nature of man, and the effects of oppression and tyranny on man's emotions and feelings. They thought that oppression begets surrender, that repression begets silence, that tyranny only leaves humiliation. Perhaps they also thought that this [oppressive] atmosphere is sufficient to kill man's virility, shatter his will, and uproot his honor. These people erred twice: once when they ignored [the consequences of] treating man with contempt, and again when they were unaware of man's ability to triumph."

"This goes for every man - let alone when the man in question is of those who believe in Allah, in Islam as a religion, and in Muhammad as Prophet and Messenger, and anyone who knows that his religion is unwilling to allow him to be inferior and refuses to allow him to be humiliated."

The Entire Earth Must Be Subjected to Islam"How can [he] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that his nation was created to stand at the center of leadership, at the center of hegemony and rule, at the center of ability and sacrifice? How can [he] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that the [divine] rule is that the entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah - not to the East, not to the West - to no ideology and to no path except for the path of Allah?…"

"As long as this Muslim knows and believes in these facts, he will not - even for a single moment - stop striving to achieve it, even if it costs him his soul… his time, his property, and his son, as it is said, 'Say [to the believers]: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your wives and your kinsfolk and the worth you have acquired and the trade, the dullness of which you apprehend, and the dwellings that you fancy are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah issues His judgment. Allah guides not the disobedient people…'" [2]

Part II: The Blow Against the U.S. Will Come from Where Least Expected

"…The [premises] on which we base ourselves as an organization, and on which we base our operations and our method of action, are practical and realistic… They are also scientific and [in accordance with] Islamic religious law, and they give us confidence and certainty… In writing them and in [publicly] revealing them, I do not intend to be apologetic for what was done; I lay [these arguments] before you so as to emphasize that we are continuing with our blows against the Americans and the Jews, and with attacking them, both people and installations [so as to stress] that what awaits the Americans will not, Allah willing, be less than what has already happened to them. America must prepare itself; it must go on maximum alert; … because, Allah willing, the blow will come from where they least expect it…"

"America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited. This compels the other countries to act in accordance with the same laws in the same ways… and punishes any country [that rebels against these laws] by besieging it, and then by boycotting it. By so doing, [America] seeks to impose on the world a religion that is not Allah's…"

"America, with the collaboration of the Jews, is the leader of corruption and the breakdown [of values], whether moral, ideological, political, or economic corruption. It disseminates abomination and licentiousness among the people via the cheap media and the vile curricula."

"America is the reason for all oppression, injustice, licentiousness, or suppression that is the Muslims' lot. It stands behind all the disasters that were caused and are still being caused to the Muslims; it is immersed in the blood of Muslims and cannot hide this."

"For 50 years in Palestine, the Jews - with the blessing and support of the Americans - carried out abominations of murder, suppression, abuse, and exile… The Jews exiled nearly 5 million Palestinians and killed nearly 260,000. They wounded nearly 180,000, and crippled nearly 160,000."

"Due to the American bombings and siege of Iraq, more than 1,200,000 Muslims were killed in the past decade. Due to the siege, over a million children are killed [annually] - that is 83,333 children on average per month, 2,777 children on average per day. 5,000 Iraqis were killed in one day in the Al-'Amiriya shelter alone. Are these statistics of military installations???!!!!"

"In its war against the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan, America has killed 12,000 Afghan civilians and 350 Arab Jihad fighters, among them women and children. It annihilated entire families from among the Arab Jihad fighters while they were in their cars, when the American Air Force bombed [them] with helicopters and anti-tank missiles, until nothing remained of some of them except scattered body parts."

"In Somalia, America killed 13,000 Somalis and [its soldiers] carried out acts of abomination on [Somali] boys and women."

Muslims Have Suffered from the U.S.'s Standing with Christians"America's standing with the Christians of the world against the Muslims has stripped the camouflage from its face. Much can be said about this regarding the Sudan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kashmir, Macedonia, Bosnia, and other tragedies. America's siege on the Islamic countries as punishment for their rebellion against its laws has transgressed all limits, and Muslims have suffered economic losses that outstrip the imagination."

"After all this, is it forbidden for a victim to escape when he is tied and brought to the slaughterhouse?!! Is he not entitled, while he is being slaughtered, to stamp his feet?!!..."

"After all this, some [Arab regimes] shed crocodile tears for what happened to the country of heresy [America], and tried to exonerate Islam from what happened to [America] and asked the country of heresy to treat the Muslims sensitively and gently, and sent messengers and broadcasters to the Jihad fighters with a request to stop fighting Hubal [i.e. meaning the U.S.]. Do they really think we would do this?!"

"No, by Allah. They [the Arab regimes] have turned their back on us and we have turned our back on them… We would have no honor if we did not avenge the blood of our brothers in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and everywhere."

"… The banner is being waved openly, and now there is 'only a trench of belief' and 'a trench of heresy.'"

Part III: The Islamic Justification for Al-Qa'ida's Jihad Against the U.S."The religious arguments on which we base ourselves in our Jihad against the Americans - the explanations that inspire us with confidence in the triumph of our religion, our belief, and our faith - are many, and this is not the place to enumerate them, as they are included in the books of the sages."

"No one disagrees with these explanations, except he who lives [in] fear … he who asks for shelter, thinking that he has distanced himself from evil … or he who kneels as a doorman before the doors of the tyrants to gain a position, advancement, or a gift!!"

"These people have not, Allah be praised, dissuaded us, not even for a single day, from continuing in our path, from our Jihad, and from our mission. Allah willing, they will not prevent us [in the future]."

"In this article I will present one explanation that suffices [to wage] Jihad against the Americans, the Jews, and anyone who has gone in their path…"

"Allah said, 'He who attacked you, attack him as he attacked you,' and also, 'The reward of evil is a similar evil,' and also, 'When you are punished, punish as you have been punished.'"

"The words of the sages on these verses are clear: Ibn Taimiyya [in his book] Al Ikhtiyarat Wa-Al-Fatawi; Ibn Al-Qayim in I'lam Al-Muqi'in and in Al-Hashiya; Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir, Al-Nawawi in Al-Muhazab; Al-Shukani in Nayl Al-Awtar; and others, may Allah's mercy be upon them."

"Anyone who peruses these sources reaches a single conclusion: The sages have agreed that the reciprocal punishment to which the verses referred is not limited to a specific instance. It is a valid rule for punishments for infidels, for the licentious Muslims, and for the oppressors."

Islamic Law Allows Reciprocation against the U.S."If by religious law it is permitted to punish a Muslim [for the crime he committed] - it is all the more permitted to punish a Harbi infidel [i.e. he who belongs to Dar Al-Harb 'the domain of disbelief'] in the same way he treated the Muslim."

"According to the numbers I noted in the previous section of the lives lost from among the Muslims because of the Americans, directly or indirectly, we still are at the beginning of the way. The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-'Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan."

We Have the Right to Kill 4 Million Americans"We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill 4 million Americans - 2 million of them children - and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons."

"America knows only the language of force. This is the only way to stop it and make it take its hands off the Muslims and their affairs. America does not know the language of dialogue!! Or the language of peaceful coexistence!! America is kept at bay by blood alone…"

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 7, 2002.
[2] Koran 9:24.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Kasi

Twenty thousand Pakistani fans of Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani man executed for bravely murdering two CIA employees (Frank Darling, 28, and Lansing Bennett, 66 ) in 1993 as they sat in their cars, gathered in a stadium in Pakistan to pay their respects and vent their anger at America that we actually killed the bastard. According to the article, ‘"Aimal Kasi was martyred by the imperialist America," said the cleric, Hussain Ahmed Sherodi. "Aimal Kasi's martyrdom has united Muslims against the United States."’ Kasi came over here to kill, yet I guess we made him do it. How could he help himself, eh? And now that we’ve executed him, we’ve committed another outrage. When I read stuff like that, I just feel like paving the Islamic “street.”

In an age when we go after six thugs in a car using a Predator/Hellfire missile combo, couldn’t we have spared a stick of 2000-pound bombs for that stadium?

Just kidding, of course; but we sure would have gotten rid of a lot of al Qaeda sympathizers who will now go off to support our enemies. We’re just not as ruthless as our enemies.

And I do say that with pride and not regret. When we go to stadiums, we have security to protect us from Islamofascists. When they go to stadiums, they have “heavily armed police” to make sure the Islamofascists don’t go on a rampage against other people.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Invasion

We’re getting close to mobilization and open, rapid deployment to the region around Iraq if we are to invade between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There is talk that implies that moving armor for Army and Marine Corps heavy forces from American ports would take a month and is therefore a crucial warning sign. Although I think McCaffrey’s 30-day estimate for getting a substantial mechanized force to the Gulf is a good one, I think that shipping heavy forces from the United States is a red herring. I guess we already have the heavy armor there. We already had a division’s worth of Army equipment in the Gulf prior to this crisis. We’ve shipped heavy equipment for a couple more brigades out of Germany—and they did not go to Norway. And if we haven’t been able to sneak in another brigade’s worth of tanks over the last six months in bits and pieces, I’ll be shocked. We’ll save the airlift for bringing in 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain at the last moment. Or maybe just the latter. The 101st has lots of helicopters so maybe that will need to be shipped in—who knows, maybe it has been shipped overseas already. The equipment could be sitting in ships at Diego Garcia or near Djibouti for all I know.

So everybody, keep watching those American ports for signs that we are getting ready to ship tanks. When we start loading, I bet the invasion starts shortly after they sail—those tanks will be a good hedge in case we encounter serious resistance and need fresh vehicles, but they likely won’t see action in the war.

Whoa, talk about mind-numbingly stupid decisions: Iraqis in Jordan are apparently taking advantage of Saddam’s amnesty to go home. If this attitude of acting on your wishes and hopes rather than your experiences and logic is typical of Iraqis, they are doomed to defeat. Luckily, I don’t think our troops will think they are in for a walk in the park. All the talk about urban warfare and the intense training the troops are getting has likely quelled over-confidence in their abilities—dying numerous times in mock assaults will get that point across. The very fact that our upper leadership is preparing the troops this much is a good sign too. Of course, the bar is pretty high for what is expected of us. All the pundits who warn it won’t be a cakewalk will likely moan and gnash their teeth if it isn’t a cakewalk.

Prepare for the worst but focus on what we will do to them, not the other way around. Truly, the Iraqi military has far more to worry about than we do in a war between us.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Not a Strategy

The desperate effort to stave off our only reasonable hope of disarming Saddam, ending his threat to the region, and breaking the spirit of Islamofascists continues in this column arguing for a lengthy program of bombing combined with inspections. Inspections would destroy programs and material that is found while bombing would destroy what the Iraqis will not destroy or declare.

Wow, this guy should do stand-up comedy. The myriad fallacies and wishes that are required to make this a strategy for the real world are stupefying.

First of all, Leghorn complains that we are in an "all or nothing" mode and that we are not giving any middle ground a chance. Right. As if we haven’t been in a "nothing" strategy for eleven years given the obstruction that Iraq is guilty of. He wants a middle ground. That even in the best of worlds such a policy would fail is merely the most amazing part of this article. The specifics are a hoot. First, he defends his middle ground by listing all the ways that invasion could cause problems. Sure, they are all potential problems, but why not list the problems of his middle course? First of all (and I’m taking these in no particular order of outrage), he says precise air strikes could destroy the facilities without risking his concern that Iraq could be wrecked in an invasion. So, the Iraqis won’t have these facilities located in the middle of civilian targets? They won’t trick us into bombing a senior citizen center with a bio lab in the basement? They won’t simply claim casualties even when none occur? (And we all know the world will believe them even as we take extraordinary care to avoid civilian casualties.) And how long to we keep this up? Won’t this extended bombing trigger resentment in the Arab and Moslem world? Then he says we should expand the no-fly zones and that firing on any aircraft would be a material breach of the UN inspections resolution. But the UN does not recognize our no-fly zones. They don’t think the latest firing constitutes a material breach. Just how are we going to get the UN Security Council to agree to official, expanded zones with a no tolerance of Iraqi anti-aircraft firing? We’ll just sprinkle some pixie dust on the French and voila! Then of course, Leghorn says we will be authorized to conduct recon at any altitude and then pass on the data to the inspectors. Ok, given the Iraqi eagerness to shoot down one of our planes and capture a pilot (they do offer rewards to their anti-aircraft people) we are to believe that they will not shoot. Then, despite prior Iraqi complaints that intelligence people from the West "interfered" with the objective (read that, ineffective) work of the inspectors and disrespected Iraqi sovereignty (read that, actually insisting on visiting likely weapons labs), we are to believe now this cooperation will be just fine with Saddam. Leghorn also says that if air strikes aren’t effective in disarming Iraq, we can always invade. So, I guess invasion isn’t really bad as such, he simply hopes against all evidence that we can actually bomb away their weapons and programs in an indefinite military campaign. Only after we give Saddam time to actually build a nuclear bomb—years? He doesn’t say how long we should do this—we invade. Why is invasion acceptable only after the "street" is sufficiently worked up over our lengthy bombing campaign and when Saddam is better prepared to fight us? Oh, and Saddam would never up the ante and just take the inspectors hostage, arguing they are the ones essentially calling in air strikes.

He concludes: "Unless there is prompt discussion and evaluation of alternative strategies, Iraq's noncompliance by Dec. 8 could trigger invasion and occupation. It would be foolhardy to move so precipitately before trying an approach that could well bring about disarmament in a quicker and more acceptable way."

All I can say to this is that eleven years of letting Saddam get away with murder and obstruction is not moving "precipitately." If he thinks eleven years plus the years in the future he is presumably willing to try, how on earth can he claim this is quicker? As for acceptable, can’t he see that prolonged low-level conflict that never wins inflames Islamist enemies and makes them believe we aren’t serious about fighting? I’d rather spend years trying to mold a friendly, rule-of-law Iraq (democracy may come in time) than spend years bombing a hostile Iraq led by a nutcase who will die happy if he can kill 100,000 of us in one blow. Amazingly, even his best-case outcome leaves a murderous dictator in place, just one without nukes, bugs, and chemicals. That is just fine, apparently. That is just amazing. And he and his ilk have the moral high ground? Even more amazing.

Truly, one would expect such folly from some "peace" group. Even accounting for a former Air Force gentleman’s misplaced faith in bombing, the rest of his article is just a plan for drawn out failure. It’s amazingly ridiculous, in fact.

Invade Iraq. Pull the Band-Aid off fast, that’s my opinion.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Maan: Part 2

The article on the Maan operation notes the key roads going through the city. The article raises the question of why Jordanian armor was used. Well, if convoys of American armor needed to head north without being spotted, having Jordanian armor rolling around a sealed city means that anybody hearing anything will assume it is Jordanian armor deploying. And with the city sealed off, moving past at night means nobody will see us. Given past unrest, it is certainly easily possible that the crackdown is being conducted for the sake of the crackdown, but I still think we are deploying to eastern Jordan to invade Iraq from there.

All the more reason to invade from this direction since Saddam has apparently paid $3.5 billion to Libya to provide a refuge for Saddam’s family in case we invade or his subjects revolt successfully. A major effort out of the west complicates Saddam’s flight plans. If true, this is excellent news. When his subordinates notice he is leaving, telling them to fight on and he’ll "be right back," they will start doing the same to their subordinates. This could be real easy. I’m actually starting to gain some confidence—just a bit—that it really will be easy. If so, thus do we see the payoff of using overwhelming force. Scares the bejeezus out of our enemies. Even if this is just psychological warfare, if Saddam’s subordinates believe Saddam is poised to run, that is good too. Still, speed of violence is still necessary. Iraqis who showed little interest in defending Iranian territory seized in 1980, gained the will to resist when Iran invaded Iraq in 1982. We could see that same spirit if we are too slow to crush them. I doubt it though, since this isn’t 1982 and we aren’t Iranians. You need some confidence you might win to resist and outside the Special Republican Guards and special security/intelligence outfits, loyalty may be hit or miss. Most Republican Guards loyal, and some regular army loyal. The rest desert (with individuals and small groups defecting), stay in the barracks, or defect as units. But once word is out that Saddam and other higher ups are fleeing, kiss that loyalty goodbye.

So let’s see, one heavy division could advance out of eastern Jordan; another heavy division could slip out of Kuwait, be trucked west through Saudi Arabia, and then drive north along a road there into western Iraq to link up with the division out of Jordan (assuming that road north is sufficient to supply it); and fly in the 101st into H-3 after we capture it; then drive on Baghdad with the full corps and cross the Euphrates. Would Saudi Arabia help this way? They say no to aiding us. But we keep saying we’re satisfied with their level of assistance yet don’t say what they are doing. Makes sense they would allow us transit through their country while publicly sucking up to Saddam to avoid a volley of chemical-filled Scuds aimed at them.

Material breach is coming.

NOTE (Posted November 15, 2002): I meant to link to Andrew Sullivan to credit him with the Unabomber reference regarding the Iraqi letter of 'acceptance.' Better late than never...

Friday, November 15, 2002

Too Worried?”

Is Ralph Peters too worried that we will let the war drag out too long? I hope so. I agree that we need to go in big and as fast as possible. He thinks the leaked plans indicate we won’t. I think we will go in hard and fast. I think that Tommy Franks won this debate and that we only want the Iraqis to think we are going in slow and building up. I don’t think we will go for a two-stage attack that goes in on the Afghan model hoping for insurrection but then ships in the big guns just in case. I think we will have our 5-6 divisions (including the British) striking from day one. But we just won’t say so in order to inflate the impact of the invasion. Yes, Rumsfeld does seem to have an unfortunate fighter pilot view of the Army and does seem to want to reduce it. That is a different debate. (And one I hope he loses) But he has the Army now and I think he’ll use it to win this war. This doesn’t mean he won’t try to reduce it (dangerously) in the future, but he won’t ignore it now.

Maybe I’m projecting too much about what I would do, but the fact that the Army seems content with the plan leads me to trust that we will pound them, and not just poke them. To repeat, XVIII Airborne Corps with two heavy divisions and 101st Airborne attack from the west, with Baghdad the ultimate objective. One heavy division at least attacks from Jordan. (Could that road up from Saudi Arabia to the main Jordan-Iraq highway be used for one prong that unites west of Baghdad?) We fly the 101st into western Iraq from wherever we stage it—Egypt? Kuwait? Qatar? The British and Marines attack the Basra region from Kuwait. V Corps in Kuwait spoofs the main effort with maybe an armored cavalry regiment, screening western flank of the Marine-British thrust (and publicly staging the 101st into Kuwait before airlifting it into western Iraq would make V Corps look like the main effort too). And the British and 10th Mountain advance out of Turkey, hopefully with a Turkish corps in support. This isn’t based on too much, just scattered circumstantial evidence and a hunch, but I’m sticking with this scenario. War begins after Christmas. It will be big. It will be fast. And we will win.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Iraq’s ‘capitulation’ is a Farce

I finally read the infamous letter from Iraq a little more closely. Yeah, sure, it's a psychotic episode on paper, but it is in no way an acceptance of unconditional inspections.

Amidst all the press relief that Iraq blinked or capitulated or whatever term is used, please note this paragraph from Iraq’s letter of "acceptance": "So, let the inspectors come to Baghdad to carry out their duties in accordance with the law, and then we will hear and see along with those who want to hear, see and move according to each one's responsibility and rights. The final word and reference will still be resolution No.687 with its obligations on both the Secretary general and Iraq, along will the code of conduct agreed upon in the agreement signed by the Secretary-General in New York on 16th September, 2002, and the press statement of Hans Blix and El Baradei in Vienna in 30/9- 1/10/2002."

Nobody yet has mentioned this, but Iraq has apparently only accepted inspections under UNMOVIC under the ridiculously toothless code of conduct that Iraq agreed to in 1998! By my reading of this letter of acceptance, Iraq is now in violation of the November 8 Security Council resolution for simply failing to agree to unconditional inspections as required. I know we won’t call them on this since we aren’t ready to attack, but can’t somebody mention this? Am I missing something here? How is this "final word" proviso in any way an acceptance of what was demanded?

Call the Iraqis on this latest lie and tell the French and Russians to kiss off if they think they can still stand in our way.

You Think?

The Headline is “U.S., Iraq May Be Nearing Showdown.” This is far superior to the many headlines that initially proclaimed “Iraq Accepts UNSC Resolution.” For one thing, the former has the advantage of being accurate while the latter represents sheer wishful thinking on the part of writers who just think it is wrong to destroy Saddam.

Hidden amongst the nine pages of Iraq’s “accepting the inspections” letter was enough incoherent rage (won’t dignify their response by calling it a rant) to fuel about a hundred Unabomber manifestos. Then there were the “buts” that undermine the whole “they blinked” judgment. The article highlights this section: "Dealing with the inspectors, the government of Iraq will ... take into consideration their way of conduct, the intentions of those who are ill-intentioned among them and their improper approach in showing respect to the people's national dignity, their independence and security, and their country's security, independence, and sovereignty," The Iraqis still don’t get that unconditional inspections means they don’t get conditions. Now we wait for the folly of their 100-page “we don’t got nuthin’” letter detailing the pristine condition of all the baby milk laboratories they have buried under mosques and embedded in mountains.

Personally, I think their conditions in their letter warrant imposing the zero-tolerance standard by which we will judge them. But since we won’t be ready to invade for a little while, we can wait for the declaration outrage due December 8th. Really, I’d be in favor of declaring them in material breach for failing to submit 3 copies (in French and English) with the top copy (only) notarized. But that’s just me. But you know what the best part of their “acceptance” is? The relief the Iraqi people and military must feel right now thinking that the approaching storm of violence that threatened to sweep across their land has been stopped. When we set ourselves to invade, the impending doom will be all the more demoralizing to them and will make our job easier. It is easier to endure hardship when it is constantly endured. Lift it for a while and then reimpose the dread, and that will break morale.

The Green Machine is going to Baghdad. The Iraqi military knows what we did the last time. We can do much worse now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Bin Laden

He may be alive if this tape is to be believed. If so, then at least we will have the satisfaction of killing him still ahead. Does that seem bloodthirsty? Cold? Dismissive of Miranda rights and due process?

He killed 3,000 of us September 11 and more before that. He has declared war on us. I will sleep just fine at night looking forward to his death.

What is most interesting is al Qaeda’s defense of Iraq. Even if this is not bin Laden himself, his minions have thrown in their lot with the Iraqis: “The tape, which Al Jazeera said was an audiocassette, contained a message about four minutes long, shaped as a warning to Western nations not to join any American-led effort against Iraq lest they suffer the kind of scattered attacks that have taken place in recent months.”

This should be most instructive to those who, in their sophistication, have scoffed at the notion that the Islamist bin Laden could ever make common cause with the secular Saddam. Why the very idea sent some into sputtering derision of simpletons who worried Saddam could ally with al Qaeda or other anti-American thugs. Linking Iraq with the war on terror was criminally stupid, they said. They declared bin Laden was a threat to Saddam, if anything. Amazingly, they did this scoffing even as they complained that we supported Islamists in Afghanistan when they fought the Soviets. Maybe they think 1980s America had lots in common with the Islamists of the day.

This tape at least puts these sophisticated but completely wrong pundits on notice that yes, hatred of America really can smooth over those differences. I can just hear Mullah Omar imploring his followers, “Can’t we all just get along and kill Americans?” As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Al Qaeda has clearly thrown in its lot with Iraq and so yet another argument against invading Iraq slides away into oblivion.

On to Baghdad.

And let’s see if we can put a Predator on bin Laden’s trail.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Atropine

Actually, upon thinking about it a little more, I believe the Iraqi attempt to buy 1.25 million atropine injectors was pure theater designed to frighten us. These are not inoculations after all. They are designed to be injected when you are exposed to nerve agents. Indeed, if I recall my Army training, they are downright dangerous if you inject them when you aren’t exposed. So, why would Iraq need them to gas us? If they use persistent agents against our rear areas or against choke points to impede our advance, they won’t be going in there. If they use non-persistent gas against our troops, they would need to anticipate counter-attacking and driving us back for it to make sense that they would need antidotes. I suppose they might believe we would retaliate using our own gas. We won’t but they might believe it. But if so, they have enough experience buying military supplies from around the world under embargo. They know that buying smaller amounts from widely separated sources would more likely go undetected. One big order was designed to be noticed. It was designed to scare us off. Saddam may still plan to hit us with gas, but this attempted purchase was not part of that plan. It was bluster to break the will of what he thinks is a weak America.

It won’t work. Saddam is a dead man walking; and anyone obeying his orders to use gas against us will pay a heavy price either during or after the war.

On to Baghdad.

Preparing to Douse Us

The Iraqis are trying to buy tremendous amounts of nerve gas antidotes and other chemical antidotes. They either expect lots of heart attacks soon (and are willing to use higher doses in a military-style auto-injection mode that is not appropriate for heart attack use), hope to scare us into inaction, or intend to fire lots of nerve gas at us if they get the chance. I suppose they could fear we might use the stuff but let’s get serious. We aren’t about to use chemical weapons. Not a chance. Nope, they will order the use of weapons that Scott Ritter claims they don’t have in an effort to escape the war crimes trials and the wrath of Shias and Kurds (and a lot of non-Tikrit Sunnis too I imagine). With the massive American invasion coming, a lot of trigger pullers won’t be too eager to comply.

And the North Koreans sent the remains of someone not the kidnap victim the North claims died long ago. Jut how many did the North Koreans kidnap? Just how tough is it to keep track of them? Really, how awful are they to try this? Or is it just backwardness in not realizing that ashes can be analyzed? I even read (sorry, no link) that the Japanese may eagerly cooperate on missile defenses and some worry they could go nuclear if this type of threat keeps up. Before we decide how we deal with this member of the Axis of Evil, can we finally at long last agree they are evil? Is it really so tough to admit that?

And finally, Iranian students are protesting against the thugreocracy that has put Iran on our list. Let us not be silent as they struggle to overthrow the regime. And they will. And they will appreciate our support when they finally win. We have support there, people, let’s show them we’re on their side. Publicly proclaim the justice of their cause and be prepared to help them when the crackdown comes. They’re not our puppets and we don’t even need them to be.

Quite the day of developments for the Axis of Evil. Little in common but their basic evil. But we must deal with all of them. We should count our blessings that they are not an organized alliance instead of mocking the “axis” part. It’s a rhetorical device, people—don’t take it so literally or assume our government does. Fortune appears to be with us on all of them, however. We may get regime change in two out of three and then the last holdout will feel the pressure. And with nobody else to really occupy our military’s attention, the North will not feel it has freedom to try a military solution.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Jordanian Crackdown

The Jordanians are cracking down like they are going to be the main supply route for the invasion—or at least that’s how this Reuters article could be interpreted: "Three people were killed and scores injured in clashes in the southern Jordanian city of Maan after a major security sweep to round up Islamist activists ahead of a possible war in Iraq, witnesses and officials said.

Witnesses said heavy gunfire broke out at dawn between hundreds of masked armed youths and police after security forces stormed the city, allegedly to search for Muslim militants linked to the killing of a U.S. diplomat two weeks ago."

That’s quite a heavy operation. Note it is on a major road leading north from the Gulf of Aqaba. Although we obviously wouldn’t want Islamists disrupting our supply lines, I’m obviously interpreting this in light of my recent conversion to an alternate invasion scenario. I could be completely wrong. Hey, my guess about the first war with Iraq in 1991 wasn’t exactly sterling. I could be just as wrong. Still, I’m sticking with this latest theory of a corps invading Iraq from the west as the main effort.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Invasion Plans

The Washington Post says we’re going in big. Good. I’ve heard more than enough about some magical "bold" plan that somehow wins with a corporal’s guard worth of troops. Go in big and the Iraqis may surrender and defect. Go in small and they may think they can win—because they don’t know if we can defeat them and God help them from Saddam’s vengeance if we don’t. That’s not the kind of wager an Iraqi will take these days. Make it easy for them to defect—go in big. I’m glad Franks stuck to his guns.

We’re supposed to go in from the north with the 101st and a British airmobile outfit. I still think I’d rather have the 10th Mountain up there (even though I know it is not really a mountain outfit—just light infantry) and have the airmobile stuff for crossing the Euphrates River. Keep the Brits up there and you still have three brigades of infantry.

In the south the Marines and British armor secure the Basra region, as I’ve speculated. The British give a good heavy armor component to bolster the Marines as the Army provided in 1991, and save the Army heavy stuff for the main effort.

The report also explicitly says we will occupy western Iraq. It does not say with what strength and since the article doesn’t even mention where the core of two heavy divisions goes, I really believe western Iraq is where they are going. I’d put 101st Airborne here too.

In addition, there will be no prolonged air campaign before the ground war starts. This too is expected. Go in fast with what we’ve got and airlift in the rest. If the Iraqis revolt, great; if not, the first wave prepares for the reinforcements to drive on Baghdad. Hmm. Could be a ploy to lull the Iraqis into thinking they have more time. I’d rather lunge for the Euphrates and Baghdad going right up that Jordan-Iraq highway. But then again, my weakness is knowing what the logistics can handle. (shoot, I underestimated what we could do in 1991, maybe I’m just overcompensating now) the way the northern and southern prongs are described in more political terms (keeping the Shiites quiet and protecting the Kurds/keeping them quiet with US troops in the area), bolsters my belief that the main effort is out of Jordan. Insiders do say the plan is innovative. Still, I’ve always read that the Iraqi intelligence services are very active in Jordan. Could we pull this off in secret? Do we have the Iraqis rolled up/compromised?

Still, a big force is a comfort to me. I’m a big believer in crushing your enemy with overwhelming force. Never, ever let your enemy think they can win.

We’ll be in Baghdad soon. All the pundits who say we still need two or three months to get enough in place have been saying that for months now without lowering their time estimates. I think we will be able to go much faster than anybody thinks. Just after Christmas, if I have to call it.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Jordan Springboard

And what about deploying V Corps headquarters to Kuwait? That puzzled me, though the relief that a heavy force would invade distracted me. Why use V Corps to command 3rd Infantry and 101st Airborne, which are already under XVIII Airborne Corps? Why use a corps headquarters unfamiliar with the troops or region? Why? To be Patton’s phantom army in 1944 sitting across from the densest German defenses at the narrowest point in the English Channel. The Germans thought it was real and when the real invasion started at Normandy they thought it was a diversion.

Give V Corps an armored cavalry regiment to simulate the leading edge of the invasion force and lots of sloppily emitting radio sets. With the Brits and Marines driving for Basra and the Euphrates, “V Corps” drives north to their west.

In the meantime, XVIII Corps with two heavy divisions advances in from Jordan with the Air Force flying in the 101st Division into H-3. Perhaps we’ll seize it with Rangers or a parachute brigade before the armor even gets there.

Man, there are so many shipments of equipment going to and fro that it could be taking place. Who knows where any of that stuff is going? We assume it is to Kuwait. And then, carriers in the Med. will be close to the action too. Carriers in the Arabian Sea can go to the Red Sea and avoid the Gulf completely. We won’t have to worry about the Iranians getting loopy. Is that why it leaked that we are pressuring Iran to let us use their air space?

I could be completely off. There are so many plans out there that could be used that the Iraqis must be spinning. Shoot, maybe we are going in small-corps strength from Jordan and Kuwait. That’s possible, too.

If I had to bet at this exact moment, I’d say Jordan. I may change my mind in a week or month. But after thinking Kuwait would be the jump-off point for the main effort for so long, it is remarkably easy for me to switch to this theory. We might get decisive victory and low cost yet. Tommy Franks, you may well surpass Inchon in the annals of military maneuvers.

License to Kill

The Security Council just passed the Iraq resolution unanimously. Given that we would go to war without a resolution, I think it is better to have a unanimous sufficient resolution than a harsh 9-6 resolution (or have it vetoed).

Am I worried that we’ve been snookered by the wily French?

Nope.

First of all, it requires you to believe we are, in fact, “simplisme,” in contrast to their canny ability to slip in a “no war” clause. Second, it requires you to accept that we are operating in the legal process fetishist mode like the French do. We do not. We were, and are, quite willing to destroy Saddam’s regime alone if we have to. On the unlikely case we were snookered into accepting some French killer clause, our will to act will trump their will to negotiate. We will deplore their duplicity, regret their failure to operate in good faith and negotiate, and then invade Iraq because their failure to cooperate threatens the very integrity of the UN.

But it seems, according to the press, perfectly fine. It says they are in material breach and although it says we will go back to the UN to consult, it does not say we cannot act until the UN decides what to do. I suspect we already have damning evidence in hand and will set it forth at the proper time. Too much military hardware and people are moving toward Iraq to be just a precautionary move in case we invade. Once we mobilize reservists, that will be the point of no return and once we pass it we will race to be ready for war. Not that I don’t think the publicly available information isn’t already enough reason for war, but given that so many have staked their opposition on the “his brutality and obsession with weapons of mass destruction are old news” defense, new material will seal the end of effective anti-war opposition.

On the war, could all that activity in Kuwait be disguising a major thrust in corps strength from Jordan? Could the Marines and British invade from Kuwait to secure the south in a distracting move while the big guns come from Jordan? Israeli anti-missile systems plus our own would protect our rear, and Saddam could find his Scuds dropping on empty desert camps in Kuwait if he figured his big play for victory would be to dump chemicals on our troops in their jump-off points. [and we are building up stocks in Israel, to support the war. But why in Israel? Why not in Diego Garcia?] With all the trade that goes on the major highway from Jordan to Baghdad, that route should work. Jordanian port plus a nice road from the Gulf through Saudi Arabia for supply lines too. Overruns the missile launching bases right off the bat. I assumed the special forces were in western Iraq to search for missiles; why couldn’t they be there to prep the invasion route? Yikes, that big air raid on H-3 is looking far more significant. And it cuts off escape routes to Syria! You know, even though I thought the main effort would go through Kuwait with a secondary effort from Turkey and special operations out of Jordan, couldn’t we have the main effort from Jordan with secondary operations out of Kuwait and Turkey? Marines and British out of Kuwait. Two heavy divisions and air assault division out of Jordan. And a Turkish corps plus a mountain division out of Turkey. This is all map stuff of course, I don’t know if the logistics are possible; but given the heavy traffic on that Jordan-Iraq highway, it surely must be feasible. Hmm. Talk about hiding what we are doing in plain sight! Some deployments to Jordan and Israel done quietly; supplies into Kuwait that pass through in a trip through Saudi Arabia to Jordan. Nice public deployment into Kuwait of the British and Marines. That would be imaginative, that’s for sure.

My word, for the moment I’ve convinced myself that this is the plan. Must review data with this scenario in mind.

This could be freaking brilliant.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Election

The election seems to have had good effects on two fronts. One, the military is convinced war is coming and not a contingency. This from the apparent endorsement of the president and his foreign policy—read Iraq—that indicates that the American people—that vital leg of the Clausewitzian trinity—are behind the war effort. Get the “i’s” dotted and the “t’s” crossed and support will follow.

Second, the international community knows we are serious and despite Streisand press releases and Woody Harrelson tirades, the American people back war. We will get our Security Council Resolution. Perhaps the French thought that Alec Baldwin and all the others who fawn over Europe’s “wisdom” would prevail on Tuesday and derail those mad Americans. They probably thought all they had to do was hold on until after the elections. Instead, Americans clearly, if narrowly, backed the president. The UN will now vote.

For me that is the most important part of the election. Destroying our enemies cannot stop with the crippling of al Qaeda. We must smash Iraq, too, and continue the war on terror. It may be costly, it may be lengthy. But it is necessary. We don’t know what will happen when we launch our war, but we do know what happens when we sit back and let our enemies prepare. They pursue nuclear weapons. They seek chemical and biological weapons. They fly our planes into our buildings and kill our people.

The pieces fall into place and our military readies itself to fight. Soon, the quiet deployments will gather in pace until we cannot disguise the fact that we are preparing for war. Then we will openly mobilize our reserves for the war. The inspections process will give us cover as we wait for Iraq to tell us about their illegal programs. When that farce ends, we will attack. Just after Christmas.

Will the Iraqis launch a pre-emptive strike? With chemicals? Maybe. But then we will have all the international support we need. Many say Saddam is a gambler who may take such a risk. I guess he won’t. Look at his gambles. He invaded Iran, yet sought a limited border change. He didn’t pursue regime change by aiming for Tehran. He didn’t go for the whole enchilada. Similarly, in 1990, he stopped at the Kuwait-Saudi border leaving those ports and airfields for us to use. A real gambler would have struck south immediately after grabbing Kuwait. If Saddam does gamble this time, he will hold back enough force to face any counter-attack. Just like he quickly went over onto the defensive in 1980 and 1990 when he failed to induce his enemies to accept his limited conquests. So, he may strike us with forces insufficient to really stop us—just enrage us and give us the excuse many nations need to back us. The second part of his miscalculation will be that what he has husbanded will be sufficient to win on the defensive. The Iranians bled him white over nearly eight years; and we smashed him in six weeks. We will smash him again. This time for good.

God bless our troops and sustain them in this fight. The imminence of war makes the prospect of their death and injury sobering and even depressing. This feeling has been building for weeks now as I have concluded that war is coming without a doubt. Yet we have no choice if we are to hope to control our future and not hope for the best and the good will of thugs and murderers. I hope the price we pay will not be too great. I’m pretty darn sure the price goes up next year or the year after, however.

On to Baghdad.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Out of Area

It is good to see that NATO is evolving to operate out of area on short notice. As others have noted, the Cold War largely disguised the fact that European nations no longer were powers with real global power (other than the British, that is). The continent’s role during the Cold War was to be a huge tough immovable block of concrete that the Soviets could not shove into the English Channel. The fact that this very local responsibility had global consequences hid the lack of real global power. The inability of the Europeans to mount an invasion of modest proportions in the Balkans in 1999 and their equally embarrassing lack of air power, finally laid bare this truth. Keeping NATO relevant has been the post-Cold War era dilemma. During that age it never did get a real answer. Now, in the new post-post-Cold War world, the Age of Terror, NATO has a reason to exist.

America is giving them the reason. On the heels of the obviously out-of-reach European goal of creating an entire corps capable of deploying out of area independent of NATO and America, the Europeans are embracing a more modest American proposal that a 21,000-strong force be capable of moving out of area in a week’s notice. Apparently, even the Europeans can see that defending themselves can no longer take the form of being a massive concrete block. The Red Army is not coming. Suicidal maniacs who hatch their plans in distant backwaters and then fly in on economy class do threaten them. The only option to defend Europe in this case is to have a small concrete block that you can carry around the globe and then drop on the heads of the offending party.

This is a welcome change. First of all, it allows Europe to actually help us with new power instead of just substituting for our troops. Now, since we have to carry them and supply them, the Europeans are more window dressing. Don’t get me wrong, their help even under these circumstances is welcome and useful, but it is a far cry from having allies who transport and feed themselves, in addition to fighting. Second, this modest force may decrease the urge to appease. If European weeniness is indeed a rational product of their inability to do anything militarily, perhaps some muscle may get them to think more like us when threats arise. If they have the choice of being very, very quiet so that nobody notices them (and attacks) or actually stomping on somebody that issues a threat, maybe, perchance, the Europeans will say, “Hey, we can kill them.” In an age when such threats do not usually require large forces to defeat, and when America is still here when they do, Europeans unwilling to actually pay for defense can still buy a military that can fight and win. Allowing countries to contribute niche capabilities will make this even more appealing and affordable when Europe can avoid duplicating capabilities across all the NATO members. Third, by embracing a small power projection force, within NATO, Europe will abdicate some ridiculous pretensions that they could become a rival military power to “balance” America. That notion was so insulting (as well as being practically silly; are they really saying that they would fight us when they can’t seem to muster moral outrage and martial ardor against actual thugs?) that it will be nice to see it die. And with niche capabilities, the need for consensus before the force can deploy will mean America will continue to lead NATO. Unless we pull them along, will the Europeans actually muster the agreement to fight alone outside of NATO? When one or two nations who pull their unique capabilities will leave a gaping hole in the force if they disagree with the goal of the war? That is one weakness of the force. Although it may be capable technically of going in a week, will the Europeans all sign on in that amount of time? Still, having a force able to go within a week of getting a “go” order is useful even if it takes months to get the order.

Our allies might start acting like real allies. It would be nice if I could go back to thinking of them as friends as I once did.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Crisis

I must confess that I though that President Clinton’s naming of AIDS as a national security threat seemed overblown to me at the time. I thought, yes, it is a serious global health problem, but come on, national security? It seemed a lip-biting moment. I stand corrected and big time. Foreign Affairs has a scary story. Here’s the FA summary:

SUMMARY
In the decades ahead, the center of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic is set to shift from Africa to Eurasia. The death toll in that region's three pivotal countries--Russia, India, and China--could be staggering. This will assuredly be a humanitarian tragedy, but it will be much more than that. The disease will alter the economic potential of the region's major states and the global balance of power. Moscow, New Delhi, and Beijing could take steps to mitigate the disaster--but so far they have not.

The idea that nuclear-armed powers jammed up against each other with a lot of hostility and jealousy to make that short missile flight time seem really worrying, is horrifying. And with weaker neighbors who might take the brunt of a foreign adventure to distract from internal rot, the consequences are truly staggering.

Combating AIDS should rank right up with securing weapons grade nuclear material and Russia’s large nuclear warhead stockpile. God help us if this plague inspires some nuts to argue it is God’s judgment that they suffer; and only conquest and killing their enemies can erase the sin and prove their worth.

Have I mentioned lately that the French make me sick? No? I’m overdue. No particular article to cite, but I’ve been reading plenty lately about the French desire to thwart our invasion of Iraq, their own unilateral moves in the EU and in Africa, and their disgusting defense of Saddam’s vicious regime. I hope that in the next state of the union address, the President names France as part of an “Axis of Truly Bitchy Countries that Think They Matter.” We will then embark on a policy of Regime Ignore, paying them no heed on any policy from missile defense to Truffle Blight. But hey, cooperating with brutal dictators isn’t exactly a shocking new capability for the French. I’m sure French advisors are even now preparing how to guides for the Iraqi Baath Party thugs so they can prove they were with the Iraqi resistance once we overthrow the Saddam regime.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

The Protest

From a link on National Review Online, a thoroughly fascinating account of the anti-war protest recently held. I know I risk being called sundry awful things for noting this, but good old fashioned Stalinists organized the rally. And this from LA Weekly, an alternative paper. Here’s part of it:

[T]he demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s "socialist system," which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea "from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world." The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, "Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.


Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.

The IAC, another WWP offshoot, was a key partner with ANSWER in promoting the protest. It was founded by Ramsey Clark, attorney general for President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. For years, Clark has been on a bizarre political odyssey, much of the time in sync with the Workers World Party. As an attorney, he has represented Lyndon LaRouche, the leader of a political cult. He has defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who was accused of participating in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Clark is also a member of the International Committee To Defend Slobodan Milosevic. The international war-crimes tribunal, he explains, "is war by other means" — that is, a tool of the West to crush those who stand in the way of U.S. imperialism, like Milosevic. A critic of the ongoing sanctions against Iraq, Clark has appeared on talking-head shows and refused to concede any wrongdoing on Saddam’s part. There is no reason to send weapons inspectors to Iraq, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: "After 12 years of brutalization with sanctions and bombing they’d like to be a country again. They’d like to have sovereignty again. They’d like to be left alone."

It is not redbaiting to note the WWP’s not-too-hidden hand in the nascent anti-war movement. It explains the tone and message of Saturday’s rally. Take the question of inspections. According to Workers World, at a party conference in September, Sara Flounders, a WWP activist, reported war opponents were using the slogan "inspections, not war." Flounders, the paper says, "pointed out that ‘inspections ARE war’ in another form," and that she had "prepared party activists to struggle within the movement on this question." Translation: The WWP would do whatever it could to smother the "inspections, not war" cry. Inspections-before-invasion is an effective argument against the dash to war. But it conflicts with WWP support for opponents of U.S. imperialism. At the Washington event, the WWP succeeded in blocking out that line — while promoting anti-war messages more simpatico with its dogma."

But hey, it’s pretty fascist of me to note who is organizing the anti-war movement. Right?

NOTE to world of the far left newcomers: Whenever you see some organization that is fighting to end something and it tosses in "and racism," you can be pretty sure it is Marxist. "End Oppression and Racism Now," End Right on Red and Racism Action Coalition," etc.