« Pete Hoekstra and a new Snow Job. | Main | La Rendicion de Breda »

25 August 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Patrick Henry


You said alot..with very few Words..

I like this One..!!


Col. Lang,

I think you over estimate the importance of "Twelver Shiism" to Shia's in regards to the Iraqis and Lebanese. A nationalist movement centered around a religious or secterian group is still a nationalist doctrine whether Shia or Sunni, or for that matter, Muslim, Christian or Jewsish. The Arab world and the Shia populous has no widespread desire or longing for a clerical theocracy such as Irans.


Apologies for posting again so soon. I have just enlarged the image and read the contents after posting.

I know that what is written is written to mock the beliefs of Al-Qaeda, but nonetheless, so you are aware, I, as a relatively western, liberal and moderate Muslim find it very abusive.


"Al Qaeda made a conscious, tactical decision to do battle with the United States in Iraq and we have responded and fought them there. We need to fight them there because if we don‘t fight them there, we are going to fight them here at home."

(Van Taylor, Iraq War Veteran and Republican candidate for House of Representatives, TX-17)Aug. 23, 2006

We'll find out in November if this egregious crapola, as you so aptly call it, still sells.

Jon T.

What I like the most is people who have never served in the danger zone calling others non patriotic who have actually carried a weapon and fought in an American war. It's so transparent I don't get why more Americans do not see the manipulation. Lazy, greedy, too busy being important, delivering the kids to soccer and ballet, not paying attention, drunk, stoned, don't care, self righteous, chosen by God, City on the Hill? What? If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. When attentive, then decide how to handle the anger.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I am not sure why you say "Sorry Babak".

Will you please explain?


Another "Drink Me" myth debunked. Your insights are a refreshing antidote to WH spew & spin. Thanks again.

Byron Raum

I must disagree with you somewhat, Colonel. But the disagreement is only on the surface:

We are indeed "fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them over here." After the obvious wonderment and sense of destiny bin Laden and al-Qaeda must have felt after our invasion of Iraq, they settled down to a plan of action. Given what a perfect way it was for them to train their students in urban guerilla warfare, they have absolutely no incentive to attack Peoria.

I recall a NYC subway attack that was called off. Cheney's speculation was that this was because it would not kill considerably more people than 9/11. Rather, I would speculate that it was because they saw no reason to introduce a random element into the situation. When things are going your way, you don't fiddle with parameters.

So, yes...we are fighting them over there so that we don't fight them over here. For now. But that isn't because of our choice. It's theirs.



PL, you forgot Mehlman's label du jour - Defeatocrats!

And Khalilzad has a twofer - in addition to the "freedom" in Iraq he has mid-wifed, his earlier "freedom" project in Afghanistan now with a resurgent Taliban in the liberated land of democracy where an organized crime boss is the recent Kabul police chief and a third of the Afghan GDP is the narcotics trade. Afghanistan under the tutelage of the Decider is the world's largest producer of opium and supplies 87% of the world's illegal heroin. Freedom is going swimmingly for the Afghans.

After months of widespread frustration in Afghanistan over corruption, the economy and a lack of justice and security, doubts about President Hamid Karzai have led to a crisis of confidence in the country.

Interviews with ordinary Afghans, foreign diplomats and Afghan officials make clear that the expanding Taliban insurgency in the south represents the most serious challenge yet to Karzai's presidency.

The insurgency has precipitated an eruption of doubts about Karzai, widely viewed as having failed to attend to a range of problems that have left Afghans asking what the government is doing.

Corruption is so widespread, the government apparently so lethargic, and the divide between rich and poor so great, that Karzai is losing public support, warn officials like Ahmad Fahim Hakim, vice chairman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

"Nothing that he promised has materialized," Hakim said, echoing the comments of diplomats and others in Kabul, the capital. "Beneath the surface it is boiling."

W. Patrick Lang


The mockery is directed at the neocons who are misrepresenting my culture.


I don't want you to think that I am judging as to whom should lead in Islam. PL



"Fight them there or fight them here" and "stay or cut and run" are simplistic dogmatic slogans which probably reflect President Bush's limited black/white world view. It was a shock when I begin to realize that these same slogans were the WH "policy" for winning the Iraqi war. It takes one's breath away with it's simplistic stupidity. It must be incredibly frustrating to be on the JCS and deal with the WH.

Just my two cents,



In reply to Byron Raum: if we had concentrated on cleaning up Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan, then, we would be facing virtually no Shia or Sunni terrorism. Nor a resurgent Iran. Al Qaeda would have had no home. There would be no domestic opposition to war in any Western country because there would be no war. There would be no masses of people in the Muslim world angry with the US because there would be no war to be angry over. And instead of the Iraq adventure, we should have been making the Middle East even quieter by moving along Palestinian statehood. We'd have had the horsepower left over to tackle North Korea as well.


Tony Zinni was called a traitor and an anti Semite by the same crowd. That sickens me in the deepest part of my soul. Thank you Col. Lang for telling it the way that only you can.


I do not think that the 'we fight them there so we don't have to fight them here' really convinces me. If Afghanistan is any indication, once Iraq is 'off the radar', be it because the US left willingly or in defeat, there will in any case be a motivated and well trained cadre of people who will fight us then, here. Here, meaning the West. Till then the US give them realistic on-the-job-training.

There is no gain in fighting them there. Because attrittion cannot work against self-radicalising enemies, it merely delays the inevitable here, and will make the enemies facing us 'then' more fanatised, and far better and up-to-date trained than they would have been three years ago.
A low key approach sans invasion of Iraq, would have served us all so much better. This 'fighting them there' only agravates the problem, but 'strategic offensive' has the appeal of sounding and feeling so good and grand. You can fight terrorists without invading countries. The folly of the neocons is that they believe that regime-change can change the minds of peoples to conform with their views. They also do not understand the value of strategic self-restraint. 'Just defending myself' gives a degree of legitimacy that pre-emption will never grant.

I think to choose the latter path and go determined down that road requires far more guts, patience, and more patience, nerves and courage than to howl for heads to roll, and regimes to be changed and the Middle East to be transformed. You never know, maybe restraint, sticking to Afghanistan, would have led to Osama getting caught. As far as prestige is concerned, and that counts a lot, his head on a spike would have served the US image of being a potent and powerful nation better than the war that is dragging on in Iraq now.
The US are now in Iraq longer than they've been in WWII. This is because the Nazis were total pussies. Talk about a convincing display of strength.

James Pratt

The neocons seem to think that the only relevant facts in the world are American money and guns. Lyndon Johnson felt the same way, at least till the New Hampshire primary in 1968.
Another government boondoggle based on false pretenses at the American taxpayer's and fighting man's expense.
Bush wants to turn Iraq into another Okinawa, with troops there until most of the oil reserves have been pumped. It will take three more elections probably to convince the RNC and DLC otherwise.


Just came across this. It seems appropriate somehow:

"The situation in Lebanon is difficult, frustrating and dangerous. But this is no reason to turn out backs on friends and to cut and run. If we do, we'll be sending one signal to terrorists everywhere."

Ronald Reagan, February 3, 1984, a few days before US forces pulled out of the country.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

There was a long essay by Matthew Arnold on Shia Islam in which he pointed out that it is only in Shia Islam that one can find delicacy of feeling and softness.

Furthermore, over the last 600 years, Muslim Philosophy has only survived as a living tradition among the Shia Scholars.

More recently, I think, that the Shia Doctrine of Ijtihad & the amalgamtion of the principles of Republicanism and the principles of Islam are two more outstanding contributions of the Shia thinkers to Islam.

Babak Makkinejad

I have met an intelligent middle-class person who stated to me that "we fight them over there so that ..." in a Blue state.

I just do not know how many think like him.


By the way, the "fight them over there.." slogan is every bit as crazy as the current apologists' comparison of Iraq to WWII and the subsequent occupation of Germany and Japan - which sadly is not uncommon among that crowd. Heck, I live in Detroit, I guess it's simply an absolute miracle that I'm safe in Dearborn or Hamtramck or that I can eat at my favorite Lebanese restaurant. Maybe I should tell that to my Chaldean friends who own our local neighborhood store.



President Ronald Reagan called the attack a "despicable act" and pledged to keep a military force in Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said there would be no change in the U.S.'s Lebanon policy. On October 24 French President François Mitterrand visited the French bomb site. It was not an official visit, and he only stayed for a few hours, but he did declare: "We will stay." U.S. Vice President George Bush toured the marine bombing site on October 26 and said the U.S. "would not be cowed by terrorists."

In retaliation for the attacks, France launched an air strike in the Beqaa Valley against Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions. President Reagan assembled his national security team and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iranian Revolutionary Guards believed to be training Hezbollah fighters. But Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger aborted the mission, reportedly because of his concerns that it would harm U.S. relations with other Arab nations.

Besides a few shellings, there was no serious retaliation for the Beirut bombing from the Americans. In December 1983, U.S. aircraft attacked Syrian targets in Lebanon, but this was in response to Syrian missile attacks on planes, not the barracks bombing.


Although the casualties at the USMC barraks were substantially higher, this is not to downplay the previous bombing of our embassy.


you know full well, that without the sacrifice of brave men, like Col. Lang, all Americans today would speak Chinese. Had he not helped to fend off the Red Hordes in Vietnam, they would have landed in San Diego. Fighting them there ...

And you know equally well, that had America withdrawn from Vietnam, all of Asia inevitably would have fallen into Red Chinese hands.


As someone who has been involved with terrorism research since before it became trendy (1982), the "flypaper" scenario makes me want to tear out what little hair I have left.

By making the choice to invade Iraq, this administration has ensured that there will be on-going inspiration and training possibilities for Islamic terrorists for the foreseeable future. Most of these attacks will be against US targets and allies, but we cannot rule out additional attacks in the US.

So far we have been lucky that our geographical distance, immigrant/assimilationist ethos and openness has made it difficult for Islamic extremism to catch on domestically.

This could change in the future for a number of reasons, as the US does have a large population of domestic moslems. An unsuccessful and brutal war in a moslem country (Iraq, for instance); uncritical support for Israel and its more egregious actions; the return of US moslem soldiers demoralized and enraged by what they saw, combined with politically-stoked paranoia about Islam, may create conditions for a domestic moslem terrorist outbreak in the US.


"we fight them over there so that ..." in a Blue state. - Babak

The Blue states are not immune to the power of propaganda and rhetoric carried continuously on corporate media with no rebuttal. Note that a recent poll showed that the majority of Americans still believe there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

The 9/11 and terrorism link with everything Bush and Cheney want to do is natural - they are a one trick pony.

In a way the "fight them there..." shtick is a win-win for them. No terrorist attack here and they win. Terrorist attack - they also win. The terror alert frequency will rise as elections near in a replay of 2004.

The one issue that the majority of Americans agree on now is that Iraq is a fiasco. If the Democrats can take advantage of that they have a chance.

cynic librarian

The notion that there's a terrorist behind every bush is propaganda. Its purpose is to win elections inside the US, not to confront and win the "war on terror." Unfortunately, the domestic effects of such propaganda destroys American solidarity and sets the stage for polarizing culture wars whose purpose is less than strengthening virtue.

Perhaps the only way to maintain the US empire is to instil a military ethos, hopefully returning us to virtue--but that will not occur when politicians and their cronies exploit the fear to gain power and line their pockets.

One of the lessons of this so-called "war" is that the US military and its civilian leaders are not very good at knowing their enemy. Not only have we had intelligence failures in this regard, but the military itself has been slow to recognize who the enemy is and to work outside the box when it comes to recognizing the enemy's tactics.

While it helps to consolidate the home front, all moralizing does is to propose easy solutions that fit outmoded preconceptions. While I don't think that the neocons are done yet in trying to impose their template of old-world hegemony on to a region whose untapped masses have yet to exhibit their true worth, it should become obvious that the new "war" is more on the political front than on the battlefield.

If someone hasn't already posted a link and selection from this article, here it is. It's one of the more cogent and realistic descriptions of what's gone wrong and what's potentially workable in the Mideast than anything i have seen in a while.

At the American Conservative, Andrew Bacevich writes:

So it turns out that Arabs—or more broadly Muslims—can fight after all. We may surmise that they now realize that fighting effectively requires that they do so on their own terms rather than mimicking the West. They don’t need and don’t want tanks and fighter-bombers. What many Westerners dismiss as “terrorism,” whether directed against Israelis, Americans, or others in the West, ought to be seen as a panoply of techniques employed to undercut the apparent advantages of high-tech conventional forces. The methods em-ployed do include terrorism—violence targeting civilians for purposes of intimidation—but they also incorporate propaganda, subversion, popular agitation, economic warfare, and hit-and-run attacks on regular forces, either to induce an overreaction or to wear them down. The common theme of those techniques, none of which are new, is this: avoid the enemy’s strengths; exploit enemy vulnerabilities.

What are the implications of this new Islamic Way of War? While substantial, they fall well short of being apocalyptic. As Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has correctly—if perhaps a trifle defensively—observed, “Our enemy knows they cannot defeat us in battle.” Neither the Muslim world nor certainly the Arab world poses what some like to refer to as “an existential threat” to the United States. Despite overheated claims that the so-called Islamic fascists pose a danger greater than Hitler ever did, the United States is not going to be overrun, even should the forces of al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraqi insurgents, and Shi’ite militias along with Syria and Iran all combine into a unified anti-Crusader coalition. Although Israelis for historical reasons are inclined to believe otherwise, the proximate threat to Israel itself is only marginally greater. Although neither Israel nor the United States can guarantee its citizens “perfect security”—what nation can?—both enjoy ample capabilities for self-defense.

Babak Makkinejad


There was a time in the middle part of 1970s that individual Japanese soldiers were being discovered in the Philippines that were still carrying the war of Imperial Japan. I recall a sketch by Art Buchwald based on this that envisioned the meeting of the last American soldier fighting the war in Vietnam years after the war had ended. I specially recall the part that his parents are brought over to convince him to abandon his (clearly) hopeless cause. The soldier would say: “I am fighting for Nixon who said our aim is peace with honor.” And the parents’ reply was: “Nixon is no longer the President of the United States.” Next he would say something to the effect that Vietnam was the enemy and his parent would reply: “Vietnam is not our enemy, they are exporting transistor radios to us!”
This is all I recall (rather vaguely).
But my point is this: was that war necessary?

To what extent was that war caused by a group of males (men) in US that wanted to pursue their liberal fantasies of power and glory?

Did it not weaken US and harm its social fabric?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad