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22 June 2007

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Robert A. Seeley

Point well taken. I've always felt that the neocons were an ideology in search of an enemy. Likening the threat from Islamic civilization to Comintern (or Hitler, which I've also seen) just distracts everybody from dealing with the real threats. Not all of those threats are military—the most dangerous is actually environmental—but all of them require new thinking, which you won't see from the neocons.

Montag

You mean the Dark Lord of Mordor ISN'T behind this? But it has his fingerprints all over it!

"One ring to call them all,
One ring to find them;
One ring to bring them all,
And in the darkness bind them.
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie."

I call that irrefutable evidence.

Montag

OOPSIE! The first line should have been, "One ring to RULE them all,"

J

Colonel,

sadly, 'stealth & guile' are not in the bush admin.'s tactical dictionary. they wouldn't know its meaning if it slammed them in their neocon faces. now 'ruthlessness, treason, incompetence, how-to-lose-friends-&-make-enemies, and back-stabbing ARE in their bush admin. tactical dictionary

jamzo

"archipelago of Iranian proxies" is not quite as catchy as "axis of evil"

but

it seems like krauthammer is a card-carrying member of the sunni party and committed to islamic religous war to save the middle east from being conquered by the "dangerous" shia


Cloned Poster

Which is why Egypt has just invited Israeli, Jordanian and moderate Palestinian leaders to a summit next week.

1. Count the US dollars that that these clients recieve annually in US defence Aid.

2. Count the US dollars they want now to project there power into an effective concentration camp that is GAZA.

3. Are Iranian ships docking in GAZA ports?

I think that Pawns on a chessboard should be renamed "Pals".

Eric Dönges

"The takfiri jihadis ARE a menace, but they are a menace best dealt with by stealth and guile. pl"

I agree, and would add that the best people to deal with them are the Muslim societies they pervert and hide in. How about we in the Western world stop meddling in the internal affairs of people who don't like our interference and let them clean house themselves ?

Cold War Zoomie

Speaking of Saracens, this bloke looks pretty darn menacing...

Saracens Head

You can always get a nice pint of Bombardier at his cousin's pub in Bedford, though...

Saracens Head Bedford

After awhile it's hard to respond seriously to these people trying to run our country even though they are incredibly dangerous.

I don't think their propaganda is going to work this time around.

zanzibar

One thing the neo-cons are very accomplished at is propaganda. They have a large contingent of propagandists, they have simplistic and easily digestible emotional messages that play well to a largely apathetic American populace, their messaging is well coordinated and they have the complicit corporate media to carry and amplify.

If only their propaganda and execution served US national interests and not just the whims, fancies and greed of a few elites.

b

I suspect this being part of the hidden agenda:

Krauthammer and others seem to have recognised that Islam, in its ideological economic dimension, does not agree with their radical capitalistic ideology.

Ursary (interest) payment and all. Islamic economics

In this, Islam is a "danger" to them the same way that communism or socialism was.

al-Sadr's father wrote a major book about Islamic economics that certainly doesn't agree with the Chicago school: Iqtisaduna.

Simpler: As communism is gone as a counter-ideologogy to robber-barons, what is left that could endanger their total victory?

Martin K

Sir, may I air a completely off-topic comment, from pure Norwegian irritation? I refer to the Guardians story entitled "US air strike kills 25 Afghan civilians", at http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,2109039,00.html.

Quote: "A US air strike in southern Afghanistan has killed up to 25 civilians, a local police chief said today.
The victims included women, children and a cleric as well as 20 suspected Taliban militants, according to Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the Helmand province police chief."

While I am not as old or cunning as the esteemed persons on this and other mil-vet foras, I have served my conscription and one of my close friends is serving on/off Kabul/Mazar al Sharif at this very moment. And i ask myself this, in the view of various US cowboy commanders: Why in f&%ks name cant they understand that massive retaliation is counterproductive to general advance of the front? (By front I mean the hearts and minds operation wich is the articulated emic/underlying premise for the whole project, standing up/standing down, blah blah.) Why do these cowboy stupid propagandapoints for the enemy keep on appearing? Did they not learn anything from Fallujah? In Afghanistanb you are walking a tightrope, in that most of the clans earn more money with cooperating with the US than fighting them. Most of their young fighters propably would be willing to freelance-fight you for good money, just for the shere hell of it. With these civilian bombings, you are loosing the war.

Killing a village to "save" the hostile countryside is, has always been, and will always be a loosing position unless overwhelming power is brought to bear. "Going Roman" is just about the most stupid idea I have heard when it comes to dealing with the "umma", the muslim world. Shock and Awe should be renamed Shock and Rage, judged by its results in practical application in long term ground-based conflicts.

frank durkee

What unsettles me is the inability to simply describe a situation with some nuetrailty, clarity, and sensitivity to how the whole situation[ including one's own actions], might/will look to 'the others' involved. Both the inability to understand and state how ones actions contribute to the dilemna one seeks to solve as well as allowing for the legitimacy of othersw perceptions and resultant actions harm our capacity to identify and act on our genuine self interest. Granted this is not easy, none the less one may hope, perhaps in vain, that at least some in the government and outside attempt to do this. Believing ones own propaganda is the surest path to failure. In a complex situation, and most looked at on this blog are. The lack will almost guarentee failure.

W. Patrick Lang

CWZ

My kind of saracen. don't know if you know that St. George is the patron saint of the Palestinians. A Byzantine soldier, he was brought back to England by the crusaders. pl

arbogast

Colonel,

Once again, right on the bullseye.

A friend of mine said that if an "Islamic" government unfriendly to US/Israel came to power in Pakistan, that the US would launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against their nuclear sites.

Is this likely?

John Howley

Did someone say Pakistan?
From today's WaPo, SECOND tiny blurb under "World in Brief:"
"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Satellite images show that Pakistan is building a nuclear reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium, an American watchdog group said, warning that the new facility could contribute to a nuclear arms race with archrival India.

A picture taken June 3 shows work progressing rapidly on the reactor at the Khushab nuclear site, about 100 miles southwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, the Institute for Science and International Security said.

A senior official at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said the country was "extending our infrastructure" but declined to address the details of the report."

With all the hyperventilating about "those people" getting the bomb, one would think this might merit more ink.

Is Khusab anyplace near where OBL hangs out?

And we're helping Inda juice up its nuclear program?

Promoting democracy is too complicated for me to figure out.

arbogast

In all the confusion, it's easy to forget that the bad guys have enormous financial resources. Cécile Hennion in Le Monde has this to say,

"La qualité et la modernité des armes utilisées par les miliciens islamistes ont constitué une autre mauvaise surprise. Selon la même source de renseignement, les francs-tireurs du Fatah Al-Islam disposent de fusils de snipers de gros calibre, 12,7 mm, pouvant atteindre des cibles distantes de près de 1 kilomètre. Des armes correspondant à cette description ont été retrouvées en Irak en 2006, selon des rapports de l'armée américaine.

Les enquêteurs travaillent également sur les sources de financement du groupe, qualifié d'"extrêmement riche".

Whatever else you can say about oil, every time a barrel of oil goes up in price, the bad guys get better weapons.

One of the reasons Bush used to attack Iraq was a fear that terrorists would be bankrolled by oil money.

He was right. In fact, in typical Bush fashion, he has proven himself right by getting everything all wrong.

jr786

b writes: Krauthammer and others seem to have recognised that Islam, in its ideological economic dimension, does not agree with their radical capitalistic ideology.

The opening paragraph of the startling National Security Strategy of the United States, 2002 reads:

The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise. In the twenty-first century, only nations that share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom will be able to unleash the potential of their people and assure their future prosperity. People everywhere want to be able to speak freely; choose who will govern them; worship as they please; educate their children—male and female; own property; and enjoy the benefits of their labor. These values of freedom are right and true for every person, in every society—and the duty of protecting these values against their enemies is the common calling of freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages.


Right and true for every person, in every society…across the ages

The perennial, evangelical tone of this document transforms social, political and economic concepts into Universal Commandments: materialism becomes idealism.

As a capitalist manifesto it appears shortly after the end of history, as famously declared by ur-neocon Francis Fukuyama, and recognizes that any remaining resistance can only come from something other than the now defeated communism. That explains the fervent religiosity that saturates the document, whose tone, for Muslims anyway, its unspoken target, resembles the sureness of Koran 5:3, which reads in part:

This day have those who disbelieved despaired of your religion, so fear them not and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favor to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.

This is the ground being contested, the ground of certainty and authority, the flash points of which would make for an interesting discussion.

b

@jr786 - 05:03pm

Thanks for your take on my speculation. Like you, I sense there is something more to this.

An ideological war about the "basic law/tenents" of the ruling economic doctrine.

I have expanded on my above comment in this still rudimentary piece: Islam - Comintern: Capitalism's Ideological Enemies (please comment).

Nearly all wars are about some (perceived) economic advantages clad in propaganda - be it "Lebensraum" or "manifest destiny", "Jewish world conspiracy" or "Islamic extremism".

The "long war" certainly has such aspects.

Just an ex grunt

To Martin K.:

Because when the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.

robt willmann

Usually, this silly and juvenile propaganda by Charles Krauthammer, one of the cheesier promoters of the Iraq War and the gangster foreign policy toward the Middle East, would rate at most a yawn. But its running in tandem with other recent propaganda about Iran should snap everyone awake.

A scant two days ago, on June 20, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Con. Resolution 21, "calling on" the United Nations to indict Iranian President Ahmadinejad with the war crime of genocide. This resolution, introduced back on January 9, 2007 by New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman, passed by a vote of 411-2, with 11 members voting "present". It has now been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HC00021:@@@L&summ2=m&

Recently, more hype has emerged about Iran providing weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. On around June 13, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said on CNN that there was "irrefutable evidence" that Iran was supplying arms to the Taliban.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070613/ap_on_re_eu/iran_taliban

The Iraq War funding bill passed not long ago had in an early version a prohibition that the Bush jr administration could not launch an attack against Iran without specific Congressional authorization. That provision was stripped from the bill, without objection by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

While Krauthammer's ticky-tacky progaganda is aimed at the masses, the important stuff to condition and inoculate Congress and its so-called leadership is rolling right along, and is very dangerous.

Congress is the only institution that could cause a problem for an attack on Iran, unless military officers refused to obey an order for such an attack. Thus, the ongoing operant conditioning of Congress will help keep that gutless body in line if a war is launched against Iran without a constitutional declaration of war, or will make getting Congress' authorization easy if a false flag incident occurs that is blamed on Iran, or some other kindling is set afire.

zanzibar

b

IMO, the issue is not capitalism per se. Capitalism as I see it has to do with property rights that lead to entrepreneurial activity and innovation. The problem that I see in contemporary capitalism is crony capitalism and oligarchies. Where profits are privatized and losses socialized. As a result moral hazard is introduced and leads to bubbles and misallocation.

I also believe that Islamic societies are not immune to cronyism like any other society. Its human nature to take advantage and Islamists have not transcended human behavior. Communism the other major ideology in the recent past had the notion that all productive assets belonged to the "proletariat" when in reality it belonged to a few - the elite party members.

Despite its flaws capitalism, IMO, comes best in recognizing the differences of individual abilities and initiative. And provides the most level playing field. If we could have capitalism with rules of fair play and transparency it would best suit the human temperament, IMO. That's why I believe that the US economy is losing its vigor since transparency is not required and securities laws and traditional accounting principles are only selectively applied. I remember well the Microsoft anti-trust case. Who would have expected that a Google would arrive from a gleam in two Stanford students eyes to challenge that monopoly. This is what makes capitalism so vibrant as it enables entrepreneurs to challenge entrenched interests when the system is transparent and open. I don't believe there is any discord between capitalism and Islam. I have read many historic texts of the fascinating spice trade between the Arabs, Indians and others and how cultures got influenced as a result. The stereotype of haggling for rugs in Fez is such an evocative example of capitalism in an Islamic setting.

Krauthammer and his ilk do not really represent capitalism, IMO, but represent the status quo of elites afraid of change that entrepreneurial capitalism brings and the possible threat to their power and wealth. They are the biggest proponents of using the state to further their interests while espousing rhetoric against government intervention in commerce.

kao_hsien_chih

One might note that the original uses of "comintern" were in themselves misleading: the first two cominterns were relatively impotent talking shops of lunatic intellectuals. The 3rd Comintern run from Moscow didn't really foment revolutions dedicated only to worldwide communist revolutions either--the communist revolutionary leaders in different countries all had their own agendas. They were happy to take AKs from Moscow and nod when necessary, but not really obedient...unless they had a Soviet bayonet thrust against their necks.

Char;les

A while ago in here, there was a post and discussion about the necessity of "thoughtfulness' in the formulation and execution of foreign policy. In the discussion of this latest of Pat's thoughtful posts, many seem to have confidence in the idea that people cannot be hornswoggled - I don't even know what that means, but it sounds like what I mean - hornswoggled again and again without waking up to the smell of the enormous, reductive piles of shit they are being fed whilst the shovelers dine on filet mignon and foi gras. Awaken to refuse to partake once again. Or be able to restrain their government - or the parts of it that seem free - on your children's dime - to act out the most unimaginably hare brained schemes in the most incompetent fashion imaginable with complete immunity and impunity - able to restrain that cabal from acting contrary to the interest and needs of the Republic as a whole?

But I ask you - how much faith can we place in a place where these criminals have stolen your country, "caged" votes, totally ignored the constitution not just abroad, but especially at home, without any real action being taken by the opposition ot the other arms of the government. The Dems are a sad joke, now busily electioneering rather than looking to save the Republic. And they have definitely signed on to this War on Terror trumps ALL other concerns thingy, as well as the absurd canard that America cannot afford to fix its various alledgedy broken social programs, e.g. social security in such dire straits that it must have the unimaginable sum of $70 -80bn so it doesn't go bust in 70 years, while Congress just signed off on what, $85 bn just for the next four months of Iraq? Apparently because we can't tax the rich, or make our corporations work for us, rather than agin us, and besides, we need the dough for arms.

A country where the absurdly considered, wittily named Crusader mobile howitzer, so heavily armoured that it required a much less armoured bulldozer to go out front to prepare a site, is "wound down" by paying the manufacturer $450M to let us abandon it. Because there are no longer any fixed in place set battles to fight with it in the ME, never mind they couldn't figure out how to make another platform to protect the bulldozer and the howitzer long enough to be emplaced. Well, they couldn't figure out how to get Congress to buy it, what with the squawking of the Ospreys and all. Damn those insurgents and their flip-flop clad fleetness of foot. Where the F22 fighter program, developed to defeat a Mig 29 variant never built, is on target at many, many billions of pork, while $1m cruise missiles are reloaded with a few pounds of explosive where nuclear weapons once balanced terror, so empty places like Dora Farms can be struck from afar to "decapitate" the fearsome enemy in one brilliant bit o' tactics, with only a bit of "collateral" damage. Where Los Angeles class Attack subs, their designed targets now rusting in various Soviet, er, Russian ports, are actually being reconfigured to shoot torpedoes full of Marines(seven in each tube) to land on beaches in various "hot spots", - I shit you not, I couldn't make this up - when the whole damn planet is being turned into one big global hot spot amenable only to full spectrum dominance.

Where subsidized corn is touted as fuel, though it takes more inputs than it will ever yield while millions starve and cities go thirsty but gee isn't the golf course such a pretty green. Where genuine concerns about global warming don't yield federal emission and mileage standards but rather another kick at the subsidized oil-from-coal`boondoggle that Congress shut down a few decades ago as impractical at twenty times the cost of oil right after OPEC reared up on its hind legs and launched an embargo out of sheer petulance with U.S. foreign policy.

Where whatever the motives of Bush et al, whether oily or just fervently nutty, oil companies who had been forced to write down their proven reserves by their accountants now enjoy a 2 TRILLION DOLLAR increase in their book value by the magic of the $70 bbl of oil every time some petty Iranian whacko burps, and a little bit of refinery shortage to turn it into gas in the most voraciously auto mad nation on earth. $10bn profits per quarter for just one seventh sister! Sweet crude indeed.

Where at a recent Homeland security conference, a senior mandarin summed it all up by demanding: "Show me new products. What have you got?" as though just one more boondoggle, er, I mean, breakthrough, in esoteric surveillance or data management will save the day against the wily takfiri jihadists - or the ignorant native sympathizer just too pissed off to sit idle.

Where Choicepoint, the massive data collection firm, now planning to acquire the DNA of every American, to go along with the 16 billion files it already has on you, does the dirty work just like the contractors in Iraq do, so that the government can sit back and say no laws were broken in the staging of this epic. Better yet, those costs aren't in the budget on the face of it, but buried in some obscure account labeled "other".

Two of Choicepoint's most important recent jobs were the purging of the Florida voters lists of alleged "felons", the company subsequently lying about cross-checking 95% of social security numbers of the poor saps on the scrub sheets, (they checked 5%) but who diligently noted the race of every one on their "lists";(Think of the case of the Green Zoners asked not what they could do for their country, never mind Iraq, but whether they were Republicans and how'd they feel about abortion). More recently, Homeland Security, more particularly the FBI, have been contracting them to obtain government records on every citizen in those Latin American terrorist hotbeds of Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela. Yet we all know that similar data on countries like, oh, say, Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of global terrorist financing(at least until the Afghan Heroin market picks up, thank you very much) and home to 14 out of 19, I think it was, 9/11 crew, is terra incognita, strictly verboten, haram, the part of the map labeled "There be monsters". Monsters not be disturbed nor divined lest the victims find out how they are fed and protected by the very people charged by law with protecting them, monsters left unchained in the hopes that they will bite us, rather than their own, in the ass the next time they need to blow off a little steam. Needless to say, gathering that kind of info in the countries I listed is a crime in them, but gosh golly, it was those evil contractors, not Uncle Sam, getting up to no good for no good reason other than that these countries were at risk of voting the "wrong" way, like those damned Palestinians.

And you honestly believe that America, the people, the common man, the press, whoever, is up to the task of separating truth from lies, let alone ensuring the crafting and execution of A prudent foreign policy. Even just one?

Lets see, isolating the Pals didn't work before, so, Eureka, lets cut 'em in half, just isolate one half and feed the illegitimate other half after a felicitous period of starvation and lecturing of the whole because they didn't do what we wanted? Well, they did do what we wanted, but it wasn't what we wanted, so lets do it again. Maybe a three state solution. Maybe, we keep starving, parsing and lecturing, someone else, not us of course, does the shooting, er, I mean, the heavy lifting, we can figure out one final solution.

Please, I gotta go put up the for sale signs on the swamp and the bridge I just bought off that young man, he looked so nice, well dressed, a little inarticulate, but he seemed so certain, and everyone else nodded, seemed downright upset they hadn't thought of buying them before I did, and though I got no takers for the ones I bought, buggered if that fellow ain't threatening to flood the market, make the ones I bought high damn near worthless, whatever will I do.

Obviously the 4th estate isn't up to the job; as Krauthammer demonstrates, they're leading the charge. Roger the wily old political adviser now astride the Fox News organ touts the nuking of Iran lest the Shia menace take hold of the gas taps or strap a nuke the size of a boxcar to a an ICBM with a rubber band and guide it to New York or Jerusalem before any one notices.

Pffffffft. (gigantic rude farting noise).

Leila A.

St. George - patron saint of my father's village in South Lebanon, beloved by Levantine Christians all over. His origins are murky. Some sources say his mother was from Lod (Lyd), a famous Palestinian town. I feel very, very kindly towards St. George - his image on a horse, slaying a dragon, hovered in all my paternal relatives' homes.

I assume that he's patron saint of Christian Palestinians, Col. Lang? Some Muslims do worship Christian saints - there's plenty of crossover from what I know, and in doing research on St. George I found references to Muslim versions of him. But is he "patron saint" of the whole Palestinian movement? That would be very interesting...

Duncan Kinder

Krauthammer is such an easy target that the interesting challenge he poses is to take what he says and turn it into something worthwhile.

In an effort to develop his "Comintern" idea, I have renewed interest in Billington's Fire In the Minds of Men, a history of radical movements between the French and the Russian Revolutions.

It would be interesting - or at least not a total waste of time - to consider to what extent Hamas resembles the "bomb throwing Russian anarchists" of that era, the sorts of fellows Turgenev and Dostoevsky wrote about.

Of course, these were pre-Comintern fellows. If we were to delve into the Comintern itself, we might consider Mikhail Borodin, the Comintern agent who, in the early twenties, helped Sun Yat Sen reorganize the Chinese Nationalist Party. He remained active in Chinese affairs until Chiang Kai Shek purged the Communists in 1928.

On the whole, this is a pretty scruffy scenario which, unfortunately for Krauthammer, would call more for Indiana Jones than George Smiley.

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