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30151  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Rumble on the Rock broadcast! on: January 20, 2006, 07:34:12 AM
Woof All:  

Just got this from Rico Chiaparelli at R1 (RAW).

Go Kengo!  Go Frank!

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

If you are interested, we are doing a live pbp of the rotr 8. ww.


LIVE PBP of Rumble on the Rock 8 World Welterweight Grand Prix

Rumble World Entertainment & MMALIVE are pleased to announce the FREE internet audio broadcast of the Rumble on the Rock 8 World Welterweight GP.

MMALIVE will be broadcasting ringside from the Blaidsdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday, January 20, 2006. If you are interested in following all the action from one of the premiere MMA events in the world please check out




How it works:

Listeners go to the website and click on the ?Listen Online? link. You will be directly connected to the FREE live audio broadcast via windows media player.

Mac users must load the newest version of internet explorer and windows media player


This free broadcast will start at :


12:30 pm New York

  9:30 pm L.A.

  7:30 pm Honolulu


For more info on the Rumble on the Rock 8 World Welterweight GP please go
30152  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pelea con palos y cuchillo a contacto real on: January 18, 2006, 09:18:35 PM
Guau a todos:

!Muy bien Mauricio!  Asi es la manera investigar la verdad.  Espero una buena charla aqui sobre este tema Cool

En nuestro DB Gathering mas reciente, las peleas de cuchillo comenzaron con los cuchillos ya escondidos.

Muy interesante evil

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
30153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: January 17, 2006, 09:24:30 PM
How the Grinch Stole Nanotech and More
by Michael S. Rozeff

When Richard Feynman gave a visionary talk in 1959 entitled "There?s Plenty of Room at the Bottom," the renowned physicist set out the idea of molecular nanotechnology. He spoke of reducing 24 million book volumes to a cube only 0.02 inches wide. He spoke of atomic-level machines producing other such machines. He spoke of creating molecules atom by atom. None of his visions violated the laws of physics. All were feasible. If big technical problems could be overcome, the practical uses would be phenomenal.

Feynman talked about discovery "just for the fun of it." He talked about "some kind of high school competition." If it took an economic incentive to "excite you to do it," he?d give "$1,000 to the first guy who can" reduce a page by 1/25,000 so that it could be read by an electron microscope. Feynman was sane to think of high school students making breakthroughs. He was sane to think of discovery for the fun of it, coming in first, or a minor prize. Feynman?s still big. It?s the times that have grown small.

Feynman didn?t mention the government. He had just resigned from the National Academy of Sciences (set up by an Act of Congress in 1863) because of its elitism. Earlier, concerned that Hitler would develop the atomic bomb first, he had worked on the Manhattan Project. In 1986 he disapproved of the cover-up politics of the commission investigating the Challenger accident. On television, he gave a simple demonstration of how the vehicle?s O-rings had failed. This took some O-ring material, a glass of ice water, and a clamp. It didn?t require federal funding.

As a schoolboy Feynman learned science by reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. At home he set up a lab. He taught himself elementary math. Feynman?s IQ was reportedly between 124 and 137, not at the so-called genius level. He thought intensely about important problems. He knew physics. He knew the great works and theories. Yet he also knew that to generate new ideas, his own ideas, he had to question and disregard, even not know, what everybody else was doing. He had to follow his own instincts. He knew how to nurture his own creativity. This counted for a great deal. It still does.

In his talk, Feynman didn?t mention the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is a government agency that distributes tax dollars to universities for research. It began in 1951 with a $200,000 budget (in today?s dollars). This grew to $39 million in 1957 and leaped to $133 million when the Russians placed Sputnik in orbit. Feynman was someone very special who kept asking "why" until he found an interesting problem. Intense curiosity drove him, not money. His self-motivated puzzle-solving began years before the NSF started.

Feynman was no libertarian, but he had a healthy skepticism of government. He did very important work without the support of grants. Being a theoretical physicist, he could not help but use the products of experiments supported with government money. He knew that government money corrupted scientific work and objectivity. Concerning the Challenger he wrote:

"Official management, on the other hand, claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less. One reason for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers."

In a 1974 commencement speech, he put it this way:

"So I have just one wish for you ? the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom."

In a 1963 lecture published in the book, The Meaning of It All, he wrote:

"No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race."

Federal money does not produce Feynmans. It points them in unproductive directions. Today the NSF pays out $5.5 billion a year, which is one-fifth of what the Federal government pays to colleges and universities. Total federal research spending runs upwards of $75 billion, perhaps 20?30 percent of the total throughout the U.S.

Decades after Feynman?s talk, the NSF and many government agencies have dug their claws deeply into nanotechnology and science. Conventional wisdom makes this support out to be critical for the economy. A Rand report reads: "The positive impact of research and development (?R&D?) investments of the federal government on the U.S. economy is widely recognized by experts and is credited with underpinning much of the nation?s economic growth during the 20th century." The Soviet Union made the same false claim. GNP grew and people stayed poor.

Growth in GNP is not the same as individual well-being. Investments in pyramids, space centers, moon voyages, and nuclear arsenals do not equate to greater happiness, progress in human well-being, or even take-home pay. The truth is the opposite of what the Rand report says. Force, taxes, subsidies, bureaucracies, races to get grant money, academic castles with moats, gold-plated laboratories, and distorted incentives ? none of these are progressive institutions. Freedom is the condition that encourages more ideas, more valuable ideas, more useful ideas. Only freedom can encourage the expression of thoughts and actions that an individual values and that give value and meaning to others. The motivations that stimulate an individual to produce valuable ideas or actions are highly various, very diverse, deeply buried inside people, and hard to discern by the person himself or others. Outsize government grants and free lunches paid for by taxpayers divert and distort these motivations. They undermine creativity and value creation. They corrupt individuals and steer them away from themselves. They channel thought and activity into pathways that give outsize gains to a few and losses to many. Like any robbery, they harm the victim and the robber produces nothing productive.

The universities who receive scientific research money glamorize it as necessary to economic progress. Babies, red wine, word processors, the internet, dreams, recreation, art, and physical activity also affect growth. Shall taxpayers subsidize all of these and more? No one really knows what a statistic like economic growth means or is worth. Still less does anyone know the value of any item in adding to this statistic. No one is in a position to measure human happiness and rearrange taxes and subsidies to increase it. The effort to do so can only decrease happiness.
One may believe that humans are engaging in too little scientific thinking. After all, one is entitled to one?s illusions of knowledge. That is what it is, because there is surely no way to know how much scientific thinking is going on inside people?s heads and surely no way to measure the value of such thinking. To act on such a flimsy proposition and subsidize particular lines of scientific thought is sheer folly. If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that subsidizing research projects retards well-being. It directly robs the taxpayers. They are made unable to express their preferences except through a collective and complex political process that is inferior to individual choice. The tax-funding insulates the chosen projects from accountability. It reduces the need to produce something of value that people will pay for voluntarily. University bureaucracies insulate science research from consumers and businesses. The scientific community?s answer to some of these objections is that to filter out poor projects and ideas, government grants are mediated and blind-refereed by panels of expert scientists. This may be so, but since they do not face the risks of an accepted project?s failure and since they do not value its cost as taxpayers might, this "objective" process does not get rid of the system?s ills.

Scientific research is like any other factor that goes into producing a good. It has a cost and a marginal value product. Left alone, it faces market discipline. Government interference with the markets for knowledge makes us worse off.

President Clinton set the nanotech invaders in motion. On January 21, 2000, a White House press release announced the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Clinton requested a $227 million budget, up from $123 million in the prior year. He named six government agencies as beneficiaries. Later more piled on. This year?s NNI budget is up to $1 billion. Many states have added more. Private sector investment exceeds that of the Federal government, but the federal and state nanotech invaders are pressing forward, aided and abetted by a science lobby.

Clinton twisted Feynman?s clear and accessible vision into a "new frontier" needing tax money. The press release read: "This initiative establishes Grand Challenges to fund interdisciplinary research and education teams, including centers and networks, that work for major, long-term objectives." The Federal Grinch again stole Christmas. He became a fake Santa Claus speaking bureaucratese and writing checks to scientists and their students.

The press release told who?d receive the invoices. The taxpayer will pay for large amounts of university research. The taxpayer will subsidize the costs of training new scientists. The taxpayer will keep paying for decades.

It might take 20 or more years to achieve the research goals, the release opined. This "is precisely why there is an important role for the Federal government," it argued. Ridiculous! If the payoffs of nanotech are that big, then even if they are 20 years off, there is an incentive to research them now. If not, then the research can wait. Resources are limited. Scientists and entrepreneurs may wish to pursue more pressing demands.
Feynman, foreseeing big payoffs, confidently expected bright young scientists to attack the problems and solve them. He also counted on the drives present in human nature. In contrast, the White House fretted about goals that were so far, far off that no one would want to work out the problems on his own. In this view, there were no such things as dedicated or curious scientists, no profit-oriented businesses, and no entrepreneurs. Government must force taxpayers to pay for scientific thought. Government must coordinate team efforts. Government must recruit and pay experts to make the nanotech revolution happen.
Strange that the press release failed to mention the other benefits of subsidies: government control, government growth, dependency of science on government, an image of government progressiveness, attracting voters, and money flowing to universities and scientists.
Danton said "L?audace; toujours l?audace!" Our government has the incredible audacity to suggest that without federal subsidies, nanotechnology will not progress scientifically and technically. Businesses are already proving this false, but government?s false advertising is endemic. Government steals from the taxpayer to set up scientific bureaucracies. It meddles. It stifles, distorts and retards the natural scientific process with infusions of federal money and direction. It absorbs science into government and undermines its ethos. It tampers with a valuable social enterprise and risks wrecking it. But none of this is enough. The government also must deplore the ability of science to act on its own. The government must advertise itself as the savior of scientific progress.

Scientific minds make discoveries and advances for their own reasons and motivations. The reasons are as varied as human beings are. They can be mystical, religious, oddball, deranged, monetary, playful, emotional, or inquiring. Scientists should be let alone, to play or work as they please, to work on basic or applied problems as they please. They should not be diverted or dammed up like a river. When a person works on a problem he chooses in his own way, there is no telling what the outcome will be. The free mind works in mysterious ways. It is common to work on one problem and be led into quite another. Serendipity occurs. Accidental discoveries occur.

Critics of the NNI observe that it is not even supporting Feynman?s vision of molecular nanotechnology (MNT):

"Despite this controversy, the Feynman vision of MNT continues to inspire students and researchers around the world, and the public increasingly expects MNT as part of their future. However, based on false arguments, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative has rejected MNT, thwarting students and crippling research. This is unfortunate, because research in pursuit of MNT offers fruitful areas for scientific discovery and practical application. It is time to reverse this obstructive policy, opening the door to progress toward understanding, developing, and guiding this revolutionary technology."

Unfortunately, government has the bucks to buy and pay for minds. Government can induce them to build nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Government can suck them into programs to land on the moon or Pluto. Government can direct research in directions it chooses. But who benefits and how much is lost? We have lost untold benefits of inquiry and science by forcing tax money into weapons and rocket development. We have shunted aside what scientists might be curious about or what individuals might truly value. We lose by force-feeding nanotech research. If government stays out of nanotech, entrepreneurs will still develop those new technologies and scientific advances that pay. There will be more and better science. Less capital will be wasted on pyramid-type projects with low or negative returns.

The government is placing bets on the unknown future of nanotechnology. This is the job of risk-taking scientists and entrepreneurs. Businesses know how to form research consortia. They can set up research labs and fund joint ventures. They will do more if government will get rid of capital gains taxes and stop worrying about anti-trust. They will do an appropriate amount of evaluation of risk if the justice system will handle liability issues properly. A company should be responsible for damages it causes and not be responsible for damages it does not cause. Liabilities should not be shifted to taxpayers. Once government gets into the act, private decisions get distorted. Private companies then have an incentive to lobby for federally funded research in order to benefit from the "free" discoveries.

In today?s tech industries, the best brains have trouble divining what consumers will value. They are currently competing over entertainment in the living room or on the streets. Apple guessed at iPod and won. Microsoft is guessing at Xbox 360. Tech investing is no place for government bureaucrats. Governments tax, subsidize and regulate. Tech R&D belongs to a different world.

Subsidized nanotech research makes us worse off. It ignores what we value individually. It ignores risk. It ignores the time value of money and costs of capital. Just as we have government-produced surpluses of food grains, nuclear weapons, missiles, wars, airport inspectors, people in poverty, bureaucrats, regulators, laws, ethanol, and paper money, we will have nanotech-engineered products that people would not willingly pay the unsubsidized price for. If coal workers were subsidized as scientists are, there?d be more coal companies, coal mines and cheaper coal, but taxpayers would have less money to spend on fuels they prefer and everything else. They?d end up worse off. Nanotech subsidies, if not entirely wasted on fruitless research, will end up with nanotech-produced products that do not pay their way.

At present there exist 45 university centers devoted solely to nanotech: four under NASA?s wing, 11 under the National Institutes of Health, 29 more under NSF, and three more under the DOD. These all obtain major research funding from the Federal government, sometimes supplemented by corporate sponsors. The universities rake off significant funds for overhead. The federal grants often help to support graduate students. This system of government support for science and universities is entrenched. It got a boost from the success of the Manhattan Project. Its modern history began with the promotion efforts of Vannevar Bush as early as 1940 for the National Defense Research Committee and later for government-funded research support in general. Its older history begins with the Morrill Act of 1862 that began land grant colleges.
Universities lobby their states and the Federal government, quite successfully. For example, the 1982 Bayh-Dole Act transferred invention rights to universities. While taxpayers pay the bills, individual researchers and universities capitalize on the research, thereby compounding the felony.

The working subcommittee of the NNI has produced a 120-page document titled "Nanotechnology: Societal Implications ? Maximizing Benefits for Humanity." The NNI money is attracting not only physical but also social scientists. They want subsidies for their research on the social impacts of nanotechnology. Some want something far more dangerous than that. They want to control innovation every step of the way. In their own bloated and ornate language, here are a few items on their current wish list.

"...the government should support the implementation of training programs to equip underutilized scientists and engineers with nanotechnology-related skills."

"Federal support should be provided for K-12 curriculum development and educational programs on nanotechnology awareness..."

"It is also recommended that substantial investment be made to explore yet unanswered research questions related to the implications of nanotechnology on national security..."

"Investment in the National Nanotechnology Initiative must be sufficient, both in a broad range of research to advance the technology and in studies on the societal implications, so that the people of the world will gain the maximum benefit."

"Although there was disagreement over our ability to predict either future advances in nanotechnology or their societal implications, workshop participants generally agreed that the government should fund research to identify potential implications to the extent that such can be determined. Furthermore, the government should attempt to facilitate beneficial impacts and to mitigate negative impacts where they might be expected to emerge."

"The government should review research aimed at understanding the human health and environmental consequences of nanomaterials and adjust funding as necessary to address areas where more information is needed."

"The government should review the adequacy of the current regulatory environment for nanomaterials..."

"Increased capabilities and funding should be developed for conducting science and technology studies in educational contexts, in industrial contexts, and among the public. Workforce development should be undertaken across the full spectrum of job roles, not just among research scientists."

"The National Nanotechnology Initiative will proactively fund R&D for new nanoscale capabilities to ensure the maximum improvement of the quality of life at both the individual and societal levels. At the global as well as local levels, we must act wisely to improve the sustainability of the world around us. Four key areas are food, water, energy, and preservation of the environment."

"In order to preserve the environment, we must use nanotechnology to remediate air and water pollution, produce systems and materials that contribute to reducing resource consumption and waste production,..."
"...national security should consider the ease with which information is transferred, particularly in the academic environment...Collaborative networks in the sciences have expanded in size and grown increasingly international. Research is needed on the magnitude of the risk this relatively free exchange of ideas has on U.S. competitiveness and security."

"We need to anticipate and guide change in order to design the future of our choice, not just one of our making. We want society to be prepared for, though not necessarily control, the results of far-reaching research."

"There is a broad consensus that rational management of the innovation process, including nanotechnology innovation, must involve a variety of stakeholders beyond the scientific community, including representatives of the general public. The wide range of interests in society must provide value-based inputs that can be used to balance economic development needs with those of human health, the environment, and, more broadly, the quality of life."

Social scientists armed with the State?s power pose a great danger to society, more so than NSF subsidies. Judging from their rhetoric, there are those who are totalitarian elitists. They want to control the human being the way that a lion tamer controls the big cats. They view human beings as state resources. Humans for them exist to be trained, indoctrinated, manipulated, drugged if need be, and prepared for an occupation. Human endeavor for them is something to be rationalized, managed, measured, maximized, and controlled ? by the social scientists. Public policy and society ? formed and ruled by social scientists ? take precedence over the individual. Their ideal world has no spontaneous order and no market and price processes. Society and humans are mechanisms one controls. They cover their tracks by adopting popular themes of democracy. They espouse themes of environmentalism, safety, health, and public rationality. They use these as wedges to justify and rationalize what they really want ? social control.

We can hope that the development of nanotech and the private economy are so widespread as to be uncontrollable. We can hope that the government de facto ignores and does not enforce its many laws that can impact nanotech. We can hope that the thirst of the public for better living through nanotechnology will override the efforts of the Federal Grinch to steal nanotech. We can hope that the corps of expert grinches who wish to ride herd on nanotech will be satisfied with their money, rhetoric, and reports and leave the rest of society alone.

Hopes will not be enough. The grinches can throw plenty of sand in the gears. They have infiltrated any number of government agencies such as the EPA. They have comfortable bases in most universities in the land. They have the public?s high regard. Intellectuals and media speak in their favor. They have stolen a large slice of science. They did not steal the microcomputer, the computer chip, and the internet; but they won?t give up trying. They?d like to steal nanotech, and some of them wish to steal social life in its entirety, from birth to death.

January 17, 2006
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is the Louis M. Jacobs Professor of Finance at University at Buffalo.
30154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: January 16, 2006, 08:36:18 AM
That's some deeply scary stuff.  Here's two more:

December 2004

Will Iran Be Next?

Soldiers, spies, and diplomats conduct a classic Pentagon war game?with sobering results

by James Fallows


Throughout this summer and fall, barely mentioned in America's presidential campaign, Iran moved steadily closer to a showdown with the United States (and other countries) over its nuclear plans.

In June the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran had not been forthcoming about the extent of its nuclear programs. In July, Iran indicated that it would not ratify a protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty giving inspectors greater liberty within its borders. In August the Iranian Defense Minister warned that if Iran suspected a foreign power?specifically the United States or Israel?of preparing to strike its emerging nuclear facilities, it might launch a pre-emptive strike of its own, of which one target could be the U.S. forces next door in Iraq. In September, Iran announced that it was preparing thirty-seven tons of uranium for enrichment, supposedly for power plants, and it took an even tougher line against the IAEA. In October it announced that it had missiles capable of hitting targets 1,250 miles away?as far as southeastern Europe to the west and India to the east. Also, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected a proposal by Senator John Kerry that if the United States promised to supply all the nuclear fuel Iran needed for peaceful power-generating purposes, Iran would stop developing enrichment facilities (which could also help it build weapons). Meanwhile, the government of Israel kept sending subtle and not-so-subtle warnings that if Iran went too far with its plans, Israel would act first to protect itself, as it had in 1981 by bombing the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak.

Preoccupied as they were with Iraq (and with refighting Vietnam), the presidential candidates did not spend much time on Iran. But after the election the winner will have no choice. The decisions that a President will have to make about Iran are like those that involve Iraq?but harder. A regime at odds with the United States, and suspected of encouraging Islamic terrorists, is believed to be developing very destructive weapons. In Iran's case, however, the governmental hostility to the United States is longer-standing (the United States implicitly backed Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s), the ties to terrorist groups are clearer, and the evidence of an ongoing nuclear-weapons program is stronger. Iran is bigger, more powerful, and richer than Iraq, and it enjoys more international legitimacy than Iraq ever did under Saddam Hussein. The motives and goals of Iran's mullah government have been even harder for U.S. intelligence agencies to understand and predict than Saddam Hussein's were. And Iran is deeply involved in America's ongoing predicament in Iraq. Shiites in Iran maintain close cultural and financial contacts with Iraqi Shiite communities on the other side of the nearly 1,000-mile border between the countries. So far Iraq's Shiites have generally been less resistant to the U.S. occupation than its Sunnis. Most American experts believe that if it wanted to, Iran could incite Iraqi Shiites to join the insurgency in far greater numbers.

Is a preview of the problems Iran will pose for the next American President, and of the ways in which that President might respond, The Atlantic conducted a war game this fall, simulating preparations for a U.S. assault on Iran.

"War game" is a catchall term used by the military to cover a wide range of exercises. Some games run for weeks and involve real troops maneuvering across oceans or terrain against others playing the role of the enemy force. Some are computerized simulations of aerial, maritime, or land warfare. Others are purely talking-and-thinking processes, in which a group of people in a room try to work out the best solution to a hypothetical crisis. Sometimes participants are told to stay "in role"?to say and do only what a Secretary of State or an Army brigade commander or an enemy strategist would most likely say and do in a given situation. Other times they are told to express their own personal views. What the exercises have in common is the attempt to simulate many aspects of conflict?operational, strategic, diplomatic, emotional, and psychological?without the cost, carnage, and irreversibility of real war. The point of a war game is to learn from simulated mistakes in order to avoid making them if conflict actually occurs.

Our exercise was stripped down to the essentials. It took place in one room, it ran for three hours, and it dealt strictly with how an American President might respond, militarily or otherwise, to Iran's rapid progress toward developing nuclear weapons. It wasn't meant to explore every twist or repercussion of past U.S. actions and future U.S. approaches to Iran. Reports of that nature are proliferating more rapidly than weapons.

Rather, we were looking for what Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, has called the "clarifying effect" of intense immersion in simulated decision-making. Such simulations are Gardiner's specialty. For more than two decades he has conducted war games at the National War College and many other military institutions. Starting in 1989, two years before the Gulf War and fourteen years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, he created and ran at least fifty exercises involving an attack on Iraq. The light-force strategy that General Tommy Franks used to take Baghdad last year first surfaced in a war game Gardiner designed in the 1980s. In 2002, as the real invasion of Iraq drew near, Gardiner worked as a private citizen to develop nonclassified simulations of the situation that would follow the fall of Baghdad. These had little effect on U.S. policy, but proved to be prescient about the main challenges in restoring order to Iraq.

Gardiner told me that the war games he has run as a military instructor frequently accomplish as much as several standard lectures or panel discussions do in helping participants think through the implications of their decisions and beliefs. For our purposes he designed an exercise to force attention on the three or four main issues the next President will have to face about Iran, without purporting to answer all the questions the exercise raised.

The scenario he set was an imagined meeting of the "Principals Committee"?that is, the most senior national-security officials of the next Administration. The meeting would occur as soon as either Administration was ready to deal with Iran, but after a November meeting of the IAEA. In the real world the IAEA is in fact meeting in November, and has set a deadline for Iran to satisfy its demands by the time of the meeting. For the purposes of the simulation Iran is assumed to have defied the deadline. That is a safe bet in the real world as well.

And so our group of principals gathered, to provide their best judgment to the President. Each of them had direct experience in making similar decisions. In the role of CIA director was David Kay, who after the Gulf War went to Iraq as the chief nuclear-weapons inspector for the IAEA and the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), and went back in June of 2003 to lead the search for weapons of mass destruction. Kay resigned that post in January of this year, after concluding that there had been no weapons stockpiles at the time of the war.

Playing Secretary of State were Kenneth Pollack, of the Brookings Institution, and Reuel Marc Gerecht, of the American Enterprise Institute. Although neither is active in partisan politics (nor is anyone else who served on the panel), the views they expressed about Iran in our discussion were fairly distinct, with Gerecht playing a more Republican role in the discussions, and Pollack a more Democratic one. (This was the war game's one attempt to allow for different outcomes in the election.)

Both Pollack and Gerecht are veterans of the CIA. Pollack was a CIA Iran-Iraq analyst for seven years, and later served as the National Security Council's director for Persian Gulf affairs during the last two years of the Clinton Administration. In 2002 his book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq was highly influential in warning about the long-term weapons threat posed by Saddam Hussein. (Last January, in this magazine, Pollack examined how pre-war intelligence had gone wrong.) His book about U.S.-Iranian tensions, The Persian Puzzle, has just been published. Gerecht worked for nine years in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, where he recruited agents in the Middle East. In 1997, under the pseudonym Edward Shirley, he published Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey Into Revolutionary Iran, which described a clandestine trip. He has written frequently about Iran, Afghanistan, and the craft of intelligence for this and other publications.

The simulated White House chief of staff was Kenneth Bacon, the chief Pentagon spokesman during much of the Clinton Administration, who is now the head of Refugees International. Before the invasion Bacon was closely involved in preparing for postwar humanitarian needs in Iraq.

Finally, the Secretary of Defense was Michael Mazarr, a professor of national-security strategy at the National War College, who has written about preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, among other countries, and has collaborated with Gardiner on previous war games.

This war game was loose about requiring players to stay "in role." Sometimes the participants expressed their institutions' views; other times they stepped out of role and spoke for themselves. Gardiner usually sat at the conference table with the five others and served as National Security Adviser, pushing his panel to resolve their disagreements and decide on recommendations for the President. Occasionally he stepped into other roles at a briefing podium. For instance, as the general in charge of Central Command (centcom)?the equivalent of Tommy Franks before the Iraq War and John Abizaid now?he explained detailed military plans.

Over the years Gardiner has concluded that role-playing exercises usually work best if the participants feel they are onstage, being observed; this makes them take everything more seriously and try harder to perform. So the exercise was videotaped, and several people were invited to watch and comment on it. One was Graham Allison, of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a leading scholar of presidential decision-making, who served as a Pentagon official in the first Clinton Administration, specializing in nuclear-arms control. His Essence of Decision, a study of how the Kennedy Administration handled the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, is the classic work in its field; his latest book, which includes a discussion of Iran, is Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe. Two other observers were active-duty officers: Marine Corps Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, who has specialized in counterinsurgency and whose book about dealing with Iran (and many other challenges), The Sling and the Stone, was published this summer; and Army Major Donald Vandergriff, whose most recent book, about reforming the internal culture of the Army, is The Path to Victory (2002). The fourth observer was Herbert Striner, formerly of the Brookings Institution, who as a young analyst at an Army think-tank, Operations Research Organization, led a team devising limited-war plans for Iran?back in the 1950s. Striner's team developed scenarios for one other regional war as well: in French Indochina, later known as Vietnam.

Promptly at nine o'clock one Friday morning in September, Gardiner called his group of advisers to order. In his role as National Security Adviser he said that over the next three hours they needed to agree on options and recommendations to send to the President in the face of Iran's latest refusal to meet demands and the latest evidence of its progress toward nuclear weaponry. Gardiner had already decided what questions not to ask. One was whether the United States could tolerate Iran's emergence as a nuclear power. That is, should Iran be likened to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in whose possession nuclear weapons would pose an unacceptable threat, or to Pakistan, India, or even North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions the United States regrets but has decided to live with for now? If that discussion were to begin, it would leave time for nothing else.

Gardiner also chose to avoid posing directly the main question the game was supposed to illuminate: whether and when the United States should seriously consider military action against Iran. If he started with that question, Gardiner said, any experienced group of officials would tell him to first be sure he had exhausted the diplomatic options. So in order to force discussion about what, exactly, a military "solution" would mean, Gardiner structured the game to determine how the panel assessed evidence of the threat from Iran; whether it was willing to recommend steps that would keep the option of military action open, and what that action might look like; and how it would make the case for a potential military strike to an audience in the United States and around the world.

Before the game began, Gardiner emphasized one other point about his approach, the importance of which would become clear when the discussions were over. He had taken pains to make the material he would present as accurate, realistic, and true to standard national-security practice as possible. None of it was classified, but all of it reflected the most plausible current nonclassified information he could obtain. The detailed plans for an assault on Iran had also been carefully devised. They reflected the present state of Pentagon thinking about the importance of technology, information networks, and Special Forces operations. Afterward participants who had sat through real briefings of this sort said that Gardiner's version was authentic.

His commitment to realism extended to presenting all his information in a series of PowerPoint slides, on which U.S. military planners are so dependent that it is hard to imagine how Dwight Eisenhower pulled off D-Day without them. PowerPoint's imperfections as a deliberative tool are well known. Its formulaic outline structure can overemphasize some ideas or options and conceal others, and the amateurish graphic presentation of data often impedes understanding. But any simulation of a modern military exercise would be unconvincing without it. Gardiner's presentation used PowerPoint for its explanatory function and as a spine for discussion, its best use; several of the slides have been reproduced for this article.

In his first trip to the podium Gardiner introduced himself as the director of central intelligence. (That was David Kay's role too, but during this phase he just sat and listened.) His assignment was to explain what U.S. intelligence knew and didn't know about Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons, and what it thought about possible impediments to that progress?notably Israel's potential to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

"As DCI, I've got to talk about uncertainty," Gardiner began?the way future intelligence officers presumably will after the Iraq-WMD experience, when George Tenet, as CIA director, claimed that the case for Iraq's having weapons was a "slam-dunk." "It's an important part of this problem. The [intelligence] community believes that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in three years." He let that sink in and then added ominously, "Unless they have something we don't know about, or unless someone has given them or sold them something we don't know about"?or unless, on top of these "known unknowns," some "unknown unknowns" were speeding the pace of Iran's program.

One response to imperfect data about an adversary is to assume the worst and prepare for it, so that any other outcome is a happy surprise. That was the recommendation of Reuel Gerecht, playing the conservative Secretary of State. "We should assume Iran will move as fast as possible," he said several times. "It would be negligent of any American strategic planners to assume a slower pace." But that was not necessarily what the DCI was driving at in underscoring the limits of outside knowledge about Iran. Mainly he meant to emphasize a complication the United States would face in making its decisions. Given Iran's clear intent to build a bomb, and given the progress it has already made, sometime in the next two or three years it will cross a series of "red lines," after which the program will be much harder for outsiders to stop. Gardiner illustrated with a slide (figure 1).

Iran will cross one of the red lines when it produces enough enriched uranium for a bomb, and another when it has weapons in enough places that it would be impossible to remove them in one strike. "Here's the intelligence dilemma," Gardiner said. "We are facing a future in which this is probably Iran's primary national priority. And we have these red lines in front of us, and we"?meaning the intelligence agencies?"won't be able to tell you when they cross them." Hazy knowledge about Iran's nuclear progress doesn't dictate assuming the worst, Gardiner said. But it does mean that time is not on America's side. At some point, relatively soon, Iran will have an arsenal that no outsiders can destroy, and America will not know in advance when that point has arrived.

Then the threat assessment moved to two wild-card factors: Iran's current involvement in Iraq, and Israel's potential involvement with Iran. Both complicate and constrain the options open to the United States, Gardiner said. Iran's influence on the Shiite areas of Iraq is broad, deep, and obviously based on a vastly greater knowledge of the people and customs than the United States can bring to bear. So far Iran has seemed to share America's interest in calming the Shiite areas, rather than have them erupt on its border. But if it needs a way to make trouble for the United States, one is at hand.

As for Israel, no one can be sure what it will do if threatened. Yet from the U.S. perspective, it looks as if a successful pre-emptive raid might be impossible?or at least so risky as to give the most determined Israeli planners pause. Partly this is because of the same lack of knowledge that handicaps the United States. When Menachem Begin dispatched Israeli fighter planes to destroy Iraq's Osirak plant, he knew there was only one target, and that if it was eliminated, Iraq's nuclear program would be set back for many years. In our scenario as in real life, the Americans thought Ariel Sharon and his successors could not be sure how many important targets were in Iran, or exactly where all of them were, or whether Israel could destroy enough of them to make the raid worth the international outrage and the likely counterattack. Plus, operationally it would be hard.

But for the purposes of our scenario, Israel kept up its threats to take unilateral action. It was time again for PowerPoint. Figure 2 shows the known targets that might be involved in some way in Iran's nuclear program. And figure 3 shows the route Israeli warplanes would have to take to get to them. Osirak, near Baghdad, was by comparison practically next door, and the Israeli planes made the round trip without refueling. To get to Iran, Israeli planes would have to fly over Saudi Arabia and Jordan, probably a casus belli in itself given current political conditions; or over Turkey, also a problem; or over American-controlled Iraq, which would require (and signal) U.S. approval of the mission.

With this the DCI left the podium?and Sam Gardiner, now sitting at the table as National Security Adviser, asked what initial assessments the principals made of the Iranian threat.

In one point there was concord. Despite Gardiner's emphasis on the tentative nature of the intelligence, the principals said it was sufficient to demonstrate the gravity of the threat. David Kay, a real-life nuclear inspector who was now the DCI at the table, said that comparisons with Iraq were important?and underscored how difficult the Iranian problem would be. "It needs to be emphasized," he said, "that the bases for conclusions about Iran are different, and we think stronger than they were with regard to Iraq." He explained that international inspectors withdrew from Iraq in 1998, so outsiders had suspicions rather than hard knowledge about what was happening. In Iran inspectors had been present throughout, and had seen evidence of the "clandestine and very difficult-to-penetrate nature of the program," which "leaves no doubt that it is designed for a nuclear-weapons program." What is worse, he said, "this is a lot more dangerous than the Iraqi program, in that the Iranians have proven, demonstrated connections with very vicious international terrorist regimes who have shown their willingness to use any weapons they acquire" against the United States and its allies. Others spoke in the same vein.

The real debate concerned Israel. The less America worried about reaction from Europe and the Muslim world, the more likely it was to encourage or condone Israeli action, in the hope that Israel could solve the problem on its own. The more it worried about long-term relations with the Arab world, the more determined it would be to discourage the Israelis from acting.

Most of the principals thought the Israelis were bluffing, and that their real goal was to put pressure on the United States to act. "It's hard to fault them for making this threat," said Pollack, as the Democratic Secretary of State, "because in the absence of Israeli pressure how seriously would the United States be considering this option? Based on my discussions with the Israelis, I think they know they don't have the technical expertise to deal with this problem. I think they know they just don't have the planes to get there?setting aside every other problem."

"They might be able to get there?the problem would be getting home," retorted Gerecht, who had the most positive view on the usefulness of an Israeli strike.

Bacon, as White House chief of staff, said, "Unless they can take out every single Iranian missile, they know they will get a relatively swift counterattack, perhaps with chemical weapons. So the threat they want to eliminate won't be eliminated." Both he and Pollack recommended that the Administration ask the Israelis to pipe down.

"There are two things we've got to remember with regard to the Israelis," Kay said. "First of all, if we tell them anything, they are certain to play it back through their network that we are 'bringing pressure to bear' on them. That has been a traditional Israeli response. It's the nature of a free democracy that they will do that. The second thing we've got to be careful of and might talk to the Israelis about: our intelligence estimate that we have three years to operate could change if the Iranians thought the Israelis might pre-empt sooner. We'd like to have that full three years, if not more. So when we're talking with the Israelis, toning down their rhetoric can be described as a means of dealing with the threat."

Woven in and out of this discussion was a parallel consideration of Iraq: whether, and how, Iran might undermine America's interests there or target its troops. Pollack said this was of great concern. "We have an enormous commitment to Iraq, and we can't afford to allow Iraq to fail," he said. "One of the interesting things that I'm going to ask the CentCom commander when we hear his presentation is, Can he maintain even the current level of security in Iraq, which of course is absolutely dismal, and still have the troops available for anything in Iran?" As it happened, the question never came up in just this form in the stage of the game that featured a simulated centcom commander. But Pollack's concern about the strain on U.S. military resources was shared by the other panelists. "The second side of the problem," Pollack continued, "is that one of the things we have going for us in Iraq, if I can use that term, is that the Iranians really have not made a major effort to thwart us ? If they wanted to make our lives rough in Iraq, they could make Iraq hell." Provoking Iran in any way, therefore, could mean even fewer troops to handle Iraq?and even worse problems for them to deal with.

Kay agreed. "They may decide that a bloody defeat for the United States, even if it means chaos in Iraq, is something they actually would prefer. Iranians are a terribly strategic political culture ? They might well accelerate their destabilization operation, in the belief that their best reply to us is to ensure that we have to go to helicopters and evacuate the Green Zone."

More views were heard?Gerecht commented, for example, on the impossibility of knowing the real intentions of the Iranian government?before Gardiner called a halt to this first phase of the exercise. He asked for a vote on one specific recommendation to the President: Should the United States encourage or discourage Israel in its threat to strike? The Secretary of Defense, the DCI, the White House chief of staff, and Secretary of State Pollack urged strong pressure on Israel to back off. "The threat of Israeli military action both harms us and harms our ability to get others to take courses of action that might indeed affect the Iranians," Kay said. "Every time a European hears that the Israelis are planning an Osirak-type action, it makes it harder to get their cooperation." Secretary of State Gerecht thought a successful attack was probably beyond Israel's technical capability, but that the United States should not publicly criticize or disagree with its best ally in the Middle East.

Sam Gardiner took the podium again. Now he was four-star General Gardiner, commander of CentCom. The President wanted to understand the options he actually had for a military approach to Iran. The general and his staff had prepared plans for three escalating levels of involvement: a punitive raid against key Revolutionary Guard units, to retaliate for Iranian actions elsewhere, most likely in Iraq; a pre-emptive air strike on possible nuclear facilities; and a "regime change" operation, involving the forcible removal of the mullahs' government in Tehran. Either of the first two could be done on its own, but the third would require the first two as preparatory steps. In the real world the second option?a pre-emptive air strike against Iranian nuclear sites?is the one most often discussed. Gardiner said that in his briefing as war-game leader he would present versions of all three plans based as closely as possible on current military thinking. He would then ask the principals to recommend not that an attack be launched but that the President authorize the preparatory steps to make all three possible.

The first option was straightforward and, according to Gardiner, low-risk. The United States knew where the Revolutionary Guard units were, and it knew how to attack them. "We will use Stealth airplanes, U.S.-based B-2 bombers, and cruise missiles to attack," Gardiner said. "We could do this in one night." These strikes on military units would not in themselves do anything about Iran's nuclear program. Gardiner mentioned them because they would be a necessary first step in laying the groundwork for the ultimate scenario of forced regime change, and because they would offer the United States a "measured" retaliatory option if Iran were proved to be encouraging disorder in Iraq.

The pre-emptive air strike was the same one that had been deemed too demanding for the Israelis. The general's staff had identified 300 "aim points" in Iran. Some 125 of them were sites thought to be involved in producing nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. The rest were part of Iran's air-defense or command system. "I call this a low-risk option also," Gardiner said, speaking for CentCom. "I'm not doing that as political risk?that's your job. I mean it's a low-risk military option." Gardiner said this plan would start with an attack on air-defense sites and would take five days in all.

Then there was option No. 3. Gardiner called this plan "moderate risk," but said the best judgment of the military was that it would succeed. To explain it he spent thirty minutes presenting the very sorts of slides most likely to impress civilians: those with sweeping arrows indicating the rapid movement of men across terrain. (When the exercise was over, I told David Kay that an observer who had not often seen such charts remarked on how "cool" they looked. "Yes, and the longer you've been around, the more you learn to be skeptical of the 'cool' factor in PowerPoint," Kay said. "I don't think the President had seen many charts like that before," he added, referring to President Bush as he reviewed war plans for Iraq.)

The overall plan of attack was this: a "deception" effort from the south, to distract Iranian troops; a main-force assault across the long border with Iraq; airborne and Special Forces attacks from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan; and cruise missiles from ships at sea. Gardiner presented more-detailed possibilities for the deployment. A relatively light assault, like the one on Afghanistan, is depicted in figure 4. A "heavier" assault would involve more troops and machines attacking across two main fronts (figure 5).

In all their variety, these and other regime-change plans he described had two factors in common. One is that they minimized "stability" efforts?everything that would happen after the capital fell. "We want to take out of this operation what has caused us problems in Iraq," Gardiner of CentCom said, referring to the postwar morass. "The idea is to give the President an option that he can execute that will involve about twenty days of buildup that will probably not be seen by the world. Thirty days of operation to regime change and taking down the nuclear system, and little or no stability operations. Our objective is to be on the outskirts of Tehran in about two weeks. The notion is we will not have a Battle of Tehran; we don't want to do that. We want to have a battle around the city. We want to bring our combat power to the vicinity of Tehran and use Special Operations to take the targets inside the capital. We have no intention of getting bogged down in stability operations in Iran afterwards. Go in quickly, change the regime, find a replacement, and get out quickly after having destroyed?rendered inoperative?the nuclear facilities." How could the military dare suggest such a plan, after the disastrous consequences of ignoring "stability" responsibilities in Iraq? Even now, Gardiner said after the war game, the military sees post-conflict operations as peripheral to its duties. If these jobs need to be done, someone else must take responsibility for them.

The other common factor was the need for troops, machinery, and weapons to be nearby and ready to move. Positioning troops would not be that big a problem. When one unit was replacing another in Iraq, for a while both units would be in place, and the attack could happen then. But getting enough machinery into place was more complicated, because airfields in nearby Georgia and Azerbaijan are too small to handle a large flow of military cargo planes (figure 6).

As centcom commander, Gardiner cautioned that any of the measures against Iran would carry strategic risks. The two major dangers were that Iran would use its influence to inflame anti-American violence in Iraq, and that it would use its leverage to jack up oil prices, hurting America's economy and the world's. In this sense option No. 2?the pre-emptive air raid?would pose as much risk as the full assault, he said. In either case the Iranian regime would conclude that America was bent on its destruction, and it would have no reason to hold back on any tool of retaliation it could find. "The region is like a mobile," he said. "Once an element is set in motion, it is impossible to say where the whole thing will come to rest." But the President had asked for a full range of military options, and unless his closest advisers were willing to go to him empty-handed, they needed to approve the steps that would keep all the possibilities alive. That meant authorizing the Department of Defense to begin expanding airfields, mainly in Azerbaijan, and to dedicate $700 million to that purpose. (As it happens, this is the same amount Tommy Franks requested in July of 2002, to keep open the possibility of war in Iraq.) "This is not about executing the plan," Gardiner of centcom said. "We're preparing options for the President; the whole issue of execution is separate. We need some money to build facilities."

Gardiner remained at the podium to answer questions as the CentCom commander, and the discussion began. The panelists skipped immediately to the regime-change option, and about it there was unanimity: the plan had been modeled carefully on the real assault on Iraq, and all five advisers were appalled by it.

"You need to take this back to Tampa," David Kay said, to open the discussion. Tampa, of course, is the headquarters for CentCom units operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Or put it someplace else I'd suggest, but we're in public." What was remarkable about the briefing, he said, was all the charts that were not there. "What were the countermoves?" he asked. "The military countermoves?not the political ones you offloaded to my Secretaries of State but the obvious military countermoves that the Iranians have? A very easy military counter is to raise the cost of your military operation inside Iraq. Are you prepared to do that?"

The deeper problem, Kay said, lay with the request for money to "keep options open." "That, quite frankly, is a bunch of bullshit," he said. "Approval of the further planning process forecloses a number of options immediately. I would love to see a strategic communications plan that would allow us to continue diplomatic and other options immediately with our European allies when this leaks; inevitably this will leak."

The next twenty minutes of discussion was to the same effect. Who, exactly, would succeed the mullahs in command? How on earth would U.S. troops get out as quickly as they had come in? "Speaking as the President's chief of staff, I think you are doing the President an enormous disservice," Kenneth Bacon said. "One, it will leak. Two, it will be politically and diplomatically disastrous when it leaks ? I think your invasion plan is a dangerous plan even to have on the table in the position of being leaked ? I would throw it in Tampa Bay and hope the sharks would eat it."

"This is a paranoid regime," Kenneth Pollack said of Iran. "Even if the development of the Caucasus airfields ? even if it weren't about them, they would assume it was about them. So that in and of itself will likely provoke a response. The Iranians are not inert targets! If they started to think we were moving in the direction of a military move against them, they would start fighting us right away."

Michael Mazarr, as Secretary of Defense, said he did not want the authority that was on offer to his department. "Tell the President my personal judgment would be the only circumstances in which we could possibly consider launching any significant operation in Iran would be the most extreme provocation, the most imminent threat," he said.

Even the hardest-liner, Reuel Gerecht, was critical. "I would agree that our problems with the Islamic republic will not be over until the regime is changed," he said. If the United States could launch a genuine surprise attack?suddenly, from aircraft carriers, rather than after a months-long buildup of surrounding airfields?he would look at it favorably. But on practical grounds, he said, "I would vote against the regime-change options displayed here."

Further unhappy back-and-forth ensued, with the CentCom commander defending the importance of keeping all options open, and the principals warning of trouble when news of the plan got out. When Gardiner called an end to this segment, there was little objection to the most modest of the military proposals?being ready, if need be, for a punitive strike on the Revolutionary Guards. The participants touched only briefly on the Osirak-style strike during the war game, but afterward most of them expressed doubt about its feasibility. The United States simply knew too little about which nuclear projects were under way and where they could be destroyed with confidence. If it launched an attack and removed some unknown proportion of the facilities, the United States might retard Iran's progress by an unknown number of months or years?at the cost of inviting all-out Iranian retaliation. "Pre-emption is only a tactic that puts off the nuclear development," Gardiner said after the exercise. "It cannot make it go away. Since our intelligence is so limited, we won't even know what we achieved after an attack. If we set it back a year, what do we do a year later? A pre-emptive strike would carry low military risk but high strategic risk."

During the war game the regime-change plan got five nays. But it was clear to all that several other big issues lay on the table, unresolved. How could the President effectively negotiate with the Iranians if his own advisers concluded that he had no good military option to use as a threat? How could the world's most powerful and sophisticated military lack the ability to take an opponent by surprise? How could leaders of that military imagine, after Iraq, that they could ever again propose a "quick in-and-out" battle plan? Why was it so hard to develop plans that allowed for the possibility that an adversary would be clever and ruthless? Why was it so hard for the United States to predict the actions and vulnerabilities of a regime it had opposed for twenty-five years?

At noon the war game ended. As a simulation it had produced recommendations that the President send a go-slow signal to the Israelis and that he not authorize any work on airfields in Central Asia. His advisers recommended that he not even be shown Centcom's plans for invading Iran.

The three hours of this exercise were obviously not enough time for the panel of advisers to decide on all aspects of a new policy toward Iran. But the intended purpose of the exercise was to highlight the real options a real President might consider. What did it reveal? Gardiner called for a wrap-up from participants and observers immediately after the event. From their comments, plus interviews with the participants in the following week, three big themes emerged: the exercise demonstrated something about Iraq, something about the way governments make decisions, and something about Iran.

Iraq was a foreground topic throughout the game, since it was where a threatened Iran might most easily retaliate. It was even more powerful in its background role. Every aspect of discussion about Iran was colored by knowledge of how similar decisions had played out in Iraq. What the United States knew and didn't know about secret weapons projects. What could go wrong with its military plans. How much difficulty it might face in even a medium-size country. "Compared with Iraq, Iran has three times the population, four times the land area, and five times the problems," Kenneth Pollack said during the war game. A similar calculation could be heard in almost every discussion among the principals, including those who had strongly supported the war in Iraq. This was most obvious in the dismissal of the full-scale regime-change plan?which, Gardiner emphasized, was a reflection of real-life military thinking, not a straw man. "I have been working on these options for almost eighteen months," he said later. "I tried them in class with my military students. They were the best I could do. I was looking for a concept that would limit our involvement in stability operations. We just don't have the forces to do that in Iran. The two lesser concepts"?punitive raids on the Revolutionary Guard and pre-emptive air strikes?"were really quite good from a military perspective." And of course the sweeping third concept, in the very similar form of Tommy Franks's plan, had been approved by a real President without the cautionary example of Iraq to learn from.

Exactly what learning from Iraq will mean is important but impossible to say. "Iraq" could become shorthand for a comprehensive disaster?one of intention, execution, and effect. "Usually we don't make the same mistakes immediately," Graham Allison said. "We make different mistakes." In an attempt to avoid "another Iraq," in Iran or elsewhere, a different Administration would no doubt make new mistakes. If George Bush is re-elected, the lessons of Iraq in his second term will depend crucially on who is there to heed them. All second-term Presidents have the same problem, "which is that the top guys are tired out and leave?or tired out and stay," Kay said. "You get the second-best and the second-brightest, it's really true." "There will be new people, and even the old ones will behave differently," Gardiner said. "The CIA will not make unequivocal statements. There will be more effort by everyone to question plans." But Kay said that the signal traits of the George W. Bush Administration?a small group of key decision-makers, no fundamental challenge of prevailing views?would most likely persist. "I have come to the conclusion that it is a function of the way the President thinks, operates, declares his policy ahead of time," Kay said. "It is inherent in the nature of George Bush, and therefore inherent in the system."

What went wrong in Iraq, according to our participants, can in almost all cases be traced back to the way the Administration made decisions. "Most people with detailed knowledge of Iraq, from the CIA to the State Department to the Brits, thought it was a crazy quilt held together in an artificial state," Allison said. Because no such people were involved in the decision to go to war, the Administration expected a much easier reception than it met?with ruinous consequences. There was no strong institutional system for reconciling differences between the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, and other institutions, and the person who theoretically might have done this, Condoleezza Rice, was weak. "If you don't have a deliberate process in which the National Security Adviser is playing a strong role, clarifying contrary views, and hammering out points of difference, you have the situation you did," Allison said. "There was no analytic memo that all the parties looked at that said, 'Here's how we see the shape of this problem; here is the logic that leads to targeting Iraq rather than North Korea.'"

"Process" sounds dull, and even worse is "government decision-making," but these topics provoked the most impassioned comments from panelists and observers when they were interviewed after the war game. All were alarmed about the way governments now make life-and-death decisions; this was, after Iraq, the second big message of the exercise.

"Companies deciding which kind of toothpaste to market have much more rigorous, established decision-making processes to refer to than the most senior officials of the U.S. government deciding whether or not to go to war," Michael Mazarr said. "On average, the national-security apparatus of the United States makes decisions far less rigorously than it ought to, and is capable of. The Bush Administration is more instinctual, more small-group-driven, less concerned about being sure they have covered every assumption, than other recent Administrations, particularly that of George H. W. Bush. But the problem is bigger than one Administration or set of decision-makers."

Gardiner pointed out how rare it is for political leaders to ask, "And what comes after that? And then?" Thomas Hammes, the Marine expert in counterinsurgency, said that presentations by military planners feed this weakness in their civilian superiors, by assuming that the adversary will cooperate. "We never 'red-celled' the enemy in this exercise" (that is, let him have the first move), Hammes said after the Iran war game. "What if they try to pre-empt us? What if we threaten them, and the next day we find mines in Baltimore Harbor and the Golden Gate, with a warning that there will be more? Do we want to start this game?" Such a failure of imagination?which Hammes said is common in military-run war games?has a profound effect, because it leads to war plans like the ones from Gardiner's CentCom, or from Tommy Franks, which in turn lull Presidents into false confidence. "There is no such thing as a quick, clean war," he said. "War will always take you in directions different from what you intended. The only guy in recent history who started a war and got what he intended was Bismarck," who achieved the unification of Germany after several European wars.

Gardiner pointed out that none of the principals had even bothered to ask whether Congress would play a part in the decision to go to war. "This game was consistent with a pattern I have been seeing in games for the past ten years," he said. "It is not the fault of the military, but they have learned to move faster than democracy was meant to move."

And what did the exercise show about Iran? In the week after the war game I interviewed the partici- pants about the views they had expressed "in role" and about their personal recommendations for the next President's approach. From these conversations, and from the participants' other writings and statements about Iran, the following themes emerged.

About Iran's intentions there is no disagreement. Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and unless its policy is changed by the incentives it is offered or the warnings it receives, it will succeed.

About America's military options there is almost as clear a view. In circumstances of all-out war the United States could mount an invasion of Iran if it had to. If sufficiently provoked?by evidence that Iran was involved in a terrorist incident, for example, or that it was fomenting violence in Iraq?the United States could probably be effective with a punitive bomb-and-missile attack on Revolutionary Guard units.

But for the purposes most likely to interest the next American President?that is, as a tool to slow or stop Iran's progress toward nuclear weaponry?the available military options are likely to fail in the long term. A full-scale "regime change" operation has both obvious and hidden risks. The obvious ones are that the United States lacks enough manpower and equipment to take on Iran while still tied down in Iraq, and that domestic and international objections would be enormous. The most important hidden problem, exposed in the war-game discussions, was that a full assault would require such drawn-out preparations that the Iranian government would know months in advance what was coming. Its leaders would have every incentive to strike pre-emptively in their own defense. Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, a threatened Iran would have many ways to harm America and its interests. Apart from cross-border disruptions in Iraq, it might form an outright alliance with al-Qaeda to support major new attacks within the United States. It could work with other oil producers to punish America economically. It could, as Hammes warned, apply the logic of "asymmetric," or "fourth-generation," warfare, in which a superficially weak adversary avoids a direct challenge to U.S. military power and instead strikes the most vulnerable points in American civilian society, as al-Qaeda did on 9/11. If it thought that the U.S. goal was to install a wholly new regime rather than to change the current regime's behavior, it would have no incentive for restraint.

What about a pre-emptive strike of our own, like the Osirak raid? The problem is that Iran's nuclear program is now much more advanced than Iraq's was at the time of the raid. Already the U.S. government has no way of knowing exactly how many sites Iran has, or how many it would be able to destroy, or how much time it would buy in doing so. Worse, it would have no way of predicting the long-term strategic impact of such a strike. A strike might delay by three years Iran's attainment of its goal?but at the cost of further embittering the regime and its people. Iran's intentions when it did get the bomb would be all the more hostile.

Here the United States faces what the military refers to as a "branches and sequels" decision?that is, an assessment of best and second-best outcomes. It would prefer that Iran never obtain nuclear weapons. But if Iran does, America would like Iran to see itself more or less as India does?as a regional power whose nuclear status symbolizes its strength relative to regional rivals, but whose very attainment of this position makes it more committed to defending the status quo. The United States would prefer, of course, that Iran not reach a new level of power with a vendetta against America. One of our panelists thought that a strike would help the United States, simply by buying time. The rest disagreed. Iran would rebuild after a strike, and from that point on it would be much more reluctant to be talked or bargained out of pursuing its goals?and it would have far more reason, once armed, to use nuclear weapons to America's detriment.

Most of our panelists felt that the case against a U.S. strike was all the more powerful against an Israeli strike. With its much smaller air force and much more limited freedom to use airspace, Israel would probably do even less "helpful" damage to Iranian sites. The hostile reaction?against both Israel and the United States?would be potentially more lethal to both Israel and its strongest backer.

A realistic awareness of these constraints will put the next President in an awkward position. In the end, according to our panelists, he should understand that he cannot prudently order an attack on Iran. But his chances of negotiating his way out of the situation will be greater if the Iranians don't know that. He will have to brandish the threat of a possible attack while offering the incentive of economic and diplomatic favors should Iran abandon its plans. "If you say there is no acceptable military option, then you end any possibility that there will be a non-nuclear Iran," David Kay said after the war game. "If the Iranians believe they will not suffer any harm, they will go right ahead." Hammes agreed: "The threat is always an important part of the negotiating process. But you want to fool the enemy, not fool yourself. You can't delude yourself into thinking you can do something you can't." Is it therefore irresponsible to say in public, as our participants did and we do here, that the United States has no military solution to the Iran problem? Hammes said no. Iran could not be sure that an American President, seeing what he considered to be clear provocation, would not strike. "You can never assume that just because a government knows something is unviable, it won't go ahead and do it. The Iraqis knew it was not viable to invade Iran, but they still did it. History shows that countries make very serious mistakes."

So this is how the war game turned out: with a finding that the next American President must, through bluff and patience, change the actions of a government whose motives he does not understand well, and over which his influence is limited. "After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers," Sam Gardiner said of his exercise. "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."


James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, has written three recent cover stories on U.S. foreign policy and Iraq: "Bush's Lost Year" (October), "Blind Into Baghdad" (January/February), and "The Fifty-first State?" (November 2002).


From the Guardian.  Seems to suggest that Ahmadinejad is a religious nut
who believes the end is near.  Now, if Bush held these beliefs, the world
would demand his dismissal.  With Ahmadinejad, the world quakes and

'Divine mission' driving Iran's new leader
By Anton La Guardia
(Filed: 14/01/2006)

As Iran rushes towards confrontation with the world over its nuclear
programme, the question uppermost in the mind of western leaders is "What is
moving its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to such recklessness?"

Political analysts point to the fact that Iran feels strong because of high
oil prices, while America has been weakened by the insurgency in Iraq.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

But listen carefully to the utterances of Mr Ahmadinejad - recently
described by President George W Bush as an "odd man" - and there is another
dimension, a religious messianism that, some suspect, is giving the Iranian
leader a dangerous sense of divine mission.

In November, the country was startled by a video showing Mr Ahmadinejad
telling a cleric that he had felt the hand of God entrancing world leaders
as he delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly last September.

When an aircraft crashed in Teheran last month, killing 108 people, Mr
Ahmadinejad promised an investigation. But he also thanked the dead, saying:
"What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we
must follow."

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's piety is his devotion to the
Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president's
belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

One of the first acts of Mr Ahmadinejad's government was to donate about ?10
million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious
come to drop messages to the Hidden Imam into a holy well.

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who
will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour - denied by the government
but widely believed - is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a
"contract" pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent
it to Jamkaran.

Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan,
regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of
five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After
a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the
world to an era of universal peace.

This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the
Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.

Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and
that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.

The prospect of such a man obtaining nuclear weapons is worrying. The
unspoken question is this: is Mr Ahmadinejad now tempting a clash with the
West because he feels safe in the belief of the imminent return of the
Hidden Imam? Worse, might he be trying to provoke chaos in the hope of
hastening his reappearance?

The 49-year-old Mr Ahmadinejad, a former top engineering student, member of
the Revolutionary Guards and mayor of Teheran, overturned Iranian politics
after unexpectedly winning last June's presidential elections.

The main rift is no longer between "reformists" and "hardliners", but
between the clerical establishment and Mr Ahmadinejad's brand of
revolutionary populism and superstition.

Its most remarkable manifestation came with Mr Ahmadinejad's international
debut, his speech to the United Nations.

World leaders had expected a conciliatory proposal to defuse the nuclear
crisis after Teheran had restarted another part of its nuclear programme in

Instead, they heard the president speak in apocalyptic terms of Iran
struggling against an evil West that sought to promote "state terrorism",
impose "the logic of the dark ages" and divide the world into "light and
dark countries".

The speech ended with the messianic appeal to God to "hasten the emergence
of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human
being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace".

In a video distributed by an Iranian web site in November, Mr Ahmadinejad
described how one of his Iranian colleagues had claimed to have seen a glow
of light around the president as he began his speech to the UN.

"I felt it myself too," Mr Ahmadinejad recounts. "I felt that all of a
sudden the atmosphere changed there. And for 27-28 minutes all the leaders
did not blink.It's not an exaggeration, because I was looking.

"They were astonished, as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It
had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic."

Western officials said the real reason for any open-eyed stares from
delegates was that "they couldn't believe what they were hearing from

Their sneaking suspicion is that Iran's president actually relishes a clash
with the West in the conviction that it would rekindle the spirit of the
Islamic revolution and - who knows - speed up the arrival of the Hidden
30155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: January 16, 2006, 08:09:32 AM
The origins of the Great War of 2007 - and how it could have been prevented
By Niall Ferguson
(Filed: 15/01/2006)
Are we living through the origins of the next world war? Certainly, it is easy to imagine how a future historian might deal with the next phase of events in the Middle East:

With every passing year after the turn of the century, the instability of the Gulf region grew. By the beginning of 2006, nearly all the combustible ingredients for a conflict - far bigger in its scale and scope than the wars of 1991 or 2003 - were in place.
The first underlying cause of the war was the increase in the region's relative importance as a source of petroleum. On the one hand, the rest of the world's oil reserves were being rapidly exhausted. On the other, the breakneck growth of the Asian economies had caused a huge surge in global demand for energy. It is hard to believe today, but for most of the 1990s the price of oil had averaged less than $20 a barrel.
A second precondition of war was demographic. While European fertility had fallen below the natural replacement rate in the 1970s, the decline in the Islamic world had been much slower. By the late 1990s the fertility rate in the eight Muslim countries to the south and east of the European Union was two and half times higher than the European figure.
This tendency was especially pronounced in Iran, where the social conservatism of the 1979 Revolution - which had lowered the age of marriage and prohibited contraception - combined with the high mortality of the Iran-Iraq War and the subsequent baby boom to produce, by the first decade of the new century, a quite extraordinary surplus of young men. More than two fifths of the population of Iran in 1995 had been aged 14 or younger. This was the generation that was ready to fight in 2007.
This not only gave Islamic societies a youthful energy that contrasted markedly with the slothful senescence of Europe. It also signified a profound shift in the balance of world population. In 1950, there had three times as many people in Britain as in Iran. By 1995, the population of Iran had overtaken that of Britain and was forecast to be 50 per cent higher by 2050.
Yet people in the West struggled to grasp the implications of this shift. Subliminally, they still thought of the Middle East as a region they could lord it over, as they had in the mid-20th century.
The third and perhaps most important precondition for war was cultural. Since 1979, not just Iran but the greater part of the Muslim world had been swept by a wave of religious fervour, the very opposite of the process of secularisation that was emptying Europe's churches.
Although few countries followed Iran down the road to full-blown theocracy, there was a transformation in politics everywhere. From Morocco to Pakistan, the feudal dynasties or military strongmen who had dominated Islamic politics since the 1950s came under intense pressure from religious radicals.
The ideological cocktail that produced 'Islamism' was as potent as either of the extreme ideologies the West had produced in the previous century, communism and fascism. Islamism was anti-Western, anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic. A seminal moment was the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's intemperate attack on Israel in December 2005, when he called the Holocaust a 'myth'. The state of Israel was a 'disgraceful blot', he had previously declared, to be wiped 'off the map'.
Prior to 2007, the Islamists had seen no alternative but to wage war against their enemies by means of terrorism. From the Gaza to Manhattan, the hero of 2001 was the suicide bomber. Yet Ahmadinejad, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, craved a more serious weapon than strapped-on explosives. His decision to accelerate Iran's nuclear weapons programme was intended to give Iran the kind of power North Korea already wielded in East Asia: the power to defy the United States; the power to obliterate America's closest regional ally.
Under different circumstances, it would not have been difficult to thwart Ahmadinejad's ambitions. The Israelis had shown themselves capable of pre-emptive air strikes against Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981. Similar strikes against Iran's were urged on President Bush by neo-conservative commentators throughout 2006. The United States, they argued, was perfectly placed to carry out such strikes. It had the bases in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. It had the intelligence proving Iran's contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But the President was advised by his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to opt instead for diplomacy. Not just European opinion but American opinion was strongly opposed to an attack on Iran. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 had been discredited by the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein had supposedly possessed and by the failure of the US-led coalition to quell a bloody insurgency.
Americans did not want to increase their military commitments overseas; they wanted to reduce them. Europeans did not want to hear that Iran was about to build its own WMD. Even if Ahmad-inejad had broadcast a nuclear test live on CNN, liberals would have said it was a CIA con-trick.
So history repeated itself. As in the 1930s, an anti-Semitic demagogue broke his country's treaty obligations and armed for war. Having first tried appeasement, offering the Iranians economic incentives to desist, the West appealed to international agencies - the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council. Thanks to China's veto, however, the UN produced nothing but empty resolutions and ineffectual sanctions, like the exclusion of Iran from the 2006 World Cup finals.
Only one man might have stiffened President Bush's resolve in the crisis: not Tony Blair, he had wrecked his domestic credibility over Iraq and was in any case on the point of retirement - Ariel Sharon. Yet he had been struck down by a stroke as the Iranian crisis came to a head. With Israel leaderless, Ahmadinejad had a free hand.
As in the 1930s, too, the West fell back on wishful thinking. Perhaps, some said, Ahmadinejad was only sabre-rattling because his domestic position was so weak. Perhaps his political rivals in the Iranian clergy were on the point of getting rid of him. In that case, the last thing the West should do was to take a tough line; that would only bolster Ahmadinejad by inflaming Iranian popular feeling. So in Washington and in London people crossed their fingers, hoping for the deus ex machina of a home-grown regime change in Teheran.
This gave the Iranians all the time they needed to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at Natanz. The dream of nuclear non-proliferation, already interrupted by Israel, Pakistan and India, was definitively shattered. Now Teheran had a nuclear missile pointed at Tel-Aviv. And the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had a missile pointed right back at Teheran.
The optimists argued that the Cuban Missile Crisis would replay itself in the Middle East. Both sides would threaten war - and then both sides would blink. That was Secretary Rice's hope - indeed, her prayer - as she shuttled between the capitals. But it was not to be.
The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.
Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.
? Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University
? Niall Ferguson, 2006 ''
30156  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Palo Venezolano on: January 14, 2006, 09:10:01 AM
Guau a todos:

Cuando perdimos el contenido del foro has unos meses, perdimos un hilo muy interesante sobre Palo Venezolano.  Para comenzar este tema de nuevo he aqui:

Crafty Dog
30157  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kali/Escrima/Arnis in San Diego? on: January 13, 2006, 05:53:42 PM
Woof Blitz:

I don't know SD geography, but I would give Greg and Mike a try.  They have credentials in DBMA and Pekiti Tirsia.

Michael Ritz and Greg Moody
Practical Defense Systems
Chula Vista, CA

Guro Crafty
30158  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DeCuerdas Eskrima on: January 10, 2006, 01:18:36 AM
I met him once (1990?) while in Stockton for a tournament.  Dentoy Revilar graciously invited me to his home after the tournament and there I met GM Tenio.  He showed me a very nice disarm which I occasionally show and still use to this day.  Seemed like a very nice man.
30159  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Guro Crafty in Memphis Monday January 9 on: January 07, 2006, 07:43:24 AM
Woof from Memphis!
30160  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: January 06, 2006, 12:36:16 PM
An elderly woman walked into the Bank of Canada one morning with a purse full of money. She wanted to open a savings account and insisted on talking to the president of the Bank because, she said, she had a lot of money.

After many lengthy discussions (after all, the client is always
right) an employee took the elderly woman to the president's

The president of the Bank asked her how much she wanted to deposit. She placed her purse on his desk and replied, "$165,000". The president was curious and asked her how she had been able to save so much money. The elderly woman replied that she made bets.

The president was surprised and asked, "What kind of bets?"

The elderly woman replied, "Well, I bet you $25,000 that your testicles are square."

The president started to laugh and told the woman that it was
impossible to win a bet like that.
The woman never batted an eye. She just looked at the president and said, "Would you like to take my bet?"

"Certainly", replied the president. "I bet you $25,000 that my testicles are not square."

"Done", the elderly woman answered. "But given the amount of money involved, if you don't mind I would like to come back at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning with my lawyer as a witness."

"No problem", said the president of the Bank confidently.

That night, the president became very nervous about the bet and spent a long time in front of the mirror examining his testicles, turning them this way and that, checking them over again and again until he was positive that no one could consider his testicles as square and reassuring himself that there was no way he could lose the bet.

The next morning at exactly 10 o'clock the elderly woman
arrived at the president's office with her lawyer and acknowledged the
$25,000 bet made the day before that the president's testicles were square.

The president confirmed that the bet was the same as the one
made the day before. Then the elderly woman asked him to
drop his pants etc. so that she and her lawyer could see clearly.

The president was happy to oblige. The elderly woman came closer so she could see better and asked the president if she could touch them. "Of course", said the president. "Given the amount of money involved, you
should be 100% sure."

The elderly woman did so with a little smile. Suddenly the president noticed that the lawyer was banging his head against the wall. He
asked the elderly woman why he was doing that and she replied, "Oh, it's probably because I bet him $100,000 that around 10 o'clock in the morning I would be holding the balls of the President of the Bank of Canada!"
30161  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: January 06, 2006, 11:39:41 AM
Mandado a mi' por "captainccs":
30162  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kendo on: January 05, 2006, 05:56:55 PM
Woof All:

Island Dog's opponent was Rod Kuratomi who had extensive training with  , , , I forget the name, but big in traditional Japanese circles.  Rod goes back to the legendary days with Top Dog in the mid 80s.

As seen in RCSFg #6, Shark Dog had an effective and somewhat unconventional bokken game.  Top Dog has commented that in the right hands that this was the most difficult weapon he faced.

Crafty Dog
30163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: January 04, 2006, 05:43:28 AM

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 1)
By Marc Erikson

[Editor's note: As distinct from the world religion of Islam, Islamism - as in part contextually defined below - is a political ideology that adherents would apply to contemporary governance and politics, and which they propagate through political and social activism.]

On November 7, 2001, on the request of the US government, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office froze the bank accounts of Nada Management, a Lugano-based financial services and consulting firm, and ordered a search and seizure raid on the firm's offices. Police pulled in several of the company's principals for questioning. Nada Management, part of the international al-Taqwa ("fear of God") group, is accused by US Treasury Department investigators of having acted for years as advisers and a funding conduit for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

Among those interrogated by police was a certain Albert Friedrich Armand (aka Ahmed) Huber, 74, a Swiss convert to Islam and retired journalist who sits on the Nada board of directors. Nothing too unusual perhaps, except for the fact that Huber is also a high-profile neo-Nazi who tirelessly travels the far-right circuit in Europe and the United States. He sees himself as a mediator between radical Islam and what he calls the New Right. Since September 11, a picture of Osama bin Laden hangs next to one of Adolf Hitler on the wall of his study in Muri just outside the Swiss capital of Bern. September 11, says Huber, brought the radical Islam-New Right alliance together.

On that, as his own career amply demonstrates, he is largely wrong. Last year's horrific terrorist acts were gleefully celebrated by Islamists and neo-Nazis alike (Huber boozed it up with young followers in a Bern bar) and may have produced closer links. But Islamism and fascism have a long, over 80-year history of collaboration based on shared ideas, practices and perceived common enemies. They abhor "Western decadence" (political liberalism, capitalism), fight holy wars - if needs be suicidal ones - by indiscriminate means, and are bent on the destruction of the Jews and of America and its allies.

Horst Mahler - once a lawyer for, later a member of, the 1960s/'70s German ultra-left terrorist Baader-Meinhof gang, and now a leading neo-Nazi - summed up convergent radical Islamic and far-right views and hopes in a September 21, 2001 letter: "The USA - or, to be more exact, the World Police - has shown itself to be vulnerable ... The foreseeable reaction of the East Coast [= the Jewish controllers and their gentile allies = the US Establishment] can be the spark that falls into a powder keg. For decades, the jihad - the Holy War - has been the agenda of the Islamic world against the 'Western value system.' This time it could break out in earnest ... It would be world war, that is won with the dagger ... The Anglo-American and European employees of the 'global players,' dispersed throughout the entire world, are - as Osama bin Laden proclaimed a long while ago - military targets. These would be attacked by dagger, where they least expected an attack. Only a few need be liquidated in this manner; the survivors will run off like hares into their respective home countries, where they belong."

Such convergence of views, methods and goals goes back to the 1920s when both Islamism and fascism, ideologically pre-shaped in the late 19th century, emerged as organized political movements with the ultimate aim of seizing state power and imposing their ideological and social policy precepts (in which aims fascism, of course, succeeded in the early '20s and '30s in Italy and Germany, respectively; Islamism only in 1979 in Iran; then in Sudan and Afghanistan). Both movements claim to be the true representatives of some arcane, idealized religious or ethnically pure communities of days long past - in the case of Islamism, the period of the four "righteous caliphs" (632-662), notably the rule of Umar bin al-Khattab (634-44) which allegedly exemplifies "din wa dawla", the unity of religion and state; in the case of the Nazis, the even more obscure Aryan "Volksgemeinschaft", with no historical reference point at all. But both are in reality - as historian Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, puts it - 20th century outgrowths, radical movements, utopian and totalitarian in their outlook. The Iranian scholars Ladan and Roya Boroumand have made the same point.

The Nazi ("national socialist") movement was formed in reaction to the World War I destruction of the "Second Reich", the "unequal and treasonous" Versailles Treaty and the mass social dislocation that followed, its racialist, corporatist ideology laid out in Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle). The Muslim Brotherhood (Al Ikhwan Al Muslimun), parent organization of numerous Islamist terrorist outfits, was formed in 1928 in reaction to the 1924 abolition of the caliphate by Turkish reformer Kemal Ataturk, drawing the consequences of the World War I demise of the Ottoman Empire. Ikhwan founder Hassan al-Banna, an Egyptian school teacher, wrote at the time that it was endless contemplation of "the sickness that has reduced the ummah (Muslim community) to its present state" which prompted him and five like-minded followers - all of them in their early twenties - to set up the organization to rectify it.

Fascist Nazi history need not be dwelt on further here. It led to the horrors and destruction of World War II and the Holocaust. Neo-Nazism, whether in Europe or the US, remains a terrorist threat and - as the French Le Pen version demonstrated in parliamentary elections this year - retains a measure of political clout. It is nonetheless a boxed-in niche force with little capability for break-out. Its ideological twin, Islamism, by sharp contrast, has every chance for wreaking escalating world-wide havoc based on its fast-growing influence among the world's more than one billion Muslims. Immediately following September 11 last year, US President George W Bush declared war on terrorism. It's a catchy phrase, but a serious misnomer all the same. Terrorism is a method of warfare, not the enemy. The enemy is Islamism.

Al-Banna's brotherhood, initially limiting itself to spiritual and moral reform, grew at astonishing speed in the 1930s and '40s after embracing wider political goals and by the end of World War II had around 500,000 members in Egypt alone and branches throughout the Middle East. Event background, ideology, and method of organizing all account for its improbable success. As the war drew to a close, the time was ripe for an end to British and French colonial rule and the Ikhwan was ready with the persuasive, religiously-buttressed answer: Free the Islamic homeland from foreign, infidel (kafir) control; establish a unified Islamic state. And al-Banna had built a formidable organization to accomplish just that: it featured sophisticated governance structures, sections in charge of different segments of society (peasants, workers, professionals), units entrusted with key functions (propaganda, press relations, translation, liaison with the Islamic world), and specialized committees for finances and legal affairs - all built on existing social networks, in particular those around mosques and Islamic welfare associations. Weaving of traditional ties into a distinctly modern political structure was at the root of al-Banna's success..

But the "Supreme Guide" of the brethren knew that faith, good works and numbers alone do not a political victory make. Thus, modeled on Mussolini's blackshirts (al-Banna much admired "Il Duce" and soul brother "Fuehrer" Adolf Hitler), he set up a paramilitary wing (slogan: "action, obedience, silence", quite superior to the blackshirts' "believe, obey, fight") and a "secret apparatus" (al-jihaz al-sirri) and intelligence arm of al-Ikhwan to handle the dirtier side - terrorist attacks, assassinations, and so on - of the struggle for power.

In 1948, after the brotherhood had played a pivotal role in mobilizing volunteers to fight in the war against "the Zionists" in Palestine to prevent establishment of a Jewish state, it considered itself to have the credibility, political clout, and military might to launch a coup d'etat against the Egyptian monarchy. But that wasn't to be. On December 8, 1948, a watchful Prime Minister Nuqrashi Pasha disbanded it. He wasn't watchful enough. Less than three weeks later, the brethren retaliated by assassinating the prime minister - in turn prompting the assassination of al-Banna by government agents on February 12, 1949.

That didn't end it. Under a new, more radical leader, Sayyid Qutb, the al-Ikhwan fight for state power continued and escalated. A mid-1960s recruit was Ayman al-Zawahiri, present number two man of al-Qaeda and the brains of the organization.

(?2002 Asia Times Online Co Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

Next, Part 2: The World War II Nazi connections of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological precursors of Islamism, and its present-day exponents and financiers.  

Middle East  

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2)
By Marc Erikson

     Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 1) (Nov 5, '02)

Osama bin Laden has the money, proven organizational skills, combat experience, and the charisma that can confer the air of wisdom and profundity even on inchoate or trivial utterances and let what's unfathomable appear to be deep in the eyes of his followers. But he's no intellectual. The brains of al-Qaeda and its chief ideologue by most accounts is Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahiri, 51, the organization's number two man and former head of the Egyptian al-Jihad, which was merged with bin Laden's outfit in February 1998 to form the "International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders".

Al-Zawahiri hails from an elite Egyptian family. His father was a professor at Cairo University's medical school from which Ayman graduated in 1974. His paternal grandfather was the Grand Imam at the al-Azhar Institute, Sunni Islam's paramount seat of learning. His great-uncle, Abdel-Rahman Azzam, was the first secretary-general of the Arab League.

Such family background notwithstanding, perhaps because of it, al-Zawahiri joined the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) as a young boy and was for the first time arrested in 1966 at age 15, when the secular government of President Gamal Abdel Nasser rounded up thousands of al-Ikhwan members and executed its top leaders in retribution for repeated assassination attempts on the president. One of those executed by hanging was chief ideologue Sayyid Qutb. Al-Zawahiri is Qutb's intellectual heir; he has further developed his message, and is putting it into practise.

But without Qutb, present-day Islamism as a noxious amalgam of fascist totalitarianism and extremes of Islamic fundamentalism would not exist. His principal "accomplishment" was to articulate the social and political practices of the Muslim Brotherhood from the 1930s through the 1950s - including collaboration with fascist regimes and organizations, involvement in anti-colonial, anti-Western and anti-Israeli actions, and the struggle for state power in Egypt - in demagogically persuasive fashion, buttressed by tendentious references to Islamic law and scriptures to deceive the faithful. Qutb, a one-time literary critic, was not a religious fundamentalist, but a Goebbels-style propagandist for a new totalitarianism to stand side-by-side with fascism and communism.

Hitler's early 1933 accession to power in Germany was widely cheered by Arabs of all different political persuasions. When the "Third Reich" spook and horrors were over 12 years later, a favorite excuse among those who felt the need for one was that the Nazis had been allies against the colonial oppressors and "Zionist intruders". Many felt no need for an excuse at all and simply bemoaned the fact that the Nazis' "final solution" to the "Jewish problem" had not proved final enough. But affinities with fascism on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood and other segments of Arab and Muslim society went much deeper than collaboration with the enemy of one's enemies, and collaboration itself took some extreme forms.

Substitute religious for racial purity, the idealized ummah of the rule of the four righteous caliphs of the mid-7th century for the mythical Aryan "Volksgemeinschaft", and most ideological and organizational precepts of Nazism laid out by chief theoretician Alfred Rosenberg in his work The Myth of the 20th Century and by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and later put into practice, are in all essential respects identical to the precepts of the Muslim Brotherhood after its initial phase as a group promoting spiritual and moral reform. This ranges from radical rejection of "decadent" Western political and economic liberalism (instead embracing the "leadership principle" and corporatist organization of the economy) to endorsement of the use of terror and assassinations to seize and hold state power, and all the way to concoction of fantastical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories linking international plutocratic finance to Freemasonry, Zionism and all-encompassing Jewish world control.

Not surprisingly then, as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and '40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and "supreme guide" Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini - incidentally the later mentor (from 1946 onward) of a young firebrand by the name of Yasser Arafat.

Having fled from Palestine to Iraq, el-Husseini assisted there in the short-lived April 1941 Nazi-inspired and financed anti-British coup. By June 1941, British forces had reasserted control in Baghdad and the mufti was on the run again, this time via Tehran and Rome to Berlin, to a hero's welcome. He remained in Germany as an honored guest and valuable intelligence and propaganda asset through most of the war, met with Hitler on several occasions, and personally recruited leading members of the Bosnian-Muslim "Hanjar" (saber) division of the Waffen SS.

Another valued World War II Nazi collaborator was Youssef Nada, current board chairman of al-Taqwa (Nada Management), the Lugano, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Bahamas-based financial services outfit accused by the US Treasury Department of money laundering for and financing of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. As a young man, he had joined the armed branch of the "secret apparatus" (al-jihaz al-sirri) of the Muslim Brotherhood and then was recruited by German military intelligence. When Grand Mufti el-Husseini had to flee Germany in 1945 as the Nazi defeat loomed, Nada reportedly was instrumental in arranging the escape via Switzerland back to Egypt and eventually Palestine, where el-Husseini resurfaced in 1946.


Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 3)
By Marc Erikson

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 1)

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2)

Islamism, or fascism with an Islamic face, was born with and of the Muslim Brotherhood. It proved (and improved) its fascist core convictions and practices through collaboration with the Nazis in the run-up to and during World War II. It proved it during the same period through its collaboration with the overtly fascist "Young Egypt" (Misr al-Fatah) movement, founded in October 1933 by lawyer Ahmed Hussein and modeled directly on the Hitler party, complete with paramilitary Green Shirts aping the Nazi Brown Shirts, Nazi salute and literal translations of Nazi slogans. Among its members, Young Egypt counted two promising youngsters and later presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El-Sadat.

In later years, the Brotherhood had serious fallings-out with Nasser, whom it attempted to assassinate on several different occasions, and with Sadat, whom it did assassinate in 1981. But up until at least the time of Nasser's 1952 coup d'etat, all was sweetness and light between Hassan al-Banna's brethren and Nasser's "free officers". In his personal diary, Sadat wrote in the summer of 1940:

"One day I invited Hassan al-Banna, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the army camp where I served, in the Egyptian Communication Corps, so that he might lecture before my soldiers on various religious topics. A few days before his scheduled appearance it was reported to me from army Intelligence that his coming was forbidden and canceled by the order of General Headquarters, and I myself was summoned for interrogation. After a short while I went secretly to El Bana's office and participated in a few seminars he organized. I like the man and admired him."

Whether al-Banna, who had already been in contact with German agents since the 1936-39 Palestine uprising against the British, or someone else introduced Sadat and his free officer comrades to German military intelligence is not known. But in the summer of 1942, when Rommel's Afrikakorps stood just over 100 kilometers from Alexandria and were poised to march into Cairo, Sadat, Nasser and their buddies were in close touch with the German attacking force and - with Brotherhood help - preparing an anti-British uprising in Egypt's capital. A treaty with Germany including provisions for German recognition of an independent, but pro-Axis Egypt had been drafted by Sadat, guaranteeing that "no British soldier would leave Cairo alive". When Rommel's push east failed at El Alamein in the fall of 1942, Sadat and several of his co-conspirators were arrested by the British and sat out much of the remainder of the war in jail.

Islamist-fascist collaboration did not cease with war's end. King Farouk brought large numbers of German military and intelligence personnel as well as ranking (ex-) Nazis into Egypt as advisors. It was a bad move. Several of the Germans, recognizing Farouk's political weakness, soon began conspiring with Nasser and his free officers (who, in turn, were working closely with the Brotherhood) to overthrow the king. On July 23, 1952, the deed was done and Newsweek marveled that, "The most intriguing aspect [of] the revolt ... was the role played in the coup by the large group of German advisors serving with the Egyptian army ... The young officers who did the actual planning consulted the German advisors as to 'tactics' ... This accounted for the smoothness of the operation."

And yet another player fond of playing all sides against the middle had entered the game prior to Farouk's ouster: In 1951, the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt (grandson of president Teddy, who in 1953 would organize the overthrow of elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh and install Reza Pahlavi as Shah) opened secret negotiations with Nasser. Agreement was soon reached that the US, post-coup, would assist in building up Egypt's intelligence and security forces - in the obvious manner, by reinforcing Nasser's existing Germans with additional, "more capable", ones. For that, CIA head Allen Dulles turned to Reinhard Gehlen, one-time head of eastern front German military intelligence and by the early 1950s in charge of developing a new German foreign intelligence service. Gehlen hired the best man he knew for the job - former SS colonel Otto Skorzeny, who at the end of the war had organized the infamous ODESSA network to facilitate the escape of high-ranking Nazis to Latin America (mainly Peron's Argentina) and Egypt. With Skorzeny now on the job of assisting Nasser, Egypt became a safe haven for Nazi war criminals galore. The CIA officer in charge of the Egypt assistance program was Miles Copeland, soon a Nasser intimate.

And then things got truly complicated and messy. Having played a large role in Nasser's power grab, the Muslim Brotherhood, after the 1949 assassination of Hassan al-Banna by government agents [see part 1] under new leadership and (since 1951) under the radical ideological guidance of Sayyid Qutb, demanded its due - imposition of Sharia (Islamic religious) law. When Nasser demurred, he became a Brotherhood assassination target, but with CIA and the German mercenaries' help he prevailed. In February 1954, the Brotherhood was banned. An October 1954 assassination attempt failed. Four thousand brothers were arrested, six were executed, and thousands fled to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.

Within short order, things got more tangled still: As Nasser in his brewing fight with Britain and France over control of the Suez Canal turned to the Soviet Union for assistance and arms purchases, the CIA approached and began collaboration with the Brotherhood against their ex-ally, the now pro-Soviet Nasser.

We leave that twisted tale at this stage. A leading Brotherhood member arrested in 1954 was Sayyid Qutb. He spent the next 10 years in Jarah prison near Cairo and there wrote the tracts that subsequently became (and till this day remain) must-reading and guidance for Islamists everywhere. (The main translations into Farsi were made by the Rahbar of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.) But while brother number one went to jail, other leading members who had escaped were given jobs in Saudi universities and provided with royal funding. They included Sayyid's brother Muhammad and Abdullah al-Azzam, the radical Palestinian preacher (the "Emir of Jihad") who later in Peshawar, Pakistan, founded the Maktab al-Khidamat, or Office of Services, which became the core of the al-Qaeda network. As a student at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Osama bin Laden, son of Muhammad bin Laden, the kingdom's wealthiest contractor and close friend of King Faisal, became a disciple of Muhammad Qutb and al-Azzam.

Sayyid Qutb was born in 1906 in a small village in Upper Egypt, was educated at a secular college, and subsequently worked as an inspector of schools for the ministry of education. In the 1930s and 1940s, nothing pointed to his later role. He wrote literary criticism, hung out in coffee houses, and published a novel which flopped. His conversion to radical Islam came during two-and-a-half years of graduate studies in education in the United States (1948-51). He came to hate everything American, described churches as "entertainment centers and sexual playgrounds", was shocked by the freedom allowed to women, and immediately upon his return to Egypt joined the Muslim Brotherhood and assumed the position of editor-in-chief of the organization's newspaper.

While in jail, Qutb wrote a 30-volume (!) commentary on the Koran; but his most influential book, published in 1965 after his 1964 release from prison for health reasons, was Ma'alim fi'l-tariq ("Signposts on the Road", also translated as "Milestones"). In it, he revised Hassan al-Banna's concept of establishing an Islamic state in Egypt after the nation was thoroughly Islamized, advocating instead - fascist or Bolshevik-style - that a revolutionary vanguard should first seize state power and then impose Islamization from above. Trouble is, this recipe went against the unambiguous Muslim prohibition against overthrowing a Muslim ruler.

Qutb found his clue to resolving the dilemma in the writings of his Pakistani contemporary, Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi (1903-79), founder in 1941 of the Jamaat-i-Islami, who had denounced the existing political order in Muslim societies as partial jahiliyyah - resembling the state of unenlightened savagery, ignorance and idolatry of pre-Islamic Arab societies. There was nothing "partial" about the jahiliyyah of the existing order, nothing that could be redeemed, pronounced Qutb: "... a society whose legislation does not rest on divine law ... is not Muslim, however ardently its individuals may proclaim themselves Muslim, even if they pray, fast and make the pilgrimage ... jahiliyyah ... takes the form of claiming the right to create values, to legislate rules of collective behavior and to choose any way of life that rests with me, without regard to what God has prescribed."

Only uncompromising restoration of the ideal of the union of religion and state as evidenced during the 7th century reign of the "righteous caliphs" would do. Islam was a complete system of life not in need of man-made additions. Any ruler, Muslim or otherwise, standing in the way could be justifiably removed - by any means.

This, naturally, applied to Nasser, and another attempt on his life was made in 1965. Qutb was rearrested, tortured and tried for treason. On August 29, 1966, he was hanged. The charge against him of plotting to establish a Marxist regime in Egypt was ludicrous. Nasser and his minions knew full well that the real danger to the regime stemmed from Qutb's denunciation of it as jahiliyyah, and not from those clauses of his Ma'alim fi'l-tariq which speak of a classless society in which the "selfish individual" and the "exploitation of man by man" would be abolished, which the prosecution cited as evidence against him.

The martyred Qutb's writings rapidly acquired wide acceptance in the Arab world, especially after the ignominious defeat of the Arabs in the June 1967 "Six Day War" with Israel, taken as proof of the depth of depravity to which the regimes in the Muslim realm had sunk.

To come: Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 4)


Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 4)
By Marc Erikson

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 1)

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2)

Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 3)

An early convert to Sayyid Qutb's new-fangled fascist Islamism which condones, indeed commands, terrorism and murder was the alleged number two man of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. [see part 2]. Having joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 15, he was caught in the Nasser dragnet after the 1965 assassination attempt on the Egyptian leader and - young age and elite family background notwithstanding - was thrown in jail. An April 1968 amnesty freed most of the brethren, and Ayman, in that regard following in his father's footsteps, went on to Cairo University to become a physician. He obtained his degree in 1974 and practiced medicine for several years.

His profession, however, was not his calling. By the late 1970s, he was back full-time in the Islamist revolution business agitating against the Egypt-Israel peace treaty (concluded in 1979). In 1980, on the introduction by military intelligence officer Abbud al-Zumar, he became a leading member of the Jama'at al-Jihad of Muhammad Abd-al-Salam Faraj which on October 6, 1981, assassinated President Anwar El Sadat while he was reviewing a military parade.

Faraj, like al-Zawahiri, had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but became disenchanted with its passivity. In 1979, he penned a short pamphlet titled "The Neglected Obligation" (al-Farida al-Gha'ibah), which relied heavily on the ideas of Sayyid Qutb. It became the founding document of al-Jihad, arguing along the familiar lines that acceptance of a government was only possible and legitimate when that government fully implemented Sharia, or Islamic law. Contemporary Egypt had not done so, and was thus suffering from jahiliyya. Jihad to rectify this, wrote Faraj, was not only the "neglected obligation" of Muslims, but in fact their most important duty.

Following the Sadat assassination, al-Zawahiri was arrested on a minor weapons possession charge and spent three years in jail. In 1985 he left Egypt for Saudi Arabia and later Peshawar, Pakistan, where he was joined by Muhammad al-Islambuli, the brother of one of Sadat's five assassins, 24-year-old artillery lieutenant Khalid Ahmed Shawki al-Islambuli. There, connections were made with the groups of Palestinian Islamist Abdullah Azzam and the latter's one-time student Osama bin Laden, by then fully engaged (with well-known CIA support) in assisting the mujahideen struggle against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahiri's al-Jihad was in many respects better organized and better trained than other groups in the Afghanistan theater. Prior to the murder of Sadat, it had succeeded in recruiting members of the presidential guard, military intelligence and the civil bureaucracy. Most importantly, it was in possession of a cogent and comprehensive ideology pointing beyond the Afghan struggle against the Soviet occupiers. "Afghanistan should be a platform for the liberation of the entire Muslim world," was the distinguishing creed of al-Jihad.

Al-Zawahiri wrote several books on Islamic movements, the best known of which is The Bitter Harvest (1991/92), a critical assessment of the failings of the Muslim Brotherhood. In it, he draws not only on the writings of Sayyid Qutb to justify murder and terrorism, but prominently references Pakistani Jamaat-i-Islami founder and ideologue Mawdudi on the global mission of Islamic jihad.

Mawdudi had written, "Islam wants the whole earth and does not content itself with only a part thereof. It wants and requires the entire inhabited world. It does not want this in order that one nation dominates the earth and monopolizes its sources of wealth, after having taken them away from one or more other nations. No, Islam wants and requires the earth in order that the human race altogether can enjoy the concept and practical program of human happiness, by means of which God has honored Islam and put it above the other religions and laws. In order to realize this lofty desire, Islam wants to employ all forces and means that can be employed for bringing about a universal all-embracing revolution. It will spare no effort for the achievement of this supreme objective. This far-reaching struggle that continuously exhausts all forces and this employment of all possible means are called jihad."

And further, "Islam is a revolutionary doctrine and system that overturns governments. It seeks to overturn the whole universal social order ... and establish its structure anew ... Islam seeks the world. It is not satisfied by a piece of land but demands the whole universe ... Islamic jihad is at the same time offensive and defensive ... The Islamic party does not hesitate to utilize the means of war to implement its goal."

Not just or even principally the expulsion of the Soviets from Afghanistan or the removal of any one godless Muslim regime, but global jihad as Mawdudi had prescribed, became al-Zawahiri's obsession. And he acted as he had read and written. After several years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, constructing there the platform from which to launch broader pursuits, Zawahiri traveled extensively on Swiss, French and Dutch passports in Western Europe and even the United States on fund-raising, recruiting and reconnaissance missions. Then came initial implementation of the offensive.

It is not known whether he had a hand in the 1993 bombing of the New York World Trade Center. But he had close connections to Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the spiritual leader of the group that carried out the attack. Then, in 1995, he was behind the truck bomb attack on the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan; in November 1997, he led the Vanguards of Conquest group responsible for the Luxor (Egypt) massacre in which 60 foreign tourists were systematically murdered and mutilated; in August 1998, he organized the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; and probably, in 2000, the speed-boat bomb attack on the USS Cole in Aden. Israeli intelligence considers him the "operational brains" behind September 11; the fact, in any case, is that the Egyptian Mohammed Atta, principal of the Hamburg, Germany, al-Qaeda cell that was instrumental to the World Trade Center destruction, was a member of Zawahiri's al-Jihad.

Osama bin Laden, as we wrote earlier, had the money, some of the connections, and perhaps the charisma to function as the leader of the al-Qaeda global jihad. But it was not until Zawahiri's al-Jihad in February 1998 formally joined forces with bin Laden that the present global Islamist terrorist threat truly emerged. With his long experience in the Muslim Brotherhood, his critical assessment of its failures, his cunning - albeit highly eclectic - fashioning of a fascist ideology drawing on Islamic religious elements, and his organizational and operational skills, al-Zawahiri is the key personality of global jihad. The key point to understand is that Zawahiri fascist Islamism has seized the ideological initiative in the Muslim world against which traditional Islam has so far proved an impotent, indeed often unwilling, opponent. Young Muslims everywhere are captivated by Zawahiri Islamism and jihad to which they attribute selfless idealism and in which they admire ruthless determination. It will be a long war.

And make no mistake: In this war against a new, ideologically vigorous fascism, collateral assets of the Islamists, the neo-Nazis of the Ahmed Huber variety which we described in part 1 of this series, or - for that matter - Saudi financiers wittingly pushing narrow sectarian Wahhabism upon youths in madrassas worldwide, are key forces in the enemy camp. Islamism as we have portrayed it in its historical and present dimension is a form of fascist madness - the same type of madness which one of Hitler's closest confidants, convicted war criminal Albert Speer, saw during the Fuehrer's final days. In his Spandau prison diary entry for November 18, 1947, Speer recollects:

"I recall how [Hitler] would have films shown in the Reich Chancellory about London burning, about the sea of fire over Warsaw, about exploding convoys, and the kind of ravenous joy that would then seize him every time. But I never saw him so beside himself as when, in a delirium, he pictured New York going down in flames. He described how the skyscrapers would be transformed into gigantic burning torches, how they would collapse in confusion, how the bursting city's reflection would stand against the dark sky."
30164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: January 03, 2006, 01:33:25 PM

It's the Demography, Stupid
The real reason the West is in danger of extinction.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West.

One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society--government health care, government day care (which Canada's thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain's just introduced). We've prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity--"Go forth and multiply," because if you don't you won't be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare.

Americans sometimes don't understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don't think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health and Human Services.

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths--or, at any rate, virtues--and that's why they're proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.
Speaking of which, if we are at war--and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada and Europe don't accept that proposition--than what exactly is the war about?

We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.

Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it's not what this thing's about. Radical Islam is an opportunistic infection, like AIDS: It's not the HIV that kills you, it's the pneumonia you get when your body's too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose--as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there's an excellent chance they can drag things out until Western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.

That's what the war's about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: "Civilizations die from suicide, not murder"--as can be seen throughout much of "the Western world" right now. The progressive agenda--lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism--is collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism. The great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures--the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It's fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society. Multiculturalism means your kid has to learn some wretched native dirge for the school holiday concert instead of getting to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or that your holistic masseuse uses techniques developed from Native American spirituality, but not that you or anyone you care about should have to live in an African or Native American society. It's a quintessential piece of progressive humbug.
Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the prince of Wales did, the prime minister of the United Kingdom did, the prime minister of Canada did . . . The premier of Ontario didn't, and so 20 Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque. I don't know why he didn't. Maybe there was a big backlog, it was mosque drive time, prime ministers in gridlock up and down the freeway trying to get to the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer Mosque on Elm Street. But for whatever reason he couldn't fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontario's citizenship minister did show up at a mosque, but the imams took that as a great insult, like the Queen sending Fergie to open the Commonwealth Games. So the premier of Ontario had to hold a big meeting with the aggrieved imams to apologize for not going to a mosque and, as the Toronto Star's reported it, "to provide them with reassurance that the provincial government does not see them as the enemy."

Anyway, the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died down, but it set the tone for our general approach to these atrocities. The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims. In most circumstances, it would be considered appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual "hate crime" by scaremongering about a purely hypothetical one. Needless to say, there is no campaign of Islamophobic hate crimes. If anything, the West is awash in an epidemic of self-hate crimes. A commenter on Tim Blair's Web site in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: "Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning's Terrorist Attack." Those community leaders have the measure of us.

Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In "The Survival of Culture," I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, Queen's Counsel. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage "Islamic fundamentalists." "We as Western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves," she complained. "We don't look at our own fundamentalisms."

Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those Western liberal fundamentalisms be? "One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I'm not sure that's true."

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you're nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda, so 9/11 is greatly facilitating our surrender to the most extreme aspects of the multicultural agenda.

For example, one day in 2004, a couple of Canadians returned home, to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. They were the son and widow of a fellow called Ahmed Said Khadr, who back on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier was known as "al-Kanadi." Why? Because he was the highest-ranking Canadian in al Qaeda--plenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda, but he was the Numero Uno. In fact, one could argue that the Khadr family is Canada's principal contribution to the war on terror. Granted they're on the wrong side (if you'll forgive my being judgmental) but no can argue that they aren't in the thick of things. One of Mr. Khadr's sons was captured in Afghanistan after killing a U.S. Special Forces medic. Another was captured and held at Guantanamo. A third blew himself up while killing a Canadian soldier in Kabul. Pa Khadr himself died in an al Qaeda shootout with Pakistani forces in early 2004. And they say we Canadians aren't doing our bit in this war!

In the course of the fatal shootout of al-Kanadi, his youngest son was paralyzed. And, not unreasonably, Junior didn't fancy a prison hospital in Peshawar. So Mrs. Khadr and her boy returned to Toronto so he could enjoy the benefits of Ontario government health care. "I'm Canadian, and I'm not begging for my rights," declared the widow Khadr. "I'm demanding my rights."

As they always say, treason's hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadr's death it seems clear that not only was he providing "aid and comfort to the Queen's enemies" but that he was, in fact, the Queen's enemy. The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal 22nd Regiment and other Canucks have been participating in Afghanistan, on one side of the conflict, and the Khadr family had been over there participating on the other side. Nonetheless, the prime minister of Canada thought Boy Khadr's claims on the public health system was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his own deep personal commitment to "diversity." Asked about the Khadrs' return to Toronto, he said, "I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree."
That's the wonderful thing about multiculturalism: You can choose which side of the war you want to fight on. When the draft card arrives, just tick "home team" or "enemy," according to taste. The Canadian prime minister is a typical late-stage Western politician: He could have said, well, these are contemptible people and I know many of us are disgusted at the idea of our tax dollars being used to provide health care for a man whose Canadian citizenship is no more than a flag of convenience, but unfortunately that's the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlife's got away with it. Instead, his reflex instinct was to proclaim this as a wholehearted demonstration of the virtues of the multicultural state. Like many enlightened Western leaders, the Canadian prime minister will be congratulating himself on his boundless tolerance even as the forces of intolerance consume him.

That, by the way, is the one point of similarity between the jihad and conventional terrorist movements like the IRA or ETA. Terror groups persist because of a lack of confidence on the part of their targets: The IRA, for example, calculated correctly that the British had the capability to smash them totally but not the will. So they knew that while they could never win militarily, they also could never be defeated. The Islamists have figured similarly. The only difference is that most terrorist wars are highly localized. We now have the first truly global terrorist insurgency because the Islamists view the whole world the way the IRA view the bogs of Fermanagh: They want it, and they've calculated that our entire civilization lacks the will to see them off.

We spend a lot of time at The New Criterion attacking the elites, and we're right to do so. The commanding heights of the culture have behaved disgracefully for the last several decades. But if it were just a problem with the elites, it wouldn't be that serious: The mob could rise up and hang 'em from lampposts--a scenario that's not unlikely in certain Continental countries. But the problem now goes way beyond the ruling establishment. The annexation by government of most of the key responsibilities of life--child-raising, taking care of your elderly parents--has profoundly changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. At some point--I would say socialized health care is a good marker--you cross a line, and it's very hard then to persuade a citizenry enjoying that much government largesse to cross back. In National Review recently, I took issue with that line Gerald Ford always uses to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." Actually, you run into trouble long before that point: A government big enough to give you everything you want still isn't big enough to get you to give anything back. That's what the French and German political classes are discovering.

Go back to that list of local conflicts I mentioned. The jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you're not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians and the Nigerians, why wouldn't you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Danes and New Zealanders?
So the jihadists are for the most part doing no more than giving us a prod in the rear as we sleepwalk to the cliff. When I say "sleepwalk," it's not because we're a blas? culture. On the contrary, one of the clearest signs of our decline is the way we expend so much energy worrying about the wrong things. If you've read Jared Diamond's bestselling book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," you'll know it goes into a lot of detail about Easter Island going belly up because they chopped down all their trees. Apparently that's why they're not a G-8 member or on the U.N. Security Council. Same with the Greenlanders and the Mayans and Diamond's other curious choices of "societies." Indeed, as the author sees it, pretty much every society collapses because it chops down its trees.

Poor old Diamond can't see the forest because of his obsession with the trees. (Russia's collapsing even as it's undergoing reforestation.) One way "societies choose to fail or succeed" is by choosing what to worry about. The Western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return we've developed a great cult of worrying. You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book "The Population Bomb," the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." In 1972, in their landmark study "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.

None of these things happened. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. We're pretty much awash in resources, but we're running out of people--the one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russia's the most obvious example: it's the largest country on earth, it's full of natural resources, and yet it's dying--its population is falling calamitously.
The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens--from terrorism to tsunamis--can be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of Western civilization. As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

And even though none of the prognostications of the eco-doom blockbusters of the 1970s came to pass, all that means is that 30 years on, the end of the world has to be rescheduled. The amended estimated time of arrival is now 2032. That's to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted "the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species. . . . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems . . . 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct . . ."

Etc., etc., for 450 pages. Or to cut to the chase, as the Guardian headlined it, "Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster."

Well, here's my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future . . . where the environment will look pretty darn good. If you're a tree or a rock, you'll be living in clover. It's the Italians and the Swedes who'll be facing extinction and the loss of their natural habitat.

There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. What's worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about that we don't worry about the things we should be worrying about. For 30 years, we've had endless wake-up calls for things that aren't worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society--the ones truly jeopardizing our future--we're sound asleep. The world is changing dramatically right now, and hysterical experts twitter about a hypothetical decrease in the Antarctic krill that might conceivably possibly happen so far down the road there are unlikely to be any Italian or Japanese enviro-worriers left alive to be devastated by it.

In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as "globalization" is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite--that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China--and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That's the way to look at Islamism: We fret about McDonald's and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo . . .

What's the better bet? A globalization that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalization that exports the fiercest aspects of its culture? When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 (or 2033, or 2037, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management and Queer Studies degrees). And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. "Replacement" fertility rate--i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller--is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?
Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans.

As fertility shrivels, societies get older--and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business--unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so. If you look at European election results--most recently in Germany--it's hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they're unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them. The Scottish executive recently backed down from a proposal to raise the retirement age of Scottish public workers. It's presently 60, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that that's somebody else's problem. The average German worker now puts in 22% fewer hours per year than his American counterpart, and no politician who wishes to remain electorally viable will propose closing the gap in any meaningful way.

This isn't a deep-rooted cultural difference between the Old World and the New. It dates back all the way to, oh, the 1970s. If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it's a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington's problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a postmodern military alliance? The "free world," as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else. And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, it's hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to reshoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the West makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.

There is no "population bomb." There never was. Birthrates are declining all over the world--eventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the Western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of 39. But demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage. Even in 1968 Paul Ehrlich and his ilk should have understood that their so-called population explosion was really a massive population adjustment. Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9% of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26%. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30% of the world's population to just over 20%, the Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20%.

Nineteen seventy doesn't seem that long ago. If you're the age many of the chaps running the Western world today are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair's less groovy, but the landscape of your life--the look of your house, the layout of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge--isn't significantly different. Aside from the Internet and the cell phone and the CD, everything in your world seems pretty much the same but slightly modified.

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%.

And by 2020?

So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)--or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.

Can these trends continue for another 30 years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: The grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

What will Europe be like at the end of this process? Who knows? On the one hand, there's something to be said for the notion that America will find an Islamified Europe more straightforward to deal with than M. Chirac, Herr Schroeder & Co. On the other hand, given Europe's track record, getting there could be very bloody. But either way this is the real battlefield. The al Qaeda nutters can never find enough suicidal pilots to fly enough planes into enough skyscrapers to topple America. But unlike us, the Islamists think long-term, and, given their demographic advantage in Europe and the tone of the emerging Muslim lobby groups there, much of what they're flying planes into buildings for they're likely to wind up with just by waiting a few more years. The skyscrapers will be theirs; why knock 'em over?
The latter half of the decline and fall of great civilizations follows a familiar pattern: affluence, softness, decadence, extinction. You don't notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually there's a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding slogan--like Bill Clinton's "It's about the future of all our children." We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Mr. Clinton's tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the West can't even steal his lame bromides: A society that has no children has no future.

Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an "amiable dunce" (in Clark Clifford's phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts' position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself.

Yet, even by the minimal standards of these wretched precedents, so-called post-Christian civilizations--as a prominent EU official described his continent to me--are more prone than traditional societies to mistake the present tense for a permanent feature. Religious cultures have a much greater sense of both past and future, as we did a century ago, when we spoke of death as joining "the great majority" in "the unseen world." But if secularism's starting point is that this is all there is, it's no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than it's ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that it's suicidally so.

To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020. Given that the CIA's got pretty much everything wrong for half a century, that would suggest the EU is a shoo-in to be the colossus of the new millennium. But even a flop spook is right twice a generation. If anything, the date of EU collapse is rather a cautious estimate. It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual way, and that by 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on American network news every night. Even if they avoid that, the idea of a childless Europe ever rivaling America militarily or economically is laughable. Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans, and what's left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: Its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if it's populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it's populated by Algerians? That's a trickier proposition.

Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.

Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner--and we're already seeing a drift in that direction.

In July 2003, speaking to the U.S. Congress, Tony Blair remarked: "As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?"

Excellent question. Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world today--Australia, India, South Africa--and in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the People's Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from 18th-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.
A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the "what do you leave behind?" question is more urgent than most of us expected. "The West," as a concept, is dead, and the West, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

What will London--or Paris, or Amsterdam--be like in the mid-'30s? If European politicians make no serious attempt this decade to wean the populace off their unsustainable 35-hour weeks, retirement at 60, etc., then to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035. As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?

This ought to be the left's issue. I'm a conservative--I'm not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: I'm with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the West's collapsed birthrates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by "a woman's right to choose," in any sense.
I watched that big abortion rally in Washington in 2004, where Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem were cheered by women waving "Keep your Bush off my bush" placards, and I thought it was the equivalent of a White Russian tea party in 1917. By prioritizing a "woman's right to choose," Western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad. If any of those women marching for their "reproductive rights" still have babies, they might like to ponder demographic realities: A little girl born today will be unlikely, at the age of 40, to be free to prance around demonstrations in Eurabian Paris or Amsterdam chanting "Hands off my bush!"

Just before the 2004 election, that eminent political analyst Cameron Diaz appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to explain what was at stake:

"Women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. . . . If you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body," she advised Oprah's viewers, "then you should vote."

Poor Cameron. A couple of weeks later, the scary people won. She lost all rights to her body. Unlike Alec Baldwin, she couldn't even move to France. Her body was grounded in Terminal D.

But, after framing the 2004 presidential election as a referendum on the right to rape, Miss Diaz might be interested to know that men enjoy that right under many Islamic legal codes around the world. In his book "The Empty Cradle," Philip Longman asks: "So where will the children of the future come from? Increasingly they will come from people who are at odds with the modern world. Such a trend, if sustained, could drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, gradually creating an anti-market culture dominated by fundamentalism--a new Dark Ages."

Bottom line for Cameron Diaz: There are worse things than John Ashcroft out there.

Mr. Longman's point is well taken. The refined antennae of Western liberals mean that whenever one raises the question of whether there will be any Italians living in the geographical zone marked as Italy a generation or three hence, they cry, "Racism!" To fret about what proportion of the population is "white" is grotesque and inappropriate. But it's not about race, it's about culture. If 100% of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesn't matter whether 70% of them are "white" or only 5% are. But if one part of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy and the other doesn't, then it becomes a matter of great importance whether the part that does is 90% of the population or only 60%, 50%, 45%.

Since the president unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrine--the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world--innumerable "progressives" have routinely asserted that there's no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, that Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that's true, it's a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under Shariah--in the United Kingdom. If a population "at odds with the modern world" is the fastest-breeding group on the planet--if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions--how safe a bet is the survival of the "modern world"?

Not good.

"What do you leave behind?" asked Tony Blair. There will only be very few and very old ethnic Germans and French and Italians by the midpoint of this century. What will they leave behind? Territories that happen to bear their names and keep up some of the old buildings? Or will the dying European races understand that the only legacy that matters is whether the peoples who will live in those lands after them are reconciled to pluralist, liberal democracy? It's the demography, stupid. And, if they can't muster the will to change course, then "What do you leave behind?" is the only question that matters.

Mr. Steyn is a syndicated columnist and theater critic for The New Criterion, in whose January issue this article appears.
30165  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cuba on: January 02, 2006, 07:30:26 PM

1) ?Que quiere decir "diacritico"?

2) Por pura coincidencia me la compre' la camiseta de Reagan que se ve en esa pagina dos horas antes de que se murio.
30166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: January 02, 2006, 04:47:49 AM
"At the far left of the major media spectrum were the Los Angeles Times (70), CBS Evening News (74), The New York Times (74), and The Wall Street Journal (85)."

I'm completely comfortable with the basic conclusion of the piece.  Indeed, as an ex-New Yorker I'll vouch for the NY Slimes, and as an Angeleno, I vouch for the Left Angeles Times, but the WSJ is the furthest left of all?!?!?  I understand that they are not talking about the editorial page, but , , , get serious.
30167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 31, 2005, 08:27:46 PM
Note the author of this piece!

Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam
Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology.

Friday, December 30, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

JAKARTA--News organizations report that Osama bin Laden has obtained a religious edict from a misguided Saudi cleric, justifying the use of nuclear weapons against America and the infliction of mass casualties. It requires great emotional strength to confront the potential ramifications of this fact. Yet can anyone doubt that those who joyfully incinerate the occupants of office buildings, commuter trains, hotels and nightclubs would leap at the chance to magnify their damage a thousandfold?

Imagine the impact of a single nuclear bomb detonated in New York, London, Paris, Sydney or L.A.! What about two or three? The entire edifice of modern civilization is built on economic and technological foundations that terrorists hope to collapse with nuclear attacks like so many fishing huts in the wake of a tsunami.

Just two small, well-placed bombs devastated Bali's tourist economy in 2002 and sent much of its population back to the rice fields and out to sea, to fill their empty bellies. What would be the effect of a global economic crisis in the wake of attacks far more devastating than those of Bali or 9/11?

It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognize that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We cannot afford to continue "business as usual" in the face of this existential threat. Rather, we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us.

An extreme and perverse ideology in the minds of fanatics is what directly threatens us (specifically, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology--a minority fundamentalist religious cult fueled by petrodollars). Yet underlying, enabling and exacerbating this threat of religious extremism is a global crisis of misunderstanding.
All too many Muslims fail to grasp Islam, which teaches one to be lenient towards others and to understand their value systems, knowing that these are tolerated by Islam as a religion. The essence of Islam is encapsulated in the words of the Quran, "For you, your religion; for me, my religion." That is the essence of tolerance. Religious fanatics--either purposely or out of ignorance--pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. They justify their brutality with slogans such as "Islam is above everything else." They seek to intimidate and subdue anyone who does not share their extremist views, regardless of nationality or religion. While a few are quick to shed blood themselves, countless millions of others sympathize with their violent actions, or join in the complicity of silence.

This crisis of misunderstanding--of Islam by Muslims themselves--is compounded by the failure of governments, people of other faiths, and the majority of well-intentioned Muslims to resist, isolate and discredit this dangerous ideology. The crisis thus afflicts Muslims and non-Muslims alike, with tragic consequences. Failure to understand the true nature of Islam permits the continued radicalization of Muslims world-wide, while blinding the rest of humanity to a solution which hides in plain sight.

The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view--further radicalizing Muslims, and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself.

Accomplishing this task will be neither quick nor easy. In recent decades, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology has made substantial inroads throughout the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism has become a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West. To neutralize the virulent ideology that underlies fundamentalist terrorism and threatens the very foundations of modern civilization, we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move. What we are talking about is nothing less than a global struggle for the soul of Islam.

The Sunni (as opposed to Shiite) fundamentalists' goals generally include: claiming to restore the perfection of the early Islam practiced by Muhammad and his companions, who are known in Arabic as al-Salaf al-Salih, "the Righteous Ancestors"; establishing a utopian society based on these Salafi principles, by imposing their interpretation of Islamic law on all members of society; annihilating local variants of Islam in the name of authenticity and purity; transforming Islam from a personal faith into an authoritarian political system; establishing a pan-Islamic caliphate governed according to the strict tenets of Salafi Islam, and often conceived as stretching from Morocco to Indonesia and the Philippines; and, ultimately, bringing the entire world under the sway of their extremist ideology.
Fundamentalist strategy is often simple as well as brilliant. Extremists are quick to drape themselves in the mantle of Islam and declare their opponents kafir, or infidels, and thus smooth the way for slaughtering nonfundamentalist Muslims. Their theology rests upon a simplistic, literal and highly selective reading of the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic traditions), through which they seek to entrap the world-wide Muslim community in the confines of their narrow ideological grasp. Expansionist by nature, most fundamentalist groups constantly probe for weakness and an opportunity to strike, at any time or place, to further their authoritarian goals.

The armed ghazis (Islamic warriors) raiding from New York to Jakarta, Istanbul, Baghdad, London and Madrid are only the tip of the iceberg, forerunners of a vast and growing population that shares their radical views and ultimate objectives. The formidable strengths of this worldwide fundamentalist movement include:

1) An aggressive program with clear ideological and political goals; 2) immense funding from oil-rich Wahhabi sponsors; 3) the ability to distribute funds in impoverished areas to buy loyalty and power; 4) a claim to and aura of religious authenticity and Arab prestige; 5) an appeal to Islamic identity, pride and history; 6) an ability to blend into the much larger traditionalist masses and blur the distinction between moderate Islam and their brand of religious extremism; 7) full-time commitment by its agents/leadership; Cool networks of Islamic schools that propagate extremism; 9) the absence of organized opposition in the Islamic world; 10) a global network of fundamentalist imams who guide their flocks to extremism; 11) a well-oiled "machine" established to translate, publish and distribute Wahhabi/Salafi propaganda and disseminate its ideology throughout the world; 12) scholarships for locals to study in Saudi Arabia and return with degrees and indoctrination, to serve as future leaders; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communication; and 15) the reluctance of many national governments to supervise or control this entire process.

We must employ effective strategies to counter each of these fundamentalist strengths. This can be accomplished only by bringing the combined weight of the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims, and the non-Muslim world, to bear in a coordinated global campaign whose goal is to resolve the crisis of misunderstanding that threatens to engulf our entire world.

An effective counterstrategy must be based upon a realistic assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses in the face of religious extremism and terror. Disunity, of course, has proved fatal to countless human societies faced with a similar existential threat. A lack of seriousness in confronting the imminent danger is likewise often fatal. Those who seek to promote a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam must overcome the paralyzing effects of inertia, and harness a number of actual or potential strengths, which can play a key role in neutralizing fundamentalist ideology. These strengths not only are assets in the struggle with religious extremism, but in their mirror form they point to the weakness at the heart of fundamentalist ideology. They are:
1) Human dignity, which demands freedom of conscience and rejects the forced imposition of religious views; 2) the ability to mobilize immense resources to bring to bear on this problem, once it is identified and a global commitment is made to solve it; 3) the ability to leverage resources by supporting individuals and organizations that truly embrace a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 4) nearly 1,400 years of Islamic traditions and spirituality, which are inimical to fundamentalist ideology; 5) appeals to local and national--as well as Islamic--culture/traditions/pride; 6) the power of the feminine spirit, and the fact that half of humanity consists of women, who have an inherent stake in the outcome of this struggle; 7) traditional and Sufi leadership and masses, who are not yet radicalized (strong numeric advantage: 85% to 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims); Cool the ability to harness networks of Islamic schools to propagate a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 9) the natural tendency of like-minded people to work together when alerted to a common danger; 10) the ability to form a global network of like-minded individuals, organizations and opinion leaders to promote moderate and progressive ideas throughout the Muslim world; 11) the existence of a counterideology, in the form of traditional, Sufi and modern Islamic teachings, and the ability to translate such works into key languages; 12) the benefits of modernity, for all its flaws, and the widespread appeal of popular culture; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communications, to disseminate progressive views--linking and inspiring like-minded individuals and organizations throughout the world; 15) the nation-state; and 16) the universal human desire for freedom, justice and a better life for oneself and loved ones.

Though potentially decisive, most of these advantages remain latent or diffuse, and require mobilization to be effective in confronting fundamentalist ideology. In addition, no effort to defeat religious extremism can succeed without ultimately cutting off the flow of petrodollars used to finance that extremism, from Leeds to Jakarta.

Only by recognizing the problem, putting an end to the bickering within and between nation-states, and adopting a coherent long-term plan (executed with international leadership and commitment) can we begin to apply the brakes to the rampant spread of extremist ideas and hope to resolve the world's crisis of misunderstanding before the global economy and modern civilization itself begin to crumble in the face of truly devastating attacks.
Muslims themselves can and must propagate an understanding of the "right" Islam, and thereby discredit extremist ideology. Yet to accomplish this task requires the understanding and support of like-minded individuals, organizations and governments throughout the world. Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.

Mr. Wahid, former president of Indonesia, is patron and senior advisor to the LibForAll Foundation (, an Indonesian and U.S.-based nonprofit that works to reduce religious extremism and discredit the use of terrorism
30168  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cuba on: December 31, 2005, 08:23:25 PM
Hijole, otra vez en ingles embarassed

Counting Castro's Victims

December 30, 2005; Page A17

"On May 27, [1966,] 166 Cubans -- civilians and members of the military -- were executed and submitted to medical procedures of blood extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong Communist aggression.

"A pint of blood is equivalent to half a liter. Extracting this amount of blood from a person sentenced to death produces cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. Once the blood is extracted, the person is taken by two militiamen on a stretcher to the location where the execution takes place."

-- InterAmerican Human Rights Commission, April 7, 1967

This weekend marks the 47th anniversary of the triumph of the "26th of July Movement," which many Cubans expected would return their country to a constitutional government. Fidel Castro had other ideas of course, and within weeks he hijacked the victory, converting the country into one of the most repressive states in modern history.

Waiting for Fidel to die has become a way of life in Cuba in the past decade. Conventional wisdom holds that the totalitarian regime will hang on even after the old man kicks the bucket. But that hasn't stopped millions from dreaming big about life in a Fidel-free Cuba.

Cuban reconciliation won't come easy, even if Fidel's ruthless, money-grubbing little brother Raul is somehow pushed aside. One painful step in the process will require facing the truth of all that has gone on in the name of social justice. As the report cited above shows, it is bound to be a gruesome tale.

The Cuba Archive project ( has already begun the heavy lifting by attempting to document the loss of life attributable to revolutionary zealotry. The project, based in Chatham, N.J., covers the period from May 1952 -- when the constitutional government fell to Gen. Fulgencio Batista -- to the present. It has so far verified the names of 9,240 victims of the Castro regime and the circumstances of their deaths. Archive researchers meticulously insist on confirming stories of official murder from two independent sources.

Cuba Archive President Maria Werlau says the total number of victims could be higher by a factor of 10. Project Vice President Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, has spent years studying the cost of the revolution and he estimates that almost 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship. Another 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs. An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Fidel's revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.

The archive project can be likened to the 1999 "Black Book of Communism," which documented the world-wide cost of communism, noting that "wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established it quickly led to crime, terror and repression." The Castro methodology, Cuba Archive finds, was much like that used in Poland and East Germany, less lethal than Stalin's purges, but equally effective in suppressing opposition.

In the earliest days of the revolution, summary executions established a culture of fear that quickly eliminated most resistance. In the decades that followed, inhumane prison conditions often leading to death, unspeakable torture and privation were enough to keep Cubans cowed.

Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in "extrajudicial assassinations." Che Guevara was a gleeful executioner at the infamous La Caba?a Fortress in 1959 where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot. Children have not been spared. Of the 94 minors whose deaths have been documented by Cuba Archive, 22 died by firing squad and 32 in extrajudicial assassinations.

Fifteen-year-old Owen Delgado Temprana was beaten to death in 1981 when security agents stormed the embassy of Ecuador where his family had taken refuge. In 1995, 17-year-old Junior Flores D?az died after being locked in a punishment cell in a Havana province prison and denied medical attention. He was found in a pool of vomit and blood. Many prison deaths are officially marked as "heart attacks," but witnesses tell another story. The project has documented 2,199 prison deaths, mostly political prisoners.

The revolution boasts of its gender equality, and that's certainly true for its victims. Women have not fared much better than men. In 1961, 25-year-old Lydia P?rez L?pez was eight months pregnant when a prison guard kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby and, without medical attention, bled to death. A 70-year-old woman named Edmunda Serrat Barrios was beaten to death in 1981 in a Cuban jail. Cuba Archive has documented 219 female deaths including 11 firing squad executions and 20 extrajudicial assassinations.

The heftiest death toll is among those trying to flee. Many have been killed by state security. Three Lazo children drowned in 1971 when a Cuban navy vessel rammed their boat; their mother, Mrs. Alberto Lazo Pastrana, was eaten by sharks. Twelve children -- ages six months to 11 years -- drowned along with 33 others when the Cuban coast guard sank their boat in 1994. Four children -- ages three to 17 -- drowned in the famous Canimar River massacre along with 52 others when the Cuban navy and a Cuban air force plane attacked a hijacked excursion boat headed for Florida in 1980.

The horror of that event cost one more life: After visiting survivors in the Matanzas hospitals, the famous revolutionary guerrilla Hayd?e Santamar?a, already in despair over the massive, inhumane boat exodus from the Port of Mariel, killed herself. That was a tragic admission of both the cost and failure of the revolution. The only riddle left is how, 25 years later, so-called "human rights" advocates like Argentine President Nestor Kirchner still embrace the Castro regime.
30169  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 2 New Clips! on: December 30, 2005, 07:42:08 PM
Special Stickfighting /training/conditioning methods will be a future DVD cheesy
30170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: December 29, 2005, 01:13:46 AM
While the Chicken Littles of the chattering classes cackle away, our troops keep doing the Right and the Heroic.

How does it go?  IIRC "De Oppresser Liber"

Carry on.
30171  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 2 New Clips! on: December 28, 2005, 04:22:45 PM
For those of you who come directly to the forum, know that we have two new clips up at
30172  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in the media on: December 28, 2005, 10:32:10 AM
My wife just ran across this:
30173  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Undefeated on: December 27, 2005, 08:56:59 PM
Woof M.:

When you write "I was simply just wondering who else has never lost." you accept a premise which we do not-- so how can we answer?  To answer it in its own terms begins a trajectory which does not interest us-- and to answer in our terms is non-responsive to yours.

So I will leave it at this.  This fighter is the only fighter we have had who described his experience in this way.  Make of it what you will.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30174  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: December 27, 2005, 06:35:49 PM
Here's one from December 2001 from Jeff "the Angry Dwarf" Brown who is one of the three men assisting in Kali Tudo.  The all capital letters thing is his doing.

December 14, 2001, 03:51:12 PM ?      

Woof All:

 Jeff Brown, a.k.a. "the angry dwarf", posted this on the public site and I thought I would bring it over for discussion here.

Guro Crafty

PS:  The all caps thing is his doing.



30175  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: December 26, 2005, 08:35:44 PM

Disculpen por favor que lo siguiente sea en ingles-- si alguien tiene la manera de traducirlo, pues adelante!

Jude Wanniski, recientemente muerte, fue un economista de tremenda profundidad, aunque tambien fue algo de un "crank" en unos asunstos.


Published: April 12, 1994
El Economista, Mexico City
by Jude Wanniski

The most important problem facing Mexico today is the inadequacy of its political system in serving the myriad needs of the Mexican people. From a U.S. perspective, it even occurs to me that the business and political leaders of your country should consider a grand political reorganization, not merely the kind of incremental reforms that are being debated.

The reason is that Mexico`s existing political mechanism evolved during its experiment with socialism, which requires a concentration of power at the elite center. Democratic capitalism functions best when political power is diffuse, widely shared by ordinary people. Luis Donaldo Colosio had embraced this view of political decentralization, as does Ernesto Zedillo and the candidates of the other major parties. This essay may help further the discussion by taking it to a broad, philosophical plain.

More than a century ago, Karl Marx correctly saw that for capitalism to thrive, political power must be dispersed through active universal suffrage. What he saw as the flaw of capitalism was that successful businessmen -- those at the top -- would always tend to use their political power to discourage competition from those at the bottom. Only a democracy that puts political power in the hands of the many can it act as a check on that tendency.

Mexico is now experiencing terrible social distress because the economic reforms of the Salinas Administration have taxed the existing political structure to the breaking point -- like a growing boy who is splitting through an old suit of clothes.

"Salinastroika," as I came to call it in 1989, has been a great boon to Mexico, benefitting the nation in general by reviving an economy that had stagnated under a burden of taxes, inflation, and public enterprises that squandered national resources. But the benefits thus far have been largely concentrated in the industrial and financial centers -- in Mexico City and Monterrey.

The answer is not to tax the centers more heavily in order to redistribute wealth to the less developed states -- Chiapas, for example. The answer lies in reorganizing the national political structure so that states, like Chiapas, will have the ability to increase their own economic welfare instead of relying on the good will of those at the center.

Giving up political power at the center sounds difficult to those who now have it, but it should rather be seen as an investment that will expand the power of all Mexicans -- in the same way a father gives up power over his growing sons. The people of Chiapas do not wish to drag down the people of Mexico City and Monterrey. They just do not want to be left behind.

At a meeting in Mexico City last November, for example, I recommended to some of Mexico`s leading businessmen that Mexico import one of the most successful of the institutions of the United States -- the practice of issuing state and municipal bonds that have been approved in elections by the people whose taxes must ultimately guarantee the bonds.

In the past several decades, Mexico`s national ruling class has maintained the allegiance of the people by gathering in resources at the center and, with a rough sort of justice, distributing those resources through the socialist mechanisms of the PRI.

President Salinas has taken this a step further, by distributing capital assembled at the center to public works projects given priority by the local citizenry. This at least draws on the intelligence of the people of the grass roots in discovering which uses of national capital will provide a reasonable return on investment.

In the United States, because political power is diffuse, the power to tax is diffuse as well. This enables even the smallest political subdivisions to draw upon public resources when all those affected democratically agree to shoulder the increased tax burden should the public investment fail.

There has been no better demonstration of the wisdom of ordinary people when democratically assembled than the public bond issues of the federal system in the United States. Over the last two hundred years, literally several hundred thousand bond issues have been floated by states, counties, cities, and towns as well as districts representing schools, airports, sewer and water systems. Rarely have such bonds failed, so careful are taxpayers and property owners in assessing the investments before they vote.

Democracy works so splendidly when voters can focus on a single issue because the electorate is like a giant computer, linking together the power of the small computers at the heart of the human brain. Individual voters may not be able to compete with the wisdom of the elite at the center, but when massed together in an integrated circuit, ordinary people can outperform any small number of experts on a single yes/no political decision.

The electoral reforms being discussed by leaders of the three main political parties in Mexico attempt to insure honest elections at the presidential and gubernatorial levels. The reforms are naturally resisted by local political operatives who see their way of life challenged by these reforms. From their perspective, Mexico City is taking away political power from the rest of the country in the name of political reform -- increasing power at the center.

The only way to neutralize their opposition is for the three national political parties to agree that some of the taxing power at the center should devolve to the perimeters -- along with the power to capitalize public resources through bond finance. In the United States, income from interest on state and local bonds are tax exempt, which is an efficient way of attracting capital from the wealth at the center to those locales deficient in capital. The system is perfectly suited to Mexico, which is already structured loosely along federal lines.

With this kind of power shift to the states comes responsibility. When people have an opportunity to acquire wealth, they develop a greater respect for property rights. As a result, communities that have honest elections do better than communities that do not. Instead of the national government attempting to police the voting booths, the people do it themselves out of self interest.

The current structure of government in Mexico is perfectly suited to the kind of corporate socialism that has served the people for better or worse. It is organized along the lines of a giant conglomerate called Mexico, Inc., with a chief executive officer who reports to a board of directors, who serves six years and, with the general approval of the board, is permitted to name his own successor.

The formula is superior to monarchy, which transmits power from one generation to another through blood and kinship. In the corporate method, anyone born in Mexico can theoretically grow up to be president. In some of the best days of the Roman Empire, emperors followed the practice of adopting sons deemed worthy of power. Over time, the system broke down through slippage in the selection process -- less able leaders chose less able successors.

The most efficient system is that which gives the whole people the power to select their leaders from the widest possible talent pool. The great religions of the world teach us that saviors can be found born in a stable or abandoned in the bulrushes. In establishing a new political system, the concept might again draw upon the experience of the United States.

It has only been in the last forty years that the American president has been chosen from candidates themselves chosen by the people at large. Prior to the 1950s, there were few primary elections. Democratic and Republican party leaders chose candidates through the convention process, which concentrated power in the hands of the party elite. In a new, decentralized political system, there would have to be some method that would give electoral weight to the considerations of those furthest from the center.

Yet another democratic concept that has served the United States well is that of the electoral college, which is suited to Mexico`s federal system. Its important ingredient is the winner-take-all aspect of state-by-state balloting. This maximizes the importance of small states, whose numbers would otherwise be swamped by the several megastates like California and New York.

It also forces the dominance of two political parties, as it is almost impossible for a major third party to survive a winner-take-all system. A two-party system is technically superior in advancing the national interest because it forces a clear choice in the agendas of the two parties. Multi-party systems introduce confusion in the electorate, leaving critical issues facing a nation unresolved.

If Mexico were to adopt a winner-take-all federal system, one of the three major parties would fade to minor status -- equivalent to the Libertarian or Socialist parties in the U.S. The other two would likely organize around the fundamental principles that have faced all people in all times -- one being the party of security, the other the party of opportunity.

In the smallest political unit, the family, the tension usually lies between the mother`s role of security, wishing to limit risk, and the father`s role of expanding opportunities through greater risk. The modern nation state may seem exceedingly complex next to the family unit, but in simplest terms, it operates best when it is organized the same way, as an aggregation of millions of family units.

If Mexico wished to carry these concepts to the state of the art, it might consider another democratic mechanism that is not now available to the people of the United States, but can be found in Switzerland. That is a national initiative and referendum process, which carries the concept of democracy to its logical conclusion.

In Switzerland each year, the most important issues facing the people are decided by the people in national referenda. Instead of assigning the most important policy questions to national legislatures, which can be considered "committees" of the whole people, the national electorate itself grapples with these five, six, or seven topics.

This mechanism makes Switzerland the most democratic country in the world. It should not be surprising that it is also the most prosperous, with the highest per capita income in the world. It is also a peaceful country, despite the fact that it accommodates four official languages of four distinct ethnic groups.

If Mexico had such a mechanism, it could put questions that now are impossible for it to address to the whole people. Should Pemex be privatized? If the people are asked this question in a public opinion poll, the answer comes back in the negative. In a national referendum on the subject, with voters having to educate themselves on the pros and cons, the results could be quite different. It could also lead to a question on whether citizens who own property should also own the mineral rights to that property -- restoring the law as it existed prior to the revolution.

The same is true of fundamental questions of monetary and fiscal policy, of social policies, and the environment. Instead of national political leaders having to guess at where the people wish to go, they can on the most important questions simply ask them. The ruling class at first glance will always be suspicious of this kind of expansive, active democracy -- believing it would diminish the importance of the elite. Instead, it would put a higher premium on the other elites of society, in business and finance, in the arts and sciences.

The global trend is in the direction of more, not less democracy, as communications become instantaneous, and as competition between nations requires the most efficient decision-making at the level of public policy. Instead of waiting for it to happen elsewhere, Mexico should now consider getting ahead of the curve, of taking this opportunity which history has presented it and discussing the frontiers of democratic possibilities. Instead of incremental reform, it should think of a constitutional convention and a grand reorganization that would put it first in the world at the edge of the new century.
30176  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: December 23, 2005, 11:51:51 AM
Si no me equivoco "Jorge Castaneda" es la Sec. de Relaciones Exteriores, y Carlos Castaneda el autor del libros de Don Juan Cheesy

Buen comentario.

La Aventura continua!
30177  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: December 22, 2005, 01:37:32 AM
Two women were playing golf. One teed off and watched in horror as her
ball headed directly toward foursome of men playing the next hole. The
ball hit one of the men, and he immediately clasped his hands together
at his groin, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in

The woman rushed down to the man and immediately began to apologize.

"Please allow me to help. I'm a physical therapist and I know I could
relieve your pain if you'd allow me," she told him.
"Oh, no, I'll be all right. I'll be fine in a few minutes," the man
replied, still in pain, in the foetal position, still clasping his
hands together in his groin. But she persisted, and he finally allowed her to help.

She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side; she loosened
his pants, and put her hands inside. She began to massage him. She
then asked, "How does that feel?"

He replied, "It feels great, but my thumb still hurts like hell!"
30178  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: December 22, 2005, 01:33:15 AM
Christmas Carols for the Psychiatrically Challenged

Schizophrenia - Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder - We Three Queens
Disoriented Are

Amnesia - I Don't Know if I'll Be Home for Christmas

Narcissistic - Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn
and Street and
Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and
Trucks and Trees and
Fire Hydrants

Paranoid - Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

Borderline Personality Disorder - Thoughts of
Roasting on an Open Fire

Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna
Cry, I'm Gonna
Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Jingle Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ....

Agoraphobia - I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day but
Couldn't Leave My

Autistic - Jingle Bell Rock and Rock and Rock and Rock
and Rock and

Senile Dementia - Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles
from My House
in My Slippers and Robe

Oppositional Defiance Disorder - I Saw Mommy Kissing
Santa Cla! us So
I Burned Down the House

Social Anxiety Disorder - Have Yourself a Merry Little
Christmas While
I Sit Here and Hyperventilate

Narcoleptic - Jingle Bellzzzzzz...
30179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: December 22, 2005, 01:31:09 AM
Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey

From 2006 Britain will be the first country where every journey by every car will be monitored

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Published: 22 December 2005

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.
Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.
The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.
By next March a central database installed alongside the Police National Computer in Hendon, north London, will store the details of 35 million number-plate "reads" per day. These will include time, date and precise location, with camera sites monitored by global positioning satellites.
Already there are plans to extend the database by increasing the storage period to five years and by linking thousands of additional cameras so that details of up to 100 million number plates can be fed each day into the central databank.
Senior police officers have described the surveillance network as possibly the biggest advance in the technology of crime detection and prevention since the introduction of DNA fingerprinting.
But others concerned about civil liberties will be worried that the movements of millions of law-abiding people will soon be routinely recorded and kept on a central computer database for years.
The new national data centre of vehicle movements will form the basis of a sophisticated surveillance tool that lies at the heart of an operation designed to drive criminals off the road.
In the process, the data centre will provide unrivalled opportunities to gather intelligence data on the movements and associations of organised gangs and terrorist suspects whenever they use cars, vans or motorcycles.
The scheme is being orchestrated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and has the full backing of ministers who have sanctioned the spending of ?24m this year on equipment.
More than 50 local authorities have signed agreements to allow the police to convert thousands of existing traffic cameras so they can read number plates automatically. The data will then be transmitted to Hendon via a secure police communications network.
Chief constables are also on the verge of brokering agreements with the Highways Agency, supermarkets and petrol station owners to incorporate their own CCTV cameras into the network. In addition to cross-checking each number plate against stolen and suspect vehicles held on the Police National Computer, the national data centre will also check whether each vehicle is lawfully licensed, insured and has a valid MoT test certificate.
"Every time you make a car journey already, you'll be on CCTV somewhere. The difference is that, in future, the car's index plates will be read as well," said Frank Whiteley, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire and chairman of the Acpo steering committee on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
"What the data centre should be able to tell you is where a vehicle was in the past and where it is now, whether it was or wasn't at a particular location, and the routes taken to and from those crime scenes. Particularly important are associated vehicles," Mr Whiteley said.
The term "associated vehicles" means analysing convoys of cars, vans or trucks to see who is driving alongside a vehicle that is already known to be of interest to the police. Criminals, for instance, will drive somewhere in a lawful vehicle, steal a car and then drive back in convoy to commit further crimes "You're not necessarily interested in the stolen vehicle. You're interested in what's moving with the stolen vehicle," Mr Whiteley explained.
According to a strategy document drawn up by Acpo, the national data centre in Hendon will be at the heart of a surveillance operation that should deny criminals the use of the roads.
"The intention is to create a comprehensive ANPR camera and reader infrastructure across the country to stop displacement of crime from area to area and to allow a comprehensive picture of vehicle movements to be captured," the Acpo strategy says.
"This development forms the basis of a 24/7 vehicle movement database that will revolutionise arrest, intelligence and crime investigation opportunities on a national basis," it says.
Mr Whiteley said MI5 will also use the database. "Clearly there are values for this in counter-terrorism," he said.
"The security services will use it for purposes that I frankly don't have access to. It's part of public protection. If the security services did not have access to this, we'd be negligent."

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.
Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.
The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.
By next March a central database installed alongside the Police National Computer in Hendon, north London, will store the details of 35 million number-plate "reads" per day. These will include time, date and precise location, with camera sites monitored by global positioning satellites.
Already there are plans to extend the database by increasing the storage period to five years and by linking thousands of additional cameras so that details of up to 100 million number plates can be fed each day into the central databank.
Senior police officers have described the surveillance network as possibly the biggest advance in the technology of crime detection and prevention since the introduction of DNA fingerprinting.
But others concerned about civil liberties will be worried that the movements of millions of law-abiding people will soon be routinely recorded and kept on a central computer database for years.
The new national data centre of vehicle movements will form the basis of a sophisticated surveillance tool that lies at the heart of an operation designed to drive criminals off the road.
In the process, the data centre will provide unrivalled opportunities to gather intelligence data on the movements and associations of organised gangs and terrorist suspects whenever they use cars, vans or motorcycles.
The scheme is being orchestrated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and has the full backing of ministers who have sanctioned the spending of ?24m this year on equipment.
More than 50 local authorities have signed agreements to allow the police to convert thousands of existing traffic cameras so they can read number plates automatically. The data will then be transmitted to Hendon via a secure police communications network.

Chief constables are also on the verge of brokering agreements with the Highways Agency, supermarkets and petrol station owners to incorporate their own CCTV cameras into the network. In addition to cross-checking each number plate against stolen and suspect vehicles held on the Police National Computer, the national data centre will also check whether each vehicle is lawfully licensed, insured and has a valid MoT test certificate.
"Every time you make a car journey already, you'll be on CCTV somewhere. The difference is that, in future, the car's index plates will be read as well," said Frank Whiteley, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire and chairman of the Acpo steering committee on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
"What the data centre should be able to tell you is where a vehicle was in the past and where it is now, whether it was or wasn't at a particular location, and the routes taken to and from those crime scenes. Particularly important are associated vehicles," Mr Whiteley said.
The term "associated vehicles" means analysing convoys of cars, vans or trucks to see who is driving alongside a vehicle that is already known to be of interest to the police. Criminals, for instance, will drive somewhere in a lawful vehicle, steal a car and then drive back in convoy to commit further crimes "You're not necessarily interested in the stolen vehicle. You're interested in what's moving with the stolen vehicle," Mr Whiteley explained.
According to a strategy document drawn up by Acpo, the national data centre in Hendon will be at the heart of a surveillance operation that should deny criminals the use of the roads.
"The intention is to create a comprehensive ANPR camera and reader infrastructure across the country to stop displacement of crime from area to area and to allow a comprehensive picture of vehicle movements to be captured," the Acpo strategy says.
"This development forms the basis of a 24/7 vehicle movement database that will revolutionise arrest, intelligence and crime investigation opportunities on a national basis," it says.
Mr Whiteley said MI5 will also use the database. "Clearly there are values for this in counter-terrorism," he said.
"The security services will use it for purposes that I frankly don't have access to. It's part of public protection. If the security services did not have access to this, we'd be negligent."
30180  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Guro Crafty in Memphis Monday January 9 on: December 22, 2005, 01:12:22 AM
30181  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: December 21, 2005, 01:56:17 PM
Mexican gangs force Indians to grow opium By Tim Gaynor
Wed Dec 21, 8:12 AM ET

PINO GORDO, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican Indians have grown maize, worshiped nature and lived by the light of pine torches in the canyons of the western Sierra Madre mountains for centuries. But this way of life is abruptly changing.

Now armed drug gangs are forcing them to plant opium poppies and marijuana in their ancestral lands, which lie in a notorious region dubbed Mexico's 'Golden Triangle' of drug trafficking.

The rugged point where the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa meet is home to around 90,000 Tarahumara, Tepehuan, Pima and Guarijio Indians, around half of whom are getting caught up -- only a few of them willingly -- in the spiraling trade, community leaders say.

The vulnerable groups live in log cabins or caves hewn from the rock of the plunging mile-deep canyons. Speaking in a consonant-rich dialect, they live by planting maize and beans and raising goats in a precarious hand-to-mouth existence.

Since the 1970s, tribal activists say at least 40 indigenous leaders have been gunned down by the chainsaw-wielding loggers and drug planters, in a conflict that is little known in the rest of Mexico.

The problem has recently become so bad that it is reaching even far-flung villages like Pino Gordo, a highly traditional Tarahumara Indian community watched over by peyote-chewing shamans, some 50 miles (80-km) from the nearest road.

"Outsiders are coming in and cutting down our oak and pine trees without our permission," the community's traditional leader Prudencio Ramos said in broken Spanish.

"They walk among us with guns and sow marijuana and poppies, and people are afraid," he added.


While home to indigenous groups, the rugged tri-state area is also the cradle of the Mexican drug trade, where Chinese settlers first came in the 19th century to grow opium poppies for morphine-based painkillers sold in the United States.

Now, locals say traffickers are pushing ever deeper into the labyrinthian canyons of the Sierra, felling the old growth forests and planting illegal drug crops away from the vigilant gaze of the Mexican army, who set up road blocks in the area.

"The traffickers look for the most out-of-the-way places to plant marijuana and poppies ... and these are precisely the areas where the indigenous groups live," said Ramon Castellano, a local agricultural consultant of mixed Pima Indian descent.

They force some Stetson-wearing Indian farmers to plant marijuana and poppies at gun point. Others accept seeds, money and provisions from the traffickers in a bid to squeeze a few extra pesos from their marginal lands.

Toward harvest time in March and April, locals say burly cartel minders with assault rifles and two-way radios watch over the pockets of opium poppy blooms, which are transformed into increasingly pure "black tar" heroin and smuggled over the U.S. border.

"If it's a good year, the farmers can earn more than they can by planting maize," said Isidro Baldenegro, a Tarahumara activist who won a prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize this year for his efforts to protect the forest communities.

"But if the army goes in, then they lose the crop and they don't even have the maize left to eat," he added.

Baldenegro, whose father was killed by an unknown gunman in 1986, has an armed police escort when he travels in the mountainous region after being harassed by powerful and well-connected drug loggers.

He was jailed on false charges of arms and drug possession in 2003, before being released 15 months later following pressure from international organizations including Amnesty International.


Mexican drug gangs are growing increasingly violent, and authorities say they have killed more than 1,000 people since the start of 2005 in a war for control of the lucrative trade in cocaine, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines worth billions of dollars in the United States.

The Sierra Madre Alliance, a nonprofit organization which supports threatened indigenous groups in the region, says the cartels' profits and networks of influence are forcing the Indians off their traditional lands.

The fall-out from the trade is also hitting tribal peoples' customs hard, filling traditional villages with guns, cash and consumer goods, while rates of drug and alcohol abuse there are starting to climb.

"There are now Tarahumara youngsters who smoke marijuana, which they never did before, and it's very common for them to get drunk when they have the money," said Baldenegro.

"They also buy loud radios and play music, which annoys people during the traditional festivals," he added.

Locals say some youngsters now play thumping accordion ballads called 'narco-corridos' honoring local drug lords, while others venerate Jesus Malverde -- the bandits' patron saint.

As the snarling chainsaws and cartel pistoleros close in on Pino Gordo, regarded as one of the last untouched Tarahumara strongholds in the sierra, Baldenegro is desperate.

"We are calling to the four winds for help," he said. "If we don't get it, there is a real danger that traditional life here will simply disappear."
30182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 21, 2005, 01:52:38 PM
30183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 21, 2005, 12:39:02 AM
The Iraqi Election's Effects, from Washington to Tehran
Note: The Geopolitical Intelligence Report will resume Jan. 3.

By George Friedman

Let's begin with two facts. First, the Iraqi elections were held Dec. 15. That is the important news: They were held. The Sunni population, along with Shia and Kurds, participated. Second, U.S. President George W. Bush did not break below 37 percent popularity. In fact, he bounced to about 47 percent.

The first fact indicates that the Iraqi situation did not collapse into utter chaos. The second fact indicates that the Bush presidency did not collapse into impotence. These two facts are obviously connected. They do not end the story by any means, but they do open a new chapter.

In September and October, as Bush sank below 40 percent in the polls, we argued that he was reaching a critical point: As presidents fall below about 35-37 percent, they start losing their core constituency -- an event from which recovery is extremely difficult. Bush's presidency was at its red line. We also argued that the crisis' cause was not just Hurricane Katrina -- although it certainly hurt -- but also that Bush couldn't seem to pull the situation together in Iraq. But even though Bush's political base shuddered, it did not break. And that bought him time to see Iraq develop a sense of order with the Dec. 15 election.

Looked at in reverse, if Bush had been flattened completely by plummeting popularity figures, pulling things together Dec. 15 would have been impossible. The Sunnis were looking to Washington to guarantee their interests as they entered the political process. If Bush had collapsed completely, those guarantees would have been of little value, and the Sunnis might well have pursued a different course. However, Bush did not collapse, and the Sunnis entered the political process. Thus the two political processes became intimately bound up together.

The Baathist and traditional Sunni leadership's decision to participate in the elections was conditioned by two considerations. First, and most important, had they not participated they would have been completely excluded from the regime the Shia and Kurds were crafting. The Sunnis realized the insurrection was not spreading beyond their own region. They could sustain their resistance, but the political process was under way in the rest of Iraq -- the larger part of Iraq -- and they would be left with chaos in their own region, isolation from the rest of the country and no political power. Moreover, if they succeeded in driving out the Americans, they would have been left to the tender mercies of their historical enemies. So, if they failed to drive out the Americans, they would be in chaotic isolation; if they did drive out the Americans, they would face much harsher treatment at the hands of the Shia. The revelation of conditions in Shiite prisons for Sunnis just before the elections helped drive that point home neatly.

Secondly, the native Sunni leadership was not happy with the inroads foreign jihadists were making into the Sunni community. The Baathists are secular, and the rest of the Sunni community is far from Wahhabi jihadists. That the jihadists were effective in fighting the Americans did not necessarily thrill the Sunni leadership, who did not want to see their sons come under the radicals' influence. Jihadist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- useful while the Sunnis were trying to force a military solution to their situation -- posed an increasing danger to the traditional leadership. As foreigners and jihadists, al-Zarqawi and his followers in all likelihood could not supplant the local leadership. Nevertheless, they posed a challenge that would only increase as the insurrection continued. Also, the Iraqi Sunnis were not exactly thrilled about Sunnis regularly dying at the hands of jihadists -- whether as collateral damage or due to "collaboration." In the Sunni mind there is a difference between killing Americans (resistance) and killing Sunnis (terrorism). The jihadists were a useful tool, but only when they could be controlled.

For the United States, splitting the Sunnis between the jihadist and Baathist/traditional faction had been a fundamental strategy. Following the miscalculations of 2003, the first U.S. strategy had been to play the Shia against the Sunnis in order to contain the insurrection in the Sunni region. That having succeeded, the United States now wanted to split the Sunnis among themselves, and especially isolate the al-Zarqawi faction.

U.S. efforts were much more sophisticated than just pitting Sunni nationalists against jihadists. Washington also worked to exploit internal Sunni nationalist differences between Baathists and Islamists, between different tribes, within tribes and even within other groups such as the religious scholarly body. In other words, it was the ability of the Bush administration to take advantage of multiple fault lines that led to the split within the Sunnis -- which, in turn, allowed the constitution to pass in the Oct. 15 referendum and forced most Sunnis to take part in the Dec. 15 polls.

American thinking was that if the native Sunnis could be brought (forced) into the political process, the foreign jihadists -- alien to Iraq -- would have to either start a civil war among the Sunnis that they couldn't win, or reduce the violence to a level which the Sunnis could tolerate in their political mode. There was no expectation that the violence would simply end -- only that in due course it would subside.

From the Sunnis' standpoint, the election represented a turning point, but not an irreversible one. Put differently, the Sunnis got to where they were by waging an insurrection and appearing willing to wage it indefinitely. Hated by the Shia and Kurds for their role in Saddam Hussein's regime, the Sunnis understood that, other things being equal, it was their turn to be oppressed and the United States wouldn't lift a finger to help them.

Therefore, launching an insurrection created a situation in which they would be neither simply ignored nor reduced to victim status. The insurrection was the Sunnis' bargaining chip. Indeed, the jihadists, with their willingness to go to any length to fight the Americans -- and Shia -- were the Sunnis' ultimate weapon. No one could control them but the Sunnis -- and that only delicately. Using the insurgency and the jihadists, the Sunnis maneuvered the Americans into a position in which their relationship with the Shia and Kurds would not provide a sufficient base for managing Iraq. They created a situation in which the Americans needed the Sunnis in order to pacify Iraq -- and therefore were willing to protect Sunni interests against the Shia.

Truth be known, the Americans were not all that unhappy being forced into this position. The Americans had developed a complex dependency on the Shia in the fall of 2003 and urgently wanted Shiite acquiescence. Had the Shia risen, the U.S. position would have been untenable. Needing Shiite support, Washington had effectively guaranteed the Shia control of Iraq -- a price it was not happy to pay. The American concern was not the Shia per se, but their Iranian allies.

Washington's fear was that containment of the Sunni uprising would create an Iranian satellite in Iraq. That would have had massive repercussions throughout the region -- particularly for Saudi Arabia, which fears growing Iranian power. Now, it should be remembered that the Iraqi Arab Shia are not identical to Iranian Shia. There are serious tensions between the two groups, which are ethnically, theologically, culturally and linguistically distinct. So a Shiite government in Iraq is not simply an Iranian satellite. However, it could well be an Iranian ally, and that was not the outcome the United States wanted.

Of course, the United States was also concerned about Shiite ambitions to transform Iraq from a secular state to an Islamic one -- the last thing Washington needed was another Iran. So the United States needed to almost double-cross the Shia without actually doing so -- and cooperating with the Sunnis gave Washington the opportunity to do just that.

Thus, as much as the United States -- and the Bush presidency -- was hurt by the Sunni insurrection, the insurgency carried with it a silver lining. The United States demonstrably had to contain the Sunnis, and the only option it had was political: championing Sunni interests against the Shia. The most glaring example of this was Bush phoning the leader of Iraq's Islamist Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and urging him to make concessions to Sunni demands in order to break the deadlock in the constitutional negotiations. Ali al-Adeeb, a Shiite member of the constitutional committee, said Aug. 26 that Bush asked Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, to accept compromises that deal with purging the Baath party from public life. While the United States could not be accused of simply double-crossing the Shia, it could use the Sunnis' demands as a platform from which to try to reshape the new regime so that it had a built-in degree of complexity that would prevent outright Shiite control. That, in turn, would prevent outright Iranian domination.

The Sunnis still see the insurgency as their only bargaining chip. They want to demonstrate that they can moderate it, but they do not -- at this point -- want it to fade. The more al-Zarqawi does, the greater the U.S. dependency on the Sunnis. They don't want al-Zarqawi to get out of control -- as stated, he could threaten their own interests -- but they don't quite want him to go away. The Sunnis will walk a fine line until they reach an acceptable political settlement with the Shia that can be guaranteed in some way.

So, the Shia become the dominant power in Iraqi politics. The Kurdish position is protected. The Sunnis get their piece of the government, and al-Zarqawi loses his base of operations as Sunni confidence rises. There is, however one huge loser in this scenario: Iran. Iran should be going wild over what is happening in Iraq, and indeed it is. We must never forget Iran's war with Iraq and the trauma it created in Iran. Iran is obsessed with the ideal of a neutral or pro-Iranian Iraq. The U.S. maneuverings with former Baathists terrify the Iranians. They have minimal confidence in the political cleverness of Iraqi Shia, given the historical record. A coalition of Americans and Baathists is Tehran's worst nightmare. Depending on Iraqi Shia to protect their interests in the face of this coalition -- interests the Shia in Iraq don't always share -- is not something they can do.

It is therefore not an accident that, as their primary national security interests have been torn to shreds, the Iranians have tried to raise the ante. In ranting about the Jews and the Holocaust and moving Israel to Alaska, the Iranians are trying to play the North Korea game. The North Koreans maximize their leverage by appearing to be nearly a nuclear power and more than a little nuts. This brings the U.S. -- and a bunch of other nations -- to the table to negotiate with them and give them money or grain or other little gifts.

The Iranians have deliberately made it clear that they are going to get nuclear weapons and have hinted that they might already have them. Then, Iran's president started playing the role of Kim Jong Il, making it clear that he is crazy enough to use nuclear weapons.

One of the unremarkable constants in the Middle East of late is how hands-off a position the Israelis have been taking on everything. Threatening not-so-subtly to take action against Israel is old hat, but doing so against the background of increasingly touchy nuclear negotiations is another issue entirely. When the Iranian president began saying that Israel should be wiped off the map -- or at least moved to Alaska -- the Israelis obediently perked up and began dusting off battle plans to neutralize (read: nuke) Iran, with March bandied about as a realistic timeframe.

There are many things that could complicate U.S. goals in the Middle East, but none would do so more efficiently than Israeli missiles striking Iran. Since the last thing the United States needs is an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran, and the second-to-last thing the United States wants is a new war in Iran, the Iranians are betting that the Americans will try to placate them as Washington does with North Korea.

What the Iranians want, of course, are guarantees on future Iraqi policy. They also want to make certain that their Baathist enemies are never again in a position to return to power. And they are expecting the United States to guarantee all these things. Of course the Sunnis are expecting the United States to guarantee their interests. The Kurds have always relied on the United States. And the Israelis want to make sure that the Iranian nuclear threat is not left to them to handle. Each has its own threat. The Sunnis can crank up the insurgency. The Shia can invite in more Iranians. The Kurds can try to instigate an uprising in Turkey (or Iraq, Iran or Syria). The Iranians can threaten Israel with nuclear weapons, and the Israelis can threaten a preemptive strike.

Washington does not want any of these things. That means the United States must juggle a series of nearly incompatible interests to get a situation where it can draw down its troops. On the other hand, the Shia need the Americans to protect them from the Sunnis and the Iranians. The Sunnis need the Americans to protect them from the Shia. The Kurds need the Americans to protect them from the Turks (and the Sunnis). The Iranians need the Americans to protect them from the Israelis. And the Israelis generally need the Americans.

So, there is enough symmetry in the situation that the Bush administration might just be able to pull it off. What "it" consists of is less clear and less important than the balancing act that precedes it. It is in that balancing act that the United States reduces its forces, pushes al-Zarqawi to the wall, plays Iraqi and Iranian Shia against each other and gives the Iranians enough to keep them from going nuclear before Washington is ready to deal with the issue on its terms. It is dizzying, but that's what happens when war plans don't work out on the field the way they did in the computer -- which is usually. The administration has actually crafted something resembling a solution, or a solution has presented itself. Between that and polls that are a bit above awful, there is a chance the situation could work out in the administration's favor.

However, as all of this suggests, a final agreement is not only nowhere in sight, but not even in mind. Any conclusive agreement that would be acceptable to one group would be unacceptable to at least one other. In fact, the only thing that all of the domestic players agree on is that Washington has a role to play as the ultimate guarantor of any new government. The United States has no problem with this save one condition: that Washington is not responsible for day-to-day security. That in turn requires one item: a functional, united Iraqi army. That too has a precondition: a united army must include the Sunnis. Again, there is a follow on: the only Sunnis with military expertise are the Baathists.

Of all the possible Iraqi arrangements, the one that terrifies Iran is the one that is actually happening: a political agreement, with the support of all the local players, that involves a united, functional military complete with unrepentant Baathist elements. Memories of the 1980-1988 war are suddenly running a lot closer to the surface. Iran's biggest problem in challenging this scenario is that it does not have an effective lever. All of the Iraqi power brokers have signed on for their own reasons, and no one -- even the Iraqi Shia leadership -- believes Tehran would offer a better deal.

Which means that the only power Tehran can talk to is the one player that has no interest in talking to it if Iraq is about to be settled: the United States.

Since Washington is trying to avoid an Israeli preemptive strike against Tehran, the United States suddenly has an interest in making Israel feel better. To do that, it needs to get the Iranians under control. To do that, it needs to talk to the Iranians. And now we have Iran with something the United States wants (an Israel that is not about to go ballistic) and the United States with something Iran wants (an Iraq that Iran can tolerate).

The United States is not going to hand Iraq over to Iran, but should Tehran choose to complicate matters, neither is the United States going to be able to withdraw its forces.

Within that imbroglio there is room for compromise: have the United States -- via a permanent occupation -- guarantee Iraqi neutrality. An Iraq with 165,000 U.S. troops is in neither Iran's nor the United States' interest, but an Iraq with 40,000 troops at bases in the western Iraqi desert is. It is enough of a force to prevent unsavory governments from arising, but not enough to make Iran fear that Tehran could be flying the Stars and Stripes after a hectic weekend.
30184  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Guro Crafty in Memphis Monday January 9 on: December 19, 2005, 12:39:34 PM
Woof All:

As noted on the seminar page, I will be in Memphis for Suarez International's "Warrior Talk Symposium" on the 7-8 (registration has been closed for several weeks) and so it was easy to arrange an additional day with Guro Robin.  Looking forward to it.  

Guro Crafty


Hello all,

I just wanted to let all the students of FMA know that Marc "Craft Dog" Denny will be doing a seminar in Memphis, TN. It will be on Monday, January 9, 2006 from 6pm-9pm at Memphis Martial Arts Center 3472 Plaza Ave. St. 101 Memphis, TN 38111. Topics covered will be Kali Tudo and los triques as well as others. To preregister up to Jan 7, 2006 is $35. And $45 the day of the seminar. For more info contact Guro Robin Schermerhorn email: or call (901) 278-5716.

more info can be found through these websites.
30185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: December 19, 2005, 02:57:39 AM
Second post of the evening:

Note: Came to me without paragraphs and I have improvised the ones you see here.

National Review / Digital December 31, 2005
The Idea of the (Feminized) University
Coeds are one thing . . .
Why would any self-respecting boy want to attend one of America?s increasingly feminized universities? Most of these institutions have flounced through the last forty years fashioning a fluffy pink playpen of feminist studies and agitprop "herstory" taught amid a green goo of eco-motherism and anti-industrial phobia. They routinely showcase such trendy trumperies as The Vagina Monologues, while sacrificing thousands of men's athletic teams at the altar of Title IX. They happily open their arms to the recruiting efforts of gay and lesbian student centers, while banning the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and other military groups from campus. And, as they launch bidding wars for the few women who qualify for tenured appointments in math and science, they stint on male-oriented pursuits such as engineering and mechanics.

Perhaps this explains why American men have taken a demographic plunge in higher education. Men now constitute less than 43 percent of the U.S. college-student population, and receive only 41 percent of new bachelors' degrees. Similar figures appear throughout the Western world, implying that the emergence of an unschooled male underclass is not only an American problem. In a world where male talent in mathematics and engineering confers significant national advantages in wealth and power, these numbers are portentous indeed.

Disturbing as it is, this pattern is no mystery. Inferior male performance in school is chiefly associated with fatherless families. Among major industrial countries, only Sweden, Norway, and Denmark significantly surpass the U.S. in the female dominance of higher education; these Scandinavian countries also lead in female-headed families. In all of Europe, only Switzerland shows a drastically lower level of fatherlessness, with an 11 percent illegitimacy rate in 2001 as compared with 32 percent in the U.S. and 42 percent in Sweden. And, sure enough, Switzerland disp
lays continued male dominance of higher education, with men constituting around 60 percent of the college-student population.

The ill effects of fatherless families should come as no surprise. Around the globe and throughout human history, mothers left alone have foundered on the challenge of raising and disciplining boys. As I stated in my 1986 book, Men & Marriage, family issolution in the modern world leads to "a welfare state to take care of the women and children and a police state to handle the teenaged boys." I might add today that it also entails immigration or outsourcing to do much of society?s work and to support the childless in their old age.

On the police-state side, the decline of men in higher education relates to the 93 percent male composition of America?s world-leading prison population. As Bill Bennett has pungently observed, America's prisons are dominated by blacks from the fatherless families that make up close to 80 percent of inner-city households. The Department of Justice estimates that fully 32 percent of all black males will enter state or federal prison during their lifetimes, as compared with less than 6 percent of white males. More than a third of American black men between the ages of 17 and 35 are currently in jail, on probation, or on the lam. In Scandinavian countries, the police are similarly busy with truants. Prison populations there remain radically smaller, but, unlike in the U.S., crime rates are still soaring. Sweden leads Europe with a six-to-tenfold rise in various property crimes and sexual assaults since the 1970s.

Family breakdown drives the ever-expanding police state to extend its webs and ensnare men far beyond the prison population. Beadles from divorce courts, welfare agencies, child-support administrations, and child-abuse constabularies use massive computer surveillance to track the jobs and movements of so-called deadbeat or DNA dads. They treat unmarried or divorced fathers, in Bryce Christensen's words, as "quasi-criminals, perpetually under corrective supervision."

As Margaret Mead famously declared, the key social issue in every society is how to deal with the aggressiveness and competitiveness of males. The traditional solution is marriage, which ties men to the future through their children and channels their aggression into supporting their families through competitive success in both education and the workplace.

In families that are intact, boys tend to socialize upward toward their fathers and other adult men, such as teachers and coaches, rather than sideways toward the gang and the street. They also tend to readily accept the educational disciplines required by upward mobility. Even today in intact middle- and upper-class families, where fathers usually perform as chief providers, more boys than girls go to college. The sexual skew in American universities reflects a condition widely reported in anthropological studies: The nuclear family always must compete with polygyny (derived from the Greek for "many women"). Enabling the most powerful men (by whatever relevant measure) to dominate the nubile or childbearing years of several young women, polygyny can be pursued through harems and mistresses or extended over time through a series of divorces and remarriages. Monogamy is egalitarianism in sex; it means one to a customer. When this institution breaks down, it leaves behind an underclass of young men who cannot marry and who are prone to addiction to homosexuality and pornography. It also creates cohorts of abandoned women who are left to struggle with their sons and then grow old alone.

As Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck pointed out in the 1980s, the pattern of family breakdown is fed by the excesses of the welfare state. "Progressive" systems skewed to tax the so-called rich (the top 20 percent of earners) necessarily bear most heavily on intact
families with children who do the lion's share of society's productive work. Recent data show that the top fifth of households perform some 33 percent of the hours worked, earn roughly 50 percent of the income, and pay 68 percent of federal income and payroll taxes, all while raising most of the boys who pursue higher education. The progressive taxes
paid by these families finance programs and institutions such as child support, daycare, job quotas, affirmative action, divorce courts, foster homes, abortion clinics, nursing homes, and cradle-to-grave health care, all of which reduce the unique value of the personal-care functions provided by father-supported families. In this way, state-provided welfare provisions create an anti-family feedback loop in social policy, reducing incentives for families to stay together and creating what Allan Carlson has called a multi-trillion-dollar "lifestyle subsidy" for careerist singles and broken families. Yet despite the state-assisted breakdown of the nuclear family and the resulting dearth of young men in higher education, males continue to dominate the educational statistics in advanced mathematics (and the math-intensive fields of science and engineering) all around the world. The news may prompt the tenured ladies at Harvard and MIT to burst into tears and summon lawyers to sue God, but the evidence for a biological source of male mathematical superiority is overwhelming. Boys are better at math, and the harder the math the greater the male superiority. Indeed, throughout human history, female mathematicians and engineers have made almost no significant contributions to these fields. The absence of boys in colleges does not mean that women suddenly begin writing most of our leading-edge software programs or designing microchips for our missile defenses. The feminization of the universities simply deprives the economy of the technical skills and competitive energies of new generations of men.

In response, the powerful polygynists in charge of many large global corporations range the world to tap male talent wherever it may be. They tend to find it in Asian universities, such as India?s fiercely meritocratic IIT campuses, where males constitute at least 90 percent of the students. The visible results of this are high-tech outsourcing and immigration. But the roots are nurtured by the breakdown of families, the feminization of American universities, and the flight of boys from them.

Mr. Gilder is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.
30186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: December 18, 2005, 10:08:29 PM
You've Got Male!

December 17, 2005; Page A10

Male resentment of the self-righteous and automatic public support for women's interests and issues has been increasingly on the boil for some time. Civic celebrations of antipathy to men such as the Violence Against Women Act are finally generating specific and pointed responses by men fatigued, if still baffled, by the knee-jerk assumption that they suffer irredeemably from what I call Male Original Sin.

At my university as at countless others, one of the very first official greeting to students is a rape seminar predicated on the intrinsic danger which males carry with them. And in family courts, the presumption of male behavioral malefaction has yielded heartbreakingly numerous cases in which men are charged with domestic violence to which courts overwhelmingly -- often in brief hearings in which the male is not even present -- issue temporary "restraining orders." These frequently segue into permanence, and award women the dwelling they've shared, financial support and the all-important privilege of custody -- mothers gain custody in 66% of uncontested cases and 75% of contested ones. Less than a quarter of parents are awarded joint custody.

Judges issue such orders based only on the word of the alleged victim. It is small wonder the overwhelming majority of such actions are sought and achieved by women. It has been legitimately argued that there is a merciless post-marital racket of therapists, lawyers, judges and governmental advocates who prosper because it is so easy to define males as guilty.

Meanwhile, the publicly financed educational system is at least 20% better at producing successful female students than male, yet hardly anyone sees this as remarkable gender discrimination. While there is a vigorous national program to equalize male and female rates of success in science and math, there is not a shred of equivalent attention to the far more central practical impact of the sharp deficit males face in reading and writing.

There are countless thriving "women's studies" programs and only a paltry number of male equivalents. The graduates of such programs (which rarely pass the laxest test for gender diversity) staff the offices of politicians and judges, and assert the obligation of society to redress centuries of dominance by that gaseous overgeneralization -- "patriarchy."

When it comes to health status, the disparity in favor of women is enhanced by such patterns as seven times more Federal expenditure on breast cancer than on the prostate variety. And no one is provoked into action because vaunted male patriarchs commit suicide between four and 10 times more frequently than oppressed and brainwashed women. This isn't simply carping about invidious comparison, or reluctance to support legitimate social responses to the needs of women as workers, parents, citizens and virtuousi of their private lives. It is solely about inequity in law, funding and productive public attention. There is scant acknowledgment of the fact that we face a generation of young men increasingly failing in a school system seemingly calibrated to female rhythms.

A consequence is that male income falls and female income rises. Nothing wrong with that, except that men inexorably withdraw from domestic life: they become out-laws rather than in-laws. Legions of women despair of finding a mate compatible in function and vibrancy. So they go it alone: a third of babies are born to unmarried women, perhaps making a sage choice given the feckless, demoralized chaps from whom they must choose. We lead the world in fatherless families -- 40% of children fall asleep without a resident father regularly within reach.

* * *
Into this acrimonious climate has whispered a breath of spring air in winter -- an extraordinary document which may have surprising impact because of its severe countercultural implications and its almost sweet innocence of purpose. In early November, the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men issued its first report ( The commission was proposed in a 1999 bill by N.H. Rep. David Bickford. The House passed the bill, awarding a budget of $69,561. But months later, the state Senate stripped away funding. The commission was finally established in 2002. According to its report, the Senate's effort to defund it reflects "the inaction of good people who apparently have been led to believe that legislative activity designed to primarily benefit men is somehow not appropriate politically, financially, or otherwise."

To the contrary, the commission's report frontally accepts that there are intrinsic differences in how men and women cope with health, education, responsibility and violence. It concludes that social policies must not begin by denying differences. If you're running a zoo, know the real nature of your guests. This applies nationally, not only in New Hampshire. The clout of female voters has been transmuted into a strangely pervasive inattention to the legitimate needs of boys and men. While there remain grating sources of unfairness to women, the community is in the process of steadily creating a new legal and educational structure which generates new gender unfairness: 90% of the victims of Ritalin and similar drugs prescribed for schoolkids are boys; but even drugged they perform less well than girls. A 2005 study at Yale found nationally that even in prekindergarten boys are nearly five times more likely to be expelled than girls.

What is going on in this country?

Of course those who can do the work should receive the rewards. However, the broader question is: Who defines the work and evaluates it? The drastic occupational and familial situation of especially minority males suggests the urgency of a hard review of this issue. Were females the victims of such apparent sex-based unfairness, the legal paper attacking the matter would cloud the air like flakes of New Hampshire snow. But since it's only males . . .

The report is an innovative 44 pages focused on life in one state. It grips the macrocosm of stunning changes in American sociosexual and family experience. Like those which affect the terrain of a delta the changes are gradual and barely perceptible and yet suddenly it becomes clear there is a new barrier, a new channel, a new uncertainty. So with the issue of men in America. The New Hampshire report may not be a full map of the delta but its alerts us to the large reality of implacable changes. And we may not like them.

Mr. Tiger, Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, is the author of "The Decline of Males" (St. Martin's, 1999).
30187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evolutionary Biology and Psychology on: December 18, 2005, 09:21:32 PM

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You've Got Male!

December 17, 2005; Page A10

Male resentment of the self-righteous and automatic public support for women's interests and issues has been increasingly on the boil for some time. Civic celebrations of antipathy to men such as the Violence Against Women Act are finally generating specific and pointed responses by men fatigued, if still baffled, by the knee-jerk assumption that they suffer irredeemably from what I call Male Original Sin.

At my university as at countless others, one of the very first official greeting to students is a rape seminar predicated on the intrinsic danger which males carry with them. And in family courts, the presumption of male behavioral malefaction has yielded heartbreakingly numerous cases in which men are charged with domestic violence to which courts overwhelmingly -- often in brief hearings in which the male is not even present -- issue temporary "restraining orders." These frequently segue into permanence, and award women the dwelling they've shared, financial support and the all-important privilege of custody -- mothers gain custody in 66% of uncontested cases and 75% of contested ones. Less than a quarter of parents are awarded joint custody.

Judges issue such orders based only on the word of the alleged victim. It is small wonder the overwhelming majority of such actions are sought and achieved by women. It has been legitimately argued that there is a merciless post-marital racket of therapists, lawyers, judges and governmental advocates who prosper because it is so easy to define males as guilty.

Meanwhile, the publicly financed educational system is at least 20% better at producing successful female students than male, yet hardly anyone sees this as remarkable gender discrimination. While there is a vigorous national program to equalize male and female rates of success in science and math, there is not a shred of equivalent attention to the far more central practical impact of the sharp deficit males face in reading and writing.

There are countless thriving "women's studies" programs and only a paltry number of male equivalents. The graduates of such programs (which rarely pass the laxest test for gender diversity) staff the offices of politicians and judges, and assert the obligation of society to redress centuries of dominance by that gaseous overgeneralization -- "patriarchy."

When it comes to health status, the disparity in favor of women is enhanced by such patterns as seven times more Federal expenditure on breast cancer than on the prostate variety. And no one is provoked into action because vaunted male patriarchs commit suicide between four and 10 times more frequently than oppressed and brainwashed women. This isn't simply carping about invidious comparison, or reluctance to support legitimate social responses to the needs of women as workers, parents, citizens and virtuousi of their private lives. It is solely about inequity in law, funding and productive public attention. There is scant acknowledgment of the fact that we face a generation of young men increasingly failing in a school system seemingly calibrated to female rhythms.

A consequence is that male income falls and female income rises. Nothing wrong with that, except that men inexorably withdraw from domestic life: they become out-laws rather than in-laws. Legions of women despair of finding a mate compatible in function and vibrancy. So they go it alone: a third of babies are born to unmarried women, perhaps making a sage choice given the feckless, demoralized chaps from whom they must choose. We lead the world in fatherless families -- 40% of children fall asleep without a resident father regularly within reach.

* * *
Into this acrimonious climate has whispered a breath of spring air in winter -- an extraordinary document which may have surprising impact because of its severe countercultural implications and its almost sweet innocence of purpose. In early November, the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men issued its first report ( The commission was proposed in a 1999 bill by N.H. Rep. David Bickford. The House passed the bill, awarding a budget of $69,561. But months later, the state Senate stripped away funding. The commission was finally established in 2002. According to its report, the Senate's effort to defund it reflects "the inaction of good people who apparently have been led to believe that legislative activity designed to primarily benefit men is somehow not appropriate politically, financially, or otherwise."

To the contrary, the commission's report frontally accepts that there are intrinsic differences in how men and women cope with health, education, responsibility and violence. It concludes that social policies must not begin by denying differences. If you're running a zoo, know the real nature of your guests. This applies nationally, not only in New Hampshire. The clout of female voters has been transmuted into a strangely pervasive inattention to the legitimate needs of boys and men. While there remain grating sources of unfairness to women, the community is in the process of steadily creating a new legal and educational structure which generates new gender unfairness: 90% of the victims of Ritalin and similar drugs prescribed for schoolkids are boys; but even drugged they perform less well than girls. A 2005 study at Yale found nationally that even in prekindergarten boys are nearly five times more likely to be expelled than girls.

What is going on in this country?

Of course those who can do the work should receive the rewards. However, the broader question is: Who defines the work and evaluates it? The drastic occupational and familial situation of especially minority males suggests the urgency of a hard review of this issue. Were females the victims of such apparent sex-based unfairness, the legal paper attacking the matter would cloud the air like flakes of New Hampshire snow. But since it's only males . . .

The report is an innovative 44 pages focused on life in one state. It grips the macrocosm of stunning changes in American sociosexual and family experience. Like those which affect the terrain of a delta the changes are gradual and barely perceptible and yet suddenly it becomes clear there is a new barrier, a new channel, a new uncertainty. So with the issue of men in America. The New Hampshire report may not be a full map of the delta but its alerts us to the large reality of implacable changes. And we may not like them.

Mr. Tiger, Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, is the author of "The Decline of Males" (St. Martin's, 1999).
30188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 16, 2005, 05:22:03 PM

Is it Harder to Kill Terrorists or Get a Job?
Dec 16, 2005
by Todd Manzi

The position of Democrats seems to be that it is easier to hunt down and kill terrorists than it is to make a living flipping burgers. Democrats are telling us we should withdraw from Iraq, so that the Iraqis will have an incentive to stand up and fight for themselves. When it comes to the War on Poverty, however, Democrats want the federal government to continue assisting the needy indefinitely.

Which is easier, learning how to fight terrorists in Iraq or finding a way to make a living in the United States? Our steady stream of immigrants would indicate the latter, but the rhetoric of Democrats points to the former.

Perhaps it?s time to help the Democrats understand the challenge we face regarding the security of Iraq. Using a football analogy might be helpful.

Let?s say the U.S. military is like the best NFL team to ever take the field. The terrorists might be like the worst junior college team. The Iraqis who are joining the military are men who have never played football. If you just toss them the ball and tell them to go play football, they will get slaughtered. Literally.

Individually, the Iraqis need to be trained how to fight. Then they need to be trained how to fight as a team. Then they need leadership to direct them so they can properly execute big picture strategies. But that?s not enough. The trainers have to be trained so that Iraq can have a self-sufficient military.

If all the best minds in the NFL were brought together, how long would it take them to teach others how to train, field and coach a team that could compete against an already functioning junior college team?

Of course, it?s silly to compare war to football. Lives are on the line in Iraq and this is not a game. But it does serve as a reminder that our mission in Iraq is to stand by the brave men who are coming forward and putting their lives on the line to defend their country. The U.S. military provides the stability that gives Iraqi men the confidence needed to commit to the cause.

Democrats are doing their best to undermine that confidence.

They are sending the message to Iraqi men that they may lose the safety provided by our soldiers. Those who advocate immediate withdrawal are making the enormously difficult job in Iraq much harder than it already is.

Here at home, Democrats send an entirely different message to welfare recipients. The message to this group is that the federal government will stand beside them indefinitely.

For these people, Democrats want to provide unlimited support, programs and financial aid. We have a bloated bureaucracy tasked with providing unending handouts.

It is time to admit the war on poverty is a quagmire and the federal government should withdraw. The Constitution never authorized us to enter this war in the first place. Let?s send a strong message to the individual states: we are going to cut and run from the war on poverty. There is no need to point fingers about who lied us into this war. We don?t have to highlight the numerous mistakes that were made. Nor do we have to identify who benefited themselves by getting elected to office under the cover of fighting poverty. All we need to do is assess the situation and act accordingly.

Does anyone want to defend the progress or accomplishments we have made with our efforts fighting the war on poverty? Anyone?

To be fair to Democrats, let?s accurately assess the situation in Iraq and act accordingly. Four years and three months ago, the United States was attacked, and the global War on Terror began. President Bush did not bow to the pressure he was under to initiate a quick response. He acted thoughtfully, patiently and unbelievably competently.

Our first attack in the War on Terror was to cut off much of their financing. Then we took control of Afghanistan. Next, we debated whether President Bush had the authority to invade Iraq. The president asked Congress to provide the authority and they did. Then we debated whether we should go to war in Iraq or not. President Bush even took the time to go back to the U.N. to get another resolution supporting the invasion of Iraq. After all that, we still waited and gave the dictator one last chance to avoid war. That was the first year and a half of our War on Terror.

Next, we defeated the Iraqi army and took control of the country. We hunted down the tyrant and pulled him from his rat hole. We handed over sovereignty of the country to the Iraqi people. We provided stability as they had elections and ratified a constitution. Now, we are training Iraqis in how to train themselves to do the job of keeping their own country safe from future terrorist threats.


We have accomplished a lot in a short period. The War on Terror has been much more successful than the war on poverty, but both of these wars should end as soon as possible. How about if we compromise with the Democrats? As we draw down our troop levels in Iraq, we will also reduce the size of our federal welfare bureaucracy. On the day we are completely out of Iraq, we will also completely eliminate all federal welfare.

Democrats have proposed the theory that a group of people will not become independent and self-sufficient if they can rely on support from the U.S. government. We should test that theory here at home to see if Democrats might be right.
30189  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: December 15, 2005, 06:15:55 AM
I admit to being surprised to reading in the last couple of days about an apparently sound study showing that there was not much difference between 15 grams and 30 grams of fiber a day with regard to colon cancer.   Apparently there were good effects with regard to heart and susceptbility to diabetes.
30190  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Muslim & Christians in Philippines building in PEACE! on: December 15, 2005, 06:12:56 AM
There was a very nice page one, column one article in the December 12 or 13 Wall Street Journal about something similar in Germany.  It is important to know of and to remember these things too.
30191  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / MoreDBMA self defense on DVD / Marc on: December 15, 2005, 06:09:56 AM

First a thanks for your kind words and an apology for letting your question slip off my radar screen.

An experience at a seminar last year triggered my awareness that I had not been addressing self-defense directly.   In that Kali is so very much about exactly that, it is kind of odd when I think about it-- but there it was.

In addition to the segment in Kali Tudo, self-defense is directly addressed in the STAFF dvd.  In the pipeline are also "Short Impact Weapons" and one dedicated specifically to the particular SIW "The Palmstick" which will be done by Guro Lonely Dog.    There also will be more Kali Tudo DVDs-- at present the plan is to have one on Clinch and FUT (a term from Southnark meaning "fouled up tangle" and one on Groundfighting.

Again, sorry for the delay in my reply.
Crafty Dog
30192  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Transcription help please on: December 15, 2005, 05:59:37 AM
Thank you for the offer Devnul.

At present, we have at long last found someone to transcribe our offerings, and will be be offering written translations of these transcriptions in at least the following languages:  Spanish, Italian, and German.  We have an offer for Polish, but I need to get around to making a counter-offer.

Dubbing and sub-titling simply are too expensive for us, but our hope is that by offering written translations that we can greatly enhance the DBMA experience for those who speak little or no English as well as those who speak some English, but would like to have something that they could reference for when the meaning of a particular part is not clear to them.
30193  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / gruhns dad wanted to say hi on: December 15, 2005, 05:52:52 AM
Welcome aboard!
30194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 14, 2005, 12:44:38 PM
I've run 3x for US Congress for the Libertarian Party (1984, 1988, 1992) but I part ways with the majority of the party on this one.

PS:  My campaign slogan in 1992 was "If you continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, you will continue to get the evil of two lessers."
30195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 14, 2005, 12:06:25 PM
The Panic Over Iraq
What they're really afraid of is American success.

Monday, December 12, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

Like, I am sure, many other believers in what this country has been trying to do in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, I have found my thoughts returning in the past year to something that Tom Paine, writing at an especially dark moment of the American Revolution, said about such times. They are, he memorably wrote, "the times that try men's souls," the times in which "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" become so disheartened that they "shrink from the service of [their] country."

But Paine did not limit his anguished derision to former supporters of the American War of Independence whose courage was failing because things had not been going as well on the battlefield as they had expected or hoped. In a less famous passage, he also let loose on another group:

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . Their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.
Thus, he explained, "Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head," emboldened by the circumstances of the moment to reveal an opposition to the break with Britain that it had previously seemed prudent to conceal.
The similarities to our situation today are uncanny. We, too, are in the midst of a rapidly spreading panic. We, too, have our sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, in the form of people who initially supported the invasion of Iraq--and the Bush Doctrine from which it followed--but who are now abandoning what they have decided is a sinking ship. And we, too, are seeing formerly disguised opponents of the war coming more and more out into the open, and in ever greater numbers.

Yet in spite of these similarities, there is also a very curious difference between the American panic of 1776-77 and the American panic of 2005-06. To put it in the simplest and starkest terms: In that early stage of the Revolutionary War, there was sound reason to fear that the British would succeed in routing Washington's forces. In Iraq today, however, and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face. Clearly, then, the panic over Iraq--which expresses itself in increasingly frenzied calls for the withdrawal of our forces--cannot have been caused by the prospect of defeat. On the contrary, my twofold guess is that the real fear behind it is not that we are losing but that we are winning, and that what has catalyzed this fear into a genuine panic is the realization that the chances of pulling off the proverbial feat of snatching an American defeat from the jaws of victory are rapidly running out.

Of course, to anyone who relies entirely or largely on the mainstream media for information, it will come as a great surprise to hear that we are winning in Iraq. Winning? Militarily? How can we be winning militarily when, day after day, the only thing of any importance going on in that country is suicide bombings and car bombings? When neither our own troops nor the Iraqi forces we have been training are able to stop the "insurgents" from scoring higher and higher body counts? When every serious military move we make against the strongholds of these dedicated and ruthless adversaries is met with "fierce resistance"? When, for every one of them we manage to kill, two more seem to pop up?
Winning? Politically? How can we be winning politically when the very purpose for which we allegedly invaded Iraq has been unmasked as a chimera? When every step we force the Iraqis to take toward democratization is accompanied by angry sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis and between Arabs and Kurds? When our clumsy efforts to bring the Sunnis into the political process have hardly made a dent in their support for the insurgency? When the end result is less likely to be the stable democratic regime we supposedly went there to establish than a civil war followed by the breakup of Iraq into three separate countries?

There has been one great exception to this relentless drumbeat of bad news. It occurred in January 2005, in the coverage of the first election in liberated Iraq. To the astonishment of practically everyone in the world, more than eight million Iraqis came out to vote on election day even though the Islamofascist terrorists had threatened to slaughter them if they did. This very astonishment was a measure of how false an impression had been created of the state of affairs in Iraq. No one fed by the mainstream media could have had the slightest inkling that these eight million people were actually there, so invisible had they been to reporters who spent all their time interviewing the discontented Iraqi man-in-the-street and to cameras seemingly incapable of focusing on anything but carnage and rubble.

But the mainstream media soon recovered from the shock. By October, on the morning after a second ballot in which the new Iraqi constitution was ratified by fully 79% of the electorate, the Washington Post ran its announcement of these inspiring results on page 13. As for the paper's front page, the columnist Jeff Jacoby would note that it

was dominated by a photograph, stretched across four columns, of three daughters at the funeral of their father, . . . who had died from injuries suffered during a Sept. 26 bombing in Baghdad. Two accompanying stories, both above the fold, were headlined "Military Has Lost 2,000 in Iraq" and "Bigger, Stronger, Homemade Bombs Now to Blame for Half of U.S. Deaths." A nearby graphic--"The Toll"--divided the 2,000 deaths by type of military service.
In sum, in the words of the Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff:

Death, violence, terrorism, precarious political situation, problems with reconstruction, and public frustration (both in Iraq and America) dominate, if not overwhelm, the mainstream media coverage and commentary on Iraq.
About a year ago, concerned that he might have been exaggerating when he made this assertion on the basis of his "gut feeling," Mr. Chrenkoff decided to check it out more scientifically. So he did "a little tally" of the stories published or broadcast all over the world on a single average day (which happened to be Jan. 21, 2005). Here are some of the numbers that, with the help of the Google News Index, he was able to report from that one day:

2,642 stories about Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearings, in the context of grilling she has received over the administration's Iraq policy.

1,992 stories about suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.

887 stories about prisoner abuse by British soldiers.

216 stories about hostages currently being held in Iraq.

761 stories reporting on activities and public statements of insurgents.

357 stories about the antiwar movement and the dropping public support for involvement in Iraq.

182 stories about American servicemen killed and wounded in operations.

217 stories about concerns for fairness and validity of Iraqi election (low security, low turnout, etc.).

107 stories about civilian deaths in Iraq.

123 stories noting Vice President Cheney's admission that he had underestimated the task of reconstruction.

118 stories about complicated and strained relations between the U.S. and Europe.

121 stories discussing the possibility of an American pullout.

27 stories about sabotage of Iraqi oil infrastructure.
As against all this, the good news made a pathetic showing:

16 stories about security successes in the fight against insurgents.

7 stories about positive developments relating to elections.

73 stories about the return to Iraq of stolen antiquities.
Obviously, then, the reporters and their editors in the mainstream media have been working overtime to show how badly things have been going for us in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the op-ed pundits, the academic theorists and the armchair generals have chimed in with analyses blaming it all on the incompetence of the president and his appointees. By now, the proposition that the aftermath of the invasion has been marked by one disastrous blunder after another is accepted without question or qualification by just about everyone: open opponents of the Bush Doctrine eager to prove that they were right to denounce the invasion; Democrats whose main objective is to discredit the Bush administration; and erstwhile supporters who have lost heart and are looking for a way to justify their desertion.

But the charge of incompetence has also been hurled by strong supporters of the Bush Doctrine in general and of the invasion of Iraq in particular, whose purpose is to prod the people running the operation into doing a better job. The most authoritative such supporter, Eliot A. Cohen of Johns Hopkins, has expressed a

desire--barely controlled--to slap the highly educated fool who, having no soldier friends or family, once explained to me that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties are not really all that high, and that I really shouldn't get exercised about them.
Now, this person may well have deserved a slap for being presumptuous toward a distinguished military historian, or for insensitivity in downplaying casualties when speaking to the father of an infantry officer on his way to Iraq. But at the risk of exposing myself as another highly educated fool, I must confess that I too think we need to be reminded that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties in this one are very low by any historical standard.

Before measuring Iraq in these two respects, I want to look more closely at some of the actions taken by the Bush administration that are universally accepted as mistakes, and to begin by pointing out that the main one is based on an outright falsification of the facts. This is the accusation that no thought was given to what would happen once we got to Baghdad and no plans were therefore made for dealing with the aftermath of the combat phase. Yet the plain truth is that much thought was given to, and many plans were made for dealing with, horrors that everyone expected to happen and then, mercifully, did not. Among these: house-to-house fighting to take Baghdad, the flight of a million or more refugees, the setting of the oil fields afire, and the outbreak of a major civil war.
As for the insurgency, even if its dimensions had accurately been foreseen, it would still have been impossible to eliminate it in short order. To cite Mr. Cohen himself:

If the insurgencies in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, and Kashmir continue, what reason do we have to expect this one to end so soon?
A related group of alleged "mistakes" turn out on closer inspection to be judgment calls, concerning which it is possible for reasonable men to differ. The most widely circulated of these--especially among supporters of the war on the right--is that there were too few American "boots on the ground" to mount an effective campaign against the insurgency. Perhaps. And yet the key factor in fighting a terrorist insurgency is not the number of troops deployed against it but rather the amount and quality of the intelligence that can be obtained from infiltrating its ranks and from questioning prisoners (a task made all the more difficult for us by the campaign here at home to define torture down to the point where it would become illegal to subject even a captured terrorist to generally accepted methods of interrogation).
Finally, there are "mistakes" that were actually choices between two evils--choices that had to be made when it was by no means obvious which was the lesser of the two. The best example here is the policy of "de-Baathification." This led to a disbanding of the Iraqi army, whose embittered Sunni members were then putatively left with nothing to do but volunteer their services to the insurgency. Yet allowing Saddam Hussein's thugs to continue controlling the army would have embittered the Shiites and the Kurds instead, both of whom had suffered greatly at the hands of the Sunni minority. Is it self-evident that this would have been better for us or for Iraq?

However, even if I were to concede for the sake of argument that every one of these accusations was justified, I would still contend that they amounted to chump change when stacked up against the mistakes that were made in World War II--a war conducted by acknowledged giants like Roosevelt and Churchill. Tim Cavanaugh, in a posting on the website of Reason magazine, has offered a partial list of such blunders and the lives that were lost because of them: "American Marines were slaughtered at Tarawa because the pre-invasion bombardment of the island was woefully deficient. Hundreds of American paratroopers were killed by American anti-aircraft fire during landings in Italy--for that matter the entire campaign up the Italian boot was an obvious waste of time, resources, and lives that prevented the western Allies from getting seriously into the war until the middle of 1944. . . . In late 1944, Allied commanders failed to anticipate that the Germans would attack through Belgium despite their having done so in 1914 and 1940." In brief, Cavanaugh concludes, "On any given week, World War II offered more [foul-ups] and catastrophes than anything that has been seen in postwar Iraq."

And I would also still say, as I have said before, that the number of American casualties in Iraq is minimal as compared with the losses suffered in past wars: in World War II, 405,399; in Korea, 36,574; in Vietnam, 58,209. Similarly, the mistakes--again assuming they were mistakes rather than debatable judgment calls--committed in the first year after the fall of Saddam were relatively inconsequential when measured against those made in the aftermath of the Allied victories over Germany and Japan.

Several Iraqi bloggers, and many letters written by American soldiers in the field that have found their way onto the Internet, paint a very different picture. Like Arthur Chrenkoff, these close-range observers do not overlook the persistence of major problems, and they do not deny that we still have a long way to go before Iraq becomes secure, stable and democratic. But they document with great detail the amazing progress that has been made, even under the gun of Islamofascist terrorism, in building--from scratch--the political morale of a country ravaged by "posttotalitarian stress disorder," in setting up the institutional foundations of a federal republic, in getting the economy moving, and in reconstructing the physical infrastructure.
The columnist Max Boot, who has himself been free with charges of incompetence, and who takes the position that we should have put more troops into Iraq, can (like Eliot Cohen) see clearly through his own reservations to provide a good summary of the situation as it now stands:

For starters, one can point to two successful elections . . ., on Jan. 30 and Oct. 15, in which the majority of Iraqis braved insurgent threats to vote. The constitutional referendum in October was particularly significant because it marked the first wholesale engagement of Sunnis in the political process. . . . This is big news. The most disaffected group in Iraq is starting to realize that it must achieve its objectives through ballots, not bullets.
Moving on to the economy, Mr. Boot (relying on a Brookings Institution report) tells us that "for all the insurgents' attempts to sabotage the Iraqi economy," per capita income has doubled since 2003 and is now 30% higher than it was before the war; that the Iraqi economy is projected to grow at a whopping 16.8% in 2006; and that there are five times as many cars on the streets than in Saddam Hussein's day, five as many more telephone subscribers, and 32 times as many Internet users.
Finally, Mr. Boot points out that whereas not a single independent media outlet existed in Iraq before 2003, there are now 44 commercial TV stations, 72 radio stations, and more than 100 newspapers.

To all of this we can add the 3,404 public schools, 304 water and sewage projects, 257 fire and police stations, and 149 public-health facilities that had been built as of September 2005, with another 921 such projects currently under construction.

As for the military front, a November 2005 report by the Committee on the Present Danger cites an example of what is being accomplished by American troops:

In the recent Operation Steel Curtain on the Syrian border, our troops detained more than 1,000 suspected insurgents. One hundred weapons caches were found and cleared. Since January, 116 of Zarqawi's lieutenants have been killed or captured.
The CPD report also notes the steady strengthening of the Iraqi armed forces, and the increasing degree of responsibility they are assuming in the fight against the insurgency:

[Since July] Iraq's armed forces . . . have added 22 new battalions, and 5,500 police-service personnel have been trained and equipped (as have some 2,000 special-police commanders). Coalition senior officers report that 80 Iraqi battalions now are able to fight alongside our troops and 36 are "generally able to conduct independent operations." More than 20 of the coalition's forward-operating bases have been turned over to the Iraqi army.
The CPD supports the campaign in Iraq. Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies is (to put it mildly) unfriendly to the Bush Doctrine and all its works. But Mr. Cordesman concurs with the CPD assessment. Citing slightly different statistics, he notes

continued increase in the number of Iraqi units able to take the lead in combat operations against the insurgency . . . progress of Iraqi units in assuming responsibility for the battle space . . . [and] continued increase in the number of units and individuals trained, equipped, and formed into operational status.
What this means in concrete terms is laid out by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, also no great admirer of how the Bush administration has conducted the Iraq campaign:

For two years, when reporters would ask how it was possible that the mightiest military in history could not secure a five-kilometer stretch of road, the military responded with long, jargon-filled lectures. . . . Then one day this summer the military was ordered to secure the road. . . . Presto. Using Iraqi forces, the road was secured. Similar strategies have made cities like Najaf, Mosul, Tal Afar and even Falluja much safer today than they were a year ago.

Why is there so little public awareness of these things? One young reporter, who proudly proclaims his membership in the mainstream media, has been only too happy to provide an explanation:

As long as American soldiers are getting killed nearly every day, we're not going to be giving much coverage to the opening of multimillion dollar sewage projects. American lives are worth more than Iraqi shit.
Observe, in this clever and brutal formulation, the professed concern with American casualties. From it, one might imagine that the statement is worlds away from the hostility to American military power--and to America in general--that pervaded the radical left in the 1960s and that in a milder liberal mutation came to be known as the "post-Vietnam syndrome." And it is certainly true that the antiwar movement spawned by Vietnam rarely had a tear to shed for the American lives that were being lost there. But the newfound tenderness toward our troops in Iraq does not in the least reflect a change in attitude toward the use of force by the United States. To the contrary, the relentless harping on American casualties by the mainstream media is part of an increasingly desperate effort to portray Iraq as another Vietnam: a foolish and futile (if not immoral and illegal) resort to military power in pursuit of a worthless (if not unworthy) goal.
Mark Twain once famously said that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. So it was, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the post-Vietnam syndrome. During those early weeks, a number of commentators were quick to proclaim the birth of an entirely new era in American history. What Dec. 7, 1941 had done to the isolationism of old, they announced, Sept. 11, 2001 had done to the Vietnam syndrome. Politically speaking, it was dead, and the fallout from the Vietnam War--namely, the hostility to America and especially to American military power--would follow it into the grave.

As is evident from the coverage of Iraq in the mainstream media, such pronouncements were more than a little premature: the Vietnam syndrome is still alive and well. But equally apparent is that the reporters and editors to whom it is a veritable religion understand very clearly that success in Iraq could deal the Vietnam syndrome a mortal blow. Little wonder, then, that they have so resolutely tried to ignore any and all signs of progress--or, when that becomes impossible, to dismiss them as so much "shit."

This, however, is at least a kind of tribute to our progress, if a perverse one. The same cannot be said of the opponents of the Bush Doctrine in the universities and think tanks, who are unwilling even to acknowledge that more and better things are happening in Iraq and the broader Middle East than are dreamed of in their philosophy.

Take Zbigniew Brzezinski, who left the academy to serve as Jimmy Carter's national security adviser and is now a professor again. In a recently published piece entitled "American Debacle," Mr. Brzezinski began by accusing George W. Bush of "suicidal statecraft," went on to pronounce the intervention in Iraq (along with everything else this president has done) a total disaster, and ended by urging that we withdraw from that country "perhaps even as early as next year." Unlike the late Sen. George Aiken of Vermont, who once proposed that we declare victory in Vietnam and then get out, Mr. Brzezinski wants to declare defeat in Iraq and then get out. This, he mysteriously assures us, will help restore "the legitimacy of America's global role."

Now I have to admit that I find it a little rich that George W. Bush should be accused of "suicidal statecraft" by, of all people, the man who in the late 1970s helped shape a foreign policy that emboldened the Iranians to seize and hold American hostages while his boss in the Oval Office stood impotently by for almost six months before finally authorizing a rescue operation so inept that it only compounded our national humiliation.

And where was Mr. Brzezinski--famed at the time for his anticommunism--when the President he served congratulated us on having overcome our "inordinate fear of communism"? Where was Mr. Brzezinski--known far and wide for his hard-line determination to resist Soviet expansionism--when Cyrus Vance, the then secretary of state, declared that the Soviet Union and the United States had "similar dreams and aspirations," and when Mr. Carter himself complacently informed us that containment was no longer necessary? And how was it that, despite daily meetings with Mr. Brzezinski, Mr. Carter remained so blind to the nature of the Soviet regime that the invasion of Afghanistan, as he himself would admit, taught him more in a week about the nature of that regime than he had managed to learn in an entire lifetime? Had the cat gotten Mr. Brzezinski's tongue in the three years leading up to that invasion--the same tongue he now wags with such confidence at George W. Bush?

But even if Mr. Brzezinski's record over the past 30 years did not disqualify him from dispensing advice on how to conduct American foreign policy, this diatribe against Mr. Bush would by itself be enough. For here he looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees the United States being "stamped as the imperialistic successor to Britain and as a partner of Israel in the military repression of the Arabs." This may not be fair, he covers himself by adding; but not a single word does he say to indicate that the British created the very despotisms the United States is now trying to replace with democratic regimes, or that George W. Bush is the first American president to have come out openly for a Palestinian state.
Again Mr. Brzezinski looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and by extension Guantanamo, causing the loss of America's "moral standing" as a "country that has stood tall" against "political repression, torture, and other violations of human rights." And that is all he sees--quite as though we never liberated Afghanistan from the theocratic tyranny of the Taliban, or Iraq from the fascist despotism of Saddam Hussein. But how, after all, when it comes to standing tall against "political repression, torture, and other violations of human rights," can such achievements compare with a sanctimonious lecture by Jimmy Carter followed by the embrace of one Third World dictator after another?

Then for a third time Mr. Brzezinski looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees more and more sympathy for terrorism, and more and more hatred of America, being generated throughout the region by our actions in Iraq; and in this context, too, that is all he sees. About the momentous encouragement that our actions have given to the forces of reform that never dared act or even speak up before, he is completely silent--though it is a phenomenon that even so inveterate a hater of America as the Lebanese dissident Walid Jumblatt has found himself compelled to recognize. Thus, only a few months after declaring that "the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory," Mr. Jumblatt suddenly woke up to what those U.S. soldiers had actually been doing for the world in which he lived:

It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting [in January 2005], eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.
The columnist Michael Barone has listed some of the developments that bear out Jumblatt's judgment:

[The] progress toward democracy in Iraq is leading Middle Easterners to concentrate on the question of how to build decent governments and decent societies. We can see the results--the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the first seriously contested elections in Egypt, Libya's giving up WMD's, the Jordanian protests against Abu Musab Zarqawi's recent suicide attacks, and even a bit of reform in Saudi Arabia.
Even in Syria, reports the Washington Post's David Ignatius:

People talk politics . . . with a passion I haven't heard since the 1980s in Eastern Europe. They're writing manifestos, dreaming of new political parties, trying to rehabilitate old ones from the 1950s.
And not only in Syria. As the democratic activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who, like Mr. Jumblatt, originally opposed the invasion of Iraq, told Mr. Ignatius's colleague Jim Hoagland:

Those [in the Middle East] who believe in democracy and civil society are finally actors . . . [because the invasion of Iraq] has unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon's 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us. Look, neither Napoleon nor President Bush could impregnate the region with political change. But they were able to be midwives.
Nor are such changes confined to the political sphere alone. According to a report in The Economist, a revulsion against terrorism has begun to spread among Muslim clerics, including some who, like the secular Mr. Jumblatt, were only recently applauding its use against Americans:

Moderate Muslim clerics have grown increasingly concerned at the abuse of religion to justify killing. In Saudi Arabia, numerous preachers once famed for their fighting words now advise tolerance and restraint. Even so rigid a defender of suicide attacks against Israel . . . as Yusuf Qaradawi, the star preacher of the popular al-Jazeera satellite channel, denounces bombings elsewhere and calls on the perpetrators to repent.
Zbigniew Brzezinski may be wrongheaded, but he is neither blind nor stupid. Why, then, his willful silence in the face of all these signs of progress? I can only interpret it as the product of a rising panic. No less than the denizens of the mainstream media, he is desperately struggling to salvage a worldview that, like theirs, should have been but was not killed off by 9/11 and that, like theirs, may well suffer a truly mortal blow if the Bush Doctrine passes through the great test of fire it is undergoing in Iraq.

Mr. Brzezinski's worldview is a syncretistic mix of foreign-policy realism (with its emphasis on stability and the sanctity of national borders) and liberal internationalism (with its unshakable faith in compromise, consensus and international institutions). In this he differs somewhat from another former national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, a Republican who occupied the office under George W. Bush's father and whose own commitment to the realist perspective is pure and unadulterated.
In spite of this difference, the two men are at one in regarding the war in Iraq as a disastrous distraction from the really important business to which we should be attending in the Middle East--namely, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In an article published some months before the invasion and entitled "Don't Attack Saddam," Mr. Scowcroft wrote:

Possibly the most dire consequence [of attacking Saddam] would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict, there would be an explosion of outrage against us.
Evidently he still holds to this view. So does Mr. Brzezinski, who attacks "the Bush team" for having transformed "a manageable, though serious, challenge of largely regional origin into an international debacle," and who urges us to get out of Iraq, the sooner the better, so that we can shift our focus back to where it really belongs--"the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
Well, whether the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is truly "the obsession of the region" or, rather, a screen for other things, it certainly is the obsession of Messrs. Brzezinski and Scowcroft, as it is of almost everyone else who looks at the Middle East from the so-called realist perspective and to whom stability is the great desideratum. Even from that perspective, however, the nonstop preoccupation with Israel would seem to be warranted only if the conflict with the Palestinians were the main cause of instability throughout the region.

This is indeed what Messrs. Brzezinski, Scowcroft, and most other members of the realist school believe. (But not Henry Kissinger, the leading realist of them all. Even though he is skeptical about the possibility of democratizing the Middle East, Mr. Kissinger favored the invasion of Iraq and thinks that victory there is essential. Nor does he believe that the war between the Palestinians and Israel is the most important problem in the world, or even in the Middle East.)

Yet the realities to which the realists are so deferential in the abstract make utter nonsense of this idea. Since the birth of Israel in 1948, there have been something like two dozen wars in the Middle East (variously involving Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Iraq) that have had nothing whatever to do with the Jewish state, or with the Palestinians. In one of these alone--the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88--more lives were lost than in all the wars involving Israel put together.

The obsessive animus against Israel goes hand in hand with the overall strategy for dealing with the Middle East that prevailed before 9/11, and to which Messrs. Brzezinski and Scowcroft are still married, heart and soul and mind. The best and most succinct description of that strategy was given by President Bush himself in explaining why 9/11 had driven him to reject it in favor of a radically different approach:

For decades free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy.
And again:

In the past, . . . longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.
We learn from Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker that, when Condoleezza Rice quoted these words to Scowcroft (her former mentor), he responded that the policy Bush was rejecting had actually brought us "50 years of peace." (What, asked James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, "do you call someone" who can describe the many wars that have been fought in the Middle East in the past five decades as "50 years of peace"? Mr. Taranto's sardonic answer: "A 'realist.' ")
In addition to remaining convinced that the old way of doing things was right, Mr. Scowcroft is utterly disdainful of the new approach being followed by George W. Bush, which (as I like to describe it) is to make the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy. "I believe," he told Jeffrey Goldberg, "that you cannot with one sweep of the hand or the mind cast off thousands of years of history." But the despotisms in the Middle East are not thousands of years old, and they were not created by Allah or the Prophet Muhammad. All of them were established after World War I--that is, less than a century ago--by the British and the French.

This being the case, there is nothing "utopian" about the idea that such regimes--planted with shallow roots by two Western powers--could be uprooted with the help of a third Western power, and that a better political system could be put in their place. And, in fact, this is exactly what has been happening before our very eyes in Iraq. In the span of three short years, Iraq, liberated by the United States from the totalitarian tyranny of Saddam Hussein, has taken one giant step after another toward democratization. Yet Mr. Scowcroft can still assure us that "you're not going to democratize Iraq," and certainly not "in any reasonable time frame."

As with Mr. Brzezinski, so again it seems that nothing else but panic can explain so astonishing a degree of denial.

Like the mainstream media and the theorists in the academy and the think tanks, the Democratic Party--fearing that it might be frozen out of power for a very long time to come--is also in a panic over the signs that George W. Bush's new approach to the greater Middle East is on the verge of passing the test of Iraq. Hence the veritable hysteria with which the Democrats have recently tried to delegitimize the war: first by claiming (three years after the fact!) that it had begun with a lie, and then by declaring that it was ending in a defeat. Leaning heavily on the turn in public opinion largely brought about by reports in the mainstream media and the lucubrations of the theorists, the Democrats--with the notably honorable exception of Sen. Joseph Lieberman--now joined in by clamoring openly for a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
A goodly number of these Democrats (party chairman Howard Dean and Rep. Cynthia McKinney, to name only two) are the "Tories" of today, in the sense of having from the very beginning stood openly and unambiguously against the revolution in foreign policy represented by the Bush Doctrine and now being put to the test in Iraq. But a much larger number of Democrats fit more smoothly into Tom Paine's category of "disguised" Tories. These are the congressmen and senators who in their heart of hearts were against the resolution authorizing the president to use force against Saddam Hussein, but who--given the state of public opinion at the time--feared being punished at the polls unless they voted for it. Now, however, with public opinion moving in the other direction, they have been emboldened to "show their heads."

Finally, we have a certain number of Democrats who correspond to "the summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots" of the American Revolution. One of them is Rep. John Murtha, who backed the invasion of Iraq because (to give him the benefit of the doubt) he really thought it was the right thing to do, but who has now bought entirely into the view that all is lost and that the only sensible course is to turn tail:

The war in Iraq is . . . a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. . . . Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people, or the Persian Gulf region. . . . Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists, and foreign jihadists. . . . Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.
It seems never to have occurred to Mr. Murtha that talk of this kind could only confuse and demoralize the troops for whose welfare, and for whose sufferings, he expresses such concern. By all accounts, those troops are very proud of what they are accomplishing in Iraq. How then could they not be confounded when a respected congressman--a former Marine, no less--declares that they have been fighting for nothing, nothing whatsoever, and when for saying so he gets a standing ovation from his fellow Democrats? How could they not be demoralized to be told that there is no point in going on because their very presence in Iraq is making things worse for everyone concerned?
And how, by the same token, could talk of this kind fail to give new heart to the Islamofascist terrorists--just when they are on the run? How could they not be delighted to see the elected representatives of the American people carrying on a heated debate in which the only questions at issue are how quickly to bug out of Iraq, and whether to fix a timetable and a deadline? How could they not feel vindicated when, after being surprised by the fierce reaction of the Americans to 9/11, they now behold fresh evidence for believing that Osama bin Laden was right after all when he called us a paper tiger?

On the other hand, if (as the president intended all along, as he reiterated in his great speech of Nov. 30 at Annapolis, and as is prescribed in the recently declassified "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq") American forces are drawn down only at the rate and to the extent that they can be replaced with similar numbers of Iraqi soldiers and policemen fully capable of taking over, the joy now being felt by the Islamofascists will commensurately be replaced by dread. For no one knows better than they that, once up to snuff and on their own, the new Iraqi forces will be less inhibited than the Americans by moral considerations and accordingly much more ruthless in the way they fight.

Tom Paine grew so disgusted with "the mean principles that are held by the Tories," with the hypocrisy of the disguised Tories, and with the shrinking from hardship of the summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots of 1776-77 that he finally gave up trying to persuade them:

I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world to either their folly or their baseness.
And so, "quitting this class of men . . . who see not the full extent of the evil that threatens them," Paine turned "to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out," and rested his hopes on them.
These hopes, we know and thank God for it, were not disappointed. And neither will be the hopes of those today who likewise see "the full extent of the evil that threatens" us; who understand the necessity of the war that our country has been waging against it; who recognize the moral, political, and intellectual boldness of how George W. Bush has chosen to fight this war; and who take pride in the nobility of what the United States, at whose birth Tom Paine assisted, is now, more than 200 years later, battling to achieve in Iraq and, in the fullness of time, in the entire region of which Iraq is so crucial a part.

Mr. Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and author of 10 books, most recently "The Norman Podhoretz Reader," edited by Thomas L. Jeffers (Free Press, 2004). This article will appear in Commentary's January issue.
30196  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Blocking ROOF/UMBRELLA vs. 4 Walls on: December 14, 2005, 06:52:45 AM
Woof Juan:

Of course I remember who you are!

Lets see if I can answer your questions.

I am a bit confused by your use of the term "4 Walls".  4 Walls, at PT term, was taught in #4 in the RCSFg series with the high line defense being tip up and the low line defense being tip down.  As discussed in "Combining Stick and Footwork" we generally prefere the cross step for defending the low line over tip down blocks-- so if you are teaching the cross-step for the low line, what communicates to me is that you are really teaching "2 Walls", i.e. the inside and outside sweeps for the high line.

These "tip up" blocks are good and important blocks in any well-rounded stickfighting structure and are part of DBMA.  A version of them is also taught in the Krabi Krabong drills we incorporate into the system.

A potential problem is that if one is done too soon that one is susceptible to a fake horizontal strike that converts to a vertical strike.  Also, many people have trouble counterstriking out of tip up blocks as quickly and strongly as the tip down (roof, umbrella) blocks.  Also if we can only block tip up, then fundamental snake motions such as the clock are not available to us.

I'll agree that the umbrella against the backhand strikes is a more evolved skill than an outside sweep, and as such proably does not apply right away with beginners, but for vertical strikes the roof, which can be used either for long range counters or crashing, seems to me fundamental and as you develop your technique for teaching it, I think your people will find it rather intuitive and difficult to be faked-- especially when combined with the cross-step.

I agree that the false lead requires certain pieces in place first, which by definition excludes beginners  Smiley

Does this help?
Guro Crafty
30197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: December 13, 2005, 03:27:17 PM
The Washington Times


Army recruiting tops new goals
By Rowan Scarborough
Published December 13, 2005


The Army has exceeded recruiting goals in the first two months of this fiscal year, reversing a trend that had some Iraq critics saying the armed services branch was "broken."
    The Pentagon yesterday said the Army signed up 5,856 recruits in November, 5 percent above its goal. It previously announced the Army also exceeded its target in October, the first month of the 2006 fiscal year.
    The Army has that hit its recruiting mark for six straight months, a promising development for the Bush administration. President Bush's critics had cited the Army's failure to achieve its recruiting goals in fiscal 2005 as proof that the war in Iraq is breaking the force.
    Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and one of the party's chief Iraq war critics, has called the Army "broken" and urged the White House to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country.
    But Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the service is more confident of filling the ranks as the recruiting year unfolds.
    "Part of the reason is it's like steering a boat," he said. "The changes we made in the last year take a while to take effect."
    Those changes included putting more recruiters on the street and offering specific assignment incentives. If a high school graduate was willing to commit to the 3rd Infantry Division bound for Iraq, for example, he could receive a bonus of several thousand dollars. Enlistees can receive up to a $20,000 bonus depending on the length of commitment and their job skills. The Army also changed its ad campaign to focus more on patriotism.
    "I think the Army as a whole is working harder at recruiting," Col. Hilferty said.
    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials explained the 2005 recruiting shortfall this way: the active-duty Army is growing by 30,000, making the sign-up goal larger, and parents in some cases are counseling against joining the combat arms at a time when more than 2,000 American service members have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.
    Soldiers typically spend a year in Iraq or Afghanistan, and then a year at home before deploying again. In contrast, Marines spend six months overseas and six months at home.
    The Army fell far behind its goal of 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, but made up much of the lost ground during the summer, when high school graduates typically decided their next step. By Sept. 30, recruiters had brought in 73,000 future soldiers, a number the Army said was sufficient to sustain the force the next year. The Army last missed its mark in 1999.
    Col. Hilferty said he "can't guarantee" the Army will meet its end goal of 80,000 by next Sept. 30, noting the winter and spring are traditionally difficult recruiting seasons. The Army has 492,728 active-duty soldiers in the 1.4 million-member armed forces.
    The Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force all met their November enlistment quotas.
30198  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: December 11, 2005, 06:11:16 PM
Two boys in Boston were playing baseball when one of them was attacked
by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board
off of a nearby fence, wedged it into the dog's collar and twisted it,
breaking the dog's neck.
A newspaper reporter from the Boston Herald witnessed the incident
and rushed over to interview the boy. The reporter began entering data
into his laptop, beginning with the headline:
"Brave Young Red Sox Fan Saves Friend From Jaws Of Vicious Animal"
 "But I'm not a Red Sox fan," the little hero interjected.
 "Sorry" replied the reporter. "But since we're in Boston, Mass, I
just assumed you were." Hitting the delete key, the reporter began:
 "John Kerry Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific Dog Attack"
 "But I'm not a Kerry fan either," the boy responds.
The reporter says, "I assumed everybody in this state was either
for the Red Sox or Kerry or Kennedy. What team or person do you like? "
"I'm a Texas Ranger fan and I really like George W. Bush" the boy
Hitting the delete key, the reporter begins again:
"Little Republican Bastard Kills Beloved Family Pet"
30199  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: December 10, 2005, 09:11:35 AM
With permission, here is another email I have received:


Hello Guro Crafty,
The KaliTudo material was what I refer to as a "moment of affirmation" in regards to my own training.  I have spent many years now studying Hung Ga "kung fu", first from a very traditional approach and then evolving into what I consider a more functional approach.
It's been a process of elimation and delving deeper into the concepts, and now the strategies of what makes Hung Ga work, rather than relying on tons of forms, advice from non-fighters, and (as with any martial art) tons of stupid poilitics.
This journey culminated with my first participation in a Kuoshu event last May.  Kuoshu is full contact, very light protective wear, Chinese martial arts based fighting that includes pretty much all hand techniques, knees, elbows, throws and takedowns.  It's traditionally done on a raised platform with no ropes or rails so that you can knock your opponent's out of the ring  Cheesy
Until last May I had been mostly succesful in sparring against people from a variety of styles such as Kenpo, Kick Boxing, Karate, other Kung Fu (Wing Chun), etc...  But, that was sparring.  I'm short (5'4"), but thick and fairly well built(205-210lbs), and I see now that much of my success was due to my low center of gravity and simply being able to overpower many people.  In Kuoshu, I recieved a rather interesting "wake up", when I fought other trained fighters who were both taller and heavier than I am as I was in the heaviest weight division.  I did ok, but for every time I scored, I was hit, kicked, or otherwise beaten upon.  I'm 35 now, and I simply can't take the punishment I could 10 years ago. It was rather disheartening for me.
After the event, for a few weeks I was in a funk.  I thought I was a much better fighter than that.  My record of success in sparring didn't make sense.  I questioned my training, my ability, and my system.  
I did the best I could to break the funk, and went back to the drawing board.  I'd been toying with some things for several years, but hadn't had that complete breakthrough where it literally sunk in, until recently.  Just before your KaliTudo videos where released, I saw the light and focused on my footwork...the footwork I'd known all along but didn't truly understand.  That, and how the footwork related to strategies that sadly I have been discussing with others within my system for years, but once again never fully understood.  
So I started drilling the footwork patterns of Hung Ga both solo and with partners, with the emphasis on a generic fighting style opponent.  The patterns at first were what I call:  Angle step, Triangle step, Circle step, and Lateral Cat step.  Those where the base.  The emphasis was on moving around my opponent, creating angles, drawing attacks, and taking advantage of weakness in their footwork while maintaining a structurally superior position.  This lead to the next step of combining the "bridge hands" or basic hand work of Hung Ga with the footwork, which oddly enough made the material in the old forms I'd practiced for years make complete sense!  
My initial results were encouraging.  I sparred with some of the guys I'd fought Kuoshu against, and it was a whole different experience.  They were confused, left open, and I got hit much less often.  When I hit them, it had an even better efficacy than before because they were not able to defend as well, and the angles worked against thier structure.  
Then I ordered and promptly (Thank You!) received your KaliTudo videos.  Seeing your work, I found myself nodding my head, agreeing with what your were saying, and noting the similarities to what I'd been working on.  The main difference was that your stuff was clearly WAY ahead of where I was at the time.  However, it really helped to clarify, and solidify the ideas I 'd been working on, and took it much further.  I'll tell you, that metronome training method is absoltely fantastic, and though we do it slightly different, it's now a core part of my students' and my own training regime.  The strategies presented, and I particularly liked the Frank Trigg stuff, were extremely helpful.  I found myself asking "how does Hung Ga address that?".   A few months later, my footwork and strategies are now much further expanded, and I'm excited about fighting in my next competition, next May.  
Again, my approach is oriented to my system.  However, the way your videos present things, the concepts and strategies are easily extracted and fit into Hung Ga.  I started taking Judo with my son recently, so I look forward to part 2 if it deals with things on the ground.  I've always felt very comfortable looking at other systems and trying to see the concepts and mechanics that were effective.  I've gotten a lot from this, and now encourage my friends in a wide variety of martial arts to purchase the KaliTudo vids.  the trouble is, that (and especially within my own style) I run into many "hard heads" who would rather train with blinders on than take a good look at other things and learn.  Heck, I've had some guys tell me flat out that my stuff isn't Hung Ga anymore the way I'm describing it to them.  But then again, they don't fight.
Sorry about the long e-mail.  Time to take my dog for a romp in the park  Cheesy
30200  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wrist Injury on: December 10, 2005, 08:55:07 AM
Tail wags for the kind words.

Thank you for asking and my blessing to post my words on your forum-- if anything interesting is posted there, please let me know or share it here.

The Adventure continues
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