Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 25, 2014, 06:32:27 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
83416 Posts in 2260 Topics by 1067 Members
Latest Member: Shinobi Dog
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 607 608 [609] 610 611 ... 633
30401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: November 26, 2005, 11:48:39 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gentleman, Ladies and the rest of you,

Junkyard Dog foiled a bank robbery in Hemet California. It seems a man, a very 'gang-memberish looking man' robbed a bank in Hemet. He then used a bicycle as his get away car. Hearing the screams of the teller, JD went in pursuit of the man. It must be said that his Girlfriend, affectionately named "Satan" was right along side. Once they caught up with the man, he grabbed Susan (Satan) and tried to use her as a shield. She immediately began hitting him and broke free. Junkyard Dog grabbed the man and took him to the ground. He then used a Kali arm lock to keep him there until the Police arrived.  

When the police arrived they said "We will take it from here," not acknowledging his and Susan's accomplishment.

But let it be known here they foiled the bank robbery. Junkyard is a little too humble to write about this, I am not.

Pappydog
30402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Theory on: November 26, 2005, 08:34:49 AM
I start this thread with a read recently shared with me by a friend.  Interesting to note when and by whom it was written:
=======================================

An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqaddimah)of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi.

SOCIETY AND STATE

Origins of Society

Human society is necessary. Philosophers express this truth by saying that man is social by nature, i.e. he needs a society, or city as they call it. The reason for this is that...each individual?s capacity for acquiring food falls short of what is necessary to sustain life. Even taking a minimum, such as one day?s supply of wheat, it is clear that this requires operations (grinding and kneading and baking) each of which necessitates utensils and tools, which presuppose the presence of carpenters, smiths, potmakers, and other craftsmen. Even granting that he eat the wheat unground, he can only obtain it in that state after many more operations, such as sowing and reaping and threshing, to separate the grain from the chaff, all of which processes require even more tools and crafts.

Now it is impossible for an individual to carry out all the above-mentioned work, or even part of it. Hence it becomes necessary for him to unite his efforts with those of his fellow men who by co-operating can produce enough for many times their number. Similarly each individual needs the help of his fellow men for the purposes of defense. For God...gave to many brute beasts more power than to man. Thus the horse, the ass and the bull are more powerful than man, while the lion and elephant are many times as strong. And whereas enmity is natural between animals, He gave to each kind an organ of self-defense. To man, however, He gave the mind and the hand which, in the service of the mind, can apply itself to the crafts and produce tools which take the place of the natural organs with which other animals are endowed for self-defense. Thus spears replace horns; swords, claws; shields, thick hides; and so forth, as was mentioned by Galen in his book on the uses of organs.

But an individual human being cannot resist an animal, especially a beast of prey, nor is his tool-using capacity of any avail unless he join with his fellow men, for he cannot, unaided, make the many tools needed. And unless he so co-operate with others he cannot obtain the food without which he cannot live, nor defend himself, for want of weapons, but will fall a prey to the beasts and his species will be extinct. Co-operation however, secures both food and weapons, thus fulfilling God?s will of preserving the species. Society is therefore necessary to man...and it is society which forms the subject of this science....

[Here is a parallel passage from Aristotle?s Politics, written 1700 years earlier: "A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used with intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society." Bk. One, Chapter 2 p.181.]

Origins of the State

....Human society having, as we have shown, been achieved and spread over the face of the earth, there arises the need of a restraining force to keep men off each other in view of their animal propensities for aggressiveness and oppression of others. Now the weapons with which they defend themselves against wild beasts cannot serve as a restraint, seeing that each man can make equal use of them. Nor can the restraint come from other than men, seeing the animals fall far short of men in their mental capacity. The restraint must therefore be constituted by one man, who wields power and authority with a firm hand and thus prevents anyone from attacking anyone else, i.e. by a sovereign. Sovereignty is therefore peculiar to man, suited to his nature and indispensable to his existence.

According to certain philosophers, Sovereignty may also be found in certain animal species, such as bees and locusts, which have been observed to follow the leadership of one of their species, distinguished from the rest by its size and form. But in animals Sovereignty exists in virtue of instinct and divine providence, not of reflection aiming at establishing a political organization....

It is maintained by some that rule can be founded on a Divine Law, commanded by God and revealed by Him to a man whom He has so endowed with outstanding qualities that other men willingly and unfeigningly obey him and surrender themselves to him. But this proposition cannot be demonstrated: for human society can exist without such a Divine Law, merely in virtue of the authority imposed by one man or of the Social Solidarity which compels the others to follow and obey him. And it is clear that the People of the Book and those who have followed the teachings of the prophets are few in comparison with the pagans, who do not have a book and who constitute a majority of the inhabitants of the world. And yet these pagans have not only lived but have founded states and left monuments. And until this day they form societies in the extreme northern and southern zones. Their condition is therefore not one of anarchy, i.e. of men left to themselves without restraint, for such a condition cannot possibly exist....

State and Society

....The state is therefore to society as form is to matter, for the form by its nature preserves the matter and, as philosophers have shown, the two are inseparable. For a state is inconceivable without a society; while a society without a state is well nigh impossible, owing to the aggressive propensities of men, which require a restraint. A polity therefore arises, either theocratic or kingly, and this is what we mean by state.

The two being inseparable, any disturbance in either of them will cause a disturbance in the other; just as the disappearance of one leads to the disappearance of the other. The greatest source of disturbance is in the breakdown of such empires as the Roman, Persian, or Arab; or in the [breakdown of a whole] dynasty, such as the Omayyad or Abbaside. Individual rulers, such as Heraclius, or Anushirvan, or ?Abdel Malik Ibn Marwan, or Harun al Rashid, are merely successive rulers and guardians of society. The succession of such rulers does not affect society greatly for they resemble each other closely. Moreover the real force which operates on society is solidarity and power, which persists through [successive] rulers. Should such a solidarity disappear, and be replaced by another solidarity which acts on society, the whole Ruling Class would disappear and the disturbance thus caused be very great... [Vol. II, p. 264]

Political Sanctions

....We have already refuted the view [declaring that no society can be constituted without a Divine Law revealed by a prophet]. For one of the premises of this view is that a Sanction can only be provided by a Divine Law which is blindly obeyed by all because of their faith. Now this is false, for a sanction can be provided by the power of the king, or of a ruling group, without there being any Divine Law -- as took place, for instance, among the pagans who did not have a Revelation or Sacred Book. Nay, conflict may stop if every person is clearly aware, by the light of his reason, that he has no right to oppress his neighbour....Oppression and strife might therefore cease...if men undertook to restrain themselves.... [Vol. I, p. 345]

Social Solidarity Is Based on Kinship

Social solidarity is found only in groups related by blood ties or by other ties which fulfill the same functions. This is because blood ties have a force binding on most men, which makes them concerned with any injury inflicted on their next of kin. Men resent the oppression of their relatives, and the impulse to ward off any harm that may befall those relatives is natural and deep rooted in men. If the degree of kinship between two persons helping each other is very close, it is obviously the blood tie, which, by its very evidence, leads to the required solidarity. If the degree of kinship is distant, the blood tie is somewhat weakened but in its place there exists a family feeling based on the widespread knowledge of kinship. Hence each will help the other for fear of the dishonour which would arise if he failed in his duties towards one who is known by all to be related to him. The clients and allies of a great nobleman often stand in the same relationship towards him as his kinsmen. Patron and client are ready to help each other because of the feeling of indignation which arises when the rights of a neighbour, a kinsman, or a friend are violated. In fact, the ties of clientship are almost as powerful as those of blood.

This explains the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, "Learn your genealogies to know who are your near of kin," meaning that kinship only serves a function when blood ties lead to actual co-operation and mutual aid in danger -- other degrees of kinship being insignificant. The fact is that such relationship is more of an emotional than an objective fact in that it acts only by bringing together the hearts and affections of men. If the kinship is evident in acts as a natural urge leading to solidarity; if it is based on the mere knowledge of descent from a common ancestor it is weakened and has little influence on the sentiments and hence little practical effect. [Vol. I, p. 235]

Ties of kinship come out most clearly among savage peoples living in wildernesses, such as the Bedouins and other like peoples. This is because of he peculiarly hard life, poor conditions and forbidding environment which necessity has imposed upon such peoples. For their livelihood is based upon the produce of camels, and camel breeding draws them out into the wilderness where the camels graze on the bushes and plants of the desert sands; as we mentioned earlier. Now the wilderness is a hard and hungry home, to which such men adapted their nature and character in successive generations. Other peoples, however, do not try to go out into the desert or to live with the nomads and share their fate; nay, should a nomad see the possibility of exchanging his condition for another he would not fail to do so. As a result of all this, the genealogies of nomads are in no danger of being mixed or confused but remain clear and known to all... [Vol. I, p. 236]

Proximity and a Common Life as the Basis of Solidarity

....Clientship and the mixing with slaves and allies can replace kinship [as the basis of solidarity]. For although kinship is natural and objective it is also emotional. For group ties are formed by such things as living together, companionship, prolonged acquaintance or friendship, growing up
together, having the same foster parents, and other such matters of life and death. Such ties once formed lead to mutual help and the warding off of injuries inflicted on others; as can be commonly seen to occur. An example of this is provided by the relation of dependence. For there arises a special tie between a patron and those in his service which draws them close together so that although kinship is absent the fruits of kinship are present.... [Vol. I, p. 332]

Solidarity in Tribes

....Aggressiveness and the lust for power are common characteristics of men and whenever a man?s eye dwells on the goods of his neighbour his hand is apt to follow it, unless he be checked by some restraint.... As regards towns and villages, their mutual aggressiveness is checked by the governors and the State, which restrain their subjects from attacking or oppressing each other; in other words, the power of the rulers preserves the people from oppression, unless it be the oppression of those same rulers. External aggression, for its part, is warded off by means of walls and fortifications, which protect a city by night, prevent surprises, and moreover supplement an otherwise inadequate defense; while the garrisons of the State carry out a prepared and prolonged resistance. In nomadic societies, intragroup aggressiveness is checked by the chiefs and elders, owing to the prestige and respect with which they are regarded by the tribesmen. Aggression from outside, aimed at their possessions, is warded off by those of their young men who are noted for their bravery. And such defense can succeed only when they are united by a strong social solidarity arising out of kinship, for this greatly increases their strength.... [Vol. I, p. 233]

Transition From Tribal To Village and City Life and Consequent Weakening of Solidarity

....The above [i.e. purity of race and tribal solidarity] holds true only for nomadic Arabs. The caliph Omar said: "Learn your genealogies and be not like the Nabateans of Mesopotamia who, if asked about their origins reply: ?I come from such and such a village.?" Those Arabs who took up a more sedentary life, however, found themselves, in their quest for more fertile lands and rich pastures, crowding in on other peoples -- all of which led to a mixture [of blood] and a confusion of genealogies. This is what happened at the beginning of the Muslim era, when men began to be designated by the localities [in which they dwelt]. Thus people would refer to the military province of Qinnasrin or the military province of Damascus or that of al ?Awasim. The usage then spread to Spain.

This does not mean, however, that the Arabs were no longer designated by their genealogies; they merely added to their tribal name a place-name which allowed their rulers to distinguish between them more easily. Later on, however, further mixture took place, in the cities, between Arabs and non-Arabs. This led to a complete confusion of genealogies, and a consequent weakening of that solidarity which is the fruit of tribal kinship; hence tribal names tended to be cast aside. Finally, the tribes themselves were absorbed and disappeared and with them all traces of tribal solidarity. The nomads, however, continued as they had always been. "And God shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it." [Vol. I, p. 237]

Solidarity in Cities

It is evident that men are by nature in contact with and tied to each other, even where kinship is absent; though, as we have said before, in such cases such ties are weaker than where they are reinforced by kinship. Such contact may produce a solidarity nearly as powerful as that produced by kinship. Now many city dwellers are interrelated by marriage, thus forming groups of kinsmen, divided into parties and factions, between which there exist the same relations of friendship and enmity as exist between tribes.... [Vol. II, p. 267]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Sovereignty

The end of social solidarity is sovereignty. This is because, as we have said before, it is solidarity which makes men unite their efforts for common objects, defend themselves, and repulse or overcome their enemies. We have also seen that every human society requires a restraint, and a chief who can keep men from injuring each other. Such a chief must command a powerful support, else he will not be able to carry out his restraining function. The domination he exercises is Sovereignty, which exceeds the power of a tribal leader; for a tribal leader enjoys leadership and is followed by his men whom he cannot however compel. Sovereignty, on the other hand, is rule by compulsion, by means of the power at the disposal of the ruler. Now rulers always strive to increase their power, hence a chief who secures a following will not miss the chance of transforming, if he can, his rule into sovereignty; for power is the desire of men?s souls. And sovereignty can be secured only with the help of the followers on whom the ruler relies to secure the acquiescence of his people, so that kingly sovereignty is the final end to which social solidarity leads.... [Vol. I, p. 252]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Kingship

Kingship and dynasties can be founded only on popular support and solidarity. The reason for this is, as we have seen before, that victory, or even the mere avoidance of defeat, goes to the side which has most solidarity and whose members are readiest to fight and to die for each other. Now kingship is an honoured and coveted post, giving its holder all worldly goods as well as bodily and mental gratifications. Hence it is the object of much competition and is rarely given up willingly, but only under compulsion. Competition leads to struggle and wars and the overthrow of thrones, none of which can occur without social solidarity. Such matters are usually unknown to, or forgotten by, the masses, who do not remember the time when the dynasty was first established, but have grown up, generation after generation, in a fixed spot, under its rule. They know nothing of the means by which God set up the dynasty; all they see is their monarchs, whose power has been consolidated and is no longer the object of dispute and who do not need to base their rule any more on social solidarity. They do not know how matters stood at first and what difficulties were encountered by the founders of the dynasty.... [Vol. I, p. 278]

Once the State Is Established Solidarity Becomes Superfluous

Once consolidated the state can dispense with social solidarity. The reason is that newly founded states can secure the obedience of their subjects only by much coercion and force. This is because the people have not had the time to get accustomed to the new and foreign rule. Once kingship has been established, however, and inherited by successive generations or dynasties, the people forget their original condition, the rulers are invested with the aura of leadership, and the subjects obey them almost as they obey the precepts of their religion, and fight for them as they would fight for their faith. At this stage the rulers do not need to rely on a great armed force, since their rule is accepted as the will of God, which does not admit of change or contradiction. It is surely significant that the discussion of the Imamate is inserted [in theological books] at the end of the discussion of doctrinal beliefs, as though it formed an integral part of them. From this time onward the authority of the king is based on the clients and freedmen of the royal household, men who have grown up under its protection; or else the king relies on foreign bands of warriors whom he attaches to himself.

An example of this is provided by the Abbaside dynasty. By the time of the Caliph Al Mu?tasim and his son Al Wathiq, the kings relied mainly on clients recruited from Persians, Turks, Deylamites, Seljuks, and others. These foreigners soon came to control the provinces, the Abbasides? rule being confined to the neighbourhood of Baghdad. Then the Deylamites marched on Baghdad and occupied it, holding the Caliphs under their rule. They were succeeded by the Seljuks, who were followed by the Tatars, who killed the Caliph and wiped out that dynasty.... The same is true of the Omayyad dynasty in Spain. When the spirit and solidarity of the Arabs weakened, the feudal lords pounced on the kingdom and divided it up among themselves. Each of them set himself up as supreme lord in his region and, following the example of the foreigners in the Abbaside empire, usurped the emblems and titles of sovereignty....They upheld their authority by means of clients and freedmen and with the help of tribesmen recruited from the Berbers, Zenata and other North Africans.... [Vol. I, p. 279]

* *


SOCIETY AND STATE

Origins of Society

Human society is necessary. Philosophers express this truth by saying that man is social by nature, i.e. he needs a society, or city as they call it. The reason for this is that...each individual?s capacity for acquiring food falls short of what is necessary to sustain life. Even taking a minimum, such as one day?s supply of wheat, it is clear that this requires operations (grinding and kneading and baking) each of which necessitates utensils and tools, which presuppose the presence of carpenters, smiths, potmakers, and other craftsmen. Even granting that he eat the wheat unground, he can only obtain it in that state after many more operations, such as sowing and reaping and threshing, to separate the grain from the chaff, all of which processes require even more tools and crafts.

Now it is impossible for an individual to carry out all the above-mentioned work, or even part of it. Hence it becomes necessary for him to unite his efforts with those of his fellow men who by co-operating can produce enough for many times their number. Similarly each individual needs the help of his fellow men for the purposes of defense. For God...gave to many brute beasts more power than to man. Thus the horse, the ass and the bull are more powerful than man, while the lion and elephant are many times as strong. And whereas enmity is natural between animals, He gave to each kind an organ of self-defense. To man, however, He gave the mind and the hand which, in the service of the mind, can apply itself to the crafts and produce tools which take the place of the natural organs with which other animals are endowed for self-defense. Thus spears replace horns; swords, claws; shields, thick hides; and so forth, as was mentioned by Galen in his book on the uses of organs.

But an individual human being cannot resist an animal, especially a beast of prey, nor is his tool-using capacity of any avail unless he join with his fellow men, for he cannot, unaided, make the many tools needed. And unless he so co-operate with others he cannot obtain the food without which he cannot live, nor defend himself, for want of weapons, but will fall a prey to the beasts and his species will be extinct. Co-operation however, secures both food and weapons, thus fulfilling God?s will of preserving the species. Society is therefore necessary to man...and it is society which forms the subject of this science....

[Here is a parallel passage from Aristotle?s Politics, written 1700 years earlier: "A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used with intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society." Bk. One, Chapter 2 p.181.]

Origins of the State

....Human society having, as we have shown, been achieved and spread over the face of the earth, there arises the need of a restraining force to keep men off each other in view of their animal propensities for aggressiveness and oppression of others. Now the weapons with which they defend themselves against wild beasts cannot serve as a restraint, seeing that each man can make equal use of them. Nor can the restraint come from other than men, seeing the animals fall far short of men in their mental capacity. The restraint must therefore be constituted by one man, who wields power and authority with a firm hand and thus prevents anyone from attacking anyone else, i.e. by a sovereign. Sovereignty is therefore peculiar to man, suited to his nature and indispensable to his existence.

According to certain philosophers, Sovereignty may also be found in certain animal species, such as bees and locusts, which have been observed to follow the leadership of one of their species, distinguished from the rest by its size and form. But in animals Sovereignty exists in virtue of instinct and divine providence, not of reflection aiming at establishing a political organization....

It is maintained by some that rule can be founded on a Divine Law, commanded by God and revealed by Him to a man whom He has so endowed with outstanding qualities that other men willingly and unfeigningly obey him and surrender themselves to him. But this proposition cannot be demonstrated: for human society can exist without such a Divine Law, merely in virtue of the authority imposed by one man or of the Social Solidarity which compels the others to follow and obey him. And it is clear that the People of the Book and those who have followed the teachings of the prophets are few in comparison with the pagans, who do not have a book and who constitute a majority of the inhabitants of the world. And yet these pagans have not only lived but have founded states and left monuments. And until this day they form societies in the extreme northern and southern zones. Their condition is therefore not one of anarchy, i.e. of men left to themselves without restraint, for such a condition cannot possibly exist....

State and Society

....The state is therefore to society as form is to matter, for the form by its nature preserves the matter and, as philosophers have shown, the two are inseparable. For a state is inconceivable without a society; while a society without a state is well nigh impossible, owing to the aggressive propensities of men, which require a restraint. A polity therefore arises, either theocratic or kingly, and this is what we mean by state.

The two being inseparable, any disturbance in either of them will cause a disturbance in the other; just as the disappearance of one leads to the disappearance of the other. The greatest source of disturbance is in the breakdown of such empires as the Roman, Persian, or Arab; or in the [breakdown of a whole] dynasty, such as the Omayyad or Abbaside. Individual rulers, such as Heraclius, or Anushirvan, or ?Abdel Malik Ibn Marwan, or Harun al Rashid, are merely successive rulers and guardians of society. The succession of such rulers does not affect society greatly for they resemble each other closely. Moreover the real force which operates on society is solidarity and power, which persists through [successive] rulers. Should such a solidarity disappear, and be replaced by another solidarity which acts on society, the whole Ruling Class would disappear and the disturbance thus caused be very great... [Vol. II, p. 264]

Political Sanctions

....We have already refuted the view [declaring that no society can be constituted without a Divine Law revealed by a prophet]. For one of the premises of this view is that a Sanction can only be provided by a Divine Law which is blindly obeyed by all because of their faith. Now this is false, for a sanction can be provided by the power of the king, or of a ruling group, without there being any Divine Law -- as took place, for instance, among the pagans who did not have a Revelation or Sacred Book. Nay, conflict may stop if every person is clearly aware, by the light of his reason, that he has no right to oppress his neighbour....Oppression and strife might therefore cease...if men undertook to restrain themselves.... [Vol. I, p. 345]

Social Solidarity Is Based on Kinship

Social solidarity is found only in groups related by blood ties or by other ties which fulfill the same functions. This is because blood ties have a force binding on most men, which makes them concerned with any injury inflicted on their next of kin. Men resent the oppression of their relatives, and the impulse to ward off any harm that may befall those relatives is natural and deep rooted in men. If the degree of kinship between two persons helping each other is very close, it is obviously the blood tie, which, by its very evidence, leads to the required solidarity. If the degree of kinship is distant, the blood tie is somewhat weakened but in its place there exists a family feeling based on the widespread knowledge of kinship. Hence each will help the other for fear of the dishonour which would arise if he failed in his duties towards one who is known by all to be related to him. The clients and allies of a great nobleman often stand in the same relationship towards him as his kinsmen. Patron and client are ready to help each other because of the feeling of indignation which arises when the rights of a neighbour, a kinsman, or a friend are violated. In fact, the ties of clientship are almost as powerful as those of blood.

This explains the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, "Learn your genealogies to know who are your near of kin," meaning that kinship only serves a function when blood ties lead to actual co-operation and mutual aid in danger -- other degrees of kinship being insignificant. The fact is that such relationship is more of an emotional than an objective fact in that it acts only by bringing together the hearts and affections of men. If the kinship is evident in acts as a natural urge leading to solidarity; if it is based on the mere knowledge of descent from a common ancestor it is weakened and has little influence on the sentiments and hence little practical effect. [Vol. I, p. 235]

Ties of kinship come out most clearly among savage peoples living in wildernesses, such as the Bedouins and other like peoples. This is because of he peculiarly hard life, poor conditions and forbidding environment which necessity has imposed upon such peoples. For their livelihood is based upon the produce of camels, and camel breeding draws them out into the wilderness where the camels graze on the bushes and plants of the desert sands; as we mentioned earlier. Now the wilderness is a hard and hungry home, to which such men adapted their nature and character in successive generations. Other peoples, however, do not try to go out into the desert or to live with the nomads and share their fate; nay, should a nomad see the possibility of exchanging his condition for another he would not fail to do so. As a result of all this, the genealogies of nomads are in no danger of being mixed or confused but remain clear and known to all... [Vol. I, p. 236]

Proximity and a Common Life as the Basis of Solidarity

....Clientship and the mixing with slaves and allies can replace kinship [as the basis of solidarity]. For although kinship is natural and objective it is also emotional. For group ties are formed by such things as living together, companionship, prolonged acquaintance or friendship, growing up
together, having the same foster parents, and other such matters of life and death. Such ties once formed lead to mutual help and the warding off of injuries inflicted on others; as can be commonly seen to occur. An example of this is provided by the relation of dependence. For there arises a special tie between a patron and those in his service which draws them close together so that although kinship is absent the fruits of kinship are present.... [Vol. I, p. 332]

Solidarity in Tribes

....Aggressiveness and the lust for power are common characteristics of men and whenever a man?s eye dwells on the goods of his neighbour his hand is apt to follow it, unless he be checked by some restraint.... As regards towns and villages, their mutual aggressiveness is checked by the governors and the State, which restrain their subjects from attacking or oppressing each other; in other words, the power of the rulers preserves the people from oppression, unless it be the oppression of those same rulers. External aggression, for its part, is warded off by means of walls and fortifications, which protect a city by night, prevent surprises, and moreover supplement an otherwise inadequate defense; while the garrisons of the State carry out a prepared and prolonged resistance. In nomadic societies, intragroup aggressiveness is checked by the chiefs and elders, owing to the prestige and respect with which they are regarded by the tribesmen. Aggression from outside, aimed at their possessions, is warded off by those of their young men who are noted for their bravery. And such defense can succeed only when they are united by a strong social solidarity arising out of kinship, for this greatly increases their strength.... [Vol. I, p. 233]

Transition From Tribal To Village and City Life and Consequent Weakening of Solidarity

....The above [i.e. purity of race and tribal solidarity] holds true only for nomadic Arabs. The caliph Omar said: "Learn your genealogies and be not like the Nabateans of Mesopotamia who, if asked about their origins reply: ?I come from such and such a village.?" Those Arabs who took up a more sedentary life, however, found themselves, in their quest for more fertile lands and rich pastures, crowding in on other peoples -- all of which led to a mixture [of blood] and a confusion of genealogies. This is what happened at the beginning of the Muslim era, when men began to be designated by the localities [in which they dwelt]. Thus people would refer to the military province of Qinnasrin or the military province of Damascus or that of al ?Awasim. The usage then spread to Spain.

This does not mean, however, that the Arabs were no longer designated by their genealogies; they merely added to their tribal name a place-name which allowed their rulers to distinguish between them more easily. Later on, however, further mixture took place, in the cities, between Arabs and non-Arabs. This led to a complete confusion of genealogies, and a consequent weakening of that solidarity which is the fruit of tribal kinship; hence tribal names tended to be cast aside. Finally, the tribes themselves were absorbed and disappeared and with them all traces of tribal solidarity. The nomads, however, continued as they had always been. "And God shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it." [Vol. I, p. 237]

Solidarity in Cities

It is evident that men are by nature in contact with and tied to each other, even where kinship is absent; though, as we have said before, in such cases such ties are weaker than where they are reinforced by kinship. Such contact may produce a solidarity nearly as powerful as that produced by kinship. Now many city dwellers are interrelated by marriage, thus forming groups of kinsmen, divided into parties and factions, between which there exist the same relations of friendship and enmity as exist between tribes.... [Vol. II, p. 267]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Sovereignty

The end of social solidarity is sovereignty. This is because, as we have said before, it is solidarity which makes men unite their efforts for common objects, defend themselves, and repulse or overcome their enemies. We have also seen that every human society requires a restraint, and a chief who can keep men from injuring each other. Such a chief must command a powerful support, else he will not be able to carry out his restraining function. The domination he exercises is Sovereignty, which exceeds the power of a tribal leader; for a tribal leader enjoys leadership and is followed by his men whom he cannot however compel. Sovereignty, on the other hand, is rule by compulsion, by means of the power at the disposal of the ruler. Now rulers always strive to increase their power, hence a chief who secures a following will not miss the chance of transforming, if he can, his rule into sovereignty; for power is the desire of men?s souls. And sovereignty can be secured only with the help of the followers on whom the ruler relies to secure the acquiescence of his people, so that kingly sovereignty is the final end to which social solidarity leads.... [Vol. I, p. 252]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Kingship

Kingship and dynasties can be founded only on popular support and solidarity. The reason for this is, as we have seen before, that victory, or even the mere avoidance of defeat, goes to the side which has most solidarity and whose members are readiest to fight and to die for each other. Now kingship is an honoured and coveted post, giving its holder all worldly goods as well as bodily and mental gratifications. Hence it is the object of much competition and is rarely given up willingly, but only under compulsion. Competition leads to struggle and wars and the overthrow of thrones, none of which can occur without social solidarity. Such matters are usually unknown to, or forgotten by, the masses, who do not remember the time when the dynasty was first established, but have grown up, generation after generation, in a fixed spot, under its rule. They know nothing of the means by which God set up the dynasty; all they see is their monarchs, whose power has been consolidated and is no longer the object of dispute and who do not need to base their rule any more on social solidarity. They do not know how matters stood at first and what difficulties were encountered by the founders of the dynasty.... [Vol. I, p. 278]

Once the State Is Established Solidarity Becomes Superfluous

Once consolidated the state can dispense with social solidarity. The reason is that newly founded states can secure the obedience of their subjects only by much coercion and force. This is because the people have not had the time to get accustomed to the new and foreign rule. Once kingship has been established, however, and inherited by successive generations or dynasties, the people forget their original condition, the rulers are invested with the aura of leadership, and the subjects obey them almost as they obey the precepts of their religion, and fight for them as they would fight for their faith. At this stage the rulers do not need to rely on a great armed force, since their rule is accepted as the will of God, which does not admit of change or contradiction. It is surely significant that the discussion of the Imamate is inserted [in theological books] at the end of the discussion of doctrinal beliefs, as though it formed an integral part of them. From this time onward the authority of the king is based on the clients and freedmen of the royal household, men who have grown up under its protection; or else the king relies on foreign bands of warriors whom he attaches to himself.

An example of this is provided by the Abbaside dynasty. By the time of the Caliph Al Mu?tasim and his son Al Wathiq, the kings relied mainly on clients recruited from Persians, Turks, Deylamites, Seljuks, and others. These foreigners soon came to control the provinces, the Abbasides? rule being confined to the neighbourhood of Baghdad. Then the Deylamites marched on Baghdad and occupied it, holding the Caliphs under their rule. They were succeeded by the Seljuks, who were followed by the Tatars, who killed the Caliph and wiped out that dynasty.... The same is true of the Omayyad dynasty in Spain. When the spirit and solidarity of the Arabs weakened, the feudal lords pounced on the kingdom and divided it up among themselves. Each of them set himself up as supreme lord in his region and, following the example of the foreigners in the Abbaside empire, usurped the emblems and titles of sovereignty....They upheld their authority by means of clients and freedmen and with the help of tribesmen recruited from the Berbers, Zenata and other North Africans.... [Vol. I, p. 279]
30403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 25, 2005, 09:53:48 PM
A friend forwards this piece from the Economist with a comment:
=========================

Marc

The Economist likes the changes in Iraq and in the Middle East... but there
isn't a single mention that Americans had anything to do with causing those changes.  How fast things change. It seems, only a few weeks ago the only talk was about the "quagmire".
A.
============================

Arab world, Iraq and al-Qaeda
Unfamiliar questions in the Arab air
Nov 24th 2005 | CAIRO
From The Economist print edition

As al-Qaeda scores own-goals in its backyard, many Arabs, including some Iraqis, are beginning to rethink their position on violence in the name of resistance

OF ALL the films to extol the fight for freedom from imperialism, one of the most cheering to Arab hearts is the rousing 1981 epic, ?Lion of the Desert?. A richly bearded Anthony Quinn plays the role of Omar Mukhtar, the simple Koran teacher who became a guerrilla hero, and for 20 years, from 1911-31, harassed the Italian forces bent on subduing Libya. In one memorable scene his Bedouin warriors, armed only with old rifles, hobble their own feet to ensure martyrdom as Mussolini's tanks roll inexorably towards them.

Such imagery, mixed with big doses of schoolbook nationalism and more recent real-life pictures of stone-throwing children facing Israeli guns, has
bolstered a common Arab perception of ?resistance? as an act that is just
and noble. The romanticism is understandable, and not much different from how, say, the French view their own underground in the second world war. Yet the morphing in recent years of resistance into terrorism, and the confusion in Iraq, where a humiliating foreign occupation also brought liberation from Baathist tyranny, has increasingly called this iconography into question.

The undermining of entrenched myths is a slow and halting process. But it is subject to sudden, shattering jolts, such as the November 9th suicide
bombing of three hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman. In the minds of the killers, American-allied Jordan had become a rear base for the ?crusader? invaders of Iraq, and so its hotels, the sort of places where crusaders and their minions congregate, were legitimate targets for the resistance.

Yet it is perhaps more than incidentally ironic that among the 60 people
they killed was Mustapha Akkad, the Syrian-born director who created ?Lion of the Desert?. His film, glorifying the bravery of Muslim resistance fighters, happened to be one of the few productions explicitly endorsed on jihadist websites, albeit in a version that replaced the musical soundtrack with religious chants, and cut out all scenes showing women.

The global al-Qaeda franchise, whose Iraqi branch claimed responsibility for the Amman atrocity, has scored many own-goals over the years. The carnage in such Muslim cities as Istanbul, Casablanca, Sharm el-Sheikh and Riyadh has alienated the very Muslim masses the jihadists claim to be serving. By bringing home the human cost of such violence, they have even stripped away the shameful complacency with which the Sunni Muslim majority in other Arab countries has tended to regard attacks by Iraq's Sunni insurgent ?heroes? against ?collaborationist? Shia mosque congregations, funeral processions and police stations.

In Amman, al-Qaeda's victims included not only Mr Akkad and his daughter Rima, a mother of two, but also dozens of guests at a Palestinian wedding. The slaughter of so many innocents, nearly all of them Sunni Muslims, in the heart of a peaceful Arab capital, inspired a region-wide wave of revulsion. Far from being perceived now as a sort of Muslim Braveheart, the man who planned the attack, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, may be the most reviled person in Jordan, the country of his birth. His own tribe, which had previously taken some pride in its association with the Iraqi resistance, has publicly disowned him. Tens of thousands of Jordanians have taken to the streets of Amman to denounce terrorism. Opinion polls, which had previously shown Jordanians to be at best ambivalent about jihadist violence, now show overwhelming distaste for it (see tables).

Similar changes in attitude have overtaken other Arab societies. Some
150,000 Moroccans marched in Casablanca earlier this month to protest
against al-Qaeda's threat to kill two junior Moroccan diplomats kidnapped on the road to Baghdad. The execution by Mr Zarqawi's men of two Algerian diplomats and the Egyptian charg? d'affaires in Iraq earlier this year aroused similar indignation in their home countries. Two years of bloody jihadist attacks in Saudi Arabia have rudely shaken the once-considerable sympathy for radical Islamism in the conservative kingdom. A top Saudi security source reckons that 80% of the country's success in staunching violence is due to such shifts in public feeling, and only 20% to police work.

The enemies of life and joy

The direct impact of tragedy has not been the only impetus for change. Arab governments used to treat local terrorism as something that dented their prestige and should be covered up. Now they eagerly exploit the images of suffering to justify their policies. The way such events are reported in the press no longer hints at a reflexive blaming of external forces. The Arab commentariat, much of which had promoted sympathy with the Iraqi insurgency, and focused on perceived western hostility to Islam as the cause of global jihadism, has grown vocal in condemning violence. Jihad al-Khazen, the editor of al-Hayat, a highbrow Saudi daily, is a frequent and mordant critic of western policy. Yet his response to the Amman tragedy was an unequivocal call for global co-operation to combat what he blasted as the enemies of life, of joy, and of the light of day.

Popular culture, too, has begun to reflect such shifts in attitude.
Recently, during the peak television season of Ramadan, satellite channels watched by millions across the region broadcast several serials dramatising the human toll of jihadist violence. One of these contrasted the lives of ordinary Arab families, living in a housing compound in Riyadh, with a cartoonish view of the terrorists who eventually attack them. Another serial focused, with eerie foresight, on a group of jihadist assassins in Amman.  Their plot to murder a television producer who is critical of their methods goes awry, killing three children instead. Unusually for an Arabic-language serial, even the villains are presented as conflicted souls, alienated from society and misled by dreams of glory and heavenly reward.

Religious leaders have chipped in. 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 (on the grounds that all of Israeli society is militarised) as Yusuf Qaradawi, the star preacher of the popular al-Jazeera satellite channel, denounces bombings elsewhere and calls on the perpetrators to repent.

In Jordan, Mr Zarqawi's former cell-mate and mentor, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, long a firebrand proponent of widening holy war, has publicly given warning that excesses in Iraq have ?defiled the image? of jihad. Another mentor, al-Qaeda's overall second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is believed to have written a letter of advice to Mr Zarqawi that suggests he should desist from such provocatively grisly acts as sawing off captives' heads when a simple bullet would do.

Noteworthy in all these subtle shifts is the fact that they are, by and
large, internally generated. Few of them have come about as a result of
prodding or policy initiatives from the West. On the contrary, the intrusion
of foreign armies into Iraq, the consequent ugly spectacle of civilian
casualties and torture, and the continuing agony of Palestine, have clearly
slowed down the Arab public's response to the dangers posed by jihadism.

Now, or so it seems, it is the cooling of the Palestinian intifada, a slight
lowering of the volume of imagery featuring ugly Americans in Iraq, and a
general weariness with jihadist hysteria that have allowed attention to
refocus on the costs, rather than the hoped-for rewards, of ?resistance?. At the same time, the rising tide of American domestic opposition to the war has begun to reassure deeply sceptical Arabs that the superpower may not, after all, be keen to linger on Arab soil for ever.

Is a shift in attitudes on the fabled Arab street important? The answer is,
very much so. It surely affects, for example, the scale of private funding
directed to the Iraqi insurgents. The volume of those very secret sums is
impossible to determine, though the enthusiasm among, say, rich and
conservative Sunni Saudis for thwarting both an infidel superpower and the perceived influence of Shia Iran in Iraq must be pretty strong. Even a
trickle of cash translates quite directly into damage. And if it can be
assumed that for each of the 700-2,000 foreign fighters in Iraq (the current estimate of the Brookings Institution), there are many others who prefer to play jihad with their cheque books, there has been much more than a trickle.

Governments follow the street

A more tangible measure of change is the behaviour of Arab states.
Undemocratic though they may be, shaky Arab governments in many cases owe their baseline legitimacy to their own historical record of perceived resistance to foreign hegemony. The deeply unpopular invasion of Iraq placed them in a quandary. Any gesture towards aiding the success of this ?American project? risked a fierce popular backlash. That equation has now altered, and the results are already evident.

The two Arab heavyweights, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have lately begun to lend their diplomatic clout to resolving Iraq's troubles. The sudden urgency to do something, after years of fence-sitting, is prompted by several fears. One of these, seemingly justified by the Amman bombing, is that Iraq has turned from being a sponge for jihadist violence into a fountainhead that threatens the region.

Another is that Iraq's Sunni minority, by backing the insurgents, has
isolated itself and paved the way for Iran, whose government is now in the hands of revolutionary Shia radicals, to expand its influence. Since the
Iraqi elections scheduled for December 15th will create, for the first time,
not an interim government but one with a four-year term, it has dawned on many fellow Sunni Arabs that Iraq's Sunnis must stake a role in their
country's future or face further marginalisation.

Egyptian and Saudi efforts bore first fruits at a conference held in Cairo
this week in a bid to reconcile Iraqi factions. The decisions reached were
neither binding nor dramatic, and the whole event was pitched as preliminary to a broader meeting to be held in three months' time. Even so, the gathering of some 100 politicians of different stripes marked a big step in the crucial process of coaxing Sunnis back into the political game. The hosting of the event by the Arab League, an organisation that had previously kept aloof from Iraq's troubles, encouraged groups such as the Muslim Scholars' Association, which contests the legitimacy of Iraq's
Shia-dominated government and has so far boycotted the political process, to join in. Although neither senior Baathists nor active leaders of the insurgency were present, several of the Sunni delegates are known to be close to these factions.

Military v political resistance

Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, who is a pro-American Kurd, set the tone
by saying that he would personally be happy to meet with active fighters in the resistance. Further gestures to appease the Sunnis came in the final
communiqu?, which asserted the right of ?all peoples? to resist occupation, and called for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Significantly, these clauses had been watered down, after heated debate with Sunni leaders who initially insisted on a direct endorsement of resistance action ?against occupation forces?. The resolution also expressly declared that terrorism cannot be considered a form of resistance, and appeased Shia feelings further by rejecting the Sunni jihadists' contention that Shi'ism is a heretical sect.

Obviously, the vague wording over the key issue of ?resistance? is open to interpretation. Shia parties, such as the Islamist-oriented United Iraqi
Alliance, led by Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, have long
insisted that they are engaged in ?political resistance?; the fastest way to
end the occupation, they argue, is to achieve the security that will enable
the troops to leave.

For their part, pro-resistance Sunni parties contend that they, too, have
been subject to terrorism. They point to incidents such as the recent
exposure, by American forces, of a secret jail, run by the Shia-controlled
police, where hundreds of Sunni captives were mistreated. Attacks on foreign soldiers remain legitimate in their eyes. As for political resistance, a senior member of the Muslim Scholars' Association, Abd al-Salam al-Kubaisi, acidly remarked that its strongest proponents seem to be the American public, ?since they are calling daily for the troops to leave.?

Hardline insurgent leaders remain even more adamant. Baathist websites
denounce Iraq's government as ?spies and agents?. A statement from Mr
Zarqawi denounced the Cairo conference as an American ploy ?to make Sunni Muslims accept the dirty political game?. The only dialogue permissible, he said, was ?by the sword and seas of blood?.

Yet despite such verbal sparring and the vicious bloodletting on the ground, a degree of convergence can be detected. A huge majority of Iraqis want the occupation to end?some 82% according to a poll conducted by the British Ministry of Defence in August. The argument is over how to go about it. Most Iraqis also shun jihadist zeal, including many members of the broader Sunni resistance who feel that the radicals tarnish their cause. Despite deep mistrust of political institutions that have failed to provide security and a decent infrastructure, and despite the heightening of sectarian loyalty generated by two years of fear and chaos, the weary Iraqi public does not appear to have lost faith in the possibility of a political solution.

The two largest forces in the fragmented Sunni spectrum, the Iraqi Islamist Party and the Iraqi National Front, a more secular grouping that includes former Baathist officers, are actively rallying Sunnis to turn out to vote. Other Sunni politicians report a growing willingness among the non-jihadist groups, which make up the bulk of the insurgency, to consider a deal to wind down the fighting.

Moroccans, after their diplomats were seized in Baghdad, convey a new
message

Their main stated demands so far have been an immediate pullback of foreign troops from Iraqi cities and a timetable for full withdrawal. With even the Pentagon now hinting at plans to draw down troop levels significantly next year, and with Congress pushing for a phased withdrawal, such demands no longer look beyond possibility. Iraq's own, much-maligned security forces, meanwhile, are slowly getting fitter. Troop strength in the reconstituted army recently passed 100,000, nearing the targeted level of 135,000. The quiet re-enlistment of Baathist officers, who had been sacked wholesale early in the occupation, has also worked to restore a measure of Sunni confidence?though there are few Iraqi units where the insurgency is fiercest.

At the same time, subtle realignments are changing the shape of Shia
politics. The party of Muqtada al-Sadr, the young cleric whose fiery attacks on the occupation proved hugely popular with the urban poor, has joined the governing United Iraqi Alliance, a broad group dominated by two pro-Iranian Islamist parties. Meanwhile, prominent secularists have abandoned the alliance, leaving it a straightforward representative of activist Shia Islamism. Since many Iraqi Shias feel uncomfortable mixing religion and politics, and associate the alliance with the perceived weakness of the government, this might strengthen the nationalist centre.

Growing weary of war

The fact remains that Iraq is a nasty and dangerous place, where even a
widening commitment to political solutions may not prevent disintegration
into civil war. Recent revelations about police death-squads targeting
Sunnis, and the bombing of Shia mosques, have intensified sectarian
animosities. The vexed questions of federalism and how to share oil revenues remain to be settled. The secret objectives of Iran?whether it just wants to burn American fingers or to install a look-alike theocratic state?are unknown. The jihadists who have made Iraq their playground may have lost their wider appeal, but they are not going to disappear.

Yet there appears to be a growing consensus, within Iraq and outside, that the time has come to settle down and get on with life. A columnist in a Saudi daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat, Mashari Zaydi, suggests that Arabs have been torn by a struggle between two world-views, one hard, absolutist and aspirational, the other realist, compromising and practical. While the
realist approach, he says, may not win all you want, the absolutist one
risks losing everything you have.

Copyright ? 2005 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.
30404  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pu?o Invertido on: November 25, 2005, 08:44:50 AM
Pues en el cuarto y tambien el sexto estoy usando el punyo.
30405  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 25, 2005, 12:46:28 AM
Woof All:

Twas one awesome Gathering-- one of our best ever  Cool  Cool  Cool  

This coming week I will seek to write up a report and post it here.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 21, 2005, 08:34:10 PM
The Mayor of Ar Rutbah
By James A. Gavrilis

Shortly after the fall of Saddam, the American military had an opportunity to set Iraq on the right course. One team of U.S. Special Forces seized it, bringing electricity, safe streets, and bustling markets to the Iraqi town of Ar Rutbah in a matter of weeks. Today, this Sunni city is overrun with foreign insurgents. Now, in an exclusive photo essay, the team's commander reveals images of nation-building's early promise- and what slipped away.

 

Amid the chaos in Iraq, one company of U.S. Special Forces achieved what others have not: a functioning democracy. How? By relying on common sense, the trust of Iraqis, and recollections from Political Science 101. Now, their commander reveals the gritty reality about nation-building in Iraq, from the ground up.

As our long column of tan trucks rode down Iraq?s Business Highway 10 at 6 o?clock in the morning on April 9, 2003, I focused on my instincts and battle training, keeping an open mind and preparing for whatever lay ahead. After three weeks of intense firefights, the Fedayeen Saddam fighters had finally slithered away. The last thing I expected to do once we entered Ar Rutbah, a Sunni city of about 25,000 in the Anbar province near Jordan and Syria, was to begin postwar reconstruction. I had not planned or prepared for governing, nor had I received any guidance or assistance in how to do so. But then, nothing in war is expected.

With just six 12-man teams and an area of desert about the size of New Jersey, we viewed the city as a major complication in our mission to stop the ballistic missile launches from western Iraq. A town the size of Ar Rutbah could easily swallow the entire company. And in this conflict where special ops forces were in high demand, we had to move to Baghdad as soon as possible. Civil administration would have to be the responsibility of conventional troops following in our tracks. Of course, the Fedayeen were not interested in our itinerary. For weeks, they had entrenched themselves in the city, using civilians as shields. Every time we approached, Ar Rutbah became a hornet?s nest, and small-arms fire turned into machine gun and rocket fire. Although we overwhelmed the enemy each time, it became clear that the Fedayeen had to be forced out. So on that day in early April, as the rest of the world watched a statue of Saddam fall in Baghdad, we began our own small revolution.

Long before we entered, we had developed channels of communication with people inside the city. Every time we encountered civilians on our patrols or used loudspeakers, we would announce, ?We are at war with Saddam, not you.? We were friendly and respectful whenever we met a Bedouin or farmer, often sharing tea with them in the middle of the open desert. Our behavior sent the clearest message: We cared more about the people of Ar Rutbah than did the Fedayeen. After all, we had done everything possible to limit damage to civilian infrastructure and private property. We didn?t bomb schools or mosques, even though they were used as military bases. We treated enemy wounded and distributed contraband food. I stopped our final assault to institute a day-long cease-fire as a gesture to the people of the city. Our early signals of respect would prove to be vital in earning the trust of the people of Ar Rutbah.

Yet we still didn?t know what to expect as we rolled into town. All our intelligence predicted no resistance, but we were still bracing for a fight. Ar Rutbah was tan and dusty, with connected concrete buildings that displayed battle scars from our bombs and firefights. As we entered, street traffic came to a standstill. Iraqis gathered along the main and side streets. Most people just watched, a little apprehensive. Some were glad we were there and shook our hands. We asked them to stay out of the way so no one would get hurt. We cleared known enemy positions, scouring each sandbagged bunker, room, and compound to ensure that all hostile fighters were gone. Finally, we located the police station, a fort built by the British in 1927. The police chief had locked it when the enemy fled. It would be the perfect location for my company?s headquarters.

Our next move was to summon the civil administrators, chief of police, and tribal leaders. Two hours after we arrived in Ar Rutbah, a dozen Iraqis, the company warrant officer, and I gathered in the dark, dusty office lined with Saddam photos and plaques, and began to plot out the civil administration of the city.

Securing Their Homeland

I considered security the top priority; for me, the functions of security and governance were inseparable. So, at that first meeting, I made it very clear that U.S. troops retained the monopoly on the use of force. I prohibited all weapons. Any civilian carrying a firearm would be considered a threat. We established checkpoints on the main roads on the outskirts of Ar Rutbah to protect the city from regime elements, as well as any lingering criminals. As soon as possible, we would integrate the local police into our checkpoints; it would garner trust and cooperation?plus, they knew who was from the city and who had legitimate business there.

The sooner I involved and empowered the Iraqis, the better. I asked the group to select one of them to be interim mayor and by noontime prayers on the first day, we had an acting Iraqi mayor of Ar Rutbah, a lawyer from a dominant tribe who?d had a falling out with the regime. He, the city officials, and tribal sheiks left the station as the city?s new leaders.

The police were essential for restoring local security, for protecting the city from outsiders, and for our disengagement. Although I had only a few dollars, we spent $700 to pay the police first, and a month in advance. The highest-ranking policeman to return to duty was a lieutenant. He was very sharp, receptive to our guidance, and people followed his orders, so I appointed him interim chief of police. It wasn?t long before the previous chief returned. He was suspect because he had fled with the enemy and most people identified him as a regime thug. But I gave him the opportunity to start with a clean slate. Unfortunately, he tried to subvert our authority by ordering a police strike, and within two days, we had to detain him. By the end of the first week, we armed the police, first with pistols, and then with AK-47s. Soon, we had more than 30 officers back in uniform.

Of course, it takes more than just a uniform to wash away years of subjugation and oppression. Each individual that was going to participate in the interim government of the new, free Ar Rutbah would have to sign a pledge renouncing Baath Party loyalty, affiliation, and favoritism. It would include a pledge of allegiance to a free Iraq, to protect the rights of its citizens, and to serve the people of Ar Rutbah. Our company warrant officer wrote the pledge, I reviewed it, he translated it, and the interim mayor approved it. We even held a small ceremony in the police station?s courtyard, where the interim mayor, city officials, the police, a few tribal sheiks, and an Iraqi army colonel pledged their allegiance to this new Iraq. We were not very formal. It was more of a commencement where we congratulated each person for their courage in turning over a new leaf. There would be no more abuse of power, no more corruption, and no more coercion. If others were truthful and willing to be part of the new Iraq, they could sign the form and move on. As word spread, someone came in to sign almost every day.

I viewed anyone who subverted security as a threat, Baathist or not. When intelligence reported individuals committing crimes or working with enemy combatants, we acted. We didn?t pursue anyone for what they had done during the fighting; we did not continue the war ourselves. High-level Baathists did have to come in for questioning, but only those identified as war criminals were detained. We asked people to tell us where guns and munitions were, but we did not ask who shot at us last week. I was not going to pursue the teenagers who had been directed to shoot at us by the senior Fedayeen. As long as they did not take up arms again, they could go on playing soccer in the streets. By quickly establishing an effective Iraqi alternative to the regime, we made resistance irrelevant. We skipped over the gap where insurgency would grow. Had we remained idle, we would have missed the opportunities in front of us.

Restoring the Basics

After noontime prayers that first day, the informal city council gathered together again to work on the next priority, public works. I asked the interim mayor and the council what the city?s priorities were. They agreed electricity was the most important, then water, fuel, and the market. We worked day and night, and in only a couple of days, we turned 60 percent of the power back on in Ar Rutbah. Once, I remember being awakened at 4 a.m. by the sound of morning prayers blaring from the city?s minarets. It was a hopeful sign; it meant the power was back on, the city was getting back to normal, and, more practically, we could now use the minarets for public announcements. We strove to show respect for local culture by using their customary means of communication: minarets, murals, and word of mouth. The interim mayor made the first announcement about electricity that very morning.

Our days were incredibly busy. The city?s only hospital was mostly destroyed in the fighting, so I offered to turn the local Baath Party headquarters, the nicest building in the city, into the new hospital. The complex was large, clean, and freshly painted, with a walled courtyard and smaller buildings for hospital administration. I thought it fitting that this symbol of oppression would now be dedicated to the health of the people. The mayor and the doctors loved the idea, and I liked that it would represent the new kind of polity that was being established in Ar Rutbah.

Around the city, the Fedayeen had knocked out windows, stockpiled weapons, and sandbagged rooms for fighting positions in the schools. We cleared these buildings the first day, but earlier looting had rendered them a mess. Cleaning and preparing the schools for students again was a high priority, but we couldn?t start right away. Because I had only a few troops and fewer dollars, the mayor and I decided to hold a city volunteer day. Teachers and everyday citizens got together and cleaned up the schools themselves. It was a good day at the end of a long week when the minarets announced that school would start again.

The economy was in even worse shape than the schools. Once we got the power on, a couple of merchants requested to use our cell phones to contact business partners in nearby Jordan to import food and goods. We jumped on that. In one day, the market had fresh fruit and vegetables and fish and meat for the first time in months. The market street was bustling again, quickly becoming a traffic jam of people, goats, and goods.

Both security and electricity sustained the market. But there was also a need for a stability that was more than just policing the streets and turning on the lights. After the market and shops opened, questions arose: Would they adopt the U.S. dollar? What is the exchange rate? What is the price of gas? I had to make some quick decisions. The Iraqi dinar would remain the city?s currency, at the prewar exchange rate. I purchased a grocery bag of dinars and paid the police in their own currency to show I had confidence in it. I allowed the mayor to open gas stations to get fuel to the people and to generate revenue for Ar Rutbah. Gas stations were owned by the government prior to the war and I kept it that way. I set the price of gas at prewar rates, and punished any price gougers. I convinced the bank manager to open the bank and operate normally. Then I reopened the city?s account so the interim mayor had control over the books and could pay city employees. Otherwise, I had a hands-off approach to economics.

Although I focused more on security and governance than on economics, the three were interdependent. A thriving market was the product of effective governance, and it increased support for the administration. Good governance provided the services such as electricity, law and order, and the stability needed for the market to function. And security forces fostered the economic and political development of the city. Because the three were interconnected, we acted on them simultaneously. As a result, the Iraqis became interested in democracy because that balance met their needs.

All Politics Is Local

My initial approach to governing was very authoritative; it eliminated anarchy and allowed Iraqis to debate the details of democracy rather than survival. What the Iraqis needed was an interim authority to get them back on their feet. While the interim mayor and I provided this stability, the city council?s role was to oversee the mayor and to provide input, not necessarily to make policy. The laws and values of their society and culture were just fine. All we needed to do was enforce them. The city council was an important body for dialogue, debate, and legitimacy. But by initially limiting its decision-making power, we made sure the council couldn?t paralyze our progress.

Representatives in the city council included teachers and doctors, lawyers and merchants. At one town-hall meeting, a few of these professionals asked me about elections. They said the tribal sheiks and imams did not represent their interests, and they wanted to have a say in their government. I explained that they couldn?t vote right away because we had no election monitors or ballot boxes. Still, they insisted. Two rudimentary elections were held in the grand mosque to reconfirm the interim mayor?and Americans were not involved in either vote.

As an alternative to Saddam?s regime, the particular form of democracy was not as important as the concept of a polity that provided for the individual. That was really what Iraqis missed under Saddam. Good governance had to precede the form or type of democracy. Because we were effective in providing services, were responsive to individual concerns, and improved their lives, the Iraqis gravitated toward us and the changes we introduced. However, we didn?t have to change much. Ar Rutbah already had a secular structure that worked. We just put good people in office and changed the character of governance, not the entire infrastructure.

A Role for Religion

Under the old regime, the imams and tribal sheiks in Ar Rutbah had defined their roles in relation to the dictates of Saddam and the Baath Party. As we quickly set up the new government, the sheiks and imams found themselves defining their roles in response to the new order we established. That was good news for us; it kept the structure of relationships in balance and prevented a power shift to them. To earn their trust, I included these leaders in the political process. I met with them regularly, and they were members of the city council. Clerics and tribal leaders functioned in ways that were both constructive and traditional for their culture. Early on, we decided to give humanitarian rations to the imams and sheiks for distribution because they knew who the neediest people were.

In addition, we instituted an open-door policy. One day, a few tribal sheiks came to complain of looting at night in some parts of the city. So, knowing that some of the sheiks were behind some of the looting, I established a neighborhood watch. I put them in charge and had their men act as the watchmen. And the sheiks were held accountable if the looting continued. I also had a team patrol those areas at night at random. The stealing ended abruptly.

The tribal sheiks were important because they transmitted information by word of mouth. But by far, the most effective way we communicated with the people was through the mosques. Public service announcements were made over the loudspeakers in the minarets, and when the Iraqis gathered in the mosque for prayer, the interim mayor explained what we were doing. A public announcement emanating from the mosques signaled their approval and gave legitimacy to our efforts.

Working Ourselves Out of a Job

I spent long days in the police station courtyard or in the police chief?s office, meeting with an endless procession of tribal sheiks, city officials, the army colonel, policemen, merchants, and anyone else that wanted to speak with me. I listened to their issues, problems, and needs, and satisfied their curiosity about us. I would make decisions, pass judgments, resolve disputes, issue guidance, and direct resources. We were very cordial and followed their customs with tea, cigarettes, and small talk. But in the end, I made a decision and we acted on it.

Eventually, I passed the decision making to the interim mayor, the city council, and then to issue-area councils, until security was the only thing I still controlled. By day nine, I was no longer the focal point for governance. I moved my command post to our logistics compound on the edge of the city. Up until the last day, I kept an open-door policy to keep in touch with the Iraqi people.

In the end, I spent only about $3,000. This sum included the salaries of the police, the mayor, the army colonel, and a few soldiers and public officials. We paid for the crane and the flatbed trailers to move the generators to the city for electricity, and for fuel to run the generators. And we picked up the tab for other necessities, such as painting, tea, and copies of the renunciation form. But the change did not depend on the influx of funds; the Iraqis did a lot themselves. The real progress was the efficient and decent government and the environment we established. Without a lot of money to invest, we made assessments and established priorities, and talked with the Iraqis, exchanging ideas and visions of the future.

We intended to work ourselves out of our jobs, and when conditions were right we took steps back. We were preparing to move eastward; Iraqi tank divisions had not capitulated yet, and there was Saddam and others to capture and weapons of mass destruction to find. Civil administration was a secondary mission for us, and we had only limited time to spend on local politics.

And so, in the middle of the night on April 23, I rode to the eastern edge of the city in a white SUV on loan from the interim mayor. Leaving a few teams behind for another couple of weeks, I flew out of Ar Rutbah on a black Chinook helicopter. The darkness and the noise of the helicopter insulated me and I was able to look back on the past two weeks. These accomplishments were all possible because the Iraqis wanted them, but also because of the amazing teamwork and competence of the men in our Special Forces company. We made remarkable progress in only 14 days. But civil development takes much more time.

Reflecting on it now, and on so much of what has happened in Iraq since we left, I can point to the reasons we succeeded so early on where many others have not. First, we lived modestly, and we did not occupy any private houses or regime buildings. We did not limit ourselves to certain functions or tasks, or fail to adjust to the realities on the ground such as stopping looting, providing electrical power, and other nation-building tasks. When nation-building became our mission, we performed without any hesitation. In addition, our immersion in the city fostered mutual understanding. Because we worked with and through Iraqis in all endeavors, they had a sense of ownership toward the new Ar Rutbah, and our success became their success. We behaved as if we were guests in their house. We treated them not as a defeated people, but as allies. Also, our forces ensured that political decisions were binding. Anyone that interfered with any part of government, public works, or a supply delivery was considered an enemy, just as if they had threatened security. In that environment, security and governance were intertwined at every level.

In the end, though, we left. Although the Iraqis continued the work we started, the follow-up coalition forces did not. The distance between the locals and the troops widened. The Iraqis were eventually exposed and vulnerable to regime loyalists? retribution and intimidation by foreign fighters. The local Iraqi security forces never developed to the point where they were stronger than the gangs of insurgents; they were never brought into a larger political or security framework of an Iraqi government so that they could be part of a collective security system. Left alone, the Iraqis simply couldn?t hold off the foreign fighters who passed through the city, using Ar Rutbah as a way station en route to Baghdad and Ramadi.

For the brief time I was mayor of Ar Rutbah, I knew we were the real revolutionaries there. Change had to come from the top down. Because we didn?t receive any guidance for governance or reconstruction, and certainly not for spreading democracy, I had to make up everything as I went, based on the situation on the ground and what I remembered from my Special Forces training and a handful of political science classes. I entered the city with only our strategic objective for Iraq in mind: to establish a free, democratic, and peaceful Iraq without weapons of mass destruction. And that is what I tried to achieve in my own microcosm of the war.

Maj. James A. Gavrilis is a career Army Special Forces officer who has served two tours in Iraq. He is currently a political-military planner in the Iraq Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. This article reflects the views of the author and does not reflect the position or policy of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

=================

and the work continues:

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-91434
30407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 21, 2005, 06:58:54 PM
Iraq: The Battle in the Beltway
Editor's Note: We are resending today's Geopolitical Intelligence Report to correct an error that initially appeared in the first paragraph of the piece.

By George Friedman

With President George W. Bush's poll ratings still in the doldrums, the debate in Washington has become predictably rancorous. For their part, the Democrats continue to insist that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq, despite the fact that Bill Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998 on the basis of similar intelligence. The Bush administration didn't manufacture evidence on WMD: If evidence was manufactured, it was manufactured during Clinton's administration -- and the Democrats know this. On the other hand, the Bush administration has slammed the Democrats' criticism of the war, with one congresswoman charging a Democratic congressman -- a congressman who served for 37 years in the Marine Corps and was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts while in Vietnam -- with cowardice for advocating a withdrawal. Republicans know better.

The current debate is making both sides look stupid. But lest we despair about the fate of the republic, it should be remembered that political debate in the United States has rarely been edifying and, during times of serious tension, has been downright incoherent. What is important about the current debate is not so much its content -- there is precious little of that -- as the fact that it serves as a barometer of the current situation in Washington as well as in Iraq. What the debate is telling us is that we have come to a defining moment in the war and in U.S. policy toward the war. That means that it is time to step back and try to define the root issues.

Intelligence Failures and Guerrilla War

Whatever the origin of the war -- and Stratfor readers are aware of our views on why the war was begun -- we can pinpoint the moment at which the Bush strategy first ran into trouble. In mid-April 2003, just a few weeks after the fall of Baghdad, guerrilla attacks in the form of small bombings began to take place. By May 2003, attacks were occurring daily. It started to become clear that a guerrilla war had been launched.

When people talk about intelligence failures, they inevitably speak about the WMD issue. That was trivial, however, compared to the failure of the U.S. intelligence community to discover that the Baathists had planned for continued warfare after the fall of Baghdad. Indeed, they did not even resist in Baghdad. Understanding that defeating the United States conventionally was impossible, they focused on mounting a guerrilla war after U.S. forces had occupied the country.

The guerrilla campaign was not spontaneous. It came together much too quickly and escalated far too efficiently for that to be the case. The guerrillas clearly had access to weapons caches, possessed a rudimentary command, control and communications system, and had worked out some baseline tactics. They were too widely dispersed in their operations to be simply a pick-up game. Somebody had set these things in place. That meant that someone should have detected the plans.

There were two reasons for this intelligence failure. First, detecting the kinds of preparations being made is not easy. The United States was heavily dependent on networks created by the Shiite leader Ahmed Chalabi, and the guerrillas were Sunnis. We suspect that the sourcing prior to the war blinded the United States to preparations being made in Sunni territory. Second, and more important, Washington had a predetermined concept about Iraq and Iraqi resistance, which many shared.

The United States had fought the Iraqis during Desert Storm, and emerged with a complete lack of respect for the Iraqi forces. Just as the Israelis had developed a concept of the capabilities of the Egyptian forces in the 1967 war -- a concept that proved to be disastrously incorrect by the 1973 war -- so the Americans had reached a set conclusion about Iraqi forces. Moreover, they had drawn political conclusions: Saddam Hussein's regime was unpopular and its fall would be greeted with emotions ranging from indifference to joy. Thus, the Americans focused on what they expected to be a conventional military campaign that would create a blank slate on which the United States could draw a new political map.

There was another side to this. The American experience in guerrilla warfare was fixed in Vietnam. The lesson of Vietnam was that the United States was defeated by two things: first, sanctuaries for the guerrillas that the United States could not attack -- including a complex logistical system, the Ho Chi Minh Trail -- and second, the terrain and vegetation of Vietnam, which prevented effective aerial reconnaissance and placed U.S. forces at a tactical disadvantage. Iraq's topography did not offer sanctuary or cover. Therefore, a full-scale insurgency would be impossible to mount.

The United States had failed to learn important lessons from the Israeli situation, in which guerrilla warfare -- incorporating wildly unconventional means such as suicide bombers -- was waged without benefit of sanctuary or clear supply lines. But more importantly, the Americans had failed to take into account that while Iraq could not field a large, effective conventional force, guerrilla warfare requires a much smaller number of troops. Moreover, they failed to consider that the behavior of forces defending Iraq's seizure of Kuwait during Desert Storm might be different than the behavior of forces resisting American occupation of Iraq proper.

Intelligence failures occur in every war, and this one was certainly much less significant than, for instance, the failure at Pearl Harbor. But this failure was conjoined with the administration's assumption that, given the character of the Iraqi soldier and the nature of Iraqi society, Iraqi resistance would not be sustained. That error, coupled with the intelligence failure, generated today's crisis. The problem is an intelligence failure overlaid by a misconception.

Insurgency and Inertia

If intelligence failures are a constant reality in war, the measure of a military force is how rapidly it recognizes that a failure has occurred and how quickly it adjusts strategy and tactics. In this case, the administration's concept about Iraq blocked the adjustment: The Bush administration's position, as pronounced by Donald Rumsfeld, was that the guerrillas did not constitute an organized force and that they were merely the "dead-enders" of the Baathist government. This remained the administration's position until July 2003.

That meant that for about three months, as the guerrillas gained increasing traction, there was no change in U.S. strategy or tactics. Strategically, Washington continued to view Iraq as a pacified country on which the United States could impose a political and social system, much as it did with Japan and Germany after World War II. This had a specific meaning: The Baathists had been the ruling party in Iraq; therefore, driving former Baathists out of public life, a process that mirrored what happened in Germany and Japan, was the strategy. Tactically, since there were no guerrillas -- only criminals and remnants of the former regime -- no military action had to be taken. U.S. forces remained in an essentially defensive posture against a trivial threat.

The decision to force the Baathists out of public life had two effects. First, it drove the Baathists closer to the guerrillas. They had nowhere else to go. Second, it stripped Iraq of what technocrats it had. After a generation of Baath rule, anyone with technical competence was a member of the Baath party. That meant that the United States had to bring in contractors to operate Iraq's infrastructure. But if we assume that the Baathists over time could be replaced by other Iraqis with sufficient training, then this was a rational policy.

The administration realized its error in June and July 2003. It replaced CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks earlier than scheduled with Gen. John Abizaid. The problem was that the insurrection, by then, had taken root. It is not clear that there was ever a point when the insurrection could have been stopped, but certainly, the three-month lag between the opening of the guerrilla war and the beginning of an American response had made it impossible to simply stop the insurrection.

At the same time, the insurrection had a basic weakness: It was not an Iraqi insurrection, but a Sunni insurrection. To underscore a point that most Americans seem unable to grasp, most of Iraq never rose against the Americans. The insurrection was confined to the Sunni regions and -- despite some attempts to expand it -- the Shia and Kurds were not only indifferent, but completely hostile, to the aspirations of the Sunnis. If the American Achilles' heel was its inability to force a military solution to the insurrection, the weakness of the Sunnis was their inability to broaden the base of the insurrection.

However, once it was established that the insurrection was under way, the American conception collapsed.

Reaction: Negotiations

First, the view of the Iraqis as essentially passive following the war gave way to a very different picture: The Sunnis were in rebellion, and the Shia were confidently preparing the way for a government they would dominate. Iraq was not Japan. It was not a canvas on which a contemporary MacArthur could overlay a regime. It was not even an entity that could be governed.

This led to the second shift. The United States could not unilaterally shape Iraq. The other side of this coin was that the United States had to make deals with a variety of Iraqi factions -- and this meant not only the Shia, Sunnis and Kurds, but also factions within each of these groups. Indeed, the United States had to deal not only with the Iraqi Shia, but also with the Iranians, who had real influence among them. The United States had to try to split that community -- which in turn meant dealing with former Baathist officials who were supporting the fight against the United States. In other words, the United States had to deal with its enemies.

When you don't win a war, you can end it only through negotiations, and those negotiations will take place with the people you are fighting -- your enemies. At the first battle of Al Fallujah, the Americans made their first public deal with the Baathists. Indeed, the American strategy turned into a political one: U.S. forces were fighting a holding battle with the guerrillas while negotiating intensely with a dizzying array of people that, prior to July 2003, the United States would have had arrested.

The American concept about Iraq is long gone. The failure to identify the intentions of the Baathists after the war is now history. But the essential problem remains in Washington's public posture:

1. The administration cannot admit what is self-evident: it does not have the ability, by itself, to break the back of the Sunni insurrection. To achieve this, the United States needs help from non-jihadist Sunnis -- Baathists -- as well as the Shia. U.S. troops cannot achieve the mission alone.

2. In order to get this help, the United States is going to have to make -- and is, in fact, making -- a variety of deals with players it would have regarded as enemies two years ago, and must make concessions that would seem to be unthinkable.

These negotiations are constant. The United States is doing everything it can to get former Baathists into the political process -- people who were close to Hussein. It is working intently with people like Ahmed Chalabi who were close -- some say very close -- to the Iranians. It is cutting deals left and right like a Chicago ward boss.

This is, of course, precisely what the United States must do. Its best chance at a reasonable outcome in Iraq is to split the Sunni community between jihadist and Baathist, and then use the Baathists to counterbalance the Shia -- without alienating the Shia. It takes the skill of an acrobat, and the fact is that Bush has not been too bad at it. The war itself has become a side show. U.S. troops are not in Iraq to win a war. They are there to represent U.S. will and to act as a counterweight in the political wheeling and dealing. War is politics by other means, so being shocked by this makes little sense. Still, the numbers of U.S. troops are irrelevant to the real issue. Doubling them wouldn't help, and cutting them in half wouldn't hurt. The time for a military solution is long past.

Battle in the Beltway

The problem with the hysteria in Washington is this: In all the negotiations, in all the promises, bribes and threats, the one currency that counts is the American ability to deliver. The ability to craft a deal depends on the ability of Bush to threaten various factions, and to make guarantees that can be delivered on. There is a pretty good chance that some sort of reasonable settlement can be achieved -- not ending all violence, but reducing it substantially -- if the United States has the credibility it needs to make the deals.

The problem the Bush administration has -- and it is a problem that dates back to the beginning of the war -- is its inability to articulate the reality. The United States is not staying the course. It has not been on course -- if by "course" you mean what was planned in February 2003 -- for two years. The course the United States has been on has been winding, shifting and surprising. The fact is that the administration has done a fairly good job of riding the whirlwind. But the course has shifted so many times that no one can stay it, because it disappeared long ago.

Having committed the fundamental error -- and that wasn't WMD -- the Administration has done a sufficiently good job that some sort of working government might well be created in Iraq in 2006, and U.S. forces will certainly be withdrawn. What threatens this outcome is the administration's singular inability to simply state the obvious. As a result, the Democrats -- doing what opposition parties do -- has made it appear that the Bush administration is the most stupid, inept and incompetent administration in history. And the administration has been reduced to calling its critics cowards.

The administration's position in Iraq is complex but not hopeless. Its greatest challenge is in Washington, where Bush's Republican base of support is collapsing. If it collapses, then all bets will be off in Iraq. Bush's challenge is to stabilize Washington. In fact, from his point of view, Baghdad is more stable than Washington right now. The situation inside the Beltway has now become a geopolitical problem. If Bush can't pull it together, the situation in Iraq will come apart. But to forge the stability he needs in Washington, the president will have to explain what he is doing in Iraq. And he is loath to admit, from his own mouth, that he is making deals with the enemy.
30408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 21, 2005, 10:11:30 AM
HOW TO LOSE A WAR
By RALPH PETERS

QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.

Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq ? and the region ? if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates ? knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies ? that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.

Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment ? and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter ? they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"

You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.

*


The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq ? not one ? has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.

There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

Surrender is never a winning strategy.

Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq ? by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.

What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 ? a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.

We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.

As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.

If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.

And they won't all be conservatives.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.
30409  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pu?o Invertido on: November 18, 2005, 11:06:06 AM
?Cual foto?  osea que numero?
30410  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pu?o Invertido on: November 18, 2005, 08:46:32 AM
Otro uso de esa posicion:

http://www.geocities.com/kalipages/dogbros/Jan00.htm
30411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 18, 2005, 08:03:51 AM
http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-90938
30412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 17, 2005, 12:50:40 PM
The New Bolsheviks  Print  Mail
   
 
 
Understanding Al Qaeda
By Frederick W. Kagan
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2005
 
NATIONAL SECURITY OUTLOOK
AEI Online    
Publication Date: November 16, 2005
 

 This essay is available here as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

November 2005

Victory in war, and particularly in counterinsurgency wars, requires knowing one?s enemy. This simple truth, first stated by Sun Tsu more than two millennia ago, is no less important in the war on terrorism today. It has become almost common wisdom, however, that America today faces an enemy of a new kind, using unprecedented techniques and pursuing incomprehensible goals. But this enemy is not novel. Once the peculiar rhetoric is stripped away, the enemy America faces is a familiar one indeed. The revolutionary vision that undergirds al Qaeda?s ideology, the strategy it is pursuing, and the strategic debates occurring within that organization are similar to those of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism at various periods. What?s more, the methods that led to the defeat of that ideology can be adapted and successfully used against this religious revival of it.

Certain strands of Islamist ideology are so similar in structure to basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism that the comparison is unavoidable. The similarities are most apparent in the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian Islamist and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood executed in 1966. Qutb, who produced a pamphlet called Milestones that summarized much of his work, has powerfully influenced the modern jihadist movement, especially Ayman al-Zawahiri--Osama bin Laden?s deputy and the ideologue of al Qaeda--and Abdul Musab al-Zarqawi, ?emir? of the al Qaeda organization in Iraq.

The Influence of Marx and Lenin

Milestones--like Vladimir Lenin?s famous pamphlet What Is to Be Done?--sums up not merely the ideological foundations of the movement, but also the strategy and tactics that must be pursued to achieve success. Before considering Qutb?s program, however, it is worthwhile to recall the essential tenets of Marxism-Leninism to which Qutb?s jihadism bears such noteworthy resemblance.

Briefly put, Karl Marx argued that the world of his day was corrupt, riddled with oppression, and spawning endless violence and war because of fundamental flaws in the human structures and within human beings themselves. One manifestation of this oppression was the nation-state, which the exploitative capitalist classes had falsely erected in order to suppress proletarians and lower orders. Marx claimed to have applied scientific principles to the study of history and to have discovered its secrets: all history consisted of class struggle, and that struggle moved inevitably to the ultimate triumph of the proletariat.

That triumph once achieved, Marx argued, a period of ?socialism? would begin in which human nature would be transformed. People would live in harmony according to the principle ?From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.? All of the false encrustations of oppressive capitalist society, such as money, mass production, police, religion, private property, would vanish. The state would ?wither away,? whereupon the period of true communism would begin, stateless and utterly and eternally peaceful.

Marx?s disciples accepted his vision with little argument. The best strategy for achieving it, however, became a serious source of discord within the socialist movement, persisting even to the final collapse of the Bolshevik experiment in 1991. Marx argued for different approaches at different times. The early Marx argued that the proletariat could come to power only through a violent revolution, while he wrote in Das Kapital that the process might be more peaceful and gradual. Revolutionaries like Lenin and Mao sought violent confrontation and the cataclysmic revolution that the early Marx had promised. Western European socialists tended to prefer the later Marx, eschewing violence and direct confrontation and relying on the engine of history. All of them generally agreed that the ?contradictions? of capitalism would contribute to communism?s triumph through capitalism?s inevitable collapse.

Lenin?s belief in the necessity of violent revolution emerged in part from the condition of his native land. In late-nineteenth-century Russia proletarians were a small minority and unable by themselves to take power, even had they wholeheartedly supported the Bolshevik movement, which they did not. Lenin therefore saw that his only hope of success in Russia was to entrammel the peasant along with the worker in a revolutionary movement aimed first at seizing power on behalf of the socialist movement. There would then be plenty of time, he reasoned, to reeducate the peasants as necessary. The key to this movement, he believed, was a revolutionary party, what he came to call the ?vanguard of the proletariat.? This party, comprised largely of intellectuals, was alone capable of really understanding Marxism and developing and executing the strategies needed to bring about its triumph. Once the vanguard had seized power in the name of the proletariat, establishing what Lenin called the ?dictatorship of the proletariat,? it would then proceed to empower those elements of the proletariat, and other classes if there were any, that understood and supported the true principles of Marxism-Leninism. It was not necessary, therefore, that all or even a majority of proletarians supported the revolution or believed in Marxism. The only thing that mattered was that the revolutionary vanguard was capable of seizing and holding power. Education and transformation would then do the rest.

The Bolsheviks? seizure of power in Russia in 1917 raised yet another issue that promptly split the revolutionary movement into two camps. Should the new Bolshevik state seek at once to spread revolution around the world, or should it focus instead on perfecting what Joseph Stalin called ?communism in one country? in order to establish a beacon, a model, and a bastion of successful communism to sustain and inspire revolution elsewhere? Stalin favored the latter course, Leon Trotsky the former. Stalin?s triumph enshrined this approach in Soviet grand strategy, although it is not clear that Trotsky would have acted very differently had he ever held supreme power. The ideological split was nevertheless bitter and central to the subsequent development of communist thought.

Qutb?s Vision

Qutb also viewed the world of his day as decadent, violent, oppressive, and riddled with contradictions. Writing in the 1950s, he condemned Western capitalism, Western socialism, Eastern despotism, and Marxism itself as ?unable to present any healthy values for the guidance of mankind.?[1] Like Marx, Qutb was familiar with the society he was condemning, for he had spent two years in the United States and had been profoundly impressed by its godlessness and hedonism. It was not necessary, he argued, for Islam to vie with West or East in the matter of material prosperity and inventiveness, although he did not despise such capabilities. The role of Islam, rather, was to provide the moral and spiritual leadership the world so badly needed, to fulfill ?the basic human needs on the same level of excellence as technology has fulfilled them in the sphere of material comfort.?[2]

Qutb argued that the basic problem afflicting the human race was the subordination of human beings to one another. Only God, he wrote, could exercise just sovereignty, and only God?s laws are truly laws. For many centuries, however, man had established his own laws and governments, with individuals usurping God?s sovereignty and thereby elevating themselves as false idols and dictators. Even within the Muslim world, the Umma, he noted, state structures had been established and the leaders of those structures legislated and established laws of their own, distinct from the laws of sharia, which were of God.

This argument was central to Qutb?s thought, for it justified his claim that the world of his day, including most of the so-called Muslim world of that time, existed in a state of jahiliyya, or ignorance of God. Traditionally, this term is applied to the period before Mohammed, but Qutb applied it to most of history following Mohammed?s revelations on the ground that people to whom the words of the Prophet had been presented, but who had rejected those words and were living by their own codes, were no less ignorant than those who lived before the Prophet arrived on earth. Worse still, by ?worshipping? other human beings in the process of according them the honors due to the sovereignty they had usurped from God, these people were guilty of polytheism, just as the early Arabs were whom Mohammed chastened, defeated, and then converted.

Qutb was arguing that all human state structures are inherently evil and should be destroyed. He recognized that most of the non-Muslim world, and even most of the Umma, was not yet ready to live in accord with the only true and just laws, the sharia, and so he proposed a period of careful education and training to transform humanity so that it would reject the false teachings and turn toward the true. He described in great detail the manner in which the Koran was to be transmitted, verse by verse over thirteen years, according to Qutb, so that those who received it would be educated gradually and transformed. The clear implication was that once humanity has been reformed and reeducated as Qutb describes, state structures will collapse and vanish, and people will live in peace and harmony under the laws of God and not under their own, as he claimed the first generation of Muslims did.

Like Lenin, Qutb knew that his view was not shared by the majority of the people on whose behalf he proposed to operate. He was untroubled by this difficulty, since he adopted the same solution Lenin had proposed: ?How is it possible to start the task of reviving Islam?? he asked. ?It is necessary that there should be a vanguard which sets out with this determination and then keeps walking on the path.? Milestones would serve as the guide for the vanguard in this fight.[3]

Qutb also considered the problem aired during the Stalin-Trotsky dispute following the Bolshevik victory--should the vanguard aim to win throughout the world all at once or in one place first? He chose the Stalinist approach, arguing that the vanguard should work first to seize power in a single state: ?The beauty of this new system cannot be appreciated unless it takes a concrete form. Hence it is essential that a community arrange its affairs according to it and show it to the world. In order to bring this about, we need to initiate the movement of Islamic revival in some Muslim country. Only such a revivalist movement will eventually attain to the status of world leadership.?[4]

Here, then, in a nutshell is the basic structure of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism reproduced in a religious context: the corruption and illegitimacy of current state structures; the inadmissibility of any state structures in a justly ordered world; the need to transform humanity before entering into that world; the need to begin by seizing power in a single state, but with the aim of ultimately destroying all states; the error of having any human or group of humans holding sovereignty over any other; and the critical role of a vanguard revolutionary group in the process. Qutb was in no way a Marxist, but the basic structure of his argument certainly was akin to that of Marx and his disciples.

Ideologically, the emphasis on the illegitimacy and need for the destruction of all state structures is a peculiarly Marxist approach--non-Marxist revolutionaries generally argue that they will improve upon failed state structures, not that they aim at destroying them all. The assertion that human nature must be transformed in order to pave the way for a glorious this-worldly paradise is also peculiarly Marxist--it gives Marxism an air of pseudo-religiosity. Qutb?s religiosity is not false in any way, of course, but this philosophical premise fits at least as well with Marx as with Mohammed.

One important difference between Qutb and Marxism deserves to be noted, however. Whereas Marxists operated in a world in which few proletarians, let alone peasants or capitalists, had even read or understood the touchstone works of their movements, Qutb and his disciples can rely on more than a billion people to be intimately familiar with the Koran, the sharia, and the life of the Prophet. But this apparent difference is really another point of similarity. Marxists constantly worried about how to raise the ?class consciousness? of the proletariat, by which they meant teaching the workers to understand the true oppressive meaning of their situation and the real power at their disposal. Qutb and his followers have the same problem. All Muslims are familiar with the Koran; relatively few know of Qutb?s writings. The Koran does not teach that a revolutionary vanguard should seize a decrepit Muslim state and establish a new order there, transforming human nature as it goes, to serve as a beacon for the global revolution. If the jihadists cannot persuade their fellow Muslims that this is the right course to follow, then the familiarity of those Muslims with the Koran is of no more significance than the fact that proletarians without adequate ?class consciousness? continued to work in factories. In both cases, the raw material for supporting the revolution is, in theory, there--the question is whether or not the vanguard can mobilize it when the time comes.

Al Qaeda--The Vanguard of Today

One important difference between Marxism-Leninism and jihadism is that, whereas Lenin was a shrewder and more talented theorist than Marx, the ideologues of the current struggle are far less eloquent and coherent than Qutb. Ayman al-Zawahiri is one of the most thoughtful of al Qaeda?s ideologists, and he has published numerous books and tracts describing the intellectual basis of the program al Qaeda is pursuing. Of particular interest is a manuscript he completed in 2001, Knights under the Banner of the Prophet,[5] which some have called his autobiography, others his ?last will and testament,? since it was apparently completed before the expected American attack on Afghanistan and in the expectation of his possible death in that struggle.

Zawahiri makes clear his intellectual debt to Qutb. He explains that Qutb ?affirmed that the issue of unification in Islam is important and that the battle between Islam and its enemies is primarily an ideological one over the issue of unification. It is also a battle over to whom authority and power should belong--to God?s course and sharia, to man-made laws and material principles, or to those who claim to be intermediaries between the Creator and mankind.? He continues, ?This affirmation greatly helped the Islamic movement to know and define its enemies. It also helped it to realize that the internal enemy was not less dangerous than the external enemy was and that the internal enemy was a tool used by the external enemy and a screen behind which it hid to launch its war on Islam.?[6] He identified Qutb?s execution by Nassar as the spark that set alight the Islamic revolution and formed the nucleus of the revolutionary movement of which Zawahiri was a part. Although Zawahiri almost certainly intended no such reference, it is hard to resist noting that the name of Lenin?s revolutionary paper was Iskra--?the spark.?

In good Leninist fashion, the bulk of Zawahiri?s writing in Knights under the Banner of the Prophet does not address the basic principles that underlie the movement, although numerous references and obvious assumptions make it clear that he accepted Qutb?s arguments fully. Zawahiri focuses instead on arguing with other Islamists about strategies and tactics, in a manner eerily familiar to anyone who has ever perused Lenin?s pre-revolutionary writings.

Like the Bolsheviks before them, the Islamists--from Zawahiri?s perspective--are split into at least two major camps. There are those who believe in working non-violently toward improving the lot of Muslims within Muslim countries, hoping to establish the rule of sharia but unwilling to use violence to do so. He was particularly bitter toward the members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who issued a unilateral declaration that they would renounce violence in the hope of securing the release of thousands of their members then incarcerated in Egyptian jails and subjected, so they said, to extreme tortures. Zawahiri dismissed this approach contemptuously, noting that it had borne no fruit and would never bear any. The Egyptian regime, he declared, was bound hand and foot to the service of its American masters, who were working with desperate strength to eradicate Islamism throughout the world. The only way of reversing this situation, he declared, is through violent jihad--compromise would only play into the hands of the oppressors.

This sort of debate is common in revolutionary movements. The radicals who prefer violence and refuse to moderate their demands frequently resent those who would compromise, thereby reducing the grievances of the population the radicals hope to inflame. The Bolsheviks were among the first to denounce compromisers with such bitterness, and the vision of a corrupt Egyptian regime playing the cat?s-paw to the international efforts of godless atheism to destroy Islamism are almost perfectly analogous to the Bolsheviks? descriptions of bumbling Russian capitalists and tsarist officials serving the cause of international capitalism.

The same tension between attacking the cat?s-paw and attacking the master evident in the Stalin-Trotsky debate enlivens Zawahiri?s thinking. He comes, however, to a middle position. He entirely agrees with Qutb that it is essential to seize a territorial base in the Muslim heartland, to take power in a Muslim country. But he also believes that the fight must be brought home to the Americans and their international allies. This belief is based on a calculation of relative forces. Zawahiri believes that al Qaeda might be able to defeat one or more of the Muslim states if those states were not supported. But his evaluation of the international situation suggests that the United States is throwing all of its weight behind those regimes in its determination to prevent jihadists from seizing power in any of them. The purpose of the attacks on the United States was, therefore, to divide it from its regional allies by showing them to be incapable of controlling the jihadists. The Americans would then, Zawahiri argues, either quarrel with those allies--presumably giving the jihadists the opportunity to strike them--or push the allies aside and intervene directly in the struggle within the Muslim world. In that case, he argues, the struggle will turn into ?clear-cut jihad against infidels,? which the Muslims, presumably, will win.

In yet another intriguing parallel to the Bolsheviks, Zawahiri found himself isolated and far from the main theater of action following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. While Zawahiri and bin Laden apparently ran from cave to cave along the Afghan-Pakistani border, other jihadist leaders came to the fore in Iraq, particularly Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born jihadist who had a complicated relationship with al Qaeda. Zarqawi had been present in Afghanistan under the Taliban, but had refused to acknowledge bin Laden?s leadership. The Taliban unusually allowed him to set up and control his own bases near Herat. He was apparently in Iraq at the time of the U.S. attack, and began rapidly establishing his own network to resist the occupation.[7]

Zawahiri has therefore been playing the role of Lenin to Zarqawi?s Stalin. When revolution destroyed the tsarist regime in March 1917, Lenin was in exile in Switzerland, and the Bolshevik machine within Russia was in ruins. Stalin and another famous revolutionary, Lev Kamenev, had been imprisoned by the tsarist regime but now escaped and took over the primitive Bolshevik organization that existed. Lenin watched from Zurich with dismay as Stalin and Kamenev undertook a series of initiatives with which Lenin disagreed. The matter might have remained in such tension--and the Bolshevik Revolution might never have followed in November 1917, had the German government not sent Lenin clandestinely from Switzerland back to Russia to take up the reins of power.

Al Qaeda similarly had but a small base in Saddam Hussein?s Iraq, and Zawahiri and others were surprised and disturbed by the quick and complete American victory in April 2003. Zarqawi stepped quickly into the void and persuaded Osama bin Laden to recognize his group as the al Qaeda branch organization within Iraq. Since then, Zarqawi and Zawahiri have conducted a fitful correspondence about revolutionary strategy that bears careful examination.

Before turning to that examination, we must address one major difference between the present situation and that of the Bolsheviks. Before 1917, Lenin?s most important role was as a revolutionary theorist and, secondarily, organizer. The Bolsheviks in that period carried out few operations of their own. Lenin focused his attention on developing the strategy for the vanguard of the proletariat, rather than on writing propaganda to be distributed to the masses.

Zarqawi, Zawahiri, bin Laden, and their followers face a different set of circumstances today. They have been conducting significant operations since the early 1990s and have been pursuing an offensive revolutionary strategy even as they have worked to establish safe havens and to protect their organization from attacks and counterattacks. Zawahiri and bin Laden, are also far more concerned with the reception of their message by the Muslim population at large than Lenin ever was. The great bulk of their available writing, therefore, is aimed at the mass audience and designed to achieve purposes that the Bolsheviks would have regarded as simple agitation rather than revolutionary theory. It is very difficult to extract a meaningful view of the development of jihadist ideology from such documents.

The captured letters between Zarqawi and Zawahiri tell another story entirely, however, and are much more useful for this purpose. In this exchange, Zarqawi has revealed that, although he shares with Stalin a certain bloodthirstiness and brutality, he is superior to Stalin in his ability to develop an independent ideological vision. Like Stalin, Zarqawi focuses primarily on revolutionary success within a single state rather than on the success of the revolutionary movement globally. He nevertheless accepts the basic tenets of Qutb?s teachings. ?All that we hope,? he writes, ?is that we will be the spearhead, the enabling vanguard, and the bridge on which the [Islamic] nation crosses over to the victory that is promised and the tomorrow to which we aspire.?[8] The struggle for power in Iraq is to be accompanied by a large-scale media effort to ?explain the rules of sharia through tapes, printed materials, study, and courses of learning [meant] to expand awareness, anchor the doctrine of the unity of God, prepare the infrastructure, and meet [our] obligation.? The seizure of power in Iraq is, finally, merely the starting-point for Zarqawi, after which ?the mujahidin will have assured themselves land from which to set forth in striking the Shia in their heartland, along with a clear media orientation and the creation of strategic depth and reach among the brothers outside [Iraq] and the mujahidin within.?

The practical revolutionary program that Zarqawi laid out focused on attacking Iraq?s Shiite population first and foremost. Zarqawi believed that the Shia were the worst foes of the revolution. They were, from his perspective, apostates, heretics, and historically collaborators with the enemies of Islam--by which Zarqawi always means Sunni Islam. In the current struggle, Zarqawi sees the Shiites as the most dangerous allies of the Americans, since they were eager to seize power, to crush the Arab Sunnis, and to destroy true Islam--and they could accomplish all of those goals while putting a pseudo-Islamic face on Iraq that might deceive the rest of the world.

Zarqawi also labored, at least in early 2004, with several other problems that Lenin would have found familiar. The revolutionary groups within Iraq were scattered and ill-organized. They had few followers and even fewer experienced members. The influx of new recruits was both helpful and a burden, since the organization hardly had the capability to train them adequately and still accomplish its mission. Like the good Stalinist that he is, Zarqawi made it clear that he intended to use the first several months of 2004 to establish a solid organizational basis for the revolution in Iraq.

The goal of his attacks on the Shiites was not simply fomenting religious strife, however. It was also revolutionary strategy. Zarqawi was clearly disappointed with the apathy of the majority of the Sunni Arabs in Iraq and sought to raise their revolutionary consciousness by baiting the Shiites into attacking them. He was eager to accomplish this goal before the Sunnis fell into the trap of longing for material and even political advantages that might flow from the nascent democracy in Iraq and of deciding to abandon jihad.

Zawahiri, for his part, found Zarqawi?s strategy and actions as disturbing as Lenin found Stalin?s. Zawahiri has always been concerned with the way the Muslim masses perceived al Qaeda and its message. In Knights under the Banner of the Prophet, he wrote,

The jihad movement must dedicate one of its wings to work with the masses, preach, provide services for the Muslim people, and share their concerns through all available avenues for charity and educational work. We must not leave a single area unoccupied. We must win the people?s confidence, respect, and affection. The people will not love us unless they felt that we love them, care about them, and are ready to defend them.[9]

His recent declaration that the jihadists and all other Muslims should offer such aid as they can to suffering Pakistanis despite the evil of Musharraf?s government is another example of his determination to secure a positive image of his movement in the eyes of the masses.

Zawahiri made this point explicitly in his letter to Zarqawi:

If we are in agreement that the victory of Islam and the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet will not be achieved except through jihad against the apostate rulers and their removal, then this goal will not be accomplished by the mujahed movement while it is cut off from public support, even if the Jihadist movement pursues the method of sudden overthrow. This is because such an overthrow would not take place without some minimum of popular support and some condition of public discontent which offers the mujahed movement what it needs in terms of capabilities in the quickest fashion. . . . In the absence of this popular support, the Islamic mujahed movement would be crushed in the shadows.[10]

In accord with this desire to gain mass support within the Umma, Zawahiri has not proposed attacks against the Shia. His emphasis is always upon unifying against the common enemy, in which he regards jahiliyya as being more dangerous than apostasy. Zawahiri was, therefore, apparently deeply disturbed by Zarqawi?s decision to turn on the Shia first, as a way of attacking the Americans and as a way of mobilizing the Sunni Arabs within Iraq. Zawahiri makes clear that he shares Zarqawi?s opinion of the Shia: ?People of discernment and knowledge among Muslims know the extent of danger to Islam of the Twelve?er school of Shiism. It is a religious school based on excess and falsehood.? He continues, however, ?We must repeat . . . that the majority of Muslims don?t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia.? Zarqawi?s attacks on Shiite mosques, he added, increase this unease. ?My opinion is that this matter won?t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.? Speaking indirectly, but clearly for himself as well, Zawahiri muses, ?Is the opening of another front now in addition to the front against the Americans and the government a wise decision??

Zawahiri repeatedly acknowledges, with infinitely more apparent humility than Lenin ever showed Stalin and Kamenev (or anyone else, for that matter), that he is far from the theater of action and only Zarqawi has the true picture of events in Iraq. He adds, ?however, monitoring from afar has the advantage of providing the total picture and observing the general line without getting submerged in the details . . . One of the most important factors of success is that you don?t let your eyes lose sight of the target, and that it should stand before you always. Otherwise you deviate from the general line through a policy of reaction.? These are the harsh words of the ideologue attempting to bring the overzealous local commander to heel. Stalin would certainly have cringed on receiving such a missive from Lenin. It is unclear what Zarqawi?s reaction was.

That is partly because the power relationship between Zarqawi and Zawahiri is quite different from that between Stalin and Lenin. Bin Laden is famous throughout the Muslim world, and Zawahiri is known as his loyal deputy and brilliant ideologue. But Zarqawi is developing a significant aura all his own from his ability to elude and hurt the Americans, if from nothing else. Should Zarqawi succeed in Iraq, it is quite likely that he would push bin Laden and Zawahiri aside in the leadership of al Qaeda and the jihadist movement. It is extremely unlikely, on the other hand, that Zawahiri will travel to Iraq, take control of the situation, impose his brilliant ideological vision, and achieve Lenin?s victory.

What?s at Stake in the War on Terror

For all the obvious and subtle differences between the current situation and that of the Bolsheviks, the analogy can nevertheless inform our thinking in important ways. It helps to strip away the confusion resulting from the jihadists? abuse of Islamic theology and cut through the tangle of arguments about 1,400-year old events and personalities to reveal the true stakes of the struggle. This is not a war of the West against Islam, of wealthy nations against the poor, of the agents of globalization against their victims. It is an ideological struggle in which the heirs of Qutb are attempting to seize power so as to establish a forcible dictatorship that can impose their desired moral, political, economic, judicial, and social system upon a growing mass--and ultimately, the whole--of the human race.

They are using the tried-and-true methods of the Bolsheviks, and the many revolutionaries who have followed in their wake, as they attempt to accomplish this mission. A small group of professional revolutionaries works simultaneously to expand its reach in the populace and to perfect its own organization. At the right historical moment, it strikes a weak state and seizes power. It then uses that state for two purposes. First, it builds a model, a showpiece of the excellence of its ideological program to encourage other groups to imitate it, creating similar states which it can then absorb. Second, it develops the resources of that state to place them at the disposal of the revolutionary movement, dramatically increasing its reach and capabilities. It is essential to recall in this regard that, although the jihadists write like seventh-century poets and advocate a ?return? to an idealized version of ?traditional Islam,? they have no quarrel with technology. Qutb made that explicit in Milestones, and the jihadists have made it clear with word and deed that they accept the premise that this idealized Islam is not at odds with advanced technology.

The movement is now quarreling in numerous fora about strategy: to attack the Shia or not, to attack the Saudi government or leave it alone, to strike the Americans or their regional allies--all arguments similar in nature to those that animated Bolshevik discussions before and after the Great October Socialist Revolution.

We must be attentive to how these quarrels are resolved. It is quite possible that the ?central? al Qaeda organization, if we may so designate the group immediately responsive to bin Laden and Zawahiri, has not staged another September 11th-style attack on the United States not so much because they are incapable of it, but because they have concluded that it is counterproductive at the current moment. September 11th certainly did not produce the result they desired: the United States did not turn on its regional allies, nor did America?s direct intervention in the Muslim world lead to a dramatic explosion of spontaneous jihad.

Judging from the increasingly desperate tone of the internal jihadist correspondence, in fact, it seems clear that they do not feel that they are winning this struggle. Zawahiri appears to be focusing on building an organization and a new base in the Muslim community, and to be quarrelling with Zarqawi about the latter?s policies that are complicating that effort. Zarqawi has been throwing his might into igniting a Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq. So far, that has not occurred, but Zawahiri?s injunctions to abandon that line of effort offer little in the way of alternatives.

One of the greatest dangers facing the West today, therefore, is the danger of growing complacent. If the terrorists are directing their attacks away from America?s shores now for strategic reasons of their own, they may revise that decision at any moment. More importantly, the Bolshevik example provides cause for fear of another sort. In March 1917, as we have noted, the Bolsheviks were utterly irrelevant in the Russian political scene. The collapse of the tsarist government did not bring them to power, but it created a chaos in which they could reform and reorganize to strike. The failure of the Kerensky government, which resulted largely from its ill-advised determination to keep fighting an unpopular war, offered the revitalized Bolsheviks the opportunity to seize power. Even then, it required a vicious three-year civil war to consolidate the victory, a victory made possible largely because of the war-weariness and distraction of ?international capitalism,? meaning the United States, Britain, France, Japan, and their allies.

The struggle to establish stability in Iraq and Afghanistan is thus at the very heart of any war against jihadism. Zarqawi, bin Laden, Zawahiri, and many others repeat over and over again that this is their view. They are right. If they could ever take advantage of a significant period of chaos in either of those states, they could establish themselves anew and reverse the current disarray of their movement, probably very quickly. It took the Bolsheviks, after all, eight months to go from a position in which almost every Bolshevik leader was in jail or in exile to holding the seat of power in Russia with a mass following. Collapse and reorder can come very rapidly with a thoughtful, organized, and intellectually prepared revolutionary group.

And that is precisely what we face in al Qaeda. For too long, we have been transfixed with concerns about anti-Americanism within the Muslim community and the sense that this struggle is amorphous and difficult to comprehend. The truth is that anti-Americanism in any community is only dangerous if there is a group within that community that can organize and channel that sentiment into an intelligently conceived strategy. Destroying such groups is the highest priority, but it is extremely difficult. Preventing them from establishing themselves in power in a sovereign state comes next, and that is much more feasible, if still costly and difficult.

But Marxism did not fall, in the end, simply because of the collapse of Soviet power. It fell simultaneously with that collapse, as the majority of the ?communist? world decided that it was intellectually bankrupt and offered a less attractive vision of the future than its nemesis--democracy and capitalism. If we kill bin Laden, Zawahiri, or Zarqawi tomorrow, the doctrines of Qutb and his heirs will continue to offer the blueprint for similar revolutionary organizations in the future. We must recall that Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and bin Laden all developed their ideologies and even their movements independently of one another before merging. Real victory can only come by persuading the overwhelming majority of the Muslim people that this apocalyptic vision is unattractive.
 
Western insouciance and the incompetence of Russian liberals ensured that it took seven decades of horrible suffering and terrible danger to prove that point about Marxism. We are fortunate now to be able to contest this ideology much earlier in its developmental cycle. Establishing viable, peaceful, stable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan should therefore be fully as central to our war on terror as the goal of establishing jihadist dictatorships in those countries is to the terrorists? war against us. The war in Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror. It is, on the contrary, far and away the most important battle yet fought in that war, and a battle that the West dare not lose.

Frederick W. Kagan is a resident scholar at AEI. The author is grateful to Frank Sobchak for his invaluable help framing, understanding, and exploring this complex issue.

Notes

1. Sayyid Qutb, Milestones (Damascus: Dar al-Ilm, n.d.), 7. For a brief discussion of Qutb?s ideology, see also Ahmad Moussalli, Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Ideological and Political Discourse of Sayyid Qutb (Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1992).

2. Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, 10.

3. Ibid., 12.

4. Ibid., 11?12.

5. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Knights under the Prophet?s Banner (2001), serialized in Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a London-based Saudi-owned daily newspaper.

6. Ibid., part III.

7. Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, ??The Sheikh of the Slaughterers?: Abu Mus?ab Al-Zarqawi and the Al-Qa?ida Connection,? The Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series  231 (July 1, 2005).

8. ?Text from Abu Mus?ab al-Zarqawi Letter,? released on February 12, 2004, available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2004/02/040212-al-zarqawi.htm.  

9. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Knights under the Prophet?s Banner, section 12.

10. Zawahiri to Zarqawi, July 9, 2005 (released on October 11, 2005), available at http://www.dni.gov/release_letter_101105.html.
 
 
 
Related Links
 
Listing of All National Security Outlooks
30413  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / you knew this? KUBARK on: November 17, 2005, 12:44:06 PM
How reliable is this site?
30414  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 17, 2005, 10:07:46 AM
Black still sucks for contrast with the walls which form two sides of the fight area and also with the mat.
30415  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 16, 2005, 11:55:49 PM
Good point!  Thank you for reminding me of this!
30416  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 16, 2005, 07:48:41 AM
Woof Tom:

I don't know how many of the 34 registered fighters are reading this thread.  My sense of things is that you should simply decide to come to play and that you will find people with whom to play  Cheesy   I am sure the TV people will find a fight with nunchaku(s) in it to be very telegenic  wink

Just say the word , , ,

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30417  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: November 15, 2005, 01:25:11 PM
Dear Mr. Marc Denny,
I wanted to congratulate you for your excellent Kali Tudo tape, I am watching it over and over again. Thanks a lot for sharing your secrets, in my humble opinion alone the information on the unmatched lead is a gold mine and I think it applies to a lot of different types of training. I successfully use it in my Greco-Roman handfighting , together with a shoulder push I often can disrupt the balance of my sparring partner to get in for a hold on him.
Having also an extensive background on Wing Chun, I especially liked your interview and your answers in defense of the so-called dead patterns. I liked that footwork you added to the asking hand.
I'd like also to ask you a question: on the location where your tape were shot I've seen a lot of wooden dummys,
I was just curious whether you are using them for your weaponless training, as I am a big fan of that training tool,
because it fills in if I am lacking training partners.
Thanks a lot , I am looking forward to the second part: Kali Tudo on the ground.

Yours sincerely, Oliver Poerner
30418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 15, 2005, 10:57:04 AM
Local Knowledge
In Iraq, One Officer
Uses Cultural Skills
To Fight Insurgents

While Talking Like a Bedouin
He Sees Smuggling Routes;
Spotting a Phony Kurd
Army Has Recalled His Unit
By GREG JAFFE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 15, 2005; Page A1

MOSUL, Iraq -- Last summer, two dozen U.S. Army Rangers headed for the Iraq-Syria border to figure out how foreign fighters were slipping through western Iraq's barren deserts.

As they had done in the past, the Rangers took positions around each village and Bedouin encampment. At one village, an officer named David, accompanied by a small security team, strode into the center looking for someone who would talk. Unlike the clean-shaven, camouflage-clad Rangers, David wore a thick goatee and civilian clothes. The Rangers carried long, black M-4 carbine rifles. David walked with a small 9mm pistol strapped to his leg. The Rangers spoke English. He spoke Arabic tinged with a Yemeni accent.

As he recounts the day, David met a woman with facial tattoos that marked her as her husband's property. As they chatted, the pale-skinned, sandy-haired North Carolina native imitated her dry, throaty way of speaking. "You are Bedu, too," she exclaimed with delight, he recalls.

From her and the other Bedouins, the 37-year-old officer learned that most of the cross-border smuggling was carried out by Shamar tribesmen who peddle cigarettes, sheep and gasoline. Radical Islamists were using the same routes to move people, guns and money. Many of the paths were marked with small piles of bleached rocks that were identical to those David had seen a year earlier while serving in Yemen.

 
Col. H.R. McMaster, who oversees troops in northwestern Iraq, says David's reports allowed his regiment to "focus our reconnaissance assets upon arrival" in Iraq's vast western desert last summer and immediately begin to intercept smugglers.

David is part of a small cadre of cultural experts in the Army known as foreign-area officers. The military would only allow him to be interviewed on the grounds that his last name and rank be withheld. U.S. officials say he'll be spending the rest of his career in the Middle East, often operating alone in potentially hostile territory. Naming him, they say, would make him more vulnerable to attack.

His colleagues in Iraq say his presence has been invaluable. "We ought to have one of these guys assigned to every [regional] commander in Iraq," says Col. John Bayer, chief of staff for Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces in the northern third of the country. "I'd love to say 'assign me 100 of these guys.' "

That's not happening. Instead, the military is pulling David out of Iraq later this month along with seven other officers who make up his unit. Before the end of the year, David will resume his previous post in Yemen.

The decision to disband the Iraq unit is part of a continuing debate within the Pentagon about how best to fight unconventional wars that don't lend themselves to the Army's traditional reliance on firepower and technology. The issue: How should the Army use officers who specialize in accumulating historical, political and cultural knowledge.

Earlier this fall, the U.S. embassy and the military's main headquarters in Baghdad concluded that the work of David and his colleagues was duplicating the efforts of other personnel. David's team is part of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. It was sent to Iraq to advise U.S. military and State Department officials.

"While it's regrettable to lose experienced people, overall there are many more Arabic speakers working for us [in Iraq] than you might think," says one U.S. embassy official in Mosul.

To some in the Defense Department, the foreign-area teams offer a model for how all types of future officers should be trained. A report approved by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in January, specifically ordered the military to beef up its linguistic and cultural capabilities.

"Language skill and regional expertise have not been regarded as warfighting skills and are not sufficiently incorporated" into war plans, the report concluded.

In Iraq, cultural misunderstandings have contributed to mistakes. The decision to disband the Iraqi Army, which the U.S. saw as a tool of Saddam Hussein and a symbol of oppressions, created ill-will among Iraqi soldiers, who saw it as a source of national pride and pensions. As they battled an insurgency, U.S. commanders also struggled to understand Iraq's deep tribal and sectarian divisions. American officers working with Iraq's fledgling security forces frequently complain that police officers and soldiers sometimes put tribal allegiances ahead of their duty as officers.

'A Cold War Mindset'

Col. John D'Agostino, who oversees David and his colleagues and has also been recalled, says he disagrees with the decision to close the Iraq foreign-area officer unit. He says these officers are often overlooked, for which he blames "a Cold War mindset in which we are still fighting the hordes in Eastern Europe." When David leaves, the U.S. embassy's regional office in Mosul won't have a single Arabic speaker or Middle East expert on its staff.

In total, there are currently about 1,000 foreign-area officers in the Army. Currently, 145 of them specialize in the Middle East, the fourth-largest number devoted to a single region. The biggest concentration is in Europe. Typically, they spend big chunks of their careers working as the military's eyes and ears in remote and dangerous outposts. They coordinate military exercises and gather intelligence about the forces in their region. "They operate at the ends of the earth," says retired Col. Jack Dees, a longtime foreign area officer. "Often they are the one military guy out there representing their nation."

David decided he wanted to be a foreign-area officer even before he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point because he wanted to live overseas. He grew up in rural North Carolina, shuttling between an orphanage and several foster homes after he was taken away from his parents by the state. He chose West Point because it was free. "I was also looking for a sense of family and belonging...you know, all that psycho-babble stuff," David says today.

After commissioning as an officer, he flew Apache attack helicopters for a decade, in Iraq and along the border between North and South Korea. He then spent six months in Bosnia as the American liaison officer on a French division staff. In 1999, as soon as he was eligible, David applied to become a foreign-area officer.

The military dispatched him to Morocco where he spent part of his time coordinating U.S.-Moroccan military exercises. His main job was to travel the region and learn about its culture and people.

On returning to the U.S. in 2001, David spent 18 months learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. He then earned a master's degree in Arabic studies from Georgetown University, focusing on the co-existence of Yemen's tribal culture with its fledgling democratic institutions.

In preparation for a position at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, he learned all he could about qat, a narcotic leaf that's chewed in the region. He says he's never actually chewed it -- an act that would get him bounced from the Army -- but he quickly developed an ability to talk about it.

"The three books you have to read are: 'The Flowers of Paradise: The Institutional Uses of Qat in North Yemen'; 'Qat in Yemen: Consumption and Social Change'; and 'Eating the Flower of Paradise: One Man's Journey Through Ethiopia and Yemen,' " he says.

This knowledge allowed him to initiate conversations when nothing else worked. By the end of his two-year tour in the country, he could talk fervently about qat's cultivation, its aphrodisiac qualities and its price fluctuations.

David's mission was to keep senior U.S. military officials abreast of what was going on in Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral home, specifically within its military. He traveled extensively, building a network of contacts with tribal leaders who would ensure safe passage through their areas. He became legendary for hosting elite receptions at his home in the capital Sana where he gathered gossip and information. Yemenis worth talking to won't set foot in the U.S. embassy for fear of being labeled imperialist lackeys. David's house had a lower profile.

When Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, visited Yemen in January 2004, David set up a dinner with its political elites as well as military attach?s from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. They discussed elections in Iraq and smoked cigars on David's back porch. Gen. Abizaid's staff confirms the event took place.

David's biggest coup was convincing Sana's most-important sheik to attend one of his receptions. "He brought his wife and daughter, which was huge because they never take their women anywhere," David says. The sheik, Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Al-Thor, says in an interview he attended several events at David's house and that the officer is a "very, very good friend."

Posted to Iraq

In May, after two years in Yemen, David was dispatched to Mosul. His role was to help senior commanders build relationships with Iraqis the U.S. would be able to trust in advance of any reduction in the U.S. military presence. "If things are going bad, it is my responsibility to know who we should call," he says.

In Iraq, he prepped Gen. Rodriguez, the chief of staff for northern Iraq, for meetings with senior Iraqi leaders. He also gave State Department employees extensive tutorials. The current State Department staffers in the Mosul office, who cover most of northern Iraq, are South America and Asia experts. A key lesson involved the proper etiquette of arguing with Arabs. David goaded the diplomats to be less diplomatic. When Arabs yelled, David told them to yell back.

One recent day, David sat down with a Foreign Service civilian who had arrived from Santiago, Chile. He started by explaining how one became a sheik and that not all sheiks are equal. He briefed him on the major ethnic groups and political parties in the region.

After two hours the State Department official seemed lost. "How do you keep all this stuff straight in your head?" he asked.

David discovered that many of the U.S. interpreters, including that of Gen. Rodriguez, spoke poor Arabic because the people doing the hiring didn't speak the language. "When Gen. Rodriguez spoke he was articulate. His interpreter made him sound like an eighth grader," David says.

The general's interpreter was re-assigned and David began screening new hires. A few weeks later, he figured out that one interpreter -- who had access to intelligence about U.S. operations -- had lied about his background. The tip-off: The interpreter said he was from Suleimaniya in northern Iraq. Based on the Kurdish dialect he spoke, David could tell he was from a village outside Mosul. "We don't know his agenda; we just know he was deceitful," says an intelligence officer who works with David. The interpreter was fired.

David made his biggest impact supporting the 8,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops who assaulted Tal Afar, a city in northwestern Iraq that had become a major insurgent haven. In 2004, the U.S. tried to drive insurgents from the city. The operation was a disaster. Two days into the assault, Turkey, which has historic ties to the Sunnis in the city, complained publicly to U.S. authorities in Ankara and Washington that the attack was too heavy-handed. Turkey threatened to close a border crossing with Iraq through which more than 30% of Iraq's gasoline moves. The U.S. abruptly halted the attack after two days.

Before a renewed attack this September, David, working with officials at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, hatched a plan to placate the Turks. Each night, after traveling through the area, he emailed photos with a time, date and GPS stamp to the U.S. embassy in Ankara. He also sent along the U.S. military's major-incident reports. That allowed the embassy to give Turkish military officials meticulous daily briefings.

Turkey's foreign minister complained about the attack in a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but didn't ask the U.S. to call it off, says a U.S. official in Ankara.

David's biggest contribution in Tal Afar drew on virtually all of the skills he had amassed in five years as a foreign-area officer and a close friendship he'd forged with the city's mayor.

Three months before the attack on Tal Afar, U.S. and Iraq officials had installed Najem Abdullah, a senior official from nearby Mosul, to run the city. During his brief tenure, the Sunni mayor earned the grudging support of Tal Afar's warring Sunnis and Shiites. Without him, U.S. commanders feared Tal Afar would slip into all-out war.

Helping the Mayor

David and Mayor Najem had become close in the weeks leading up to the invasion. David teased him about his purple-tinted, rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses. He stood with him in tougher times as well. When Shiite sheiks, through their allies in the police, physically blocked key Sunni sheiks from attending a meeting, David stormed out, earning the mayor's respect.

"I consider David like an Iraqi in the city," Mayor Najem says today. "When he discusses things with the tribal leaders he does it like an Iraqi. He raises his voice. He is passionate just like the Iraqis."

In early September, as U.S. and Iraqi forces readied their second assault on Tal Afar, the mayor began to doubt whether he could continue in the job. The pressure of running the divided city had become unbearable. Death threats from Sunni extremists forced the mayor's family to flee their home. The Sunni mayor worried that Tal Afar's Shiite-led police would use the invasion to settle scores with Sunnis.

Midway through rancorous meetings in the mayor's office, the two men stepped out into a dimly lit side room. "Why should I stay here? What is the point?" Mayor Najem recalls asking David.

In this moment of doubt, David and the 49-year-old Iraqi held hands -- a common sign of affection among Arab men. David promised to move the mayor's wife and children to a new city. (They're currently in hiding.) He also pledged to make sure that U.S. commanders acted on the mayor's concerns about the city's Shiite security forces.

"David talked to me as a friend and a brother and convinced me to stay," the mayor says. "He is like Lawrence of Arabia."

Write to Greg Jaffe at greg.jaffe@wsj.com
30419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 15, 2005, 08:06:35 AM
http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-90123
30420  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 14, 2005, 10:29:09 PM
As of right now we are up to 34 fighters  Cool   This looks to be one rip-snorting Gathering!
30421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: November 14, 2005, 06:34:26 PM
To reach the Department of Homeland Security headquarters please write to or
call:

Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Citizen Line:
Operator Number: 202-282-8000
Comment Line: 202-282-8495
Or, if you would like to send a message using our online form, select the
appropriate category from the drop-down menu below.
http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/contactus
__________________
30422  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Como agarrar el palo on: November 13, 2005, 02:06:11 PM
Guau a todos:

Devul preguntaba:

- He visto que se puede agarrar el stick de dos formas diferentes. Una es cogiendolo por el extremo inferior, quedando entero en la mano, y otra forma, es coger el stick un poco mas hacia arriba, con lo que por debajo de la mano, sale el stick.

Ejemplo,por si no se entiende bien:

m -------> Hand
==== ----> Stick


a) m=====

b) ==m===

Cual de las dos formas de agarrar el stick (a,b) es mas pr?ctica y efectiva?


============

!Muy inteligente la manera de "dibujar" la posicion de la mano el el palo!


La respuesta es que se depende en quien lo hace y a veces segun el palo.
Unas personas prefieren maximazar (?) el alcance del palo y minimizar la posibilidad de ser desarmado usando "A". ( osea en ingles "flush with the bottom of the the hand"  ?Como se dice eso en espanol?)  Otros, incluyendo yo, prefieren tener una proyeccion (en filipino, "el punyo" del palo) porque sirve como una arma muy potente-- osea opcion "B".  Claro, eso solo se importa en distancia corta.

Otra aventaja es que si el palo se resbala aun un poco,  (?Como se dice "slippage"?) uno ya no podra' controlar bien el palo, pero los quienes comienzan con punyo todavia tendria una manga completa para agarrar el palo aun cuando se resbale un poco el palo-- una buenisima idea cuando uno se sufre un golpe en la mano.

Tambien se puede contemplar una cosa mas:  cuando los palos son mas pesados o mas largos, puede haber una aventaja en tener un punyo grande para ayudar el dominio del balance del palo.  El Krabi Krabong se hace eso mucho; la manga del palo/espada llega casi al codo y funciona no solo como contrapesa sino tambien come escudo para proteger el antebrazo y como un "hook" (enganche?) para controlar al otro (por ejemplo el cuello) en distancia corta.

?Se ayuda eso?
Crafty Dog
30423  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 13, 2005, 01:44:45 PM
Thanks-- and nice way of "drawing" the hand/stick position, very ingenious!

Folks, what he is asking is about the relative merits of gripping the stick so that the butt/punyo is flush with the bottom of the fist or holding it so that it projects.

The answer Devul is that it depends on the practitioner and perhaps upon the weapon.  Some people prefer to maximize reach and minimize risk of being disarmed by using the flush position.  Others, me amongst them, find the projection of the punyo to provide a VERY formidable tool.  Of course, this is only relevant for those in corto and clinch (a.k.a. FUT) range.  

Another advantage is that even slight slippage during a fight provides serious grip problems for a fighter who starts in the flush position, whereas those who fight with the punyo projecting have a margin of error-- a good thing if you get whacked in the hand.

An additional point to consider is that as the weapons get longer/heavier there can be merit to having the projection as a counter weight.  Krabi Krabong carries this further than most; the handle of the sword/punyo projection of the stick carries almost all the way to the elbow and serves as a shield to the forearm and for hook-type controls in corto/FUT range as well.

Does this help?

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

PD:  Contestare' en espanol a esa pregunta en el foro espanol.
30424  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / BALL DE BASTONS ;) A little of Culture & History of my T on: November 13, 2005, 01:29:59 PM
Thanks for sharing this.

By the way, for those wondering how long 40-50 cm is, if I have it right 100 cm is 39.13 inches.  Can someone confirm/deny?
30425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 13, 2005, 11:06:19 AM
EUROPE - THY NAME IS COWARDICE
By Matthias Doepfner* | Davids Medienkritik
04.04.05 | A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.

Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U. N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement... How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany.

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.

One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolf Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time".

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti- appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive".

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.

Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.
30426  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Politica on: November 13, 2005, 07:05:34 AM
Guau a todos:

  Como saben muchas personas, me interesa la politica.  Este hilo se ofrece para platicar juntos asuntos de politica.  Se permite toda expresion que sea de buena fe y sin enojo personal contra otra expresion de opinion.

Para ponernos en marcha, ofrezco lo siquiente, que me mando' un amigo venezolano.

Marc (firmo mi nombre asi, y no "Crafty Dog" porque ahora no se trata de arte marcial).

=====================================


Francia estornuda porque Europa tiene la gripe
Traducci?n del catal?n, texto de  Pilar Rahola



OPINI?N: Una rep?blica isl?mica de Francia- Pilar Rahola
Fecha Thursday, 10 November a las 11:30:36

Cuando el periodista del Chicago Sun Times Mark Steyn escribi?: "es  
m?s f?cil ser optimista con respecto al futuro de Pakist?n o Irak  
que respecto a Holanda o Dinamarca", recibi? el pertinente alud de  
cr?ticas por su incorrecci?n de pensamiento.

Sin embargo pon?a el dedo en la llaga de lo que despu?s seria el  
riguroso estudio de la historiadora Bat Ye 'or, titulado

"Eurabia. El eje Euro-?rabe", d?nde se pon?a al descubierto la pol?tica europea de  "apaciguamiento " con respecto a la cuesti?n isl?mica, pol?tica que  la misma Europa hab?a perpetrado, d?cadas anteriores, con la  cuesti?n nazi.

 Si Chamberlain fue a visitar al F?rher con el prop?sito de pactar  
aquello tan bonito de "yo no me meto en tus cosas, y t? no me  
atacas a m?", la Europa que se enfrenta al reto del integrismo  
isl?mico hace exactamente el mismo: mostrar la debilidad de sus  
valores morales y, al mismo tiempo, fortalecer los valores que nos  
atacan.

Est?n perfectamente documentados los m?ltiples acuerdos entre la  
Uni?n Europea y la Liga ?rabe con el prop?sito de garantizar que  
los inmigrantes musulmanes de Europa no est?n obligados a adaptarse  
a las costumbres occidentales, y durante d?cadas hemos alimentado,  
subvencionado y mimado toda clase de organizaciones y ong?s varias  
cuya finalidad era mantener "la identidad musulmana" por encima de  
cualquier otra identidad.

El paternalismo de la izquierda europea, en este sentido, ha sido  
fundamental y, desgraciadamente, muy activo.

Durante d?cadas Europa ha ido creando "Londostans" en los suburbios  
de sus ciudades, y en ellos, convertidos en Estados dentro el  
Estado, lentamente ha dejado de ejercer su soberan?a. Imanes  
integristas, agitadores sociales y gur?s intelectuales que  
justificaban, por la v?a de la multiculturalidad, la imposici?n  
isl?mica, han ido convirti?ndose en los verdaderos propietarios de  
barrios y calles.

As?, han catalizado, por la v?a integrista, el l?gico malestar de  
los sectores discriminados. Lejos de combatir esta din?mica perversa, la mala conciencia  europea, o tal vez la falta total de conciencia, lo han permitido y  lo han potenciado.

  Posteriormente, cuando ha descubierto que los asesinos de Londres  
hab?an nacido en Inglaterra o que Mohammed Bouyeri, el asesino de  
Theo van Gogh, era holand?s de pleno derecho, ha puesto la misma  
cara que Chamberlain cuando los nazis bombardearon Londres: la del  
idiota que no entiende nada.

Todo lo que empez? en el barrio parisiense de Clichy-sous- Bois y  
se ha extendido a toda Francia tiene que ver con la cuesti?n isl?mica.

  Obviamente hablamos de marginaci?n social, pero no es la  
marginaci?n la que est? quemando coches y violentando a los  
ciudadanos. Hablamos de exclusi?n social, pero los primeros perpetradores de  exclusi?n son los que llevan d?cadas predicando contra Occidente  desde las propias mezquitas que Occidente les ha construido.

Y podr?amos hablar de emigraci?n, pero sorprendentemente (o no) se  
trata espec?ficamente de los hijos y nietos de la emigraci?n  
musulmana. La cuesti?n, por tanto, tiene m?ltiples facetas, pero  
una de ellas es clave:
 ?qu? ocurre con el reto que el Islam nos ha lanzado a trav?s de  
los millones de personas de esta religi?n que viven en Europa?

Con toda la convicci?n y preocupaci?n, soy de las que creen que  
Francia estornuda porque Europa tiene la gripe.

Durante a?os hemos potenciado la bonita idea de la  
multiculturalidad, concepto que solamente ha servido como coartada  
para que los que hablaban en favor del Islam consolidaran la visi?n  
m?s paranoica de dicha cultura.

Lejos de democratizar el Islam, hemos permitido que las ideas  
totalitarias impregnaran territorios enteros del Estado de Derecho.

 Es decir, en lugar de potenciar los Bourgiba y los Attaturk del  
Islam democr?tico, hemos tendido la mano a los ayatol?s y a los  
mul?s, creyendo que esto era cultura. Les hemos permitido aquello que no permitir?amos a ninguna otra  ideolog?a. ?El ?ltimo ejemplo?

  La decisi?n holandesa de aceptar la publicaci?n del libro El  
camino del musulm?n, ampar?ndose en la libertad de expresi?n.

  Entre otras maravillas, el libro pide que los homosexuales sea  
arrojados desde edificios altos. ?Y esto en el pa?s donde han  
asesinado, en nombre del Islam, a un cineasta! Estamos realmente  
locos.

 Francia arde.

 Ciertamente tiene problemas estructurales, entre otros el elevado  
paro que llega, en su caso, al 16%. Pero ahora no se enfrenta a un  
renovado Mayo del 68.

Probablemente se enfrenta a la primera revuelta musulmana de las  
muchas que se suceder?n en el futuro europeo.  Y no porque hayamos sido tolerantes con una religi?n, lo cual es una obligaci?n democr?tica, sino porque hemos sido tolerantes con  una ideolog?a totalitaria.

 Hemos mimado los Tariq Ramad?n, hemos obviado a las escuelas del  
odio que herv?an en algunas mezquitas de nuestros propios barrios,  
hemos abandonado a las mujeres a su suerte de opresi?n y  
esclavitud, y todo lo hemos hecho en nombre de la diversidad y el  
buenismo.

  Tarde o temprano ten?amos que empezar a pagar tanta  
irresponsabilidad acumulada. Por tanto, ?de qu? nos sorprendemos?
Trad. del catal
30427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 13, 2005, 06:42:26 AM
I don't know how much impulse there is behind this , , ,

====================================

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing
Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to
be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are
voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.  

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to
recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our
idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and
respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until
the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every
red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every
Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the
bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this
with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long
before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the
once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly  more
than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things
better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get
the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some
thing red every Friday.

IF YOU AGREE -- THEN SEND THIS ON.  THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED---- SO WEAR RED!
--- MAY GOD HELP AMERICA TO BECOME ONE NATION, UNDER GOD.
30428  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Krabi Krabong in the Movies on: November 13, 2005, 05:54:56 AM
You still in Bangladesh?
30429  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 11, 2005, 08:09:29 PM
Disculpeme pero no entiendo el ingles de su duda-- por favor preguntame en espanol.

He escrito a Ildefonso de Barcelona que se ponga en contacto con Ud.
30430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 11, 2005, 05:36:54 PM
OUR PROFOUND THANKS AND GRATITUDE ON THIS DAY
30431  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Count Dante? on: November 11, 2005, 08:58:22 AM
All:
A documentary maker has asked for my assistance:  Has anyone heard of "Count Dante" and if so, what can you tell me?

TIA
CD
30432  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 10, 2005, 01:55:52 PM
Good picture.  

For those seeing mai sowks for the first time, note:

1) that there are two posts-- one is gripped, the other is in front of the hand;

2) the loop that runs around the forearm.  

Both 1) and 2) eliminate spinning as an option, but 1) protects the hand and 2) allows for extending the MS into short and nasty clubs.
30433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 10, 2005, 01:38:23 PM
How to lose friends and alienate people

Nov 10th 2005
From The Economist print edition

 

 
 

 

 
 
 


The Bush administration's approach to torture beggars belief

THERE are many difficult trade-offs for any president when it comes to diplomacy and the fight against terrorism. Should you, for instance, support an ugly foreign regime because it is the enemy of a still uglier one? Should a superpower submit to the United Nations when it is not in its interests to do so? Amid this fog, you would imagine that George Bush would welcome an issue where America's position should be luminously clear?namely an amendment passed by Congress to ban American soldiers and spies from torturing prisoners. Indeed, after the disastrous stories of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, Guant?namo Bay and Afghanistan, you might imagine that a shrewd president would have sponsored such a law himself to set the record straight.

 

But you would be wrong. This week saw the sad spectacle of an American president lamely trying to explain to the citizens of Panama that, yes, he would veto any such bill but, no, ?We do not torture.? Meanwhile, Mr Bush's increasingly error-prone vice-president, Dick Cheney, has been across on Capitol Hill trying to bully senators to exclude America's spies from any torture ban. To add a note of farce to the tragedy, the administration has had to explain that the CIA is not torturing prisoners at its secret prisons in Asia and Eastern Europe?though of course it cannot confirm that such prisons exist.

 

The nub of the torture debate is an amendment sponsored by John McCain, a Republican senator who was himself tortured by the Vietnamese. The amendment, based on the American army's own field manual and passed in the Senate by 90 votes to nine, states that ?no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.? Mr McCain's aim was simple enough: to clear up any doubt that could possibly exist about America's standards.

 

That doubt does, alas, exist?and has been amplified by the administration's heavy-handed efforts to stifle the McCain amendment. This, after all, is a White House that has steadfastly tried to keep ?enemy combatants? beyond the purview of American courts, whose defence secretary has publicly declared that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to the battle against al-Qaeda and whose Justice Department once produced an infamous memorandum explaining how torture was part of the president's war powers. The revelation in the Washington Post that the CIA maintains a string of jails, where it can keep people indefinitely and in secret, only heightens the suspicion that Mr Cheney wants the agency to keep using ?enhanced interrogation techniques?. These include ?waterboarding?, or making a man think he is drowning.

 

Although Mr Cheney has not had the guts to make his case in public, the argument that torture is sometimes justified is not a negligible one. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, presumed to be in one of the CIA's ?black prisons?, is thought to have information about al-Qaeda's future plans. Surely it is vital to extract that information, no matter how? Some people think there should be a system of ?torture warrants? for special cases. But where exactly should the line be drawn? And are the gains really so dramatic that it is worth breaking the taboo against civilised democracies condoning torture? For instance, Mr McCain argues that torture is nearly always useless as an interrogation technique, since under it people will say anything to their tormentors.

 

If the pragmatic gains in terms of information yielded are dubious, the loss to America in terms of public opinion are clear and horrifically large. Abu Ghraib was a gift to the insurgency in Iraq; Guant?namo Bay and its dubious military commissions, now being examined by the Supreme Court, have acted as recruiting sergeants for al-Qaeda around the world. In the cold war, America championed the Helsinki human-rights accords. This time, the world's most magnificent democracy is struggling against vile terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians?and yet the administration has somehow contrived to turn America's own human-rights record into a subject of legitimate debate.

Mr Bush would rightly point out that anti-Americanism is to blame for some of the opprobrium heaped on his country. But why encourage it so cavalierly and in such an unAmerican way? Nearly two years after Abu Ghraib, the world is still waiting for a clear statement of America's principles on the treatment of detainees. Mr McCain says he will keep on adding his amendment to different bills until Mr Bush signs one of them. Every enemy of terrorism should hope he does so soon.
30434  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 10, 2005, 12:21:05 PM
Woof Devnul:

Welcome!  Although not perfect, your English is fine and we look forward to having you with us.

Veo que ya esta's en nuestro foro en espanol  Smiley   Cabe mencionar que tenemos un "Training Group" (Grupo de entrenamiento) en Barcelona, donde yo he presentado dos seminarios en anos recientes.  Dare' tu nombre a nuestra gente alli para que se pongan en contacto contigo.

La Aventura continua.

Guau,
Crafty Dog
30435  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 10, 2005, 12:15:06 PM
I'm getting "Not authorized to view".
30436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 09, 2005, 07:08:40 PM
By Joseph Farah
? 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

OK, enough is enough.

It's clear France is no longer in control of its population.

It's clear millions within its borders are struggling for freedom and independence.

It's clear that these people are not rioting for the sake of rioting, they are responding to oppression from French authorities.

It's clear that their uprising cannot be met with state violence, because that would only lead to a cycle of violence.

It's clear that these freedom-fighters ? whom I have dubbed "Paristinians" ? want a state of their own.

It's clear that the international community must force France to the negotiating table with these freedom fighters to begin the peace process that will inevitably lead to the creation of an autonomous, independent state of "Paristine."


If it's good enough for Israel, it's good enough for the French surrender monkeys who have been leaders of the global movement to force the Jewish state into appeasement of terrorists.

We've got to stop referring to this "intifada" in France as "riots." This is a movement for self-determination. This is a movement for independence. This is a movement for freedom from imperialism.

The analogy is apt.

That's not "Fr?re Jacques" they're singing in France. It's "Fire Jacques."

The president of France can see the cinder in the eye of others, but is missing the beam in his own.

What's good for the goose liver is good for the gander liver.

The chicken cordon bleu has come home to roost.

It's time for France to stop the hypocrisy.

It's time for the French to take a dose of the medicine they have been handing out to the Jews of Israel.

It's time to end the apartheid within its population. It's time for France to stop treating those poor, Muslim immigrants as second-class citizens. It's time to accept the only permanent solution that can address the root problem in French society ? the recognition of the Paristinians as a legitimate negotiating partner.

Enough rubber bullets!

Enough police repression!

Enough calls for restraint!

Enough with the threats!

Before this cycle of violence spreads throughout all of Europe, France needs to do the right thing.

The French have been speaking out of both sides of their mouths for too long. They've been speaking out of both of their nostrils for too long, too. If appeasement was the solution in Iraq, it's the solution for the "Paristinian" revolt. If appeasement was the solution for Hitler, it's the solution for the "Paristinian" revolt. If appeasement was the solution for Israel in dealing with its "Palestinian" problem, it's the solution for France's "Paristinian" uprising.

As I mentioned yesterday in my column, if France has these kinds of systemic problems with its Muslim population, then it is time to partition France. It's time for an independent Muslim state to be created. After all, isn't that what France and other European nations have determined is the proper solution for Israel?

These are not just riots. This is an intifada ? just like the one begun in 2000 within and around Israel.


France and other countries, including the United States, have demanded that Israel meet those attacks with land concessions to the rioters and suicide bombers. That is the only viable, long-term solution, they say. They claim this violence will never cease until those oppressed by Israel are granted an independent, autonomous state of their own.

Why should the solution be any different in France?

Stop the violence! Now ? not at a snail's pace. The time has come to begin talks with the "Paristinians" about their own future homeland of "Paristine."  
Attachments:
30437  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 08, 2005, 11:21:39 PM
Because we had a perforated eardrum a few years back and because of my sense of this slightly raising the mask off the temple-- in good hands the staff is a weapon of formidable power and we have several people who handle a staff pretty well.

Make sense?
30438  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 08, 2005, 02:17:39 PM
Just a quick kibbitz here-- the mai sowks (spellings vary  cheesy ) are a formidable weapon.  Salty Dog once asked me to fight him with him using the MS and I turned him down-- so anyone who takes up Marc's offer has bragging rights on me  Tongue and a very good shot at this fight appearing in one of our DVDs.

PS:  Make extra sure that your health insurance is paid up and that you have someone to drive you to medical care  shocked
30439  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 07, 2005, 10:19:30 PM
Gentlemen:

It is perfectly within my sense of things that two seasoned fighters could go with a non-cutting replica of what is actually carried on the street.  It would not be the first time that ribs were at stake around here  Cheesy BTW, note the advantages that the man with ultralight gloves would have over a standard light hockey gloves fighter with regard to not only dexterity, but weapon selection and also note the role of clothing.  Do clipits work with sweats?

Certainly many/most? fighters will go with hard plastic-- and this is worthy!!!-- but some will be exploring aluminum.  Dog Gints speaks from an above average amount of experience in these things and we do not need to shoot for the moon this time around.

Crafty Dog
30440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 07, 2005, 08:14:11 AM
The Suicide Bombers Among Us
Theodore Dalrymple

All terrorists, presumably, know the dangers that they run, accepting them as an occupational hazard; given Man?s psychological makeup?or at least the psychological makeup of certain young men?these dangers may act as an attraction, not a deterrent. But only a few terrorists use their own deaths as an integral means of terrorizing others. They seem to be a breed apart, with whom the rest of humanity can have little or nothing in common.

Certainly they sow panic more effectively than other terrorists. Those who leave bombs in public places and then depart, despicable as they are, presumably still have attachments to their own lives, and therefore may be open to dissuasion or negotiation. By contrast, no threat (at first sight) might deter someone who is prepared to extinguish himself to advance his cause, and who considers such self-annihilation while killing as many strangers as possible a duty, an honor, and a merit that will win ample rewards in the hereafter. And Britain has suddenly been forced to acknowledge that it has an unknown number of such people in its midst, some of them home-grown.

The mere contemplation of a suicide bomber?s state of mind is deeply unsettling, even without considering its practical consequences. I have met a would-be suicide bomber who had not yet had the chance to put his thanatological daydream into practice. What could possibly have produced as embittered a mentality as his?what experience of life, what thoughts, what doctrines? What fathomless depths of self-pity led him to the conclusion that only by killing himself and others could he give a noble and transcendent meaning to his existence?

As is by now well known (for the last few years have made us more attentive to Islamic concepts and ways of thinking, irrespective of their intrinsic worth), the term ?jihad? has two meanings: inner struggle and holy war. While the political meaning connotes violence, though with such supposed justifications as the defense of Islam and the spread of the faith among the heathen, the personal meaning generally suggests something peaceful and inward-looking. The struggle this kind of jihad entails is spiritual; it is the effort to overcome the internal obstacles?above all, forbidden desires?that prevent the good Muslim from achieving complete submission to God?s will. Commentators have tended to see this type of jihad as harmless or even as beneficial?a kind of self-improvement that leads to decency, respectability, good behavior, and material success.

In Britain, however, these two forms of jihad have coalesced in a most murderous fashion. Those who died in the London bombings were sacrificial victims to the need of four young men to resolve a conflict deep within themselves (and within many young Muslims), and they imagined they could do so only by the most extreme possible interpretation of their ancestral religion.

Young Muslim men in Britain?as in France and elsewhere in the West?have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity. They are deeply secularized, with little religious faith, even if most will admit to a belief in God. Their interest in Islam is slight. They do not pray or keep Ramadan (except if it brings them some practical advantage, such as the postponement of a court appearance). Their tastes are for the most part those of non-Muslim lower-class young men. They dress indistinguishably from their white and black contemporaries, and affect the same hairstyles and mannerisms, including the vulpine lope of the slums. Gold chains, the heavier the better, and gold front teeth, without dental justification, are symbols of their success in the streets, which is to say of illicit enrichment.

Many young Muslims, unlike the sons of Hindus and Sikhs who immigrated into Britain at the same time as their parents, take drugs, including heroin. They drink, indulge in casual sex, and make nightclubs the focus of their lives. Work and careers are at best a painful necessity, a slow and inferior means of obtaining the money for their distractions.

But if in many respects their tastes and behavior are indistinguishable from those of underclass white males, there are nevertheless clear and important differences. Most obviously, whatever the similarity between them and their white counterparts in their taste for sex, drugs, and rock and roll, they nevertheless do not mix with young white men, even in the neighborhoods devoted to the satisfaction of their tastes. They are in parallel with the whites, rather than intersecting with them.

Another obvious difference is the absence of young Muslim women from the resorts of mass distraction. However similar young Muslim men might be in their tastes to young white men, they would be horrified, and indeed turn extremely violent, if their sisters comported themselves as young white women do. They satisfy their sexual needs with prostitutes and those whom they quite openly call ?white sluts.? (Many a young white female patient of mine has described being taunted in this fashion as she walked through a street inhabited by Muslims.) And, of course, they do not have to suffer much sexual frustration in an environment where people decide on sexual liaisons within seconds of acquaintance.

However secular the tastes of the young Muslim men, they strongly wish to maintain the male dominance they have inherited from their parents. A sister who has the temerity to choose a boyfriend for herself, or who even expresses a desire for an independent social life, is likely to suffer a beating, followed by surveillance of Stasi-like thoroughness. The young men instinctively understand that their inherited system of male domination?which provides them, by means of forced marriage, with sexual gratification at home while simultaneously freeing them from domestic chores and allowing them to live completely Westernized lives outside the home, including further sexual adventures into which their wives cannot inquire?is strong but brittle, rather as communism was: it is an all or nothing phenomenon, and every breach must meet swift punishment.

Even if for no other reason, then (and there are in fact other reasons), young Muslim males have a strong motive for maintaining an identity apart. And since people rarely like to admit low motives for their behavior, such as the wish to maintain a self-gratifying dominance, these young Muslims need a more elevated justification for their conduct toward women. They find it, of course, in a residual Islam: not the Islam of onerous duties, rituals, and prohibitions, which interferes so insistently in day-to-day life, but in an Islam of residual feeling, which allows them a sense of moral superiority to everything around them, including women, without in any way cramping their style.

This Islam contains little that is theological, spiritual, or even religious, but it nevertheless exists in the mental economy as what anatomists call a ?potential space.? A potential space occurs where two tissues or organs are separated by smooth membranes that are normally close together, but that can be separated by an accumulation of fluid such as pus if infection or inflammation occurs. And, of course, such inflammation readily occurs in the minds of young men who easily believe themselves to be ill-used, and who have been raised on the thin gruel of popular Western culture without an awareness that any other kind of Western culture exists.

The dissatisfactions of young Muslim men in Britain are manifold. Most will experience at some time slighting or downright insulting remarks about them or their group?the word ?Paki? is a term of disdainful abuse?and these experiences tend to grow in severity and significance with constant rehearsal in the mind as it seeks an external explanation for its woes. Minor tribulations thus swell into major injustices, which in turn explain the evident failure of Muslims to rise in their adopted land. The French-Iranian researcher Farhad Khosrokhavar, who interviewed 15 French Muslim prisoners convicted of planning terrorist acts, relates in his book, Suicide Bombers: Allah?s New Martyrs, how some of his interviewees had been converted to the terrorist outlook by a single insulting remark?for example, when one of their sisters was called a ?dirty Arab? when she explained how she couldn?t leave home on her own as other girls could. Such is the fragility of the modern ego?not of Muslims alone, but of countless people brought up in our modern culture of ineffable self-importance, in which an insult is understood not as an inevitable human annoyance, but as a wound that outweighs all the rest of one?s experience.

The evidence of Muslims? own eyes and of their own lives, as well as that of statistics, is quite clear: Muslim immigrants and their descendants are more likely to be poor, to live in overcrowded conditions, to be unemployed, to have low levels of educational achievement, and above all to be imprisoned, than other South Asian immigrants and their descendants. The refusal to educate females to their full capacity is a terrible handicap in a society in which, perhaps regrettably, prosperity requires two household incomes. The idea that one is already in possession of the final revealed truth, leading to an inherently superior way of life, inhibits adaptation to a technically more advanced society. Even so, some British Muslims do succeed (the father of one of the London bombers owned two shops, two houses, and drove a new Mercedes)?a fact which their compatriots interpret exactly backward: not that Muslims can succeed, but that generally they can?t, because British society is inimical to Muslims.

In coming to this conclusion, young Muslims would only be adopting the logic that has driven Western social policy for so long: that any difference in economic and social outcome between groups is the result of social injustice and adverse discrimination. The premises of multiculturalism don?t even permit asking whether reasons internal to the groups themselves might account for differences in outcomes.

The BBC peddles this sociological view consistently. In 1997, for example, it stated that Muslims ?continue to face discrimination,? as witness the fact that they were three times as likely to be unemployed long-term as West Indians; and this has been its line ever since. If more Muslims than any other group possess no educational qualifications whatsoever, even though the hurdles for winning such qualifications have constantly fallen, it can only be because of discrimination?though a quarter of all medical students in Britain are now of Indian subcontinental descent. It can have nothing whatever to do with the widespread?and illegal?practice of refusing to allow girls to continue at school, which the press scarcely ever mentions, and which the educational authorities rarely if ever investigate. If youth unemployment among Muslims is two and a half times the rate among whites, it can be only because of discrimination?though youth unemployment among Hindus is actually lower than among whites (and this even though many young Hindus complain of being mistaken for Muslims). And so on and so on.

A constant and almost unchallenged emphasis on ?social justice,? the negation of which is, of course, ?discrimination,? can breed only festering embitterment. Where the definition of justice is entitlement by virtue of group existence rather than reward for individual effort, a radical overhaul of society will appear necessary to achieve such justice. Islamism in Britain is thus not the product of Islam alone: it is the product of the meeting of Islam with a now deeply entrenched native mode of thinking about social problems.

And it is here that the ?potential space? of Islamism, with its ready-made diagnosis and prescriptions, opens up and fills with the pus of implacable hatred for many in search of a reason for and a solution to their discontents. According to Islamism, the West can never meet the demands of justice, because it is decadent, materialistic, individualistic, heathen, and democratic rather than theocratic. Only a return to the principles and practices of seventh-century Arabia will resolve all personal and political problems at the same time. This notion is fundamentally no more (and no less) bizarre or stupid than the Marxist notion that captivated so many Western intellectuals throughout the 20th century: that the abolition of private property would lead to final and lasting harmony among men. Both conceptions offer a formula that, rigidly followed, would resolve all human problems.

Of course, the Islamic formula holds no attraction for young women in the West. A recent survey for the French interior ministry found that 83 percent of Muslim converts and reconverts (that is, secularized Muslims who adopted Salafism) in France were men; and from my clinical experience I would bet that the 17 percent of converts who were women converted in the course of a love affair rather than on account of what Edward Gibbon, in another context, called ?the evident truth of the doctrine itself.?

The West is a formidable enemy, however, difficult to defeat, for it exists not only in the cities, the infrastructure, and the institutions of Europe and America but in the hearts and minds even of those who oppose it and wish to destroy it. The London bombers were as much products of the West as of Islam; their tastes and their desires were largely Westernized. The bombers dressed no differently from other young men from the slums; and in every culture, appearance is part, at least, of identity. In British inner cities in particular, what you wear is nine-tenths of what you are.

But the Western identity goes far deeper. One of the bombers was a young man of West Indian descent, whose half-sister (in his milieu, full siblings are almost unknown) reports that he was a ?normal? boy, impassioned by rap music until the age of 15, when he converted to Islam. It need hardly be pointed out that rap music?full of inchoate rage, hatred, and intemperance?does not instill a balanced or subtle understanding of the world in its listeners. It fills and empties the mind at the same time: fills it with debased notions and empties it of critical faculties. The qualities of mind and character that are attracted to it, and that consider it an art form worthy of time and attention, are not so easily overcome or replaced. Jermaine Lindsay was only 19, four years into his conversion from rap to Islam, when he died?an age at which impulsivity is generally at its greatest, requiring the kind of struggle for self-mastery that rap music is dedicated to undermining. Islam would have taught him to hate and despise what he had been, but he must have been aware that he still was what he had been. To a hatred of the world, his conversion added a self-hatred.

The other bombers had passions for soccer, cricket, and pop music. They gave no indication before their dreadful deeds of religious fanaticism, and their journeys to Pakistan, in retrospect indications of a growing indoctrination by fundamentalism, could have seemed at the time merely family visits. In the meantime, they led highly Westernized lives, availing themselves of all the products of Western ingenuity to which Muslims have contributed nothing for centuries. It is, in fact, literally impossible for modern Muslims to expunge the West from their lives: it enters the fabric of their existence at every turn. Usama bin Ladin himself is utterly dependent upon the West for his weaponry, his communications, his travel, and his funds. He speaks of the West?s having stolen Arabian oil, but of what use would oil have been to the Arabs if it had remained under their sands, as it would have done without the intervention of the West? Without the West, what fortune would bin Ladin?s family have made from what construction in Saudi Arabia?

Muslims who reject the West are therefore engaged in a losing and impossible inner jihad, or struggle, to expunge everything that is not Muslim from their breasts. It can?t be done: for their technological and scientific dependence is necessarily also a cultural one. You can?t believe in a return to seventh-century Arabia as being all-sufficient for human requirements, and at the same time drive around in a brand-new red Mercedes, as one of the London bombers did shortly before his murderous suicide. An awareness of the contradiction must gnaw in even the dullest fundamentalist brain.

Furthermore, fundamentalists must be sufficiently self-aware to know that they will never be willing to forgo the appurtenances of Western life: the taste for them is too deeply implanted in their souls, too deeply a part of what they are as human beings, ever to be eradicated. It is possible to reject isolated aspects of modernity but not modernity itself. Whether they like it or not, Muslim fundamentalists are modern men?modern men trying, impossibly, to be something else.

They therefore have at least a nagging intimation that their chosen utopia is not really a utopia at all: that deep within themselves there exists something that makes it unachievable and even undesirable. How to persuade themselves and others that their lack of faith, their vacillation, is really the strongest possible faith? What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart.

The two forms of jihad, the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser, thus coalesce in one apocalyptic action. By means of suicide bombing, the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.

Of course, hatred is the underlying emotion. A man in prison who told me that he wanted to be a suicide bomber was more hate-filled than any man I have ever met. The offspring of a broken marriage between a Muslim man and a female convert, he had followed the trajectory of many young men in his area: sex and drugs and rock and roll, untainted by anything resembling higher culture. Violent and aggressive by nature, intolerant of the slightest frustration to his will and frequently suicidal, he had experienced taunting during his childhood because of his mixed parentage. After a vicious rape for which he went to prison, he converted to a Salafist form of Islam and became convinced that any system of justice that could take the word of a mere woman over his own was irredeemably corrupt.

I noticed one day that his mood had greatly improved; he was communicative and almost jovial, which he had never been before. I asked him what had changed in his life for the better. He had made his decision, he said. Everything was resolved. He was not going to kill himself in an isolated way, as he had previously intended. Suicide was a mortal sin, according to the tenets of the Islamic faith. No, when he got out of prison he would not kill himself; he would make himself a martyr, and be rewarded eternally, by making himself into a bomb and taking as many enemies with him as he could.

Enemies, I asked; what enemies? How could he know that the people he killed at random would be enemies? They were enemies, he said, because they lived happily in our rotten and unjust society. Therefore, by definition, they were enemies?enemies in the objective sense, as Stalin might have put it?and hence were legitimate targets.

I asked him whether he thought that, in order to deter him from his course of action, it would be right for the state to threaten to kill his mother and his brothers and sisters?and to carry out this threat if he carried out his, in order to deter others like him.

The idea appalled him, not because it was yet another example of the wickedness of a Western democratic state, but because he could not conceive of such a state acting in this unprincipled way. In other words, he assumed a high degree of moral restraint on the part of the very organism that he wanted to attack and destroy.

Of course, one of the objects of the bombers, instinctive rather than articulated, might be to undermine this very restraint, both of the state and of the population itself, in order to reveal to the majority of Muslims the true evil nature of the society in which they live, and force them into the camp of the extremists. If so, there is some hope of success: physical attacks on Muslims (or on Hindus and Sikhs ignorantly taken to be Muslims) increased in Britain by six times in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, according to the police. It wouldn?t take many more such bombings, perhaps, to provoke real and serious intercommunal violence on the Indian subcontinental model. Britain teems with aggressive, violent subgroups who would be only too delighted to make pogroms a reality.

Even if there is no such dire an eventuality, the outlook is sufficiently grim and without obvious solution. A highly secularized Muslim population whose men nevertheless wish to maintain their dominance over women and need a justification for doing so; the hurtful experience of disdain or rejection from the surrounding society; the bitter disappointment of a frustrated materialism and a seemingly perpetual inferior status in the economic hierarchy; the extreme insufficiency and unattractiveness of modern popular culture that is without value; the readiness to hand of an ideological and religious solution that is flattering to self-esteem and allegedly all- sufficient, and yet in unavoidable conflict with a large element of each individual?s identity; an oscillation between feelings of inferiority and superiority, between humiliation about that which is Western and that which is non-Western in the self; and the grotesque inflation of the importance of personal existential problems that is typical of modern individualism?all ensure fertile ground for the recruitment of further ?martyrs? for years to come.

Surveys suggest that between 6 and 13 percent of British Muslims?that is, between 98,000 and 208,000 people?are sympathetic toward Islamic terrorists and their efforts. Theoretical sympathy expressed in a survey is not the same thing as active support or a wish to emulate the ?martyrs? in person, of course. But it is nevertheless a sufficient proportion and absolute number of sympathizers to make suspicion and hostility toward Muslims by the rest of society not entirely irrational, though such suspicion and hostility could easily increase support for extremism. This is the tightrope that the British state and population will now have to walk for the foreseeable future; and the sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced, in a single day, by the nightmare of permanent conflict.
30441  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Caminar como guerrero por todos nuestros dias on: November 07, 2005, 07:39:44 AM
Hola Omar:

Mucho de las artes marciales se trata de "competencia de herarquia de jovenes" (young male hericarchical competition).  Es muy comun que despues de subir al nivel mas alto en la herarquia que va a cumplir, el joven deja de entrenar, y despues de pocos anos el habla de esa experiencia que hacia cuand "era mas joven".

Pues, la logica de Kali, y de esta Arte, es diferente.  Claro hay el aspecto de "CHJ", pero buscamos ofrecer capacidad verdadera para poder funcionar por toda la vida en Proteccion de la vida y del bueno-- no buscamos competer en peleas iguales o, perdon la palabrote, en peleas de "quien tenga la berga mas grande"), sino preparnos para sitaciones malas en las que pueda haber armas-- incluyendo las nuestras.  

La actitud de verse en ese camino es la actitud de un Guererro.  

?Me explico?

La Aventura continua , , ,
Crafty Dog

PD:  Los libros de Carlos Castaneda tambien hablan del actitud del guererro.
30442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: November 07, 2005, 12:16:50 AM
FBI Patriot Act Plan Concerns Lawmakers

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers expressed concern Sunday that the FBI was aggressively pushing the powers of the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act to access private phone and financial records of ordinary people.

"We should be looking at that very closely," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It appears to me that this is, if not abused, being close to abused."

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed, saying the government's expanded power highlights the risks of balancing national security against individual rights.

"It does point up how dangerous this can be," said Hagel, who appeared with Biden on ABC's "This Week."

Under the Patriot Act, the FBI issues more than 30,000 national security letters allowing the investigations each year, a hundred-fold increase over historic norms, The Washington Post reported Sunday, quoting unnamed government sources.

The security letters, which were first used in the 1970s, allow access to people's phone and e-mail records, as well as financial data and the Internet sites they surf. The 2001 Patriot Act removed the requirement that the records sought be those of someone under suspicion.

As a result, FBI agents can review the digital records of a citizen as long as the bureau can certify that the person's records are "relevant" to a terrorist investigation.

Calling the recent growth in the number of letters a "stunner," Biden said, "Thirty thousand seems like an awful, awful stretch to me."

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Sunday that he could not immediately confirm or dispute the 30,000 figure, but he said the power to use the security letters was justified.

"The Department of Justice inspector general in August 2005 found no civil rights violations with respect to the Patriot Act," he said.

Issued by the FBI without review by a judge, the letters are used to obtain electronic records from "electronic communications service providers." Such providers include Internet service companies but also universities, public interest organizations and almost all libraries, because most provide access to the Internet.

Last September in an ACLU lawsuit, a federal judge in New York struck down this provision as unconstitutional on grounds that it restrains free speech and bars or deters judicial challenges to government searches.

That ruling has been suspended pending an appeal to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a hearing last week the court suggested it might require the government to permit libraries, major corporations and other groups to challenge FBI demands for records.

The Patriot Act provision involving national security letters was enacted permanently in 2001, so it was not part of Congress' debate last summer over extending some Patriot Act provisions.

As the Dec. 31 deadline has approached for Congress to renew provisions of the act, the House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense.

Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the expanded use of security letters was a "clear concern" and that information gathered on citizens should be destroyed if it does not lead to a criminal charge.

Coburn said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he "certainly will" take steps to ensure that the documents are destroyed immediately.

A message left with the ACLU was not immediately returned on Sunday.
30443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 06, 2005, 03:35:34 PM
November 04, 2005, 8:40 a.m.
The Real Global Virus
The plague of Islamism keeps on spreading.

Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they
have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the
United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.

Apart from the continual attacks on civilians by terrorists in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and the West Bank, there have now been recent horrific assaults in New Dehli (blowing up civilians in a busy shopping season on the eve of a Hindu festival), Russia (attacking police and security facilities), London (suicide murdering of civilians on the subway), and Indonesia (more bombing, and the beheading of Christian schoolgirls). The loci of recent atrocities could be widely expanded (e.g., Malaysia, North Africa, Turkey, Spain) ? and, of course, do not forget the several terrorist plots that have been broken up in Europe and the United States.

The commonalities? There are at least three.

First, despite the various professed grievances (e.g., India should get out
of Kashmir; Russia should get out of Chechnya; England should get out of
Iraq; Christians should get out of Indonesia; or Westerners should get out
of Bali), the perpetrators were all self-proclaimed Islamic radicals.
Westerners who embrace moral equivalence still like to talk of abortion
bombings and Timothy McVeigh, but those are isolated and distant memories.  No, the old generalization since 9/11 remains valid: The majority of Muslims are not global terrorists, but almost all such terrorists, and the majority of their sympathizers, are Muslims.

Second, the jihadists characteristically feel that dialogue or negotiations
are beneath them. So like true fascists, they don?t talk; they kill. Their
opponents ? whether Christians, Hindus, Jews, or Westerners in general ? are, as infidels, de facto guilty for what they are rather than what they supposedly do. Talking to a Dr. Zawahiri is like talking to Hitler: You can?t ? and it?s suicidal to try.

Third, there is an emboldened sense that the jihadists can get away with
their crimes based on three perceptions:

(1) Squabbling and politically correct Westerners are decadent and outnumber the U.S. Marines, and ascendant Islamicism resonates among millions of Muslims who feel sorely how far they have fallen behind in the new globalized world community ? and how terrorism and blackmail, especially if energized by nuclear weapons or biological assets, might leapfrog them into a new caliphate.

(2) Sympathetic Muslim-dominated governments like Malaysia or Indonesia will not really make a comprehensive effort to eradicate radical Islamicist breeding grounds of terror, but will perhaps instead serve as ministries of propaganda for shock troops in the field.

(3) Autocratic states such as Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran share outright similar political objectives and will offer either stealthy
sanctuary or financial support to terrorists, confident that either denial,
oil, or nuclear bombs give them security .

Meanwhile, Westerners far too rarely publicly denounce radical Islam for its sick, anti-Semitic, anti-female, anti-American, and anti-modernist rhetoric. Just imagine the liberal response if across the globe Christians had beheaded schoolgirls, taken over schoolhouses to kill students, and shot school teachers as we have witnessed radical Muslims doing these past few months.

Instead, Western parlor elites are still arguing over whether there were al
Qaedists in Iraq before the removal of Saddam Hussein, whether the suspicion of WMDs was the real reason for war against the Baathists, whether Muslim minorities should be pressured to assimilate into European democratic culture, and whether constitutional governments risk becoming intolerant in their new efforts to infiltrate and disrupt radical Muslim groups in Europe and the United States. Some of this acrimony is understandable, but such in-fighting is still secondary to defeating enemies who have pledged to destroy Western liberal society. At some point this Western cannibalism becomes not so much counterproductive as serving the purposes of those who wish America to call off its struggle against radical Islam.

Most Americans think that our present conflict is not comparable with World War II, in either its nature or magnitude. Perhaps ? but they should at least recall the eerie resemblance of our dilemma to the spread of global fascism in the late 1930s.

At first few saw any real connection between the ruthless annexation of
Manchuria by Japanese militarists, or Mussolini?s brutal invasion of
Ethiopia, or the systematic aggrandizement of Eastern-European territory by Hitler. China was a long way from Abyssinia, itself far from Poland. How could a white-supremacist Nazi have anything in common with a
racially-chauvinist Japanese or an Italian fascist proclaiming himself the
new imperial Roman?

In response, the League of Nations dithered and imploded (sound familiar?). Rightist American isolationists (they?re back) assured us that fascism abroad was none of our business or that there were conspiracies afoot by Jews to have us do their dirty work. Leftists were only galvanized when Hitler finally turned on Stalin (perhaps we have to wait for Osama to attack Venezuela or Cuba to get the Left involved). Abroad even members of the British royal family were openly sympathetic to German grievances (cf. Prince Charles?s silence about Iran?s promise to wipe out Israel, but his puerile Edward VIII-like lectures to Americans about a misunderstood Islam). French appeasement was such that even the most humiliating concession was deemed preferable to the horrors of World War I (no comment needed).

We can, of course, learn from this. It?s past time that we quit worrying
whether a killer who blows himself up on the West Bank, or a terrorist who shouts the accustomed jihadist gibberish as he crashes a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center, or a driver who rams his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi polling station, or a Chechnyan rebel who blows the heads off schoolchildren, is in daily e-mail contact with Osama bin Laden. Our present lax attitude toward jihadism is akin to deeming local outbreaks of avian flu as regional maladies without much connection to a new strain of a deadly ? and global ? virus.

Instead, the world?if it is to save its present liberal system of free
trade, safe travel, easy and unfettered communications, and growing
commitment to constitutional government?must begin seeing radical Islamism as a universal pathology rather than reactions to regional grievances, if it is ever to destroy it materially and refute it ideologically.

Yet the antidote for radical Islam, aside from the promotion of
democratization and open economies, is simple. It must be militarily
defeated when it emerges to wage organized violence, as in the cases of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Zarqawi?s terrorists in Iraq, and the various killer cliques in Palestine.

Second, any who tolerate radical Islam should be ostracized. Muslims living in the West must be condemned when they assert that the Jews caused 9/11, or that suicide bombing is a legitimate response to Israel, or that Islamic immigrants? own unique culture gives them a pass from accustomed assimilation, or that racial and religious affinity should allow tolerance for the hatred that spews forth from madrassas and mosques ? before the patience of Western liberalism is exhausted and ?the rules of the game? in Tony Blair?s words ?change? quite radically and we begin to see mass invitations to leave.

Third, nations that intrigue with jihadists must be identified as the
enemies of civilization. We often forget that there are now left only four
major nation-states in the world that either by intent or indifference allow
radical Islamists to find sanctuary.

If Pakistan were seriously to disavow terrorism and not see it as an asset
in its rivalry with India and as a means to vent anti-Western angst, then
Osama bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, and their lieutenants would be hunted down tomorrow.

If the petrolopolis of Saudi Arabia would cease its financial support of
Wahhabi radicals, most terrorists could scarcely travel or organize
operations.

If there were sane governments in Syria and Iran, then there would be little refuge left for al Qaeda, and the money and shelter that now protects the beleaguered and motley collection of ex-Saddamites, Hezbollah, and al Qaedists would cease.

So in large part four nations stand in the way of eradicating much of the
global spread of jihadism ? and it is no accident that either oil or nuclear
weapons have won a global free pass for three of them. And it is no accident that we don?t have a means to wean ourselves off Middle East oil or as yet stop Iran from becoming the second Islamic nuclear nation.

But just as importantly, our leaders must explain far more cogently and in
some detail ? rather than merely assert ? to the Western public the nature of the threat we face, and how our strategy will prevail.

In contrast, when the American public is still bickering over WMDs rather
than relieved that the culprit for the first World Trade Center bombing can
no longer find official welcome in Baghdad; or when our pundits seem more worried about Halliburton than the changes in nuclear attitudes in Libya and Pakistan; or when the media mostly ignores a greater percentage of voters turning out for a free national election in the heart of the ancient caliphate than during most election years in the United States ? something has gone terribly, tragically wrong here at home.

? Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His
latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.
30444  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 06, 2005, 08:03:23 AM
Rules?   cheesy

As always the weapons are up to the fighters-- so protect yourself at all times!

Do note that the lighter the gloves that a fighter wears, the better his accessing skill should be.

Dog Gints, who runs a fight club up in the Bay Area, offers the following comments:

Crafty Dog
================

Hello Marc,

I read your note on proximal knife fights on Eskrima Digest.  Have you
considered shorter blade lengths ?  I've tried and have witnessed probably 200 such fights in my garage, both matched short knives
and unarmed vs. short knife.  The shorter blades keep the fighters in
slapping/palm butt range and make for a rougher fight as there is less give to the thrust.  So, more torso scrapes are sustained, requiring some blade maintenance with sand paper after each round.  The blades
typically burred when they scrape the metal helmet mesh, although in my
garage, many points are burred when the blade is dropped.

I cover my longer aluminum blades with clear car door protectors, as recommended by Bob Burgee.  These are available at Kragen auto parts,
but only one of their two varieties holds up. There are various models of short knife. Too many have a point and make for painful/dangerous thrusts that can crack ribs - not good for starting an event.  One of Bob Burgee's models , the Chisel tip, it pretty good when ground down a bit more.  I have a pair of mirror-polished short blades with circular tips, custom-made by Burgee.  These look great and reduce the skin punctures.  If you like, I can bring the pair to the Gathering.

Just trying to help out,

Gints
30445  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 04, 2005, 07:13:29 AM
This time the knife fights will be started with the knives hidden on the fighters and the fighters in extreme close range to each other.
30446  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 03, 2005, 06:23:57 PM
Woof All:

It now appears that Original Productions (Monster Garage, Monster House, many others) will be shooting this "Dog Brothers Gathering" for the opening episode of an intended series for Spike TV. Cool  Cool  Cool

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30447  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: November 03, 2005, 06:09:12 PM
Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet Thu Nov 3,12:32 PM ET
 


BOULDER, Colo. - Home Depot was sued by a shopper who claims he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding.

"They left me there, going through all that stress," Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. "They just let me rot."

The lawsuit, filed Friday, said Dougherty was recovering from heart bypass surgery and thought he was having a heart attack when he got stuck at the Louisville store on the day before Halloween 2003. A store employee who heard him calling for help informed the head clerk by radio, but the head clerk "believed it to be a hoax," the lawsuit said.

Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher said she could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit said store officials called for an ambulance after about 15 minutes. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, and as they wheeled the "frightened and humiliated" Dougherty out of the store, he passed out.

The lawsuit said the toilet seat separated from his skin, leaving abrasions.

"This is not Home Depot's fault," he said. "But I am blaming them for letting me hang in there and just ignoring me."
30448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: October 30, 2005, 10:53:32 PM
"Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
-Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum. The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.




"We can't be so fixed on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans."
-President William Jefferson Clinton, March 1, 1993 during a press conference in Piscataway, NJ. Source: Boston Globe, 3/2/93, page 3.



"My general counsel tells me that while firearms are exempted from our jurisdiction under the Consumer Product Safety Act, we could possibly ban bullets under the Hazardous Substances Act."
-Richard O. Simpson, Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 1973


"We must do whatever we can to regulate how guns are used. I've been the victim of a stabbing."
-Al Sharpton, May 3, 2003



"Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal."
-Janet Reno


"Gun violence won't be cured by one set of laws. It will require years of partial measures that will gradually tighten the requirements for gun ownership, and incrementally change expectations about the firepower that should be available to ordinary citizens."
-New York Times, December 21, 1993
30449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: October 29, 2005, 08:40:44 AM
SCO: A New Power Center Developing
October 28, 2005 21 47  GMT



Summary

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) summit in Moscow ended Oct. 27. Talk at the summit indicates that the organization is growing; soon, the SCO will deal with more than security-related matters, and its geographic scope will expand. As it grows, the SCO will become a more authoritative figure in Eurasian -- and global -- matters.

Analysis

The prime minister-level Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit -- at which participants met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines -- concluded in Moscow on Oct. 27. The organization which Washington at first dismissed as a talk shop is now raising concerns for the Bush administration, especially after SCO member Uzbekistan heeded the organization's call and evicted a U.S. military base in July.

Some media outlets already call the SCO "NATO of the East." In reality, the organization is neither a talk shop nor a NATO equivalent, in the sense that it is not a military bloc. Extensive talks with officials from the SCO's full members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and observer-members (India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia) -- along with observations of the SCO summit -- give insight into where this key Eurasian organization is going.

The summit showed that the SCO is developing in two strategic directions. First, it is growing from a security-only organization into a multi-functional group that includes political and economic collaboration; second, the SCO is expanding from a Central Asia-based organization to include Eurasia. The more the SCO expands in these directions, the more authority it will gain in Eurasian and global affairs. If the SCO continues developing in terms of joint economic projects and security initiatives, it could become a new collective power center.

The SCO was founded by Moscow and Beijing on June 15, 2001, with the ultimate vision of gradually developing a new world power-center that would tend to Eurasian affairs without interference from outside powers. This goal runs contrary to the Bush administration's agenda for Eurasia; Washington considers Eurasia to be of paramount importance in the pursuit of U.S. geopolitical interests, and it is a cornerstone of the U.S. geopolitical strategy that Washington has a decisive role in Eurasian geopolitics. Thus, it is against Washington's interest for major Eurasian states to form alliances, because if those states join together they could successfully challenge the United States, the world's only superpower.

If the SCO matures according to its founders' vision, the organization could become an alliance capable of taking care of Eurasian matters and, thus, capable of challenging Washington's interests there. However, this would take years. SCO leaders fully understand this and strive to keep Washington from seeing the organization as anti-U.S. The SCO is not explicitly anti-U.S., though butting heads with Washington is inevitable as the United States fights to maintain a presence in Eurasia. Rather, its members are focused on getting their neighbors' and their own houses in order while trying to develop them internally. China is about to launch a major internal social and economic redistribution campaign and does not want to be seen as forming any bloc to counter U.S. security interests. Russia is busy trying to revive its economy and find friends abroad who are willing to help it regain some of its former prominence and unwilling to follow U.S. policies. Furthermore, Putin still wants to Westernize the country, which implies at least some cooperation with the United States. India is building itself up as a future global power and wants to benefit from U.S. nuclear technology know-how. The list goes on.

The SCO's growth and strength potential come from a key geopolitical fact: Its members -- current and potential -- have many common problems, and many of these problems can be resolved only if the countries work together. In practice, this involves forming Eurasian transportation corridors, shaping energy routes to benefit the countries' growing and energy-hungry economies, making sure the countries' economies complement each other to remain or become competitive in a global economy, and so on. SCO members' shared and important agenda of making themselves stronger by working together will give the organization an internal strength that is necessary if it is to thrive and become geopolitically significant.

Realizing this, the SCO has worked to complement its security cooperation with major joint economic development plans. At the summit in Moscow, SCO members agreed to fulfill a program of multilateral trade and economic cooperation by 2020. The program includes jointly constructing hydroelectric plants, upgrading highways, laying out fiber-optic communications networks, hydrocarbons exploration and pipeline construction -- a total of 127 joint projects. To finance the first projects, China offered to issue Central Asian nations a low-interest line of credit for $900 million, to be paid off in 20 years. China will also train 1,500 Central Asian engineers and other specialists. Trying to make sure its role in the SCO is not minor compared to Beijing's, Moscow proposed that investments in SCO projects should be joint ventures. This will amount to almost all investment coming from stronger nations, such as Russia and China -- both of which are willing and apparently able to do it.

Another important outcome of the SCO summit is that its leaders, including the observer-members' heads of state, agreed that the organization will deal only with major issues and on a strategic level, leaving it to member nations to sort out details. This could help the SCO move forward with Eurasian security and economic affairs without getting bogged down in the details of local issues and differences. For instance, the SCO joint security drive likely will have a negative impact on Islamist militancy, an issue which all SCO nations have to tackle.

It is telling that current SCO members have had to put a damper on observer-members' enthusiasm to join immediately, in order to keep the SCO from getting overwhelmed by its own rapid growth. Beijing and Moscow first want to make sure the SCO's shop is in order before expanding, ensuring that the first economic projects and security initiatives work for the full member states. They also want to make sure that including countries with diverse agendas will not turn the SCO into a useless group. However, expansion seems to be inevitable, given that both Moscow and Beijing are eager to see more countries join.

The SCO is an organization intended to bear fruit for years to come, though its members will start seeing progress as each year passes. If the current trend -- eagerness to cooperate and a desire to put aside differences -- continues among member nations through the next few years, the SCO could take shape as a new power center in Eurasia -- something for other powers, including Washington, to reckon with.

www.stratfor.com
30450  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / STICK FIGHTING FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS on: October 28, 2005, 08:36:57 AM
I could have sworn that we have a thread somewhere in the back pages on Palo Canario and if it is in the first 10 pages, well, I missed it-- but I did find these which may be of interest:

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=646

http://www.dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=384&start=0

http://www.dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=412
Pages: 1 ... 607 608 [609] 610 611 ... 633
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!