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30901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 14, 2005, 12:06:25 PM
The Panic Over Iraq
What they're really afraid of is American success.

BY NORMAN PODHORETZ
Monday, December 12, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

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

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


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

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





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

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

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


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

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

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


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


887 stories about prisoner abuse by British soldiers.


216 stories about hostages currently being held in Iraq.


761 stories reporting on activities and public statements of insurgents.


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


182 stories about American servicemen killed and wounded in operations.


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


107 stories about civilian deaths in Iraq.


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


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


121 stories discussing the possibility of an American pullout.


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

16 stories about security successes in the fight against insurgents.


7 stories about positive developments relating to elections.


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

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


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




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


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

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

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





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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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


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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





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

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


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

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





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

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

Mr. Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and author of 10 books, most recently "The Norman Podhoretz Reader," edited by Thomas L. Jeffers (Free Press, 2004). This article will appear in Commentary's January issue.
30902  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Blocking ROOF/UMBRELLA vs. 4 Walls on: December 14, 2005, 06:52:45 AM
Woof Juan:

Of course I remember who you are!

Lets see if I can answer your questions.

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

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

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

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

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

Does this help?
Guro Crafty
30903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: December 13, 2005, 03:27:17 PM
The Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Army has exceeded recruiting goals in the first two months of this fiscal year, reversing a trend that had some Iraq critics saying the armed services branch was "broken."
    The Pentagon yesterday said the Army signed up 5,856 recruits in November, 5 percent above its goal. It previously announced the Army also exceeded its target in October, the first month of the 2006 fiscal year.
    The Army has that hit its recruiting mark for six straight months, a promising development for the Bush administration. President Bush's critics had cited the Army's failure to achieve its recruiting goals in fiscal 2005 as proof that the war in Iraq is breaking the force.
    Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and one of the party's chief Iraq war critics, has called the Army "broken" and urged the White House to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country.
    But Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the service is more confident of filling the ranks as the recruiting year unfolds.
    "Part of the reason is it's like steering a boat," he said. "The changes we made in the last year take a while to take effect."
    Those changes included putting more recruiters on the street and offering specific assignment incentives. If a high school graduate was willing to commit to the 3rd Infantry Division bound for Iraq, for example, he could receive a bonus of several thousand dollars. Enlistees can receive up to a $20,000 bonus depending on the length of commitment and their job skills. The Army also changed its ad campaign to focus more on patriotism.
    "I think the Army as a whole is working harder at recruiting," Col. Hilferty said.
    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials explained the 2005 recruiting shortfall this way: the active-duty Army is growing by 30,000, making the sign-up goal larger, and parents in some cases are counseling against joining the combat arms at a time when more than 2,000 American service members have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.
    Soldiers typically spend a year in Iraq or Afghanistan, and then a year at home before deploying again. In contrast, Marines spend six months overseas and six months at home.
    The Army fell far behind its goal of 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, but made up much of the lost ground during the summer, when high school graduates typically decided their next step. By Sept. 30, recruiters had brought in 73,000 future soldiers, a number the Army said was sufficient to sustain the force the next year. The Army last missed its mark in 1999.
    Col. Hilferty said he "can't guarantee" the Army will meet its end goal of 80,000 by next Sept. 30, noting the winter and spring are traditionally difficult recruiting seasons. The Army has 492,728 active-duty soldiers in the 1.4 million-member armed forces.
    The Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force all met their November enlistment quotas.
30904  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: December 11, 2005, 06:11:16 PM
Two boys in Boston were playing baseball when one of them was attacked
by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board
off of a nearby fence, wedged it into the dog's collar and twisted it,
breaking the dog's neck.
 
 
A newspaper reporter from the Boston Herald witnessed the incident
and rushed over to interview the boy. The reporter began entering data
into his laptop, beginning with the headline:
 
"Brave Young Red Sox Fan Saves Friend From Jaws Of Vicious Animal"
 
 "But I'm not a Red Sox fan," the little hero interjected.
 
 "Sorry" replied the reporter. "But since we're in Boston, Mass, I
just assumed you were." Hitting the delete key, the reporter began:
 
 "John Kerry Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific Dog Attack"
 
 "But I'm not a Kerry fan either," the boy responds.
 
The reporter says, "I assumed everybody in this state was either
for the Red Sox or Kerry or Kennedy. What team or person do you like? "
 
"I'm a Texas Ranger fan and I really like George W. Bush" the boy
says.
 
Hitting the delete key, the reporter begins again:
 
"Little Republican Bastard Kills Beloved Family Pet"
30905  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: December 10, 2005, 09:11:35 AM
With permission, here is another email I have received:

CD
================

Hello Guro Crafty,
 
The KaliTudo material was what I refer to as a "moment of affirmation" in regards to my own training.  I have spent many years now studying Hung Ga "kung fu", first from a very traditional approach and then evolving into what I consider a more functional approach.
 
It's been a process of elimation and delving deeper into the concepts, and now the strategies of what makes Hung Ga work, rather than relying on tons of forms, advice from non-fighters, and (as with any martial art) tons of stupid poilitics.
 
This journey culminated with my first participation in a Kuoshu event last May.  Kuoshu is full contact, very light protective wear, Chinese martial arts based fighting that includes pretty much all hand techniques, knees, elbows, throws and takedowns.  It's traditionally done on a raised platform with no ropes or rails so that you can knock your opponent's out of the ring  Cheesy
 
Until last May I had been mostly succesful in sparring against people from a variety of styles such as Kenpo, Kick Boxing, Karate, other Kung Fu (Wing Chun), etc...  But, that was sparring.  I'm short (5'4"), but thick and fairly well built(205-210lbs), and I see now that much of my success was due to my low center of gravity and simply being able to overpower many people.  In Kuoshu, I recieved a rather interesting "wake up", when I fought other trained fighters who were both taller and heavier than I am as I was in the heaviest weight division.  I did ok, but for every time I scored, I was hit, kicked, or otherwise beaten upon.  I'm 35 now, and I simply can't take the punishment I could 10 years ago. It was rather disheartening for me.
 
After the event, for a few weeks I was in a funk.  I thought I was a much better fighter than that.  My record of success in sparring didn't make sense.  I questioned my training, my ability, and my system.  
 
I did the best I could to break the funk, and went back to the drawing board.  I'd been toying with some things for several years, but hadn't had that complete breakthrough where it literally sunk in, until recently.  Just before your KaliTudo videos where released, I saw the light and focused on my footwork...the footwork I'd known all along but didn't truly understand.  That, and how the footwork related to strategies that sadly I have been discussing with others within my system for years, but once again never fully understood.  
 
So I started drilling the footwork patterns of Hung Ga both solo and with partners, with the emphasis on a generic fighting style opponent.  The patterns at first were what I call:  Angle step, Triangle step, Circle step, and Lateral Cat step.  Those where the base.  The emphasis was on moving around my opponent, creating angles, drawing attacks, and taking advantage of weakness in their footwork while maintaining a structurally superior position.  This lead to the next step of combining the "bridge hands" or basic hand work of Hung Ga with the footwork, which oddly enough made the material in the old forms I'd practiced for years make complete sense!  
 
My initial results were encouraging.  I sparred with some of the guys I'd fought Kuoshu against, and it was a whole different experience.  They were confused, left open, and I got hit much less often.  When I hit them, it had an even better efficacy than before because they were not able to defend as well, and the angles worked against thier structure.  
 
Then I ordered and promptly (Thank You!) received your KaliTudo videos.  Seeing your work, I found myself nodding my head, agreeing with what your were saying, and noting the similarities to what I'd been working on.  The main difference was that your stuff was clearly WAY ahead of where I was at the time.  However, it really helped to clarify, and solidify the ideas I 'd been working on, and took it much further.  I'll tell you, that metronome training method is absoltely fantastic, and though we do it slightly different, it's now a core part of my students' and my own training regime.  The strategies presented, and I particularly liked the Frank Trigg stuff, were extremely helpful.  I found myself asking "how does Hung Ga address that?".   A few months later, my footwork and strategies are now much further expanded, and I'm excited about fighting in my next competition, next May.  
 
Again, my approach is oriented to my system.  However, the way your videos present things, the concepts and strategies are easily extracted and fit into Hung Ga.  I started taking Judo with my son recently, so I look forward to part 2 if it deals with things on the ground.  I've always felt very comfortable looking at other systems and trying to see the concepts and mechanics that were effective.  I've gotten a lot from this, and now encourage my friends in a wide variety of martial arts to purchase the KaliTudo vids.  the trouble is, that (and especially within my own style) I run into many "hard heads" who would rather train with blinders on than take a good look at other things and learn.  Heck, I've had some guys tell me flat out that my stuff isn't Hung Ga anymore the way I'm describing it to them.  But then again, they don't fight.
 
Sorry about the long e-mail.  Time to take my dog for a romp in the park  Cheesy
30906  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wrist Injury on: December 10, 2005, 08:55:07 AM
Tail wags for the kind words.

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

The Adventure continues
CD
30907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 09, 2005, 12:11:56 AM
Al Qaeda: Targeting Guidance and Timing
December 09, 2005 01 25  GMT

By Fred Burton

Previously unpublicized segments of an al Qaeda videotape made in September hit the news media early Dec. 7, when the tape (featuring Ayman al-Zawahiri) was posted in its entirety on a jihadist Web site. The statements being aired struck an industrial nerve center: For the first time, a senior al Qaeda leader was heard to be calling specifically -- and offering ideological justification -- for strikes against energy infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region. Because the region's oil wealth is considered to be the patrimony of the Muslim world, it long has been believed that attacks of this sort would be anathema to al Qaeda and its long-term political goals in the region. The group's leaders, including Osama bin Laden, have made remarks about the need to halt the theft of Muslim oil many times in the past, but no one of al-Zawahiri's stature before has been known to discuss so directly the value of striking at energy targets in the Middle East.

The rationale for doing so is clear enough. As al-Zawahiri says in the tape: "I call on mujahideen to concentrate their attacks on Muslims' stolen oil, from which most of the revenues go to the enemies of Islam, while most of what they leave is seized by the thieves who rule our countries."

It is important to note the audience for this statement: Al-Zawahiri is not issuing a warning to the oil industry or the West, but rather is giving targeting guidance to al Qaeda's supporters in the Middle East. In other portions of the 40-minute videotape, he emphasizes that bin Laden is alive and continues to lead the jihadist war, claims credit in al Qaeda's name for the July 7 train bombings in London and rails against Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. It is, if you will, a motivational speech al-Zawahiri is making -- but the strategy he espouses is one with inherent risks.

Considering that oil is viewed by al Qaeda as the blessing of Allah upon Arabs and Muslims, the jihadist leadership does not seem to be in any danger of committing ideological cannibalism, provided attacks are staged in a way that cripples export infrastructure and the economies of specific countries -- rather than, for example, setting fire to oil wells -- since the oil would remain in Muslim hands under the strategy being urged. Al-Zawahiri's statement plays on long-standing divisions within the Arab world, where those from non-oil states might refer to the wealthy Gulf countries (and their frequently well-off citizens) as "Khaleejis" -- a word that technically means "from the Gulf" but has come to connote, in common slang, something more along the lines of "rich, lazy and spoiled." And any attacks that cause instability in countries with hated regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are in al Qaeda's interest.

The problem is that, if there should be follow-through, the effects of such strikes might not be easily contained. Poor Arab countries like Yemen and Jordan could feel the pinch long before the United States did -- and while that still might bring about the sought-after political instability, it also could hurt al Qaeda's standing among the masses, as other attacks waged on Arab soil have before. That is no small consideration; al-Zawahiri himself has urged other leaders, notably Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, to avoid operations that would needlessly alienate other members of the ummah (such as the Shia). Clearly, the leadership is well aware of the risks involved -- but given the way al-Zawahiri's statement came to light this week, it seems equally clear that al Qaeda places a great deal of emphasis on ensuring this guidance is heard and heeded.

The issue of how the statements came to light made news itself, since initial reports from wire services and broadcast agencies on Dec. 6 mistakenly said the al Qaeda tape was new. It was, in fact, recorded and released in mid-September, marking the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Arab satellite television broadcaster Al Jazeera was the first to receive the tape, and aired segments of it on Sept. 19. But it was not until another Web site, one known to be used by Islamist militants, made the video available Dec. 7 that the targeting guidance -- among the final statements made in the 40-minute recording -- was picked up by world media (including, in a circular fashion, Al Jazeera).

In explaining the discrepancy, Al Jazeera said it had aired all the portions of the tape the editorial staff believed to be significant upon its receipt in September -- having judged statements about the oil sector "not newsworthy" at the time. Though perfectly logical, this explanation raises more questions than answers. For one thing, the video was released shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck in the United States and world attention was focused on record-high energy prices -- something that would tend to raise the news value of any threats to Persian Gulf oil assets. Moreover, Al Jazeera is known worldwide as the primary distribution point for key al Qaeda statements; we would not expect any statements made in a videotape of this sort to be considered lightly. That said, of course, the news media are peopled with humans, and human error -- a lapse of news judgment or an editorial oversight -- is always a possibility.

Another explanation is that Al Jazeera's editorial decision-makers indeed were aware of the call to action but chose not to broadcast it, having weighed several issues of which news value is merely one. Several factors, including ethics and politics, play into the editorial process.

It must be remembered that the Qatar-based satellite channel's privileged source-media relationship with al Qaeda has given Al Jazeera considerable cachet in the media industry. It also has made Al Jazeera an object of interest for intelligence agencies hoping to trace the locations of al Qaeda leaders or gather forensic evidence, such as fingerprints, from the tapes themselves. And it has brought considerable political pressure to bear on some editorial decisions, such as whether to broadcast graphic footage of beheadings and other material that -- in addition to being newsworthy -- was viewed as fueling the risks of violence to Westerners or otherwise aiding al Qaeda's cause. At each juncture, there were ethical issues at stake and nuanced business decisions to be made.

But while it is one thing to air sensational footage of violence that already has been carried out against foreigners or to broadcast statements warning of possible attacks abroad, it can be quite another to carry the rallying cry that urges attacks against the economic backbone of one's own country, region or primary commercial market. For an editorial decision-maker serving a certain geographic market, the political and economic consequences could make this a very different decision indeed.

Whatever led to it, the situation at the end of the day is this: Al Jazeera had an opportunity to air al-Zawahiri's targeting guidance in September, and did not -- nor was the message made widely known through other venues. An alternative Web site believed to be used by Islamist militant groups -- which could thus be surmised to have links to al Qaeda and access to its materials -- brought matters to a head after a significant time lag. The targeting call then was covered almost as a matter of routine by other media outlets in response, and oil markets spasmed predictably.

In the classic whodunit sense, it seems that someone was keenly interested in making sure the targeting guidance was distributed -- and the list of suspects is extremely short. Since Al Jazeera did not oblige by broadcasting the statement initially, al Qaeda chose another outlet -- and possibly the timing of the release as well. The key question is why.

It has been noted that the scare to the oil markets came only days before an OPEC meeting, scheduled to take place Dec. 12 -- enough time for cartel members to consider the threat and adjust production strategies accordingly. Al Qaeda is well aware of the economic repercussions of its statements and actions, and oil prices recently have dropped again. Making sure the threats were made public at this juncture -- when cold weather and heating fuel are also concerns for Western buyers -- theoretically would be one way of reinflating prices and thus harming al Qaeda's main enemies.

Upon closer examination, however, there are deeper implications to al-Zawahiri's exhortations.

Al Qaeda in the past has made only vague references to striking at oil infrastructure; with al-Zawahiri's statements, that changed. There have been indications that al Qaeda is in financial difficulties -- to the point that the leadership might be having to divert funds from some areas to sustain key operations in others. Historically, the bulk of al Qaeda's funding is believed to have come from Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The financial downturn could be the result of donor fatigue or other factors; however, not striking at oil infrastructure in the region has been a way of protecting major donors' interests.

Thus, the shift in al Qaeda's rhetoric -- which has been hinted for some time but takes on an emphatic note when clearly stated by a top strategist -- might be a way to either punish former donors for their laxity, or otherwise achieve significant goals. It is in the areas where financial support for the group has been greatest that ideological sympathies also tend to run quite high -- even from those without the means to contribute funds -- so al-Zawahiri in essence could be calling on core supporters to "act locally" under the operational guidance.

And this underscores yet another significant implication: If al Qaeda's leadership knows it retains a serious ability to strike within the United States or other Western countries, logic dictates that it would marshal those forces and draw attention to key targets in those places. With the Sept. 11 attacks, al Qaeda took its war against "crusaders" into the enemy camp -- a strategy intended to demonstrate its strength and build support and morale among the oppressed Muslim masses. Ordering strikes against the patrimony of the Muslim world -- even as a way of crippling the West and wounding the "apostate" regimes that al Qaeda opposes in the Middle East -- is doing almost the exact opposite, and is so controversial that even sympathizers might be expected to balk.

In all likelihood, that is why al Qaeda statements have only hit around the edges of this issue up to this point. The guidance is tactically efficient, in the sense that it is viable guidance concerning a region where both high-value targets and al Qaeda supporters are numerous -- but strategically and politically, this is an option of last resort.
30908  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: December 08, 2005, 06:33:39 AM
Woof All:

Here is a textbook application from the most recent UFC of the technique in KT called "Trigg 101"

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7595855398915011338

Just to be perfectly clear, no inference that RF got the idea/technique from my DVD -- indeed the very name given to the technique makes clear that it was already in the gene pool of MMA.  Still, its nice to see such a clear example.

Yip!
Crafty Dog
30909  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Palo Canario on: December 08, 2005, 05:45:14 AM
Bienvenidos Jugador:

Por favor describanos los caracteristicas del estilo Deniz.

Gracias,
Crafty Dog
30910  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wrist Injury on: December 08, 2005, 05:39:38 AM
The following is offered not as expert opinion, but simply as a man who has had injuries along his path which he has had to figure out how to heal.  

A general principle that often helps me is that even when an injury has a specific moment when it "happens", the susceptibility to the injury was often created by imbalance and misalignment within the body-- quite often the misalignment is located in an entirely different place that the location of the injury.  It sounds like you have an appreciation of this already.  

In your case I would take a staff at least as long as you are tall and hold it across your shoulders and use it as a way of determining whether you are lined up from the tips of fingers from one hand to those of the other.  If not, then clean that up.  I would also do basic rotator cuff exercises-- all that turning of valves could have your rotator cuff misaligned-- which I can easily imagine causing the flow of forces through your wrist causing it to be stressed in a misaligned manner.

To the extent that repetitive stress played/plays a role in your injury, one thing that occurs to me is to balance it out with the complementary motion.  

The other principle that occurs to me is when a joint is injured is have all muscles connected to that joint deeply stripped-- in your case all the muscles of the hand and forearm.  This I adduced from the very successful treatments given to me many years ago by hilot healer Sam Tendencia.

Off the top of my head, this is what occurs to me.  Of course I am not medically trained and this is only based upon my understanding of your words here.

PS:  As you rehab your injury, this may be an opportunity to work the other side.
30911  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2005, 06:27:50 PM
A day to remember--as is the aftermath.  

Through the haze of John Wayne movies those of us born after WW2 may not realize that there were tremendous mistakes made during our waging of that war-- but we came together and figured it out and did what had to be done.
30912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 07, 2005, 11:40:49 AM
Military Lessons Learned in Iraq and Strategic Implications
By George Friedman

Among the things that emerge from every war, won or lost, are "lessons learned." Each war teaches the military on both sides strategic, operational, tactical and technical lessons that apply in future wars. Many of these lessons are useful. Some can be devastating. The old adage that "generals are always fighting the last war" derives from the failure to learn appropriate lessons or the failure to apply lessons properly. For example, the lessons learned from the First World War, applied to the Second, led to the Maginot Line. They also led to the blitzkrieg. "Lessons learned" cuts both ways.

Sometimes lessons must be learned in the middle of a war. During World War II, for example, the United States learned and applied lessons concerning the use of aircraft carriers, the proper employment of armor and the execution of amphibious operations. The Germans, when put on the defensive, did not rapidly learn the lessons of defensive warfare on a strategic level. The Allies won. The Germans lost. There were certainly other factors at work in that war, but the speed at which lessons are assimilated and applied is a critical factor in determining the outcomes of wars. It has been said that success in war is rooted in the element of surprise; it follows that overcoming surprise is the corollary of this principle.

Lessons are learned and applied most quickly at the tactical level. Squads, platoons and companies, which are most closely in contact with the enemy and have the most immediate thing at stake -- their very lives -- tend to learn and adapt the most quickly. One measure of morale is the speed at which troops in contact with the enemy learn and change. One measure of command flexibility is the extent to which these changes are incorporated into doctrine. In addition, a measure of command effectiveness is the speed at which the operational and strategic lessons are learned and implemented. It usually takes longer for generals to understand what they are doing than it does sergeants. But in the end, the sergeants cannot compensate for the generals, or the politicians.

In the Iraq war, both sides have experienced pleasant and unpleasant surprises. For instance, the Americans were pleasantly surprised when their worst-case scenario did not materialize: The Iraqi army did not attempt to make a stand in Baghdad, forcing the U.S. military into urban attritional warfare. And the Iraqi insurgents were pleasantly surprised at the length of time it took the Americans to realize that they were facing guerrilla warfare, and the resulting slowness with which the U.S. military responded to the attacks.

On the other hand, the Americans were surprised by the tenacity of the insurgency -- both the guerrillas' ability to absorb casualties and the diffusion of their command structure, which provided autonomy to small units yet at the same time gave the guerrillas the ability to surge attacks at politically sensitive points. And the insurgents had to have been surprised by the rapid tactical learning curve that took place on the U.S. side, imposing a high cost on guerrilla operations, as well as the political acumen that allowed the Americans and others to contain the insurgency to the Sunni regions.

In a strategic sense, the Iraqi insurgents had the simpler battle problem. Insurgency has fewer options. An insurgency must:

1. Maintain relations with a host population that permits for regrouping, recruitment and re-supply. While this can be coerced, the primary problem is political, in the need to align the insurgency with the interests of local leaders.

2. Deny intelligence to the enemy by using the general population to camouflage its operations -- thus forcing the enemy to mount operations that simultaneously fail to make contact with insurgents and also alienate the general populace. Alternatively, if the enemy refuses to attack the population, this must be used to improve the insurgents' security position.

3. Use the target-rich environment of enemy deployments and administrative centers to execute unpredictable attacks, thereby increasing the enemy's insecurity and striking at his morale.

The guerrillas' purpose is to engender a sense of psychological helplessness in their conventional enemy, with the goal of forcing that enemy to abandon the fight or else to engage in negotiations as a means of defense.

The guerrilla does not have to win militarily. His goal is not to lose. The essence of asymmetric warfare is not merely the different means used to fight the war, but the different interests in waging the war. In Vietnam, the fundamental difference between the two sides was this: The North Vietnamese had a transcendent interest in the outcome of the war -- nothing mattered more than winning -- whereas for the Americans, Vietnam was simply one interest among a range of interests; it was not of transcendent importance. Thus, the North Vietnamese could lose more forces without losing their psychological balance. The Americans, faced with much lower losses but a greater sense of helplessness and uncertainty, sought an exit from a war that the North Vietnamese had neither an interest nor a means of exiting.

Now, Vietnam was more of a conventional war than people think. The first principle of insurgency -- drawing sustenance and cover from a local population -- was a major factor before the intervention of main-line North Vietnamese units. After that, these units relied more on the Ho Chi Minh Trail than on the local populace for supplies, and on terrain and vegetation more than on the public for cover. It was at times less a guerrilla war than a conventional war waged on discontinuous fronts. Nevertheless, the principle of asymmetric interest still governed absolutely: The North Vietnamese were prepared to pay a higher price than the Americans in waging the war, since they had greater interests at stake.

The United States fought a counterinsurgency in Vietnam. It should have tried to reformulate the conflict as a conventional war. First, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was the strategic center of gravity of the war, and cutting that line would have been a conventional move. Second, operating in a counterinsurgency mode almost guaranteed defeat. Some have argued that the U.S. difficulty with counterinsurgency warfare is its unwillingness to be utterly ruthless. That is not a tenable explanation. Neither the Nazis nor the Soviets could be faulted with insufficient ruthlessness; nevertheless, the Yugoslav Partisan detachments drained the Nazis throughout their occupation, and the Afghan guerrillas did the same to the Soviets. Counterinsurgency warfare is strategically and tactically difficult.

The problem for occupying forces is that -- unlike the insurgents, who merely must not lose -- the counterinsurgents must win. And because of asymmetric interests, time is never on their side. The single most important strategic error the Americans made in Vietnam was in assuming that since they could not be defeated militarily, they might not win the war, but it was impossible that they could lose it. They failed to understand the principle of asymmetry: Unless the United States won the war in a reasonable period of time, continuing to wage the war would become irrational. Time is on the side of guerrillas who have a sustainable force.

The United States did not expect a guerrilla war in Iraq. It was not part of the war plan. When the guerrilla war began, it took U.S. leaders months to understand what was happening. When they did understand what was happening, they assumed that time was at the very least a neutral issue. Having launched the war in the context of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Americans assumed that they had interests in Iraq that were as great as those of the insurgents.

But as in other guerrilla wars, the occupying power has shown itself to have less interest in occupying the country than the resistance has in resisting. It is not the absolute cost in casualties, but rather the perception of helplessness and frustration the insurgent creates, that eats away at both the occupying force and the public of the occupying country. By not losing -- by demonstrating that he will survive intense counterinsurgency operations without his offensive capabilities being diminished -- the insurgent forces the occupier to consider the war in the context of broader strategic interests.

One of two things happens here: The occupier can launch more intense military operations, further alienating the general populace while increasing cover for the insurgents -- or, alternatively, attempt to create a native force to wage the war. "Vietnamization" was an attempt by the United States to shift the burden of the war to the Vietnamese, under the assumption that defeating the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong was more in the interests of the South Vietnamese than in the interests of the Americans. In Iraq, the Americans are training the Iraqi army.

The U.S. option in Vietnam was to impose a conventional model of warfare -- much as the United States did in Korea, when it ignored the guerrillas and forced the war into a battle of conventional forces. It is even more difficult to impose a conventional war in Iraq than it might have been in Vietnam under an alternative American strategy. Here, attacking the insurgents' line of supply is a tenuous strategy -- not because the line does not exist, but because the dependency on it is less. The insurgents in Iraq operate at lower levels of intensity than did the Vietnamese. The ratio of supplies they need to bring into their battle box, relative to the supplies they can procure within their battle box, is low. They can live off the Sunni community for extended periods of time. They can survive -- and therefore, in the classic formulation, win -- even if lines of supply are cut.

The Sunni guerrillas in Iraq have all of the classic advantages that apply to insurgency, save one: There are indigenous forces in Iraq that are prepared to move against them and that can be effective. The Shiite and Kurdish forces are relatively well-trained (in the Iraqi context) and are highly motivated. They are not occupiers of Iraq, but co-inhabitants. Unlike the Americans, they are not going anywhere. They have as much stake in the outcome of the war and the future of their country as the guerrillas. That changes the equation radically.

All wars end either in the annihilation of the enemy force or in a negotiated settlement. World War II was a case of annihilation. Most other wars are negotiated. For the United States, Vietnam was a defeat under cover of negotiation. That is usually the case where insurgencies are waged: By the time the occupation force moves to negotiations, it is too late. Iraq has this difference, and it is massive: Other parties are present who are capable and motivated -- parties other than the main adversaries.

The logic here, therefore, runs to a negotiated settlement. The Bush administration has stated that these negotiations are under way. The key to the negotiations is the threat of civil war -- the potential that the Shia, the main component of a native Iraqi force, will crush the minority Sunnis. There is more to this, of course: The very perception of this possibility has driven a number of Sunnis to cooperate in efforts to put down the insurgency, looking to secure their future in a post-occupation Iraq. But it is the volatility of relations between the ethnic groups underlying the negotiations that can shift the outcome in this case for the United States.

All war is political in nature. It is shaped by politics and has a political end. In World War II, the nature of the combatants and the rapid learning curve of the Allies allowed for a rare victory, in which the outcome was the absolute capitulation of the enemy. In Vietnam, the nature of the war and the failure of the American side to learn and evolve strategy led to a political process that culminated in North Vietnam achieving its political goals. In Iraq, the question is whether, given the combatants, the complete defeat of either side appears likely. Even if the United States withdraws, a civil war could continue. Therefore, the issue is whether the conflict has matured sufficiently to permit a political resolution that is acceptable to both sides. As each learns the capabilities of the other and assimilates their own lessons of the war, we suspect that a political settlement will be the most likely outcome.
30913  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Knife DVD? on: December 06, 2005, 06:45:21 PM
Woof Scott:

Thank you for asking.

I have been going through a period of re-examination concerning knife.  

This is what I have decided so far:

1) I will continue not to teach knife on seminar.  

2) I will teach knife to people with whom I feel comfortable.

3) I will teach EH vs. knife openly.  In this regard I have something I think pretty neat and which I have kept secret for several years-- I have recently named it "the Dogcatcher".   evil  cheesy   There will be a DVD on this material sometime in 2006.  

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: December 06, 2005, 05:04:33 PM
http://www.specialops.org/

Help the families of the fallen and this

http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/
30915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Theory on: December 04, 2005, 08:23:12 PM
This qualifies for more than one thread, but I put it here:

The Psychology of Bush hatred:

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2004/11/psychology-of-bush-hatred.html
30916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Theory on: December 04, 2005, 01:10:04 AM
An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqadimmah) of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi. Second portion of Chapter Six, "Society and State."

Topics:

Opposition of Tribes and Bands

Nature of Kingship

Concentration of Authority

Need of the King for a Bureaucracy

Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy

Natural Ages of the State

Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms

Growth of Luxury

Luxury and Power

Growth of Docility



Opposition of Tribes and Bands <back>

It is rare that a state can be securely established in lands inhabited by many tribes and bands. The reason is that in such lands there will be a diversity of opinions and inclinations, each opinion or viewpoint being backed by a social solidarity to which it can appeal for protection. Defections and rebellions against the state then become frequent, even though the state itself be based on some solidarity, because each tribe feels itself secure and powerful.

Consider, for instance, what has been happening in North Africa and in Morocco from the Islamic conquest until today. The Berber inhabitants of these lands being grouped in well-knit tribes, the first conquests effected by Ibn Abi Sarh over them and the Franks were of no avail; for they repeatedly rose in revolt and recanted the Muslim faith, killing large numbers of Muslims. And even when the Muslim religion had been firmly planted in these lands, they persisted in revolting and rebelling and in adopting the heterodox beliefs of the Kharijites. According to Ibn Abi Zaid, "The Berbers of Morocco recanted Islam twelve times, that religion not being firmly established until the governorship of Musa Ibn Nusair, or even later." This explains the reported saying of Omar that "North Africa divided the hearts of its inhabitants." By this saying he meant that the great number of tribes and bands leads them to refuse obedience and reject leadership.

Iraq and Syria, at that time, were in a very different state, the garrisons consisting of Persian or Byzantine troops, and the masses, of spiritless city dwellers. Hence, once the Muslims had defeated these garrisons and wrested the land from the rulers, they encountered no further resistance or difficulty. The Berbers of Morocco, on the other hand, are organized in innumerable, well-knit tribes, all of them nomadic; hence no sooner is one tribe wiped out than another takes its place as a rebel and renegade, which explains the length of time it took the Arabs to establish themselves in North Africa and Morocco. This too was the position of Syria at the time of the Israelites. For the land was full of the tribes of the Canaanites, the Philistines, the children of Esau, the Midianites, the children of Lot, the Edomites, the Armenians, the Amalekites, the Girgashites, and, in the direction of Arabia and Mosul, the Nabateans -- an innumerable and diverse host of cohesive peoples. This made it very difficult for the Israelites to establish and secure their rule, as they had to face one disturbance after another. Nay, this state of unrest communicated itself to them, leading to factions and rebellions against their kings. Nor did they enjoy a secure, firm state during the rest of their history; being eventually conquered by the Persians, then by the Greeks, then by the Romans, and were finally dispersed in the Diaspora.

The position is just the reverse in countries where there are no cohesive tribes; for there it is easy to establish a state because, owing to the lack of disturbances and defections, the king can without difficulty restrain the inhabitants and secure the state without much solidarity on his side. Examples are provided by Egypt and Syria today, which are inhabited by sedentary people. Indeed Syria, which was a breeding ground of tribes and bands, is devoid of them today. In Egypt the state is very well established and meets only with docility, in view of the rareness of rebellions and opposing bands. It consists of a Sultan and his subjects, and rests on the armed bands of the Turkish feudal princes....
[Vol. I, p. 295]



Nature of Kingship <back>

Kingship is a position natural to mankind. For, as we have shown, men can exist and survive only if they live in groups and co-operate in their search for food and the other necessities of life. Now congregation for the satisfaction of needs implies intercourse, which means that owing to the animal propensities of aggressiveness and oppression each will help himself to the possessions of his fellows. The person so attacked will hit back, spurred by pride and anger and enabled to do so by the strength he shares with other human beings. All this leads to quarrels and strife, which provoke unrest, bloodshed, and the loss of life, endangering the survival of the species whose preservation is willed by God Himself.

It is, therefore, impossible for men to survive in a state of anarchy, without a sanction which restrains them from mutual aggression. This sanction is provided by a ruler, who is, by the very force of human nature, a strong and masterful king....
[Vol. I, p. 337]



Concentration of Authority <back>

It is of the nature of states that authority becomes concentrated in one person. This is because, as we have said before, a state is founded upon solidarity. Now solidarity is formed by the union of many groups, one of which, being more powerful than the rest, dominates and directs the others and finally absorbs them, thus forming an association which ensures victory over other peoples and states....

This wider union and solidarity will be achieved by some group belonging to a leading family; and within that family there is bound to be some prominent individual who leads and dominates the rest. That person will therefore be appointed as leader of the wider group, because of the domination enjoyed by his house over the others.

And once this leader is so appointed, his animal nature is bound to breed in him feelings of pride and haughtiness. He will then disdain to share with any one his rule over his followers; nay, he will soon think himself a god, as human beings are wont to do. Add to this the fact that sound politics demands undivided rule, for where there are many leaders the result is confusion, and if there were other gods than God in the universe, there would be chaos.

Steps are therefore taken to curb the power and to clip the wings and weaken the solidarity of the other groups, so that they shall not aspire to dispute the power of the ruler. The ruler monopolizes all power, leaving nothing to others, and enjoys alone the glory derived therefrom.

And this process may be achieved by the first king of the dynasty, or it may only come about under the second or the third, according to the power and resistance offered by the groups; but come about it certainly must.
[Vol. I, p. 299]



Need of the King for a Bureaucracy <back>

Know then that the King by himself is a feeble creature, on whom a very heavy burden is laid and who consequently needs the help of his fellow men. For if he needs their help in securing his livelihood and the necessities of life, how much more, then, does he need it in governing a society of human beings!

He whom God has chosen as a ruler must protect his community from external aggression, preserve order, and enforce the laws, in order to prevent the encroachment by any one on the rights of others. He must protect property by making the highways secure. He must seek to promote the interest of his subjects and hence, in order to facilitate transactions and make it easier for his subjects to earn their livelihood, inspect foodstuffs, weights, and measures, to prevent adulteration or fraud. He must, too, test the coinage which they use, in order to prevent counterfeiting....
[It is the United States which must set the unit of account... JW]

[Vol. II, p. 1]


Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy
<back>

Know then that the ruler requires both a civilian and a military establishment to aid him in carrying on with the affairs of state. At the beginning of a dynasty, when the rulers are consolidating their power, the need for the military is greater than that for a civilian bureaucracy; for the civilians are mere servants, carrying out the orders of the king, whereas the military are his partners and fellow workers. The same is also true of the period of decline of a dynasty, when old age has weakened social solidarity and caused the population to decrease, as we said before; in such a case, too, the need for soldiers, for the purposes of defence, makes itself as urgently felt as it had been during the period of consolidation of the state. In both those stages, then, the sword plays a more important part than the pen, and the military enjoy more prestige and wealth, and are granted richer fiefs than the civilians.
[In the period ahead, perhaps for a decade or two while the world is getting used to US sovereignty, we must bear the expense of maintaining the military until it is clear the "tribes" will accept our sovereignty. JW]

During the middle period of the dynasty, on the other hand, the ruler is relatively independent of the military. For, his rule having been established, his main concern is to pick the fruits of domination, such as the collection of taxes, the recording [of income and expenditure], the rivaling [in ostentation] with other sovereigns, and the enforcing of his decrees. Now for all this it is to the [men of the] pen that he must look for help, hence their importance increases. The sword, on the other hand, is left unused in its scabbard, unless it be to meet some unexpected danger or incursion; otherwise there is no need for it. The civilians, in these circumstances when their services are required, enjoy more prestige, a higher rank in the hierarchy of the state, and more wealth; it is they whom the king calls into his councils and consults in his closet; for it is they whom he needs most if he is to enjoy the fruits of his rule....
[Vol. II, p. 40]


Natural Ages of the State <back>

....And the ages of the state, too, may differ according to astronomical conjunctures. Nevertheless, generally speaking, it is rare that the age of the state should exceed three generations, a generation being the average age of an individual, that is forty years or the time necessary for full growth and development....

We said that the age of the state rarely exceeds three generations because the first generation still retains its nomadic roughness and savagery, and such nomadic characteristics as a hard life, courage, predatoriness, and the desire to share glory. All this means that the strength of the solidarity uniting the people is still firm, which makes that people feared and powerful and able to dominate others.

The second generation, however, have already passed from the nomadic to the sedentary way of life, owing to the power they wield and the luxury they enjoy. They have abandoned their rough life for an easy and luxurious one. Instead of all sharing in the power and glory of the state, one wields it alone, the rest being too indolent to claim their part. Instead of aggressiveness and the desire for conquest we see in them contentment with what they have. All this relaxes the ties of solidarity, to a certain extent, and humility and submissiveness begin to appear in them; yet they still retain much of their pristine spirit because of what they have seen and remembered of the previous generation, with its self-confidence, pursuit of glory, and power to defend and protect itself. They cannot entirely give up all these characteristics, even though they have abandoned some of them. They still hope to regain the conditions prevailing in the previous generation, or even have the illusion that these virtues are still to be found in them.

As for the third generation, they have completely forgotten the nomadic and rough stage, as though it had never existed. They have also lost their love of power and their social solidarity through having been accustomed to being ruled. Luxury corrupts them, because of the pleasant and easy way of living in which they have been brought up. As a result, they become a liability on the state, like women and children who need to be protected. Solidarity is completely relaxed and the arts of defending oneself and of attacking the enemy are forgotten.

They deceive people by their insignia, dress, horse-riding and culture; yet all the while they are more cowardly than women. If then a claimant or aggressor appear, they are incapable of pushing him back. Consequently, the head of the state is compelled to rely on others for defence, making extensive use of clients and mercenaries, who may to some extent replace the original free warriors.... [Two years ago, I told friends in the People?s Republic of China that the reason I wish to help them grow strong is so they will provide competition for us, for without it we will become fat and lazy and arrogant. JW]

[Vol. I, p. 306]



Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms <back>

....The civilized form [of state], then, necessarily succeeds the nomadic one, as domination leads to luxury. For the rulers of a state, once they have become sedentary, always imitate in their ways of living those of the state to which they have succeeded and whose condition they have seen and generally adopted.

This is what happened to the Arabs, when they conquered and ruled over the Persian and Byzantine empires and took the daughters and sons of the Persians and Byzantines into their service. Up till then they had known nothing of civilization. Thus it is said that when presented with thin loaves of bread they mistook it for parchment, and when they discovered some camphor in the treasure houses of Chosroes they used it as salt in their dough, and did many other similar things. When, however, they had subjugated the populations of the lands they conquered and employed them in their households as servants and craftsmen, choosing the ablest in their different lines, together with their supervisors, they soon learned from them how to change their ways and to make the proper use of things. Nay, they even pushed these things to the point of refinement, especially with the improvement in their mode of living. Indeed, they reached the height of luxury in their way of living, their good food and drink, clothing, houses, arms, furniture, vessels, and household equipment....
[Vol. I, p. 309]



Growth of Luxury <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed luxury. This is because when a people overcomes and dispossesses the inhabitants of a previously existing state, its wealth and prosperity increase and with them its wants, so that the bare necessities of life no longer satisfy, but only the amenities and luxuries....
[Vol. I, p. 300]



Luxury and Power <back>

Luxury will at first increase the power of a state. This is because when a tribe secures domination and luxury, its birth-rate goes up and the number of its children increases, which provides a greater supply of armed men. At the same time, the members of the tribe make wider use of clients and dependents. And their children growing up in this atmosphere of prosperity and luxury will further increase and wax stronger because of their greater number of troops.

Once, however, the first and second generations have passed away, and the state has begun to decline, the clients and dependents are incapable of forming a state of their own, independently; for they never enjoyed independent action, but were always dependent on the rulers, whom they helped; once, therefore, the trunk has been removed, the branches cannot strike roots for themselves, but wither and pass away. The state, then, cannot retain its former power.

Consider what occurred to the Arab state, in Islam. At the time of the Prophet and the early Caliphs they [i.e. the Muslims] numbered some 150,000 [fighting men], including both Maturates and Qahtanites as we said before. When, however, luxury began to spread, under the later dynasties, their numbers began to grow with their prosperity. Moreover the Caliphs began to make increasing use of clients and dependents, so that the total rose to many times the above-mentioned figure...
[Vol. I, p. 313]



Growth of Docility <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed docility and inaction. This is because a people can achieve dominion only by strife, which strife leads to victory and the foundation of a state. When these ends are achieved there is an end to strife....

Once, then, they have established their state they no longer make the strenuous efforts which they had previously exerted, but prefer rest and easy life and inaction. They now seek to enjoy the fruits of power; such as fine homes and clothes. They build palaces, draw waters to them, plant parks, and show great refinement in their dress, food, furniture and household goods, and, generally speaking, prefer a life of enjoyment to one of exertion. Soon they get accustomed to such a mode of living and transmit it to their descendants. And so the matter goes on increasing until God puts an end to it.
[Vol. I, p. 301]

* * * * *



An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqadimmah) of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi. Second portion of Chapter Six, "Society and State."

Topics:

Opposition of Tribes and Bands

Nature of Kingship

Concentration of Authority

Need of the King for a Bureaucracy

Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy

Natural Ages of the State

Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms

Growth of Luxury

Luxury and Power

Growth of Docility



Opposition of Tribes and Bands <back>

It is rare that a state can be securely established in lands inhabited by many tribes and bands. The reason is that in such lands there will be a diversity of opinions and inclinations, each opinion or viewpoint being backed by a social solidarity to which it can appeal for protection. Defections and rebellions against the state then become frequent, even though the state itself be based on some solidarity, because each tribe feels itself secure and powerful.

Consider, for instance, what has been happening in North Africa and in Morocco from the Islamic conquest until today. The Berber inhabitants of these lands being grouped in well-knit tribes, the first conquests effected by Ibn Abi Sarh over them and the Franks were of no avail; for they repeatedly rose in revolt and recanted the Muslim faith, killing large numbers of Muslims. And even when the Muslim religion had been firmly planted in these lands, they persisted in revolting and rebelling and in adopting the heterodox beliefs of the Kharijites. According to Ibn Abi Zaid, "The Berbers of Morocco recanted Islam twelve times, that religion not being firmly established until the governorship of Musa Ibn Nusair, or even later." This explains the reported saying of Omar that "North Africa divided the hearts of its inhabitants." By this saying he meant that the great number of tribes and bands leads them to refuse obedience and reject leadership.

Iraq and Syria, at that time, were in a very different state, the garrisons consisting of Persian or Byzantine troops, and the masses, of spiritless city dwellers. Hence, once the Muslims had defeated these garrisons and wrested the land from the rulers, they encountered no further resistance or difficulty. The Berbers of Morocco, on the other hand, are organized in innumerable, well-knit tribes, all of them nomadic; hence no sooner is one tribe wiped out than another takes its place as a rebel and renegade, which explains the length of time it took the Arabs to establish themselves in North Africa and Morocco. This too was the position of Syria at the time of the Israelites. For the land was full of the tribes of the Canaanites, the Philistines, the children of Esau, the Midianites, the children of Lot, the Edomites, the Armenians, the Amalekites, the Girgashites, and, in the direction of Arabia and Mosul, the Nabateans -- an innumerable and diverse host of cohesive peoples. This made it very difficult for the Israelites to establish and secure their rule, as they had to face one disturbance after another. Nay, this state of unrest communicated itself to them, leading to factions and rebellions against their kings. Nor did they enjoy a secure, firm state during the rest of their history; being eventually conquered by the Persians, then by the Greeks, then by the Romans, and were finally dispersed in the Diaspora.

The position is just the reverse in countries where there are no cohesive tribes; for there it is easy to establish a state because, owing to the lack of disturbances and defections, the king can without difficulty restrain the inhabitants and secure the state without much solidarity on his side. Examples are provided by Egypt and Syria today, which are inhabited by sedentary people. Indeed Syria, which was a breeding ground of tribes and bands, is devoid of them today. In Egypt the state is very well established and meets only with docility, in view of the rareness of rebellions and opposing bands. It consists of a Sultan and his subjects, and rests on the armed bands of the Turkish feudal princes....
[Vol. I, p. 295]



Nature of Kingship <back>

Kingship is a position natural to mankind. For, as we have shown, men can exist and survive only if they live in groups and co-operate in their search for food and the other necessities of life. Now congregation for the satisfaction of needs implies intercourse, which means that owing to the animal propensities of aggressiveness and oppression each will help himself to the possessions of his fellows. The person so attacked will hit back, spurred by pride and anger and enabled to do so by the strength he shares with other human beings. All this leads to quarrels and strife, which provoke unrest, bloodshed, and the loss of life, endangering the survival of the species whose preservation is willed by God Himself.

It is, therefore, impossible for men to survive in a state of anarchy, without a sanction which restrains them from mutual aggression. This sanction is provided by a ruler, who is, by the very force of human nature, a strong and masterful king....
[Vol. I, p. 337]



Concentration of Authority <back>

It is of the nature of states that authority becomes concentrated in one person. This is because, as we have said before, a state is founded upon solidarity. Now solidarity is formed by the union of many groups, one of which, being more powerful than the rest, dominates and directs the others and finally absorbs them, thus forming an association which ensures victory over other peoples and states....

This wider union and solidarity will be achieved by some group belonging to a leading family; and within that family there is bound to be some prominent individual who leads and dominates the rest. That person will therefore be appointed as leader of the wider group, because of the domination enjoyed by his house over the others.

And once this leader is so appointed, his animal nature is bound to breed in him feelings of pride and haughtiness. He will then disdain to share with any one his rule over his followers; nay, he will soon think himself a god, as human beings are wont to do. Add to this the fact that sound politics demands undivided rule, for where there are many leaders the result is confusion, and if there were other gods than God in the universe, there would be chaos.

Steps are therefore taken to curb the power and to clip the wings and weaken the solidarity of the other groups, so that they shall not aspire to dispute the power of the ruler. The ruler monopolizes all power, leaving nothing to others, and enjoys alone the glory derived therefrom.

And this process may be achieved by the first king of the dynasty, or it may only come about under the second or the third, according to the power and resistance offered by the groups; but come about it certainly must.
[Vol. I, p. 299]



Need of the King for a Bureaucracy <back>


Know then that the King by himself is a feeble creature, on whom a very heavy burden is laid and who consequently needs the help of his fellow men. For if he needs their help in securing his livelihood and the necessities of life, how much more, then, does he need it in governing a society of human beings!

He whom God has chosen as a ruler must protect his community from external aggression, preserve order, and enforce the laws, in order to prevent the encroachment by any one on the rights of others. He must protect property by making the highways secure. He must seek to promote the interest of his subjects and hence, in order to facilitate transactions and make it easier for his subjects to earn their livelihood, inspect foodstuffs, weights, and measures, to prevent adulteration or fraud. He must, too, test the coinage which they use, in order to prevent counterfeiting....
[It is the United States which must set the unit of account... JW]

[Vol. II, p. 1]


Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy
<back>

Know then that the ruler requires both a civilian and a military establishment to aid him in carrying on with the affairs of state. At the beginning of a dynasty, when the rulers are consolidating their power, the need for the military is greater than that for a civilian bureaucracy; for the civilians are mere servants, carrying out the orders of the king, whereas the military are his partners and fellow workers. The same is also true of the period of decline of a dynasty, when old age has weakened social solidarity and caused the population to decrease, as we said before; in such a case, too, the need for soldiers, for the purposes of defence, makes itself as urgently felt as it had been during the period of consolidation of the state. In both those stages, then, the sword plays a more important part than the pen, and the military enjoy more prestige and wealth, and are granted richer fiefs than the civilians.
[In the period ahead, perhaps for a decade or two while the world is getting used to US sovereignty, we must bear the expense of maintaining the military until it is clear the "tribes" will accept our sovereignty. JW]

During the middle period of the dynasty, on the other hand, the ruler is relatively independent of the military. For, his rule having been established, his main concern is to pick the fruits of domination, such as the collection of taxes, the recording [of income and expenditure], the rivaling [in ostentation] with other sovereigns, and the enforcing of his decrees. Now for all this it is to the [men of the] pen that he must look for help, hence their importance increases. The sword, on the other hand, is left unused in its scabbard, unless it be to meet some unexpected danger or incursion; otherwise there is no need for it. The civilians, in these circumstances when their services are required, enjoy more prestige, a higher rank in the hierarchy of the state, and more wealth; it is they whom the king calls into his councils and consults in his closet; for it is they whom he needs most if he is to enjoy the fruits of his rule....
[Vol. II, p. 40]


Natural Ages of the State <back>

....And the ages of the state, too, may differ according to astronomical conjunctures. Nevertheless, generally speaking, it is rare that the age of the state should exceed three generations, a generation being the average age of an individual, that is forty years or the time necessary for full growth and development....

We said that the age of the state rarely exceeds three generations because the first generation still retains its nomadic roughness and savagery, and such nomadic characteristics as a hard life, courage, predatoriness, and the desire to share glory. All this means that the strength of the solidarity uniting the people is still firm, which makes that people feared and powerful and able to dominate others.

The second generation, however, have already passed from the nomadic to the sedentary way of life, owing to the power they wield and the luxury they enjoy. They have abandoned their rough life for an easy and luxurious one. Instead of all sharing in the power and glory of the state, one wields it alone, the rest being too indolent to claim their part. Instead of aggressiveness and the desire for conquest we see in them contentment with what they have. All this relaxes the ties of solidarity, to a certain extent, and humility and submissiveness begin to appear in them; yet they still retain much of their pristine spirit because of what they have seen and remembered of the previous generation, with its self-confidence, pursuit of glory, and power to defend and protect itself. They cannot entirely give up all these characteristics, even though they have abandoned some of them. They still hope to regain the conditions prevailing in the previous generation, or even have the illusion that these virtues are still to be found in them.

As for the third generation, they have completely forgotten the nomadic and rough stage, as though it had never existed. They have also lost their love of power and their social solidarity through having been accustomed to being ruled. Luxury corrupts them, because of the pleasant and easy way of living in which they have been brought up. As a result, they become a liability on the state, like women and children who need to be protected. Solidarity is completely relaxed and the arts of defending oneself and of attacking the enemy are forgotten.

They deceive people by their insignia, dress, horse-riding and culture; yet all the while they are more cowardly than women. If then a claimant or aggressor appear, they are incapable of pushing him back. Consequently, the head of the state is compelled to rely on others for defence, making extensive use of clients and mercenaries, who may to some extent replace the original free warriors.... [Two years ago, I told friends in the People?s Republic of China that the reason I wish to help them grow strong is so they will provide competition for us, for without it we will become fat and lazy and arrogant. JW]

[Vol. I, p. 306]



Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms <back>

....The civilized form [of state], then, necessarily succeeds the nomadic one, as domination leads to luxury. For the rulers of a state, once they have become sedentary, always imitate in their ways of living those of the state to which they have succeeded and whose condition they have seen and generally adopted.

This is what happened to the Arabs, when they conquered and ruled over the Persian and Byzantine empires and took the daughters and sons of the Persians and Byzantines into their service. Up till then they had known nothing of civilization. Thus it is said that when presented with thin loaves of bread they mistook it for parchment, and when they discovered some camphor in the treasure houses of Chosroes they used it as salt in their dough, and did many other similar things. When, however, they had subjugated the populations of the lands they conquered and employed them in their households as servants and craftsmen, choosing the ablest in their different lines, together with their supervisors, they soon learned from them how to change their ways and to make the proper use of things. Nay, they even pushed these things to the point of refinement, especially with the improvement in their mode of living. Indeed, they reached the height of luxury in their way of living, their good food and drink, clothing, houses, arms, furniture, vessels, and household equipment....
[Vol. I, p. 309]



Growth of Luxury <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed luxury. This is because when a people overcomes and dispossesses the inhabitants of a previously existing state, its wealth and prosperity increase and with them its wants, so that the bare necessities of life no longer satisfy, but only the amenities and luxuries....
[Vol. I, p. 300]



Luxury and Power <back>

Luxury will at first increase the power of a state. This is because when a tribe secures domination and luxury, its birth-rate goes up and the number of its children increases, which provides a greater supply of armed men. At the same time, the members of the tribe make wider use of clients and dependents. And their children growing up in this atmosphere of prosperity and luxury will further increase and wax stronger because of their greater number of troops.

Once, however, the first and second generations have passed away, and the state has begun to decline, the clients and dependents are incapable of forming a state of their own, independently; for they never enjoyed independent action, but were always dependent on the rulers, whom they helped; once, therefore, the trunk has been removed, the branches cannot strike roots for themselves, but wither and pass away. The state, then, cannot retain its former power.

Consider what occurred to the Arab state, in Islam. At the time of the Prophet and the early Caliphs they [i.e. the Muslims] numbered some 150,000 [fighting men], including both Maturates and Qahtanites as we said before. When, however, luxury began to spread, under the later dynasties, their numbers began to grow with their prosperity. Moreover the Caliphs began to make increasing use of clients and dependents, so that the total rose to many times the above-mentioned figure...
[Vol. I, p. 313]



Growth of Docility <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed docility and inaction. This is because a people can achieve dominion only by strife, which strife leads to victory and the foundation of a state. When these ends are achieved there is an end to strife....

Once, then, they have established their state they no longer make the strenuous efforts which they had previously exerted, but prefer rest and easy life and inaction. They now seek to enjoy the fruits of power; such as fine homes and clothes. They build palaces, draw waters to them, plant parks, and show great refinement in their dress, food, furniture and household goods, and, generally speaking, prefer a life of enjoyment to one of exertion. Soon they get accustomed to such a mode of living and transmit it to their descendants. And so the matter goes on increasing until God puts an end to it.
[Vol. I, p. 301]

* * * * *
30917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: December 04, 2005, 12:58:15 AM
BY R.S.N. MURALI SEREMBAN: Four armed robbers fled for their lives when they inadvertently broke into the home of a Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) coach at Taman Bukit Intan here.
The 28-year-old Muay Thai coach John Yong fought off the four Indonesian robbers when they broke into his home at 2.30am yesterday.

Yong, who was woken up by the screams of his 52-year-old mother, rushed to her aid and saw that two of the robbers were busy tying up her hands while the rest were ransacking her room.

Yong immediately went for them.

He kicked the two robbers who were busy tying up his mother.

They fell to the ground but the other two robbers retaliated by slashing Yong?s right arm and chin with a meat cleaver. He also sustained a shoulder wound after being stabbed with a screwdriver.

Undeterred, Yong continued attacking the robbers, injuring them all.

Realising that they were unable to take on the martial arts exponent, the four fled with only a mobile phone.

Yong?s family members rushed him to a private hospital here for treatment.

When met at the hospital, Yong said he wanted to teach the robbers a lesson as he was infuriated with the way they had treated his mother.

?Luckily, my eight years' experience in boxing came in handy,? he said.

Yong said he fought with all his might against the four robbers, adding: ?At one point, I felt like the silver screen hero, Jackie Chan, when I took on the four.?

OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Abdullah said police had launched a manhunt for the robbers.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/10/1/nation/9023628&sec=
30918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 03, 2005, 11:56:23 AM
Imagine MNF Being Covered Like Iraq

By Jon Ham
November 30, 2005

RALEIGH - Watching Monday Night Football the other night, it occurred to me that if one imagined the mainstream media covering that game the way they cover the war in Iraq (or the economy), the absurdity of their
reporting would be plain for all to see.

       INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts, seeking to silence critics
who say they are overrated, fell short of that mark on Monday night by
outscoring the Pittsburgh Steelers by a mere 3-point margin in the first
quarter.

   Despite the unspectacular first-quarter margin, Colts head coach
Tony Dungy insisted that his team was winning the battle. "Hey, we're up
three," said Dungy. "In my book that's a lead." But critics pointed out
that the Colts gained their lead only as a result of a desperation 80-yard
pass by quarterback Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison on their first play
of the game.

       "That score was based on subterfuge and was patently unfair," said
one critic, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by league officials. "It amounted to abuse of opposing players to fool them like that."

       Despite scoring on their first snap of the game, and later scoring a
field goal to go up 10-0, the Colts allowed Pittsburgh to score with only
1:18 left in the first quarter. Colt critics demanded that Dungy
acknowledge that he had made coaching mistakes in the quarter, but he
refused to do so.

       The Colts have become a target of critics since going undefeated so
far this year. That so many Colt players have openly expressed a desire to go undefeated the whole season is seen as arrogance and a sense of
exceptionalism by many, causing many former friends to turn against them.

       The staunch Pittsburgh defense, though out-manned and out-gunned,
managed to battle the Colts to a standstill in the second quarter, allowing
them only six points. Those familiar with the Colts say this second-quarter
swoon reveals a lack of depth on offense due to unmet recruitment goals
during the off-season.

       The insurgent Steelers, striking sporadically with lesser equipment
against the hegemonic Colts, inflicted serious damage with several tackles, a sack and some pass breakups, holding Indianapolis to only two field goals in the 15-minute span. Observers said it looked as if the tide were turning in favor of the insurgent Steelers.

       In the third period, the Steelers again held the Colts to a single
touchdown, damaging the Colts' aura of invincibility and giving hope to the insurgents that their time would come. Some critics pointed to the stands as some Colt fans began filing out, saying that this showed the Colts losing support at home.

       The Steelers were even stronger in the final period, holding the
Colt juggernaut to a mere three points. "I think Indianapolis was just in
the wrong game, at the wrong place at the wrong time," one Colt critic was heard to say.

      The final score, by the way, was Colts 26, Steelers 7
30919  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wrist Injury on: December 03, 2005, 10:04:16 AM
It may help us to help you if we understood the nature of what you do as a refiller , , ,
30920  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: December 03, 2005, 10:02:20 AM
Tom:

That would be great!  

CD
30921  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: December 02, 2005, 01:03:54 AM
As we continue to work on the conversion of the "Dog Brothers Real Contact Stickfighting" series to DVD in the lulls between putting out our new DVDs, we have been looking to see if we can offer multi-language capabilites, either dubbed or sub-titled.  Long story short-- for the volume involved, it would be too expensive.

So we have come up with a poor man's version:  Transcriptions.

After a long search, I have finally found someone to transribe the audio of the videos and have a small network of foreign students who will translate the text into the respective native languages.  So far we have Spanish, German, and Italian.  Today I sent the files for POWER and for FOOTWORK to them.

Changing subject, it looks like the master for Guro Lonely Dog's "Cycle Drills" will be finished tomorrow Cool  Then we must do the box and we can send it all to the dupe house.  Speaking as Guro Lonely's teacher, I am quite proud and am quite confident that people will like this DVD (his first, but not his last) a lot.

The Adventure continues,
30922  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / ?Como se dice "Translations"? on: December 02, 2005, 12:52:47 AM
Guau a todos:

A traves de los anos, muchas personas se nos han pedido por nuestros DVDs/videos en otras idiomas.  Hemos investigado como hacerlo, pero por razones economicas (costas altas en relacion a ventas probables) no se ha dado factible.

Por lo cual, me da mucho gust informarles que despues de una busqueda muy larga, he encontrado alguien para "transcribe" (?Como se dice?) las palabras de los vidoes a forma escrita y que tengo varios estudiantes dispuestos a traducirlos a su idioma nativa.  Ya tenemos gente para traducir a Espanol (Jose Antonio de las Islas Canarias), Aleman, y Italiano.  De este manera, una persona puede leer una traduccion de lo que estemos diciendo en ingles.

Hoy mismo mande archivos para "Power" y "Footwork" a Jose Antonio y los demas.   Tenemos la intencion de cumplir eso con todos los proyectos que tenemos y los que haremos.

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
30923  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: December 01, 2005, 09:59:36 PM
Denny:

Agradezco la informacion que estas compartiendo con nosotros.  Posiblemente habran mas comentarios si abrieramos el campo de la platica a incluir el papel que Chavez esta' jugando en Latino America.  

?Caballeros?
Crafty Dog
30924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 01, 2005, 02:50:44 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005

U.S. President George W. Bush made his speech. It was fascinating in two respects. On the surface, he held hard to the basic theme that he has stayed with for the past two years: that the primary path forward rests on a military solution to the insurgency. When looked at a bit deeper, it was a much more nuanced speech than he normally makes.

The main theme was that the primary solution to the American problem in Iraq is turning over responsibility for security and prosecution of the war against the insurgents to an Iraqi army. A good deal of the speech was devoted to a discussion of the process of training the Iraqi army and the lessons that have been learned in the process of doing so.

What was important here was the implication that the variable determining U.S. participation in Iraq is not the state of the insurgency, but the state of the Iraqi army. At one point he said that this war would not end with a ceremony on the deck of a battleship. In other words, there will not be a sudden, formal end to the war. He has therefore divided the war into two parts. The first is the phase in which the United States carried the primary responsibility of defeating the insurrection. The second phase would be the one in which the Iraqi army carries the primary burden. For the United States, the war could be reduced or ended prior to a complete defeat of the insurgents.

The more interesting dimension of the speech was his careful parsing of the insurgency. First, he identified the insurgency as Sunni. Then, he divided the insurgents into three groups:

1. Rejectionists: Those Sunnis who reject an Iraq in which they no longer hold a privileged position.

2. Saddamites: Those who want to return the dictatorship to power.

3. Terrorists: People around militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who are committed to continuing the struggle at all costs.

He went on to say that, "We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will." And that is the heart of the strategy.

What Bush said in this line is that it is the Iraqis themselves -- or more precisely, Shia and Kurds in the political process, as well as Sunnis -- who are already engaged in finding a political solution. Bush has named two groups that are beyond the pale (Saddamites -- you have to love that name -- and terrorists) and one group, the rejectionists, that is in play. Bush said he wants to isolate the insurgents by engaging those who will engage. That obviously means the rejectionists.

The rejectionists' requirements are purely political. This group is interested in its own role in Iraq, not in restoring Saddam Hussein or in supporting foreign jihadists. If its members can be induced to stop fighting and isolate the other two groups, some sort of stability can be achieved. This requires a political process. Note that Bush said that the Iraqis would carry out the political process with U.S. assistance. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said that he was going to engage in negotiations with them himself, as well as with the Iranians. If what Bush said is taken seriously, that means that the United States, in negotiating on behalf of and in support of the Iraqi government, is doing so from the Shiite platform. In other words, the rejectionists are being threatened with their worst nightmare -- complete marginalization under Shiite rule.

If this appears to be reading much into the speech, it may be. But if we assume that Khalilzad did not make his statements earlier in the week without authorization -- and he certainly did not -- then this speech has to be read in the context of Khalilzad's statements. And the only way that makes sense is to read Bush's analysis of the insurgency as a broad blueprint of the negotiating terrain.

Interestingly, he did not mention negotiations. He seemed to be speaking purely in military terms. Yet, at a crucial point, he drew a complex map of the enemy, and located the group that would be engaged and on whose behalf this would happen. In other words, Bush confirmed Khalilzad's statement without even slightly seeming to change U.S. strategy.

But by mid-week we know this: The United States no longer expects to suppress the insurgency by itself, but expects to transfer responsibility to an Iraqi -- read Shiite and Kurdish -- force. It does not intend to isolate the insurgents, but to engage and divide them. And that means that a purely military strategy will now be supplemented by negotiations. Bush never once mentioned Khalilzad. He never once said anything that undermined his position.

But so much for our dubious sources. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was right there, being praised again.
30925  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Maphilindo/Majapahit Silat and Guru Inosanto's progression on: November 30, 2005, 01:38:37 PM
Perceptive comments and question.




The Adventure continues , , ,
30926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 30, 2005, 12:57:53 AM
Our Troops Must Stay

By JOE LIEBERMAN
November 29, 2005; Page A18

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood -- unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

* * *
Before going to Iraq last week, I visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel has been the only genuine democracy in the region, but it is now getting some welcome company from the Iraqis and Palestinians who are in the midst of robust national legislative election campaigns, the Lebanese who have risen up in proud self-determination after the Hariri assassination to eject their Syrian occupiers (the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias should be next), and the Kuwaitis, Egyptians and Saudis who have taken steps to open up their governments more broadly to their people. In my meeting with the thoughtful prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, he declared with justifiable pride that his country now has the most open, democratic political system in the Arab world. He is right.

In the face of terrorist threats and escalating violence, eight million Iraqis voted for their interim national government in January, almost 10 million participated in the referendum on their new constitution in October, and even more than that are expected to vote in the elections for a full-term government on Dec. 15. Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them. Most encouraging has been the behavior of the Sunni community, which, when disappointed by the proposed constitution, registered to vote and went to the polls instead of taking up arms and going to the streets. Last week, I was thrilled to see a vigorous political campaign, and a large number of independent television stations and newspapers covering it.

None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

The leaders of Iraq's duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America's commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

The leaders of America's military and diplomatic forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zal Khalilzad, have a clear and compelling vision of our mission there. It is to create the environment in which Iraqi democracy, security and prosperity can take hold and the Iraqis themselves can defend their political progress against those 10,000 terrorists who would take it from them.

* * *
Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle.

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come.

The economic reconstruction of Iraq has gone slower than it should have, and too much money has been wasted or stolen. Ambassador Khalilzad is now implementing reform that has worked in Afghanistan -- Provincial Reconstruction Teams, composed of American economic and political experts, working in partnership in each of Iraq's 18 provinces with its elected leadership, civil service and the private sector. That is the "build" part of the "clear, hold and build" strategy, and so is the work American and international teams are doing to professionalize national and provincial governmental agencies in Iraq.

These are new ideas that are working and changing the reality on the ground, which is undoubtedly why the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future -- and why the American people should be, too.

* * *
I cannot say enough about the U.S. Army and Marines who are carrying most of the fight for us in Iraq. They are courageous, smart, effective, innovative, very honorable and very proud. After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: "I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates."

Thank you, General. That is a powerful, needed message for the rest of America and its political leadership at this critical moment in our nation's history. Semper Fi.

Mr. Lieberman is a Democratic senator from Connecticut
30927  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: November 28, 2005, 07:22:23 PM
Disculpen por favor que sea en ingles:

PD:  !Bienvenidos captainccs!
=============================

Spain, Venezuela: Arms Deal, Despite U.S. Objections
Summary

Spain agreed to sell Venezuela military equipment Nov. 28. While such military agreements are not unusual, the sale of military hardware containing U.S.-owned technology to Venezuela has represented a contested issue since the present deal was first discussed. The continuation of the deal despite U.S. objections indicates that Washington's complaints fell on deaf ears in Madrid, as Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero moves to increase Spain's influence in South America. It also indicates that the United States prefers to conserve its narrowing bandwidth for more pressing issues.

Analysis

Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono, his Venezuelan counterpart Orlando Maniglia and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed a military deal between the two countries Nov. 28. Spain agreed to sell Venezuela 10 CASA-295 cargo planes, four coastal patrol boats, four ocean patrol boats and two CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft. Washington has objected to the deal because of Chavez's antagonistic stance toward the United States.

The deal gives Chavez a dual domestic advantage: He simultaneously annoys the United States while improving his military. Chavez loves to goad the United States, and Washington's irritation at the deal suits him perfectly. The agreement also allows Venezuela's military to improve, a Chavez goal for more than a year.

Although the United States recently honored an agreement to provide spares and maintenance for Venezuela's two existing squadrons of U.S.-made F-16 fighters, the prospect of Chavez acquiring new weapons does not appeal to Washington. But given Washington's lack of influence in Madrid and Caracas, the only pressure the United States could exert to obstruct the sale was to try to block the transfer of the CASA-295 transport aircraft. Washington had such leverage since more than 50 percent of the aircraft's components are of U.S. origin, giving Washington the power to deny Spain permission to export them.

Despite U.S. objections, however, Spain went ahead with the sale -- including the sale of the CASA-295s. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero may have reasoned that, with U.S. President George W. Bush preoccupied with low approval ratings, indicted staffers and the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq, Washington would prefer not to use up its limited bandwidth over an arms transfer to Venezuela. Rodriguez Zapatero has worked to increase Spain's influence in South America -- and especially in Venezuela, where Spanish oil company Repsol YPF SA seeks to expand its investments in Venezuela's oil and natural gas sectors. Showing Chavez that he is willing to side with him against the wishes of the United States will increase Spain's stock in the region and will help Rodriguez Zapatero secure a position for Spain as the mediator between South America and the European Union.

Probably, nothing will prevent the Spanish arms transfer to Venezuela, allowing Chavez to annoy the United States and Rodriguez Zapatero to increase Spain's influence in the region. With limited bandwidth, Washington must pick its battles more carefully. Ultimately, a squadron of tactical transport aircraft going to Chavez's air force represents too small of a blip on Washington's radar for the United States to do much more than express its irritation.
30928  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Politica-Economia en Latino America on: November 27, 2005, 03:33:19 PM
Disculpen por favor que lo siguiente sea en ingles:
====================================

Why Latin Nations Are Poor

      By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
      November 25, 2005; Page A11

      With hysteria mounting about the political shift leftward in Latin
America and 11 presidential races in the region over the next 13 months, the World Bank's "Doing Business in 2006" survey merits a read. We mentioned it two weeks ago but a fuller airing is in order.

      The annual report, by the research side of the bank, measures the
regulatory burden and property rights in 155 countries. This year's results
demonstrate clearly that despite persistent claims that the region has tried the "free-market" model and found it wanting, Latin America is stubbornly stuck in a statist time warp.

      When it comes to burdensome government and weak property rights,
Latins don't fare as badly as Africans but their freedoms lag behind those
in much of Asia and the former Soviet satellites of Europe.

      It's been 20 years since Hernando de Soto's Lima-based Institute for
Liberty and Democracy published "The Other Path," documenting the burdens that the Peruvian state was heaping on the backs of the struggling underclass. But in two decades little has changed in a region mostly known for caudillo government and its capacity to disappoint. More than ever, the Latin predatory state is driving entrepreneurs underground and forcing the most industrious citizens to emigrate, mostly to the U.S.

      Take for example Mexico, which has enormous oil reserves and open
trade with North America. Its economy is sadly underperforming. Mexican
Finance Minister Francisco Gil Diaz has managed the macro side of things
exceedingly well. But on the micro side, Mexican businesses face crippling
regulation and inadequate legal protections, weakening the potential for
market competition, investment and productivity gains.

      In the category of the World Bank report that deals with "hiring and
firing," Mexico ranks 125th out of the 155 countries surveyed, not least
because it costs a firm almost 75 weeks of wages to fire a worker. Mexico
also ranks 125th in "protecting investors" against fraud, self-dealing and
other corporate abuses. Correspondingly, it ranks 100th in the "enforcing
contracts" category, meaning that when two parties strike a deal, neither
knows whether it will hold up.

      Peru gets a better overall rating than Mexico, but it can hardly be
said to encourage entrepreneurship. In "starting a business," Peru ranks a
low 106th because of the red tape Mr. de Soto wrote about so long ago.
Firing a worker costs almost 56 weeks of wages, discouraging employers from hiring and risking huge costs if business takes a turn for the worse. A medium-sized business in Peru can expect a tax burden reaching almost 51% of gross profits, which is part of the reason Peru has the 133rd worst tax burden. "Enforcing contracts" takes 381 days on average, leaving Peru in 114th place in this category.

      Argentina, still saddled with Peronist labor laws, has an even less
flexible labor market than Peru, at 132nd in "hiring and firing." Moreover,
a medium-sized company must theoretically pay almost 98% of its gross profit to the tax man, which explains a high rate of tax evasion.

      In 25th place globally, Chile has the best business climate in the
region but is inexcusably behind Malaysia, Estonia and Lithuania. It badly
needs to advance reforms undertaken in the 1980s, but instead the Socialist government of Ricardo Lagos has yielded to union activists by increasing labor law burdens.

      Colombia -- at 66th -- has dreadful ratings in "hiring and firing"
(130th) and in "paying taxes," where a medium-sized business has a total
payable tax of 75% of gross profits. Venezuela doesn't enforce contracts
(129th), doesn't protect investors (142nd) and makes paying taxes a
bureaucratic nightmare (145th). There are some notable improvements among small countries. Honduras gets better marks for making property registration more efficient. El Salvador has quickened "business entry" but still ranks far down the list in this category due to the cost of starting a business.

      The correlation between economic freedom and prosperity is clear from reading the World Bank ratings. As one would expect, overtaxing and overregulating economic activity stunts growth, as do weak property rights. Much of the region's stagnation is attributable to burdens inflicted by government.

      Why hasn't democracy in Latin America produced change? The answer can be found in public-choice theory -- a school of economics made famous by Nobel Prize winner James Buchanan. Public choice views politics as a market, where the highest bidders have the power to "purchase" what they want. Deregulation may be best for the majority, but politicians don't have an incentive to do it when their most powerful, best-organized constituents --  the ones who put them in office -- prefer the status quo. That includes not only labor unions but rich, established oligarchs and government bureaucrats. Most Latin countries don't have large enough middle classes to counter these oppressive forces, thanks to the twin curses of overregulation and weak property rights.

      At the cost of a civil war, El Salvador has had some success in
awakening the power elite to the need for change. But most of the region is more like Mexico, where labor unions and a handful of wealthy individuals --  like telecom mogul Carlos Slim and media giant Ricardo Salinas Pleigo -- see no need to reform a system that serves them so well.

      On reviewing the World Bank study, it is worth noting that external
forces also militate against reform. The International Monetary Fund, the
U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank loan officers and the United Nations provide easy money -- "aid" -- to support failed governments and an entrenched ruling class. "Conditionality" has been a dismal failure.  IMF assistance to Argentina worked against challengers to Peronism in the 2003 election and ensured victory for the present anti-market government.

      Rich-country bureaucrats also often tie their handouts to objectives
favored by rich-country pressure groups, such as environmental and labor "protections" that in the name of "social justice" add more red tape and further destroy individual initiative. All the while, Godzilla government is leaving Latin America's underclass living in the shantytowns and favelas
with little opportunity or hope.
30929  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 27, 2005, 01:16:37 PM
Woof All:

The following is from an email I received from someone known to me to be a member of a highly elite military unit and is reprinted here with permission.

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

I attended the Gathering in Los Angeles today. Crafty really has it together. The Dog Brothers program seems to revolve around a solid understanding of the warrior mindset. I beleive the phrase was "walk every day as a warrior".

The premise was seasoning and validation of training concepts and more
importantly the FIGHT.

I saw some interesting dynamics today:

A young fighter decided he was too timid to fight on television (it was
being filmed). I was amazed that he had the integrity to tell the truth.
Most people would lie. "My knee is sore" or "I have a sprained anus".

This kid was honest. He was nervous.

His mentor talked to him and he decided to fight. He performed excellently and was happy for it. His courage was tested and he passed. It was pretty cool to see that much candor and humility.

These men wore fencing eye protection and racketball gloves and beat the fuck out of each other. With discipline and restraint.

The fought hard and stopped when it was over. No rules aside from the simple code of "Be friends at the end of the day".

A rather chubby fighter took to the mat. You could hear a few muffled
snickers from the 4 or 5 guests who shouldnt have been there.

It was the best crowd I have ever seen. They applauded courage and technique nothing else. With the exception of a a handful of people.

If youve ever been to a BJJ tournament on the West Coast you know what it can be like.

This fat fighter was paired against a genetic freak.  He was SOUNDLY beaten, if anyone was keeping score.  He was a bit slow, and had poor balance.  The athelete had his way.  This young man continued to fight, with everything he had. He went out in front of family, friends, and fellow Warriors. Without fear of humiliation.

It was pretty fucking inspiring.

When the show ended I went over and thanked him for sharing his bravery with us. He looked a bit puzzled and started to apologize for his percieved short comings during his three fights.

Absolutely humble.

There is no limit to the talent a man can squander. Why is it that courage
is so RARE that it overshadows everything else.

He was my personal hero for the day.

I will take brave over talented anyday.
30930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: November 27, 2005, 01:12:16 PM
Pappy:

Please let JD know that we are inspired.

Guro Crafty
30931  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
30932  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]
30933  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.
30934  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.
30935  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
30936  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.

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and the work continues:

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-91434
30937  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.
30938  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.
30939  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pu?o Invertido on: November 18, 2005, 11:06:06 AM
?Cual foto?  osea que numero?
30940  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
30941  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
30942  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.
 
 
 
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30943  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / you knew this? KUBARK on: November 17, 2005, 12:44:06 PM
How reliable is this site?
30944  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.
30945  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!
30946  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
30947  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
30948  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
30949  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
30950  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!
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