August 10, 2007

Is there anything left to be said about Iraq?

A Google search finds that I've written, assuming my methodology is reasonable, 831 articles or postings with the word "Iraq" in them, going back to early 2001. (Here's my February 27, 2001 op-ed on why the elder George W. Bush was right not to occupy Baghdad ten years before in 1991.)

But I sure haven't written much about Iraq in 2007. It just seems too depressing and boring to rehash again. I'm not exactly sure why I feel this way. As you've no doubt noticed, I'm constantly tempted to use current event X as an excuse to dredge up my old response to past event Proto-X to show that I Figured It All Out Back In Two Thousand Ought Something But It Was Shamefully Ignored At The Time. This, by the way, can get in the way of coming up with new ideas, since it's easier to link to old ideas.

With Iraq, though, much of what I was saying in 2002 has become conventional wisdom, with the exception of exotic stuff like cousin marriage. And I didn't do that good of a job on Iraq, either -- Greg Cochran explained to me a half dozen times why Saddam couldn't afford to have a nuclear bomb program anymore, but I never publicized it. How could he be right and the U.S. government be wrong? My forecast of what would go wrong wasn't bad, but it was off -- I figured the U.S. would stand by the Sunnis and help them put down the Shi'ites, while the Kurds would cause big trouble for the Turks.

Anyway, since I don't have much left to say, what I'd like to do is invite your comments on Iraq.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

74 comments:

Vol-in-Law said...

Well, I've seen your cousin-marriage point mentioned a lot recently...

jody said...

what scares me is that in 2007, there are still a lot of white americans who are violently attached to the notion that invading and occupying iraq makes the US safer.

suggesting that perhaps a better course of action would be to grant less visas to muslims, and to control the US-mexico border, is usually taken as an insult, and produces several links to news stories about how the US is "winning" in iraq and how you are just a "liberal" who doesn't understand or appreciate the troops who are protecting you.

Audacious Epigone said...

Who "broke" the high consanguinety first, you or John Tierney?

As someone who was still in high school when the Iraq war began, and who followed current events in the most superficial way (too many other distractions!), the war is more than anything else a sobering illustration of just how fallible our leaders are. You've made clear how surprised you were that the government could be so wrong and Dr. Cochran so right--imagine if the span of the Iraq war covered the entire time you'd been trying to make sense of what's going on in the world!

Steve Sailer said...

Probably Stanley Kurtz.

Luke said...

New question about Iraq: Can George W. be trusted to manage the end, or would we be wiser to wait for his successor?

Tanstaafl said...

If you're going by Google hit counts keep in mind they are inflated.

For example, a search for "site:http://isteve.blogspot.com/ iraq" says there are 655 hits on the first page. But if you actually click to the last page they serve (42) it drops to 416.

Also, some of your pages might only include the word "iraq" in a sidebar link to another article.

Ron Guhname said...

What amazes me is that the truth has been around for so long (thanks to people like Steve) but so many Republicans are still not getting the message. Unless the leading presidential candidates are delusional, most of the base is still buying the hype. I suspect that most get their opinions from talk radio and Fox (God help us). They are told that aggressiveness towards terrorists and global democracy go hand-in-hand, and many are buying it. Politically, it stinks with most Americans and may put Hillary in the White House.

Anonymous said...

Can George W. be trusted...

Perhaps he can be trusted to introduce cheap Mexican labor into Iraq as soon as possible.

OK, maybe the mideast version of "family values don't stop at the border" is cheap Iranian labor. Whatever. Yalies don't like borders (or a well-paid working class). Because borders are for small-minded white bigots. And the best way to demonstrate superior status is...

Well, iSteve.com readers know the rest.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, do we really know why Bush went in there in the first place?

I'm very uncomfortable believing that our intelligence agencies are that incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Actually if we had "stood with the Sunnis and helped them put down the Shi'ites" we would probably have set up a stable government and been out of there by now.
Our determination to set up a Shia-dominated "democracy" allied with Iran was our biggest mistake.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you have run out of things to say, perhaps there is nothing left to be said: we've come to "an end of a chapter of history" of sorts in Iraq?

At university I researched the politics of Iraq and US foreign policy for my dissertation. It was clear to many authors I read in journals, experts even in the 1970s were saying Iraq was a "powder keg" waiting to blow due to its many ethnicities, tribes and colonial borders.

Perhaps the next thing is for the power keg to blow, and we need to understand when that will happen?

Let's be honest it almost blew up in America's face after Iraq 2003 war. In the vacuum of the aftermath only huge numbers of US troops were able to hold down the Al-Qaeda fueled violence, which drew in, as predicted, Syria, Iran and Turkey. Currently we're at the height of "the surge" in summer 2007 - that's 4 years after the war and the US still has not completely made the powder keg safe.

The fundamental flaw these authors kept repeating was that from the beginning of Sunni Monarchy (later Army) "Iraq" was an artificial concept imposed from outside which the "Iraqis" did not recognise and that eventually the colonial structure would come crumbling down. So when will this happen? When the US pulls out?

What would the Middle East look like sans America?

It is noteworthy the European Union in 20 years will need 90% of its oil imports from the Middle East and presumably be remilitarised as a unified political entity of sorts.

The EU may plant its own military there to replace America's, possibly under the United Nations as we've seen in Lebanon recently. EU may try to prevent the powder keg exploding. Colonialism returns after 80 years, this time bigger and better than ever.

The EU peacekeepers might face-off with energy monster Russia which could in our potential future hold a formal military alliance with Iran, and Syria, and through Iran seek to control the Persian Gulf and world oil.

As one chapter closes another opens, after the US leaves it is not difficult to imagine scenarios for WWIII. If not a World War we could get a regional "blood-for-oil" war from the Caucaus through Iraq to the Persian Gulf.

All purely speculation of course because we're moving from critiquing the colonial system imposed on the middle east - easy - to using what is known to predict its inevitable demise - hard.

Perhaps Israel is the burning fuse of the Middle East powder keg, the sarajevo which could destabilise the region in an flash, draw the great powers into conflict against each other...

Edward

tommy said...

It's funny to see how committed the neocons still are to this war even as they've largely come to agree with Robert Spencer's views on Islam. They don't grasp that if you accept Spencer's arguments, then nation-building in the Islamic world is a waste of time. Everyone is so caught up in cheerleading the American effort that they cannot be bothered to deal with that contradiction.

I think it's interesting that neoconservatives could be so cynical about the notion of Palestinian sovereignty all these years and yet so optimistic about the prospects of democracy in Iraq. All those negative things they've said about the intractable, dishonest, tribal Palestinians apply equally well to the Iraqis. Yet, somehow, they couldn't figure it out.

The one good thing about this fiasco is that I think we will be much less inclined to engage in wars for democracy in the future. Military operations in the Mideast will almost certainly have more clearly defined objectives and less idealistic goals.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

Actually, this is an interesting time to be declaring "Iraq fatigue". It's not as though that there isn't anything under the sun that's at least superficially new.

Because, in fact, there is. Ever since July 30, the CW on Iraq has changed to "the war is winnable after all", and that's based upon the O'Hanlon/Pollack article of like date in the New York Times.

Now all of the establishment beltway con commentators from Hugh Hewitt to conserva-skank Laura Ingraham to Rush Himself -- who normally posture themselves as fighting the good fight against the mainstream liberal media -- are screeching "We told you so!" on the basis of that New York Times article.

With that stray NYT article giving the establishment beltway con commentators extra juice to bolster the ego of their presidential frat boy -- who might at one time have actually been committing himself rhetorically to a soft "let's wait and see what's developed by September" deadline -- any hope that the beginning of the end might arrive in September has got to look pretty dim right now.

TabooTruth said...

I guess you really don't feel like saying anything to combat the fox-news rhetoric that

"we have to support the troops and tell them that the war can be won!"

Anyway, this is why we went to war:

“It's much easier to justify an invasion by claiming that you are deposing a dangerous dictator and bringing democracy to the oppresed Iraqi masses. When challanged on that point, you accuse your opponents of anti-Arab racism. It's a crude tactic, but it muted fully-legitimate questions about whether or not the Iraqis would even WANT to practice anything that the West would consider to be a legitimate form of representative government. In other words, the accusation of racism kept this line of questioning quiet for a time, and that's what they were after.”

Jedster said...

My comment:

To all those who simple-mindedly think of the NYT as the voice of the left: it isn't.

The tagline of that paper might as well read:

"All the sh*t that fits."

They may do a fine job of covering some things, like the arts, and sometimes even sports, but no newspaper in America has caused more blood to be spilled in Iraq than the NYT.

And now they are setting their sites on Iran.

To wit: Gordon on Iran

Meanwhile, McClatchey has been consistently excellent on Iraq and related news stories like Iran. To wit: Cheney lobbying for attack on Iran

bjdouble said...

Is there any connection between a) the lack of a draft and b) the Iraq war and c) the failure to enforce our immigration laws? What if there were a draft, would that mean that the voters would take war more seriously and also take citizenship and immigration more seriously? It's hard to think that illegal immigrants deserve amnesty when you face the draft and the illegal takes your job while your away fighting to defend the country. Ironically, the volunteer army may devalue citizenship in the eyes of citizens if citizenship entails no costs. Reinstitute the draft and immigration policy would change overnight.

dougjnn said...

The truth about the NYT on Iraq and Iran is that while they have indeed moved from being a center-liberal (left) paper to a decidedly left (but not radically so) one, they are also a heavily Jewish paper. Jewish owned and heavily Jewish edited and written. Heavily which doesn't mean entirely or even majority, in terms of the editors.

The #1 foreign policy concern of the Israeli's is to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Israel is incredibly important to many/most (not all) American Jews. This is not entirely an individual belief sort of thing. Calls are made. Personal debts are called in. Loyalties are questioned. Networks and access to them are invoked. And so on.

Yeah.

Martin said...

Our betters in Washington - all the too clever-by-half people in the government have learned nothing from Iraq. In February of this year, the DOD announced the establishment of AFRICOM - the African Command (just google "African Command" and you'll find a raft of stories on it.

Yes that's what we need. Military involvement in the middle east has worked out so well - let's get involved in deepest Africa as well. Let's take sides in one of thier endless civil-wars, supporting one group of crazy machete-wielding fiends against another.

Capital Idea!

James said...

Partition. You've already written about it, but I don't think it gets enough press. It's not a depressing idea is it? I think it's an interesting topic for discussion at the least.

Anonymous said...

i never read an article on isteve.com until a mickey kaus link 2005. i don't think too much more need have been said back then.

the real issue was basically that isteve.com was not more popular back then. if i had read isteve.com in 2002, i probably would have been against the war.

perhaps send isteve links to drudge via his submission box, that would help reduce the visibility issue.

Anonymous said...

bjdouble said...
Is there any connection between a) the lack of a draft and b) the Iraq war and c) the failure to enforce our immigration laws?

bj,

I think the illegals are intended to buck up the number of troops in the military not take the jobs of drafted Americans. Pundits back me up on this though I can't think of any names right now. Military life is very appealing to Hispanics who seem to be drawn to law enforcement type jobs anyway. Think about it. The pay is probably better than what they can get as cheap illegal laborers. Joining the military is a guaranteed path to citizenship. It can also make a young Hispanic male an instant hero type.

For the government, this population of illegals provides a potentially loyal group of conscripts who haven't been raised to care about the larger moral issues involved in waging war. They don't tend to question authority. Instituting a draft to force the American males who haven't already volunteered into military service is guaranteed to backfire. Those who haven't joined aren't likely to be pro-war. Opposition to Iraq would certainly intensify as a result.

I have no doubt Bush and his cronies are well aware that the same group of people desperate enough to work for subsistence wages are also desperate enough to join the military especially since it offers security, legalization and instant status. They also might be more loyal to the US government than to the US citizens. I can imagine a scenario where a military largely made up of new immigrants points its guns at citizens who oppose government policies like the NAU, war in Iran, etc.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

***** To all those who simple-mindedly think of the NYT as the voice of the left: it isn't.

...

...no newspaper in America has caused more blood to be spilled in Iraq than the NYT.*****

I don't understand your point at all.

Obviously, the NYT is ONE of the voices of the left.

Why is that inconsistent with their having caused blood to be spilled in Iraq?

Anonymous said...

Steve --

There were no good options on Iraq. None whatsoever. At least (much as he's a bungler) GWB did something on the notion that doing something was better than doing nothing at all (policy of the previous Presidents going back to Carter or perhaps even Nixon which got him 9/11).

We had no human intel in Iraq whatsover. NONE. The few defectors we had were either long dead (Saddam's sons-in-laws blew the whistle on his nuke factories, missiles, and bio/chem weapons which he was forbidden by the truce to have in 1993-4 I forget which, anyway Saddam lured them back with false promises of amnesty and had them shot personally) or had no more contacts.

Saddam had successfully cheated us on compliance not just with nukes (which shocked the CIA which had predicted for years he had no program) but also long-range missiles and Gerald Bull's supergun and the bio and chem weapons. Inspectors THOUGHT they got all of them but they'd been fooled completely before the Gulf War.

At any rate Saddam's basic strategy was to bribe his way out of sanctions, threaten the US out of Saudi, and then with sanctions lifted race Iran for nukes (and everything else). Things are bad in Iraq NOW, but they'd be worse with Iran and Iraq racing towards nukes, and each competing with each other to patronize AQ and any other terrorist group attacking the US. Imagine THAT world: Iran-Iraq pointing fingers at the other guy being responsible for the "Great Satan" losing 3-4 cities in nuke attacks. Iran's nuke programs are bad enough.

If Saddam were the kind of "ordinary" dictator like Franco, Pinochet, Deng, it would have been cheaper to cut a deal with him, but Saddam's long history shows no deal cut with him stuck. Any more than we can strike a "deal" with Osama, Zawahari, or Iran's Mullahs either. The only deals they make is killing you and taking all you have. That's who they are.

Our choices were to leave Saddam alone, in place, as sanctions crumbled in 2002, and confirm Osama's charge that our turnabout in 1991 proved we were afraid of Saddam and a paper tiger which could be attacked with impunity, or do something to get rid of him which meant invasion.

If anything, Iraq could be considered a highly successful model: removing a dangerous, anti-American dictator who can actually get things done, substitute endless civil war with endless struggles, stir and repeat as needed: Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. Exploit the Muslim world's Somalia-like tendencies, the desire for the Big Man instead of cooperating (under the biggest big man like Saddam who solved that problem by killing on a massive scale). Saddam was not dangerous because he was a Gen. Barre or other low-rent thug in Somalia. He was dangerous because his oil and relative stability allowed him to get dangerous weapons and patronized dangerous men like Osama and Zawahari.

Saddam had his usefulness containing the Iranians for a while, but that time had long since passed. It's regrettable we've lost soldiers, but compared to Korea or Vietnam or even Okinawa alone it's been very light. Iraq will always be a hell-hole, but it's one we control and can set up to consume enemies like the Saudis and Iranians if we play it right. Look at how the French kept the Thirty Years War going. Killed about 1/3rd of Germans. And had France the dominant power in Europe for a hundred years.

Steve Sailer said...

Rather than "race Iran for nukes," Saddam's Iraq was a shell of itself.

Here's an email from Gregory Cochran published on Jerry Pournelle's website on October 14, 2002 that turned out to be the single most accurate analysis of the Iraqi "threat."

"Come on, you take that seriously? By that argument China is harboring anti-American terrorists right now. This is all horsehit. As far as I can tell, exactly nothing new has happened in Iraq concerning nukes. Most likely they are getting steadily farther away from having a nuclear weapon.. Look, back in 1990, they surprised people with their calutrons. No normal country would have made such an effort, because calutrons - mass spectrometers - are an incredibly inefficient way of making a nuclear weapon. We know just how inefficient they are, because E. O Lawrence conned the government into blowing about a quarter of the Manhattan Project budget on a similar effort. Concentrating enough U-235 for one small fission bomb cost hundreds of millions of 1944 dollars. Probably the Japanese could have constructed new cities for less money than this approach took to blow them up. By far the cheaper way is to enrich the uranium just enough to run a reactor and then breed plutonium. The Iraqis wanted U-235, probably because it is much easier to make a device with U-235 than with plutonium. You don't have to use implosion and you don't even have to test a gun-type bomb - we didn't test the Hiroshima bomb. . I would guess that they realized their limitations - they're not exactly overflowing with good physicists and engineers - and chose an approach that they could actually have made work. Implosion is not so easy to make work. India only got their implosion bomb to work on the seventh try, back in 1974, and they have a _hell_ of a lot more technical talent than Iraq.

"Anyhow, Iraq doesn't have the money to do it anymore (1). The total money going into his government is what, a fifth of what it used to be? ( Jeez, quite a bit less than that, when you look carefully) Big non-private organizations tend to gradually slide towards zero output when the money merely stays the same: cut and they fire the worker bees and keep a few Powerpoint specialists. There is no reason to think that Arabs are immune to that kind of logic of bureaucracy. On the contrary. Not only are they not making any nuclear progress, they're probably making regress.

"At best, if we hadn't interrupted them back in the Gulf War, they would have eventually had a couple. I doubt if it they even would have been an effective deterrent. It's hard to make classic deterence work when you have one or two bombs and the other guy has thousands, when he can hit you and you can't hit him.

"He would cause himself practical trouble by harboring anti-US terrorists. If they ever made a significant hit on the US, he'd be in deep shit. What would he get out of it? And I am supposed to think that he fears terrorist groups more than he fears a Trident boat?? He should appease _them_, rather than us? Look, if we really got mad, we could turn him and his entire nation into something that was no longer human. Kill them too, of course, but that's too easy.

"This particular argument is nonsense,, even if he had a little deterrent. as are all the ones that I have seen floated by the Administration or by their hangers on and flacks. It's not as crazy as the idea that we're going to democratize Iraq, or Iraq and then the entire Arab world - that's about as crazy as a human can get - but it makes no sense. Anyone with a brain knows, for example, that the last thing Israel wants is democratic Arab states, because they"d be _more_ hostile than the existing governments, and possibly stronger. . People like Mubarak understand that they can't beat the IDF, and also understand who makes the deposits in their Swiss accounts: a new popular government might not. And a popular government might have some enthusiasm to draw on - Iran did, at first, after the fall of the Shah - whereas in places like Syria or Iraq > 70% of the population hates the government.

"I know why Wolfowitz wants this, and why Bill Kristol wants this. I know that most Americans have decided that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9-11, because what else would explain the Administration's desire to attack? And so they support an attack, which would make every kind of sense if Iraq _had_ been behind 9-11 Except that everyone knows that they didn't have anything to do with it. The problem is, I don't understand, even slightly, why Bush and Cheney want this.

"Gregory Cochran

"P.S. Almost all the oil sales ( other than truck smuggling) go through the UN. ^8% of that revenue is available for buying _approved_ imports. Mainly food and other hings that we approve of. The Us has a veto on such purchases. The total amount available for those approved purchases was something like 7 billion last year. Saddam is getting under-the-table payments of something like 20 cents a barrel from some or for all I know all of the buyers: but how much cash is that? we're talking something like 1 or 2 %" no more than 100 million a year. Sheesh. Probably the truck smuggling accounts for more. Hmm.. That might be as much as a billion. Not much cash to run a government. . It's a little hard to for me to see how he manages to keep the show on the road at all."

the wily marmot said...

To all those who simple-mindedly think of the NYT as the voice of the left: it isn't.
(...)

...no newspaper in America has caused more blood to be spilled in Iraq than the NYT.

As everyone knows, leftists NEVER cause any blood to be spilled.

Anonymous said...

Ron --

Hillary ain't going anywhere. No one likes weakness or surrender, no matter what the folks like Mellencamp say. [On the Colbert Report, John Cougar Mellencamp opined that the proper pacifist response to 9/11 was to do nothing because it was "more manly." Even Colbert called him a weenie.] Bush's approval rating is around 35%, and around 24% on Iraq. Congress is around 14% and only 3% on Iraq.

GWB a lazy, uncommunicative President with too many cronies and failures too many to mention? Sure. But even he beats "safe word" Nancy Pelosi (Palomino! Palomino!) and Harry Reid. Any Rep with a plan to deter attacks by displaying strength will beat "nukes are off the table" Obama-the-Messiah and his world apology tour, or flip-flopping Shrillary.

Anon -- The idea of a military in Europe is laughable. It doesn't exist. The Belgian Coast guard has more ships than the British Royal Surrender Navy, the British Army has been beaten in Southern Iraq and is losing in Afghanistan. Sweden has ONE COMPANY in it's entire Army. Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany have no real militaries to speak of and could not even deal with Bosnia. The Dutch military is so cowardly and inept they are being sued in the Hague by survivors of Srebenica. Even low-rent Serbian paramilitary thugs could intimidate them into surrender and doing nothing in face of the massacres. Europe has free-ridden on US defense for so long they can't do anything even on their doorstep. France and UNFIL can't do anything in Lebanon against Hezbollah.

Progressive trans-national elites have made Europe so anti-national that no one believes in their country much less is willing to fight for it and certainly not die for it. Absent US defense the only thing Europe can do is surrender when neighboring Muslim nations invade (which they will, weak and rich next to strong and poor is never a happy combination).

Is the Iraq War "being won?" Yes. Not noble purple fingered Iraqis turning the place into Switzerland. But AQI being destroyed (that means, killed) and means to establish US influence, power, patronage, and operations next to our Iranian enemy? Sure.

Bottom line: AQ picked a fight with us in Iraq, we are winning that fight, and it's vital we win and be seen to win. Iraq can remain a sectarian hell-hole for the foreseable future and as long as we kill/destroy AQI we have valuable allies who speak/know the area. Have family ties across into Iran. And so forth.

As insightful as Steve is in other areas here I see a massive failure: not appreciating the real danger of the Post-Cold-War world where oceans don't protect us, expecting the perfect instead of "good enough" and the need to use force to deter attacks. Steve seems to think the US can simply retreat to it's good neighborhood and be safe. Given that it worked so well before. Me, I prefer action even if it's messy to waiting for the next "home invasion."

Anon 8:46: The military is not made up of "desperate" people, particularly the Marines who STILL have no recruiting problems. They are made up of working-middle class people who want something where they can advance. Where Affirmative Action counts less than action that's successful. I know it's a pain to share political power with ordinary men without Ivy League educations who risk their lives on our behalf. You'd find that rhetoric on Daily Kos along with obvious class hatred for us "lower classes." Too bad all Officers have degrees, many advanced ones, and so too do many enlisted men. Too bad the Armed Forces take people who are smarter than the general population.

The PC-Multi-culti, socially aspirant, fake-rebellion set, status obsessed yuppies are of course going to be completely against the military as an institution, along with ANY War, since it means less power (social, political, and cultural) for them and more power for the men actually, fighting.

It explains WHY the Peace Movement is made up almost 100% of rich white middle aged women (they lose the most power) and WHY the anti-War people either consider the military dumb, brutal war criminals or stupid, lower-class victims. They'll even make stuff up to prove it (TNR's Beauchamp).

mepo said...

The Bush Administration played the NYT really effectively in the ramp up to the war. I expect they're just repeating the trick. The fact that the NYT is widely thought of as a left-leaning newspaper just makes the stories in it more effective when they're supporting Bush.

The thing is, the Iraq stories in the MSM for the last month or so have been transparent bullshit. Suddenly, instead of ethnic/religious factions murdering one another and shooting at the Americans for fun, all attacks were attributed to Al Qaida in Iraq. We got some happy horseshit about how the surge is succeeding, with justifications for why that won't stand up to even a few minutes' thought.

Bush and company are really good at playing the media, especially post-9/11. I'm not sure how they got so good at it--is this related to the massive use of wiretapping, or having favors to call in as a result of getting people embedded in the most interesting places, or post-9/11 misguided patriotism from journalists, or what?

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

***** Bush and company are really good at playing the media, especially post-9/11.*****


Bush and company couldn't organize a beer run, let alone an ingenious conspiracy to "play" the news media.

You might as well suggest that Mike Tyson with roid rage and wearing boxing gloves could thread a needle as to suggest that this administration is capable of anything requiring finesse.

The mainstream news media ranges -- as everyone knows -- from liberal to ultra-liberal, and the people who make up the mainstream news media despise Bush and his administration for their own reasons.

But they are ambivalent about the war. They recoil instinctively from approval of anything that the adminisration does and from the approval of the exercise of military force for ANY reason.

But they harbor a reluctant approval for the futile attempt to impose democracy in the Middle East, which the administration has stated as its goal.

It is this paralysis resulting from the news media's general dislike of Bush and reluctant approval of his objectives that Bush and company benefit from.

gcochran said...

to that last anonymous: if someone's detailed predictions come true, that means that he understands the situation.

Mine did. I understand. You, on the other hand, are just another God-damned fool.

SN said...

Anon 9:34's comment is interesting for showing how the neocon justification for the war has shifted towards chaos for its own sake. I guess I can see why Israelis might think that destroying all the Arab states is a good idea; because a stable state can project conventional military force, whereas a stateless region can only project terrorism. OTOH a State is deterrable through the threat of retaliation, non-State actors like Al Qaeda are not.

Overall, I think the big problem here is that Jewish neocons are living in the past, thinking that it's still 1973 and the big threat is Arab tanks rolling through Tel Aviv. I'm starting to wonder if this over-concern with past threats is a particularly Jewish phenomenon, it would explain their continued hostility to slavic Russia (and Serbia) and in the USA their concern with the threat of WASP anti-Semitism and support of mass Hispanic and other non-European immigration.

My impression is that most cultures are able to adapt relatively quickly to changing environment and changing threats - eg in a few decades WASP Americans went from seeing Britain as their great threat/enemy to seeing Britain as a loyal ally. The French went from seeing America as a beloved ally to threatening hegemon; and so on.

Does the historical rootedness of Jewish culture, that in other ways is a great strength, somehow preclude this rapid adaptation to a changing environment?

-SN

SN said...

anon 9:59:
"Absent US defense the only thing Europe can do is surrender when neighboring Muslim nations invade (which they will, weak and rich next to strong and poor is never a happy combination)."

There will probably be no conventional invasion of Europe by Muslim nations. Islam is already taking over Europe through immigration, and the Euro-elites are actively seeking the annihilation of their own civilisation, in accordance with the dictates of cultural Marxism.

SN

Anonymous said...

Actually, AFRICOM has been around for at a dozen years as ACRI, the African Crisis Response Initiative, established somewhere around 1995. Its goal was to use US Special Forces to train African militaries to respond to African crises. I observed the training in Uganda. As usual, the training was excellent and accompanied by a really nice humanitarian effort, but the point is, the US military has been in Africa for a long time.

Bill said...

There are so many reasons invading Iraq was a bad idea, but we really do need a secure source of oil to maintain global hegemony, no?

I'm not defending the invasion (I protested it personally), but there is some logic there. I am pretty much resigned to the fact that our troops will be there until our army is routed. Unfortunately, I think it will eventually come to that.

Capt Dan said...

The problem with a question like: are we winning?, begs the question: winning what? The stated aims in invasion were patently false to any serious observer. I can tell you from first hand experience that militarily we are doing much better, and we have turned a corner against the IED threat (although EFP shaped charges are a new problem we have no counter to). But as in Basra or Fallujah, as soon as you wipe out the bad guys and then declare victory, more bad guys will show up as soon as you step away. The problem is that the people themselves are the bad guys. The Shiites are a case in point. Basra was hailed as a success, but now the British are hiding in their palace compound as Shiite militias battle each other over control of the oil receipts.

There is no trust between unrelated groups, or outside of tight organizations like gangs, Taq Firi, Al Qaeda, etc. Whoever controls the ground controls the oil, and whoever that is cannot be counted on to share that wealth. The Shiites are sitting on the good real estate, so you can expect some serious violence once we leave. Its pretty serious right now, Shiites account for almost three fourths of the attacks on coalition forces. They are now our most serious enemy. Recognizing their relative weakness, perhaps cutting a deal with the Sunnis against the Shiites may not be a bad idea after all.

Either way you slice it, the vortex of violence in Iraq will only get worse.

RobertHume said...

Robert Pape (Dying to Win) has well-argued that terrorism is a response to occupation of your country by a foreign army of a different religion.

Had the Israeli-Palestinian settlements problem been settled there would never have been an Iraq war which, of course, aggravated the occupation problems.

If we would just get out of the Middle East (except for settling the Israeli-Palestinian problem) terrorist recruitment would dry up and we would get the oil, no matter who owned it, at market price.

Anonymous said...

perhaps send isteve links to drudge via his submission box, that would help reduce the visibility issue.

I am glad you and others like you have found isteve.com and ostensibly vdare.com etc. But I must question your reading comprehension. Asking Drudge to link to these sites is 100% naive.

Sailer, Brimelow et al have many casual enemies. But their most dedicated lifelong enemies are neocon subversives like Matt Drudge. Drudge carries water for the Bush administration. On the crucial immigration issue, which is a proxy for the National Question, he is a professional sandbagger.

Get it straight: Matt Drudge's answer to the National Question is for the US population to be racially atomized. Divide & Conquer. And it is anti-white, anti-Christian animus that ultimately motivates him and about 80% of the rest of his Tribe. Simple as that.

Wake up already.

Svigor said...

Anon 9:34's comment is interesting for showing how the neocon justification for the war has shifted towards chaos for its own sake.

Funny thing is, this was all I could really ever come up with as a plausible explanation for Iraq Attaq Deux, back in 2002-2003. I never could come up with anything better.

A combination of interests - Israel-firsters, Defense, Imperialists - set us to war, for different reasons. The Israel-firsters seemed to be the active ingredient, and my guess was that they figured it for a win-win. A U.S. victory would by definition result in a regime acceptable to Israel; a U.S. defeat would result in a quagmire, guaranteeing a long-term U.S. presence in the region.

What's not to like?

Defense and Imperialists signed on because that's what they do, and they knew the Israel-firsters would handle the press.

P.S., I love how so many people who actually spend time following current events and politics seem to think the government is still the first estate, and the press is still the fourth (or third, or second). That's so...quaint. In fact they're the second and first estates, respectively.

The Hollywood/Madison Ave complex is the world's most powerful (meta)entity folks.

Even sharp observers like Raimondo don't seem to get this (his recent piece on the captive press was all wrong).

Svigor said...

There are so many reasons invading Iraq was a bad idea, but we really do need a secure source of oil to maintain global hegemony, no?

What are they going to do with their oil? Mix it with sand and stir-fry it?

Iraq was a big man/elite minority ruled state - a remarkably stable one, given how Saddam held on through the grief we gave him after Iraq Attaq. If the big man gives you trouble over the oil flow, you bump him off and deal with the next big man. If he gives you trouble? You get the idea.

Josh said...

I wonder why nobody brings up Marc Rich? Marc invented the Iraqi black-market oil business and made billions. He was indicted for tax fraud and fled. The PM of Israel---the fat one with the speech impediment(anyone? anyone?)--called Clinton and ordered him to pardon Rich. (Yup,the fat little toad ORDERED our Prez)Bill became the "Incredible Shrinking President" after that,and a few idiots even tried to float the story that he did it to get into the panties of Rich's ex-wife,the songwriter. Now Rich's lawyer and pal was none other than Scooter Libby! I also have read of the incredible "incompetence" of the Clintons in catching Osama.They say he was being held in Sudan,or had been fingered in some hideaway,all we had to do was take him. Clinton never did,in fact he fought hard against those who wanted to take him. Now you dont supose Clinton was "ordered' not to grab him? I do. And of course the "rockstar" senatress,who could have galvanized an anti-war movement(like John Lennon was feared of doing)meekly voted "Yes",w/o even bothering to inform herself of the available info.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10, 8:59pm, I see you extrapolated an insult for all military personnel from my comment about illegals gaining a pathway to citizenship through military service. That's not what I said. It's well known there's a shortage of troops. The people who support the war are in the war.

Bush and Rice have intimated they'd like to invade Iran as well, with what army? My comments about Hispanic illegals being a source of potential recruits is not off base, nor is it an insult towards men and women who have decided to serve in Iraq. Unfortunately, joining the military leaves you at the mercy of a president whose motives for risking the lives of American citizens are related to some overweening strategy to gain control in the Middle East (or destabilize the Middle East) that has nothing to do with saving American lives.

A draft would only polarize opposition to the war that has largely been meek in the face of Bush's blatant attempts to drag us into a state of permanent war in the Middle East. The way to get around the political opposition is the same as the way businesses have gotten around our labor laws and unions - recruit illegals for the soldier jobs the rest of America won't do.

I see nothing womanish or Marxist about not wanting to bomb a group of innocent civilians into oblivion when we don't have a very good, very specific reason for waging war with a particular country that has ALREADY attacked us. Whatever our intentions in Iraq, the end result looks a lot like genocide.

Martin said...

"Is the Iraq War "being won?" Yes."
Bottom line: AQ picked a fight with us in Iraq, we are winning that fight, and it's vital we win and be seen to win. Iraq can remain a sectarian hell-hole for the foreseable future and as long as we kill/destroy AQI we have valuable allies who speak/know the area. Have family ties across into Iran. And so forth.

As insightful as Steve is in other areas here I see a massive failure: not appreciating the real danger of the Post-Cold-War world where oceans don't protect us, expecting the perfect instead of "good enough" and the need to use force to deter attacks. Steve seems to think the US can simply retreat to it's good neighborhood and be safe. Given that it worked so well before. Me, I prefer action even if it's messy to waiting for the next "home invasion."

Someone going by the name "Anonymous" has uttered a great deal of drivel here, enough to be taken for - in gcochrans' accurate assessment - a goddamn fool.

We are winning a war in Iraq? How so. The administration that is waging the war won't even call it a war, and can't give a definition of what will constitute victory.

And we are only subject to the predations of Al Quaeda because - and let me spell this out for you, in case you're especially dim - becuase WE LET THEM COME HERE. We grant them visas, and welcome them (i.e. young muslim, particularly arab, men) to our shores. We could stop any such threat from one day to the next, if we only had the will for self-preservation that God has granted every lower animal.

Martin said...

"Actually, AFRICOM has been around for at a dozen years as ACRI, the African Crisis Response Initiative, established somewhere around 1995. Its goal was to use US Special Forces to train African militaries to respond to African crises. I observed the training in Uganda. As usual, the training was excellent and accompanied by a really nice humanitarian effort, but the point is, the US military has been in Africa for a long time.

By Anonymous, at 8/11/2007 2:52 AM"

The point is that messing around in Arfica is a really bad idea, and that formalizing our meddling there with the creation of a separate military command is a further bad idea.

You - who apparently have never met a foreign military intervention that you don't like - would not understand that

Steve Setzer said...

Bill:

We have a secure source of oil, whether we seek world hegemony or not. We have Alaska, Texas, other continental states, the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Coast. We also have shale in the Rocky Mountains.

Canada has tar sands as well as oil wells, and Mexico has plenty of oil. Both are stable, friendly countries who are happy to sell to us, with very few murderous fanatics.

And in the final analysis, if we have money, we have a stable supply of oil. Oil is fungible, and traded on a worldwide open market. If Iraq sells to, say, China, we can buy more oil from Indonesia that would otherwise have gone to China.

Howard said...

Greg Cochran,

Your estimates on the difficulty/cost of Saddam-era Iraq acquiring nukes ignored a seemingly cheaper and easier alternative: wouldn't $100 million+ in oil money be enough for Saddam to have acquired nukes or nuke components from someone else? Perhaps North Korea, or one of the former Soviet states? Considering how loudly North Korea cried about the relatively small amount of hard currency frozen at Macao's Banco Delta Asia (~$10 million?) it doesn't seem unrealistic to think they could have provided crucial nuke assistance for a similarly affordable price. Smuggling nuke material or components to Iraq would have been a challenge, but probably not an insurmountable one.

Also, I take this statement of yours

"I know why Wolfowitz wants this, and why Bill Kristol wants this."

as an insinuation that Wolfowitz and Kristol wanted Saddam deposed and democracy established in Iraq because, as Jews, they were looking out for Israel's interests first. Assuming for the moment this is true, how do you reconcile this with your previous statement?:

"Anyone with a brain knows, for example, that the last thing Israel wants is democratic Arab states, because they"d be _more_ hostile than the existing governments, and possibly stronger..."

Kristol and Wolfowitz both have Ivy League Ph.D.s, so they would seem to have brains. How could they have been acting in Israel's interests by advocating something (establishing democracy in Iraq) that "anyone with a brain" knows is against Israel's interests?

Anonymous said...

There will probably be no conventional invasion of Europe by Muslim nations.

This is accurate barring a meltdown that leaves the territory a complete wasteland.

The reasons are structural. Islamic societies so far have not been able to produce a conventional military where authority is delegated and dispersed. This translates into non-creative commanders on the ground with little motivation to seize the initiative.

Also, conventional military Muslim soldiers have proven slightly less willing to die for their nation state. They are mostly clannish people. National patriotism is not a good motivator.

On the other hand, the unconventional Muslim soldier (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah) is formidable in his sense of purpose.

So, a conventional military Islamic invasion of Europe is unlikely to be successful unless it's done by a pan-Islamic army entering a complete vacuum. But, as in described in Lawrence of Arabia, they tend to squabble amongst themselves and thereby miss a chance at greatness.

And as far as writing off currently pacifist Europe as being a doormat for Islamic invasion: this reminds of amateur stock market investor psychology. Which is a mentality that becomes lulled into a sense of permanent status quo. When actually, just as the virulent European pacifist movement rose from the disappointments of war, a virulent war movement is likely to arise from disappointments of peace i.e. Islamic demographic invasion.

There is the possibility that the current environment is setting the stage for the rise of the most vicious and extreme European warriors yet.

Howard said...

"The Hollywood/Madison Ave complex is the world's most powerful (meta)entity folks."

Who exactly in Hollywood or on Madison Avenue (other than Charlotte Beers, perhaps) is in favor of the Iraq War? Hollywood is full of antiwar Democrats, if you haven't noticed. The advertising industry is less overtly political (since expressing their own political opinions can alienate potential clients), but I haven't heard of much pro-war jingoism coming out of there either.

gcochran said...

I don't think nukes are for sale for that kind of money: it could get the seller in trouble, by which I mean extremely dead.
If they were for sale for 100 million, I can think of a number of countries that would have already bought them. Hasn't happened.

Today I'm not so sure about Wolfowitz's motives: I now suspect he's a different kind of fool than I thought back then. An Arab girlfriend may have had something to do with it.

Invading Iraq looks to have a long-term unfavorable outcome for most of the people who supported it: unfavorable to their causes, with any luck unfavorable to them personally. Were they smart?
I would say that they made wrong decisions - wrong considering the causes they wished to advance - in many cases because they weren't smart, in large part because they were profoundly ignorant of history, and most of all, because they were susceptible to the madness of crowds.

bbroadside said...

In response to the assertion of anonymous 8/10/2007 9:59 PM:

"The Belgian Coast guard has more ships than the British Royal Surrender [?] Navy"

The entire Belgian navy is 13 vessels (all but four for MCM). A single class of UK Frigates has 17 vessels (to say nothing of their carriers, subs, destroyers, or amphibious warfare vessel).

"Sweden has ONE COMPANY in it's [sic] entire Army."

Sweden's army includes three armored regiments, operating various versions of the German Leopard MBT with 120mm smoothbores, laser rangefinding, composite armor, etc. This is in addition to about 40,000 Home Guard troops.

"Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany have no real militaries to speak of"

Both Italy's and Spain's carriers operate Harriers, as does the RN. Belgium is home to FN, Germany, to Walther, Sauer, Mauser, and maybe you've heard of Heckler & Koch? I don't know much about Greece but Improved HAWK, MP5, Patton, Leopard, MILAN ... sounds okay to me.

As to whether or not they could "remilitarize" in 20 years, I don't know for sure.

Anonymous said...

Martin--you seem to mistake statements of fact for statements of support. The facts are: 1)the US military has been in Africa for a long time now, 2) the training they offer is almost always excellent, and 3) the military almost always includes some kind of humanitarian component along with its training.

I'm a conservative and would happily shut down half or more of the US government if I could, but I've also spent most of my career in third-world hellholes, including five years in Africa, and I can tell you there is a big, messy, hostile world out there. It wouldn't make much difference, I suppose, except that they control much of the world's oil, and seem mostly unable to control the criminality (drugs, trafficking in persons, terrorism, etc.)that is an increasing part of the international scene. In the long run, any little thing we can do (and we do little enough) to provide some stability to a nutso and unstable world is to our benefit.

Martin said...

To anonymous (one of them anyway):

I don't think we buy stability by getting involved in unstable areas. We set up a complex of military bases in Saudi Arabia in the 80's, and ended up pissing off some of their people such as Osama bin Laden. We may have had good geo-strategic reasons for doing so at the time. But it seems that good geo-strategic reasons often become, and very quickly, bad geo-strategic reasons.

Also that particular alliance with the house of Saud was never discussed publicly, nor to my knowledge voted on by the Senate.

In the case of Africa, I see no benefit to us to even having diplomatic relations with most of those countries. And military involvement in the third-world leads to one thing - streams of refugees bound for our shores. Do we really want to import former teenage soldiers from the endless civil wars in places like Sierra Leone and the Congo?

Our diplomatic and military leaders are not nearly as bright as they think. They cannot control the situations they blunder into. We would be better off if they stopped playing the great game of empire.

tommy said...

Both Italy's and Spain's carriers operate Harriers, as does the RN. Belgium is home to FN, Germany, to Walther, Sauer, Mauser, and maybe you've heard of Heckler & Koch? I don't know much about Greece but Improved HAWK, MP5, Patton, Leopard, MILAN ... sounds okay to me.

Gun companies aren't militaries. Having Smith and Wesson isn't the same as having the Marines.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime was a necessary and overdue act of geopolitical hygiene, but sticking around in a quixotic long-term occupation was a stupid idea. It was necessary to get rid of Saddam because there would have been no credible way to attempt to enforce non-proliferation of WMD with other countries through diplomatic means if we let a tin horn dictator go about his business after violating 16 UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly as Saddam was in the process of bribing his way out of the sanctions regime.

That said, there was a better way to do this. Once Baghdad fell, we should have called on the U.N. to immediately schedule Iraqi elections for a provisional government. Those elections should have been held within a couple months of the fall of Baghdad, and we should have left within a couple months of that. Iraq today would still be a battleground for the Shias and Sunnis of the Muslim world to kill each other, but it would have cost us a lot less in blood and treasure to get there.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen --

I've read above a comment that Jews suffer from a nostalgic interpretation of current events. That may well be true -- or it may simply be due to the prevalence of group survival strategies that Kevin MacDonald has elucidated among them.

One thing that strikes me, however, is the prevalence of nostalgic, 19th century thinking among you towards the Middle East and Arabs. Even Svigor -- whose realism and insights I respect -- takes the same attitude: place a Big Man that'll do our bidding, and if he goes astray replace him.

Has it ever occurred to you that the primary reason the ME has turned into the present day hell hole because of this arrogant, simplistic understanding of sociology? It seems you have figured out the critical element called "race" -- along with all its implications -- in the structure and functioning of societies, but somehow you stop utilizing this insight when you go beyond Greece.

Could it be, for instance, that your ancestors -- when they were greasy barbarians and bullies up north as Rome ruled the worlds -- improved simply because their isolation helped them stabilize as the bullies kept killing each other and gradually left the stage to the meeker and more cooperative ones? Could it be that this is how strict cousin marriages was replaced by wider and wider pools of procreation so that nationalism as the infrastructure of a stable society and culture emerged?

Maybe the primary reason Arabs have failed to stabilize is your constant meddling in the ME according to plans plotted by the CIA rather than conservatives like Sailer or conservative sociologists like Nisbett. Maybe the "plant a subservient Big Man, replace if he breaks the strings attached" idea is one of the reasons why they won't stabilize -- because puppet Big Men are generally not interested in creating stable societies that'll outlast them.

And then, when the liberal left says "it's all because of oil," you call them "liberal fools" and some such. Well, heck, it's pretty much that: oil. Why else would it be ANY OF US's BUSINESS when Saddam entered Kuwait? Why else would it be anybody else's business whether there are Big Men planted who does your bidding?

And then, you turn around and keep quoting the conventional wisdom that has been common currency since the 19th century -- the time of Brits -- that Arabs are fuck ups who richly deserve being messed with. So, they are unstable, so you're there to provide stability, by planting your men so that they, well, never stabilize so that oil is as cheap as you won't because you can't let such unstable people control oil. Nice logic. Have you ever used this on your girlfriends? It should work like a charm. You can have a steady flow of blowjobs, and if doesn't work, you can beat the hell out of them and claim that they are irrational.

Must feel good to have put one's Big Man ancestors behind one's back way back in the past. Must feel good to pretend that you, as a race, have descended from heaven in perfection while you despise others for not being "smart" enough to have gone through your ancestors' stabilization process as early.

Ah, the manichean game of survival: with your kin, morals, law and order applies; outside your tribe, any Machiavellian, tortured, twisted, schizoid logic goes.

Oh, but I know, you're too busy moving from decade to decade (70s, 80s, 90s, etc.) with all the conspicuous consumption and self-destruction that entails, to be patient enough for the "Arab sociological stabilization processes" to kick in. You've got to have your cheap oil fix, and you've got to have it now.

One fact: Back around 1910, when whites constituted about 65% of the world population, the total Muslim population was 150 million. Note that this includes crowded places like Indonesia, as well. Enter the brilliant British imperialist plans to "keep the bastards at each others' throats." As you say, stir and repeat as necessary -- nice touch, that one; gives you such an air of confidence.

Year 2000, and the Muslim population is 1.25 billion. And, lo and behold, the West is bleeding trillions to deal with "War on Terror" and some such. I tell you, when it comes to civilizations, there's no screw up like a cocky, arrogant, successful screw up. Nice job, guys.

The plan is a success story, so keep using it. It obviously caters to your testosterone levels,f or one. Never miss any opportunity to quote it on blogs -- the "to-hell-with-them hawk" posture will surely get you dozens of girls. Such verve and bravado.

It feels good to be part of the winning team, doesn't it? Even if the plan doesn't work and we lose another century, at least you feel so much more manly when you construct such "more-realistic-than-thou" statements. If Americans cannot bottle up and sell conservatism in these tiresome phrases, who else can?

BTW A simpler and cheaper way is to nuke the bastards. Wholesale. And be done with it. If only they were all in once place, right?

Enough with the phoney peace that ended all peace.


JD

Yes, submissions please on why Arabs cannot ever stabilize, and why you're morally justified in messing up the rest of the world! 500 words maximum.

SN said...

gcochran:
"Today I'm not so sure about Wolfowitz's motives: I now suspect he's a different kind of fool than I thought back then. An Arab girlfriend may have had something to do with it. "

My impression is that neocons genuinely believe(d) that Muslim Arabs have the same potential for liberal democracy as Jewish Israelis, but were held back from this by dictatorial regimes. Israelis of both right and left seem to persist in an incredibly rose-tinted view of their enemies, that they are at root 'just like us'. This is held to as an article of faith in the face of all contrary evidence. I'm reminded of Ehud Barak offering Yasser Arafat everything he said he wanted re a Palestinian State, and being gobsmacked when Arafat turned him down flat. Arafat knew that accepting *any* deal would sign his death warrant with his own people.

I just wish the Israeli leadership class (including the neocons) would read isteve and think about the implications of cousin marriage and 30-point IQ gaps, among other factors. If they could accept that the Muslim Arabs are fundamentally *not* like them in most important respects they might finally start to put together a viable strategy for national survival. - SN

SN said...

anon/JD 2:46:

I agree that the our-Big-Man strategy is a poor one. Smart analysts suggest not messing with the ME at all; a defensive separate-and-contain strategy.
Work (at a distance) with *their* leaders who've risen without our help and thus have political legitimacy, but don't keep stirring the pot. - SN

SN said...

"If they could accept that the Muslim Arabs are fundamentally *not* like them in most important respects they might finally start to put together a viable strategy for national survival. - SN"

Incidentally I think Ariel Sharon might have been starting to do just that before his stroke. He certainly seemed to be going for a 'separate and contain' strategy, rather than the leftist fantasies of peaceful integration and the neocon-Likud fantasies of democratic transformation through violence - SN

Svigor said...

Howard, I might be inclined to belabor the obvious at some other time.

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime was a necessary and overdue act of geopolitical hygiene, but sticking around in a quixotic long-term occupation was a stupid idea. It was necessary to get rid of Saddam because there would have been no credible way to attempt to enforce non-proliferation of WMD with other countries through diplomatic means if we let a tin horn dictator go about his business after violating 16 UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly as Saddam was in the process of bribing his way out of the sanctions regime.

By that metric, shouldn't we have invaded Israel long ago?

One thing that strikes me, however, is the prevalence of nostalgic, 19th century thinking among you towards the Middle East and Arabs. Even Svigor -- whose realism and insights I respect -- takes the same attitude: place a Big Man that'll do our bidding, and if he goes astray replace him.

I never suggested placing a big man, I suggested bumping the existing one off if he gets so bad he's threatening the flow of oil. In other words, the minimum amount of interference possible to position ourselves as a large (if far-off) part of the forces of nature (i.e., selection).

But this is academic in a way, because it's almost impossible for this kind of intervention to actually become necessary (only thing I can think of is psychosis); what are they going to do with their oil? They don't need it, and more capable peoples do.

Svigor said...

As for why Arabs "can't," I've never really understood this kind of discussion. Seems the fundamental questions are flawed.

It makes no sense to assume everyone's the same, and then work backwards looking for explanations for why Qatar has never put a man on the Moon.

Western levels of civilization seem to be the exception, not the rule. Those groups capable (i.e., equipped AND inclined) will do something similar; those who aren't, will do something else. It is enough for a people to see that something's possible. That's about as much help as anyone needs.

Not saying there's no interference by the west in the ME (obviously), or that it has no effect; just saying that there's a lot of truth to the saying "it's hard to keep a good man down."

As for being on the "winning" side, you must be joking. Sell that to someone else. We've got lots of brass on the Titanic; yay. At least the ME hasn't been persuaded into racial suicide.

jody said...

eh, if they needed, germany could remilitarize in 10 years with better technology in almost every area than the US.

the US knows that, which is why it buys, licenses, or just plain takes lots of war technology from europe.

Anonymous said...

Martin, I've served in both the Army (artillery) and the Foreign Service, and I fully agree with you--we're not as bright as we think. But I've also had enough experience all over the world to know that we're about as good as it gets, both morally and professionaly.

I admit we've made lots of mistakes, but who do you know who wouldn't have? History pretty much teaches that the winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes. I hope that's us, but wouldn't guarantee it.

But, the fact remains that the world is an increasingly nasty place. Going home and hiding under the blankets won't change that. If you got the answers, the Foreign Service exam is offered regularly. Join up and show us how to do it right.

bbroadside said...

tommy wrote: "Gun companies aren't militaries. Having Smith and Wesson isn't the same as having the Marines."

Well, I didn't feel like I had space to write a complete yearbook on the status of European armed forces. A visit to Hazegray or wherever would shed light on whether or not these countries have "real militaries to speak of".

Part of the question, of course, was not about the status quo but about the future. Gun companies, along with makers of sonar, tracked vehicles, aerospace, etc., do provide the basis for building a military.

The other important ingredient, the human element, is harder to find hard facts on so I glossed over it. There are several European countries getting combat experience in the Iraq and Afganistan. Politics will determine if the EU countries choose to strengthen their militaries, but if they choose to do so I see no reason why they couldn't be comparable in strength to the US in a decade or so. If attacks from anti-Western forces increase, and if the pro-defense politicians play their cards right, my guess is that Edward's prediction will come true.

SN said...

There's no real chance that any European nations other than France and Britain will ever again have serious militaries, IMO. The nations themselves will soon cease to exist in all but name. Fantasises about a remilitarised (eg) Germany are just fantasies. The nations of Europe, including Britain, and probably France, are in a deathly kind of paralysis, awaiting their demise.

- SN

Brian said...

Please don't try to say Israel didn't want the Iraq war. Yes, the neocons and Israel are independent actors, to some degree, but Israel wanted the Iraq war.

Quick review of the history:

Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’

Anonymous said...

"By that metric, shouldn't we have invaded Israel long ago?"

Which UN Security Council Resolutions is Israel in violation of?

Mark Seecof said...

Here we go again:

The US Air Force thinks it can rule the Middle East from the sky, with precious little help on the ground.

I remember reading David Fromkin's explanation, in A Peace To End All Peace, of Winston Churchill's scheme to dominate much of the Middle East using airpower. Churchill actually got aerodromes built in a chain from the Med to Central Asia but things did not work out as he had intended.

There's nothing profound in this observation. I think it just shows how Iraq has fatigued everyone to the point where they even repeat famous mistakes since they can't come up with any new ideas.

Anonymous said...

JD: Yes, submissions please on why Arabs cannot ever stabilize, and why you're morally justified in messing up the rest of the world! 500 words maximum.

You're using the word "Arabs" when you mean to say "Muslims".

There are plenty of Arab Jews, Arab Christians, Arab Animists, Arab Zoroastrians, etc etc etc, who don't pose any problem whatsoever.

Indeed, the old Arab Christian community of Lebanon produced a society which enjoyed a remarkably vibrant intellectual life [Michael Atiyah, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, etc].

David said...

bjdouble says:

"Reinstitute the draft and immigration policy would change overnight."

Promises, promises.

David said...

Anon. 8/13/2007 12:21 PM asks:

"Which UN Security Council Resolutions is Israel in violation of?"

Some people don't read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Israel

Muslims read:
http://www.muslimedia.com/ARCHIVES/special-edition/terrorism50/unresolu.htm

More (open each year and scroll through):
http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/vGARes!OpenView&Start=1&Count=150&Collapse=1#1

People who read tend to dislike arrogant ignoramuses who don't. Just saying. Do you want to p*** off 1 billion Muslims who are not living in your insulated fantasy politics?

For balance, here is a statement from Israel's shills:
http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief2-7.htm

Anonymous said...

The only UN Security Council resolutions which are legally binding are the Chapter VII resolutions -- not the "condemns", "deplores", etc. resolutions. Those are the ones relevant to enforcing a non-proliferation regime. This is the Iraq was in violation of 16 of these Chapter VII resolutions. This is the 'metric' Svigor claimed applied to Israel as well. So which Chapter VII resolutions is Israel in violation of?

Yeah, I know this may require a little more than simply cutting and pasting a page out of Wikipedia, but it wouldn't hurt you to do your homework before pontificating next time.

Anonymous said...

Let me put some of this hand-wringing about Iraq in perspective: this has been a relatively cheap (yes!) war for us so far, and we are accomplishing a number of useful things with it. At about $100 billion per year, the war is costing us less than 1% of our annual $13 trillion economy. Most of this money is going in the pockets of U.S. troops, who are the best paid troops in American history (this will have some interesting economic, social, and political consequences in the near future). Casualties have also been extraordinarily low, by historic standards.

Far from the common lamentation about the war in Iraq weakening the U.S. military, it is ultimately making it stronger. Although personnel are stretched temporarily, we now have more officers and NCOs with combat experience than almost any other country. As these troops move up the ranks and through the armed forces' professional education system, myriad lessons from combat will be absorbed into the military's doctrine.

Iraq and Afghanistan have also been a laboratory for future military techniques. It hasn't gotten as much press as you might expect in the U.S., but parts of the U.S. Army's Future Combat System are already being deployed in Iraq, including combat robots. See, for example, this article in Der Spiegel.

As far as the geopolitical consequences of the Iraq war, the unhealthy status quo (from our perspective) in the Middle East of peace in the Muslim's backyard combined with terror exported abroad has been upturned. Now the vast majority of terrorism in the world is Muslim-on-Muslim, with Shiites and Sunnis radicals killing each other in Iraq. If we play our cards right, we can leave Iraq with a low-grade proxy war bubbling between Iran and Saudi Arabia, sucking in jihadists from both main Muslim sects, and a stable, democratic ally in the Kurdish region.

This phase will probably go on for another 5-10 years, attracting tens of thousands of angry young Muslim terrorist wannabes into the Iraq bug zapper.

Eventually, Arabs will tire of this jihadism, especially as they see their brothers in Dubai succeed in creating a post-oil boom first world merchant city-state -- an Arab Singapore. They will remember that commerce and trading are more profitable aspects of Arab culture, and more will move to embrace this. Dubai and other Gulf States, flush with oil revenue, will have the capital to help finance this transformation. In fact, this is already happening, with a quiet economic and financial boom in the most populous Arab state (Egypt) being financed exactly this way.

jumpyg said...

The problem with these discussions about Iraq is that, much like 9/11, it all comes down to conspiracy theories about how the Jews did it all. It's a bit predictable.

David Davenport said...

Do you want to p*** off 1 billion Muslims who are not living in your insulated fantasy politics?


Gosh, please don't hurt us! We just want to be friends. Make nice ... ( reaching for weapon. )

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Kosovo may bring the Euro. situation to a head. The {Muslim} Kosovars are pressing for indpendence. Russia is opposed. I suspect the EU will side with Russia and the south Slaves this time.

Will the USA bomb Serbia again? Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

"Now the vast majority of terrorism in the world is Muslim-on-Muslim, with Shiites and Sunnis radicals killing each other in Iraq."
--Leaving aside the usual tit-for-tat violence this encapsulates, one of the interesting products of this rivalry that has escaped notice is the upsurge in religious pilgrimage to Iraq - some three million people at this moment.

Anonymous said...

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