You know, for a bunch of folks who want to decry 'military only' solutions, they sure miss a lot on the political side of things.
When these oh-so-fine and wise folks actually start to address the Awakening movement for technocratic, secular government that is arising from Anbar and reaching out to the technocratic urban dwellers and the Kurds, I might take them seriously. They don't... they want the current political framework as the future framework, while that is, patently, not going to happen. From the brothers at ITM and a from the reports from Anbar, Diyala and starting in some of the burbs of Baghdad, and the Kurdish areas, the current ruling coalition's days are numbered. Already there are defections from it to this 'third party' that is technocratic and broad-spectrum in nature. The ability of the tribes to cohere and form a political basis is unknown inside Iraq, outside of Ba'athist injunctions... and even those used factionalism to reduce tribal authority and coherence.
The 'surge' is not *just* about clearing out insurgents, it is about getting a solid basis for a new political climate going in Iraq: decentralizing power out to the Provinces and fracturing the ruling coalition. Maliki had long months to denounce Sadr and JaM, but he didn't do so quickly enough. When Sadr left the other factions that joined in as a counter-weight to him began to hear from colleagues about doing something 'different'. 15-20% of the Shia ruling bloc is now talking outwards to other organizations and support, inside the governing coalition, is faltering. Maliki is scrambling to actually get something going, but the piper is no longer playing a tune he can dance to easily. The death knell for this government will be getting Provincial election laws done. Then it will be replaced, either via elections or simple change in alignment within Parliament to support a new coalition: Sunni tribal affiliated groups with the Awakening, the Kurds and technocratic Shia. A Rural/Urban coalition that is multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian because it does not want a sectarian government.
Technocrats want things to run *well* and the tribes are learning that corruption is destructive to *them*, now.
Until these folks decrying the 'surge' actually learn to deal with the political changes going on in Iraq, even in overview, they will remain in the dark as to what is going on. They missed the reason behind Ramadi, Anbar and now, increasingly, Baqubah, Diyala... the tribal based Awakening movement is spreading across Iraq. The reaction to blood thirsty terrorists who call themselves Ba'athists, al Qaeda and Mahdi Army. These folks have a different name for them: murderers. When they went the way of pure brutality and started to murder children and women, these outlooks sealed their fates. Then they went after the tribal structure, and that has hastened things, no end.
We are now learning that the Iraqi people have a limit to their tolerance for bloodshed of their innocents. They also see the only way out is over the bodies of the killers. That is the cost of purchasing liberty, and Iraqis now step up to pay that price. Time to teach them that the blood of tyrants and patriots purchases that liberty... unless they want to live like slaves to killers.
Apparently, more of them don't like that idea these days. Gots first hand experience of it.
It is not a question of letting go, for the US... it is a question of holding on to a people and helping them through to a better future, to help us secure our own. Or else we are no longer worthy of the gift of liberty, being unwilling to pay the price for it.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 15.07.2007 @ 08:59
What is a real concern is that for all the fact that the Republicans as a party are more trusted on National Security, they have done an awful job of actually doing anything on that front. Heading into six years after 9/11 and we find that Middle Eastern human trafficking rings have been operating out of Latin America utilizing methods to get into the Nation and just disappear into the flow of illegals from the rest of Latin America. The presence of Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda in the Tri-Border Area, a concern for over a decade, has not even been hinted at, for all the fact the area is now utilized as a trading center for exchanging Middle Eastern heroin for Latin American cocain to be exported to Europe, North America and Africa. We also have the Caribbean basin that has slowly, for nearly 15 years, been seeing a change of the local Islamic communities being radicalized by an influx of Saudi cash and radical imams sent from KSA and other places where they have gained a fooothold. That is compounded by the source of much east coast LNG coming from the Islands, especially Trinidad.
This doesn't even begin to hit the lack of a cargo inspection system for freighters, especially the large shipping container vessels. Of course that has only been on the drawingboard for 5 years. The same goes with air cargo. Actually *inspecting* all of that might just slow down trade... something that appears to be poison ivy to the Republicans and the Right. And a verifiable point to point tracking and verification system with anti-tamper seals on them might just hit some of the lucrative business with organizations willing to pay a bit more to get their cargo to a third-nation destination, for all that it would have a stop-over in the US. Have we ever tracked down the shipping vessels and aircraft that al Qaeda was rumored to own via front companies?
For all the problems of the Left and Democrats going to the Transnational Left and wanting to sing Kumbayah with folks interested in slitting our throats, I am not enamored of the Right willing to trade National Sovereignty *for* trade and increased business liquidity and cheap, unaccountable labor.
I do not want another 9/11, but I don't see how either party, either 'side' in this is doing a thing to address the fact that the US has a sign on its chest saying 'hit me, please'. You do not play the game of trying to make terrorists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, who have sponsored organizations like Hamas, the coup in Sudan, and multiple terrorist organizations on a global basis like a 'legitimate political party'.... just don't mind the red stained hands and the messiness when you go to shake them. Nor do you just throw up your hands on the global 'small arms market' (a wonderful idea from an arms merchant was that 'small arms' includes anything of 81mm or below) and just say 'we can't do anything about it'. We can and have laws on the books for such: that is why We the People gave Congress the High Seas and foreign commerce regularization powers. Of course that would have to be funded ahead of 'pork' projects. Or just funded, period.
That is, apparently, beyond both parties in Congress and the Left and the Right in general.
No, I do not 'want' another 9/11 or worse.
Yes, I fully expect that such will happen. And it is not a question of 'if' but 'when' and 'how often'?
And, IMHO, Iraq was and is a necessary thing to do not only to get a genocidal, mass murderer with a penchant for supplying and training all sorts of terrorists, out of the picture, but for also, finally, trying to get something a bit more *just* in the way of a Nation State into the Middle Eastern mindset. Before this lovely era of installed Kings and self-installed Dictators, Tyrants and Ayatollahs, the region knew Empires. 'Nation State' has only been batted around for a couple of centuries, and those came and went until after WWI... and we messed up on that in a way that has delivered us with our current memes that now lock us into our current stasis. We cannot create justice, but we can teach folks what it means to be accountable and responsible and understand simple things like cause and effect.
The grimly humorous part is as we teach that in Iraq, we are nearly out of it in our political elite. Our politics lives in a fantasyland of the 20th century and it will get us killed if we refuse to deal with our own liberty and freedom and what it means to hold those as a universal value. History is not inevitable. We had best remember that before we become a part of history for having done nothing to secure our own liberty and to practice as we preach upon it.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 14.07.2007 @ 15:22
One of the major problems in Federal Agencies is the 'turf' they claim and their inability to work with other Agencies on areas that cross 'turf' boundaries. This is highly detrimental in the Intelligence Community and the discussion by folks who have come from the IC. From what I have seen: when government tries to put extra layers of 'oversight' into the system, accountability within the system actually decreases. Soon that layer of 'oversight' is getting its own sets of funds, personnel, support staff... and adding to any problems that pre-existed and has no incentive to actually fix those problems.
If the Dept. of Education actually worked, then the reading levels would be far higher than they were in 1958 when Johnny couldn't read. After tens of billions of dollars thrown at this, the reading level remains constant with only minor deviations and always moderates back to the mean. Yes, children do not learn to read any better today than they did in 1958. Instead of working to solve the problem, once and for all, the Dept. of Education exists to *continue* the problem, along with all the support personnel and entire industry to propose 'solutions' that never get anywhere.
In the arena of Foreign Policy, we now have bureaucrats seeing Administrations *not* as their boss, but just a temporary fixture which is worked around while the oh-so-wise bureaucrats put forth the 'real' foreign policy of the Nation. A policy 'wonk' is adored, because the bureaucracy can work wonders to make such individuals stagnate and get into bureaucratic blind alleys that it isn't funny. Meanwhile the more 'general' sort of manager is 'buffered' from the actual decisions going on and given little insight or say into how they happen. This is not only a Foreign Policy problem but is across the entire civil service. Presidents are temporary, and if you just outwait them then the 'real work' can be done, don't mind the fact that it isn't what the President wants.... temporary...
That is why when Ronald Reagan was elected, everyone thought he was going to bring a chainsaw to the Federal Government, maybe kill off some large departments and stop the Dept. of Education before it actually got off the ground. Instead he brought the fertilizer and watering hose and planted some kudzu.
Personally, I would prefer that a President make sweeping changes so that the bureaucracy actually needs to adjust to a new Administration. To do that, however, requires that Presidents actually exercise the one great authority given to the office, by Congress, in the 1970's. That is the power over the Senior Service in Agencies which is *not* part of the Civil Service. All those Senior Executive Service (or Intelligence Service) positions are one year contracts, renewable for up to four years before renegotiating. Yes, don't renew the contracts en mass: require an SES 'reset' without discrimination for any part of the Federal Government and have the senior bureaucrats report in the interim.
Even better is something else the Federal Government can do on any of its contracts: Terminate for Convenience (T4C). And because it is the government, it does not have to pay a single, red cent on a T4C.
From these two things there is a concept that can be created by any President who actually wants to control the Government, not be tweaking around the edges: Fire until competence is found.
Want to stop leaks at the CIA? Let the SIS know that this concept will now be implemented across the board: one leak, they all go. Ditto DoD, State, Justice...
Really, I don't mind political appointees. It is the ones who try to worm their way into the civil service and then fortify their political positions that I detest. They make work harder to get done by trying to enforce their own politics downwards from a civil service position, which are damned hard to end. Don't give them the opportunity and clean sweep the lot of them, top to bottom. Yes, this will cause some chaos... but it will remind the bureaucrats *who* they work for: the elected representative of the American People via the Constitution, The President.
Continuity has gotten stagnation and made it so the 'politicization' is seen as a 'bad thing'. You ELECTED a President based on political outlook and should vote that way... you should also want the Federal Government to be limited, so that political patrons put into Senior positions know their butt is going to be out the door when the President goes. Limit the opportunity for mischief. And force the bureaucracy to actually have to expand the way it thinks and does work so as to adjust to different outlooks. That is why you vote a new President into office: to change the course of the Nation. Instead we get minor deviations on a course set just like the Captain of the Titanic set it.
In *front* of the iceberg.
Can't hit it! No! That costs money! Breaks a few dishes! Might be some strained muscles by the passangers or even a broken arm or leg! Much, much, much safer to avoid the iceberg....
The sound that was heard was multiple containment sections being ripped open by the unseen part of the iceberg. But it was a great course right up to that point! The paint job was so very safe... right up to when it wasn't. Then *no one* could save it.
You can't get a good and efficient government by putting it in charge of outlook.
You can get one that is flexible and adjusts to the changing Will of the People, however... but some of that messy politics just might intrude.
Choose carefully, we can no longer stop the ship, the course of the iceberg and the mass of the ship means forward. Some messy politics all over? Or a government that no longer sees a need to adjust to the People? Best decide soon... the options are ever more limited as time goes.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 12.07.2007 @ 19:11
For these individuals the phrase you are looking for is: "Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life down here."
If you want to hear my thoughts on the 'not life as we commonly conceive it', that is a fascinating topic on its own... but the above definitely fits for what we are seeing these days.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 9.07.2007 @ 12:06
I love it when folks trot out Gwynne Dyer! The first half or so of his book WAR was readable... before he got into the National Sovereignty trade-off quagmire. But he did have one salient thing that he appears to still believe, which has been changed by the nature of the enemy. From that lovely book, stuck just before the namer of 'terrorism' got stuck to the activity of terrorism, he addressed urban guerrilla warfare which is a vital part of terrorist doctrine. On p. 167:
"As in the case of rural guerrilla warfare attempted outside the colonial environment, however, the fatal flaw in the urban guerrilla strategy is that it lacks an effective end game. The theory says that when the guerrillas have succeeded in driving the government into sufficiently repressive posture, the populace will rise up in righteous wrath and destroy its oppressors. But even if the population should decide that it is the government and not the guerrillas that is responsible for its growing misery, how is it to accomplish this feat? By the urban uprisings that have rarely succeeded since the nineteenth century? Or by the rural guerrilla warfare that has just demonstrated its ineffectiveness?"
No end game? Well, the conflict against al Qaeda and other groups has gotten a number of documents and there are a few very disturbing and surprising doctrinal documents that were captured. On is The Management of Savagery, which examines the doctrine and methodology to get to a Caliphate State against the current Nation State system. I reviewed that (in part through the major areas, it is a thick and didactic text that gets stuck in detail on assumed early premises) and one of my conclusions is the following:
"In its simplest conception al Qaeda is performing 'divide and conquer' strategy against Nation States. By being unable to attack large Nations, al Qaeda seeks to destabilize them so that internal rebellion can be fomented and the Nation itself dissolve into smaller pieces. al Qaeda analyzes this with the USSR, fall of European Empires and with smaller Nations that also have separatist movements. One of the main problems that al Qaeda identifies is that new Nations spring up from the old, but they are less able and less strong than the original, larger established Nation. Even then al Qaeda realizes that they have little opportunity in that realm as even small Nations that have good interior definition are resistant to their influence.
To counter this al Qaeda proposed 'the rich man's road to Global Empire': set groundwork during the pre-chaos, encourage it through some actions, and then, when the larger Nation falls into disarray, send money, fighters, supplies and everything necessary to gain control and be seen as a way to rebuild a Nation along the al Qaeda tenets of operation. By gaining trust in sending fighters and setting up hospitals, al Qaeda wishes to use the dissolution of the people inside of a Nation in tumult and 'guide' those people to the 'true path' given by the Divine. Once that trust is gained, then a framework for a strict, authoritarian Islamic based State can be developed and put in-place and the new territory exploited for its goods, people and money, to spread influence."
Yes, the goal is *not* to take over Nations, but to dismember them to amenable sized chunks, exploit those and continue the destabilization process further. At some point the glorious Caliphate will be declared, but the process continues onwards against weak states or states in unstable conditions and then spreading that instability outwards. That is not a recipe for orderly rule, but for tyrannical, exploitive and dehumanizing rule willing to expend individuals as necessary to achieve larger goals. Expended either as ideologues, committed fighters or as exploited labor, those that fall under rule by this paradigm are not accorded humanity, even if they are catered to at first to gain acceptance.
At this point that would *also* include most of the Western Nations as targets for further destabilization, beyond the internal divisions that are already going on. Those that aid and abet those divisions do, indeed, cause long-term problems and work to the benefit of al Qaeda and any other organization that takes up this doctrinal thesis. At its highest level, this doctrine can be stripped of its islamic overlay and the basic 'divide and conquer' concept comes forth, but with ideological and methodological backing for the modern era.
The modern Left does not want to examine this, as it is anathema to multiculturalism and transnational goals: here an 'oppressed' group has already put forward its totalitarian goals and end-state and has demonstrated its want to put that to work, but calling them on it means making a *value based judgement*. Can't do that if 'all cultures are equal'. Better the bad old US gets grief for going to war against a genocidal, mass murdering tyrant that then sucks al Qaeda in to pit its ability to destabilize against ours to try and create stability! Yes, let the US fail and that will *prove* how bad the US is.... and fracture the Middle East far and wide because the West has no guts to stand by the tenets of liberal democracy to help rebuild after wars.
Mind you, the Right is quiet in this by its inability to formulate that basic rights of Nation States to hold each other accountable and to go to war over such so as to remove threats to the Nation is a *necessity* for building a world of reduced threats. Much prefer to fall back on the tired old 'free markets free people' and just walk away after pulling a Nation down and let 'the magic of the marketplace' work its will. Two World Wars should have disabused us of that little notion, but obviously *not*. There is ZERO inevitability on human rights, human freedom and accountability moving forward in the affairs of mankind unless you actually exercise them all... that includes the accountability part. And, yes, that costs lives, blood and money. Always has, and until we reach that sweet nirvana of human divinity where everyone is born swell and good and nice without a single atom of rancor in their soul, that is the way it will remain. Humans get into conflicts. We work out holding each other accountable to standards we set between us. That means, in this lovely era of the Nation State that Nations must act as Sovereigns to assert that Peoples have a right to have others respect their agreements with them.
The hippy-dippy, flower spewing, bomb-throwing Left can take a hike, until they realize that common society within Nations must be adhered to between them. That means doing such nasty little things as enforcing 'cease fires' and when one side does not adhere to that, then 'going to war with them'.
The corporate espousing Right, with its free-market mantras had better wake up to China and Russia not turning into lovely places of liberal democracy. Just like a couple of Reichstags I could name from last century. Trade is a means to uphold societies not an end in, and of, itself. If free trade worked, then the Mexican economy would be *booming* and its people some of the most free and happiest on this planet. Likewise, after 90 years of 'trade to encourage societies', I believe the originator of this doctrine put it in 1917, the Middle East would be sweet lands of liberty, with the benificence of Western trade.
Time to wake up! The 20th century expiration date passed a few years back. It was overdone, over-ripe and quite fetid in the number of deaths supplied by ideologues the world over. Continue to espouse the same, tired, ideologies and you get the same, tired horrific death tolls. Accuse one side of being Fascist and that marks you out as a Communist, just as it did in the streets of Berlin in 1931, when the two sides had a fun old time of squirting prussic acid on each other for instant assassination. Orderly, though! Have to give them that!
The Nation State in the 21st century is under siege... not by the lovely hearts of mankind to form together into a sweet land of liberty across the globe, but by a buncha folks looking to drag us back before 1648. They are a threat to the Left and Right... if they could stop the verbal venom and get some smelling salts administered to them. Iraq is *not* Vietnam: there is no sea to stop the expansion of disorder. Iraq is not Germany or Japan: it has no ethnic homogeneity, to feeling as a Nation with accomplished scholars and statesmen for a couple of centuries, it is not industrialized as we in the West know that concept, and human liberty has been unknown there with Empires and tyrants being the rule, not the exception, for 4,000 years.
Iraq is the centroid for all the crossing ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, economic, communication and deep history ties going all the way back to Babylon. It was already broken when we got there, Saddam just kept the pieces in a vicegrip which cracked them still further. It is prime territory, #1, for al Qaeda to advance The Management of Savagery: a brutal, dictatorial and genocidal doctrine that will exploit individuals to the death, kill for any minor infraction of ideology and use all its funds to then spread that disorder outwards.
I do not see a long-term survival for the West and the US in particular, if Iraq falls into that plan. There are three or four other places where it is slowly getting put into place, and I don't like those *either*. If we get a bit queasy over a few thousand deaths there... then the end death toll from the dissolving of the Nation State sysem will be horrific once that spreads. In this lovely era of the 'global village' there is no way to *stop* that spread unless we work damn hard to put forth that the rights of man as an individual is worth fighting for. Even if we gain a bitter enemy, so long as they hold together as a Nation, it is, yes, worth it.
Because once the 'blame wars' start, we will all lose no matter who wins. We will have lost the meaning of fighting for a better world to protect ourselves. Absolutely selfish, and best to stay out of fights until you have no choice. Then you fight to *win* no holds barred, no economy spared, nothing kept back. And when you win, you put your money where your mouth is and help build those honorably defeated or who have been under the boot of tyranny for generations *up* to something better. So that THEY can tell you off! I *like that*. At least I know where I stand in such a situation. This pre-finger pointing at home will get us killed because it assumes that human liberty and freedom is not worth that cost.
And those fingers are not pointing blame... but measuring our chains as our liberty is lost, because it is so priceless as to be worthless to us. Then we will, truly, be savages to manage.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 28.06.2007 @ 15:19
Well we seem to be seeing some troubles warned about some time ago when things first got rolling. Apparently when 'representative democracy' in a Republic gets distant and unaccountable, things start to get nasty. We are now seeing these problems crop up: concentration of power, abuse of taxation, marginalization of the citizenry, and the move to vest more power into centralized government. Strangely enough the problems we face, in overview, are no different than we have faced before as a Republic. What is now missing is flexible, responsive, limited representative government, that can quickly change and adapt because it takes on a light load and leaves the burden of things to We the People.
That Republic could identify its foes and what to do about them... what we have today cannot.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 10.08.2007 @ 20:49
As the basis for this plan actually took four years to make before the foundation of it could even get put down, I have little problem with it. That is one of the things I look at a bit ago making sure that I had a good basis for understanding just what the conditions on the ground in Iraq were like. This could not have been implemented 4 years ago, 3 years ago, 2 years ago and was only starting to get any traction last August to September. This Nation, both Right and Left, have not bothered to actually study post-war situations and that leaves one bereft of any accurate yardsticks to place Iraq and Afghanistan against. Going slow?
Compared to what?
Four situations come to mind in COIN work: the 1960's in Algeria, the British experience with the Malay, the US experience in Haiti 1915-34, and the ending of the Moro insurgency in the Philippines 1901-10. That last makes what is going on in Iraq look like a cakewalk in comparison, as it had some of the most vicious forms of fighting the US Army and Marines have ever experienced, for all the fact it was a small forces affair. Each of those took as long or, like Haiti, much longer than Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on and Haiti was a failure due to the political class in the US unwilling to set its mind on any goal and stick to it. That sounds disturbingly familiar.
Congress in authorizing force in Iraq has the responsibility of ensuring that the Armed Forces are properly sized, scoped out, equipped, and that stores and supplies are available in the pipeline for them. After the 1990's and the draw-down, in which two Army divisions fell to their lowest rating since Vietnam, something that has not been reached *since* even with active combat going on, the deficiencies in the Congressional outlook over that last 15 years is reprehensible. Ditto two Executives.
Congress put forward a long bill of particulars for Iraq and then did not do *its job* of ensuring that the Nation was prepared for however long it would take. I personally expected 8-15 years of *combat*. But then that is typical for a small forces counter-insurgency campaign in a single Nation. Two of them? Where is Congress? Oh, they are looking to dissolve the borders and flood the Nation with anyone that can get to Mexico and run over it... even if that includes tens or hundereds or more from the Middle East, like Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt.
Then those lovely congresscritters have the audacity to go up and complain about the lack of spares, stores and supplies... which they are supposed to scope out, fund and ensure that they are procured. Lovely, that: "You didn't get what you needed because we didn't buy it... bad on the President for not doing our job!"
I have yet to hear what other conflict that Iraq is supposed to be compared to by *any* naysayer or critic of the conflict. That might take cracking open some history books. Looking at force levels. Looking at industrial commitment. Looking at the uses and abuses of propaganda by all concerned.
Instead of perspective, there is collective myopia on the political class and their supporters as *everything* gets turned into political fodder. Meanwhile the Nation dissolves out from under our feet because the corrosive effects of that outlook has removed any common ground with which to have a Nation. The lovely era of Nation State warfare from the 20th century is gone. The current enemies are trying to drag us back past the 19th century, past 1648 and all the way back to the 7th century. Our lovely Nation State tools of the 20th century are not able to handle that. And if you look before that you will find the tools... but we lack the will and foresight to be willing to fight as the founders did and take up their viewpoint on warfare. Mind you they did have a democracy then.
I am coming to see what Hamilton warned about in Federalist No. 26.
And that, too, takes historical perspective.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 30.05.2007 @ 21:01
Unfortunately the Democrats ran on an idea of being the anti-corruption house cleaners...
So we now get some results. Pork. Legislation tied up between houses for ethics reform. More pork. Letting lobbyist 'personal friends' jet Congresscritters around for free. Even more pork. Funneling money to spouses who own companies. Lots more pork. Shady land deals with gangsters. Look, more pork! Acting like Neville Chamberlain and visiting tyrants and despots. Say, did I mention pork? Looking to get legislation to favor industries that a spouse is part of. Cartloads of pork. Not bothering to read their job description. Truckloads of pork. Visiting with terrorists associated with some of the worst organizations on the planet. A veritable porkfest.
An anti-corruption platform should be dead simple to implement. Very easy. It addresses member behavior and following that up with very simple rules to abide by.
If the Democrats can't do *that* simple thing, then why should they be trusted on anything slightly more complex... say, getting the Dept. of Agriculture bill through without adding heaping helpings of pork? They aren't trusted until they show that they know how to control themselves. They came in claiming to not be as bad as the other side.
They are correct.
They are worse.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 10.05.2007 @ 09:59
As a Nation we are suffering major problems of understanding what it is we are seeing and why it is the way it is. The entire political class, be it D or R, has done a very, very poor job of trying to actually get across what Iraq *is*. Via a poor education system, a poor media system and a bankrupt political system, we went through the entire Cold War actually believing that the culmination of the Nation State era was upon us and that modern history would end. Francis Fukayama said as much and that put a stamp of validation upon the Right and Left so that they would not actually have to address the world as it stands.
Then the cold hard grip of the pre-20th century suddenly fastened a hand on our ankle and started dragging us off of that high pedestal. The political class, Left and Right, have so calcified in their outlook that they cannot deal with the problem they created in the 20th century that now seeks to drag us back to the 14th if not the 7th. Iraq is an outgrowth of misguided views and ideology about what it means to actually stand *for* liberty and freedom... that has been missing from the US for long decades since WWII. The hard lesson of history is that liberty must be continually defended if you want to keep it. The game playing on the political sides started to divide this Nation long before 9/11 and that polarization along multiple lines has reduced the commonality of the US to almost *nothing*.
That work as so eroded the Nation that the idea of *having* a Nation is at jeopardy. One of the quips I have been using for awhile is: the trend lines in Iraq are good and have been for awhile, those in the US not so good and have been for decades. Look at how many that are eligible actually *vote*. While we hear so many saying that this is a 'vital democracy' I have yet to see the signs of that vitality and, instead, see stagnation as 'sides' are everywhere. We grew up thinking the world was just one thing, even when the one 'side' tried to impute it was rich/poor and the other tried to put forth class struggle: both divided the commonality of Nation held in common between the people of the Nation. And we threw that exact, same outlook, to the outside world. We put forth a the idea that very simple paradigms could explain a complex world... simple to the point of simplistic. The news has arrived: there is no such thing as 'international law' and 'free trade does not make people free'.
We saw the effects of 19 well off individuals adhering to a ruthless ideology to remove the Nation State as an idea and put Empire in its place, break all bounds of civilized behavior to prove their point. International law does not exist, only Treaties do. Treaties between Nations. Free trade with cheap goods on a global basis let these well off individuals form a hideous group that is well armed and attacking democracy. Unaccountable trade has put the Nation and, indeed, all Nations at risk.
Thanks to all the hard work by the Left and Right, the R's and D's, the bipolar everything, we are not prepared to deal with a world that has multiple, simple driving forces and that then form emergent complexity. Terrorism is not rooted in *poverty*, save that of the soul and the spirit. Nation is not formed by Armed Forces, but by communities striving to work together. In Iraq these two things are necessary to understand what we are seeing: the culmination of decades of poor thought out and purported ideas that stretch back even beyond the Cold War. I still have yet to hear anyone from the Left side of things address the fact that Iraq has been so terrorized by Ba'athism that there are *no* communities there when the US finally toppled that pestilent dictator. That dictator had erased class, erased religion and erased community in his bid to make the people of his Nation his plaything and slaves. When we see the largest, trustworthy unit of government to be the *family* in many parts of Iraq, and sometimes the *tribe* if people are lucky, then you get a feel for what is missing in that Nation and must be rebuilt... all of that lovely divisiveness that we have here, in the US, was used by a despotic tyrant to divide and play his people off against each other and so sew suspicions that they will take a generation to ease and maybe two or three to finally lay to rest. Where are all the fine and high-minded individuals on the Left who so want global communion? We gots a small project for you in Iraq: prove you can build something there and help heal those wounds and you might get a fair hearing after you get your hands dirty.
On the Right I have yet to hear *any* assessment on the underlying foundation of terrorism and Nation States seeking true terror weapons: unregulated trade. All of that lovely trade has put tons of weapons and equipment into the hands of ideologues that seek death and terror to make people submit to their will. Somehow all that lovely and so very magical trade hasn't gotten many people all too free and has gotten thousands, if not tens of thousands plain old *dead*. The freedom of the grave.
Suddenly the Rights of Man as Individual to make community and be free is supported by no one.
The Left calls that 'Imperialism' now... or exploitation. Helping people to make a better life? Nah, too hard, and there are folks with *guns* out there. Run away!
The Right won't push that as it just might require actually limiting trade and facing off against those individuals, groups and Nations that oppose us. That is 'making a better life by denying barbarians of the means to kill' sort of deal. You know, helping folks to make a better life by making sure you aren't selling enemies of freedom the means to destroy it? Might actually COST something and put some PROFIT at peril. Can't do that! Better to stick with this idea of letting Free Trade... arm our killers cheaply.
Thank you to the 'two sides' of that horrid equation. You have just shown that you have stepped away for the basis of Nation and the ability to have common freedom within a Nation and hold the world accountable for the actions taken towards us and our friends and allies.
Thank you for inspiring barbarians who seek to bring down Nations with illegitimate war and cause terror forevermore on their path to raw power. They can't get that before they step over your bodies... either in submission or as corpses, either are acceptable to them.
You won't have any rights, save those you are granted, but we have been heading that way with Big Government for decades now. We did agree to restrict government to the very few things that were necessary, but each 'side' found more and more of life that just *has* to be done by government... don't worry, the terrorists will give you perfect government. Because tyranny is perfectable. Democracy isn't as it always changes view and outlook, and seeks to bring accomodation to people to have freedom together.
Because we refuse to recognize the simple drivers of ethnicity, religion, tribe, education and history underlying the Middle East, we fail there. And have been failing for some time. We could have done that with a good President who did not seek to isolate America and purport that free trade was more important than liberty. That price was dear to pay when it mattered... when the Nation could have made a difference and spoken up for the Rights of Peoples to have Nation and determine their own course. That was a very popular outlook throughout the 19th century: fight enemies, use trade as inducement and cudgel, and help those that had fallen under tyrannical wrath to have shelter and community.
We stopped doing that.
To keep trade going with the Ottoman Empire and not put industry at peril nor fight a hard war to support our Allies.
Care to tell me how that policy turned out?
And that entire 'international institutions' idea?
Made the world free, did it?
It has had 90 years to prove out... successful on a global scale, isn't it? The Middle East the jewel of democracy and freedom... it should be... if those things worked.
Why people believe in either of those things... international institutions helping to keep order and free trade freeing people is beyond me. The surest route to curing a headache is to stop pounding your head against the wall. I suggest that we stop doing so and realize the folly of our ways. While we still have time to do so.
"When marching through hell, don't STOP." - Winston Churchill
"We did not start this fight. But we sure, as hell, will END IT." - The American Battlecry heard through the decades.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 28.04.2007 @ 12:23
And where, in this, is the Inspectors General of the Army and DoD? Such accusations should go to them *first*. Congress could have asked for the IGs to go through this and report on it before holding a single public hearing. If Congress believes that the IGs are corrupt, then it is time to hold hearings... about the IG process and institute something to fix it. That is a slow process, yes, and does not always come to great conclusion... but it happens out of the limelight and gets information from all of those inside the decision process and documents it.
Why the grandstanding? Did the IGs come forward with reports prior to this? Did they put forth that there is a problem in the process? Or does Congress suspect the IGs of not doing their job? This sort of process *must* go through those laws set by Congress and when Congress intervenes it *also* starts changing the character of testimony and some of *that* may not thereafter be available to the IGs. If you want a non-political military system, then use the non-political process set up to find, identify and rectify such things. That is if you *want* a non-partisan set of armed forces.
We do want that here, yes?
Because the grandstanding by *either* party hurts that process. Only when Congress sees it *fail* does that require hearings and such. Putting it before the cameras first is not the way to do it. Unless you are aiming to make things partisan...Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 25.04.2007 @ 15:41