Saturday, April 28, 2007

COIN Down The Gravity Well

"The measure of an insurgency's gravity well is its drawing power: its gravity. This takes two forms. It's the form of the people under the threat of insurgents at the end of the day, as Kilcullen noted when he said that insurgents won when, "the Sun goes down and the insurgents show up saying, 'If you’re not on our side, we’re going to kill you.'"

The other form is when people who are not under threat of the insurgents are drawn to them, because they think the insurgents are the wave of the future, or the forces of right. These people don't have to join the insurgency out of fear. They do it willingly, because they want to fight America.

The measure of the gravity of an insurgency is those two things added together. We want to reduce that gravity.

So, we want to do two things.

1) We want to lessen the mass of the yellow-red "star," and therefore decrease the size and power of its gravity well.

2) We want to pull the green and blue objects away from it.

How do you do it?

Goal One:

The first goal is the province of military and clandestine/covert intelligence operations. You have to build intelligence on where the insurgents are, who they're dealing with, and so forth. The clearest model here is how we captured Saddam. Our military engagement allowed us to start gathering intelligence. We put every scrap of intelligence into a database, not just on what we knew, but on how people we encountered were related to each other. We were building a map of the gravity well.

Once we had the map, we found Saddam. He was, you might say, right at the center of it.

Where we engage the enemy directly, whether with military or civilian intelligence forces, this is the method. You map the insurgency with databases of this kind. Once you begin to have a clear picture, you start breaking up the mass. Killing and capturing yellow/red nodes is part of this.

But it's not the only part. Yellow nodes are easily replaced with red ones; red ones can be replaced with blue ones. More important than killing the members is breaking its myths. Organizations like this are built on stories: powerful stories, that everyone around it believes. Stories like, "America is weak and decadent, and the faith of the pure will defeat her Marines." Break those stories, and you radically decrease the mass of the insurgent star.

Do that, and its pull becomes weaker. It gets smaller, it weakens, it starts to die away.

Goal Two:

If an object is in the gravity well of a star or a planet, you can pull it away. You just need an object with a much deeper gravity well. You need a competitor.

Imagine if we had a star a whole lot bigger than the sun, a lot denser. We can pick it up and move it around. Let's say we set it down on the mattress, right by our solar system, so that it sank in deep.

What would happen is that all the objects currently in orbit around the sun would begin to drift in its direction. They would start rolling that way. If our huge star was big enough, and close enough, it would even tear off the outer layers of the sun.

There are many places in the world where our enemies might go for shelter, and try to set up new networks. In those places, we need to build opposing, competing gravity wells.

What would these look like? Probably they would already exist, and therefore have an in-built legitimacy. They would be Muslim organizations for the most part, because the insurgency is so heavily committed to Islam. They would be able to reach out to the networks of young men who might otherwise be drawn into terrorism.

Maybe they would look like the Nahdlatul Ulama

The NU is a gigantic Muslim organization in Indonesia. It has fully forty million members. While it is religiously conservative, and therefore able to speak to the deeply religious Muslims that might be drawn into al Qaeda or Jemmah Islamiyah, it is not hateful. It even has a paramilitary organization, the Banser, that defends Christian churches on Christmas Day, and at other times they seem in danger of attack by radicals
." [ Blackfive just got added to the classics. RTWT. And where do you think the Dems come out re breaking Islamist myth building? I know what I think... -ed. ]

In Iraq Iran Vietnam With Petraeus

"There were some followups later on, in which Petraeus was pressed on the “how high up the Iranian line does this chain of command go? And he repeated that we know that some of the people we’re interrogating report to General Sulemaini, the head of the Qods Force, but beyond that we don’t know.

As I’ve said before, this is lawyer-talk, not intelligence talk. And of course the journalist’s question betrays the usual lack of knowlege of the Iranian chain of command. The Revolutionary Guards, of which Qods is the foreign arm, report to the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), NOT to the president
. So the reference to Ahmadinejad shows the journalist’s ignorance. But to believe that a Qods campaign is being conducted without Khamenei’s approval is as silly as the belief that a Special Forces campaign could be conducted without White House approval. No way.

Finally, notice the data he provides on suicide attacks: eighty to ninety percent are carried out by foreigners via Syria. Put that together with the knowledge that the most dangerous explosives are coming from Iran. Then ask yourself why so many people keep talking about “insurgency,” which implies a domestic reaction to the presence of coalition forces on Iraqi soil.

And the answer is: because it’s all about Vietnam

And the first commenter has it nailed: "This war began November 4, 1979 in Iran and that is exactly where it will end. The US and the West will come to that conclusion eventually but only after the stakes have been stacked catastrophically high."

Our Crappy MSMemory Hole Today

""All of these papers had hours after the Times of London report to get the London bombings into the story. The Times goes to bed at 7 pm ET and hits the feeds and wire services. None of the American media bothered to check on Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. Readers should ask themselves whether that comes from a lack of intellectual curiosity, or whether it comes from a bias that puts the circumstances of the detention of a terrorist at a higher priority than the terrorism itself."

Either way, they're doing a crappy job. But if he'd had a connection to Jack Abramoff, you can bet they'd have mentioned it!"

Omar On Stakes And (Tinfoil) Consequences

"Instead coming up with ideas to help the US Democrats are trying to stop the effort to stabilize Iraq and rescue the Middle East from a catastrophe.

I am an Iraqi. To me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say, ‘Well, it’s not worth it.Time to leave’

To the Democrats my life and the lives of twenty-five other million Iraqis are evidently not worth trying for. They shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.

For four years everybody made mistakes. The administration made mistakes and admitted them. My people and leaders made mistakes as well and we regret them.

But now, in the last two months, we have had a fresh start; a new strategy with new ideas and tactics. These were reached after studying previous mistakes and were designed to reverse the setbacks we witnessed in the course of this war.

This strategy, although its tools are not yet even fully deployed, is showing promising signs of progress.

General Petraeus said yesterday that things will get tougher before they get easier in Iraq. This is the sort of of fact-based, realistic assessment of the situation which politicians should listen to when they discuss the war thousands of miles away.

We must give this effort the chance it deserves. We should provide all the support necessary. We should heed constructive critique, not the empty rhetoric that the ‘war is lost

It is not lost. Quitting is not an option we can afford—not in America and definitely not in Iraq.

I said it before and I say it again; this war must be won. If it is not the world as you in the United States know it today (and as we here in Iraq dream for it to become) will exist only in books of history. The forces of extremism that we confront today are more determined, more resourceful, and more barbaric than the Nazi or the communists of the past. Add to that the weapons they can improvise or acquire through their unholy alliance with rogue regimes, combined with their fluid structure and mobility… well, they can be more deadly than any forces we have faced in the past. Much more
." [ Democrats think they can cut and run and everything will be fine (well, not counting the immediate genocide that will ensue in Iraq -- what Cambodia? -- and renewed pressure on Afghanistan as the Islamists refocus there afterwards). They forget that AQ keeps coming back again and again to their favored pressure points -- inevitably NYC and DC. Remind me again whether those places are predominantly red or blue? Getting it yet? -ed. ]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who Said This?

"Do you think it’s possible to win the Iraq War?

Here’s what I think: this is a real war, extended beyond the borders of Iraq.

As in the more general war on terror?

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it’s not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can’t. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious—they’re calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that’s what’s going on. We could lose this war." [ Would you believe Jon Voight? Cool. -ed. ]

On Obama's Puerile Socialism

"In case you don't know what comparable worth is, it's an idea concocted by feminists in the 1970s or early 1980s. They said that jobs typically held by women pay less than jobs typically held by men. To eliminate this inequity, somebody–the courts, maybe, or some administrative agency, presumably with appeals to the courts–should decide what those jobs were really worth, based on some sort of convoluted criteria. ***

Earth to Obama: There's something out there called the labor market."

Who Controls The Present: Fred Thompson

"The British are, in the main, a particularly polite people, but there is a point when the desire not to offend the easily offended becomes an even bigger problem. We've already seen an English organization ban images of Piglet, the harmless character from the classic Winnie the Pooh books, because of protests by those who imagine that simply seeing a cartoon pig is a violation of their civil rights. We've even seen the banning of pins bearing St. George's cross, because it reminds some of the Crusades -- accompanied by demands that Great Britain get rid of the venerable Union Jack for the same reason.

These views, common in the Middle East, are not just an academic or intellectual challenge. We have seen homegrown British terrorists act on the same lies and conspiracy theories that are now being used to silence teachers. Ideas do have consequences and we all need to understand that the war on terror is taking place as much in the realm of ideas as it is on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

America is a free country and we do not tell people what they can believe or say. We should realize, however, that there are people in America who are also telling their children that the holocaust is a lie and that those who say otherwise are their enemies. We cannot prevent them from doing so, but we also cannot let them promote their agenda by claiming they are victimized by historical facts.

This would be a good place to quote an important British writer, George Orwell, who wrote, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Even in America, our children are often taught a watered down, inoffensive and culturally sensitive version of events ranging from the Crusades to the battle at the Alamo.

It's time for people who believe that they have a stake in Western civilization and its traditions to get a little backbone -- even if it offends somebody

Unless Harry Reid Does It For Them...

"It's possible that Reid imagined that his analytical problems are over simply because he has identified the war's loser. The truth is that his troubles are only beginning. He must tell Americans to whom they wish their army to surrender in Iraq.

That Reid is desperately trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory isn't surprising. His party requires an American defeat in Iraq in order to win the congressional and presidential elections next year.

What is generically known as "the war" is, in fact, three wars.

The first war was about changing the status quo in Iraq. ***

The second war was triggered by forces that wanted to prevent America from creating a new status quo that favored its interests along with the interests of a majority of Iraqis. ***

The third and current war started toward the end of last year when the disparate forces fighting against the democratic government found a new point of convergence in a quest for driving America out. The Bush administration understood this and responded with its "surge" policy by dispatching more troops to Baghdad.

Unlike the two previous wars in which anti-American forces pursued a variety of goals, their sole aim this time is to drive the Americans out. In that sense, al Qaeda and other Islamist agents in Iraq have forged an unofficial alliance with residual Saddamites, criminal gangs, pan-Shiite chauvinists and small groups of Iraqis who fight out of genuine nationalistic but misguided motives

Despite continued violence, America and its Iraqi allies are winning this third war, too. Their enemies are like the man in a casino who wins a heap of tokens at the roulette table, but is told at the cashier that those cannot be exchanged for real money.

The terrorists, the insurgents, the criminal gangs and the chauvinists of all ilk are still killing many people. But they cannot translate those killings into political gains. Their constituencies are shrinking, and the pockets of territory where they hide are becoming increasingly exposed. They certainly cannot drive the Americans out. No power on earth can. Unless, of course, Harry Reid does it for them

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There Is No God And We Are His Prophets!

"This is as fine an example of the incoherence at the heart of leftism that I can think of. It is incoherent because it is nihilistic to the core. It is not rooted in any intellectually or morally defensible first principles, but is entirely subjective, arbitrary, and convenient. For what is the first principle of the secular left? We have been reviewing the deep structure of their ideology in recent days, and it all goes back to there is no God and we are his prophets! But this first principle has many disturbing and dysfunctional ramifications, which include the impossibility of transcendent meaning, the absence of any vertical order in the cosmos, and the devaluation of wisdom embodied in tradition (tradition representing the extension or "prolongation" of the vertical into the horizontal).

Therefore, when a leftist tells you that truth does not exist and that various texts are simply forms of domination rooted in the will to power, believe him, for this is the nature of the dark principality he inhabits. This is why I would never argue with a leftist, because they are so deeply and fundamentally illogical. Why try to reason with someone who has rejected the possibility of objective truth a priori? He is simply going to use whatever strategy or technique at his disposal to win the debate, not to arrive at truth, which isn't possible for him anyway. "

The Hell Hole (Part 92363)

"Perhaps because no TV cameras were allowed in, and far too little information was allowed out, the North Korean famine of the 1990s remains one of the most muffled horrors of modern times. By now, however, there have been enough studies, reports, and tales from defectors to confirm that the deprivation in North Korea was catastrophic: One million or more people died, and food shortages continue to this day.

But the true causes of this famine are too often blurred by politics and propaganda. When North Korea's government finally asked for international aid, in 1996, Kim Jong Il's regime blamed what was by then a full-blown nightmare on floods that had hit the country in 1995. Even today, United Nations aid agencies tend to highlight floods, droughts, bad harvests, and such as the main reasons for food shortages. And even among those who correctly blame the regime of Kim Jong Il for the famine, the actual mechanisms are not always well understood.

It is a welcome contribution, then, that scholars Stephan Haggard of the University of California at San Diego and Marcus Noland of the Institute for International Economics have teamed up to write "Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform" ( Columbia University Press, 309 pages, $35). Packed with insights into the North Korean system, this book draws on a growing body of publications and testimony about North Korea to provide an indepth account and analysis not only of the famine, but of the ruinous nature of Kim Jong Il's regime."

Worms Wiggling Again...

"It’s worse than too clever. It’s retreat and appeasement, and the Iranians know it. It flows from denial that the mullahs are at war with us, and lapses into the belief that this war can be resolved by the tried and failed methods of traditional diplomacy. It won’t work, as our soldiers know full well. Surge or no surge, Iraq cannot have decent security unless it is protected against the Iranians and their Syrian puppets bordering the other side of the country. The Irbil 5 know a whole lot about Iranian/Syrian activities, and hence about the terror network in Iraq — in fact, they ran it — and that knowledge can help us and the Iraqis. The very idea that those intelligence officers should be sprung is a slap in the face to every coalition soldier, and Gates and Cheney were quite right to fight it."

They Will Follow

(link) "“If America pulls out of Iraq, they will fail in Afghanistan,” Mam Rostam said.

Hardly anyone in Congress seems to consider that the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan might become much more severe if similar tactics are proven effective in Iraq

“And they will fail with Iran,” he continued. “They will fail everywhere with all Eastern countries. The war between America and the terrorists will move from Iraq and Afghanistan to America itself. Do you think America will do that? The terrorists gather their agents in Afghanistan and Iraq and fight the Americans here. If you pull back, the terrorists will follow you there. They will try, at least. Then Iran will be the power in the Middle East. Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism. They support Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Ansar Al Islam. You know what Iran will do with those elements if America goes away.”

I seriously doubt Iran would actually nuke Israel, as many fear, if the regime acquires nuclear weapons – although I’ll admit I’m a bit less certain of that than I am of, say, Britain and France not nuking Israel. The Iranian regime, most likely, wants an insurance policy against invasion and regime change. The ayatollahs will then be able to ramp up their imperial projects in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Gulf with impunity

Are You Misled? By W? Really?

(link) "A LOOK AT IRAN'S ROLE IN SUPPORTING THE INSURGENCY, from Richard Miniter: "The Islamic Republic tries to hide its involvement with 'layers and layers of intermediaries,' the head of a special Kurdish counter-terrorism service told PJM’s Richard Miniter. While this might fool the CIA, the Kurds are not misled.""


"What does it say about Democratic leadership that they would prefer to break bread with a murderous dictator rather than meet with an American general reporting on developments in his command?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Only One Mentioned It

"The fact that hundreds of children die in Africa every day would be of no relevance to a committed Islamist. In the extremist mind the plight of the tiny Palestinian nation is more important than the deaths of millions of black Africans. Let them die, they’re not Muslims, would be the unspoken line of argument. As an Islamist it was only the suffering of Muslims that had moved me. Now human suffering mattered to me, regardless of religion.

Faye and I were glued to the television for hours. Watching fellow Londoners come out of Tube stations injured and mortified, but facing the world with a defiant sense of dignity, made me feel proud to be British.

We met Sultan and his wife at an Indian restaurant near the British Council. Sultan was in his early thirties and his wife in her late twenties. They had travelled widely and seemed much more liberal than most Saudis I had met. Behind a makeshift partition, the restaurant surroundings were considered private and his wife, to my amazement, removed her veil.

We discussed our travels.

Sultan spoke fondly of his time in London, particularly his placement at Coutts as a trainee banker. We then moved on to the subject uppermost in my mind, the terrorist attacks on London. My host did not really seem to care. He expressed no real sympathy or shock, despite speaking so warmly of his time in London.

“I suppose they will say Bin Laden was behind the attacks. They blamed us for 9/11,” he said

Keen to take him up on his comment, I asked him: “Based on your education in Saudi Arabian schools, do you think there is a connection between the form of Islam children are taught here and the action of 15 Saudi men on September 11?”

Without thinking, his immediate response was, ‘No. No, because Saudis were not behind 9/11. The plane hijackers were not Saudi men. One thousand two hundred and forty-six Jews were absent from work on that day and there is the proof that they, the Jews, were behind the killings. Not Saudis.”

It was the first time I heard so precise a number of Jewish absentees. I sat there pondering on the pan-Arab denial of the truth
, a refusal to accept that the Wahhabi jihadi terrorism festering in their midst had inflicted calamities on the entire world.

In my class the following Sunday, the beginning of the Saudi working week, were nearly 60 Saudis. Only one mentioned the London bombings
." [ Read. The. Whole. Thing. -ed. ]

Down The MSMemory Hole: Armed Resistance

"It took place at a university in Virginia. A student with a grudge, an immigrant, pulled a gun and went on a shooting spree. It wasn’t Virginia Tech at all. It was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, not far away. You can easily drive from the one school to the other, just take a trip down Route 460 through Tazewell.

It was January 16, 2002 when Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.

Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.

Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down
. A third student, unarmed, Ted Besen, approached the killer and was physically attacked.

But Odighizuwa was now disarmed. The three students were able to restrain him and held him for the police. Odighizuwa is now in prison for the murders he committed. His killing spree ended when he faced two students with weapons. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

You wouldn’t know much about that though. Do you wonder why? The media, though it widely reported the attack left out the fact that Bridges and Gross were armed
. Most simply reported that the gunman was jumped and subdued by other students. That two of those students were now armed didn’t get a mention.

James Eaves-Johnson wrote about this fact one week later in The Daily Iowan. He wrote: “A Lexus-Nexis search revealed 88 stories on the topic, of which only two mentioned that either Bridges or Gross was armed.” This 2002 article noted “This was a very public shooting with a lot of media coverage.” But the media left out information showing how two students with firearms ended the killing spree

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Paglia On The (Unconsciously Gothic) Cult Of Acedia

"Can you have a vibrant culture without cult? Traditionalist conservatives say no. Dr. Paglia is inclined to agree – and says that our lazy secularism and superficial religiosity puts America at risk of succumbing to acedia, the Greek term for spiritual slothfulness. She is shocked to discover how few of her college students grasp basic biblical concepts, characters and motifs that were commonly understood one or two generations ago. This stunning loss of cultural memory renders most Western art, poetry and literature opaque.

"The only people I'm getting at my school who recognize the Bible are African-Americans," she said. "And the lower the social class of the white person, the more likely they recognize the Bible. Most of these white kids, if they go to church at all, they get feel-good social activism."

What are they left with? "Video games, the Web, cellphones, iPods – that's what's left," Dr. Paglia laments. "And that's what's going to make us vulnerable to people coming from any side, including the Muslim side, where there's fervor. Fervor will conquer apathy. I don't see how the generation trained by the Ivy League is going to have the knowledge or the resolution to defend the West

Our cultural crisis is precisely that serious, says Dr. Paglia, who believes – as does Pope Benedict, one of the most cultured men on the planet – that we could well be reliving the last days of the Roman Empire.
" [ Kind of gives new meaning to the kids walking around dressed like Goths, doesn't it? -ed. ]

What Occupation?

"I have been screaming for years about the arab occupation of the berbers, coptics, kurds & yes JEWISH lands of the moab...

it's time to turn the scream "occupation sucks" back on the arabs, where it should be...

as we speak, israel is 1/650th of the middle east, and has 20% arabs

the arab occupied middle east (not counting turkey or iran, since turks and perisans are not arabs) is 649/650 of it's land mass..

how much is stolen?

where did the arabs COME FROM when they invaded in 640 ce
?" [ And don't forget Ethiopia... -ed. ]

What War?

"As the rubble of the Twin Towers smoldered in 2001, no one could have imagined a day when America's leaders would be criticized for being tough in protecting Americans from further acts of war.

Now, less than six years later, that day has arrived

Since Sept. 11, a conspiracy-minded fringe has claimed that American officials plotted the destruction. But when scholars such as Zbigniew Brzezinski accuse our leaders of falsely depicting or hyping a "war on terror" to promote a "culture of fear," it's clear that historical revisionism has gone mainstream

The Line In Eurabia's Sands?

"When the outcome of a tragedy is known in advance, it finds ways of occurring earlier than expected. In this case, the fate of 100,000 Serbian Christians who remain in Kosovo may pre-empt the debate over Europe's eventual absorption into the Muslim world. ... If Serbia and Russia draw a line in the sand over the independence of Kosovo, we may observe the second occasion in history when a Muslim advance on Europe halted on Serbian soil."