Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thinking Clearly About Global Terrorism

UPDATE: Hot Air has got an excellent running thread of updates, including this comment:

There have been six separate explosions at the Hotel Taj, apparently, and 10 separate attacks across the city in all, according to IBN. I would never have guessed that any terror group was capable of pulling this off, be it AQ, Hezbollah, or whoever.

Contemporary terrorism is widely recognized as a key manifestation of transnationalism in world politics. While we may see relatively localized or isolated insurgencies (FARC) or movements for national liberation (IRA), the types of attacks that have come to characterize the post-9/11 war on terror have all the hallmarks of non-state actors taking advantage of the network politics inherent in today's globalization.

I'm thinking about this with reference to today's terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. The New York Times
identifies the group claiming responsibility as "the Deccan Mujahedeen." With at least 75 people dead, the attacks are being called "particularly brazen and dramatically different in their scale and execution."

President-Elect Barack Obama had condemned the attacks. Unfortunately, some on the Democratic-left are not so serious in their appraisal of the nature of the current threats.

Apparently, the Bush administration warned today of
a possible terrorist threat to the New York subway system, to which Brilliant at Breakfast responded:

I just have one question: If George W. Bush has kept us safe, why do they need to try to scare people right before the holidays? Whether Bush likes it or not, he's still in charge until January 20.

The timing of yet another "nonspecific" warning to which we shouldn't react with alarm, right before a holiday, coinciding with
today's horrific attacks in Mumbai, and fast on the heels of media scrutiny given to the bailout of Citigroup, done on the weekend when no one was paying attention and right after one of Bush's Saudi buddies took a bigger stake in the company, is all too reminiscent of threats the Bushistas have done in the past when their doings were drawing attention.
The title of the essay is, "Happy Thanksgiving, Suckers!!"

Upon reading things like this from the radical netroots I must admit that Barack Obama has so far adopted a centrist approach to filling his cabinet. I know that his domestic policy proposals next year will be some of the most aggressively liberal seen in this country in decades, but if the administration hews to a realist model of international relations, all will not be lost (crossed fingers here).

Now, note something else about the globalized nature of terror I mentioned, from Sanjeewa Karunaratne,
at the Asian Tribune, which illustrates why the leftist thinking at Brilliant at Breakfast is potentially catastrophic:

Growing ... evidence suggests terrorist organizations share intelligence, technology, resources and training. Moreover, these organizations fully or partially fund their campaigns through arms, drugs trafficking, smuggling, piracy and other illegal activities. By nature, these activities involve systematic collaborations between groups operating in different geographical regions. These affiliations make terrorism, not localized, but a world-wide problem. Someone’s terrorist today is everybody’s terrorist ...

P.S.: It's not just radical netroots people who have no clue about the kind of resolve needed in today's world. See Joan Walsh for example, "I'm Grateful for Barack Obama":

Watching these scenes from Mumbai, I am a little more sympathetic to arguments that Obama needs experience and stability at Defense as he takes charge. But just a little. It would be wrong to let an ugly terror attack, wherever it occurs, shake our values and our commitment to a sane foreign and defense policy. We tried that seven years ago and look where it got us.
A little more experience? You think?

And what did it the last seven years "get us"?

Victory in Iraq and no attacks on the American homeland. But Walsh, like Brilliant at Breakfast and so many others, has no clue as to what's really happening in the world today, and what it takes to protect a nation while an arc of terror builds across the international architecture.


JR said...

Gee, I'm so glad that we elected Neville Chamberlain as the next POTUS

JD said...

I so look forward to marching in the victory parade after having spent 547 days of my life away from my family in Iraq!

shoprat said...

Obama's stupidity is as big of a guarantee of war as the election of any hawk. The Muzzies will recognize and take advantage of his weakness.

AmPowerBlog said...

I'm hoping Obama's really wised up a bit, Shoprat. Perhaps he'll really throw the netroots left under the bus.

Anonymous said...

The last 7 years has got us victory in Iraq and no attacks on American soil.

Attacks on American soil are so infrequent that you can count the number of incidents by foreign terrorists in the 20th and 21st centuries on one hand. Just because one hasn't happened since 2001 doesn't mean that we should rush to give credit to the Bush White House - the odds were on his side.

It's also a bit disingenuous to credit Bush with victory in Iraq, given that we didn't need to invade that country in the first place, and I have yet to what exactly "victory" in that war means.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Xian essentially implies it's all luck.


Prove it:

In the two decades leading up to 43, the United States and its allies were struck by a rising number of increasingly ambitious, aggressive, and deadly terrorist attacks. The hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985. The Berlin disco bombing in 1986. The Buenos Aires bombings in 1992 and 1994. The assassination of Kurdish exiles in Berlin in 1992. The World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The Paris subway bombings in 1995. The plots to attack New York monuments and Pacific Ocean jetliners in 1995. The Khobar Towers bombing in 1996. The East Africa embassy bombings in 1998. The USS Cole in 2000. 9/11.

Now compare that with the period since the largest Arab army in history was blitzed to bits in 20 days.

Since 2003, former state sponsors of terrorism have behaved much more cautiously. Libya, for instance, has retired from the business altogether. Where terrorism has existed outside the Middle East, it has steadily declined in both effectiveness and sophistication.

The Madrid bombing of 2004 was less sophisticated than 9/11. The London subway bombings in 2005 were less sophisticated than Madrid. And the plots foiled in Germany, in Canada, and at Heathrow Airport in the summer of 2006 were all less sophisticated than the London bombings.

The Mumbai Massacre notwithstanding.

As far as the casus belli for knocking out Iraq it might be best to remember those days - like when Great Britain wanted a 2nd resolution to invade. Then, suddenly - Great Britain reversed course and was ready to go. What happened?

The Manchester Ricin bust.

Most likely, a very strong case was made that one of Ba'Athist Iraq's "17 suitcases of Ricin" (as Sec Powell told the UN) made it to Great Britain.

Tactically, Iraq certainly has issues - strategically Iraqi Freedom provided cold rolled steel bona fides that Great Satan could go anywhere and do anything anytime she wanted and turned Iraq into a giant sucking killing machine for wannabe and pro jihadis, Iranian minion and Syrian agents.

It granted the entire ME the chance to touch and taste a caliphate (your choice the new school Iranian style or the chaotic old school Al Qaeda way) and gave the ME a real chance to consider prepping for this life instead of racing to the next.

Establishing a tiny baby democracy in the heart of the ME is not easy or fun. But a functional, tolerant, egalitarian society with a free, uncensored press, a military under civie control, transparent, periodic elections, a nat'l treasury under public scrutiny and an independent judiciary under elected gov oversight will solve more problems than it creates.

Hope this helps.

Ben Sutherland said...

Every time I read some stale apologia for why the years of the Bush Administration and the invasion of Iraq was some misunderstood vindication of American power, the more I remember why I swallowed my pride on regressive economic policy to bring some honest reflection on our failures in foreign policy. It gets old in a serious way listening to those who just can't face failure in policies they are invested go on and on pretending like policies that have clearly given substantial political oxygen to our enemies have somehow not have the consequences that most honest observers acknowledge they have had.

By the way, Publius, Neville Chamberlain was a conservative. And, in case noone has noticed, there are no Hitlers in the world, today. Pretending that there are gets just as annoying as listening to liberals screech about Depressions when we have a 6.5% unemployment rate. It's just stupid and dishonest argument.

What we need in an American president is someone who is willing to rethink how efforts that use diplomacy, as much as possible - kind of a no-brainer, really, for anyone who really cares about keeping Americans alive - greater collaboration between law enforcement and military efforts, that promote multilateral cooperation, as much as possible (though not as some kind of end, in-and-of-itself), so that our allies don't tell us to fuck off in our collective security efforts, which use every tool we have available to capture or kill terrorists who present clear and imminent threats to Americans and others which keep as many people alive, as possible, and don't rationalize abuse of American power, to help prevent future attacks like 9/11 and these in Mumbai.

Until conservatives can come clean on their foreign policy failures during this Administration - the single biggest attack on American soil, a poorly conceived, debated, and planned invasion that we all hope will pull out successfully, a more ambitious pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran than was the case 5years ago (a policy that has not just been ineffective, its been counterproductive, moving us backwards, not just at a standstill), 7 years of failure to capture the mastermind of 9/11, a war in Afghanistan that is in disrepair, even as it, as with Iraq, needs our sustained commitment - they deserve to keep losing elections where they seek responsibilities that they do not want to honestly take responsibility for except when everything goes well.

If all you can see is your successes, you're probably lying to yourself, no matter what you're doing. That is especially true in politics where bullshitting is more common than honest discussion and reflection.

This line gets old. If it can't end, look forward to more election losses. And more Americans dead.

In the meantime, the stakes are too high to keep bullshitting.

Anonymous said...

Whats the word i am looking for?

ohh thats it "Dellusional"

it just about sums up this post. I guess third rate academics need to have space to write. Kudos to the internet.

Keep convincing yourselves that 8 years of Bush is still the greatest thing that happened since sliced bread.

"victory in Iraq". I guess you're sorta right about that, considering that if Iraq wasn't invaded in the first place, there wouldn't be "victory" to talk about?

We wouldn't be talking about:
-the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, soldiers dead and wounded.
-The destruction of an entire country, that is now in ruins.
-Abu-ghairab prison scandals
-Guantanamo Bay
-false WMD strawman arguments
-trillions of dollars in spending on indiscriminate warfare at what cost?

Did I mention hundreds of thousands of lives lost?

I wonder what you bush appologists have to say to the relatives of those soldiers that got killed or maimed? I wonder what you will say to the thousands of Iraqi civilians that have lost Mothers, wives, children to your STUPIDITY?

I certainly hope that you people put your money where your mouths are, and send your own kids to fight your future wars. That way, you can take pride in the fact that your sons and daughters fought for Halliburton to have oil flowing from the middle-east to Cheneys' butt.

Now, here's when you pull out the "life was worse under Hussein" argument.

Ben Sutherland said...

For all of my problems with this Administration and its kick-ass-rather-than-take-intelligent-debate-and-discussion-seriously-because-thinking-is-hard-attitude, Anonymous...

Things are better than under Hussein.

The question was how could we have engaged this war so that as few Americans and Iraqis die as possible and so that we were on the up and up with the American people about what we were doing and why so we have the legitimate political support for a clearly legitimate political and military objective.

That required more debate and more thinking that the President and too many of his cheerleaders were willing to give.

And then they want to wallow in self-pity when everyone lets them drop. Boo fuckin' hoo. Learn the lesson. And don't kill Americans and Iraqis uselessly or pretend that you can't because it hurts your pride to admit that you could have and didn't. This is not about some stupid pride about what has already passes and lives already lost.

This is about saving lives for the future. And those lives are more important than our goddamn egos.

And those who cannot get that straight deserve to lose elections until they do. Even when you win and you carry that attitude, you deserve to lose. Which is why eventually you do. Because people figure that out, eventually.

The real loser is the person who can't take that hit and learn the lesson because their pride is more important to them than the lives of their countrymen.

If that is the case, do not expect others to listen.

And that sentiment is one of the most eminently American of all.

Anonymous said...

TO Anonymous: Understand why you didn't use your real name, when ripping on someone about third rate academics spell your opening point right. It's delusional, with one l.

Second look at your stats again, there is more running water, electricity, sewage, and updated infrastructure in Iraq then there ever has been. Your point is invalid about the country being in ruins.

Guantanamo, since you are so ready to shut it down, please let us know what you want to do with the "alledged terrorists" that are being held there currently. What is your proposal in their future? Just let it be down, 50 former captives have been killed or recaptured taking up weapons agains US soldiers in Iraq and Afganishtan since being released.

Not at all defending Bush, but if this new administration backs off at all on whats going on, we will have serious problems.

Really interested in your answers....should we grab a Starbucks and sit down and chat with them? Really would like to hear what truly "delusional" utopian lefties think will happen if we just start playing nice....Sure they will just leave us alone.

Anonymous said...

What would I like to do with "alleged terrorists"? If i had my way I would send them all over to your house for dinner.

"Second look at your stats again, there is more running water, electricity, sewage, and updated infrastructure in Iraq then there ever has been. Your point is invalid about the country being in ruins. "

haha yeh lets see some statistics? Convince me that this is true?

"Iraq's human development indicators are among the lowest in the Middle East, according to the World Bank. "

" In May 2006, there were less than ten hours of electricity per day nationwide; in Baghdad, that number dropped to below four hours a day. One neighborhood in central Baghdad had no power for over a month, according to a June 6 cable (PDF) sent by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, made public by the Washington Post. "

"How does current power generation compare with the Saddam era?

Experts say power disruptions and brownouts also occurred under Saddam but that service is even less reliable now. "There's no question that [power outages] are worse now," says a UN development official, who would only speak on condition of anonymity. After the first Gulf War, when U.S. planes shelled Iraqi power stations and disrupted much of the country's electricity grid, Saddam's government acted relatively quickly to restore service, especially in Baghdad. "

Please please please, give me some "statistics", that indicates Iraq is now raging with electricity and basic human needs that didn't exist before the invasion.

Anonymous said...

And Jake, since you're such an expert in history. Can you please give me some evidence that there was a culture of hate for the West, say before the last 60 years, when the West started manipulating the region for its own interests?

Lets see if you can demonstrate that this pervasive hatred for the West that now exists (thanks to people like you.......and other colonialist and imperialists), had also existed before the onset of meddling in middle-eastern affairs.

Unknown said...

Pakistan is the hot bed of Jihadi Terror. Whether it was 9/11, or Nuclear leak to Iran, war in Afghanisatan, it has been aiding and abetting terrorism. The world has been fooled by the double speak of its government and Miltary. ISI is the root of global terrorism.

When will the world see the truth and get rid off the root cause of terrorism!

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear here that pakistan is a "terrorist state" and never have any illusion that it is going to be any different.We have made a grave blunder by suggesting in the international fora that "Pakistan is also a victim of terror." We should stop interviewing leaders from that country who mouth the same inanities that "you have not produced any proof."Let us not fall into the trap of providing proof to the culprits. More than 100 acts/attempts of terror recorded in the world since 9/11 have had their roots in Pakistan. More than 40% of the prisoners in Guantanamo are Pakistanis.

We should categorically, unambiguously, unequivocally boycott Pakistan in all aspects for a decade or more. Pakistan is the only territory in the world where an army has a whole country under its control. The state policy of Pakistan is terrorism and their single-point programme of existence is to destroy India.

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