January 09, 2005

The New Stalingrad

The more hysterical doom-mongers among us predicted Baghdad would become the new Stalingrad. Obviously it did not…except in a way it did, sort of.

Terry Barnich explains in Tech Central Station:
In [Osama bin Laden’s] newest tape he has demanded that Iraqis refrain from voting in the upcoming elections and has declared those who do exercise the franchise to be apostates. In effect he has confirmed that what is really going on is an Islamic civil war. Bin Laden's vision of a restored caliphate and a resurrection of Saddam's fascistic absolutism are at war with acceptance of the need to reconcile Islam to modernity.

In contrast, Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, believes in consent of the governed. There is no in between in that struggle. And on that score the issue should now be settled for Americans of all stripes.

It may once have been correct to claim that Iraq was not strategically significant. But neither were the fields at Waterloo, Gettysburg or Stalingrad until the contending armies met in those places. By accident or political design, insignificant places become enduring historical names. How strange that in his own twisted way bin Laden would align with Bush on the strategic importance of Iraq in waging this civil war.
UPDATE: Let me put it another way, inspired by a discussion in the comments. If the US had invaded, say, Bolivia - Osama bin Laden would have completely ignored it. And those who would have claimed invading Bolivia had nothing to do with the Terror War would have been correct.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 9, 2005 11:46 PM

Comments

How strange that in his own twisted way bin Laden would align with Bush on the strategic importance of Iraq in waging this civil war.

It sounds strange because he's got it the wrong way round.

Bin Laden did not align with Bush.

In their own deluded way, Bush and the neo-cons have aligned with Bin Laden. Bin Laden wanted to get rid of Saddam too, Bin Laden wanted US troops out of Saudi Arabia. Yes, he now has what he wishes - another battleground and more instability in the Middle East. Hence the increase in terrorism, and the price of oil, since the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 10, 2005 01:44 AM

Benjamin,

You misunderstood the writer's use of "align."

What he meant is that both Bush and bin Laden agree that Iraq is a strategic lynchpin in this war. If the US had invaded, say, Bolivia - Osama bin Laden would have completely ignored it. And those who would have claimed invading Bolivia had nothing to do with the Terror War would have been correct.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 10, 2005 02:13 AM

"What he meant is that both Bush and bin Laden agree that Iraq is a strategic lynchpin in this war."

Which we're not doing too well in. I certainly hope the elections go well and that the US is taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of voters and polling places, but not much so far in the occupation leads me to think that that's the case.

"If the US had invaded, say, Bolivia - Osama bin Laden would have completely ignored it. And those who would have claimed invading Bolivia had nothing to do with the Terror War would have been correct."

Well, in retrospect it probably would have been better for US interests if we hadn't invaded anywhere. I'm sure that the rotten leaders in Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia are looking at Iraq and sleeping better at night, the US just doesn't have the force available to occupy and reform, despite our impressive abilities in bombing.

"Bin Laden's vision of a restored caliphate and a resurrection of Saddam's fascistic absolutism are at war with acceptance of the need to reconcile Islam to modernity."

I'm sorry, this makes no sense at all, Bin Laden wants to restore an agressively secular dictatorship?????

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 10, 2005 04:03 AM

Michael -

You are dead on here - you have defined the stakes and the motivations for the parties concerned in the conflict in a succinct and logical fashion, while the immediate two comments in response stand out for what they are - carping about price while ignoring the stakes of successfully accomplishing the aims of the strategy.

We can't (won't, actually, but that's a topic for another day) kill all the terrorists. Not with the breeding curve living within the closed cycle of despotism, ignorance, and despair of the core Muslim countries. The end objective of the Bush Doctrine is to drain the swamp from which the disaffected flow out to do battle with Western Civilization. Not to establish puppetmasters we can control but instead to foster governments that are responsible to those they govern. In doing so, we petri dish and end up with world neighbors we can live with.

Free nations tend not to make war on their neighbors. Where have we heard that?

So we bleed and spend to see Iraq a free nation. This is not a decision made in a vacuum; way back in ancient times there were two other nations that were forced into democracy - industrialized, aggressive world powers that crossed oceans to attack us where we lived. One of those nations is an ally and a partner today while the other... the other is at least not in the empire business. Both of those outcomes are preferrable to the situations that existed before.

If we want to look for something to feel guilty about our dealings with the Arab world I believe that allowing ourselves to seek stability over positive change toward liberalization and democratic institutions scores much higher than anything else on the menu. What are we really guilty of, besides paying their price for their only exportable commodity and turning our face away from the misery of their populations? We are paying for that now.

What's behind the social progressives' loathing of our efforts, post 9/11? Really? Could it be that fostering liberal western ideals isn't valid under the leadership of the wrong party? We've got Bushitler leading the party of biblethumpers, homophobes, and capitalist Ghengis Khans leading a world war to transform a third of the world into free market, rule of law democracies.

Is it remotely possible that the election trends of the last thirty years represent honest public support and tangible successful performance on the part of conservative government philosophy, and not merely stolen elections or in'grant voters acting against their own interests? Is embracing the exceptionalism of American democracy all that moronic?

The Arab world is in cusp; they must embrace some very new and foreign ideas in order to compete and coexist on the world stage. Western big "L" liberals are facing a similar situation but haven't quite come to grips with the concept yet.

Without oil to sell, the heartland of Muslim power would be an ecotour destination. A tribal culture built around shame, chattel slavery of women and minors, and religious orthodoxy that incites murder would have been marginalized long before now were it not for the geologic accident that placed them atop a sea of oil. The actions of 9/11 tipped the scale past the point we could ignore the products of such a culture and such a creed. The fight is here and now. In the absence of progressive will to fight for a free Arab world we are doing the best we can.

Western liberal elites can't seem to prosper in a system where the electorate exercises close oversight on government power. Judicial fiat has been the chosen avenue for implementing left agendas for decades; the next four years will see that last avenue of back-door legislating narrowed down considerably.

There is no bright spot on the electoral horizon for Democrats in either the legislative or executive branches - especially if by some wholly random accident Iraq should rise as a democracy and lead a wave of change in the Muslim world across the mideast and beyond. Could that possibility be at the root of the objections to this war we are fighting?

Who are the liberals here? Really?

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 05:48 AM

The disaster that is now taking place is that Bin Laden is basically winning. This is unforgivable. Read the new Stratfor piece for details, or, even more devastating - Ali Hasan's editorial "The Republic of Fear Lives On", reprinted in The New Republic(sample quote: "Before liberation we were only afraid of Saddam's people. But today the list is long").
Many on the Right seem to be losing the will to stick it out. The most common new "meme" I hear from isolationist conservatives is "well, we have Saddam, we destroyed their WMD, so we're done. Why put our boys at risk to help ungrateful Arab fanatics? F*** 'em all." Those of us who understood the necessity for the invasion of Iraq, but felt that Bush/Rumsfeld were clearly the wrong people for the job are unfortunately looking more justified all the time.

Posted by: Vanya at January 10, 2005 05:48 AM

Those of us who understood the necessity for the invasion of Iraq, but felt that Bush/Rumsfeld were clearly the wrong people for the job are unfortunately looking more justified all the time.

Vanya,

please back that up. Your quoted comments from paleo-cons who never had the will in the first place doesn't say anything about Bush and Rumsfeld.

Posted by: David at January 10, 2005 06:01 AM

The situation is turning into a cruel farce.

We got Allawi holding press conferences amid rigid security. God knows what his protection is like, or how much it's costing. The Green Zone is fortified and armed to the hilt.

Allawi bleats that elections will be held on time. No one belives him now - its utter fantasy. Registration levels are low. If people turn out to vote they risk being slaughtered. Who is Allawi kidding? Himself?

Posted by: Benjamin at January 10, 2005 06:03 AM

Vanya,

Where in the world are you that you are hearing "well, we have Saddam, we destroyed their WMD, so we're done. Why put our boys at risk to help ungrateful Arab fanatics? F*** 'em all." as well as gleening that the conservatives are losing the will to stick it out? I think that you are putting on, and I dare you to point the way to an honest, conservative who would make that statement.

And when, pray tell, have the leftists EVER thought about sticking it out? - OR given anyone a break about being in Iraq in the first place? I have to agree with TmjUtah in that if this war were put while the Dem's were in office there wouldn't be the sour grapes.

Da Pope

Posted by: DaPope at January 10, 2005 06:23 AM

Da Pope,

Just the other day Coble ®, a Congressman from NC publicly called for the troops to leave. Many voices in the National Review - Derbyshire for one - have been inching towards the "let's pull out" position for a while. Many influential behind the scenes members of the Bush clan have always been dubious about the war, and now feel justified (Scrowcroft, Baker, probably GHW Bush).And my in-laws and their friends from Central PA seem to be headed in the same direction.
In my experience "Blue State" conservatives tend to be enthusiastically pro-war - these are often highly educated professional types. They understand the larger strategic rationale for the war, don't think Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11, and they are able to develop highly sophistated arguments for rationalizing away setbacks. "Red State" conservatives, like my in-laws, are not as highly educated, less sophisticated, but really seem to be tiring of the war. A lot of these people are having a very hard time seeing the point anymore, other than to kick Iraqi ass. Since the point of the war, I thought, was to build a pro-Western democratic Iraq, the growth of anti-Iraqi resentment among most Americans is not heartening.
I think if the Dems were running this show the conservatives would be a lot more honest about the mess we've made of the occupation, and the long term damage this is doing to the war on terror.

Posted by: Vanya at January 10, 2005 07:21 AM

Allawi bleats that elections will be held on time. No one belives him now - its utter fantasy. Registration levels are low. If people turn out to vote they risk being slaughtered. Who is Allawi kidding? Himself? --Benjamin

This is truly HOPELESS.Defeatist leftists such as Benjamin offer nothing but weeping,wailing,and gnashing of teeth.I will make you a deal Benjamin,you effete immoralist----
If the Iraqi election is postponed,or the turnout is low(under 60%),or the results are not inherently 'democratic' I will never post here again.On the other hand,if it is you who has your head firmly planted in your a**,and the election goes off as advertised,then you must forever hit the road and never darken this cyber-doorstep again.
I figure either way I win,in that I never again have to read your annoying drivel.Life is way way way too short,and my blood pressure can't handle the aggravation.
Agreed?

Posted by: dougf at January 10, 2005 07:58 AM
I'm sorry, this makes no sense at all, Bin Laden wants to restore an agressively secular dictatorship?????

There's no such thing as a "secular" dictatorship. All tyranies have a religion all of their own. Fidel, Chairman Mao, Saddam, the Party, Dear Leader, all are Gods of their respective regimees. Even in OBLs dream world, it is he who is the mouth of god on earth, which is next best thing (if not better) than being one.

Clearly OBL would much rather have an Islamacist religion in charge of Iraq rather than a Baathist one. But so long as the boot is on the face, so much the better. So long as people are on their knees, it's a start.

Posted by: Bill at January 10, 2005 08:06 AM

I've never worked in a successful organization that was lead by a cynic.

An inability to see opportunity beyond a challenge is crucial in effective leadership.

Not much of that quality over there on the left these days.

Vanya -

"A lot of these people are having a very hard time seeing the point anymore, other than to kick Iraqi ass."

I'm not "a lot" people, then. I understood the resolution to finish Gulf War1 was justified in equal parts by the Hussein regime's non-compliance with the U.N. armistice and subsequent WMD resolutions and the necessity for us to prosecute terrorism in the regions that bred it. If it were simply about "kicking Iraqi ass" and I was "most people", I guess I should have been satisfied with a week's worth of strike video on empty camps and buildings, accompanied by a bowl of tasty popcorn.

"Since the point of the war, I thought, was to build a pro-Western democratic Iraq, the growth of anti-Iraqi resentment among most Americans is not heartening."

Some Iraqis, in some cases abetted or even directed by foreign influences, are killing our troops as they attempt to carry out the policy we enacted at the beginning of this conflict. Where's the problem with being unhappy with those Iraqis? If our arbiters of truth in the media devoted as much time to ALL the activities in Iraq to include schools, local governments, hospitals, and infrastructure improvements instead of just those incidents that bleed maybe the "most people" that don't get their news from anywhere else but MSM would have a little different take than you characterize here. You would almost think there was an agenda at work here someplace.


"I think if the Dems were running this show the conservatives would be a lot more honest about the mess we've made of the occupation, and the long term damage this is doing to the war on terror."

I believe the Democrat party as it exists today is structurally incapable of any meaningful employment of force as an instrument of U.S. policy if such employment had to be justified or could be reasonably perceived as based primarily upon our national interest. The party is defined by its outliers. Zell Miller was right - they are a national party no more, and a confederation of niche agendas competing for power for the sake of implementing those pet causes at the exclusion of the responsibilities of the offices they seek to obtain is not a formula for a strong, united, republic.

Not even a survivable one, when it gets down to it. When it was just an internal case of wasting money by the boatload and even damaging the fabric of our society, we could afford to try the next new thing. With the advent of an acknowledged shooting war and an enemy who by definition is the antithesis of all we hold dear, a slim majority of the country seems to have retained enough historical perspective to understand that good and evil do exist, and that some evil cannot be dealt with other than by force of arms and victory.

A pleasure to disagree, of course.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 08:36 AM

Which we're not doing too well in.

Cripes. Let's see: we've eliminated Saddam's government, freed about as many people as lived in WWII Germany, stopped the massacres by the Ba'ath, stopped the Oil-for-Food scam, we're about to have real elections (about three years faster than we did in occupied Europe or Japan), the Iraqis seem determined to actually vote, we've blocked major lines of communications for the Islamists (look at a map, see what recoloring Iraq does), Libya rolled over (exposing AQ Khan), and we've done it with about as many casualties as we had in training accidents before D-Day.

Just what the fuck would constitute "going well"?

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at January 10, 2005 09:31 AM

"I've never worked in a successful organization that was lead by a cynic."

The invasion of Iraq was a pretty cynical ploy.

"An inability to see opportunity beyond a challenge is crucial in effective leadership."

What if we'd spent a quarter of what we've spent on Iraq in shoring up democracy and civil society in a) Afghanistan (the whole country, not just Kabul) b) Tunisia (probably the closest Arab country to something like civil society at present) and c) Turkey (problematic but mostly moving in the right direction and needs all the secular help it can get)
I think that money would have been much better spent and would have had a much greater effect on the longterm goal, which is not after all militaristic, but rather social and political.

I'd love to see a secular, civil, democratic society in Arab countries, I want that so bad I almost supported the invasion, mainly wavering because I was sure that Bush and company didn't have the first idea about what to do after the invasion toppled Saddam (in other words, they had no idea how to win the peace after the initial big military conflict ended) I don't think I've been proved wrong yet.

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 10, 2005 10:01 AM

Colorado Charlie: Just what the fuck would constitute "going well"?

Well, just off the top of my head, governors not being assassinated, Bradleys not being taken out by roadside bombs, entire electoral commissions not having to resign out of fear of being assassinated, and troops being able to sit down and eat a meal without worrying about being blown up.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 10:04 AM

What he meant is that both Bush and bin Laden agree that Iraq is a strategic lynchpin in this war.

Yes, and so was Paaschendale, but it still wasn't the best decision the British ever made.

I agree that we've made Iraq important. I don't agree that it was important before we invaded it.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 10, 2005 10:22 AM

Double plus and others have no sense of history. World War 2 has scarred our nation. Few seem to realize how unique a war it really was.

Why weren't Japanese civilians and former soldiers shooting at US soldiers in Japan, and US "puppets"? Because the existing authority had told them not to. Oh, and yeah, we had dropped two atomic bombs on them to get their attention.

Why didn't the Germans perform as many attacks as the Werewolves were supposed to have done? Because they were scared of the Russians more than us. They knew that the Russians would NEVER leave, while the Americans would at some point. They knew that attacking the Americans would ensure that the Russians took over Germany as a whole. Hence, no serious level of attacks on US troops. That was a fluke, based on unique historical circumstances. Its not the general pattern at all, far from it.

You know what the KKK was? It was a Confederate resistance group that eventually realized that it couldn't win against the Union. It tried, and realized that the North had no problems cracking down hard on them, unlike us today.

Wake up. For the reality of today, things are going well. Not perfect, far from it, but well.

Posted by: FH at January 10, 2005 10:30 AM

Double plus and others have no sense of history. World War 2 has scarred our nation. Few seem to realize how unique a war it really was.

Not true. I'm a WWII history junkie, and had two parents that lived through their cities being bombed by the Germans.

But what does WW II have to do with Iraq? They're completely different situations.

Wake up. For the reality of today, things are going well. Not perfect, far from it, but well.

I'm afraid that this is wishful thinking. According to this administration's pre-invasion standards, it's going very badly.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 10:53 AM

Double plus ungood makes the key point: "According to this administration's pre-invasion standards, it's going very badly." This is what I find infuriating about Bush apologists (as opposed to Conservatives). The invasion of Iraq has not been an unimitigated disaster - our willingness to use force does seem to be paying dividends in Syria, Libya, Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. Still, I don't see how you can deny that the actual occupation of Iraq is going much worse than the Administration anticipated. This is excusable, what is not excusable is the stubborness of this Administration and its unwillingness to hold anyone, Rumsfeld in particular, accountable. I find this troubling, apparently many other people are so scared of the liberal bogeyman that they are willing to put up with any amount of tripe from Bush & co.

Posted by: Vanya at January 10, 2005 11:08 AM

"But what does WW II have to do with Iraq? They're completely different situations."

How about a militant, ascendant philosophy lead by a cult- of- personality whose published objective was the destruction of existing world order with the aim of establishing a universal totalitarian regime based equally on the literal translation of a dark ages mysticism? A movement demonstrably willing and even eager to employ whatever weapon or atrocity within their grasp in order to achieve their ends?

You don't see some small parallels here? Just what do you think was the root cause of WW2?

This is rich.

I'll tell you the most important difference between this conflict and WW2, and for free: the Axis powers never signed a treaty they honored until they signed the last one with a stick of charcoal from their capital city.

If there is an error in our strategy, it may be in allowing our yearning for a humane way to wage war to have colored our employment of force. If it is truly a fact that our enemy transcends "fundamentalists" and instead encompasses "Muslims", then we have to publicly and aggressively change our target set and proceed from there. This is the fourth world war. We do ourselves no favors by refusing to name the enemy.

What's that you say? "We can't take on a billion people?"

Who are they to think they can take on three or four billion of us? We are done being the soft target and bloody safety valve of Arab/Muslim paranoia, ignorance, and despair. If we are following an ineffective strategy, just wait for the enemy to write a check for a chemical, bio, or nuke weapon. As in all wars, we'll pay for the mistake and then hopefully make the adjustment.

The elections in Iraq are vital, but far more for the future of the Arab world than any mere domestic political contest here.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 11:13 AM
From a Stratfor analysis, quoted by Sullivan today:
The issue facing the Bush administration is simple. It can continue to fight the war as it has, hoping that a miracle will bring successes in 2005 that didn't happen in 2004. Alternatively, it can accept the reality that the guerrilla force is now self-sustaining and sufficiently large not to flicker out and face the fact that a U.S. conventional force of less than 150,000 is not likely to suppress the guerrillas. More to the point, it can recognize these facts: 1. The United States cannot re-engineer Iraq because the guerrillas will infiltrate every institution it creates. 2. That the United States by itself lacks the intelligence capabilities to fight an effective counterinsurgency. 3. That exposing U.S. forces to security responsibilities in this environment generates casualties without bringing the United States closer to the goal. 4. That the strain on the U.S. force is undermining its ability to react to opportunities and threats in the rest of the region. And that, therefore, this phase of the Iraq campaign must be halted as soon as possible.
I find #4 horrifying. Simply pulling out of Iraq is going to create such a chaotic situation that the whole country may turn into a giant terrorist nest. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 11:14 AM

If we were discussing a war between two countries, governments or even organized groups, I would agree with your post Michael.

However, we're dealing with a decentralized, disordered group of fanatics. We're dealing with a death-culture, where the individual has no sense of self-preservation, no concern for personal safety (nor for the safety of their family). We are dealing with gurellias, who have no true command structure.

In history, wars that have 'lynchpin' battles, have been wars that were conducted between two or more organized groups. In WWII, we would win, if we could bomb Germany and Japan into submission. There is no Germany or Japan to bomb in this instance.

In Gurellia/Terror wars, history has not supported your comparison. There was no battle or set of battles that caused the Vikings to end their reign of Terrorism. There was no set of battles that weakened the Hashishem, only a direct assult on their physical fortress damaged their power. The IRA didn't crumple under lynchpin battles, they got what they wanted for the most part and formed somewhat equitable agreements with their enemy.

I would love to see Al Queda dismantled, I would be very glad to see a kinder, more gentle Islam take the helm. I would like to see America WIN the WoT.

However, I think that the constant comparisons to traditional warfare is simply circlejerking. The enemy is different, their goals, methods, ideology , organizational structure and view of life are different than anyone we faced in WWII, WWI, Korea, Vietnam, etc etc etc.

It may be because supporters of the War want to be positive, they want to see good in the situation, they want to see signs that we're winning. I hope that they are right, but the logic seems faulty.

The War in Iraq, may be important to the War on Terror if we lose. However, I think that winning in Iraq (whatever 'winning' may get defined as), will do little to hurt Bin Laden's loosly kint group of thugs. If we flee Iraq, with IED's at our heels, they have a stunning victory and the US loses huge amounts of credibility. If we stay until there is stability in Iraq, then we're a recruiting poster for Islamic nihilists everywhere.

A lynchpin victory is one in which the loser has to re-examine his risk. Germany and Japan had to weigh the costs and decide if there was any Win scenario. Once they no longer find any scenario wherein they win and every scenario wherein they lose terribly and take heavy casualities, then the head of the organized chain of leadership will surrender (or have some sort of suicidal last stand).

Bin Laden has none of these concerns. Every scenario can be a win for him, either by proving that he can take on the US, or as great PR for how the West is destroying the Muslim people. He doesn't care if we kill 5, 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 people. After all, immediate rewards in the afterlife makes dying an easy choice.

The people that we're killing (and he's preaching to) aren't his men (for the most part). If anything, they're cheap recruits. Bin Laden, it seems, is taking advantage of the situation in Iraq to further his cause. He can produce a cheap tape and convince perhaps 100, 1000, 2000 Iraqis to attack Americans. If there are only 2 or 3 sucessful attacks, he wins. He's not investing anything, he's not risking anything.

If the murder of the governor of Baghdad was inspired by Bin Ladens cheap VHS cassette, then he won big... on that attack alone.

I know that I always argue these (or similar points). Some of you probably consider me a leftist, socialist or at the least and anti-war-anything-but-bush person. That's not why I make these points though. If we are going to win against Bin Laden, I think we must not make the mistake of misjudging who we're fighting. Comparing this to fighting Nazis is exactly the sort of logic that will get us creamed.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 11:59 AM

Michael is intelligent enough to understand that the nationwide election is a pivot point--a point of inflection. The more leftward tending posters don't seem to comprehend.

But since they are irrelevant to what actually happens in the world, it matters not what they fail to comprehend. Leftists had their 75 years of "coulda been a contender." Now they fade left into the moonlit batness of oblivion.

But the Iraqis after the election have an opportunity to put an Iraqi face on the euthanasia of the Baathists and their Wahabi partners in bloody mayhem. Syria is due some major payback as well.

Posted by: Mobetta at January 10, 2005 12:06 PM

I know that I always argue these (or similar points). Some of you probably consider me a leftist, socialist or at the least and anti-war-anything-but-bush person. That's not why I make these points though. If we are going to win against Bin Laden, I think we must not make the mistake of misjudging who we're fighting. Comparing this to fighting Nazis is exactly the sort of logic that will get us creamed.--Tosk

Thanks.An honourable argument.I even find myself somewhat agreeing with the gist of this statement.This is exactly the type of informed dissent that the 'opposition'is expected to deliver in time of national crisis.
This is so much different than the usual suspects who on the one hand do nothing but criticise the effort,make light of any successes,and in every way,act constantly to undermine resolve ,while on the other hand professing themselves 'horrified' that the US might simply kiss Iraq goodbye as the 'home-front'morale collapses.
Golly wonder what effect on morale they think their one-sided defeatism is having?Or do they think it through at all?
Thanks,tosk.

Posted by: dougf at January 10, 2005 12:14 PM

Golly wonder what effect on morale they think their one-sided defeatism is having?Or do they think it through at all?

I had no idea that my humble commentary had such awesome morale-destroying powers, Doug, thanks so much for alerting me. I henceforth pledge that under my new alter-ego "SuperCommenter" I will only use my morale-shaping powers for purposes of goodness and niceness. From this day on, I will only note the good things in Iraq so as to prevent a bug-out in Iraq. America, disregard my previous negativity.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 12:28 PM

"Michael is intelligent enough to understand that the nationwide election is a pivot point--a point of inflection"

For Iraq, perhaps. For the War on Terror? I'm not sure how anyone can make that jump. A election in Iraq is meaningless to those who wish to see it so. If the election goes badly, the US gets a black eye, if it goes well, then it becomes yet another example of the Western Influence destroying Islamic traditions.

Either way Bin Laden gets a smile.

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 12:29 PM

From this day on, I will only note the good things in Iraq so as to prevent a bug-out in Iraq. America, disregard my previous negativity.--DPU

Somewhat arrogant to believe that my post referred to you specifically,but I welcome your promise of reform in any event.
Thanks much.I am sure the world will be a better place now that you have seen the light.

Posted by: dougf at January 10, 2005 12:35 PM

Somewhat arrogant to believe that my post referred to you specifically,but I welcome your promise of reform in any even.

It was your clever and ironic noting of my comment professing horrification that tipped me off.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 12:42 PM

I reread the original article over at Tech Central, and I still can't wrap my brain around some of the points Terry is trying to make.

The first paragraph seems to state that there may not have been good reason to invade Iraq (as it related to the WoT etc). In fact, the first paragraph seems to say that "Initially, the anti-invasion people were right. We weren't fighting the WoT, we were invading Iraq."

Then that gets followed right up with a "But, Bin Laden took the bait and NOW it counts."

To me, that sounds very bad. To me, the article might make one wonder if Bush didn't cause a big shitstorm in Iraq as a gambit to get Bin Laden... a gambit where possibly tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died. Thats not a good idea to promote.

Does anyone here really think that Bush was so desperate to get Bin Laden that he invaded Iraq, hoping that Bin Laden would engage him? I don't like the guy, but surely GWB wouldn't be that amoral.

Now, we wander into the rest of the article.

Terry bases the entire argument on the recent video where Bin Laden tells Iraqis not to vote in the election, or they will be considered apostate. Terry catalogues this as an admission of Civil War. However, if we examine Bin Laden's past messages, rants, commands etc, we find that he always uses strong rhetoric, he always demands... its his oratorial style. Bin Laden is Wahabi, most of Iraq is Sunni or Shia, very few are Wahabi, in fact, Iraqis have never really shown much interest in Wahabbism. Bin Laden already considers them apostate. (just as an extremely Fundamentalist Christian might see the more liberal Christians who accept gays, are pro-life etc.).

I still contend that Bin Laden is a oppurtunist when it comes to the situation in Iraq. I fear, that instead of the battleground that we see, it's only a recruiting ground that Bin Laden sees.

And I think Terry needs to take less leaps of logic.

But, I could be wrong.

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 12:59 PM

As long as the term "honorable argument" has been raised, I'd like to offer up some observations:

"It can continue to fight the war as it has, hoping that a miracle will bring successes in 2005 that didn't happen in 2004."

Was this arugment ever proposed in 1942? I don't think so. The tone of that statement implies across the board failure - a vacuum of any progress or success. We are on a battlefield, not a track meet.

"The people that we're killing (and he's preaching to) aren't his men (for the most part). If anything, they're cheap recruits. Bin Laden, it seems, is taking advantage of the situation in Iraq to further his cause. He can produce a cheap tape and convince perhaps 100, 1000, 2000 Iraqis to attack Americans. If there are only 2 or 3 sucessful attacks, he wins. He's not investing anything, he's not risking anything."

The last part of that sentence means what? He wins what?

Bin Ladin isn't the be- all/end- all objective. He's a high profile leadership target, yes, and somebody who needs to be hunted down. He's a symptom of a systemic infection, which brings us back to the necessity we end the cycle that breeds people like him and his supporters.

Getting back to the insurgency in Iraq and our ability to quell it:

The question is not if 150K Americans can do the job. The real challenge is if 25 million Iraqis can find it in themselves to self govern, which includes provide for their own internal security.

How long did the french hang out after Yorktown? I believe they enjoyed seeing the British hurt and embarassed in losing their colonies... but they surely didn't hang out to change our diapers for the next decade.

They had interests that coincided with those of the nascent United States. When our interests diverged they saw fit to invest their resources elsewhere. After the war we were too weak to pose a direct threat to french interests and represented a grateful trading partner and thorn in England's side for the foreseeable future.

A democratic Iraq compounds the diffuculty facing the Wahhabists and the mullahs. We don't need, nor do we want, a militant Iraq bent on territorial conflicts with their neighbors. It will be enough to have a functioning society that embraces a WORKABLE (not necessarily Jefforsonian or even contemporary American)democratic model for the Iraqi citizenry.

Conflict is not defeat. And for anyone to think for one moment that conflict, and pain and loss, is not going to be an unpleasant companion for the next slice of the future as we work toward ending this threat, and out of hand declares the existence of that conflict as evidence of defeat, writes off about four thousand years of precedent in how wars are fought and won.

That's a lot of hubris. Or just plain dishonesty. It matters little which it is; neither motivation changes the reality of the threat before us.

Ratatosk, somebody tried to white- out the comparison between this struggle and World War 2.

This enemy is much, much more odius than the Nazis ever where. I didn't say they were the same. I said that certain philosophical aspects were common to both threats.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 01:20 PM

Conflict is not defeat.

What are your standards for assessing how things are going in Iraq right now?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 01:31 PM

tmjutah said:

quoting tosk: "The people that we're killing (and he's preaching to) aren't his men (for the most part). If anything, they're cheap recruits. Bin Laden, it seems, is taking advantage of the situation in Iraq to further his cause. He can produce a cheap tape and convince perhaps 100, 1000, 2000 Iraqis to attack Americans. If there are only 2 or 3 sucessful attacks, he wins. He's not investing anything, he's not risking anything."

The last part of that sentence means what? He wins what?

Here is the meaning I was trying to get across.

1. We are NOT fighting Bin Laden in Iraq. In fact, it appears as though we are fighting a combination of ex-Baathists, Iraqi insurgents, new recruits for Al Queda, and new Islamic cells that are seem to be building loose alliances with Bin Laden (or at least Lip Service).

2. For Iraq to be a lynchpin, then something very important must be on the table for both parties. I have yet to see what Bin Laden stands to lose if we win Iraq. He's not losing popularity (in fact, he seems to be gaining in some Islamic areas), most of the people caught or killed seem to be new recruits, forgin fighters (that may or may not be directly part of Al Q) or local insurgents. Now, many of these may now consider themselves part of the Bin Laden team, but they don't affect his bottom line.

In this specific instance, we actually saw a terrorist attack. Bin Laden invoked terror by releasing a video tape encouraging Iraqis to kill interim government members, Americans or sympathizers. This is how terrorists do battle. That video was as much a battleground as Gettysburg.

So what are the win/lose scenarios?

Bin Laden Win - His return on investment has to be in the positive. His rewards have to be more than the risk.

US Win - Stop the investment from providing any return to Bin Laden.

In this case, OBL made a videotape. On a scale of one to ten, making a video (and getting it played on television) is probably a risk of two. There's little to no physical danger, it doesn't really increase the likelyhood of capture and it doesn't provide any key information for the enemy. All in all a Low Risk.

So, One suicide bomber, inspired by the video, at the gates of the Green Zone, kills 2 Americans.

Compared to:

Bin Laden and his buddies run another entry for "Arabs Scariest Home Videos".

Do the risk calculation and tell me who wins. Then extrapolate it out. Say 5, 10, 15, 200 suicide bombers are inspired by the video.

Who wins the battle?

The only way in which the US could have won that particular battle, would be to completely silence Bin Laden (make sure the tape never gets played, or even heard about). Thats the only scenario in this particular battle that would grant the US a win. Every other scenario is Good for OBL.

Thus, in my view, as long as we continue to think of battles as firefights and of winning as treaties, we are missing half the war.

And missing half the war has a lot of pretty big Risk Factors.

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 02:00 PM

Michael:

Is Bolivia located in the very center of Islamic culture, tradition, and history?

You're smarter than stupid analogies like this.

Had he invaded Jordan or Morocco or Egypt, it would have drawn a similar response.

Posted by: Geek, Esq. at January 10, 2005 02:08 PM

I see a crucial phaseline approaching in the form of the elections.

The Iraqi people were told they would have general elections in January. The "man in the street" may or may not welcome us, but to say that they automatically embrace the forces of the insurgency would be ridiculous.

They have no cultural experience with freedom. They know all about the rule of the bullet. They remember 1991.

They read our papers and watch our TV.

At some point the Iraqis are going to have to decide who will stand with them. All they hear from our media is that we've failed. All they see on Al Jazeera is that it's a Zionist plot. What they see in their neighborhood depends a lot on where they live... but whereever they are in the country, they see coalition troops conducting patrols, contractors attempting build infrastructure, aid agencies training local governments in this new and strange thing called democracy...

I'd say we are in round four of a scheduled ten rounder if I had to put a metaphor on it.

DPU, I lost my first personally known victims to state- sponsored Islamist terror in 1983. I served in the same batallion with a StaffNCO alumni of the Tehran hostage group who showed us where he'd been cut open and "investigated" by his captors. I spent the nineties watching my elected federal government bend over backward to avoid addressing the threat of international Islamic terror.

My family was supposed to be in the air on the east coast on 9/11.

I believe that for a pivitol battlefield Iraq is not nearly as calamitous a place as we would be led to believe. You win battles by accomplishing objectives, and the coming election fits in that column. This is not a war that will be won with a hill taken or a city fallen - this war will end when the populations of that part of the world determine that their interest lies in pursuing their own interests and granting others the same privilege - as a right.

Bin Laden "winning"; that's a crock. Why is it when a splodeydope vaporizes a busload of ING recruits it's "winning" when we can stack up a few thousand of them in the course of a week? What's the standard here, DPU? We have objectives we are trying to meet. The enemy seeks to prevent us from accomplishing them.

That's called a war, or battle, if taken in small chunks.

Have you travelled lately? Paid taxes? You like stepping over to the side room at the airport security checkpoint? Ever wonder if you'll wake up and find out your family/significant other/old school chums/hometown isn't there any more?

What kind of budget and economy would we have if we weren't paying forty percent of the federal executive branch new spending to PREVENT or RESPOND to terrorist attacks? You could buy a lot of school lunches with that money.

I think the enemy realizes the threat they will face a year from now after successful elections in Iraq in a few weeks. We sustain our efforts, we keep the roads open, we deliver supplies, we hunt down those insurgents we can find, and we stand with the Iraqis as they begin to deal with their future. If I was an Iraqi I be damned skeptical about our staying power, too - but not be nearly as tense as I was before our last election. The old time frame for worry was last calendar year; the Iraqis and more importantly recognised that a Bush exit would be a tremendous blow to our intent to prosecute the war. That question was answered. The new timeframe is the next four years... and I HOPE that the Iraqis, after their elections, will extend that little bit of faith that seems to escape most of our political minority and their agitprop machine that we are indeed committing to an end of the killing, and a beginning of freedom as neighbors, not puppets or satraps.

Call me pollyanna. Damn me for being wordy. I know who the barbarians are in this fight and I see no profit in allowing them any more opportunity to kill us or enslave their own.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 02:22 PM

DPU -

My last was my answer to your question.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 02:25 PM

Let me put it another way, inspired by a discussion in the comments. If the US had invaded, say, Bolivia - Osama bin Laden would have completely ignored it. And those who would have claimed invading Bolivia had nothing to do with the Terror War would have been correct.

What jaw-dropping sophistry!

Do you mean to say, then, that if the United States had undertaken the hypothetical invasion of Bolivia, which we agree would have had nothing to do with the war on terror, and THEN OBL had decided that the United States was dangerously exposed and overstretched and chosen that as a place to attack, then that action would have ex post facto excused the idiocy of the intital action?

And, as Geek points out, the analogy is stupider still because you chose a country whose population would not be sympathetic to Islamacist themes as a touchstone to resistance to the invader.

And finally, you are still fantasizing that the bulk of the resistance is Al Qaeda or some other foreign Islamacist meddling, when clearly it is dominated by indiginous resistance. According to the Economist, for example, of the 2,000 "terrorists" detained in the battle of Falluja, only 30 were non-Iraqi.

Posted by: Mork at January 10, 2005 02:39 PM

By the way, did everyone notice the latest tactical development on the streets and highways of Baghdad?

Incidents of IED attacks are down. They've been down across the country since Fallujah was reduced. They now are concentrating in the Sunni triangle area and the urban environs of Baghdad but that's not the change. They've moved to fewer bombs, but bigger ones.

The problem is not the bombs. It's that people are planting them. They are trading interfering with a lot of convoys in exchange for totally destroying single vehicles. Armored vehicles - two Bradleys in the last couple of weeks.

In the race between armor and warhead, the warhead ALWAYS wins.

They read our papers. They believe they have a weakness to exploit, and they are right. We've already uparmored our Humvee fleet to the extent where they wear out in a pitifully short time and are incapable of mobility sufficient to outmaneuver or pursue the enemy successfully.

Watch for more attacks like this in the coming days. Don't worry, there will be an AP or Rueters stringer right there to get the picture.

Just a hunch, of course.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 02:50 PM

TMJ - thanks for the response. If I read you correctly, then your current milestones for success or failure are the results of the elections ten days from now? If so, would that be in percentage voting? Or the amount of violence on polling day?

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to draw you into a debating trap. According to my own milestones, the war in Iraq is going badly, and I'm curious about the yardstick that you are using, as you're (IMO) one of the more intelligent posters on the other side of the political fence here, and you have experience in both that part of the world, and military experience also.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 03:10 PM

Defeatist leftists such as Benjamin offer nothing but weeping,wailing,and gnashing of teeth.I will make you a deal Benjamin,you effete immoralist...

LOL! No, no.... I'm just a realist, mate.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 10, 2005 03:23 PM

There are many complicated arguments going on here so I will throw in my admittedly simplistic 2 cents worth. Coming back to the UBL tape - he has stated that Iraqis participating in the elections will be considered apostates. The crime for apostasy in Islam is death. Closed Islamic societies with complete control over information flow make apostasy extremely dangerous for the individual. Until we come to terms with the fact that we are not fighting a "war on terror" or even fighting a war against "Wahibbism" - as if the latter is some Islamic abberation - we cannot win this war. Although I knew very little about Islam when we went into Iraq - I now understand a whole lot more and it has altered my view of the whole conflict and how I would define "winning". My current definition involves the idea that open information flow in the Islamic world (just consider the impact of the internet in the last year alone) is critical. This also comports on some level with the theories of Thomas Barnett in his book "The Pentagon's New Map" in which he states that disconnectedness defines danger:

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/pentagonsnewmap.htm

Look at the crackdown on Iranian internet bloggers that has occurred in the past few months. Information flow - especially the internet - is extremely dangerous to Islam's traditional power advantage over apostates. I am hoping that literally busting an information hole into the center of the ME will move us further in the direction of causing UBL to lose control over the minds of the 1.2 billion adherents of Islam worldwide. Is the Iraq war radicalizing many Muslims who live even in the west? Certainly. But how really new and radical is the internet as a force for information? And what is the impact of each new senseless terrorist attack (Beslan, Margaret Hassan, beheadings and so on - on the mind of the average Muslim - who now also has the internet at his hands?) How long has the average blogger even at this site been hooked on the blogs? Probably about one year on average. Frankly - I think thats what may frighten UBL - the information flow that stems from democracy and civil liberties - and from that - the truth about Islam - and from that - apostasy.

On that note I will shamelessly promote my new favorite website. I hope everyone will bookmark it:

faithfreedom.org

Posted by: Caroline at January 10, 2005 04:52 PM

DPU -

Percentages? What yardstick of violence should we use? Deaths per day? Ratios? Body counts?

The goal is to end Islamofascist terror. This election will be valid if it is accepted by a majority of the Iraqis. I can't think of any other answer. It's an election.

Nobody asked me for my solution - which is way, way to the applied force end of the scale. The federal government fell about a quarter of the way toward what I wanted to be done.

But its more than we've done in my lifetime. It's NOT WHAT I WANT... but it could work. It's a very gutsy call taking into account what has to be done and where the country that will have to get it done really is. The strategy shows a lot more faith in the American people than I care to grant at this time.

The Bush Doctrine is based on rejection of the state supported or multinational terror model as an acceptable risk. The very best I see from the other end of our domestic rainbow is a response based somewhere between denial that there's a problem or if there really is one, well, dammit, we brought it on ourselves. There's a whole industry based on American non-exceptionalism and white male eurocentric guilt. I'm not in that market.

The same streak of hate that ran through Qutb runs through OBL and the mullahs and any number of random Islamofascists without a clue and without lives. They've been around since before I was born. They've been killing each other since before I was born and killing others unfortunate enough to live near them but not be of them , and over thirty years ending in 2001 we trained them that they enjoyed a level of impunity that blew their minds. Now we have to correct that frame of mind. If it takes more than eight years (surprised?... you sound like three years has been trying), well, I hope we are mature enough and honest enough as a nation not to saddle ourselves with anybody who might let up the pressure and thus waste the effort we will have expended by then. I feel pretty good about then next four years. Inertia and initiative are funny things on a battlefield. I've no clue where we'll be even six months from now. I am confident that we won't be giving up anytime soon.

We've got better leadership than that.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 10, 2005 05:03 PM

"According to the Economist, for example, of the 2,000 "terrorists" detained in the battle of Falluja, only 30 were non-Iraqi."

That may very well be true. Still, the non-Iraqis are almost certainly suicidal nihilists. Let us not forget that the Baathists are secularists---and desire to live the good life in the here and now. Dying for Allah is not perceived to be some sort of existential turn on. The recent murder of our soldiers in the mess hall tent, for instance, was apparently committed by a young Saudi Arabian. We probably have more to fear from these non-Iraqis.
They seem to be much more lethal.

Posted by: David Thomson at January 10, 2005 05:07 PM

Actually, over one thousand foreign jihadis were among the dead in Fallujah. There were many sad families across the middle east, central asia, and the muslim quarters of europe after that battle. The jihadis are coming to Iraq to find death, and they are succeeding at that.

Posted by: Rene at January 10, 2005 05:51 PM

TMJ: Percentages? What yardstick of violence should we use? Deaths per day? Ratios? Body counts?

The goal is to end Islamofascist terror. This election will be valid if it is accepted by a majority of the Iraqis. I can't think of any other answer. It's an election.

How can you tell if you're succeeding or not unless you have something that you can measure right now? If you can't tell if you're winning or losing for several years, then there's an excellent chance of going off the rails and not knowing it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 09:21 PM

Actually, over one thousand foreign jihadis were among the dead in Fallujah.

I don't suppose I could trouble you for a source for that figure, Rene?

Posted by: Mork at January 10, 2005 09:22 PM

Benjamin,

Pessimists often claim to be realists.

TmjUtah,

I enjoyed reading your pragmatic, blunt, informed and optimistic opinions. Thanks.

Posted by: Fish at January 11, 2005 02:46 AM

TMJUtah,

"Bin Laden "winning"; that's a crock. Why is it when a splodeydope vaporizes a busload of ING recruits it's "winning" when we can stack up a few thousand of them in the course of a week?"

When we kill 1000 of them, they recruit new ones. Usually, the ones that just saw Americans kill 1000 Arabs.

When they kill a busload of recruits they get a big "look how cool we are" t-shirt and poster. They get to scare the bejesus out of potential new recruits, and they also get to kill people who have defied the will of their God.

On top of all that, insurgents/terrorists don't worry about budgets or casualties. We have to justify the number of deads, we have to justify the millions of dollars spent each day. They, on the other hand, just terrorize and then go home to dinner. They are not answering to their citizens, their congress or even a finance committee.

How does OBL measure a 'Win'? If he is like other insurgent groups, he gets a win, whenever he can stick it to 'the man'... in this case thats us.

Of course, these are 'wins' in battles, not in the war. I doubt that anyone will actually win this war. At the end of it all, if we are tenacious, if we have the single-mindedness necessary to persue this Great White Whale, we may succeed. But, will we 'win'? I don't know.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 11, 2005 09:27 AM

DPU -

When tracking progress, objective has to be at the top of the list. That must be line one.

The objective in Iraq is to foster a self- sustaining democracy.

1. Remove the dictator.

2. Occupy critical infrastructure nodes (government, industry, public works)as primary military objectives and preserve them as much as is possible from further damage.

3. Establish local security for military/civilian occupation/transition forces.

4. Engage local populations in government and reconstruction. Use outside contractors initially, with the public intent and demonstrated practice of using local labor wherever possible and transferring projects to local or at least national Iraqi management as soon as possible. Maintain tight liasion and oversight - endemic corruption is a given and is just one pre- existing challenge facing transition to self- government.

5. Conduct continuing operations on a forward basis. Military priorities are local security, liasion and security with local inhabitants, and supporting local reconstruction efforts.

6. Transfer governmental and security responsibilities to local authority and depart theater. Leave embassy presence and treaty- defined military presence if host nation agrees.
(ROE are forward. I don't have an official document but through anecdotal evidence and some email I have determined that MOST supporting fires are both processed and cleared at battalion/squadron level just about everywhere in Iraq, with the exceptions of Baghdad, Basra, and possibly Mosul. "Higher Authority" seems to extend to brigade in those areas. The only out- of- theater tactical oversight I've seen seems to apply to cross- border questions. And there's been a ton of those...)

DPU, I agree that there must exist benchmarks. I just fail to see where the most recent roadside ambush comes into play as a point of evidence to damn the entire pursuit. We aren't building a house from a set of plans; this is politics with all the variables introduced by all the actors on the stage. There was no concrete plan to win WW2 until early 1943. In 1945 what plans did exist for the reconstruction of Europe were rewritten on the fly to adjust to the reality of Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe.

Where we are weakest right now is local security. The issue is troubling but it does not extend anywhere near nationwide; with the general elections the Iraqis will see their stake increased in the local political pot. More importantly we will have delivered on a promise we made. In spite of the attacks on both the Iraqis and ourselves, we will have delivered. The enemy is targetting locals because they are easier targets; with each passing month we see more locals trained up and deployed and the windows of opportunity for the enemy narrows. Yes, there are moles. Yes, there have been mistakes made. In my opinion things have gone much better than I expected - better than I ever expected, actually, since I assumed that insurgency would be a problem long before our media and domestic political opposition decided to spin that part of the battle as something alien and unforeseen. Security is a subset of the whole package. OODA - we observe, adjust, decide, and act, and keep at it until we accomplish the objective.

We deal with a culture bereft of democratic institutions that is recovering from the Hussein regime and is the focus of jihadist efforts to derail our war on terror. It's ugly. It's bloody. And it's where the fight is now, and where we must win now.

A failure here pretty well invalidates the concept of victory via democratization. I don't think it will take more than one or two mass- casualty attacks against us in the twilight of abandoning democratization to shift over to winning the war the old fashioned way.

People - including even our citizens - forget who actually pulls the trigger on our national arsenal. A demonstrated inability to effectively confront terror via democratization, following thirty years of bloody 'stability', narrows the options field quite a bit. I'd like democratization to work.

The enemy's stated objective is to establish a world umma... but it seems that many of the enemy's potential victims are happy to assign victory status to the enemy for merely existing. That very assumption is reason enough to continue aggressive confrontation, destruction, or capture of enemy operatives until they have no command or control or state sponsors.

That will be victory.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 11, 2005 09:30 AM

I'd like democratization to work.

Me too.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 11, 2005 09:51 AM

Also, may I comment on the facile comparison? While Waterloo wasn't particularly important, Gettysburg was near a major rail junction which was of significant strategic importance to the Union war effort, and Stalingrad was the strongest point on the west side of the Volga and therefore obviously hugely important the moment Hitler decided to strike for the Caucasus.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 19, 2005 11:44 PM

Endlich mal coole Preise abstauben

Posted by: Hauptgewinn at March 6, 2005 11:54 AM

Hello nice page and it downloads very fast, enjoyed it very much, take care. The internet is a great place to showcase art and increase awareness in the variety of excellent work available.
U-booty okręty podwodne ubooty Katalog stron camcoo katalog on-line Website Directory katalogi stron internetowo www Przepisy Kulinarne mniam smaczego Camcoo on linie 24 hTelewizory plazmoe lcd Aparaty ofertaopinie serwis Aparaty cyfrowe canon minolta nikon sklep dvd odtwarzacze mp3 Kamery minidv cena Aparaty cyfrowe cennik i ceny Dvd sklep Kamery cyfrowe promocje Camcoo.de promocja Maximedia polecane E-shop

Posted by: Kamery cyfrowe at April 23, 2005 09:48 AM

Thanks, for the useful site. Thanks again and again.

Posted by: Sar-Webdesign at April 25, 2005 01:16 AM

Very nice site. Aganejszyn
Website Directory

Posted by: Nooxe at April 27, 2005 06:34 AM

Hello nice page and it downloads very fast, enjoyed it very much, take care. The internet is a great place to showcase art and increase awareness in the variety of excellent work available.

Lodówki
Kuchnie
Zmywarki
Kamery Cyfrowe
Aparaty Cyfrowe
Telewizory Plazmowe
Telewizory Lcd
Pralki

Posted by: sony at June 5, 2005 04:00 AM

praca za granicą

Posted by: at June 26, 2005 01:28 AM

cool blog - thanks for the service

Posted by: casino at June 27, 2005 12:01 PM

2 |
4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

14 |

97 |

98

2 |

4 |

5 |

6 |

7 |

8 |

9 |

10 |

11 |

12 |

13 |

14 |

98

Posted by: bob at June 30, 2005 03:42 AM

Greetings From NY !

Posted by: casinos at July 5, 2005 01:40 PM

Hi I have been given the task of getting links for our websites thathave good page rank on the links directories.In addition we have many categories so your site will be place on an appropriate page. If you would like to trade links please send me your website details.Best Regards,seopro@walla.com
http://www2w.bravehost.com vs the best casino http://casino.vmedical.us new online casino
casinos
casino
online poker
online gambling
online casinos
online casinos
online casinos
online poker
online casinos
online casino
casino
poker
casino
casino
casinos
online casino
online gambling
casino
poker
neteller casinos
online casino
online poker
online casino
internet poker
free online poker
texas holdem poker
poker
online slots
online roulette
online blackjack
poker
online casinos
online casino

Posted by: online casinos at October 5, 2005 11:06 PM

asc
kraob
eves
akupunktura
freesz
puz
domy opieki

Posted by: epart at December 23, 2005 03:50 AM

http://casinoarchivesonline.somee.com

Posted by: blog at January 20, 2006 03:45 PM

runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape2store.com">runescape gold wow power leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">Warcraft PowerLeveling buy

runescape gold buy runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape items <a href="http://www.runescapemoney-

runescapegold.cn">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-runescape-accounts-c-599_988.html">runescape accounts <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape gp <a href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com/dofus-c-

1054.html">dofus kamas buy dofus kamas <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c-389.html">Guild Wars Gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c

-389.html">buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buylotrogold.org">buy lotro gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buy-lotro-gold.cn">buy lotro gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/lord-rings-onlineus-c-

975.html">lotro gold buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.800millions.com">runescape money runescape power leveling <a

href="http://www.runescape2vip.cn">runescape money runescape gold <a

href="http://www.buydofuskamas.com">dofus kamas cheap runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape4money.net">cheap runescape gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/hellgate-london-c-

1102.html">Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London

Palladium Hellgate money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">tabula rasa money lotro gold

buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credit <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold

Hellgate London gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/dofus-c-891.html">dofus kamas buy

dofus kamas 血管瘤 肝血管瘤 <a

href=http://www.nncbroadway.com>音乐剧 北京富码电视 富码

电视 富码电视台 7天酒店 <a

href=http://www.innhot.com/7daysinn>7天连锁酒店 7天连锁 <a

href=http://www.filt.cn>自清洗过滤器 过滤器 压力开关 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>压力传感器 流量开关 流量计 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>液位计 液位开关 温湿度记录仪

风速仪 可燃气体检测仪 <a href="http://www.wow-power-

leveling.net">wow power leveling wow powerleveling <a

href=http://"www.wow-power-leveling.net">Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft

Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling <a href=http://"www.wow-

power-leveling.net">World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape

power leveling runescape powerleveling
runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold wow power leveling 棕榈树


eve isk
eve online isk
eve isk
eve online isk

Posted by: runescape money at November 30, 2007 07:25 PM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn