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About those timelines
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It is indeed always nice when your avowed enemy steps up to make a point for you:
"You must be patient and steadfast," he says. "Rejoice, for victory is near, with Allah's permission, and the herds of crusaders have begun to split up and their sole concern has become searching for a way out."
That, of course, is from from al Qaeda's top deputy Ayman Zawahiri in his latest video extravaganza. And if that isn't enough, he addresses those who believe the "fight them there instead of here" rationale is a bunch of bull:
In the hour and half long video, which surfaced today on the website Strategic Translations, a translation and terror analysis firm, Zawahiri urges his followers to hurry to Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Somalia.
And not the US? Feature that ...

And tell us again about how what is said here has no real effect elsewhere, will you?
 
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Gee, if we’re getting them to avoid coming to the US, we must be saying something right! Bottom line: we should not stop our debates over political issues out of fear of what some others might think or do. Never. That would be to hand them victory. If we can’t maintain our democracy and security while being who we are, then it’s not worth protecting. So nobody should whine when people say things they don’t like, or they think might affect what others think or do. Nobody.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Clearly this is either an old tape, or Zawahiri doesn’t want to take credit for the Glasgow doctors;heck if I was in his position, I wouldn’t either. It is
instructive though, according to Lawrence Wright’s profile of him, that Zawahiri made his first trip to Afghanistan before becoming involved in the Rahman inspired Istambouli plot against Sadat.
 
Written By: narciso
URL: http://
Gee, if we’re getting them to avoid coming to the US, we must be saying something right!
Is that a veiled longing for another 9/11-style attack from Scotty?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’d be happy enough, Scott, if people would just admit that the enemy does pay attention to what is said here in the United States.

What bothers me far more than the public debate is the insistence that it doesn’t play to enemy propaganda and doesn’t matter. When Kerry publicly said that Allawi was a US *puppet* it undermined Allawi and the our process of establishing a new *legitimate* government in Iraq. But find anyone who was willing to *admit* it and who would say, "Yes, it had consequences overseas but it was important to say," just wasn’t going to happen.

Reid saying that we’ve lost is his right to say but to pretend that it doesn’t affect the actions of those we are fighting in Iraq is the worst part of it. How about these people just admit they don’t care? Why doesn’t he just come out and say that he doesn’t care that those we are fighting find comfort and victory in his words?

And I *will* whine about it.

That’s part of the debate you know. My whining about people who should know better who pretend that nothing they say possibly has consequences. That’s part of the debate. If there was some seriousness, some feeling of consequence and honesty about the affect of someone like Murtha slandering our troops and painting them all as walking the knife edge of massacre, that would be different. Then it would be saying difficult things that needed to be said and effort would be made to limit the negatives. But it’s not. Everyone speaks in a consequence free vacuum. There is *no* downside to Reid declaring our military leaders incompetent or so much as saying that if they report success they are lying. No downside to Kerry calling a national leader a puppet. No consequence to Murtha gravely explaining that massacres are only to be expected.

Yeah, I’ll whine about it.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
So nobody should whine when people say things they don’t like, or they think might affect what others think or do. Nobody.
Sorry, Scott, but I’ll continue to point out that anti-war types are pawns being manipulated by our fanatical Islamist enemies. I realize that for many (most, I hope), it’s not intentional. It’s just an undesirable side effect. But those effects still exist. There’s no other reason for the sheer insanity of terror attacks on dozens or hundreds of innocents than to create the impression of a failure that we will walk away from.

I don’t see that pointing it out is whining. It’s just acknowledging reality, which many anti-war folks are loathe to do. "War is not the answer." Feh.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
After reading the Left blogosphere "explain" the motivations of Islamist terrorists in terms of "blowback" against American policy it is almost refreshing when one gets a rare chance to hear the terrorists explain their own motivations in their own words.

Here is a quote from one of the London/Glasgow bombers in today’s Los Angeles Times:
Abdullah was angry and even threatening with others whom he considered insufficiently devout. His roommate at the time was a non-practicing Muslim who played the guitar and sang, Maher said.

"It disgusted Abdullah. He told me that one day he brought the guy into his room and gave him a lecture," Maher said. "He told him, ’You better start praying and stop playing music.’ He showed him a Zarqawi video of a beheading and told him, ’If you don’t listen to me, remember that this is what my people do — we slaughter.’
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Billy: Anti-war types are pawns being manipulated? What about those of us who believe that the conflict in Iraq is genuinely hurting our interests and that the choice to go there was a mistake? What if we reach that conclusion by analysis and reason, and are sincere in our belief — and therefore believe that we must speak out politically to try to get a new policy or policy team in place? What if we respect the fact that many supporters of the policy are well intented, but simply disagree on the interpretation of what the choices are and how to analyze the situation? As someone who was just as vocal in my opposition to the Kosovo war, it should also be clear that my opposition is based in part on principles and beliefs about international affairs which transcend party lines. What if those of us who believe the current policy disastrous for the country are not advocating "walking away" but rather thinking about how to shift policy to one more effective?

Ultimately democracy works best when it is self-correcting. That means that if a mistake is made, real debate and discussion can uncover and ultimately correct the mistake. If you assume that once a war or military action has begun that if mistaken we have to stick with it just because of what enemies might think, then we are undercutting our principles. That said, there are of course people against the war who have a knee jerk reaction and oppose without thought and due to political partisanship. You have people like that on both sides. But we can disagree and debate, and should.

Synova: excellent point about so-called "whining" being part of the kind of process of debate! You are absolutely right. But most Iraqis believed Allawi a puppet long before Kerry said anything; I doubt he made one iota of difference. I doubt anything Ried says makes much of a difference either, people know that society is divided and even if Ried shut up completely that fact would be obvious to everyone paying attention. In any event, my opinion is that we have to maintain free and open debate, and can’t self-censor or avoid being up front because of what the "enemy" might think. We only hurt ourselves that way, and in ways the enemy could never achieve.

I think sometimes we’re too myopic and think the things we say and do matter more than they really do. Extremists are motivated most by events and interests over there above all else.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Gee, if we’re getting them to avoid coming to the US, we must be saying something right!

Is that a veiled longing for another 9/11-style attack from Scotty?
Quite the opposite. Read it again.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Reading through the comments, reminds me of a re-run of South Park I saw last night.

Cartman flashes back to 1776 to find out what the Founding Fathers would think of the Iraq war. Meanwhile the two sides are having a rally where fights break out. (Gee, peace/anti-war activists getting violent...)

Basically what South Park says boils down to, by having a country where we can go to war and simultaneously oppose doing so, we can have our cake and eat it too, by having people in other countries like us, but hate our governments actions...

Just an amusing aside...

Point is, there are more then 2 sides to the issue, which is what ScottE is trying to get across. It’s not just anti-war/pro-war. Everyone who opposes our current course isn’t automatically for turning tail and running.

As in many debates within our country, it’s the loudest voices that get the most herd. (pun intended.)
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Well Keith I take your point, BUT, when those who oppose the war turn out with Code Pink or ANSWER or Michael Moore they are siding with the cut’n runners, the people who want the other side to win.

Again the ACLU sided with the Nazi’s in the Skokie Case, BUT they had a separate position from the Nazi’s. Here it would be as if the ACLU had simply said, The Nazi’s should march to show the ’Mud People’ the power of Christian Whites." Which the ACLU didn’t say...so whilst not all opponents to the war are Pinko-Commie America-haters, they turn up at the rallies run by Pinko-commie America-haters, and it it poisons their appeal and says, "We agree with the Pinko-Commies", tacitly.

If those who oppose the war, but also oppose Code Pink and ANSWER want to, the answer is, HOLD YOUR OWN RALLIES SUPPORTING YOUR POSITIONS, and don’t allow the Black Block/Code Pink/ANSWER posse to show up and participate and set the options for the anti-war movement.

Bottom-Line: Lie down with swine and your wake with a dirty cloak.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Nice.
"You must be patient and steadfast," he says. "Rejoice, for victory is near, with Allah’s permission, and the herds of crusaders have begun to split up and their sole concern has become searching for a way out."
I believe your translation of this may be a bit too litteral. In coloquial English this sentiment is rendered: "Stay the course. The surge is working. Our enemies are on the run."
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
And if that isn’t enough, he addresses those who believe the "fight them there instead of here" rationale is a bunch of bull:
"Fight them there instead of here" is "a bunch of bull", because ’fighting’ has the implicit expectation that the objective is to beat the enemy. If the enemy is stressed, cannot make gains and is losing in Iraq they are free and able to change the venue. If (as appears to be the case) the enemy believes that they are winning in Iraq then they will mostly concentrate their forces in Iraq to exploit the gains they believe they are making there.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
"Fight them there instead of here" is "a bunch of bull", because ’fighting’ has the implicit expectation that the objective is to beat the enemy.
That’s one implicit objective. As you might imagine, you can have more than one objective. There’s nothing wrong with one which says occupy them with fighting there instead of here and beat them while you’re doing it.
If the enemy is stressed, cannot make gains and is losing in Iraq they are free and able to change the venue.
You’re absolutely correct, or they can double-down, which is what Zawahiri seems to be doing. He knows full well he can’t win militarily, but he has every hope in the world for a "weak horse" victory, which, of course, he and OBL have been preaching for some time and now we have a faction in the US trying to oblige them and make them appear prescient.
If (as appears to be the case) the enemy believes that they are winning in Iraq then they will mostly concentrate their forces in Iraq to exploit the gains they believe they are making there.
Or they can put a video out now with a plea in hopes of having enough in country by late August to have a latter day Tet in Iraq with the hope they can convince the Congress through propaganda, that the war is indeed really lost, whether that’s true or not. It wouldn’t be the first time such propaganda worked as you well know.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What if we reach that conclusion by analysis and reason
Let’s ignore most everything you’ve ever written about Iraq and assume that’s true, it’s not really pertinent to this post.
There is a big difference between debating what the policy should be and actively undercutting the policy and its ability to work. There is no objection to any private citizen stating whatever they please about policy. But there is a problem with not letting a policy work once it has been decided on. When McQ refers to "statements made here", he’s not referring to debates over what policy should be followed in the future, but the blanket statements from Congress that policies have failed before they are implemented, lowering their chances for working. Like it or not, once someone enters government service, they take on responsibilities that sometimes trump their right to free speech.
Extremists are motivated most by events and interests over there above all else.
Of course, if this statement were completely true, after seeing all the aid we’ve given to the palestinians over the years and all the work we’ve done in Iraq, Muslims from around the world would also be coming to Iraq volunteering to fight for its new government and stand alongside US troops, in numbers comparable to the insurgents.
But the point of this post is not about the terrorist’s original motivation, it’s about members of Congress giving them hope for success and the terrorists reaction to them.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
There’s nothing wrong with one which says occupy them with fighting there instead of here and beat them while you’re doing it.
Difficult to do - you’d need to be strong enough to beat them, whilst appearing weak enough to be losing. You are strong enough to beat them, so it all comes down to appearances. Appear too strong and the enemy will change to attack away from your strength, but appear too weak and you risk your own people being decieved into thinking you are losing.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Ted, obviously the people who make the statements in Congress disagree with your interpretation of them. It’s their job to check and balance the President, and try to stop policies they disagree with. You interpret the military action in Iraq much differently than many members of Congress. That’s fine. But they are going to act on their own interpretation, not yours.

And it’s obvious to anyone that our society is extremely divided on this war. When a President chooses military action, it is up to him (or someday her) to calculate in the likelihood of losing public support and what that will mean. You can complain that everyone should simply support the policy, but you and I know that’s an unrealistic call.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott;
As McQ pointed out, among the lessons from the Vietnam war was that statements made by government leaders can actually aid the enemy and that propaganda can change posistive results on the ground into negative effects on the war. Unless members of Congress are ignorant of this, then it is not obvious that they disagree with McQ’s or my interpretation of their statements. They obviously don’t want that interpretation to become common knowledge, but they may recognize the truth in it.

It is not the job of Congress to interefere with policies they disagree with. Once a policy has been set, as long as it is legal and constitutional, is is their duty for them to give it a chance to work, they work within the same constitutional framework as the President. (Otherwise it could also be said that it’s the President’s job to circumvent laws he disagrees with.) That does not mean everyone has to support the policy, or that private citizens can’t say whatever they want about it, or that Congressmen have to come out in support of it. But Congress has no right to undermine a President’s ability to enact policy simply because they don’t like it.

Checks and balances have their limits too. If they actually feel the President has gone too far, that this war is unconstitutional or the President has gained too much power, they have the legal means to stop it. They could vote to end the use of force immediately. If Democrats in Congress thought it would gain them votes, or if they were acting on the statements they made, the war would be over (or at least their would have been a vote on ending it immediately). Obviously, they have yet to do so, so this war isn’t that unpopular and they aren’t that convinced on principle. By their inaction they have shown that they don’t really agree with their own statements.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted, it is irrelevant if the enemy is aided by public statements. If people believe the war is wrong, as they (correctly) believed in the case of Vietnam, they must speak out and not shirk their duty. That’s how a democratic republic works. It’s messier than an authoritarian system, but overall much better.

Congress is an equal branch of government to the President. If they think a policy is wrong they have absolutely no responsibility or duty to "give it a chance to work." None. Congress can try to pass laws to alter the policy, cut funding, put conditions on funding, and a whole plethora of possibilities. If they truly believe a policy is damanging to the national security, I believe they should speak out and try legislative action to stop it. If they don’t have the votes to do it, speaking out and making the case is the only way to get the votes.

They don’t vote to end it immediately because while they want the policy changed, they don’t think simply ending it is the best approach. It’s not "go with the President" or "leave immediately." This is a complex and serious issue, and thankfully we’re not an authoritarian government where we have to follow a President and have our elected representatives silence themselves or be silenced. Most of the public does oppose the Iraq policy, it is immensely unpopular. They are smart enough to know that just leaving without considering how and what to do as we leave isn’t smart either, so most oppose immediate defunding.

This is the way our system works. It won’t change, whenever a policy becomes unpopular, you will get opinions private and from elected officials. It may irritate you if you think it "emboldens the enemy." I think you vastly over-estimate the impact of anything we say, and even if it did, it would be worth the price to be the polity we are, and to have the capacity to reflect on the possibility that a wrong course of action was taken and change it — with all the debates necessary about why it was wrong and how to change it. That’s what you’re seeing, and it seems to be working.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott;
it is irrelevant if the enemy is aided by public statements
Just plain wrong. As we both mentioned, Congress has several legal means to stop policies they don’t agree with. Inhibiting the policy by aiding the enemy is not one of them.
Their duty is first to the Constitution which grants the President the ability to set policy. See what it says about providing aid to the enemy.

For the third time, this does not mean they can’t argue for different policy in the future, but they cannot make statements which they know will jeapordize the current policy. The first amendment does not trump the rest of the Constitution, and anyone in Government knows that their right to free speech is limited because of the position they hold.

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted, we disagree on the fundamentals. I have not heard the argument until now that there is something unconstitutional in the statements being made — I don’t think you can defend that! Second, we disagree that debate really jeopardizes the current policy. Finally, if one thinks the current policy is flawed and dangerous to the country, one has every right and duty, IMO, to speak out forcefully, be they in Congress or a member of the public.

Also, power is split between the President and Congress on setting policy. Congress can do a lot to limit Presidential action, and can investigate the Executive branch virtually at will. They are a co-equal branch of government. (And, of course, Republicans didn’t seem to have any problem with people like Trent Lott speaking out against Desert Fox or the Kosovo conflict).

Just as you and I disagree, the people speaking out have a very differnet interpretation of the situation and what they are doing than you do. When there are such disagreements, the way they get settled is in public debate and discourse. Asking them to self-censor is legitimate, but if they choose not to, that’s their choice. When they stand for re-election, make the argument against them that they didn’t do their duty. The voters will decide what they think about the matter. If they’re doing something illegal, there is a court system to handle that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott;
You made a false claim that aiding the enemy is irrelevent. The Constitution disagrees.
Second, we disagree that debate really jeopardizes the current policy.
No, I never said that debate jeopordizes the current policy. What McQ pointed out (and I agree with) was that statements from Congress can jeapordize the current policy.
the people speaking out have a very differnet interpretation of the situation and what they are doing than you do
I already showed how this statement is false, they just don’t want people to realize the effect of what they are doing.
Asking them to self-censor is legitimate, but if they choose not to, that’s their choice
No. Every member of government has a responsibility to self-censor when their statements can have consequences. This responsibility increases with position. It is not optional. There are ways to speak out without affecting the mission.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted, I disagree that this is "aid to the enemy" as defined by the constitution (and I daresay 99.9% of legal scholars would agree — that’s why you aren’t seeing legal action), and I disagree that this really does anything to help the enemy. The fact is that if our country is engaged in policies I think are dangerous and counter to the national interest, I want my legislator to speak out and oppose them!

Your opinion that there is a "responsibility to self-censor" and that it "increases with position" is one you have a right to hold, and if you are in power you can act on it, and try to persuade others of it. But if they disagree, they have a right to ignore your view on this. Moreover, they may believe it absolutely essential to state a disagreement and fight to convince others in Congress that the current policy is dangerous and wrong. And they have a right to do that. If they gave away secret positions of troops or the timing of an attack that would be one thing.

So ultimately it comes down to what I noted in my last post: the voters make the final determination on whether a legislator has crossed a line. You can have an opinion about it, of course.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"among the lessons from the Vietnam war was..."

Another of the lessons that should have been learned, but obviously wasn’t, is that unless you live in a society without free speech, there will be loud and vocal disagreement to any government policy, including a war.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott;
You contradict yourself. You say they it is only my opinion that Congressmen have a responsibility to self-censor, then acknowledge it would be wrong to give out information about an attack. In principle, you agree with me. Of course, this not not just our opinions, but actual fact. Members of Government are required to self censor by regulations governing ethical conduct. There is no ’right’ to say anything that might get votes on your side. Individual Congressmen have the responsibility to make sure they don’t cross the line, it is not left as a task that voter have to decide.

There is also no one arguing that Congress can disagree with the policy if they want to. I’m also not saying you as a private citizen can’t say whatever you want about the war.

The point we disagree on is whether Congress can say anything that aids the enemy, and whether thay have.

Ultimately it comes down to the regulations that govern their conduct, and remaining faithful to the Constitution.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted,
Sorry, you’re right that they do have to self-censor on some matters (especially if they are on the intelligence committee). But usually aiding the enemy requires some kind of concrete assistance, not just saying something they might use (since you can do that with anything — President Bush aided the enemy when he used the word ’crusade’ at one point). I set the bar a lot higher than you in terms of what it takes to truly aid the enemy.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It is amusing to observe Professor Erb transmogrifiying into "Mr. Reasonable" during this relative "time out" in the LN as the powers behind it wait for events to unfold so that they can decide the memes to feature in the upcoming elections.

If one only read recent threads, one would have no idea about Professor Erb, and would find himself nodding, "Yes, that’s right; that is the reasonable position to take on this." Ones neck might even become tired of nodding, as each comment becomes more and more the very epitome of reason.

Is Professor Erb trying to use his considerable propaganda talents to inspire us to be reasonable now or in the future? Unfortunately, no. He is attempting to build in an image of reasonableness for hinself to make his real intent more easily realized.

When the LN perpetrators make their decisions and announce their intentions via the NYT and the WaPo, Professor Erb’s "reason" will suddenly dictate that the LN is the only "reasonable" course for a thinking person to take.

Meanwhile, observe just how "reasonable" a well-trained person can appear to be.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://

 
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