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  • Beslan in Paris

    Posted by Trent Telenko on November 13th, 2015 (All posts by )

    David Brooks’ Beslan column in the New York Times seems appropriate for this Paris Attack:

    “Dissertations will be written about the euphemisms the media used to describe these murderers. They were called “separatists” and “hostage-takers.” Three years after Sept. 11, many are still apparently unable to talk about this evil. They still try to rationalize terror. What drives the terrorists to do this? What are they trying to achieve?
    .
    They’re still victims of the delusion that Paul Berman diagnosed after Sept. 11: “It was the belief that, in the modern world, even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable.”
    .
    This death cult has no reason and is beyond negotiation. This is what makes it so frightening. This is what causes so many to engage in a sort of mental diversion. They don’t want to confront this horror. So they rush off in search of more comprehensible things to hate.”


    .

    The morgue filled with the Victims of the  Beslan Terrorist Attack..

    The morgue filled with the Victims of the Beslan Terrorist Attack..

    The Reality of Beslan is here again…and it is not going away.

     

    54 Responses to “Beslan in Paris”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Coming soon to a country near you.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Inconceivable! Didn’t our all-wise and noble President just tell us the other day that ISIS/ISIL was contained? (Yeah, I’m being sarcastic.)

    3. Mike K Says:

      Th French, in spite of the cowardice jokes about WWII, are ferocious in matters like this. I expect France’s DGSE and the 1er RPIMa, Rip’em as it is called, to leave a trail of Muslim bodies as thick as the Russians will do. The French don’t talk about these things like Obama does. They went into Ivory Coast a few years ago. and kicked serious ass.

      A terrified resident speaking over the phone told Reuters, “The fighting is terrible here. The explosions are so heavy my building is shaking. We can hear automatic gunfire and also heavy weapons. There’s shooting all over the place. Cars are speeding in all directions and so are the fighters”.
      A military spokesman denied that French armed forces were involved in the fighting. But residents reported seeing French tanks on the streets. UN helicopters were seen flying over the presidential residence as the fighting raged.

      Yes, those were French speaking tourists in camo gear. They don’t mess around.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      Mike K you are right. There will be a lot of dead people that you will not read or hear about. And I am good with it. These people don’t deserve trials or rights. It’s war.

    5. Mrs. Davis Says:

      But what is in store for the banlieus?

    6. Trent Telenko Says:

      The French national security state is in control in Paris…and boy are leaking like crazy —

      http://sofrep.com/44480/french-and-german-police-knew-paris-attack-was-coming-a-month-prior/#ixzz3rPoGCFTg

      Various European sources report that authorities knew this was coming for at least a month.

      It appears Merkle and Hollande sat on their respective counter-terrorism people over Syria and the people of Paris are now paying the price.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>It appears Merkle and Hollande sat on their respective counter-terrorism people over Syria and the people of Paris are now paying the price.

      What’s a few hundred dead civilians when the prize is cementing your socialist majority for generations?

    8. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      ‘AVALANCHE’: EUROPE SHOULD EXPECT 10 MILLION MIGRANTS BY 2020, WARN MERKEL ALLIES:
      http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/11/12/avalanche-expect-10-million-migrants-2020-warn-merkel-allies/

    9. Grurray Says:

      France also fought a a war in Mali a few years ago. They defeated local rebels Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) after the took over a significant part of the country. Most reports say that they fought courageously and effectively. Their operation was a model for how to engage terrorist armies

      From Rand’s study:

      The fighting lasted through mid-March and was often hard going, particularly in the Amettetaï valley, where, because of the terrain and because the enemy had taken cover among boulders and in caves, French forces had to dismount and flush out enemy fighters,  climbing from rock to rock, often engaging at close quarters, all in extreme heat (50-degrees Celsius). Goya claims that French troops in Amettetaï—all of whom were Afghanistan veterans, he says—reported that the primarily AQIM fighters were superior to the Taliban:  They maneuvered well and made good use of snipers. When possible, the French used foot patrols to force the enemy to break cover, exposing them to artillery or close air support, and the French have drawn as a “lesson learned” that unless the enemy is already exposed, standoff weapons have to be used in conjunction with “old-fashioned” dismounted infantry. According to Helluy, the French troops’ ability and willingness to fight their way into AQIM’s mountain redoubt is another example of the French Army’s “audacity” and efforts to retain an element of surprise: The enemy, he said, simply did not expect French troops to come after them in such conditions. It is not clear  whether he is basing his assessment of enemy expectations on speculation or intelligence. Helluy also commented that the fighting was a testament to the physical conditioning of the soldiers, who were primarily paratroopers from marine and Foreign Legion units. Goya agreed, commenting that Amettetaï was sort of “revenge for Uzbin,” a reference to the Uzbin valley in Sarobi District, Afghanistan, where a French patrol in 2008 was ambushed and badly mauled. Ten French paratroopers and an Afghan interpreter died; 21 French and 2 Afghan soldiers were wounded. The bloodshed was a wake-up call to the French Army, which found that its soldiers were ill prepared for combat as intense as that sometimes encountered in Afghanistan and consequently initiated a “get back to basics” campaign to raise the preparedness level of Afghanistan-bound troops.

      In the Adrar, according to Goya, France’s audacity paid off, although he noted that it could well have been a catastrophe. Goya also noted the importance of ground forces working in conjunction with fire support and standoff weapons. He said that in Amettetaï the French killed about 100 Islamist fighters. Of those, 80 were killed in close quarters; 12 were killed by helicopters, and 12 by fighter jets. The close combat worked, he said, because the troops had artillery and aviation support. However, the French Army could not have done the job without the ground troops, not just for locating and flushing out the enemy but also because they “needed to plant the flag.” It was, he said, akin to the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah, although from his point of view the Israelis did not correctly understand both the importance of the ground campaign and the appropriate coordination of the ground troops with fires.

      It’s long but worth reading. They estimate the French forces “neutralized” about 30%-40% of the enemy by their maneuvering tactics, logistics, joint operations including local forces, and resiliency in harsh environments. All executed well.

    10. veryretired Says:

      Coupled with the ongoing invasion of Europe by muslims from the middle east, most of whom have been described as young men, not families or women and children, I will hazard a prediction that this atrocity will so inflame the citizenry of all Europe, not just France, that it will be considered as the opening shot in a serious new civil war between the native populations and the millions of newly arrived immigrants.

      The tensions and anger have been building all over the west as the islamic community seems unable or unwilling to control the violent elements within it, as it spreads violence around the world, all too often with just this kind of attack against civilians.

      The culture of the west, for all its talk about peace and love, is the most ruthless killing machine in human history when the rational elements lose control, and violence becomes the accepted answer to the issues at hand.

      The only hope that the worldwide islamic community has to manage some form of survival from the storm that is coming is for its leaders to immediately turn to repudiating and controlling these violent elements, but, unfortunately, the possibility of that actually occurring to any meaningful extent is very, very slight.

      Watch the rhetoric, and the reprisals, start to escalate over the next year, both here and abroad. With every new atrocity, the slender chance that islem might survive its own irrationality and stupidity fades further away.

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      In this time of trouble, the world turns to the United States for leadership.

      “In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Good Morning America that was broadcast Friday, President Obama said ISIS has been ‘contained’.”
      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/11/13/obama_on_isis_we_have_contained_them.html

      At Instapundit, Ed Driscoll points out that Al Gore is in France this weekend to host a “climate telethon from Paris’s Eiffel Tower,” titled “24 Hours of Reality: The World is Watching.”
      http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/218860/

      We are so boned.

    12. Mr Black Says:

      We should obliterate a muslim country. No warning, “no surrender, or else” just 100 warheads raining down on their cities and towns. Tell them the next time this happens, we will be REALLY serious about consequences. The islamists will spare no expense rounding up their proxy killers. And if they don’t, it will be no great loss when we glass the entire region.

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Rather small scale retaliation. I’m surprised it wasn’t a lot worse.
      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/calais-migrant-camp-on-fire-6830330

    14. Mike K Says:

      “I’m surprised it wasn’t a lot worse.”

      It will be. I saw this a couple of hours ago. It will get worse.

      Obama has left the west leaderless. It will respond as it always has.

      I just wonder what will happen whiten Republicans, Rubio, Cruz or even Trump win the election next year. There will be riots.The events this week are practice.

      We might even see a “whiff of grapeshot.”

    15. Mike K Says:

      When! GD Autocorrect. !

    16. Trent Telenko Says:

      The French President and the Socialist party are toast —

      BREAKING: French police officials tell AP Syrian passport found on body of suicide bomber outside Stade de France #ParisAttacks— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 14, 2015

    17. TMLutas Says:

      The immediate reactions will be ones of national consensus. There will be precious little daylight between “socialist” and “conservative” French. The difference will emerge in the follow on to ensure that this does not happen again.

    18. Mike K Says:

      ” to ensure that this does not happen again.”

      It will but it will be avenged and the French security services know how to do this. There is no French “Church Committee.” They learned from the Dreyfus Affair and the politics of the Third Republic.

    19. Grurray Says:

      I agree Mike K.
      The French have done well lately projecting power and maintaining spheres of influence in their former colonies. They’ve fought and won wars in Syria against Arabs in the past, and that history will help them now. They won’t have the problems we had and continue to have. They have a tradition and institutions in place to leverage local allies and infrastructure with their Foreign Legions. They’re smaller size will keep the mission goals focused. Their ideological rigidity will resist the types of mission creep that we fell victim to like nation building and social work.

    20. Trent Telenko Says:

      >>The immediate reactions will be ones
      >>of national consensus. There will be
      >>precious little daylight between
      >>“socialist” and “conservative” French.

      Not going to happen.

      Nothing short of treating all the Islamic no-go areas in France like 2nd Fallujah and stacking Muslim radicals like cord wood, while burning down dozens of radical mosques with the radical Imams inside, in those areas will even begin to be enough.

      The French Socialists are too dependent on French Muslim votes to go there.

      Le Penn will go there as President in 2017.

    21. Mike K Says:

      The French Socialists are too dependent on French Muslim votes to go there.

      Le Penn will go there as President in 2017.

      Both true statements.

      The British are now seeing the consequences of Tony Blair’s Muslim immigration campaign now.

      Gatwick Airport was/is shut down today after Two “Frenchmen” attempted to board a flight with guns. The bomb squad was called after they threw something in a trash bin.

    22. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Ralph Peters in 2007:

      http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=27456

      “… But, beyond that, the notion that Europe, the continent that’s exported more death and destruction than any other, is going to just shuffle wimpily to its doom is crazy. The Europeans have been playing pacifist dress-up while we protected them, but, sufficiently threatened, they’ll revert to their historical pattern–which is to over-react. Europe’s Muslims may prove to be the real endangered species; after all, Europe’s history of dealing with rejected minorities veers between genocide and, for the lucky, ethnic cleansing. For me, the question isn’t whether Muslims will take over Europe, but whether Europe will simply expel them or kill any number of them first. Sound far-fetched? How would the Holocaust have sounded to an educated German (or Brit, or American) in 1932? Europe is a killer continent. When the chips are down, it will kill again.”

    23. Mike K Says:

      “Europe is a killer continent. When the chips are down, it will kill again.”

      They have a problem similar to but worse than, China’s. No kids. The military age generation is too small.

      Muslims do one thing well. Produce lots of cannon fodder.

    24. PenGun Says:

      Blowback. This is largely America’s fault.

    25. vxxc2014 Says:

      Told my friends this AM…

      Defenders should consider not offering the people false hopes of safety for those orders are never coming. The people must take their fate into their own hands; at present they expect salvation to fall into their laps from us and we await orders that won’t happen.

      Nothing beyond immediate point defense is legal or likely.

    26. Jonathan Says:

      Blowback. This is largely America’s fault.

      There is some truth to this assertion but not in the way you intended. This is America’s fault to the extent we have encouraged Islamist attacks by showing weakness.

    27. Mike K Says:

      I understand that rooms for rent are cheap in St Denis. PenGun should look into one.

    28. Eric Says:

      Grurray:
      “Their ideological rigidity will resist the types of mission creep that we fell victim to like nation building and social work.”

      Actually, that component of the Iraq intervention was original programming, not “mission creep”, unless you mean the suspension of the Gulf War in 1991 was mission creep. The “nation building and social work” piece of OIF pursued the standing policy inherited from the HW Bush and Clinton administrations for enforcing the cornerstone humanitarian grounds of the Gulf War ceasefire per UNSCR 688 (1991).

      See the answers to the questions, “The reasons for OIF seemed to change. Was it about WMD or democracy?” and “Was the invasion of Iraq perceived to be a nation-building effort?”. Excerpt:

      On January 19, 1993, in his last comprehensive update on Iraq’s compliance to Congress per Public Law 102-1, President HW Bush had affirmed US support of the Iraqi National Congress as an “alternative to the Saddam regime”:

      We continue to support the efforts of the Iraq [sic] National Congress to develop a broad-based alternative to the Saddam regime. We encourage other governments to do the same. The Congress espouses a future Iraq based on the principles of political pluralism, territorial unity, and full compliance with all the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

      On June 26, 2000, Vice President Gore, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for President, “reaffirmed the Administration’s strong commitment to the objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power” and his own “desire to see a united Iraq served by a representative and democratic government” in a joint statement with leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC):

      The INC and the Vice President reaffirmed their joint desire to see a united Iraq served by a representative and democratic government responsive to the needs of its people and willing to live in peace with its neighbors.
      The Vice President reaffirmed the Administration’s strong commitment to the objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power, and to bringing him and his inner circle to justice for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    29. Mike K Says:

      I think the support of the Iraqi National Congress was what people like Rumsfeld saw as the eventual result of the 2003 invasion.

      It was Paul Bremer and the State Department that went for the whole occupation thing.

      Rumsfeld would have been happy to turn the place over to the Kurds and the exiles and leave the rest to them.

    30. Eric Says:

      Jonathan:
      “There is some truth to this assertion but not in the way you intended. This is America’s fault to the extent we have encouraged Islamist attacks by showing weakness.”

      Indeed. From a July 2015 “exit interview” with General Ray Odierno:

      But Odierno had pointed words on the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria – suggesting it didn’t have to be this way.

      “It’s frustrating to watch it,” Odierno said. “I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and we got it to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.”

      Odierno said the fall of large parts of Iraq was not inevitable, reiterating concerns about the pace of the U.S. troop withdrawal there.

      “If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it might have been prevented,” he said. “I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.”

      In 2009, while still the top commander in Iraq, Odierno recommended keeping 30,000-35,000 U.S. troops after the end of 2011, when the U.S. was scheduled to pull out. The recommendation was not followed.

      “I think it would have been good for us to stay,” Odierno said, when asked if it was a mistake to pull out.

      If you have about 1.5-2 hours to spare to watch a youtube video, I recommend this September 2014 Columbia University Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies panel discussion, “ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and the US”. The faculty panelists provide a succinct nut-and-bolts background sketch.

      Your comment brought the Columbia panel to mind because the ‘strong horse, weak horse’ mindset of the terrorists is prominent. The panelists explain terrorism had reached a low ebb in 2008-2009 in large part due to the COIN “Surge” in Iraq, which established the US as the ‘strong horse’ and dealt a catastrophic defeat to al Qaeda, which had prioritized the contest for Iraq. But subsequent regional events coupled with the course change by the succeeding US administration oriented the US as the ‘weak horse’, which paved the way for a terrorist resurgence.

    31. Jim Says:

      Christendom and Islam have a long history of bloody conflict extending back over 1300 years. During most of this time Christendom had a strong numerical advantage. However that is no longer true. The Moslem populations adjacent to Europe are not only much larger in relation to Western populations than they were in the past but are also much younger. The West faces the real prospect of much of its territory being overrun by Moslems in the near future.

      However even more daunting than the shift of demographic advantage to Islam is the lack of will on the part of Europeans and their leaders to defend themselves. Allowing large numbers of Moslems to emigrate to Europe was an act of insanity. It remains to be seen whether Europeans can recover the will to survive.

    32. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “It was Paul Bremer and the State Department that went for the whole occupation thing.
      Rumsfeld would have been happy to turn the place over to the Kurds and the exiles and leave the rest to them.”

      Secretary Rumsfeld was a proponent of the ‘light footprint’.

      However, based on the law and policy regarding Iraq that guided both departments, I doubt there was a fundamental difference in the nature of “whole occupation thing” vs “turn the place over” between State and Defense.

      Recall that the end goal of OIF wasn’t deposing Saddam’s regime.

      When Iraq failed Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) when UNMOVIC found “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” in breach of UNSCRs 687 and 1441, regime change was only the 1st step of the means to the end goal of bringing Iraq into compliance with the UNSCR 660-series resolutions. That goal wasn’t new in 2003. Since it began in 1990, the founding purpose of the Iraq intervention was Iraq’s compliance with UNSCR 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions.

      Which is to say, a review of Iraq’s obligations under UN mandate soon makes it apparent that “turn the place over … and leave the rest to them” would have been insufficient for the end goal of Iraq’s compliance. By the same token, it’s apparent from the law, policy, and custom upon which we entered OIF that the mission would entail a deep commitment on par with the US post-WW2 commitments.

      So, there may have been a dispute between State and Defense over the form of application of the US commitment with Iraq, but it’s doubtful there was a dispute over the nature of the US commitment with Iraq, which was dictated by the law and policy.

      See the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (PL 105-338), especially section 7, which was raised in section 4 of the 2002 AUMF (PL 107-243), and the parameters of the post-war mission set out in UNSCR 1483 (2003) and UNSCR 1511 (2003). In addition to US custom – eg, the analogous US-led, UN-mandated Korea intervention – see the contemporary UN view on intervention as summarized in the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly on 20SEP99 related to the analogous US-led Kosovo intervention.

      In that light, the notion that “Rumsfeld would have been happy to turn the place over to the Kurds and the exiles and leave the rest to them” contradicts the task and standard for the Iraq intervention on their face.

      Yet it’s possible Rumsfeld may have believed the spectrum of compliance goals, let alone our strategic goals, were achievable with a deep commitment but a ‘light footprint’. If that’s what he believed, that seems unreasonable to me and would help explain why he was replaced for the post-war occupation despite the success of the invasion.

    33. Grurray Says:

      Eric, I stand corrected. Thanks for setting the record straight. It was a fundamental mistake from the beginning. Creating or maintaining a nation for Arabs should never be attempted ever again.

    34. Mike K Says:

      “Creating or maintaining a nation for Arabs should never be attempted ever again.”

      I think it was worth a try but that attempt at civilizing Arabs should not be tried again. Japan and Germany were both nation states with history. Arabs are tribes with no history of an organization larger.

      Korea was a closer comparison but the Asians seem to have a civilizing gene that Arabs do not.

    35. Eric Says:

      Grurray:
      “Thanks for setting the record straight.”

      You’re welcome.

      The OIF FAQ explanation is a cheat sheet for the primary sources of the mission. If you’d like, here’s the table of sources it’s drawn from.

      Grurray:
      “It was a fundamental mistake from the beginning.”

      Of the 4 US presidents who have enforced the UNSCR 660-series resolutions, the 1 US president who usually gets a pass from criticism is President HW Bush.

      Yet the truth is HW Bush is the most responsible of the 4 US presidents for setting the course with the Gulf War then Gulf War ceasefire that locked in his successors, including his son.

      By the time HW Bush left office, barring Saddam complying with the UN mandates of his own volition – and by the time HW Bush left office, it was obvious Saddam would not comply – OIF, or something like it, was a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

      Everything that subsequently went badly with the Iraq enforcement under Clinton and Bush started with HW Bush’s failures to enforce Saddam’s compliance during the Gulf War then the ceasefire.

      As much as we variously blame Clinton, Bush, and Obama for the subsequent happenings with Iraq, the primary blame should go to HW Bush who screwed up at the outset and then kicked the can to Clinton (who just as unethically kicked the can to Bush).

      Comparing the 4 US presidents, President Bush acted the most responsibly and – I say this thoughtfully – the most honorably with the Iraq intervention. Notwithstanding his mistakes in the public presentation of the case against Saddam, President Bush was mindful of the situation and faithful to the case against Saddam and enforcement procedure that he inherited from President Clinton.

      Judged strictly on the situation, law, policy, and determinative facts, Bush made the correct decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom. And unlike his predecessor, Bush passed on a viable situation with Iraq to his successor, who promptly screwed it up.

      Yet Bush is heaped upon with much undeserved scorn for essentially doing his best to do the right thing as President of the United States with an intractable problem that he inherited, while his father is given an undeserved pass from criticism.

    36. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “Korea was a closer comparison but the Asians seem to have a civilizing gene that Arabs do not.”

      Indeed, that “civilizing gene” is called USFK.

      There was a similar “civilizing gene” similarly evolving Iraq that was called (of course) USFI. Unfortunately, unlike USFK which has continued working with Korea, the USFI gene was disengaged then withdrawn by the President in 2011. Missing the necessary USFI gene, Iraq has consequently devolved.

      See the GEN Odierno interview I linked and excerpted in my comment at 5:17 pm. Also see UN Recognizes ‘Major Changes’ In Iraq by VP Joe Biden on behalf of the UN Security Council, 2010, and How Obama Abandoned Democracy in Iraq by OIF official and senior advisor Emma Sky, 2015.

    37. Mike K Says:

      “the primary blame should go to HW Bush”

      Actually, I blame Norman Schwartzkopf who went into an armistice negotiation with the Iraqis without any advisor from State.

      I still think Arabs are uncivilized and will be until they get enough of a beating that they understand that they are not going to be “the strong horse” ever again.

    38. Eric Says:

      Mike K,

      Well, if we expand the set of actors, the primary blame goes to Saddam and his noncompliance first, foremost, and always.

      President Clinton, 05NOV98:

      Now, the better part of a decade later, Iraq continues to shirk its clear obligations. Iraq has no one to blame but itself — and the people of Iraq have no one to blame but Saddam Hussein — for the position Iraq finds itself in today. Iraq could have ended its isolation long ago by simply complying with the will of the world. The burden is on Iraq to get back in compliance and meet its obligations — immediately.

      I meant to compare within the set of the 4 US presidents who have enforced the UNSCR 660-series resolutions. I should have clarified that of the 4 US presidents, the primary blame should go to HW Bush for the happenings with Iraq since 1990-1991.

    39. Xennady Says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the Middle East that a few hundred glass-bottomed craters wouldn’t solve.

    40. Jim Says:

      To Mike K – The differences between Middle Eastern peoples (who by the way are not all identical and have a lot of differences from each other) cannot be changed by “beating them”, no more than a donkey can be changed into a horse by sufficient beating. Middle Eastern peoples in comparison with European peoples are the result of different paths of genetic-cultural co-evolution.

      The US policy of deliberately destabilizing the Middle East was apparently based on a fantastical idea that Middle Easterners would spontaneously change into Europeans. Putin is attempting to bring some stability back to the Middle East and reverse the disastrous consequences of US policy. While I’m not sure he can succeed he is probably the best hope for restoring stability. In comparison with George W. Bush, Putin seems to have some semblance of sanity and in comparison with Obama, Putin’s skills-set seems to extend beyond reading a teleprompter.

    41. Jim Says:

      To Mike K- The differences between Middle Eastern peoples (who by the way are not all identical and have a lot of differences from each other)and European peoples (same qualification) cannot be changed by “beating them”, no more than a donkey can be changed into a horse by sufficient beating. Middle Eastern peoples in comparison with European peoples are the result of different paths of genetic-cultural co-evolution.

      The US policy of deliberately destabilizing the Middle East was apparently based on the fantastical idea that Middle Easterners would spontaneously change into Europeans. Putin is attempting to bring some stability back to the Middle East and reverse some of the disastrous consequences of US policy. While I’m not sure he can succeed he is probably the best hope for any improvement in the current situation. In comparison with George W. Bush, Putin seems to have some semblance of sanity and in comparison with Obama, Putin’s skills-set seems to extend beyond reading a teleprompter.

    42. Mike K Says:

      a fantastical idea that Middle Easterners would spontaneously change into Europeans.

      This is the answer of the left which is determined to blame Bush for Clinton’s failures. Remember the Cole bombing just before the 2000 election ? I thought not.

      The 2003 invasion was the final attempt to solve a problem that began with the overthrow of the Iraqi government established by the British in 1933. King Faisal ruled pretty successfully from 1921 to 1933.

      Faisal fostered unity between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to encourage common loyalty and promote pan-Arabism in the goal of creating an Arab state that would include Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. While in power, Faisal tried to diversify his administration by including different ethnic and religious groups in offices. However, Faisal’s attempt at pan-Arab nationalism may have contributed to the isolation of certain religious groups.

      Eventually, he was overthrown by assassination.

      King Faisal died on 8 September 1933, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was a heart attack while he was staying in Bern, Switzerland, for his general medical checkup. He was succeeded on the throne by his oldest son Ghazi. Many questions arose from his sudden death, as Swiss doctors assured that he was healthy and nothing serious was wrong with him. His private nurse also reported signs of arsenic poisoning before his death. Many of his companions noticed that day that he was suffering from pain in the abdomen (sign of poisoning) and not chest (a typical sign of heart attack). His body was quickly embalmed before performing a proper autopsy to find the exact result of death, a normal procedure in such situations.

      The result of Saddam Hussein’s rule was that Iraqis seemed to outsiders to be a potential example of Arab self rule, which had not occurred for a thousand years. I supported the invasion at the time because it seemed that, if any Arabs were ever to rule themselves without tyrants, the Iraqis were the best bet. There was a sizable Iraqi middle class although most of them were emigrants like those I knew in California. There was hope that the Iraqi diaspora might go home if there was a decent ruler.

      I think it was a worthwhile attempt since Saddam was the one who destablized the middle east, not Bush.

    43. Eric Says:

      Jim,

      The US policy with Iraq was in significant part compelled by the “disastrous consequences” of Russian policy with Iraq. Russia was complicit in Saddam’s material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire that was casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

      For example, from the Iraq Survey Group Duelfer Report:

      From Baghdad the long struggle to outlast the containment policy of the United States imposed through the UN sanctions seemed tantalizingly close. There was considerable commitment and involvement on the part of states like Russia and Syria, who had developed economic and political stakes in the success of the Regime. From Baghdad’s perspective, they had firm allies, and it appeared the United States was in retreat. The United Nations mechanism to implement the Oil For Food program was being corrupted and undermined. The collapse or removal of sanctions was foreseeable. This goal, always foremost in Saddam’s eyes, was within reach.

      • Huwaysh instructed MIC [military-industrial complex] general directors to conceal sensitive material and documents from UN inspectors. This was done to prevent inspectors from discovering numerous purchases of illicit conventional weapons and military equipment from firms in Russia, Belarus, and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

      A major piece of Saddam’s calculus that he could reject the compliance with the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) required to switch off enforcement was his belief that his Russian ‘inside’ ally on the Security Council would help him.

      Your Russian “semblance of sanity” is actually Saddam’s accomplice for the issue that compelled the US-led enforcement in the first place.

    44. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “I think it was a worthwhile attempt since Saddam was the one who destablized the middle east, not Bush.”

      More grounded than that, strictly on the facts, the decision for OIF was correct according to the law and policy that enforced the “governing standard of compliance” (UNSCR 1441) for the Gulf War ceasefire. Iraq was guilty of material breach (in which Russia was complicit) in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441).

      According to GEN Odierno’s ‘exit interview’, VP Biden’s statement on behalf of the UN Security Council, and Emma Sky’s criticism of President Obama on Iraq, linked upthread, the “worthwhile attempt” was succeeding until the current President determined to change course.

      Imagine the consequences had President Eisenhower similarly determined to change course, disengaged then withdrawn the peace operations from Europe and/or Asia following WW2 in the early 1950s at a similar 8-year mark. In the fall-out, I imagine the pro-Soviet view of such a mistake by Ike would have been like Jim’s pro-Russian view of Obama’s mistake.

      Keep in mind, this is Jim’s “semblance of sanity”:

      Per UNSCR 688 (1991), UN Commission on Human Rights, 2002:

      The [United Nations] Commission on Human Rights … Recalling: … [UNSCR] 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, in which the Council demanded an end to repression of the Iraqi civilian population and insisted that Iraq cooperate with humanitarian organizations and that the human rights of all Iraqi citizens be respected … Strongly condemns: (a) The systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror.

      Per UNSCR 687 (1991), Iraqi Perspectives Project, 2007:

      Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. … Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda … This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a �de facto� link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals … evidence shows that Saddam�s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.</blockquote

    45. Grurray Says:

      “I supported the invasion at the time because it seemed that, if any Arabs were ever to rule themselves without tyrants, the Iraqis were the best bet. There was a sizable Iraqi middle class although most of them were emigrants like those I knew in California. There was hope that the Iraqi diaspora might go home if there was a decent ruler.”

      I was under the same impression, but that diaspora I knew around Chicago really consisted of Assyrians and Chaldeans. When the wars started instead of going back they started coming over here in greater and greater numbers. The whole thing was a house of cards

    46. Eric Says:

      Grurray:
      “The whole thing was a house of cards”

      It was really just one card: qualified security. (‘Qualified’ in the sense that tyrannical security shares essential traits but enables different things than liberal security.)

      Terrorist insurgents have one relative advantage in the asymmetric contest – unfortunately, that advantage is undermining the security that’s the necessary foundational piece for enabling everything else.

      When we lost security early in the ‘golden hour’ of post-Saddam Iraq, the rest of it couldn’t work. When we started to establish security with the COIN “Surge”, the rest of it started working. When we removed security for Obama’s course change with Iraq, the rest of it fell apart.

      Your house of cards analogy is apt when we understand the indispensable card at the base is (qualified) security.

    47. Mike K Says:

      “The whole thing was a house of cards”

      Oh yes and the Iraqis I knew were probably Christians although the subject never came up. We over estimated the secular factor but Saddam had eliminated all the CIA assets in Iraq so we were blind.

    48. Mike K Says:

      “There was considerable commitment and involvement on the part of states like Russia and Syria”

      France, ruled by felon Jacques Chirac, was also a major contributor, as was Germany. They were all involved in the “Oil for Food” scam which involved the UN and its corrupt leadership. Kofi Annan’s son was caught importing luxury cars into Africa, for example.

      The Democrats lie consistently about the sanctions regime. It was collapsing and the Saudis were demanding we leave their territory about the same time. Bush’s alternative would have looked like headlong retreat. Soon after the invasion, we did leave Saudi for Qattar, a worse actor if possible.

    49. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “The Democrats lie consistently about the sanctions regime.”

      The false narrative of OIF, although chock-full of demonstrably false premises, is nonetheless the prevalent narrative.

      That’s why I hew to the bedrock law and policy and dispositive facts to explain OIF, in order to cut through the shifting speculative smoke laid down by the anti-OIF propaganda.

      That’s why I counsel you to lay the foundation with the controlling law and policy and determinative facts to anchor your broader historic, strategic analysis – which is necessarily conjectural by nature – in order to guard against being drowned out by the waves of speculation. The truth of the matter – the closest thing we have to it, anyway – is found in the controlling law and policy and determinative facts.

      Thus, knowing the truth of the matter, I’m angry that the lying Democrats include Clinton officials and senior Congressmen who’ve participated in the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement and were responsible for much of the operative enforcement procedure carried forward by President Bush. It’s as though when Clinton handed off the Saddam problem to Bush, they deleted their still-fresh experience and downloaded enemy propaganda to replace it … substantially the same enemy propaganda they had fended off on behalf of the Clinton administration.

      See the answer to the question, “Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?”. Note especially the excerpts from the ISG Duelfer Report.

      As you know, Saddam wasn’t only buying gaudy palaces with illicit funds from the “Oil for Food” scandal. He was paying for “military reconstitution efforts starting in 1997 [that] … covered conventional arms, dual-use goods acquisition, and some WMD-related programs” (Iraq Survey Group). It applied to Saddam’s terrorism, too.

      The UNSC members lionized by the Left and many Democrats for opposing OIF were also the UNSC members rearming Saddam – including “WMD-related procurement” (ISG) – in breach of UNSCR 687.

      The trick in the illusion by enemy propagandists has been to assert a narrative based on the predictive imprecision of the pre-war intelligence, when in fact, according to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441), the UNMOVIC findings that were the principal trigger for OIF and the post hoc ISG findings are rife with Iraqi disarmament violations.

      Mike K:
      “Bush’s alternative would have looked like headlong retreat.”

      Right.

      Along with the evidently crumbling cornerstone of sanctions, the other cornerstone of the ad hoc ‘containment’ was a “robust posture” (Clinton) by the military in the region. With the sanctions failing, a reduction of the military component would have eliminated even the pretense of ‘containment’ and any lingering compulsion for Saddam to comply with Iraq’s ceasefire obligations.

      President Clinton, 19MAY99:

      Saddam Hussein’s record of aggressive behavior compels us to retain a highly capable force in the region in order to deter Iraq and respond to any threat it might pose to its neighbors, the reconstitution of its WMD program, or movement against the Kurds in northern Iraq. We demonstrated our resolve in mid-December when forces in the region carried out Operation Desert Fox to degrade Iraq’s ability to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction and its ability to threaten its neighbors. We will continue to maintain a robust posture and have established a rapid reinforcement capability to supplement our forces in the Gulf, if needed.

      So, what was the risk that President Bush had to weigh with the “alternative [of]… headlong retreat”?

      The specific risk, according to President Clinton, 16DEC98:

      If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspections system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

      And the general risk, according to President Clinton, 17FEB98:

      If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program.

      “Alternative” is a key word that’s often overlooked by critics of the decision for OIF.

      Excerpt from my OIF FAQ explanation, “What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?”:

      By the close of the Clinton administration, after ten years of struggle as chief enforcer of the UNSC resolutions to disarm and rehabilitate Saddam, only 3 options remained for the US with Iraq: kick the can with ‘containment’ (status quo), accept Iraq’s noncompliance and free Saddam, or resolve the Saddam problem with a final chance for Saddam to comply with Iraq’s ceasefire obligations under credible threat of regime change.

      By the time Clinton turned the White House over to Bush, the ‘containment’ was toxic and broken. We were down to the 3 alternatives for the festering Saddam problem, with or without the 9/11 attacks to compel an expeditious resolution.

      In his “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441), Saddam was in fact guilty across the board. He had not disarmed as mandated, he was rearming, he was a terrorist leader and tyrant, and his ambitions were unaffected.

      Given the actual situation, controlling law and policy, and determinative facts in the decision for OIF, I question which alternative to OIF – kicking the can (Obama’s choice) or freeing a noncompliant Saddam (Putin and Jim’s choice) – that folks like Grurray advocated instead of the OIF “final opportunity to comply” under credible threat of regime change (Clinton and Bush’s choice).

    50. Mike K Says:

      I am willing to debate the alternatives of allowing the sanctions to expire without any consequence to Saddam. All I want is for the other side, who hate Bush and Cheney, to admit what the choices were. They won’t do it.

      The usual response is “Disastrous invasion by George Bush.”

      That ignores all the history but I am not surprised because History is not something taught in most institutions that purport to educate.

      The proximate cause of Middle East trouble is the First World War and the decision by the Ottoman Empire to join The Central Powers. They were already being called “The Sick Man of Europe.” Since 1683, they had been in retreat and pieces of their empire had been lopped off. It began with the battle of Vienna,

      An earlier siege in 1510 failed when Pretzels—or those who made them—took a particularly dramatic turn in the spotlight in 1510, when Ottoman Turks attempted to invade Vienna, Austria, by digging tunnels underneath the city’s walls. Monks baking pretzels in the basement of a monastery heard the enemy’s progress and alerted the rest of the city, then helped defeat the Turkish attack. As a reward, the Austrian emperor gave the pretzel bakers their own coat of arms.”

      That was the real beginning of Middle East trouble because Arabs had never successfully ruled themselves. The Turks began as slaves and took over. They then took Serb boys as slaves and they, in turn took over as “ Janissaries .

      Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 was the first sign that the Muslim world had fallen behind. They are still behind but have used western inventions to try to catch up. It hasn’t worked and so they are now determined to pull us down to their level.

      It has nothing to do with Bush. We might as well blame a dog bite on the domestication of digs.

    51. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “I am willing to debate the alternatives of allowing the sanctions to expire without any consequence to Saddam. All I want is for the other side, who hate Bush and Cheney, to admit what the choices were. They won’t do it.
      The usual response is “Disastrous invasion by George Bush.””

      Yeah, same willingness but experience for me.

      I try to unpack the issues with the hypothetical frame, ‘in Bush’s shoes at the decision point’.

      Hence, in my answer to the 1st OIF FAQ question, “What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?”, I say:

      An intellectually honest argument against President Bush’s decision to resolve the Saddam problem by enforcing Iraq’s compliance must include a compelling case for kicking the can with ‘containment’ and/or freeing a noncompliant Saddam.

      The 1st 4 OIF FAQ questions name then unpack the 3 alternatives.

      ◾What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?
      ◾Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?
      ◾Why not free a noncompliant Saddam?
      ◾Why did resolution of the Saddam problem require a threat of regime change?

      It’s difficult with the folks who hew to adversarial Narrative, which is not regulated by inquisitorial logic and facts.

      Even with many purported supporters of the mission, I’ve found the false narrative of OIF is so ingrained, they choose arguments that effectively stipulate the false premises. But when I try to explain the actual law and policy, fact basis of OIF, they get upset and hug onto their familiar yet self-defeating arguments.

      If the bedrock, controlling law and policy and the dispositive, determinative facts in the decision for OIF – the closest thing we have to the truth of the matter – can’t cut through the demonstrably false narrative of OIF, I don’t know what else can.

      MikeK:
      “That ignores all the history”

      You work to explain the deep historical context for the Saddam problem. Like you said, it’s not surprising that most people (including me) don’t share your depth of knowledge. I merely, conservatively try to establish the directly relevant context of HW Bush and Clinton’s Iraq enforcement – which I’m incredulous I have to do at all considering the struggle over Saddam’s noncompliance with the UNSCR 660-series resolutions was headline news from the beginning.

      Setting the record straight is a daunting task with the narrative mindset. Without any apparent trace of self-consciousness, they can draw a direct line from OIF to ISIS where the intermediate consequences of Obama with the Arab Spring and Obama’s course-change with Iraq shrink and fade away. Even the well documented, readily apparent 20th-21st century evolution of Qutbist terrorism, which has included Saddam’s terrorism, is waved away in favor of the axiom of “Disastrous invasion by George Bush”.

    52. Mike K Says:

      History has been a hobby for me since college. I was on a kick of Civil War history then and have gone on to WWI and WWII. Then came Greek history and so on. This past summer I was looking forward to a trip to see Philip of Macedon’s tomb, which has been restored, and to Knossos to see Minos’ palace, which has also been restored. After watching the Greek economy collapse, then watching the “migrant” invasion, we changed our plans and went to Belgium.

      I would still like to see Knossos and Macedon but I think it will probably not happen.

      I get depressed when I see how little the supposed “educated” in our culture actually know about history. I did what I could with my children and most appreciate some history although a couple of them seem not to have absorbed much economics.

    53. Mike K Says:

      The Guardian actually has a decent article on Chalabi and then the usual leftist Bush haters take over the comments.

    54. Eric Says:

      Mike K,

      It’s an odd article.

      Mallat claims to have tracked the process to OIF in 2002 and, more, to have been personally involved in it. His legal background suggests he should understand the operative enforcement procedure in the decision for OIF – yet his article shows that he doesn’t. His account is fundamentally inconsistent with the relevant UNSCRs and US law and policy.

      Some criticisms:

      1. Mallat overlooks that the basic terms of the Gulf War ceasefire were set in 1990-1991. He claims he recommended a new approach to Bush officials to justify regime change that was rejected, suggesting that the casus belli for OIF was formulated in 2002.

      But that’s incorrect. The grounds for OIF were more than a “consensus” by Bush officials. They were standing law and policy. The casus belli, Iraq’s breach of ceasefire, was established. By 2002, the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) was mature. There was no room for a new approach.

      Mallat seems unaware of the operative enforcement procedure in the decision for OIF, for instance, that OIF was principally triggered by Iraq failing the UNSCR 1441 compliance test with UNMOVIC finding “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues”.

      1a. He overlooks that neither UNSCR 1441 nor PL 107-243 was novel. Both 2002 documents were reiterations of standing terms. The additions in the 2002 documents were updates and enhancements to the standing terms, not novel terms.

      The closest thing to a novel term in the 2002 documents was the addition of the national security evaluation of Iraq’s compliance in PL 107-243. But that wasn’t new, either. It was merely the codification of a strategic adjustment by President Clinton to the operative paragraph of PL 102-1 (1991).

      2. Mallat overlooks the significance of a UN resolution that is adopted “acting under Chapter VII of the Charter” versus a UN resolution missing that qualification.

      Contrary to Mallat’s account, the Gulf War ceasefire already included a cornerstone humanitarian component: UNSCR 688 (1991). UNSCR 688 was cited in UNSCR 1441. However, UNSCR 688 is not a Chapter VII resolution and is subject to Article 2 Paragraph 7 of the Charter.*

      The obvious reason that Iraq’s disarmament violations per UNSCR 687 was the principal trigger for OIF is UNSCR 687 is a Chapter VII resolution.

      * There was disagreement over whether UNSCR 688 should have been a Chapter VII resolution. The US justified the invasive enforcement of UNSCR 688, such as the no-fly zones, by claiming UNSCR 688 was enforceable under UNSCR 678 (1990), which is a Chapter VII resolution.

      3. Mallat overlooks that, distinct from the UN, the Bush administration had a strong humanitarian policy on Iraq, which was carried forward from HW Bush and Clinton’s humanitarian policy on Iraq.

      He complains that the UN prioritized the disarmament mandates over the humanitarian mandates, yet in the US law and policy, the disarmament and humanitarian grounds were equal. And the US was the chief enforcer of the Gulf War ceasefire mandates.

      _ Given Mallat’s legal background, he ought to know better, so his article may be deliberately misleading. However, I’ve known legal counsel whose job it was to understand the ‘why’ of OIF yet didn’t, so Mallat may just be unexpectedly ignorant rather than deliberately misleading.