Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The end is almost certainly nigh

'Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."'
You might want to run that through your mind a little, perhaps toy a smidge with logic. The Clyburn mentioned is US House Majority Whip James Clyburn. He is not wrong by the way. I predicted some months back, in fact maybe even years, that if the US defeated Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the Mehdi army and the remaining Sunni 'nationalists', the world would look very different. Its most stark change would be US electorates perception of the posturing, cowardice and unseriousness of the US democrats, especially the ones at the top. I have a feeling that Gen Petraeus's arrival, plan and decent execution of plans has put paid to the Dems winning the Presidency in 2008. Its not a dead cert, and there's a lot more that could happen, especially if the Republicans can't find a decent candidate who appeals to the base, but I'd say the bookies would see them as firm faves at this time. Hillary Clinton has been very wise in keeping well away from the 'Lets Lose This One' side of the Dem party, so it should not be nearly as much of a problem for her as the other contenders, but I believe the whole Democrat party will be seen as having lined up with America's critics, detractors and even enemies. For many people the name on the ballot will not be as important as the party symbol.

Its all their own fault. Because of the Bill Clintons trouser problems, and what many Dems perceived as the completely demented attacks on him, the last seven years have only been about paybacks. The big picture go hang- they wanted to destroy and humiliate President Bush as a matter of desperate urgency. No matter what he did or didn't do, they wanted an impeachment so Bill's.... improprieties would pale into insignificance in comparison. You can't escape these petty emotions in politics, any more than you can in day to day life. But you hope that when genuinely grand-scale issues come to hand, teeth will be gritted and the petty emotions put aside and business transacted. The Democrats have spectacularly failed to do this, have failed on vast numbers of occasions to rise above the trivia and do the serious work of governing. Some, like Nancy Pelosi, have even tried to usurp the Presidents prerogatives even BEFORE he is impeached.

And there's nothing like being right. If they had been right all along, and Iraq was another Vietnam, and the US was really losing, and the people fighting the coalition were principled patriots like the US revolutionaries, and Iran and Syria were sweet and kind neighbors who just want to be friends if we'd just stop being so nasty to them- the American people would quickly have aligned themselves with the Dems after the inevitable pullout from Iraq. When the country loses people want to associate themselves with the party who said 'We're gonna lose!' just to prove they personally aren't an idiot. But they weren't right. Most Americans didn't know enough about what was going on so far away to make a judgement- mainly because the big press orgs wouldn't tell them. So they kept their powder dry.

But soon the great pressure pad which is the surge will force the bad guys into the open, and then they will be mincemeat. All the good ideas Gen Petraeus brought with him, some novel and many learned from successful counter-insurgencies elsewhere, have actually been put into action. The soldiers are much perkier these days- read Michael Totten and other imbeds if you doubt my word. That often happens when the grunts feel that someone up there actually understands the real dynamics of the situation and puts in place tactics that are appropriate and effective. When will the 'war' as it is innacurately called end? Who knows? How safe does safe have to be before you can say there's no more insurgency? The Kurdish areas have been mostly safe except for the odd Al-Qaeda spectacular for years. The south is largely peaceful (although disarming both the Mehdi army and the Sadr brigades is still largely un-accomplished). Much of Baghdad is now patrolled on foot by US soldiers- unthinkable six months ago when careening through in an up-armored hummer was considered brave. I think a time-scale of three to six months will see an end to everything except a few lucky Al-Qaeda who have kept off the radar my some miracle. Most will have been scooped up as locals discover what a bunch of pitiless screwballs they are and turn them in, as is currently happening at an ever-increasing rate.

I am not being triumphalist- this has been no triumph. It has been an ugly, inept, jarring and in human terms extremely tragic episode in Iraqs history. No-one except perhaps the British Army come out of it with reputation intact or even enhanced. They profferd the 'Petraeus solution' five minutes after the insurgency started. The US chiefs of staff paid no attention whatsoever. As soon as the insurgency started, the rebuilding efforts should have been shelved until order was restored- quickly and brutally. Counter-insurgency is not 'nice' war. It is often more bitter than 'real' war. So it should be completed as soon as is humanly possible. This insurgency was allowed to fester away for four whole years and cost perhaps 150,000 lives. I do hope the US will not allow the skills learned over those four years to wither and disappear- they need to be institutionalised and built into the fabric of the US military from the ground up.

In todays world, the likelihood is that most encounters the US military will have will be more like Iraq and less like Korea or World War II. Obviously then, having the requisite skills, and the right kind of personnel, is essential. Sending the 3rd Infantry division into Baghdad was probably one of the stupidest things done by the US military during the whole Iraq intervention- it turned most of the populace against the US, even people who had formerly been positive or neutral. Making sure you have units capable in every way of taking on a hidden, urban enemy is essential in 2007.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A nation at war with itself


'B]y a two-to-one margin Americans say their children will be worse off than we are...

It's partly a partisan response: Almost all Democrats are negative about the nation's future.

I think that many Americans are attuned to the idea of using the opportunity presented by a phone call from a pollster to make a political point. I seriously doubt that nearly all Democrats really believe the nation is more or less doomed to decline; if a Democratic President is elected next November, the country's prospects will brighten considerably in their eyes.'

Linked to this off Instapundit. It tweaked a curious thought in my mind: when did political parties become emotional cheerleading squads in a bizarre drama, and stop being the vehicle for the (mostly) rational collective interests of some of the populace?

I cannot recall a time when a political party anywhere in the world did what the Democrats in the United States have done: talked themselves into such a demonic and hyper-tense fury over the pretty much mundane transaction of United States business at home and around the world. The war in Iraq mundane? I hear you ask. Name a decade in the 20th century without an American war and/or military intervention somewhere on the globe? Thought so.

Spanish American war, Honduras, Phillipines, Barbary states, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, France and on and on. Big country, business and diplomatic interests all over the world. Its what happens. But the Democrats rhetoric has reached heights of shrillness and bombast never previously broached. They now openly discuss killing the President, entertain theories about their own government organising the high profile mass murder of 3000 US citizens, accuse US soldiers of every kind of brutality and sadism, describe a US internment camp as a torture facility and would like to see dedicated murderers in Iraq win and the US lose.

They not only subscribe to the above, they also see the Republicans not as their political adversaries, to be bested if possible in the political arena so that their interests may be advanced ahead of their competitors- no. They see the Republicans as evil, as representing a kind of cancer of the nation, which must be systematically destroyed if possible, starting at the head, the President.

For those of us on the outside looking in, this presents a terrible impression of a nation at war with itself, whose psychology has become dangerously unstable, and whose common sense has become deranged. Can we send assistance? Is there anything to be done?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yeah, well, y'know

I am in Pakistan, and the heat and the Delhi belly really cut into the desire to write blog posts. There's a lot of good stuff to say about my trip but it will have to wait until I'm home. Do not despair trusty reader- normal service will soon be resumed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Palestinians and the Democrats


'The Arab Reform Movement is pretty blunt about blaming Arabs for the lack of good government, or economic and scientific progress in the region. Many Arabs note that over half of Israel's population is "Arab" (either Israeli Arab or Israelis of Middle Eastern origin), and that has not prevented Israel from building a working democracy and thriving economy. An increasing number of Arabs ask, "why not us?" The Palestinians are increasingly seen as a bunch of self-destructive screw-ups who can't do anything right. Arab support for Palestinians is increasingly just for show, and the show is coming to an end.'

Perhaps the show is coming to an end in the middle east, and amongst those with first-hand knowledge, but the mushy left in America is just gearing up to support them. The burgeoning support for the Palestinian 'cause' among American college students, their professors, journalists and editors in the mainstream press and so-called liberal politicians bodes ill for any solutions in the middle east based on reality. It has been noted that sales of the Yasser Arafat hanky thing have gone completely crazy, and the number of 'activists' prepared to do all kinds of nutty things on behalf of the Poor Ickle Palestinians has shot through the roof. As with the situation in Iraq, where millions and millions of Iraqi's want the Americans to stay, and millions and millions of lefty morons want America to leave, mass politics has a its own dynamics; and these dynamics are very loosely connected to the actual world.

For many middle eastern governments the current big issues are the presence of 155,000 US soldiers in Iraq, the desperate attempts of Iran to get nuclear weapons to shore up their claim to be a 'regional power', the growing attempts by Wahhabist extremists to undermine all the secular institutions of power in their countries, and how to deal with Israel in its new concialatory, constructive mood. The very old songs played by the Palestinian cheerleader squads in the various capitals of the Arab world sound like music from an age past, dead and gone. These facts are of no import to the American and British left. They live in an insulated world which needs no further input from the outside. They are utterly confident that the truths of 1980 are the truths of 2007. Like all true believers, the world cannot change for them. Which is annoying for the rest of us, and sometimes quite important.

If 'progressive liberal' politicians succeed in altering the course of the Iraqi situation by playing about with the funding of US forces, both American politics and Iraqi daily life could suffer severe downsides. The suspicion of Republicans that large segments of the Democrat party have turned decisively away from the interests of the United States, and swung behind those of its sworn enemies could harden into a real conflict. This bizarre turn of events, where party affiliation suddenly becomes the fault line for patriotic affiliation has never happened in the US before. No major US political party has ever accepted pretty much wholesale the arguments of its enemies and detractors, and made them its program for 'government'. I foresee the complete disintegration of the Democrat party, where the half of it which is still patriotic to the US leaves to find a new political home and the rump Democrat party, full of haters and malcontents becomes a sort of militant rabble, a bit like the militia movements in the '80s and '90s. The militia movements fueled themselves on hatred of the Federal government, conspiracy theories about every kind of government skulduggery, and ignorant theories about how the world works. That is very close to the positions of the crazed half of the Democrat party.

Sadly, the Republican party is in great disarray too, and is not in any position to take advantage of the disintegrating Democrats. It has different problems, at the heart of which I believe is a complete breakdown of what Republicans commonly believe to be the core principles of conservatism. President Bush is not nearly conservative enough for many Republicans, who hanker after the days of Ronald Reagan. There is a very large faction of centrist Republicans though, for whom large government contracts, big government solutions to most problems, and a corporatist view of American life have replaced completely the frontier values of working class America. How the Republican party can take all its disparate elements and combine them effectively in actual goverment is almost as serious a problem as the one confronting the Democrats. Saying that, a Republican failure to govern would not be as bad for the United States as a Democrat success in getting elected in its current state.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alienation is the new black

Today we were told that the huge disparity between the richest and poorest causes alienation. Recently, we were told that our carbon footprints are so huge they cause alienation between ourselves and those from poor countries. We are constantly told that the Foreign policy of the British government alienates mainstream Moslems and makes young Moslems want to blow themselves and us up.

Alienation is hyper-trendy. Everybody in the world is alienated except perhaps me and you, and I'm not sure about you. I reckon the only solution is to murder all the hyper-rich people, take their money and distribute it to the people of Chad and Burkina Faso. Oh, and then murder all the pretty well-off people and give their money to the people of Belgium. Ok, I may not have thought this through very well...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why news is news

'Israeli troops on Thursday reportedly have penetrated three kilometers into Lebanese territories, taking up positions in the mountains near Yanta in east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
The daily Al Mustaqbal, citing sources who confirmed the cross-border penetration, did not say when the procedure in the Fahs Hill overlooking Deir al-Ashaer in the Rashaya province took place. The sources said Israeli troops, backed by bulldozers, were fortifying positions "in more than one area" along the Lebanese border, erecting earth mounds and digging "hundreds" of trenches and individual bunkers.'

Lebanese daily newspaper Al Mustaqbal

Ok, ok, I'm lying. Its not Israel doing these things, its Syria. If I was right, and it was Israel, it would have been the lead story on every news bulletin from Kinshasa to Kathmandu. But its not. So it wasn't. Dull old Syria just can't grab those column inches like the tiny Satan. I would never have known about this were it not for Michael Totten and his superb blog. He didn't believe the story was true at first because no other, I repeat no other, news organisation other than this one Lebanese paper carried the story. Remember: this is the invasion of a sovereign country (just like say Belgium) by its neighbor, a neighbor which has a very bad reputation for doing exactly that. And nobody cares! The tumbleweed is drifting by, the crickets chirp, and the massed legions of AP, AFP, PA, Reuters and the big American networks carry on with their ritualised stories about evil Israeli settlers and the casualty count in Iraq.

Do you get the impression that the mainstream press agencies and big networks are a bit like the Roman Catholic church on the eve of the Reformation? Fat, bloated, corrupt, content to do the same 'ol same 'ol without passion or conviction? A corporate island in a lake of its own self-approval? Of prime importance is whether those who are the consumers of news are going to continue to buy from old media this highly processed pap, free of genuine content and largely about one political conception of the world, or whether they are going to leave and seek the goods from other sources. I don't see that happening yet, but there is a smell of revolution in the air. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future...

Disasters, Tragedies and Acts of War

'Firefighters who lost colleagues in the 9/11 attacks in New York have issued a video strongly criticising Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani.... The video - which also offers testimony from other firefighters and their relatives - says Mr Giuliani is exploiting the disaster as a theme for his presidential candidacy.'

I am not by any stretch the first person to notice this, but it still rankles. When the BBC call 9/11 a disaster, they are actually changing the category in which that event sits. Disasters are volcanoes exploding, tsunamis rolling in, cyclones devastating coastlines and meteors blasting holes in the ground. Disasters are sometimes tragedies, in which an element of human weakness or cowardice plays a role in the deaths of people. 9/11 was not a disaster. 9/11 was an act of war, one in a long line, committed by men who saw themselves as stormtroopers of Islam. 19 highly committed men plotted to take over airliners and crash them into buildings. To call those actions a disaster is to abuse the truth.

The BBC has a whole suite of editorial tools for minimizing the actions of Wahhabis, of making them 'disappear', and attempting to remove them from the ledger that inevitably many people mentally keep. Naming things and categorising them is very important. Without accurate naming and categorisation, we don't really have a clear picture of what is happening. Even now, in July 2007, the British government and millions of Britons have virtually no idea of the shape and nature of our Wahhabist enemy. The BBC, because it is confident that it has the correct view of the world, is willing to distort and manipulate its reporting of events so they fit the lefty/PC world view. This deprives the people of Britain and many other countries the chance of putting the pieces together and working out who and what are driving events.

Over a long period of time, this can really deprive a nation of its bearings. I hold the BBC board of governers and its pitiful editorial management responsible for much of the current misunderstanding and misapprehension in the general population.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More thoughts about Anthropogenic Global Warming

'A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change...Dr Lockwood initiated the study partially in response to the TV documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, broadcast on Britain's Channel Four earlier this year, which featured the cosmic ray hypothesis. '
Sounds good- at last a genuine attempt to have a debate about the evidence or lack thereof for anthropogenic global warming. On the face of it, its not a very impressive argument, but at least they're giving it a go:
'The scientists' main approach on this new analysis was simple; to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature, which has risen by about 0.4C over the period.'
Ok, I admit I flunked statistics, but even I know that 30-40 years is a sample size of almost comical teensiness. One of the points of agreement of all climatoligists is the influence of long term effects feeding into ephemeral and short term effects. Who knows whether increased solar activity 100 years ago isn't still having an effect?
'"This paper re-enforces the fact that the warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment of climate science.' Dr Forster sounds very definite- in a way that scientists in my experience steer clear of when our understanding of the complexities of something like weather or fluid dynamics is so weak. Climate has so many feedback inputs, so many inter-relations and so many variables that a definitive statement like that sounds like propaganda. Dr Forster might be right, but I don't think he is justified.
Enough of the micro-arguments. I think that people are beginning to realise that of all the problems facing the world, climate change is one of the least important, and that for human societies issues like good governance, pollution, over-population, absolute poverty and the growth of global pathologies like Wahhabism are far more pressing. As one African critic of the recent Live Earth jamborees pointed out, mooted deaths from global warning are 1 million by 2050, whereas more than 4 million die per year from preventable diseases in Africa alone. Anthropogenic global warming may be the hottest issue for fat blowhards like Al Gore, but for the teeming masses of Africa, South America and Asia, its a remote and entirely theoretical problem.
We may see a sea-change in global attitudes to the issue for one standout reason: the United States is no longer the worlds largest contributor of CO2, and therefore a lot of the fun has gone out of bleating on about it for the hordes of Great Satan bashers.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

This is the British opposition?


'The purpose of politics at that time [the 18th Century] was to seize control of a government's treasury and use it to distribute cash and jobs to the victor's friends. Think Halliburton and those hosts of Bob Jones University graduates swarming through the White House and the Iraq occupation administration. Think of the atavistic attachment to the death penalty, undiminished since the time of Tyburn Hill.
Even as the Founding Fathers complained about the overbearing demeanour of King George, they enshrined in the constitution a presidency with all, and perhaps even more, of the powers and perks of an 18th century British monarchy. George W has abused his own power and his own subjects far more consistently and effectively than Farmer George III ever did.'

If you read right through this piece, you brain will eventually fizzle, a little smoke will come out your ears and you'll die. This is caused by the presence of ignorance of such concentration that it might even burn a hole through the laptop screen and scorch the desk. I warn you.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Know thy Enemy

What do Wahhabists believe? The following is taken from "Gods Terrorists" by Charles Allen.

1. Belief in one man's reading of the Quran and the Hadith, and a determination to bring about a theocracy based exclusively on those beliefs accompanied by a rejection of all other interpretations.

2. Absolute devotion, formalised by the swearing of an oath, to a single authority figure who is both religious leader and military commander, Imam and Amir, often accompanied by the belief that this leader has quasi-divine abilities.

3. A perception of that figure as the natural heir to the caliphs of early Islam, if not an Imam-Mahdi figure heralding the final great battle against Islam's enemies.

4. A belief in Millenarianism - the notion that the end of the world is fast approaching, and with it the triumph of Islam.

5. An us-and-them mentality, whereby all who hold other religious views are seen as heretics and thus fair game for violent suppression.

6. A recognition of jihad as one's prime duty, but ignoring jihad akbar (the Great Jihad) in favour of jihad kabeer (the Lesser Jihad), interpreted as nothing less than holy war.

7. The making of a symbolic retreat before beginning the jihad, so replicating the Prophet's hijra from Mecca to Medina.

8. The wish to return to a past golden age of Islam, together with a rejection of modern learning and technology (except where this can be used to further jihad).

9. The recruiting of young male followers from among the poor and ignorant (preferably prepubescent orphans), subjecting them to long periods of intensive and exclusive religious indoctrination while keeping them isolated from other sources of ideas.

10. The promotion of the death-wish mentality in which the status of Shahid (martyr) is exalted as the ultimate goal of every jihadi.

Mr. Allen is actually discussing Indian Wahhabism in the 1820's, but anyone who has been paying attention over the last six years will know that what we face all over the globe is exactly this. Its a shame the common terminology has become imprecise; the press variously use Islamists, Islamofascists, Muslim Extemists, Muslim Fundamentalists, Wadudists and any number of other terms. But Wahhabism has been around for 600 years, and that ten point list has not varied a jot since it was first devised. In this new war we find ourselves in, a war with a million fronts and none; it is of prime importance to know our enemy as clearly as possible. Our enemy is Wahhabism, and its twin founts are the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. History shows us that both of those places have long associations with Wahhabism, and are still the spiritual home of the cult.

Prosyletisers have gone forth from those places all over the world infecting mainstream Islam with the Wahhabist cult teachings. If we don't stop them, if mainstream Islam doesn't stop them, the whole world WILL be at war with Islam. Except it won't really be Islam at all- it will be the sour, bitter hateful fruit of Ibn Taymiyya and his suicide cult.

Don't worry, he's only got a little gun

'No Islamist armies are about to march into Europe - indeed, most victims of Revolutionary Islamism live in the Middle East, not in Europe - and Ahmadinejad, his nasty rhetoric notwithstanding, does not have a fraction of Hitler's power.' Ian Buruma, quoted at http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001481.html

The ramshackle armoury of arguments made by lefties about the Wahhabist attempts to take over the world are weirdly disparate. One I often here is that they just don't have the weapons which would necessitate us taking them seriously. The 19 hijackers on 9/11 had a few boxcutters and a plan. Their weapon was our airplane. The day before yesterday, the bomb was some gas canisters and cans of petrol as the detonator. As arguments go, the one which says:
Yes they are fanatics full of murderous intent and psychopathic hatred of things they don't understand, but don't worry! They're only armed with knives and such. It always was a stupid argument, but this weeks events have surely lain it in its grave.

Yeeeeeeeeee Ha

Happy Independence Day, America!

Of course the bloody climate is going to change

'Royal Society vice-president Sir David Read said: "People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change.
"The science very clearly points towards the need for us all - nations, businesses and individuals - to do as much as possible, as soon as possible to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate."'

Its such a curious hubris- large numbers of scientists seem to view us, human beings, as the primary motor of the planet. Is it possible that us ordinary grunts have a more realistic perspective on our overall influence?

I know that over the last 65 million years the earths climate has gone through many many contortions, sometimes violently hot, sometimes (especially recently in geologic terms) frigidly cold. Many factors came into play- desertification from animals destroying vegetation, the varying proximity of the earth to the sun, changing amounts of heat coming from the sun itself, movement of tectonic plates affecting ocean currents, land bridges disappearing and new ocean currents emerging. None of that is going to stop happening. None of the potential factors that affect climate are going to hold off because the Royal Society has decreed that man is now in charge of the earths climate. This most obvious of points was made many hundreds of years ago by Englands Danish King Canute.

Sadly, scientists who spend all their time obsessively poring over the data can miss the big obvious things quite easily. Even if man kills all his farting pigs, switches off his brown-coal power stations, locks the garage door for ever and never hefts another chainsaw, the worlds weather systems and climate will carry on mutating and occasionally going completely haywire. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

***** Update *****


If nothing before gave you cause to doubt the official line, check out this pathetic attempt at rebutting the evidence proffered in "The Great Global Warming Swindle". Each of the 'Misleading Argument' pages, if read carefully, fails to rebut the arguments. This one in particular made me laugh out loud- Misleading argument 5: ’Global warming computer models which predict the future climate are unreliable’ they note 'It is important to note that computer models cannot exactly predict the future, since there are so many unknowns concerning what might happen.' You couldn't make it up!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Michael states the obvious. More Please

'I’ll be honest here. “Optimism” and “Iraq” in the same sentence sound ludicrous to me unless we’re talking about Kurdistan. Too many times I naively believed the U.S. was “turning the corner” on the insurgency, only to later feel like a sucker. Don’t be a sucker is perhaps the best one-sentence advice I can give to anyone who chooses to engage or even dabble in Middle East politics. I learned that one several times from experience.
At the same time, though, I know that conflict does not equal failure. And lack of victory in the middle of a war doesn’t pre-ordain failure at the end of a war. Otherwise it would not be the middle.
Insurgencies are monstrous things. A few days ago Algerian Minister of Culture Khalida Toum said the Islamist insurgency war in that country, which killed 150,000 people and is only just now winding down, was like “ten years of 9/11 and nobody offered their condolences.”'

I read the first paragraph and thought, Me too! I read the second sentance and thought, I've said that! I read the third paragraph, and its now obvious that Michael Totten lives in my brain. Actually, he helps me believe that my observations and insights from afar are not just little puffs of methane, but may have genuine validity in the world of facts.

Its does worry me though that over and over again in the battle over the perception of the Iraqi insurgency, and the Taliban war, indeed the whole world-wide battle against Wahhabist ideas and deeds, people like Mr Totten have had to point out the completely bleeding obvious. I don't know social history well enough to know the answer to whether democracies always need this amount of arsing around before they gen up on the salient facts, but I really hope not. One of my most intelligent colleagues contradicted me on Friday when I referred to the occupants of Gitmo as non-uniformed enemy combatants. He said there was no war. Try explaining that to the Algerian Culture minister- 150,000 of his countrymen died from what exactly? Its true, Wahhabism has killed a lot less people than Communism, but then they have only really been able to murder people in large numbers since the late seventies. The commies had half-century head start.

To paraphrase Trotsky, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." Yesterday, if you and your wee bairns had decided to fly off to Malta, and went down to Glasgy Airport to embark, the war would have come to greet you. We have one army fighting Wahhabism in Afghanistan, and another in Iraq fighting Wahhabism (and Baathism, Shiism and a few other isms probably). We are in combat with Wahhabism in a dozen more countries, and more fronts will probably develop over the decades. But I don't know when exactly we'll win. Perhaps when the Chinese and the Indians decide enough is enough. All I know is, the British authorities in India, along with mainstream Sunni clerics, had a much more exact idea of the enemy, and a much more effective and forceful response to it than we seem to have managed so far. We need to be much better at separating the enemy from the populations he hides among. We need to be much better at taking him permenantly out of the loop, rather than deporting him to places he can take up his fight from.