Category Archives: GWOT

The sports metaphor

Posted by Lex, on January 10, 2007

It has been said that Old Europe, rising from the ashes of World War II devastation, used the game of soccer to divert their nationalist passions and as a substitute for their more or less continuous tradition of warring over blood and soil.

In today’s Washington Post, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi invokes the world’s most popular game as a reason for hope, and a plea for constancy:

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Irreconcilable differences

Posted by lex, on January 7, 2007

Reconciled Royal Marine fashion:

British troops have destroyed a Taleban training camp in southern Afghanistan, killing dozens of insurgents, according to the military.

About 110 Royal Marines carried out the operation in northern Helmand, which it is hoped will pave the way for repairs on a hydroelectric dam in the province.

It is hoped nearly two million people will now get access to electricity.

Operation Clay was launched on New Year’s Day. Plymouth-based 42 Commando were engaged in four days of fighting.

A senior Taleban commander and “tens” of his henchman are said to have been killed during the operation.

Only one marine was hurt during the battles. The soldier was shot through the hand.

It is well and truly said that there is no purely military solution to the GWOT, but proper employment can certainly set the stage for soft power to flourish – dam building and hydroelectric generation in this case.

Per mare per terram

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Interesting times

Posted by lex, on July 13, 2006

 

Well, the plot does thicken. With three years of Mesopotamian dust caked on Army boots over in Iraq and no easy way out in sight, an Iran-sponsored, Syria-hosted Hezbollah pokes a stick into an already agitated bee hive, resulting in a dramatic opportunity to have a real, old fashioned two-front fight in the Levant. Not a proxy fight mind you, no street corner brawl, with Qassam rockets parried by F-16 air strikes on terrorist safe houses, but the real deal: Armored divisions and lines of departure and pulling things up, root and branch.

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Daniel Schorr

Posted by lex, on June 12, 2006

 

I don’t know whether or not you listen to NPR on a daily basis or not, gentle reader. I do, but then again I’m a news junkie and we do live in such interesting times. I’d hate to miss any of them, and say what you will about their “point of view,” the public broadcasting folks do a swell job of getting more insight into the news than does the other broadcast media.

Now, you have known me long enough to know that certain interpretations of the news – the spin, if you will, on objective facts – cause me to narrow my eyes, just a bit. Last weekend, just for one example, Republican Congressman-elect Brian Bilbray – a man whose nativist sympathies I hold no particular brief for, by the way – won a close fought election in the reliably Republican 50th district here in Sandy Eggo for the seat, ah… vacated by Duke Cunningham, about whom quite enough has been said in these spaces. A hard-fought campaign, a clear result, and how do we tell the tale? Well, the local spin here was not that Bilbray had “won,” but that “hope had faded” for his Democratic party adversary.

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End strength

Posted by lex, on December 20, 2006

Give the following all the consideration that it deserves, coming as it does from a benched FA-18 pilot with negligible experience in manpower, but:

Hmm.

Emphasizing that success in the war on terrorism is essential to the security of generations of Americans, (President) Bush said, “We have an obligation to ensure our military is capable of sustaining this war over the long haul and performing the many tasks that we ask of them. I’m inclined to believe that we need to increase . . . the permanent size of both the United States Army and the United States Marines.”

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Has it come to this?

Posted by lex, on June 5, 2006

Is it true?

Does this really reflect a “broad strata of Canadian society”?

Not to pre-judge, because fair is fair, and accusations don’t add up to proofs. Three hundred pounds of suburban ammonium nitrate or no. But for the arrest list below to be trumpeted as a “broad strata” of Canadian society, it just seems to me, you know: Otherwise.

From the several times I’ve been up there. See for yourself:

Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto

Zakaria Amara, 20, Mississauga

Asad Ansari, 21, Mississauga

Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Mississauga

Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga

Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston

Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston

Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Toronto

Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, Toronto

Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, Mississauga

Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga

I don’t know, gentle reader – it’s late, and I’m tired. But there’s a common thread in there, if only I could tease it out.

Pretenses aside: Good Lord, but the world has become a deeply silly and unserious place. When earnest public servants can stand in front of the microphone in a high functioning democracy and say – without an apparent trace of irony – that the arrests of the people named above reflect “a broad strata of Canadian society” then we’ve come to a very bizzare junction. But when everyone in the press nods their heads and agrees, yes, of course: Very broad. When that happens?

Snakes on the plane, man. Snakes on the plane.

But maybe it’s just me. Maybe things have changed since last I visited.

Who can say?

Has it really come to this

Oh, Canada.

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Bless you

Posted by lex, on December 16, 2006

They say you know a man by his friends. If that’s true, then you also know a warrior by his countrymen:

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Cross your fingers

Posted by lex, on December 9, 2006

Oh, God I hope this works out:

Iraqi officials are near agreement on a national oil law that would give the central government the power to distribute current and future oil revenues to the provinces or regions, based on their population, Iraqi and American officials say.

If enacted, the measure, drafted by a committee of politicians and ministers, could help resolve a highly divisive issue that has consistently blocked efforts to reconcile the country’s feuding ethnic and sectarian factions. Sunni Arabs, who lead the insurgency, have opposed the idea of regional autonomy for fear that they would be deprived of a fair share of the country’s oil wealth, which is concentrated in the Shiite south and Kurdish north.

There are a lot of reasons for the on-going insurgency in Iraq, but I’m convinced that chief among them is concern by the disenfranchised and resource-poor Sunni minority that they will be left to wither and die in a federalized Iraq. If they can be weaned off of violence as a negotiating tactic to gain access to the country’s natural resources, the retributive rationale for the murderous rampages of the Shia death squads evaporates.

This was too long coming. Hopefully it is not also too late.

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Chutzpah

Posted by lex, on May 24, 2006

 

In yesterday’s WSJ, White House staffer Peter Wehner has the unmitigated gall to challenge the emergently conventional wisdom on Iraq – Chiefly that, 1) The president lied us into to war, 2) the administration pressured intelligence professionals to bias their judgments in favor of the war, 3) the failure to find WMD proves Saddam posed no threat, “imminent” or otherwise, and 4) finally, that the goal of promoting democracy in the heart of the Arab Middle East was a post-war rationalization, made up on the fly after that whole “WMD thing” didn’t pan out.

He does so by trotting out fact after tedious fact, a tactic that’s bound to drive partisan critics into spittle-flecked rage. There’s nothing really new here of course, just common sense and history lessons, so it won’t change any minds that are already closed made up, or open the eyes of the wilfully obtuse.

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Perspective

Posted by lex, on December 12, 2006

The Christian Science Monitor discovers Bill Roggio:

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