Monday, November 01, 2004

Love Thine Enemy

Of Empires, bin Laden and Chess

One of my favorite blog conversationalist, The cigarette Smoking Man From the X Files, wrote something in the comments Saturday, regarding my rant against Michael Moore and it reminded me why I had started this blog in the first place.

I know that sometimes it's very tempting to mimics the behavior of the left, and boil over in anger, and to breathe fire and brimstone the way they do, but I think we should be better than they are. We should be the cool, calculating, level-headed faction which knows that which must be done and simply does it, by hook or by crook, and let the insipid yammering of the dogs out on the street get swept away by the cleaners thereof.


Why do I say "Love thine enemy?" Go on to the inner sanctum for observations from the middle ground.

That struck a chord in me. It is the reason why I chose TE Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, as the theme of this blog. You might notice the "Pillars of Wisdom" heading on the side bar. TE Lawrence wrote a book called "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and it was largely about his time in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. What he learned from and about the Arabs. What he learned about politics. Observations if you will.

I won't go into a history of Lawrence or his book. Suffice it to say, I once recommended a friend to go read Lawrence's book and then watch "Lawrence of Arabia". The Movie is insanely glamorized, but if you can tear your eyes off of Lawrence riding Arabian horses and camels and slaughtering the Turks, you would see the historical moment when our current problems coalesced. When Arab nationalism was born. When the European empires of England and France held the deals they made with each other as more important than the deals they made with the Arab. When Palestine and eventually Israel was born. In the last days of waning empires.

Or not so waning. You can see the left over dregs, the soft empire, in the angst of the Europeans who are so bellicose about our endeavors in that land. But today, that empire is about diplomacy and capitalism. It is rather rich to hear their citizenry decrying our efforts there as "empire" building. When the reality is, we are probably finishing the job of freeing these nations from the last of the empires. Giving their people, finally, the right and the wherewithal to have a say in the direction of their nations. Separate from the dictators who have made deals with these waning empires in order to sustain their existence. While the Europeans have convinced their masses or themselves that they are standing up for the Arabs, their governments, industrialists and capitalists have completely different agendas.

How do we know the agenda is separate? One has only to know of the oil and industry contracts awarded to these countries to see it. For France to exist, these states must exist. Without them, France and Germany, et al, go begging at the table for oil and commerce like the rest. You see plainly the reasons they try to obstruct the US in it's efforts. It is by no means for "peace" so much as for their ability to maintain status quo. Since they are waning empires, they no longer have the military ability to interfere, but only retain the ability through obstuction, tactics of deceit, lies and diplomacy (is that redundant?). They fear us as much as any dictator wishing to maintain his death grip on his populace.

For awhile now, we played that game as well. But, becoming the strongest, militarily and financially at least, we became the target.

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions.

Interested men, who are not to be trusted, weak men who CANNOT see, prejudiced men who will not see, and a certain set of moderate men who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this Continent than all the other three.
Common Sense - Thomas Paine


This is why, while proclaiming them "allies" allowing them to have a piece of these actions, once they stood in our way, was impossible. We are playing a grand game of chess here that at once would seem to demand them as our allies, but also makes them our opposition. In taking Iraq and setting it free, along with so many military strategic reasons, we have knocked one of their financial pawns from the board. The first cut against the empire. It is also why they are scrambling with Iran. They know full well that we threaten that piece as well and Iran continues to play into our hands. The ultimate, the king on this chess board, is Saudi Arabia. However, if you have ever played chess you know that the final move does not actually knock the king from the chess board so much as places it in "checkmate". In other words, no moves remain except surrender. And you do not actually have to commit force upon that piece to obtain the objective.

And what is the objective? Democratized, peaceful and capitalist countries. Free from the last of the empires and concerned with their existence more than hegemony or Arab empire.

This is why I do not support Senator Kerry. He desires the old game of the empires. Where we continue to play with the remaining empires and maintain status quo. Far from changing the middle east and setting it free from the last strings of the empires, we would maintain. And in the end, we would remain the target. Because we would still be the strongest and most visible. Even at the moment that Israel and Palestine are resolved, we would not be safe simply because the conditions of empire would still exist. Certainly, we would not be at direct war with these countries. So, if your desire is to return to the "softly, softly" approach of empirical diplomacy and the low level war of words and small actions with the appearance of peace, then I suggest that you vote for Senator Kerry.

President Bush, for all his clumsy stomping around in the sand box, has engendered the anger of our "allies" simply because he has blown their cover. They are being exposed even today. Having no more cover they are forced to choose between the old game and the new. He also plays to win. Far from the game of exchanging pawns and stalemate that we have endured for the last 90 years, he has set the goal as obtaining the king and is going after it aggressively. And, far from assigning perfection to his techniques, when understanding the game of chess, you know when you play it aggressively you are bound to lose a few pieces or put them in places that are not helpful in the overall goal of achieving the king. It can also leave you vulnerable to attack as well as at risk of losing the game. A good chess player knows how to use those supposed vulnerabilities and redesign their attack strategy. A good chess player also plays to win.

In the end, I believe that we must play this game aggressively, becoming a real target for now, but in the end, removing the danger completely. Or, at least until the next round of chess.

So what we have here is a choice between European and American chess. If we choose the European version, the opportunity for aggressive American chess will be lost for decades. That is the choice in these elections.

To love thine enemy is to know thine enemy.

One might ask why I let lose with a page long letter to Michael Moore and only a few sentences to Osama bin Laden. It is simply this, while I detest Michael Moore, I feel no hatred towards bin Laden. For him, I reserve my respect and intellect.

For my friends, don't be shocked. I have not crossed over to the dark side. I do not seek to know my opposition for the purposes of reconciliation. Rather, it is the cold calculation that my friend above speaks of. I once told some friends that the thing that we love most is the thing that is the easiest for us to destroy. Because, when you love something or someone, you know their strengths and their weaknesses. You know best where to strike to cause the most pain and destruction. One only has to look at human relations to understand this implicitly.

Further, when I see bin Laden, I see but a chess piece in the game. He is only one, though a dangerous piece. In order to win the game, he will have to be removed along with the other pawns in the game. That is why my message to him is simply:

Surrender or die. On second thought, just die.


In this instance though, bin Laden has a jump on us. We have allowed him to move about the board with impunity for nearly 20 years barely checked while we maintained our game of stalemate in the Middle East as well as played the long and final game of Cold War chess with the USSR. Having done so, we have allowed him to learn our moves. While we have multiple games being played at any given time, he had only one to concentrate on. He has learned to love us. He believes he understands what motivates us and he attempts to use it against us. One only has to look at the moves he has made to understand that and to begin to understand how to counter his moves.

Learning Osama

First Lesson: Underestimating the Enemy

In his recent address to the United States, Osama makes an interesting statement:

I say to you, as Allah is my witness: We had not considered attacking the towers, but things reached the breaking point when we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon – then I got this idea.

The events that had a direct influence on me occurred in 1982, and the subsequent events, when the US permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon with the aid of the American sixth fleet.

In those critical moments, I was overwhelmed by ideas that are hard to describe, but they awakened a powerful impulse to reject injustice and gave birth to a firm resolve to punish the oppressors. As I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, I was struck by the idea of punishing the oppressor in the same manner and destroying towers in the US, to give it a taste of what we have tasted and to deter it from killing our children and women.


He is referencing an incident that occurred over twenty years ago when he was approximately 26. In 1982, the USSR had been in Afghanistan nearly three years and so had bin Laden. It was here that the first move was made. Bin Laden was as yet an unknown fighter and the US, engaged in a long struggle with the USSR, had begun to filter money and weapons to the Pakistanis to train and disperse amongst the mujihadeen in Afghanistan. For nearly ten years this battle went on. During that time, bin Laden grew to prominence as a leader. He was organized, well funded and had a message.

From this he took his first lesson. While hating America, he learned to swallow it and took the support from the US. Using these funds and weapons, he was able to create and fund his network. He developed training camps, lieutenants and contacts in the world of underground finance.

While we played the game with the USSR and the Middle East, we took our eye from this single chess piece and he took advantage of that to garner his strength. We sacrificed several moves on that board to win against the USSR.

So the first lesson must be to never underestimate even a seemingly inconsequential piece like a pawn. A pawn is just as capable of taking the king as any other piece. That is why your coaching staff for the chess team must be smart AND visionaries who can understand the entirety of the game, not just the specific moves of a piece. They must also play the game like you do. Aggressive or passive. If they don't, they will make moves contradictory to your game plan. Much like our issues with the State Department and intelligence agencies today.

The Second Lesson: Bases of Operation

Having defeated the USSR in Afghanistan, the US disengaged and left the mujihadeen to figure out how to govern the country, abandoning 15 million people to the mercies of an unmerciful group of men whose only achievements were war. And they continued to make war on the people. We allowed them the space on the chess board to operate, to centralize their strength and develop a strategy to attack us with their weakest pieces.

The second lesson then is to never allow your opponent the space on the board to coalesce even a group of smaller pieces. See the entire board and play the entire board. That is a lesson we may have learned as we begin taking out all of the spaces in which they can operate. First, the main space of Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Pressure on Pakistan to move against them operating in their area. Pressure on Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Do not let up pressure on any area of the board or the opponent will take advantage of the space to move.

The Third Lesson: Array of Force

The failure of the USSR in Afghanistan was it's attempts to occupy the space for long term. In doing so, they concentrated large forces in one area. The United States and her allies did not make that same mistake in Afghanistan. Using small forces in a variety of areas they cleared the space and left only a small contingent to guard it and continue to operate, in the same function as the once mujihadeen, to counter their actions in the area.

Third lesson: Large forces, or multiple pieces, in one area of the chess board allows your opponent to make quick forays against your own with small pieces, pawns if you will, slowly picking of your pieces with but small losses to themselves. Leave your pieces spread across the board and play against several lines and spaces. Once you have cleared a space, do not attempt to occupy it by main force as you expose yourself to those types of attacks. Leave only a few pieces guarding the area in case your opponent wishes to strike there again.

Fourth Lesson: Finance and Diversification

Bin Laden, with his connections to family and through the financiers of the Afghanistan Mujihadeen, began to learn the lesson of how finance and capitalism fuels the world economy and creates sustained wealth. Using some of his own capital and obtaining capital from charitable donations, he was able to create a system of ready capital in many countries in order to access funds from multiple accounts. He could maintain his movements under the radar without causing much alarm. While playing the game, he learned about the finance market and how global economies operate: when they are weak, what will topple them; when they are strong, how to take advantage to further his own plans.

The fourth lesson is to deny the opponent resources needed to operate or regenerate any losses. This lesson has been learned to some extent as the US goes after his resources, shutting down charities and other organizations that funnel money to the organizations under his banner Al Qaida. Disrupting front companies and any investment accounts that the opponent holds. There are many. Current resources allocated to this activity may not be enough and again, we are behind in the game.

In this one respect, Senator Kerry, if he put his mind to it, would be an excellent asset. All of his previous activities, since becoming a prosecutor and then a senator, have been successful investigations. If he had set his mind to being the "loyal opposition" and defeating bin Laden and the others of his ilk, he would be an excellent leader in this aspect. What is his strength as a chess piece on the board, is his weakness as a leader. He does not recognize the strategy and has too narrow a focus as evidenced by his comments about the game as "law enforcement" activities. That is required, but that is not a "strategy". It is but a movement in the game.

Having waged a bitter and partisan battle for the position of "king", he has most likely destroyed his potential use as a piece on the board and will be marginalized on the board once the elections are finished.

Fifth Lesson: Global Economy and Effect on the State

The fifth lesson comes from the fourth. Having learned to play the markets and understand national economies, he also understood how to bring them down. Having diversified his funds, he could withstand the deterioration of specific economies and also use his financial clout to assist in the deterioration. At those moments, the countries in question are most vulnerable to attack. You may recall, just after September 11, 2001, a story broke about a large amount of stock being traded just a few days prior to the tragedy. There was some speculation then about the origination of these transactions. The story quickly became old news and was never followed by major media to it's completion. Today, we are left wondering about the outcome of the investigation. This is but a theory, however, what is not a theory, but is blatantly obvious is the timing of the two attacks on the World Trade Center in both 1993 and 2001.


median household Income 1967 2003 Posted by Hello

I previously presented this graph in my post referred to as You and Your Money where I pointed out the down turn in economy beginning in October 2000 and proceeding to a full fledged recession by March of 2001. I also spoke of the intelligence reviewed in the 9/11 commission that indicated that Kahlid attempted to have the attack pulled off in April of that year.

When looking at the graph, the blue, vertical bars represent times of recession. The blue horizontal line represents the "median household income" of an American citizen. Of particular note, the recession of 1990 officially "ends" by the end of 1991. However, from the income graph we can see that, while the economy had begun to grow, it was still in a weak position in 1993. The year of the first world trade center bombing. This attack, though successful in actually setting off a bomb in New York city, did not have the desired effect. Neither did the towers fall nor did the economy recognize the attempt as much more than a blip on the radar. Mostly because the attack came too late. The economy had already began it's upwards turn. A strong economy withstands such an attack.

September 11, 2001 is another story. The economy had just turned into recession but had actually bottomed out by August 2001 and was beginning it's rise. On pure speculation I have wondered at Kahlid's insistence that everything was not in place in April 2001 for an attack. Was that men? Training? Flight plans? Or was it Finance? Were they unable to make certain moves in the investment sector because of scrutiny? Whether they were playing in the market or not, they definitely understood the impact of an attack on the US, particularly it's finance sector, when it was weak.

In a similar fashion, Nazi Germany attempted to undermine the economies of Britain and the United States by counterfeiting large amounts of bills from the two nations and spreading them around, hoping to drive down the value and bankrupt the states, forcing them to withdraw from the conflict and sue for peace. This scheme did not have the desired effect. One aspect of the failure of their attempt was the ability of these states to update their own bills. Other economic measures were taken (including the limitation in distribution of the new bills by these countries) that negated this attempt. Finally, Germany was unable to produce enough or in time to cause significant damage.

Bin Laden and his franchise are nothing if not savvy students of history and commerce.

The fifth lesson then is to insure diversification of assets, a strong economy and the importance of having a large and diverse set of investors (including you and me). By such standards, the effects of such an attack are painful, but limited. It is why the President, while sounding simple to some, urged America to "go out and shop" and prompted congress to insure capital gains taxes on investments were rolled back during the first part of the recession in 2001. This opens up the finance market to large and diverse sets of investors.

Sixth Lesson: Propaganda of Failures

Understanding your opponents failures and using them against him is a lesson for all games. In this case, bin Laden tries to point out what he sees as the failure of President Bush on September 11:

We agreed with the general commander Muhammad Ata, may Allah have mercy on him, that all operations should be carried out within 20 minutes, before Bush and his administration would become aware. We never imagined that the Commander in Chief of the American armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face this great horror alone when they needed him most. It seemed to him that a girl's story about her goat and its butting was more important than dealing with planes and their "butting" into skyscrapers. This allowed us three times the amount of time needed for the operations, Allah be praised.


He chastises the President for the time he spent in the classroom and tries to claim it as the thing that assisted him in committing the acts. One can read the 9/11 Commission to understand what did or did not happen and what might have prevented the acts, but, the reality is that bin Laden does not actually recognize his own failures. He may have succeeded in knocking down the towers, killing 3000 people and causing the economy to start back into the tail spin of a recession, but in the end, he failed to complete the actual mission.

His mission to utterly destroy the United States financial system, the military command and control and the leadership (decapitating the snake; he learned that from us), was ultimately a failure. And that is what is important to realize when reading his boasts. He had an ultimate goal of perpetrating one major attack and forcing the US to withdraw from certain endeavors by hindering the resources. It did not happen and even more so, he became the most hounded perpetrator in the world.

What they may not have understood since the original attack is that the finance world is not predicated solely on the World Trade Center though it was a major center. Trading centers around the US and the world as well as advanced storage systems that allows information to be stored on main frames off site, allows for recovery and not total breakdown of the system.

Just as they did not understand the construct of the Pentagon and it's ability to withstand blasts nor the will of a few people on the final flight #93 in disrupting the plans of those hijackers to take out Capitol Hill or the White House. Most likely the target was Capitol Hill as the Hijackers could have easily known that the President was not there and also would have known the rank of succession which would have easily allowed for the Vice President or Speaker of the House to become acting President in such an event. Moreover, while the president holds a leadership post, most of the business of the United States is performed on Capital Hill. Taking out Congress would have been an instant and effective "brain drain".

In short, he did not slay the dragon anymore than the Germans or the Japanese. But he did piss it off.

Seventh Lesson: Disinformation

Learning to love the enemy is important. By loving the enemy, you learn what motivates him. You may have noticed, both within reputed opinion journals and the internet world, rumors of the bin Laden's demise were premature. But they did serve their purpose. Along with the disinformation of Zarqawi in Iraq not being part of the Al Qaida organization and having no relationship with bin Laden.

By placing this information out in the world, it forced bin Laden to surface. He had to in order to counter the demoralizing effect on his troops the news of his demise had to bring. With limited communication and no personal appearances, it is difficult to maintain the illusion that he was alive and in charge. It is probable, even likely based on Zarqawi's activities, that several people may have begun jockeying for his position. He had to appear or the group would fall into pieces and, disorganized, fall prey to the forces against them.

His activities with Zarqawi and Zarqawi changing the name of the Islam Al Sunnah to Jihad al Tawheed in the land of two rivers, was to show his followers that he was in charge of Iraq.

So, I don't take his appearance as being solely for the purpose of effecting our elections.

On the other hand, by forcing his appearance, we were able to confirm whether he was alive or dead. By the chatter and activity that would precede and succeed his appearance, we were most likely able to garner some intelligence about activities and his possible where abouts. Recent news reports talked about the FBI going to Pakistan for a possible sighting of bin Laden. It is possible that it was true. In which case, we continue our game of cat and mouse as the mouse has learned to never sit by the trap to eat the cheese.

This completes our first lessons. Stay tuned for the next lessons of "Love Thine Enemy".

12 comments:

Robert said...

Kat dear:

On the finance bit, I'm sure that the 9/11 commission talked about it. The stock thing.

So, while I can't be certain that I'm remembering correctly, I think it didn't turn out to be anything.

Then again, I read that bit a while ago.

Sincerely,
Rob

P.S.- Your blog is just as good as ever, I must apologize for not reading it more!

The G-man said...

Excellent analysis! When I began my efforts to study the underlying structure of the Middle East, I was quite surprised to find that we have the British to thank (in a way) for bin Laden. In the 1700's the British in an attempt to destabilize the Ottoman empire sent an agent to foment disconent. This effort resulted in the rise of a man named al-Wahhab and the the birth of a sect of Islam known as the Wahhabis (or Sufism). Bin Laden is a Wahhabi as is al Zaqawi. Wahhabism is the strictest interpretation of Islam. These are the people running around instituting Sharia law. While the Wahhabi's are Sunni's, they're message of intolerance and hatred has been very widely spread and now is accepted doctrine in many Muslim populations throughout the world. Interesting to note is, that when the original al Saud took over Saudi Arabia, it was al Wahhab that provided his armies with the religious mandate to do so!

Nas said...

Hiya Kat -

Got your note asking about me. Thanks! I'm doing well, but've been extremely busy (so much so that I'll have to come back later and read your post here - - which at a glance looks like required reading).

BTW - - I found something at Powerline which might fit into your "devide and conquer" theory, and which I thought you might find interesting:

"MEMRI Translates Osama

A reader alerted us to this Middle East Media Research Institute article on Osama bin Laden's videotape. MEMRI says that a significant part of Osama's threat against the U. S. has not been accurately translated:

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush.

The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state") to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security." The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

To piggy-back on G-man's thread, the motivation the European powers had for fomenting the extremist, intolerant brand of Islam in the middle east, was because Ottoman Turkish Islam was open and tolerant. In the middle ages, most of the learning that had been "discovered" during the Renaissance, was actually in safe-keeping at Istanbul at the courts of the Sultanate. Advanced learning came about due to the openness and tolerance, and scholars felt more at east in Turk-held lands than they did in Christian lands, at that time. Fast-forward to more recent centuries, and you can easily see radical Islam as a weapon used by European empires to crack the foundations of Turkic Islam, tear it apart, and make the Ottoman empire easier to defeat, even if only to pare away such outlying provinces as the Crimean peninsula, and Arabian lands.

From an Arab viewpoint, there was much treachery played against them by the European empires, for while they were used as cannon fodder to destroy the Ottoman Turks, rather than a great Arab Nation as a state, for a reward they got carved up, divided out to despotic rulers, and then to add insult to injury, had Palestine pulled out from under them as well with that given over to Zionist Jews (which one could even go so far as to say was really a new Crusade by Proxy, to ensure that at least the Holy Land would not be under Muslim control).

Understanding all that, any Arab with any sense of pride and self-worth would have to understand the degree to which European influence has been uniformly deleterious to their condition. And many Iraqis do, now that information flows freely and they are coming to a greater understanding of just exactly how France had been raping them via Saddam all these years.

Our own American sins against Arabs have been particularly in the area of Israel, and in great misunderstandings of what our actions in Lebanon were all about. In Lebanon we tried to play the "peacekeeper" role, but when it came down to brass tacks we were absolutely forced to abandon neutrality in some incidents, and ended up favoring the Israelis. I remember a fellow Air Force crew chief explaining to me that if you really want to know why Hezbollah hates America, just remember the word "Volkswagon". When I asked why, he said that the shore batteries raining down on Lebanese houses from the 6th Fleet, were dropping rounds on them each with the mass of a Volkswagon--onto women, children, and soft targets as collateral damage to the harder targets of the militias.

Anyway, I fully GET it as to the extent to which we need to mend relations with Arabs, and I see the liberation of Iraq as, if anything, a payment of a debt to the American people. We owe them freedom as payment for all that we have done to them in the past, in our Cold War chess games. I might even go so far as to say that we owe the Arab world a reduction of our relations to Israel, from fully ally down to merely neutral. It does no service to Israelis to be thought of as American pawns anyway, and so they should either stand on their own, or fall on their own, but either way, be on their own in their struggles to maintain hegemony in a place where they have never been in charge since the Babylonian Captivity of c.600 BCE. If they do fall, they could never say nobody warned them that Zionism would be a suicide mission, at best.

Anyway, one of the curious things that happen when you begin to love your enemy is that after a time, they cease to be your enemy.

We fought the English, but now they are our friends.

We fought Spain, but now relations are at least cordial.

We fought Mexico, but no longer (openly).

We fought Germany, and then rebuilt it.

We threatened to fight Russian, but now have a unique opportunity to cooperate with them as we have a common enemy in Al Qaeda.

Islam itself, although we are fighting a radical faction of it, we are also allies with many Muslim nations, in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the new Afghanistan, the new Iraq, Egypt, Jordan... really the only ones officially chomping at the bit to fight us are Iran and Syria, and more the former than the latter.

Thank you for the reference in your post, Kat! I haven't gotten any traffick from it, but then, I'm not sure that absence is such a bad thing. ;)

The G-man said...

You have to remember another thing here too. The Ottoman Empire had been fighting a war against the Russians in the late 1700's (this is when the Brits sent the agent to help out al Wahhab). At the same time, Napoleon was dashing about Europe. Seeing an enemy of an enemy as a friend, Napoleon made overtures to the Ottoman Empire as Napoleon thought aiding the Ottoman in their war would weaken Russia for conquest by French armies.

This aligned the Turks with the French (poor bastards), which automatically made them England's enemy. The fact of the matter is, that Catherine the Great had set her sights of reestablishing the Byzantine Empire, with her son as its ruler. So the Russians started the war with the Ottomans out of purely imperialistic motivations, but with France's meddling, the Ottoman Empire was drawn into the entire European political millieu and intrigue. This was one of England's reasons for wanting to foment unrest. The other was inspired purely by a desire for empire building on their own part as well.

In the middle ages, most of the learning that had been "discovered" during the Renaissance, was actually in safe-keeping at Istanbul at the courts of the Sultanate. Advanced learning came about due to the openness and tolerance, and scholars felt more at east in Turk-held lands than they did in Christian lands, at that time.

A good portion of Islam's advanced medieval technology made its way into Europe with the Spaniard's conquest of the Muslim territories on the Iberian Peninsula. There are some historians who argue that this influx of knowlege was the foundation that the European Rennaissance was built upon; the spark that ignited the fire if you will.

struggles to maintain hegemony in a place where they have never been in charge since the Babylonian Captivity of c.600 BCE...

An interesting side note here, it was Emporer Vaspasian who ordered that Palestine be depopulated of Jews in 70AD. The Jews had been in rather open revolt against the Roman Empire for quite some time (The zealot's revolt). The defeat of Caius Cestius Gallus' 12th legion in 66AD was the straw that broke the camel's back, causing Vaspasian to issue this order which gave us things like Masada, the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (no stone left on top of another), the enslavement of the Jews in Rome, The Jewish diaspora, etc...

It is interesting too to think that those Jews who were left in Palestine, then intermarried with nomads and became the Palestinian people around whom this turmoil revolves. They are in truth the relatives of the Jews whe returned to Palestine following WWII...

So here we have another empire dabbling in Middle Eastern affairs and we're still seeing the results of this now almost 2,000 years later.

Part of America's fixation with Israel is the fact that we as a people like to root for the underdog. After we saw how the Jews were treated in Europe by Hitler, it tugged at our heartstrings and we've been rooting for the underdog ever since.

...Just my take on stuff...

ALa said...

Kat: This is a bit off-topic...but I had to share. I was just readind some of Super-size Me's website (oh, that would be Michael Moore) and this is what I found in a 'letter to George Bush':

" There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)" Michael Moore

He IS proud of it!!!!! Can you even believe this guy?

Donal said...

Kat your entry was very intresting but the problem is that Bush does not have a overarching strategy to defeat terrorism. So far the only thing he has done is to react- to fight the enemy and that is good but it isnt enough. Bush has failed to create an NSC 68 http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-68.htm (which gave a strategic outlook for fighting communism that lead eventually to the end of the cold war) for terrorism and that is an enormous failing. Iran is not surrounded, they will continue their quest for nuclear weapons and there is nothing we can do to stop them. Sanctions are already in place, and we cannot threaten military action because we are already over-extended. In fact our actions have delayed the chances for Iran to democratize- it keeps the mullahs in power because has stoked the fires of anti-Americanism. Kerry was a prosecuter and a member of the Senate for 20 years. Do you honestly belive that because his name appears on few bills he accomplished nothing. Bush spent 40 years of his life doing nothing besides running oil companies (unsuccesfully) and running a baseball team. Kerry will keep fighting terrorism as Bush has if for no other reason that it is widely popular with the American public. We can stand 4 years of a Kerry presideny. I doubt that another 4 years of Bush would be better and most likely would be a great deal worse.

riceburner147 said...

Lets be clear when we discuss a biblical passage. Here it is fully.

Matthew 5: 43 - 48

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[8] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[9] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

"You have heard that it was said"...Jesus here recounts what most jewish people of the time had heard (rumour)but Lev 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD" . clearly does NOT say this. Jesus here is recounting the TRUE meaning of the 10 Commandments and expanding on the original meaning. When Jesus says "love your enemy" is He saying we are capable of this ? ..or..is He pointing out that we lack this capacity (i know I do) and we need a saviour because our sins can never be covered by our "works" or "obedience".

It seems clear to me that the situation in the middle east is rooted in religious struggles and failures. When I read CSM's comments i felt a small bit of relief from Kat's (with all due respect) outrageously worded rant. I think i understand where feelings like that come from but that we need to guard our hearts from such hatred lest we become our enemies.

So, can "Love your enemy" ever be a tactic whereby we can defeat them. NO, NEVER. not if we wish to be called worthy of the name Christian. I would hope (given your excellent analysis Kat) that you try for another "umbrella" under which to use your tactics. CSM said "when we love our enemies, they cease to BE our enemies. IMHO that is the right path.

riceburner147 said...

Lets be clear when we discuss a biblical passage. Here it is fully.

Matthew 5: 43 - 48

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[8] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[9] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

"You have heard that it was said"...Jesus here recounts what most jewish people of the time had heard (rumour)but Lev 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD" . clearly does NOT say this. Jesus here is recounting the TRUE meaning of the 10 Commandments and expanding on the original meaning. When Jesus says "love your enemy" is He saying we are capable of this ? ..or..is He pointing out that we lack this capacity (i know I do) and we need a saviour because our sins can never be covered by our "works" or "obedience".

It seems clear to me that the situation in the middle east is rooted in religious struggles and failures. When I read CSM's comments i felt a small bit of relief from Kat's (with all due respect) outrageously worded rant. I think i understand where feelings like that come from but that we need to guard our hearts from such hatred lest we become our enemies.

So, can "Love your enemy" ever be a tactic whereby we can defeat them. NO, NEVER. not if we wish to be called worthy of the name Christian. I would hope (given your excellent analysis Kat) that you try for another "umbrella" under which to use your tactics. CSM said "when we love our enemies, they cease to BE our enemies. IMHO that is the right path.

Kat said...

Kat your entry was very intresting but the problem is that Bush does not have a overarching strategy to defeat terrorism. So far the only thing he has done is to react- to fight the enemy and that is good but it isnt enough. Bush has failed to create an NSC 68 http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-68.htm (which gave a strategic outlook for fighting communism that lead eventually to the end of the cold war) for terrorism and that is an enormous failingWith all due respect, I think I must question the assumption that there is no "over all strategy" to defeat terrorism. Do you really think that any NSC overall document for defeating terrorism or handling the ME would be made public for us to read? I'm not sure if that is what you were expecting to find.

Second, I believe the Presidency works differently than one man with a grand master plan who directs his minions to carry it out. I believe that the Presidency works as the head man with an ideal and then multiple administrative people to work out the strategy and present it for review and approval and even then I think the cabinet heads have the opportunity to review and make suggestions.

I am not naive enough to assume that the President is some sort of savior (Mr. Kerry either) who is all knowing and all seeing. But of course, when we talk of candidates and their potential administrations we talk of the candidate by name specifically as a representation of their administration.

So, when looking at President Bush's team, I am given to understand that they understand some things better than we. For instance Dr. Rice having written her thesis on the cold war and spending time in the First President Bush's team would have a unique idea how cold war operations were run, even if she was on the end. Wolfowicz and Rumsfield have been in this game for sometime as well. Wolfowicz was the first to recognize that the cold war actions that placed Saddam in charge was probably not a good idea and he promptly wrote a defense strategy on how to counter Saddam and any number of threates from the ME. That was 1978.

Everyone has been crying about the "neo-cons" taking over the administration because there is a "neo con" strategy. Nobody likes it, but I think I would not subscribe to them a failure to not have a grand NSC plan. Although, it probably could use some revising here and there.

Having read up on the cold war and seeing the NSC document, it also reminds me how many years the USSR existed and communism spread before anyone got around to recognizing it as a danger and formatting a national strategy against it.

Well, back on track, I see why you don't vote for Bush. You assume he is stupid along with whomever he has appointed for his admin posts. From my perspective, while I thought Powell was a nice guy, he did not fit the roll of Secretary of State. He also did not buy into the plan when it was not his plan and he has made any number of blunders when speaking about his dissent in public (he could dissent, but never in public). But I feel for him because I could not always decide if his mistakes were not caused by some lack of communication between the departments. On the other hand, it's not often that state and DOD get along. Two different philosophies after all: DOD - Kill the enemy; SOD - negotiate a peace.

Secondly, Rumsfield is the kind of guy that I refer to as a "slasher". When he comes into a business, he looks around,sees what isn't operating appropriately and starts cutting it up and re-assembling it, which does not make you many friends.

Particularly in the military where they like things the traditional way. But, from every book I've read the military is in the middle of a difficult transition and nobody likes to change. So, Rumsfield was good for the job of SoD, but he may have been more of a peace time SoD. We'll see if he remains. ONe thing that I have found reading multiple military sites, the military has learned some very huge lessons from this operation in Iraq. Largely how to fight Urban warfare. They created a computer matrix where they put all of the after action reports into the system and the model creates scenarios for training the troops at home.
In so doing we continue to create the best armed forces and transform them.

But, back to the overall strategy, I think the simplest thing to say here is, if I can look over the board, me, a simple analyst from the midwest, and come up with a general idea of a strategy (which actually bares striking resembelence to the cold war doctrine, isolation, commerce and warfare), then I'm not sure why anyone would think ANY president and his administration couldn't do the same. Certainly, Dr. Rice would have advised her group to create something as well.

But again, I'm not looking for that to be public. The only reason NSC 68 is public is because the USSR is no more.

So, the President has the ideology, the admin folks create the strategy. I believe that would be how the Kerry presidency would work as well. Although, forgive me if this sounds partisan, but from my review of Kerry's time as a prosecutor and a senator, I believe he is a bit of a micro manager and those are the types of folks that "maintain" as I pointed out not create big changes. But in reality, it is his ideology that I don't agree with and his potential team supports that and comes from the same school of thought.

Under a Kerry Presidency, I imagine there will be less pain and angst between the SOD and DOD, mainly because the military will be put back in it's place and the SOD will take the lead again.

Last thing, Iran and it's surrounding. When we went into Iraq, when we go to any war, the DOD has a set of threat assesment tools and how to handle each successive issue that projects what to do in each instance and area of potential warfare. We have an over all strategy militarily which we are putting in place. You will note the hoopla about moving the forces from Germany and SK to the ME region and back home? Most of them going to the ME region will be in countries like Tajikstan, etc. All surrounding Iran and it's main land mass as well as putting us into reach for Saudi Arabia should it go "hot". Just looking at that makes you understand there is a plan.

In regards to their nukes, my opinion is that they were going to build one, will you, nil you. It was just a matter of time. Whether it is now when they feel threatened and speed up their program or later at their leisure, nuclear armaments were a must to consolidate their position. Had Saddam stayed in power, Iran believing he was looking for the same, would have done it to counter him, not to mention Israel, Pakistan and India, who have nukes. So, if you don't mind me saying, I think the assumption that the President's policies "forced" Iran to create nukes and disregard the diplomatic efforts of Europe would be slightly naive. No offense.

I also believe that we are up to our old cold war tricks and fomenting rebellion amongst it's folks. Nobody says we actually have to take Iran by military force or even put them in a difficult position.

Kat said...

Riceburner...I understand what you are saying and I understand your concern about Christianity. But I would like to point out a few things. First, the title is a play on words and is more about knowing your enemy inside and out, like you know yourself, so that you can make the necessary countering actions. It is why Patton read Rommel. Why Attila could defeat the Romans. Wellington defeated Napolean. The list could go on.

The title of the posting was an ironic turn of phrase, certainly not advocating turning Christian texts into how to kill the enemy.

But wars are won by strategy. Strategies are formulated by what you know the enemy. And who knows the enemy best wins.

And the enemy is bin Laden and an ideology. Like Hitler and Nazism. The only difference is, these folks don't have a homeland. if they did, they would have been defeated by now. Instead it is an ideology that is amorphous in it's size and general adherents. So we have to have a new way of fighting it which is both confronting it militarily as well as philosophacly.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

G-Man,

"A good portion of Islam's advanced medieval technology made its way into Europe with the Spaniard's conquest of the Muslim territories on the Iberian Peninsula."

To some extent, but I don't think it was the major artery of the influx. Muslim Cordoba was a prosperous trade center, but compared to Istanbul it was a mere pebble next to the Great Pyramid. And while the Spanish, intolerant Catholics that they were at the time, were more prone to burn scrolls in Arabic script and slaughter any who would not convert to Catholicism, over in Italy things were more oblique and delicate with the Muslim world. Cosimo de Medici brought in Turkish traders and scholars, partly to show that he had the means to do so, and with the Papacy in his virtual pocket, he was above much of the same intolerant pressure that best most of the rest of Europe. He used his privileged status to open a major channel of "oriental" learning, some of which may have even inspired such as Leonardo da Vinci--the ingenuity of the Fire Ships, for example, with the pumps spewing crude oil over a brazier, how can that not set the imagination ...on fire?

Another major channel of the Muslim influx of learning was Norman Sicily. While the Norman mercenaries controlling Sicily at that time were nominally Catholic, their recent ancestors had been Heathen, and they had not quite yet grown accustomed to the whole "Christian" tradition of oppressing people of other faiths. As a result they tolerated Muslims while they ruled Sicily, which inspired a Papal Bull and even a Crusade against them, which resulted only in the Pope being captured and held for ransom by the Sicilian Normans.

"It is interesting too to think that those Jews who were left in Palestine, then intermarried with nomads and became the Palestinian people around whom this turmoil revolves. They are in truth the relatives of the Jews whe returned to Palestine following WWII..."

Cousins of the Sephardic Jews, yes. More a matter of how some held to their religion, and some simply assimilated into the Bedou culture that swept over them like a sea surge. I'm not sure exactly how much of a chunk of Palestinian blood is really from Judean and Gallilean blood, but I'm sure there is some.

And really there wouldn't be much "trouble" at all between Jews and Muslims if the Jews hadn't gotten violent in 1948. In the Ottoman Empire there were even some "people of the book" acting as generals in the Sultan's army (e.g., Sinan Pasha).

It must be admitted that in the middle eastern terrorism scene, the Israelis were the first and foremost terrorists. Not to accuse the ones born there today, but simply as a matter of acknowledging how things got screwed up there.

"So here we have another empire dabbling in Middle Eastern affairs and we're still seeing the results of this now almost 2,000 years later."

Although I think Arabs are rather grateful for Rome's influence, creating a population void there for them to fill.

"Part of America's fixation with Israel is the fact that we as a people like to root for the underdog."

Not so much that as the supersticious belief on the part of American Christians that they have an Apocalyptic duty to side with Israel, to pave the way for the "Second Coming" of Jesus, who's supposed to swoop down and make everything better there, by way of fire and brimstone and other weapons of mass destruction. That, and the way it's easy to be branded "anti-Semitic" if you favor breaking ties with Israel.

"After we saw how the Jews were treated in Europe by Hitler, it tugged at our heartstrings and we've been rooting for the underdog ever since."

Well, yes, but without that biblical influence, it's likely they'd have gone the way of native Americans--with reservations and casinoes in scattered parts of Germany, to be little countries of their own and making their own tribal laws.