roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Dec, 2002 05:30 pm
Bogus, but no war anyway. but don't come back and make me eat it.

They're probably trying to buy more time while we shuffle paper.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Dec, 2002 05:57 pm
Setanta

Fishin's point regarding the lapse of time between the shoe event and the French arrests is an astute one, though the hope of 'breaking' such prisoners so they'll quickly reveal connections is, I think, a false hope. We have no way of knowing what successes have come from the interrogations of captured Al Quaeda, but there has been a notable paucity of even leaked good news from that quarter.

Tantor's equation of Al Quaeda with the other two groups doesn't seem to stand scrutiny, as Setanta and Walter have pointed out. According to US authorities, Al Quaeda is spread across some 50 or more countries, likely with active and successful recruiting adding to their numbers (surely in the thousands) and increasing their spread. It would seem to be more appropriate to consider Al Quaeda as a vital political movement rather than anything like a small group such as BM.

How effective the policing of these folks has been is probably not easily determinable, even by any single agency in the US or elsewhere, as so many nations and policing structures are involved, because much of their activity will be on-going surveillance of possibles, and because these guys are trying to stay hidden (and apparently, do that quite effectively).

Even in a relatively simple non urban environment, using bogglingly huge resources in manpower and the very best of intelligence techniques, Osama and Omar got away, and are still hidden. What chances do we have in Berlin and Manhattan and Toronto, not to mention Indonesia, etc etc?
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Dec, 2002 05:59 pm
Walter,

What I meant to write was that the BM gang got better support from the Soviet Union than an AQ cell gets from AQ headquarters.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Dec, 2002 06:09 pm
Setanta,

It appears that interrogations of Al Qaeda members has been remarkably successful. Much like the Japanese in WWII, they have not been trained what do to if captured because they never expected to be captured. The Al Qaeda leaders appear to be a particularly cowardly bunch, quick to talk to save their own skins. They also seem to be remarkably careless with their operational security, leaving detailed plans and communications on unsecured computers and phone numbers of their associates on their cell phones. This will undo them.

Mountainous terrain with a friendly population is ideal territory for guerrillas. It is no surprise that Bin Laden has been able to escape into the border regions of Pakistan populated by Muslim fundamentalists. Urban areas are hostile to guerrillas and terrorists. The authorities eventually run them down.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Dec, 2002 06:29 pm
Tantor

What evidence do you have to suggest interrogation has been successful?

And I think your claim that urban areas are hostile to terrorists (by which I assume you imply that such sites are difficult to hide in or operate in) is argued against by just about every present situation I can think of.

Lastly, you sentence "The authorities eventually run them down" seems to me to fail in the same sense that your BM analogy did. We aren't talking about a small finite group of individuals like the Weathermen. We are talking about something entirely different, surely. I recommend you switch to the Al Quaeda equals Communists metaphor.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 07:34 am
Not a bad metaphor, although i would modify it read "Al Qaeda equals Bolshevik." They have not established their ideal state anywhere, which would put them in the position of putting their ideological money where their mouth is. I doubt, however, that such a circumstance is envisioned by anyone with authority in Al Qaeda. I rather suspect the goal is more vague, more amorphous. I would suggest they hope to so destabilize the world so as to bring about the triumph of Islam. This makes them more dangerous still, as the goal is inadmissable of achievement. Their recruiting ground is vast and fertile, and the cowardice displayed by every adminstration since Truman, with the exception of Carter's administration, in attempting to curb the Israelis will assure that fuel is regularly added to the fire.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 08:44 am
Setanta

Bolshevik it is. I also agree that they aren't operating from anything approaching a sophisticated analysis of economics or social dynamics, rather a frighteninly simplistic "There's Satan! Get him!" reactiveness. Of course, Billy Grapham's son or Robertson/Falwell aren't much better. Though further down the scale, I put nationalist flag-wavers in the same category. The similarity being "I'm right, and even if you don't know it now, it will be better for you (it's really what you want, even if you don't know it yet) for me to force my superior ideas into effect with you.'
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 11:04 am
Exactement, mon cher ami . . .

"Here, sit still while i pound the truth into yer devoted little pate."
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 11:29 am
Setanta

I'm sure you've bumped into Isaiah Berlin's seminal essay "Two Concepts of Liberty", but for those who haven't, there is probably little I could recommend more whole-heartedly in a study of how we might think about what 'liberty' means and how it can go badly astray... http://coursenligne.sciences-po.fr/2001_2002/enjeux_politiques/liberty.pdf
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 11:37 am
Also try Rousseau's On the Origins of Inequality . . .
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 11:38 am
Oh, and by the by, my "electronic signature" reads, in english:

"We are slaves to the law that we may have freedom."
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 12:49 pm
Well, Rousseau ain't my favorite guy, but a re-read might be in order after all these years.
0 Replies
 
Kara
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 01:41 pm
Blatham, thanks for the link to Berlin.

Setanta, I appreciate the translation. Why not include it under your Latin signature? My three years of the stuff are along ago and far away, and that may be true for others.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2002 04:02 pm
Well, Boss, the damned "electronic signature" won't play nice. What you see is only partially correct according to the UBB commands i used. And i kept getting kicked off the site, and played bloody hell gettin' back in . . . i'll try to make it look all nice later.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 05:19 pm
blatham wrote:
Tantor
What evidence do you have to suggest interrogation has been successful?


From media accounts, they cite info given up by Al Qaeda leaders in interrogation. Some of the arrests of Al Qaeda members is said to have been the result of info from interrogations of their pals. There are also a few accounts of the US interrogators themselves who say that the Al Qaeda leaders are quicker to cut a deal for themselves than Abdul the Al Qaeda grunt.

Beyond the specific information above, I know from my brief experience teaching interrogation methods in AF survival school that untrained people break easily. They lack the intellectual structure to resist effectively. It's easy to trip them up. I also know that everyone breaks eventually if the interrogator has good enough info to know the right questions to ask and has good technique. The interrogator has all the cards and will eventually break any resister down, given months or years.

The only effective resistance technique to interrogation is to keep your mouth shut. Sounds simple, but hard to do. The fact that these Al Qaeda prisoners are talking at all, even to mouth off or brag, tells me that they have already lost the resistance battle and are in fact clueless in their resistance strategy. Once you get a guy talking, you have him.

blatham wrote:
And I think your claim that urban areas are hostile to terrorists (by which I assume you imply that such sites are difficult to hide in or operate in) is argued against by just about every present situation I can think of.


I disagree. Terrorists in urban areas are vulnerable. There is more security in a city, more ways to trace a terrorist act back to its perpetrators, more witnesses, more of everything that can undo a terrorist. You can't operate a terrorist organization in the long term in an urban area. That's why the Al Qaeda set up shop in Afghanistan rather than in Cairo or Riyadh.

If you examine equivalent historical situations, you can see the same thing. The French resistance in WWII was not particularly effective because the Gestapo simply ran them down with brutal effectiveness. Likewise, the guerrillas who assassinated Heydrich in Czechoslovakia in WWII were easily run down by the Nazis.

Castro based his guerrilla headquarters out in the inaccessible mountains. Mao took a Long March to hide out in the sticks. They did not set up shop downtown. It was too dangerous.

It's worth pointing out that Dr. Zawahiri, the No 2 man in Al Qaeda and the brains of the bunch, fled Egypt because he could not conduct terrorist ops from there. The Egyptian security was simply too good. They rounded up hundreds of the fundamentalist Muslim radicals fairly easily, executing the leaders and imprisoning the rest. He tried to set up shop in Chechnya, but the Russians caught him there and threw him in jail for a while to figure out what they caught. Zawahiri ended up in Afghanistan because they got chased out of all the preferred locations in the cities.

blatham wrote:
Lastly, you sentence "The authorities eventually run them down" seems to me to fail in the same sense that your BM analogy did. We aren't talking about a small finite group of individuals like the Weathermen. We are talking about something entirely different, surely. I recommend you switch to the Al Quaeda equals Communists metaphor.


America is doing quite a splendid job of running down Al Qaeda. We have captured half their leadership. That's pretty darned good for a year's work. It presents a depressing future for the remainder. And really, the more of them, the easier it is to catch them.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 06:43 pm
Walter, I agree with your quote from tantor. As the occupier of another country, we have become the terrorists, killing innocent lives. I'm not sure what the best solution is when fighting terrorism. ;( c.i.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 09:42 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
As the occupier of another country, we have become the terrorists, killing innocent lives. I'm not sure what the best solution is when fighting terrorism.


Innocent lives will be lost if we invade Iraq. Innocent lives will be lost if we don't invade Iraq. The judgement to be made is which course of action preserves the most life.

Certainly if Saddam Hussein obtains a nuclear weapon, he is likely to use it. He possesses no weapon in his arsenal which he has not used. In such a case, many innocent people will die and the evil Iraqi regime will spread. If Saddam remains in power, he will continue to kill innocent people in his own country. Executing people is what Saddam does. Can you honestly say that more innocent people will be lost in an invasion of Iraq than Saddam will kill in his lifetime?

The great lesson of the 20th century was to never appease aggression. Let's not forget that history lest we be doomed to repeat in the 21st century.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:07 pm
Tantor, You have fallen for this administrations battle cry: Kill before they kill their own and others. The problem with that scenario is that he 'might not' do any more killing. By a preemptive strike by the US and UK, we become the terrorist. If Iraq strikes first, we become the defender - a much more sane alternative. c.i.
0 Replies
 
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:14 pm
And it is all unlaid with Imperialism, Oil and money for his fathers Cartel. This is evil!
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 07:24 am
Tantor said, in response to my query regarding what evidence he's seen for successful interrogations...
"From media accounts, they cite info given up by Al Qaeda leaders in interrogation."

That's really not good enough. Please find and post sources, otherwise you're just another guy on a bar stood with his beer and his certainty.

As regards your examples of past guerilla activity, I don't think any are relevant comparisons (eg the Heydrich assassins weren't Czechs, hadn't been living locally buying from the green grocer for two years, etc). But the best evidence that you're estimation is likely to be quite mistaken is 9-11.


I'll address one other point. You said..."Certainly if Saddam Hussein obtains a nuclear weapon, he is likely to use it."

Once again, I'm rather surprised at your certainty on a matter which has gained a lot of analysis, little of which sides with you. But let's look at the question this way.

First, earlier you said "You bet he's got WOMD." Other than the attack on the Kurds (which the US didn't seem to be bothered by at the time, incidentally), he hasn't used these weapons you have no doubt he's got tucked away. So you don't have much precedent backing you up. Anyway, if you want to go with precedent, the US is the party most likely to use them.

But the rather more thoughful analysis, I think (and let me know if you'd like me to direct you right to it - but don't waste my time, I'll only bother if you aren't already sure you know it all and will read it) holds that this is the one decision which Sadaam KNOWS will bring about his end. There will be no quarrels in the security council as to his fate then. Or even any support from Arab states. So it's not remotely likely. Unless, as Scocroft and others suggest, he is driven to a sort of self-immolation/revenge decision by the US, and decides to take out Tel Aviv for glory in the history books, or some such.
0 Replies
 
 

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