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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:55 am EST, Mar 10, 2005

David "Netwar" Ronfeldt has written a new essay for First Monday.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates are operating much like a global tribe waging segmental warfare. This paper describes the dynamics of classic tribes: what drives them, how they organize, how they fight. Al Qaeda fits the tribal paradigm quite well. Thus, continuing to view Al Qaeda mainly as a cutting–edge, post–modern phenomenon of the information age misses a crucial point: Al Qaeda and affiliates are using the information age to reiterate ancient patterns of tribalism on a global scale. The war they are waging is more about virulent tribalism than religion. The tribal paradigm should be added to the network and other prevailing paradigms to help figure out the best policies and strategies for countering these violent actors.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?

Murder at Abu Ghraib - Controlled Release News?
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:17 am EST, Feb 18, 2005

I had recalled hearing the testimony during the hearings that the pictures the media had got were the tip of the iceberg - torture lite, so to speak, and that the unreleased photos were much worse - that there was evidence of murder and sodomy that had happened at Abu Ghraib. I had heard that there were many other pictures and even movies on 2 CDs. I kept waiting for the story to break -surely as it was a public hearing the media heard it too and would be looking into that further - especially the part about rape and the murder.... the rape of an underage Iraqi male prisoner....but I never heard another thing about it....until...this. Gotta love the US MEDIA and controlled release news.

Murder at Abu Ghraib - Controlled Release News?

Justice Expands 'Torture' Definition (
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:24 pm EST, Dec 31, 2004

] The Justice Department published a revised and expansive
] definition late yesterday of acts that constitute torture
] under domestic and international law, overtly repudiating
] one of the most criticized policy memorandums drafted
] during President Bush's first term.
] "It could be that this is not just a cynical ploy but a
] real sign of change,"
Greenberger said.

Did they concede a point? Things have been so fucked up for so long that I've gotten used to thinking that when we don't slip closer to the edge thats a win. An actual retreat on a point? How will this impact the Gonzales's confirmation? Where are the right wing commentators foaming that this is soft on terrorism?

Justice Expands 'Torture' Definition (

How to look like a complete jerk.
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:23 am EST, Dec 19, 2004

] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will now personally
] sign letters of condolence to families of troops killed
] in action, after the Pentagon acknowledged signing
] machines had been used in the past.

How to look like a complete jerk.

Jessica Stern, on what lures some to terror
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:24 pm EST, Dec  2, 2004

"I was very surprised to discover that in poor countries, at the managerial level, terrorists are paid, and they are quite well-paid.

I met quite a number of managers in jihadi organizations who said they would like to quit but they couldn't afford to because they wouldn't make as much in the civilian sector."

Dilbert knows no boundaries.

Jessica Stern, on what lures some to terror

CBS News | CIA Agent Details Terror Threat | November 12, 2004
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:14 pm EST, Nov 14, 2004

] Osama bin Laden now has religious approval to use a
] nuclear device against Americans, says the former head of
] the CIA unit charged with tracking down the Saudi
] terrorist.
] The former agent, Michael Scheuer, speaks to Steve Kroft
] in his first television interview without disguise to be
] broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.
] ET/PT.
] Scheuer was until recently known as the "anonymous"
] author of two books critical of the west's response to
] bin Laden and al Qaeda, the most recent of which is
] titled "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War
] on Terror."

An interview is here:

Of course, I hope that this guy is wrong. I also hope that Strauss and Howe are wrong.

I think that that all three are right. I think that this point of view is apt to be extremely unpopular, simply because the American people aren't ready for it yet. I think that we will be. I think this is prophetic. I really really hope its not.

CBS News | CIA Agent Details Terror Threat | November 12, 2004

Daily Kos :: The cycle of violence
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:11 am EST, Nov 14, 2004

] In radicalizing your apathetic sympathizers, you have no
] better ally than the violent extremists on the other side.
] Only they can convince your people that compromise is
] impossible. Only they can raise your countrymen's level
] of fear and despair to the point that large numbers are
] willing to take up arms and follow your lead. A few blown
] up apartment buildings and dead schoolchildren will get
] you more recruits than the best revolutionary tracts ever
] written.

Occasionally something smart pops out of the Kos. I think this is a reasonable view of the situation. Its worth a read, even if some of it is review.

The only thing I really didn't like about this essay was his answer to question 9. Three reasons:

1. His answer contradicts question 8. I don't agree with 8 either, but I'm willing to allow the possibility that he's right. Either way, if BL didn't need a terrorist attack in September he doesn't need one in January, if he couldn't get one in September he won't be able to get one in Jan.

2. I don't see how BL can act to widen the war through an attack on U.S. soil. We know BL is in Pakistan. We're already going there. An attack here would not make that happen any faster. He has to create foreign conflicts and draw us into them. Thats actually not terribly easy.

3. The "lets pick a likely target" exercise was slightly offensive. No, you don't know. Yes, you picked one of your political enemies. Yes, that does detract from your overall credibility.

Daily Kos :: The cycle of violence

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft Condemns Judges Who Question Bush
Topic: War on Terrorism 7:52 pm EST, Nov 12, 2004

] Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by
] issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's
] decisions on America's obligations under international
] treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft
] said Friday.

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft Condemns Judges Who Question Bush | 100,000 Iraqi deaths
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:21 am EST, Nov 12, 2004

] Josef Stalin once claimed that a single death is a
] tragedy, but a million deaths a mere statistic. Such
] cynicism should not be allowed to prevail, especially in
] a conflict in which many more lives are at stake. Iraq
] seems to be a case where more statistics are sorely
] needed.

The Economist takes a look at the 100,000 Iraqi deaths study. | 100,000 Iraqi deaths

US Forces Begin Moving Into Falluja
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:51 pm EST, Nov  7, 2004

It begins tonight. And with it, the countdown to Pakistan, as well.

US Forces Begin Moving Into Falluja

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