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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

RE: - Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence - Dec 14, 2005
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:33 am EST, Dec 15, 2005

Decius wrote:

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," Bush said during his fourth and final speech before Thursday's vote for Iraq's parliament. "As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.

Bush's position sounds a lot stronger to me when he acknowledges its weaknesses. This is not a paradox. It shows objective consideration of alternatives.

I agree. This interview boosted my opinion of him.

RE: - Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence - Dec 14, 2005

RE: - Iraqi leaders call for withdrawal schedule
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:40 pm EST, Nov 22, 2005

Decius wrote:

Elonka wrote:
Works for me. If they want a timetable, there should be a timetable. If they want us to stay, we stay. If they want us to leave, we leave. It's their country, and if the democratically-elected leaders make a request of us, we should honor it. It's their call.

This is one of the most rational things I think I have ever read thus far about the Iraq war. Frankly, they are our allies now. If they request our assistance in dealing with the insurgency then we would be remiss to fail to offer it. We may not have been in the right to create this mess in the first place. However, as they are a democratic government, its now a different deal. The Iraq War just became something it hasn't yet been ... moral.

Wow. You mean, we may have actually found a point of agreement, about Iraq? Maybe we should call a reporter. ;)

RE: - Iraqi leaders call for withdrawal schedule

Bush: U.S. Foiled at Least 10 Terror Plots
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:51 pm EDT, Oct  7, 2005

Three targets cited were in the United States, including plans to use hijacked airplanes to attack the West Coast in mid-2002 and the East Coast in mid-2003.
 . . .
The third was the case of Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who converted to Islam and allegedly plotted with top al-Qaida commanders to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city.
 . . .
the other seven attacks included plans to:
• Bomb several sites in Britain in mid-2004.
• Attack Westerners at several places in Karachi, Pakistan, in spring 2003.
• Attack Heathrow Airport using hijacked commercial airliners in 2003.
• Carry out a large-scale bombing in Britain in spring 2004.
• Attack ships in the Arabian Gulf in late 2002/2003.
• Attack ships in the Straits of Hormuz, a narrow part of the Persian Gulf where it opens into the Arabian Sea, in 2002.
• Attack a tourist site outside the United States in 2003.

And then there's a letter from Osama's #2, al-Zawahiri, to the Iraqi Al Qaeda chief, Zarqawi:

In the letter al-Zawahri urges Zarqawi — who has declared war on Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority — to avoid bombing mosques and slaughtering hostages to avoid alienating the masses, Whitman said. He also said that al-Zawahri asked Zarqawi for some financial support.

Zawahiri is asking *Zarqawi* for money? Interesting.

Bush: U.S. Foiled at Least 10 Terror Plots

RE: London Terror Attack - 7/7
Topic: War on Terrorism 7:55 am EDT, Jul  8, 2005

Rattle wrote:
Please do that. You are MemeStreams's woman on the scene...

Not too much to report in the way of eyewitness stuff, but here's my current status:

As I write this, it's 12:30 p.m. local time, on Friday. I arrived at Heathrow around 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon local time yesterday, which was about 7 hours after the attacks took place. Traffic at Heathrow was understandably a mess, near grid-lock. There were temporary signs set up around the airport indicating whether or not trains were running. At the time I arrived, the signs said that trains to Paddington were running "as normal".

Normally I figure out accommodation by going to a "Hotel Board" information kiosk, and they assign me to a local B&B. This time though, when I went up and asked for a local place to stay, they just kind of shrugged. They said everything local was booked solid, except for four high-priced hotels, the lowest cost of which was 100 pounds per night (roughly $200).

The line/queue for taxis was enormous. Fortunately, I had a local friend (one of my GemStone players) who came to pick me up at the airport. But what was normally a 20-minute drive turned into 90+ minutes of wading through traffic. I spent a lot of time out on the curb, in a light London drizzle, shivering with other travellers who were waiting for their own pickup while the cars inched by. I did notice an ABC news crew waiting in the same area. Several men with what looked like literally tons of equipment, waiting along with everyone else for their ride to come get them.

Phones, btw, were working fine, with no wait. I was keeping in regular touch with my own ride by calling from payphones to his cellphone. About every half-hour I'd call him and he'd give me his current location.

We finally did connect at the airport, and then we drove around looking for hotels that might not be on the usual "booked solid" network. Most places we tried/called were full, but we finally found a reference from one of those hotels for a less expensive hotel/B&B in Burnham. They did have a room, at "only" 85 pounds a night, so I took it as best available.

As a quick aside, it's an absolutely beautiful area. I'm off in the direction of Windsor Castle and Eton, about 30 miles west of London, a mile from the River Thames, way way out in the country. I took a walk this morning, and I feel like I stepped into Hobbiton. Lovely lopsided houses, winding lanes through tunnels of greenery, beautiful flowers everywhere, and the lazy clip clop of horses plodding by. I halfway expect to see Galadriel, Frodo, or Legolas come striding by. :)

On the "telly", the news is of course full of the attacks. It's especially an emotional hit, because all of the (yesterday) newspapers had full-page elation about how London just won the 2012 Olympics bid, which they're especially gleeful about because they beat France for it. So it was quite ... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

RE: London Terror Attack - 7/7

RE: London Terror Attack - 7/7
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:41 am EDT, Jul  7, 2005

I'm currently in transit, logged on from Manchester Airport in northern England (just flew in from Dubrovnik, Croatia). I'm actually on my way to London Heathrow as I type this. The terminal monitors are full of news about the bombings, but I'm being assured that flights are moving normally.

I'm only spending one night in London, and then heading on to JFK in New York.

The timing though, is unsettling. My original plan was to arrive in London this afternoon, then spend the day sightseeing tomorrow, and then fly out tomorrow afternoon.

Or in other words, had I arrived 24 hours earlier, I might well have been within the radius of one of those bomb blasts. :/

Right now I'm keeping an eye on the news, but sticking to my original itinerary. If I run into any eyewitness stuff, I'll blog it as I can, but my internet access is of course spotty as I'm on the move.

Will keep you posted,


RE: London Terror Attack - 7/7

MEMRI: Arab Liberals Petition the U.N. to Establish an International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Terrorists
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:22 pm EST, Nov  8, 2004

] On October 24, 2004, the liberal Arab websites
] and published a
] manifesto written by Arab liberals, in which they
] petition the U.N. to establish an international tribunal
] which would prosecute terrorists, as well as people and
] institutions, primarily religious clerics, that incite
] terrorism.

MEMRI: Arab Liberals Petition the U.N. to Establish an International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Terrorists

MEMRI: Osama bin Laden Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:54 am EST, Nov  2, 2004

] 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."

Okay. I'm going to ramble here a moment...

Speaking as a game designer, and an avid gamer, there's a philosophy I often keep in mind when faced with a difficult decision during a game. If I have different choices of how to play my hand, and I can't decide which action to take, I ask myself, "Which play will annoy my opponent more?" That way, even if the play doesn't give *me* a specific gaming advantage, the fact that I've done something that messes up my opponent's hand in some way can't hurt.

So, this helps. The head of Al Qaeda would clearly rather have Kerry in office than Bush? Osama would be annoyed, or even afraid, if Bush won?

I had already decided that I was voting for Bush. But now, I get frosting on the cake. By my vote, I can clearly do something that gives the finger to Osama? Well cool, that makes my decision even easier. :)


MEMRI: Osama bin Laden Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush

Policywatch: Lessons from the Sunni Triangle
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:12 pm EDT, Oct 20, 2004

] On June 30, 2004, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr.
] addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy
] Forum. General Swannack commanded the 82nd Airborne
] Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting
] combat and stability-and-security operations. The
] following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  . . .
] The primary mission of the 82nd Airborne was to capture or kill
] those trying to kill U.S. soldiers. In order to achieve that
] goal, the division had to gain the support and assistance of
] local populations. In August 2003, the division received an
] average of twenty tips per week regarding insurgent activity. By
] March 2004, this figure had increased to 300 per week.
] Encouraging Iraqis to support the U.S. military is the key to
] achieving stability, and these figures show that U.S. forces have
] made significant headway. As little as one percent of the
] population is actually interested in attacking coalition forces.
] Most of the remaining 99 percent of Iraqis are on the fence; they
] are potential supporters of either the coalition or the
] insurgency. For the most part, it seems that they have supported
] the coalition because they want a better future for Iraq.
] That 1 percent, however, has sought to intimidate the majority.
] Hence, in order to gain the trust of the Iraqi people, the 82nd
] Airborne went after the insurgents with surgical precision. It
] also created a public works program that stimulated the economy
] and employed Iraqis -- principally young, military-eligible males
] who were potential insurgents -- so that they could provide for
] their families through legitimate rather than nefarious means.

An interesting report from the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Policywatch: Lessons from the Sunni Triangle

Conversation with a Soldier Back from Iraq
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:45 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2004

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to have a chat with an Army Sergeant who had returned to the States from a one year tour of duty in Iraq. It was my first opportunity to really sit down and talk face to face with someone from one of the combat zones, and I had a thousand questions for him. I did my best to just listen to what he had to say without comment, so often it wasn't so much a discussion as a debriefing. I did check with him several times as to whether or not he was comfortable talking about things, but he said it was fine, and actually somewhat therapeutic.

I'd like to share some of the things that he said. I agreed with some of it, and disagreed with some, but I'm going to do my best to present the information here, as he said it.

He's an E-5, a combat engineer, who's been in the service since before 9/11. His unit is based in Kansas, and while in Iraq was assigned to an area near Fallujah. His unit arrived there about a year ago, had a few days of overlap with the previous unit, and then the old unit completely left (rotated out). When his own unit was replaced, it was the same thing -- a new unit came in, overlapped for a brief time, and then he and his entire unit rotated out at the same time. I asked if it might have been better to leave a few people from the old unit for continuity, but he said, "No, not a good idea. Everyone arrives at once, everyone leaves at once. No one gets left behind. If someone was left behind, it would be bad for morale."

He got back to the States in late September, and is currently on 30 days leave from his base in Kansas, traveling around, seeing friends. After St. Louis, his plans were to head to Illinois to see his grandparents, but while in St. Louis he was here to hang out, drink beer, catch up with people he knows, and try to figure out how to fill his days, since he couldn't remember the last time he had this much time off!

During his year in Iraq, nine members of his unit were killed, and two were injured. He said he was shot at many times, and mortar or RPG attacks against his base were a routine occurrence. But he followed that by saying that the enemy was a lousy shot!

He said a common way they'd be attacked is that the insurgents would set up some sort of mortar or rocket attack, fire at the base, and then run away. The U.S. soldiers would then respond with an anti-personnel counter-battery. After that died down, the insurgents would return to regather their equipment. After this happened a few times and it became clear that the insurgents were getting the timing down, suggestions were made about changing the timing and so tactics were changed, so it was a constant evolution.

He said he went into town and walked the local streets many times, but that soldiers never walked alone. They always walked fully-armed, in groups of at least four. To go in smaller groups, he said, would probably have meant certain death from the insurge... [ Read More (0.8k in body) ]

The WMD Report
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:50 pm EDT, Oct  8, 2004

There's been an enormous amount of news chatter and spin about the recent WMD report, with both sides in the political campaign claiming that it vindicates their point of view.

Me personally, I want to read the report for myself. For anyone else that wants to do this, here's a link. The report itself is over 1000 pages long, but there's a 19-page "Key Findings" section which is very readable.

I'm still working my way through the document, but so far it seems to be fairly-written, laying out what is and isn't known, and gives detailed documentation of how the information in it was obtained. In other words, it's free of all the hyperbolic spin which has been nauseating me lately in this election season.

I am meme-ing it here for anyone else that wants to read it for themelves . . .

The WMD Report

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