TCS Daily

Our Enemy, The State

By Michael Rosen - September 22, 2006 12:00 AM

ROCKAWAY BEACH, NY, Sept. 11, 2006 - Just two doors down from the Dunkin' Donuts where I'm writing this is Engine Company 268, which sacrificed 15 of New York's Bravest -- including its chief -- in the conflagration at the Towers. I gingerly avoid stepping on the flowers and wreaths lying outside the station as I peer at the courageous names on the plaque and nod humble appreciation at the firefighters going about their business.

It's almost impossible to maintain one's perspective during stark times and in raw places like these. But try we must, for if we wish to avoid 9/11 reprises, we need to understand the nature of our enemies and the path to defeating them.

James Fallows, a longtime correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, needs no such exhortation. His bold article "Declaring Victory" calls for the U.S. to do just that: announce to the world that we have vanquished our foes "so that an even more effective military and diplomatic campaign can begin."

According to Fallows, we have already largely succeeded in our central objective in the War on Terror: vanquishing, scattering, and gravely weakening al Qaeda.

Neither Osama nor Zawahiri nor any of the group's top echelon can any longer conduct significant activities, regularly communicate with one another or with their worldwide followers, operate training camps, or coordinate with copycat groups.

Thankfully, says Fallows, our signal and human intelligence -- coupled with vigorous military campaigns in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere, as well as the terrorists' strategic miscalculation in massacring Muslim civilians -- have rendered al Qaeda a shell of its former self.

While decentralized terrorist clusters have carried out lethal attacks in London, Madrid, Bali and elsewhere, "the shift to these successor groups has made it significantly harder to terrorists of any provenance to achieve what all of them would like: a 'second 9/11.'" That we haven't suffered an attack on American soil since that horrific day five years ago is of course but one testament to our success thus far.

Yet in his survey of scores of foreign policy and national security experts, Fallows concludes -- quoting one of them -- that "it is not the people al-Qaeda might kill that is the threat...Our reaction is what can cause the damage." (emphasis in original) In other words, according to Fallows and his experts, our response to the attacks -- tightening visa standards, overspending to combat phantom threats, detaining suspects at Guantanamo, and, of course, our occupation of Iraq -- is what poses the greatest danger to our society.

Instead, Fallows suggests that, given our accomplishments, we declare victory in the "war," a word that "implies emergency" and "encourages a state of fear." We must turn instead to domestic protection, worldwide pursuit of Al Qaeda, and an "all-fronts diplomatic campaign."

This would mean, among other things, putting our military to work in delivering relief to nations ravaged by natural disasters, especially in the Muslim world, as we did in Indonesia after the tsunami and in Pakistan after the earthquake.

Leaving aside the relative triteness of these alternatives, Fallows actually offers some good and helpful ideas. It's universally recognized that our public diplomacy is a shambles. Our humanitarian assistance bought us much goodwill in Asia. We do allocate our scarce resources poorly, whether at airports, chemical plants, or fire stations, like the one here in Rockaway Beach. In short, Fallows is quite good at pointing out things we should do.

But the fundamental difficulty with his approach is its premise: the war is most definitely not over.

Most problematically, Fallows' analysis confines the scope of what Frank Gaffney calls the War for the Free World to a war against individual terrorists and their networks. In so doing, he ignores the role that powerful state actors play in our struggle against militant Islamism.

The most egregious of these omissions is Iran, whose lunatic president has recited in no uncertain terms his fervent desire to usher in the Shia apocalypse by provoking nuclear war with Israel and/or the United States.

Ahmadinejad's recent remarks at the United Nations are especially telling in this regard: describing the security situation in Iraq, the Iranian ruler sanctimoniously decried "covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society and instigate civil strife."

This statement was reportedly matter-of-factly and unquestioningly by the media, without recognizing that it is Iran itself that is manifestly stirring the pot of sectarian violence in neighboring Iraq.

This is simply another data point in the mounting evidence of the unwillingness of some -- including Fallows -- to recognize that state actors still pose immense danger in our war against Islamic extremism. And these states aren't just in the Muslim world: from crackpot Stalinists like Kim Jong-Il to tinpot dictators like Hugo "Bush is a devil" Chavez, rogue nations can all-too-easily transfer technology and money to Islamic messianists.

In 2006, Iran acts merely as an irritant in Iraq and Lebanon. But in five years, it could be a major global threat poised to exercise nuclear blackmail over the Middle East, Europe, and even North America. Until we appreciate the depth of the seriousness and depravity of the Islamist ideology, goals, and methods -- whether Sunni or Shia, whether individual terrorists, networks, or states -- it would be foolhardy in the extreme to declare victory, our significant tactical triumphs notwithstanding.

Instead, only by confronting the totalitarian scourge at all levels, and only by orienting (so to speak) the region toward freedom, including through exactly those foreign adventures that Fallows disparages, can we fully and properly ensure our own security.


As night creeps in, I can just start to make out the twin blue columns of light emanating from Ground Zero. They point heavenward, toward the final resting place of Engine Company 268's heroes. Let us never forget them, or what we're up against, or how we will prevail -- together.

Michael M. Rosen is an attorney in San Diego and a TCS Daily columnist.



At last, this subject gets traction in the media
This has been THE largest mistake made by administration officials as well as media pundits and most of us armchair admirals, this constant drumbeat of “non-state actors” “ we have no state to go to traditional war with” all complete idiocy and obviously so to everyone familiar with the details & mechanics on the ground. Also a page right out of the Vietnam failure book, allowing a neighboring state to destabilize the country under occupation with NO repercussions
This policy of failing to name the specific state actors and their links to specific acts of terrorism was only partially mitigated by the “axis of evil” speech.
I believe the Bush administration IS playing a divide and conquer game in respect to the Saudis VS Iran, this has helped some, but not as much as stomping Saudi Arabia or Iran would have done.
The caveat to this thought is the reaction from the Muslim umma to OBLs original message, “get US troops out of Saudi Arabia”. Many older, experienced Muslim fighters and military officers were packing their bags and preparing for the clash of civilizations. Once the Bush Administration removed the troops from Saudi Arabia, the bulk of these fighters went or stayed home leaving the younger, less experienced, hotter headed fighters to go to jihad.
This was NOT in OBLs plans, he expected the USA to stay and fight IN Saudi Arabia, when we did not and Bush made nice with the Saudi Prince on TV, it punctured one of OBLs main plans to take control of his homeland speedily.

In short the two most effective choices after 9/11 were: annihilate the Saudi culture fast and strongly enough to frighten the world wide Muslim Umma into quiescence (most third world cultures rationalize that if they are conquered and the religious regalia utterly destroyed, the enemies god must be stronger then theirs Or god is not on their side) or back off to a neighboring country where we can STILL threaten the Saudis without looking like we are and even get support for this in the Arab world by picking someone REALLY unpopular to invade. Thus this Iraqi war. Really a brilliant move in its conception, if not its execution.

This stratagem has run its course IMHO, it’s time to name state actors and assign them correct blame for specific acts for terror and support for terror.
This can only be done at the UN building with full attendance. Offending countries should be publicly castigated and threatened on the UN floor, their staff and officers told they are persona non grata and summarily escorted out of the building and out of the USA permanently. All on camera, the diplomatic version of shock and awe.

The brilliant move of letting achmedinajad and hugo chaves speak is the first step towards this action, it shows the country and some of the world that the UN has become a dictators advocacy group and has encouraged many more US citizens to call for its removal from US soil or at least a firmer control of it’s agenda.

In the minds of many if not most strategists in the west (and probably the east), the inability to name state actors and wage traditionally declared war is the biggest impediment to our success. In order to rectify this and change course, a major re-alignment of paradigm must take place, starting with the expulsion of the guilty from our soil.

Very good and interesting post
But we do need to do something about the quagmire Iraq has become.

agreed, we need to play to our strengths:TECHNOLOGY
We should have from the start of this had something like this: locally made concrete fortress parts that could be airlifted in pieces over night to a new location as armored check points. These could be outfitted with existing off the shelf parts (like the 64 mustang was) for power generation, air filtration and cooling/heating, weapons control, communication and observation of the surroundings.
These mobile armored check points would do two things, 1 show parents at home and troops in the field we care about our troops safety instead of using them like a Russian general would, 2 scare the hell out of the primitives when they realize they cannot compete with us on ANY level.
These check points should have wire and dirt embankments in a particular pattern around them to block escape, blunt attacks and to funnel road traffic into the mouth of the beast to be observed, every face recorded and put through a face ID database. Patterns of movement compared to patterns of violence would unmask insurgents in a short time, drones launched and controlled from inside the check points could watch for and hit vehicles and individuals avoiding or attacking the check points. The check points would also have heavy remote guns in strategic places, like directly in the faces of drivers going through the center of the barriers.
These units would be in constant contact with a central command via sat com that would allow mobilisation instantly in case of trouble, and the vidio feed for the face recognition database would go world wide allowing analysis by the NSA and CIA instantly.

Here in PHX AZ we have a damned elementary school with this face recognition technology, why its not being used to ID insurgents & track their movements is a mystery needing congressional oversight.

We were chided in the first gulf war for sending an army of Nintendo players to battle, we should make that a mark of pride and play to our strengths

LOL, true but sadly typical
That army fo nintendo players is very good at other things as well (as Saddam and the world found out in a big hurry) and they because they are techo-nuts they understand the their environments better in combat.

Yeah, we should have laughed out loud and said "just wait until the Play Station players get into the fray.

and what would be the unit ensignia? great opportunity for humor
A flight control stick as unit insignia might be TOO phallic or perhaps just phallic enough?

I have to admit that even as the media & even staunch patriots like Peggy Noonan decry our lack of answering the UN's thug revue and others scream that Israel lost so much status in this last war , Republicans are in danger of losing the senate, gloom & doom ad nausium, I don’t see it at all this way.
I'm seeing the enemy show himself in all his evil glory, not understanding that their greatest strength lay in camouflage. The lazy, fat, contented cows of middle class America are having this evil shoved up their orifice like a cactus, they are waking up like the WWII generation did.

Europe is getting IT's lazy, self-centered, childish a$$ booted into a corner they must fight their way out of or choose knowingly to die there. European politics are binary, they are either laying on their backs complaining, or goose-stepping through the streets in jackboots, no in between.

Me, I'm thinking of selling jackboot polish over the internet. The market for it is about to blossom.

Islam has screwed up by letting the young hot heads screw up their bloodless conquest of Europe, even zarkawi in Iraq did the same thing, ignore al quidas central command planning that had a great bit of political savvy about what works in the western world in order to do what would work with their primitive dog-pack cultures, growl in our faces. It worked all right, it alienated MANY Muslims to the insurgency since they killed more Muslims by 100 to 1 then occupiers. It spelled zarkawis death.

the left in this country has just been handed a choice, realize their talking points were just co-opted by an insane buffoon that is calling for war by the entire third world against America and NEVER use those points again, OR use those poisoned talking points again and be lumped with that maniac, thus sidelining themselves forever.

I'm likeing it, its a bit late in the game but this game is going to last until one side gets beat like Japan was in 45.

Chave’s & achmedinajackoff’s poisening the libbies talking points has made my week.

If that worries someone, a new XBox baddle will work
LOL, Jackboot polish sounds like a good idea. Europe has never gone past a certain point before one or another finally goes off. If history is any indication, my money is on Germany or England finally dealing with the issue.

I agree with your insight into the Islamic screw up but I'm not sure the left in this country has a brain cell left to understand. That is, perhaps, the scariest issue to me. It depends on how long it takes the other 75% of the country to wake up and take care of them.

As for you final points, I agree fully!

The U.N.
Your cute idea about shaming our enemies in the UN and throwing them out of the US is a good gesture, but unless it is backed up my massive military action and the eventual total obliteration of Islam, the problem will recur. Islam is mind poison and must be wiped off the face of the earth.

One thing at a time
US can and should get out of UN and throw UN out of US. This has no connection with any other action it may take.

So what is it exactly that makes you any differant from some Islamic extremist who states the same thing about Christianity?

You are living, breathing, walking proof that the evil that permeates Islamic extremism is not exclusive to it.

"Mind poison" is a little extreme, but....
Islam is clearly a religion that promotes violence and hatred for non-Muslims. From the Quran itself:

-Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them. (2:191)

-Fight and slay the pagans (translation: that's us) seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem. (9:5)

-Slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers...(5:34)

-...strike off the heads of the disbelievers...[make a] wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives [for ransom] (947:4)

-[treatment of disbelievers]...garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods (22:19).

The Koran also instructs Muslims to slay or crucify or cut the hands and the feet of the unbelievers (5:34), fight unbelievers until no other religion except Islam remains. (3:85)

Translations are from

There is no way that any rational person can argue that these phrases are talking about some sort of internal moral struggle or some sort of reminder to peacefully evangelize. This is the argument typically employed by CAIR representatives and "moderates" throughout the Muslim world, and their own holy book proves that they are lying. This book may advocate peace and kindness to other Muslims, but it is clear on the subject of unbelievers. These are instructions from Allah to torture, kill, take hostages and to continue to do so until none but Muslims are left standing.

Judging from the videos of Nick Berg, and the actions of al-Qaeda, modern day Muslims are doing a good job following Muhammed's injunction. Judging from the videos of Palestineans dancing in the streets and cheering after the attacks on 9/11, I would say they are enjoying it, too.

Try as I might, I have never once found an injunction from Jesus to behead the unbelievers. Unfortunately, anybody who says something like this out loud will be blasted for "hate speech."

A brief note to those who will accuse me of hate speech: Quoting from the Quran does not equal hate speech, it equals cross-cultural understanding. The book that shapes their culture is pretty clear about what to do with us.

A question
"...unless it is backed up my massive military action and the eventual total obliteration of Islam, the problem will recur. Islam is mind poison and must be wiped off the face of the earth."

Chris, this seems quite a bit more extreme than anything Ahmedinejad (or anyone else) has ever said about Christianity. Are you sure this is the way the Prince of Peace would want us to proceed?

Also a backup question: Do we have any concrete evidence that Iran has been meddling adversely in Iraqi affairs? They are in contact with the Iraqi government, and they have involved themselves in economic programs to try to restart the Iraqi economy, I know. But I'm not familiar with any "smoking gun" evidence they are helping the insurgents. Are you? Please give us some citations.

An answer
"The Badr Brigade - sometimes called the Badr Organisation - is the armed wing of the largest Shia party in Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (Sciri) in Iraq.

Sciri opposed Saddam Hussein from Iran for many years.

The Badr Brigade waged a low-level war of ambushes, sabotage, and assassinations against the regime, using undercover cells in Iraq and bases in Iran. "

"I don't think there's any doubt that the Iranians are involved and are providing support," Powell said of the Iranian support for insurgents in Iraq. "How much and how influential their support is, I can't be sure and it's hard to get a good read on it."

Chrisitian persecution in Iran:

"Chris, this seems quite a bit more extreme than anything Ahmedinejad (or anyone else) has ever said about Christianity. Are you sure this is the way the Prince of Peace would want us to proceed?"

And it does not matter what religion you are, unless you are Muslim (maybe). An Iranian government extended around the world would end in the death or forced conversion of all who were not Muslim.

So Roy, you don't believe anything unless the NY Times reports it as true?

Iranian devils
The NYT alone, like Wheaties, is not a healthful diet. You need to read, and eat, from a wide variety of nutritional sources.

While Saddam was in power there were a number of opposition parties. Wasn't it kind of obvious that most of the Shiite ones would work out of Iran? Iran is right next door, and had had rather unpleasant experiences with Saddam. So Iran offered them harbor. That's not the same as saying Iran was sponsoring them. Outfits like the Badr Brigade, the Mahdi Army, SCIRI and Da'wa are all Iraqi Shiite organizations. And most would like to institute Iranian style theocratic rule in Iraq (as they already have in the British zone) for reasons of their own.

Therefore attack Iran and you have not affected these parties. All you've done is inflame the world, making the job of the military harder.

Check what Powell actually said. "Most of the insurgency, he said, was "self-generating" and drew support from indigenous sources in Iraq." Also, he is unsure of the extent of support-- meaning this is all just speculation.

You have a model in your mind that has arch bad guys the Iranians exporting their model to a vulnerable Arab world. Before you go peddling this thing, why don't you ask someone in State or in intelligence whether it is far fetched?

The fact is that in virtually all the Muslim countries there are majorities who want either a Sunni or a Shiite theocracy imposed. And as they get the vote, they will vote to impose one. So that as the current dictatorships in un-Iranian places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan unravel they will be transitioned into Islamist rule as the almost necessary next step.

Iran has zip to do with promoting this trend, they were merely the first Muslim state to institute it.

Finally, did you actually read that message on the Christian web site? They said that in Iran Christians are officially a "protected minority".

Such persecution as they endure is at the hands of the MEK, which is a radical armed group opposing the government. So if the US were ever to actually engineer a takeover of Iran, this group would undoubtedly be included in the new government. Such a step would make things much worse for your Christians.

Bible is hate speech
In some countries, like Candada, reading from the Bible is hate speech.

Iranian religious persecution
"In 2001 the UNSR estimated the Christian community at approximately 300 thousand. Of these the majority were ethnic Armenians and Assyro-Chaldeans. Protestant denominations and evangelical churches also were active, but they reported restrictions on their activities. The authorities became particularly vigilant in recent years in curbing proselytizing activities by evangelical Christians. Some unofficial estimates indicated there were approximately 100 thousand Muslim-born citizens who converted to Christianity. The UNSR estimated that 15 thousand to 20 thousand Christians a year emigrated; however, given the continued exodus from the country for economic and social reasons, it was difficult to establish the role religion played in the choice to emigrate.

In May and June 2004, several Christians in the northern part of the country reportedly were arrested, and in September 2004 officials raided a Protestant Assemblies of God church, imprisoning its minister and former military officer, Hamid Pourmand. He was reportedly held in incommunicado for five months. In February a military court found Pourmand guilty of "deceiving the armed forces" for not declaring he was a convert to Christianity. He was sentenced to three years in prison and discharged from the military, despite presenting evidence to demonstrate that his military superiors knew he was a Christian. On May 2, the judiciary spokesman said Pourmand was convicted for involvement with a "political group" and not because of his religion. On May 28, the Bushehr revolutionary court cleared Pourmand of apostasy but sentenced him to three years in prison for espionage. "

Not hard to find.

Iranian laws
Marjon: Just as it is in Afghanistan, proselytizing is highly, highly illegal in Iran. Just as in the United States selling prohibited drugs is illegal. One contravenes these laws at one's risk. Both laws are at their root similar-- the state is reserving its right to control behavior when it applies to a person's basic orientation.

Drug possession in the US without intent to sell is normally a misdemeanor-- a far less criminal act than the intent to sell. The practise of Christianity by Christians in Iran is a protected right as a matter of law-- a much more progressive position to take. But they can NOT proselytize.

Converts to Christianity are considered apostates from Islam, and are subject to stern punishment.

If you disapprove of either law, I would suggest you get yourself elected to either the American Congress or the Iranian Parliament, and work toward repeal.

Your words
"Chris, this seems quite a bit more extreme than anything Ahmedinejad (or anyone else) has ever said about Christianity."

Iranian laws might give us a hint at how they veiw the rest of the world?

The NYT alone, like Wheaties, is not a healthful diet. You need to read, and eat, from a wide variety of nutritional sources.

The NYT is in a dietary analogy, small balls of saturated fats, with peanuts and cocunut (for the allergic) and coated with sugar, then deep fried in three day old grease.

Best avoided completely, but if you must indulge, do so with the greatest moderation!

Anyone know... many non-muslims make up the Islamic Republic of Iran parliament? Fair play forces me to also ask, how many muslims make up the U.S. Congress?

When are we going to add Canada to the Axis of Evil?
I'm willing to give this new PM, Harper, a chance. However, if they don't bomb Quebec in to tiny bits in the next few weeks, I think we need to move preemptively.

The real question here is: When will the libs try it here? I could also ask which ACLU attorney will stand up in court to defend it...

Who cares?
The point about muslims in Congress is that there is no religious requirement and that in the eyes of the law, who cares what religion a member of Congress is?

Iranian law officially discriminates against religions.

Interesting analogy
"The NYT is in a dietary analogy, small balls of saturated fats, with peanuts and cocunut (for the allergic) and coated with sugar, then deep fried in three day old grease."

What diet would you recommend, for a healthy, rounded intellectual state of vigor? If you could recommend specific nutrients it would be helpful.

Define Ourselves, not enemy only
While it is obviously true that we should define our enemy, the most common failing is a lack of self-definition. The contrast between the two will energize our minds, hearts, and muscle to win!

Freedom's enemies' self-definition is carnal, physical, materialistic, and ego-centered in a collective blurring of individual value and potential. Slaves make poor warriors for any cause.

Western Civilization is based on individual value and potential as creative choice-makers. Biblical principles equip individuals with transcendent criteria for assessing options and estimating consequences - a behavior unknown in the man-made religious areas of the world. selah

That human institution which is structured on the
principle, "...all men are endowed by their Creator with
...Liberty...," is a system with its roots in the natural
Order of the universe. The opponents of such a system are
necessarily engaged in a losing contest with nature and
nature's God. Biblical principles are still today the
foundation under Western Civilization and the American
way of life. To the advent of a new season we commend the
present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Psalm 25:12 kjv

"Man cannot make or invent or contrive principles. He
can only discover them and he ought to look through the
discovery to the Author." -- Thomas Paine 1797

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176

semper fidelis
Jim Baxter
WWII & Korean War

Teacher, 5th Grade - 30 years

MERRY CHRISTMAS December 25, 2006 AD


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