TCS Daily


New War and the Threat to Globalization

By James H. Joyner - June 26, 2007 12:00 AM

Editor's note: TCS contributor James Joyner recently interviewed John Robb of the Global Guerrillas blog on his new book Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization. Robb paints a picture of a resilient enemy that morphs into something new just as we develop ways to protect ourselves. He offers no quick fixes and argues that terrorists are the equivalent of computer viruses: A nasty reality of modern life that should cause us to take reasonable countermeasures but, mostly, something we just have to live with.

Joyner: Throughout the book, you point out how easy it would be for relatively small groups with minimal funding to create power blackouts, disrupt our oil distribution networks, or even stage 9/11 style attacks on a routine basis. Why do you suppose that hasn't already happened? For that matter, we are surely more vulnerable than Jerusalem or Baghdad to suicide bombers yet we have yet to see such attacks in our cities. Why?

Robb: To understand this, you need to understand that classic symbolic terrorism is plagued by diminishing returns. The more you use it, the less of an effect it has. So, in order to match or exceed previous impacts, you need to increase the scale or breadth of the attack. The problem for al Qaeda is that 9/11 was so big that it made exceeding it very difficult in a post 9/11 security environment. Anything less would have damaged their brand. Further, al Qaeda suffered serious blows during the invasion of Afghanistan. It's taken them years to reconstitute the ability to launch attacks.

It's also very possible that al Qaeda achieved what it wanted out of the attack: to prod the US to overreact and embroil it in a no-win guerrilla war in Asia (the way the Russians were defeated). However, their plans for a guerrilla war in Afghanistan didn't pan out (at least in the short term). Fortunately for them, Iraq did.

Since the start of the Iraq war, al Qaeda has begun to recognize the power of systems disruption since it has worked so effectively there (developed through an entrepreneurial process rather than centrally planned). The attacks on Abqaiq (the Saudi refinery, if the attack was successful, we would have $100 oil today) and the Golden Mosque last year are great examples of infrastructure and social system disruption respectively. Why travel to the US when you can so much more easily disrupt US efforts by attacking closer targets. We live in a connected world.

Joyner: Like Thomas Barnett, you think the problem is more than "terrorism" but rather forces out to disrupt the systems and rules that serve as a framework for our global society. While Barnett is optimistic that, with proper resolve, we can beat back those forces you conclude that we must simply "learn to live with the threat they present" and adopt a "philosophy of resilience that ensures that when these events do occur (and they will), we can more easily survive their impact." Why?

Robb: Because the system shocks we will face from a heavy interconnected world won't only originate from global guerrillas. There will be lots of sources, from pandemics (bird flu) to global warming to peak oil to many we can't imagine. The key to surviving them all in a way that doesn't diminish us longer term is to decentralize resilience.

Specifically in terms of global disorder, the problem is that we can't remake states that are being hollowed out by GGs. There isn't a state-in-a-box solution that will work without creating more disorder in the process. Also, I don't see the resolve at the international level. Sure, you could blame it on Bush, but I think the world is too diverse a place to come together on a strong rule set. All we seem to be able to do is agree on the basics. Imagine trying to get everyone using the Internet to agree with a strong set of rules on how it is used. Not going to happen.

So what's left? Decentralized resilience and muddling through the problems we face as they come by diminishing their impact. No grand projects (if I had a dollar for how many times I have heard people call for a Manhattan project to solve xyz...), no universal comity, just messy reality.

Joyner: You argue that global guerrillas are interested in disrupting systems and creating anarchy rather than taking over and running states. Yet, in Clausewitzian terms, it seems both they and we are losing in terms of achieving the political objectives that precipitated the fight. Saddam launched a guerrilla war that not only failed to return him to power but failed at keeping him or his sons among the living. Bin Laden and company seem no closer to their stated goals of ending U.S. support of Israel, toppling apostate Arab regimes, and so forth. Is it wrong to look at this type of warfare in that way?

Robb: It is a little more complicated if you look at the larger picture, beyond the US vs. Islamic frame. In the wider picture, the bulk of the groups that are challenging states are gaining from the exercise. They are gaining autonomy, wealth, etc. There is also a tendency for the groups involved in an open source insurgency to cancel each other's political goals. None of them is large enough to dictate to the others, and hence nobody fully gets what they want. They only get the opportunity to pursue them (in a strange way, what the market-state is supposed to be about).

Joyner: You say that the Global War on Terror could take down the United States as a Superpower in much the same way that the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1980s, "driven to bankruptcy by a foe it couldn't compete with economically." Granting that we're spending quite literally more money than every other country on the planet combined on defense, we're still spending a historically low percentage of our GDP. How do we get to the point of bankruptcy?

Robb: The larger context is that the combination of entitlement programs and defense is squeezing out everything else. Eventually even defense will get the squeeze as entitlements and debt run amok with the budget. That isn't too far out. Further, the global economy we compete in is only going to get more competitive. Additionally, corporations are globalizing (becoming less tied to the US). Ever watch how states compete for a factory? They bleed each other to death with tax giveaways. Our ability to raise taxes only gets more and more difficult over time.

Finally, with systems disruption, it is possible to single out a country or a corporation for punishment. That disruption could drastically harm that country's ability to compete on a global scale. I don't think most people realize how quickly a relative decline (either through slower growth or outright contraction) could happen in the current and future economic environments. Things are getting faster, not slower.

Joyner: You argue that we are not seeing a "clash of civilizations" and that "religiosity is only a veneer on the conflict." Do you think al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the various sectarian guerrillas in Iraq would exist absent Islamist motivation? Or would there simply be other groups of disaffected guerrillas instead?

Robb: No. They are religiously motivated. But they are only a part of the growing conflict and cannot characterize the entire opposition.

Joyner: In your chapter on the "long tail" of the global guerrilla movement, you include transnational gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood and MS-13 and contend that they "will challenge the United States for control." How so?

Robb: We have seen this in action in Brazil and Mexico. The PCC grew from little more than a prison gang to a massive network in less than a decade. It's not too much of a stretch to see these rapidly growing gangs get substantially stronger as they tap into vast pools of "black globalization." Add systems disruption to that and they could even manufacture their own growth dynamic.

Joyner: You note that we are "living in a world where networks are at the center of our existence" and rightly note the incredible vulnerability that brings. At the same time, you see the Internet and the open source movement as models for restructuring ourselves to adapt to our new security environment. Presumably, then, you don't see a Battlestar Galactica scenario where we cut ourselves off from networked technologies for security purposes?

Robb: While a cabin in the woods is attractive, I don't want to live there year round. Most people would probably agree. To get the benefits of modern life, we need to stay connected. In order to stay connected, we need to be resilient at a level that we can influence.

Joyner: You want "market-states" to get out the way and "provide market-based incentives" that would provide individuals, firms, and localities the means of providing for their own security. You give some examples for how that has worked in the technology world and even for disaster preparedness. What sorts of responses do you see in the realm of counter-terrorism?

Robb: If the attacks are from systems disruptions, the resilience model I develop works nicely. If it is from classic symbolic terrorism, then good old fashioned police work and special ops works fine. We just need to be smarter about the information systems we use to make this happen (i.e., build a platform that makes a diverse ecosystem possible).

Joyner: Your "Rethinking Security" chapter, which describes how society should adapt to our new environment, has a lot of high-level ideas but is not fleshed out nearly to the level of detail as the remainder of the book. Is this a function of the black swan problem? Is a sequel in the offing?

Robb: Exactly. The black swan problem defies anyone to posit that any single solution would work. It requires complex solutions that can only be constructed through an ecosystem of participants. I also think that I am not smart enough to solve everyone's problems. I can offer a philosophy of approach, but I'm not about to tell everybody in the world what to do.

I think a sequel on resilient communities would be lots of fun. There's lots of innovation in that area already. Now if we could only find a way to make it evolve more quickly.

James H. Joyner, Jr., Ph.D., a former Army officer and combat veteran of Desert Storm, writes about public policy issues at Outside the Beltway. See his review of Robb's new book for the Washington Examiner.


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33 Comments

Why not live in that cabin in the woods year round?
There are ways this can be done without losing any modern ammenities that we have all become accoustomed to without undergoing any more hardships than living in apartments in town. Either run electricity to it or install solar panels on the roof. Add WildBlue or similar for internet access. Use a spring or dig a well for water. Supplement food you bring from the grocery store with a garden & food growing wild. Hunting & fishing should supply plenty of fresh meat & the next thing you know, you're living better in the woods than you ever could in any city! Maybe visit cities but live in much more pleasant cabin in the woods.

Why Not Admit That The U.S. Foreign Policies Motivate People To Become "Terrorists"?
One man's "terrorist" is another man's "freedom fighter".
I would call the people that come here to kill civilians, "terrorists"; but that's entirely different than the local citizens fighting the brutal, murderous occupation of Iraq; they are FREEDOM FIGHTERS!!

Who can blame them for wanting to throw out the sicko U.S. Military; the military that sexually assaults their children and grandmothers??

I don't.
I support them for fighting for their freedom.

~A War Veteran

An interesting proposal
Now, just how many people in the United States can do this? How many Americans can the geography of the U.S. accommodate in such a lifestyle? Oh, not quite room enough for everyone? Are you volunteering to step over the side to make room for others?

I didn't think so.

Why not admit
that you really don't know anything about anything?

"FREEDOM FIGHTERS". If you think that freedom fighting is what's going on in Iraq you are sadly deluded. This is a religious civil war for which both sides can't wait for the U.S. to get out so they can get on with the real killing. The U.S. army is simply the inconvenient obstacle preventing them from butchering each other. Can't quite recall Rwanda, can you?

why not deal with reality?
...

Why are we attacked so rarely?
Author John Robb says "To understand this, you need to understand that classic symbolic terrorism is plagued by diminishing returns. The more you use it, the less of an effect it has."

I think not. In fact, if 9/11 had been followed by a 9/13, and a 9/15, Western Civilization would have been on the ropes, panicked and in total disarray. Certainly they knew that, or could assume that. Yet nothing further happened.

One gathers the distinct impression they just don't have the manpower with the motivation and the expertise. They are in fact a very marginal bunch of malcontents.

In fact, the people who see a benefit in our need for fresh wars need Al Qaeda as an enemy far more than Al Qaeda needs us.

The US has been trying on a much larger scale than that of the 9/11 attacks to provoke violent acts of retaliation on the part of Al Qaeda. And outside of AQ activities inside Iraq, we really haven't seen any degree of success. Within Iraq, of course, it is precisely the incessant repetition of these attacks that is so demoralizing to the general population. They gain in significance, not diminish, by repetition.

Why do you suppose that is? Are they just not interested in attacking us? Or are their interests now restricted exclusively to events in the Middle East?

I suppose that
Maybe it's because we took their homebase away from them and drove their leadership deep into caves along the Pakistani border. Maybe it's because with tools like the Patriot Act and NSA electronic surveillance, we dismantled at least five more plots for attacks within the U.S. Maybe it's because of ops like the current Arrowhead Ripper, which are decimating the ranks and officer corps of AQ in Iraq. Maybe it's because Iraq really is acting like a magnet for AQ jihadis to fight us there rather than here. With democrats in control of congress, AQ is much more likely to inflict a defeat upon the U.S., so they focus on murdering 10,000's of Iraqi civilians and fomenting civil war between Sunni and Shia to keep us there.

Maybe you shouldn't place your faith in the enemy and hope that he is merciful.

Western civilazation is suffering from their past missdeed
From biging of 15th century western civilaziion behaving just like Don Quixote,whenever they went they destroyed local civilazation, imposted their values, today they are doing same thing in Iraq, Afghnistan, this they are doing for their selfishness Be remember no one tolrat this kind of crulties long time, your gaining what you are boing.

past misdeeds rag....
How would you compare that to what the Moghuls did when they came and conquered India? But wait a minute, maybe you're a descendant of the Muhguhls, not one of their victims. Also remind us of what's going on in Ceylon, where those buddists who supposedly don't like killing things, don't mind wiping out the Tamil tigers. Also, remind us of ALL the massacres of muslims in India by hindoos.

diminishing returns
There's a lot to this from this author. I've been saying for years that there's no way for isolated terrorists to win against trained forces, at least if they have the stomach to really really fight. Now we see more and more that those crappy terrorists have no kind of life style to offer people, so less and less are drawn to them, in spite of all their madrassas and brainwashing. It's tought to try to offer 72 cherry girls in heaven, when if they weren't such losers, they could get some real girls in the real world. And even dumby kids see that, so less go in for terrorism. As a former terrorist fighter myself I can tell you that those guys really don't like to face properly trained forces, and even when they resort to stuff like bombings there are only so many. If you keep wiping them out, they eventually give up.

roy suffers another disconnect from reality
I suppose that certain actions taken since 9/11 have absolutely no impact on the terrorists ability to attack us?

No, in roy's world, the correct response to the killing of Americans is first, apologize; second, promise to never do anything that might anger the terrorists again.

In roy's world, the only reason why anyone, anywhere, ever does something nasty, is because the mean old US forced them to.

another liberal with reality disconnect disorder
In R's world, the rest of the world was peaceful, fun loving, and perfect. Then those evil westerners barged in and messed things up.

Terrorist Strategy
Agree with the initial post and with Dietmar.

The terrorist strategy is to create "newsworthy" events to make it seem to the world in general and the U.S. public in particular that they are much stronger than they are.
Hence spectacular attacks, made-for-TV demonstrations, etc. Because of the nature of the media (repeated events quickly become non-events,) that requires something "bigger and better" every time.

But AQ knows they cannot stand on the battlefield with U.S. troops. In Baquba so far, we are killing around 100 AQ for every U.S. troop killed. It would almost certainly be higher if they would come out and fight.

Read a comment on a blog the other day that the Taliban's change to suicide bombing from battle-fighting is a concession of defeat. I think that confirms Dietmar's take on this.

The dream of a poor child in your country
is to be a poor child in America.

Interesting...
that the evils of the Military/Industrial Complex figure far more in your conspiracy theory than the barbarity and fanaticism that is Islamofascism.

Sometimes you seem so rational and then you have to jump down the rabbit hole.

Quiet sock puppet!
It has already been proven that you are no "war veteran".

This is reason you have no problem calling our brave military people molesters and murderers. No wonder you use a different name to spread your unpatriotic filth and disinformation. Go back to inforwars.com where you belong.

Other than that I really enjoyed your post!

Oh yes...
Asian, Native American, and Middle Eastern countries lived in harmony with their neighbors, never imposed their views on anyone, and generally stayed within traditional borders. That is, until the evil White Man came...

I can see how one can believe that the Western world is the root of all evil in this world if that one never had a balanced education. Or if they were just an idiot.

Pick one.

Wandering off topic
I don't see anything in my original comment that merits this kind of response. I made no reference to the MIC, nor to the nonsensical term Islamofascism (Islamist extremists are not fascist by any definition), and only in passing noted that our activities in the Middle East seemed designed to provoke some sort of response from AQ. Yet we've seen none in this country since 9/11.

And demonstrably, it's so. Poke a stick into a hornet's nest and you can only be trying to elicit some response from the hornets. There's nothing political in putting my question that way.

I was wondering as to why that is. Do you have any ideas?

As usual
>"I don't see anything in my original comment that merits this kind of response."

Your post seems to elude to some kind of desire of the US to provoke Islamofascist hatred. That we, in fact, "need" a unbalanced Middle East for some shadowed purpose.

Remember that Osama's, and others, diatribes against the Great Satan goes back to the Crusades. Clearly US policy had nothing to do with that. Such a mentality has been around for centuries. The Islamofascists just have better armaments and technological know how these days.

Not to mention they have picked an enemy that refuses to admit they exist or that they are an enemy.

>"I made no reference to the MIC, nor to the nonsensical term Islamofascism (Islamist extremists are not fascist by any definition), and only in passing noted that our activities in the Middle East seemed designed to provoke some sort of response from AQ. Yet we've seen none in this country since 9/11."

I would like to know your definition of fascist.

The actions taken have indeed stirred up AQ and other Islamofascist groups but those actions are also supplying us with a wealth of understanding about who it is we are dealing with. Call Bush what you want but he has defended this country from numerous attacks and has forged ties with other countries who, while the politicians are busy denoucing him, are working with our intelligence agencies.

>"And demonstrably, it's so. Poke a stick into a hornet's nest and you can only be trying to elicit some response from the hornets. I was wondering as to why that is. Do you have any ideas?"

When I take on the hornets it is with the goal to wipe them out. Not to elicit a response. One does not play with hornets. I am surprised that such a notion escapes you.

Sun Tzu said that when your enemy is quick to irrational anger one should seek to anger them. That has been done and their actions and attempts so far have proven ineffective in striking our country. They go up against the best military in the world on their own soil.

Which do you prefer?

Could it be that they're running low on suicidal maniacs...
...with IQs in the single digits that they can convince to fly planes into skyscrapers, killing themselves along with everybody on the planes & most of those in the buildings, on the off chance that Allah will have a harem of virgins waiting for their arrival?

There are enough people that have city ties so I'm not that worried...
I don't think I'm in danger of being 'crowded out' by any sudden surge of the entire population showing up in my yard. No reason for me to volunteer to step over the side anytime soon! There's plenty of room out here for anybody wanting to escape the city to do so. I'm up here in the Ozarks & possibly have room for as many campers as would be likely to find their way out here. They'd have to bring their own tents as have more land than cabins...

THIS IS NATURE`S LAW==THOSE WHO DID MISDEED THEY MUST SUFFER
You just understand nature`slaw that is same everywhere every time, If I did care about my health in young age I to suffer in my middle age

I never say quite well rest of the world
My saying is simple those who do missdeed they must suffer. what you bio that you will get result

that's easy
Islam was a peaceloving religion until the evil US forced them to become raving maniacs.

Once the US and all Jews are properly dead, muslims will go back to being peaceloving guys again.

So you see, the problem isn't that muslims are murderous fanatics, it's that the US corrupts everything it comes near.

misdeeds by who's definition?
...

I don't see any misdeeds
just the irrational ravings of someone who has proven he doesn't know anything about the topic at hand.

why pick only one?
both is a very strong possibility

Ho hum
"Your post seems to elude to some kind of desire of the US to provoke Islamofascist hatred. That we, in fact, "need" a unbalanced Middle East for some shadowed purpose."

The US has certainly gone out of its way to interfere in the Asian theater over the past fifty years, overthrowing the democratically elected government of iran in 1953 (the act that started this whole mess), propping up Saddam in power so he can start his war with Iran (1980-88), arming and training the very people who then became Al Qaeda and the Taliban (Afghanistan, 1980s), propping up widely detested dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia and various other Islamic countries-- and most of all, absolutely insulting to all Muslims, propping up a government in Israel that has illegitimately stolen the land they live on from the Palestinian people.

Why are they doing all this? The reasons are many, and oil is only one central theme. But please don't profess innocence in the matter of the United States' unlikablility. They are there to **** people off.

Al Qaeda is not here. We are there. You need to get that very straight.

"I would like to know your definition of fascist."

Forget "my" definition. The dictionary definition is the identity of corporate goals and government power. The term has meant that since it was first coined by Benito Mussolini.

In contrast, islamofascism is an idiotic term without meaning, meant only to signify "bad" in the sense that fascist = bad. It's a stupid coinage, and there must be better ways to describe Islamist extremists. Personally, I would use "fundamentalist".

"Remember that Osama's, and others, diatribes against the Great Satan goes back to the Crusades."

Wrong. Osama's complaints against the US go back to 1991 and the Gulf War. Maybe you should read him. Osama wasn't even born at the time of the Crusades. Nor was the US.

The only thing we have in common with the crusaders of old is that we are still trying to control their lands. Maybe that's where you got your impression.

"Call Bush what you want but he has defended this country from numerous attacks..."

No again. In fact Bush has presided over the most serious attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. And he did it precisely due to his inattention to and disinterest in the very issue of Islamist terrorism, prior to 9/11. He has been an incompetent president, and has made Iraq into a focal point and training ground for a whole new generation of post-Osama terrorists.

We'll be dealing with the aftermath of his incompetence for many years to come.

Not quite so dumb
"Could it be that they're running low on suicidal maniacs..."

Absolutely. It does appear that they only had 19 of them to begin with, smart people with the dedication, skill and US-savvy to bring off 9/11. And since then, obviously, they have had none.

I don't count Richard the Shoe Bomber as being in the same league. Al Qaeda's capability to do damage within the US is apparently very over rated.

"...with IQs in the single digits that they can convince to fly planes into skyscrapers"

IQs apparently somewhat higher than those of our own FBI, who was aware of the affiliations and the whereabouts of at least two of the hijackers. And yet did nothing to stop them.

Face it. If we haven't been attacked again since 2001, it's because no one with any serious skills has been trying to nail us. Instead what we did was to invade Iraq, a place that was home to no one in Al Qaeda, and ignore Saudi Arabia, a place that was full of them.

Ho-hum indeed
You supply an excellent rehash of the evils the Americans have inflicted on the Middle East. Strange how the Middle Eastern governments share no responsibility for those events either. Apparently the US is able to force unwanted change upon them without any assistance or alliance with them. Yes. We are that good.

But this line was interesting:

>"most of all, absolutely insulting to all Muslims, propping up a government in Israel that has illegitimately stolen the land they live on from the Palestinian people."

It is now an insult to help a newly formed, UN mandated, democratic government, in which Muslims have more rights than in Muslim countries, resist being wiped out?

We have been through this before and you really reach the height of historical revisionism when you state that Israel has stolen Palestinian land. The Palestinians left on the word of Arabic leaders with the promise that they would remove those unclean Jews from Arabic land.

>"Why are they doing all this? The reasons are many, and oil is only one central theme. But please don't profess innocence in the matter of the United States' unlikablility. They are there to **** people off."

Our "likebility" is of no concern. When you have groups of people with the stated goals of death and destruction you do not wait for them to be capable of accomplishing those goals.

Strange that you accuse me of professing innocence of the hatred they feel for us since you seem to be professing your own when you claim we are merely there to **** people off. Simplistic in the extreme. As I said before, when you have a group of people whose stated list of grievances goes back to the Crusades it is hard, if not impossible, to make amends.

>"Forget "my" definition."

No problem since you completely missed the point if you believe the term merely is used as another word for "bad". Again, very simplistic.

>"The dictionary definition is the identity of corporate goals and government power. The term has meant that since it was first coined by Benito Mussolini."

Gee. Webster says:

1) a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader.
2) a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Tell me how the Islamist government of Iran and how the AQ goal of life under Sharia differs from this definition. The fact that it is religiously based does not change that it is fascist. Under their rule, all things submit to the word of Islam. Please look into the Iranian corporate structure and tell me that the government, controlled by Islam, does not control all major industries.

>"Wrong. Osama's complaints against the US go back to 1991 and the Gulf War. Maybe you should read him. Osama wasn't even born at the time of the Crusades. Nor was the US."

Have you actually read his screeds? Osama and his underlings often bring up the lost paradises of the Caliphate at the hands of the "Crusaders" and explicitly state their goal is a reformation and retaking of all Muslim lands going back to that supposed golden age.

The belief amongst his followers, whether or not Osama himself actually believes in it, is that the infidels of the West have centuries of offenses to pay for.

>"The only thing we have in common with the crusaders of old is that we are still trying to control their lands. Maybe that's where you got your impression."

As you like to say: Wrong again. I get the impression that they compare us to the Crusaders by actually listening and reading what they say. Just like they say they wish to wipe out the Jews, retake parts of Europe, and establish a world-wide Caliphate. Crazy talk? Sure. But that does not mean they won't attempt to bring such things about.

>"No again. In fact Bush has presided over the most serious attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. And he did it precisely due to his inattention to and disinterest in the very issue of Islamist terrorism, prior to 9/11."

Yep. That whole seven months in office gave him ample time to defuse Islamic terrorism that had been festering for decades.

Never mind Clinton's complete and total refusal to do anything after the Cole, the first WTC bombing, etc. I see your ideology has once again made you a tool of Democrat propaganda.

>"He has been an incompetent president, and has made Iraq into a focal point and training ground for a whole new generation of post-Osama terrorists."

Bush certainly hasn't been scoring points with me lately but the whole incompetent thing has worn thin. Going into Iraq was the right thing to do at the time and staying there until they are ready for us to leave is the right thing to do.

I am quite happy to have Iraq be the focal point where young Jihadists can go when they want to meet Allah. Our forces do an excellent job of expediting that process. I guess without Iraq there would be no reason in the Islamic world to generate new terrorists.

Perhaps if we left Iraq all that would be left to incite Islamic rage would be Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel, Danish cartoons, Rushdie's book, Kashmir, Christian schools in Indonesia, Christians in general, Jews, mouthy women who write books, the Pope's speeches citing historical references, scantily clad women, Dairy Queen logos, Rushdie's knighthood...

Well, you should get the picture but you won't.

>"We'll be dealing with the aftermath of his incompetence for many years to come."

Actually, we are dealing with Carter, the UN, Bush Sr., and Clinton's imcompetence. Bush was just brought into the Presidentcy when years of neglect came to blossom.

Bush's "fault" was with offending the UN, the Arab states, and Europe by rubbing their hypocracy and criminal activities in their faces.

Say what you will but trying to keep the US out of Iraq was more about Big Oil(!) than Bush arguing to take us in.

"Freedom Fighters"
Anybody who calls the enemy in Iraq "freedom fighters" is one sick puppy. Those bastards delight in setting off bombs in mosques and market places and have killed tens of thousands of innocent civilizations. Beatles1 is a traitor who has a swastika (or a hammer and sickle, or both - morally they are equivalent) where most Americans have a heart.

Beatles1 and his ilk should get out of this country. We have far too many America hating parasites polluting our shores.

to rag
Maybe you are suffering because your ancestors invaded India; so you pay for their sins now. But why did you just mention westerners? Are you a Dravidian, or an Aryan?

A fresh Big Oil plot
"Say what you will but trying to keep the US out of Iraq was more about Big Oil(!) than Bush arguing to take us in."

This is a new one on me. Could you explain how Big Oil has been trying to keep us out of Iraq?

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