July 8, 2005

ASYMMETRY WORKS FOR THE POWERFUL TOO:

Pakistan arrest offered hints, no details on planned hits (Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, July 8, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The recent arrest of an al Qaeda terrorist in Pakistan provided some clues that terrorists were planning attacks on trains and buses, but there were no specific warnings of the bombings in London yesterday, U.S. officials said.

The lack of a specific warning highlights continuing U.S. intelligence shortcomings in spying on al Qaeda and related Islamist groups, which are suspected in the attacks.

"I'm not aware of any specific intelligence that suggested this was going to take place," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters after the bombings.

Officials said the bombings likely were carried out by a "pop-up" cell of Islamic militants loyal to, and perhaps supported by, al Qaeda, delivering a stark reminder of how difficult it is to penetrate terror plots by groups that Western intelligence services have not identified.

The proper response to such actions is not a proportional one like just chasing a few terrorists around but removing the Ba'athists in Syria. A bombing against the Axis of Good should be met with a regime change in the Axis of Evil.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2005 6:57 AM
Comments

Why Syria ?

Why not Pakistan ?
Why not Saudi Arabia ?

From a moral or ethical standpoint, not a practical one.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 8, 2005 7:48 AM

Syria is more directly involved in the attempts to keep Iraq in chaos. And from a pr point of view the Baathist regime there is less liked than the (at least some attempts at reform) govts in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Not to mention all the US troops right next door.

Posted by: AWW at July 8, 2005 8:04 AM

Dropping a nuke on Riyadh and Jiddah will go a lot further to ending international terrorism than the toppling of Baby Assad and replacing him with what? Sunni extremists? Other Ba'athists? Everybody else there is dead already.

Of course, treating the WOT as an economic war and ending the West's need for gasoline would go even further.

Posted by: bart at July 8, 2005 9:18 AM

Michael:

This isn't the last bombing.

Posted by: oj at July 8, 2005 9:37 AM

Nukes? Man, I thought I was bloodthirsty. I think we can wait a little longer to go nuclear. That's just me.

Posted by: Bob at July 8, 2005 9:39 AM

So we just pick a Muslim nation at random ?

Why don't we go into France or the Netherlands and clean out their Islamic cesspools ?

Pass out some Viagra, Barry White CDs, and defective condoms while we're at it.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 8, 2005 10:11 AM

So we just pick a Muslim nation at random ?

Why don't we go into France or the Netherlands and clean out their Islamic cesspools ?

Pass out some Viagra, Barry White CDs, and defective condoms while we're at it.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 8, 2005 10:11 AM

Actually, Michael, we should be starting with Dearborn, Michigan, Alexandria, Virginia, Jersey City and Paterson, NJ, and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. But that is the subject of a different string.

The choice of Syria is as I indicate above a silly one. If we knock out the money supply of the terrorists, we go a lot further to end the terror than if we play 'whack a mole' in Middle East cesspools.

Posted by: bart at July 8, 2005 10:15 AM

Michael:

Not Muslim, evil.

Posted by: oj at July 8, 2005 11:03 AM

bart:

The death toll for the Ricks is over 45 million just in abortion.

Osama's got 3,000.

Posted by: oj at July 8, 2005 11:03 AM

The approach to the GWOT should have been to overthrow the regimes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, & Syria in quick succession. Minimal occupation of any of them. Would have taken ~12 months max. Simultaneously, Saudi princes and others who we know are funding terrorists would have been turning up dead. With their private parts in their mouths. The funding would have dried up real fast. Even doing some of step 2 combined with what we've already done with step 1 would have the problem nearly eliminated by this point.

Posted by: b at July 8, 2005 11:26 AM

Although I agree with you, bart, it would leave an estimated 200 million people in pretty dire straits.

Still, it ought to be easier to mold them to our liking if they aren't shooting at us... Much.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 8, 2005 11:28 AM

i think toppling assad would send a very useful signal throughout the region, and beyond. it might not deter tehran much, but we should be planning to knock them over too.

Posted by: cjm at July 8, 2005 2:23 PM

cjm,

I appreciate what you are saying but the problem with toppling Assad is the cleaning up afterwards as we are finding in Iraq. It's not a childish complaint like 'What's the exit strategy?' or 'We need to tell the American people we'll be out by a date certain.' but more of once we eliminate the existing power structure, which more than merits elimination, what do we replace it with. We left Afghanistan to its own devices and of the six main factions vying to run the place, the worst guys won and turned the place into a terrorist training base. A repeat of the same dynamic, and there are people in Syria who make Baby Assad look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, could have the same result.

Posted by: bart at July 8, 2005 3:02 PM

bart: good point. it seems like that with iran, there is a chance that knocking the current regime out of power will not lead to the aforementioned chaos, they might be able to get a democratic govt going there.

Posted by: cjm at July 8, 2005 3:11 PM

The tech who just repaired our clothes dryer says that good venting is essential to longevity.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 8, 2005 5:32 PM

cjm,

Agreed wholeheartedly. Iran, unlike any Arab state, has a culture separate and apart from Islam. A visit to any halfway decent exhibit on Iranian art and music will show you that.

The problem in Iran is wiping out the Islamic Republic without undermining the nationalist impulse. Iranians are extremely patriotic and we should give their natural impulse to 'rally round the flag' due consideration before undertaking any action.

Posted by: bart at July 8, 2005 8:13 PM
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