July 23, 2007


Brown Won't Rule Out Action Vs. Iran (AP, 7/23/07)

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that tougher sanctions are likely against Iran over its contested nuclear program and declined to reject outright the prospect of future military action.

Not only was it always silly to imagine that Britain and America would be chastened by the Iraq experience, but it's foolhardy to imagine that leaders new to power won't be eager to use it. A President Hillary Clinton would be no less likely to attack Iran than a President Cheney, likely more so.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 23, 2007 10:17 AM

Well, we had a President Cheney for a couple of hours over the weekend. Four words: "missed window of opportunity."

Posted by: Rick T. at July 23, 2007 12:49 PM

Net effect of nothing? Why that's like a dog that didn't bark.

i.e. Why no more 9-11's since that day? The enemy had been organizing for years and has sponsors worth billions, and Lord knows they hate enough. And it's not like civilian targets can all be protected.

Most likely, the state sponsors have called off their dogs for now because they see US troops on their borders and they remember ol' spidie-hole Saddam and all that.

Almost anyone could cause more damage in the US than AQ has wreaked since then. Somebody's put the bad guys back on the leash.

Or do you have an alternate rationale for the lack of subsequent 9-11's? Don't just gloss over or dismiss the q, either: millions of lives hinge on the answer.

Posted by: ras at July 23, 2007 6:36 PM

9-11 was just luck and one unusually effective terrorist--Mohammed Atta. It's more surprising that one worked than that others haven't.

Posted by: oj at July 23, 2007 10:20 PM

Even the most casual consideration of your arg would undo it, oj. One needs no particular skill, for ex, to drive a semi into a bus, derail a paqssenger train, sell poisoned drinks, bomb a shopping mall, or whatever.

Try again, and this time be serious, please.

Posted by: ras at July 23, 2007 11:32 PM

Yes, those things are easy enough for even idiot natives like an Eric Rudolph or a Tim McVeigh.

But they're deuced hard for foreigners.

Nor do they generally have overmuch effect when "successful." The British bombings have, for example, been trivial in terms of damage and political effect.

There just isn't much threat.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2007 7:51 AM

Perhaps we've actually taken potential threats off the streets and sent them to secret prisons in Bulgaria where they are interrogated by experts who then supply us with intel that we use to get more of them off the streets.

At least, I hope that is the case.

Posted by: erp at July 24, 2007 8:35 AM

ras: what exactly do you mean, "Somebody's put the bad guys back on the leash."?

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 24, 2007 9:46 AM


ras: what exactly do you mean, "Somebody's put the bad guys back on the leash."?

I mean that I do not see terrorist groups as the complete freelancers that the media makes them out to be. I think they're more akin to privateers; they need the sponsorship of a state (even moreso than the privateers ever did).

And the main sponsoring states - Iran and S.Arabia - see US troops on their borders and have sent out word to hold off on directly attacking the US for now.

AQ, for ex, was always described as "decentralized" when in fact their command and control was as top-down as any org I've everseen or heard of. In such a top-down model - heck, cell members don't even know who all their other cell members even are; now that's centralization - then the command at the top is key.

And I sure don't buy oj's Alfred E. Newman imitation. These guys are real, so who's holding them back and why?

Posted by: ras at July 24, 2007 1:32 PM


That's not what I thought you were alluding to, so I'm glad you took the time to explain.

I've also no doubt that you may be at least partially right, when it comes to Saudi Arabia--or, perhaps more precisely, certain elements within the extended family-business-and-mob-family-cum-kleptocracy known as the House of Saud.

I'm not sure that's all of it, though. I suspect that we're killing a lot of bad guys, squeezing others for information, and gently persuading more than a few to come over to the light side and burn their former comrades.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 24, 2007 3:31 PM

Law enforcement, personal motivation, and ability are the main deterrents.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2007 6:12 PM