Isolating Iran

January 31, 2006

The US State Department has been blocking a Congressional bill that aims to isolate Iran – like the Brit Foreign Office, State prefers words to deeds. Now words have abjectly failed, it’s time for Congress to pass the Iran Freedom Support Act, and I hope the President recommends that tonight.

… the Iran Freedom Support Act, has been languishing for more than a year in the House and about a year in the Senate. It is described as a comprehensive bill designed to end the tyranny of the mullahs and the international security threat they pose by supporting the Iranian people in their quest for freedom. Among its many provisions, the bill would toughen sanctions against the Iranian regime, would provide “financial and political” assistance to civil society organizations, and would help fund the broadcast of free television and radio into Iran – reminiscent of the strategy employed by America in bringing down the Iron Curtain.

The legislation would also make it America’s official Iran policy “to support efforts by the people of Iran to exercise self-determination over the form of government in their country,” and “to actively support a national referendum in Iran with oversight by the international observers and monitors to certify the integrity and fairness of the referendum.”

In addition to providing “financial and political assistance” to pro-democracy groups, the Freedom Act also officially recognizes that Iran is a “repressive” terrorist state, and stipulates: “Representatives of the Government of Iran should be denied access to all United States Government buildings.” The Freedom Act would create a new position, to be filled by presidential appointment, responsible for assisting the president by coordinating among federal agencies with oversight of Iran policy. The bill also calls for increased American scrutiny of interactions between Iran, Russia, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, and the nuclear-arms network of a Pakistani physicist, A.Q. Khan.

The House version…now has 333 cosponsors – almost 77% of the House. The Senate companion bill…has 42 bipartisan co-sponsors, or almost half the Senate.

Time for the president to kick State off the pot and get the bill passed.


The Isolationist Myth

January 30, 2006

Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch thinks we should pull out of Iraq and stay home, spending our money on nuclear power plants. That’s a false choice, based on bad data.

(Note: the Blogspot editor is broken, so the clips aren’t italicized).
UPDATE 1/31, problem is fixed and now italics are back & I’ve tidied up the post.

The contributors to Jihad Watch, including Fitzgerald, do a good job tracking the Jihadists – I’ll add the site to my blogroll when I next upgrade it. But – perhaps out of disillusionment at the Palestinian elections – Fitzgerald now recommends the isolationist plan – cut and run. Here are his false facts.

Myth 1: The US Army In Iraq Is Broken

We have a citizen-army that is rapidly degrading in size and quality, given that few people are being recruited. We have Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles, helicopters, planes — all of them overworked, and degraded prematurely in the desert of the Land of the Two Rivers, Iraq.

Actually war improves armies – as our parents and grandparents found in Vietnam, Korea & WW2, combat weeds out weak people, equipment and tactics.

The claim that few people are being recruited is lefty spin, here are the facts (as opposed to comment) from the Boston Globe:

U.S. Army leaders on Monday said there was no crisis in recruitment despite figures showing a big shortfall in new soldiers in the latest fiscal year, partly caused by concerns over the war in Iraq. In the fiscal year that ended on…(Sept 30, 2005) the Army ended just under 7,000 recruits short of its annual goal of 80,000 recruits.

(The Army Secretary said) “Over the last 10 years the average recruiting number is about 74,200. Our final numbers are about 73,200 to 73,300, so we’re about 1,000, or one percent, off our average recruits for the last 10 years…”

Gen. Richard Cody, the Army’s No. 2 general, noted that while recruiting new soldiers remained a challenge, the Army was more successful at convincing current soldiers to stay on, with reenlistment topping the Army’s annual goal by 8 percent.

“Degradation in the desert sand” is fantasy – the Brits won a 3 year desert war against the Germans in WW2 – over 50 years ago – by successfully “desertizing” men, tanks, guns and airplanes. All machines have a hard time in the desert, but they’re now designed for that, and the US has fielded some spectacularly successful new equipment, for example the Stryker with its anti-RPG slatting.

The fighting men aren’t being degraded either – less soldiers are being killed and injured:

In 2004, American troops suffered 8,837 casualties in Iraq (ten percent fatal). In 2005, casualties declined by 23 percent, to 6,785 (12 percent fatal). That didn’t make the news because the number of American dead remained about the same.

Myth 2: The US Can Either Fight Or Invest. Not Both

We have a certain amount of money to spend. The money spent in Iraq might instead be spent on an energy program to deprive the Saudis and Ahmadinejad and others of the wherewithal that is critical to the Jihad — are you quite sure that the $300 billion spent in Iraq would not have been better spent on solar and wind projects, and on nuclear reactors

Actually, the US can fight multiple wars while building those nuclear power plants – Iraq is a small and inexpensive war – here’s the data from Jerry Bowyer of NRO, hat tip Mark In Mexico:

Myth 3: Iraq Is Just About WMD

Would we have invaded Iraq)…if we knew three years ago what we know now about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs?

All we actually know is that we haven’t found WMD, and since Saddam had 12 months to hide them and two terror states to hide them in, that’s not surprising.

But what if it was all a ruse and he never had any WMD? Does that justify withdrawal? Surely that depends on the consequences – an army that withdraws in the face of the enemy is technically termed “defeated”, and its opponents “victorious”.

Victory energizes the victor and demoralizes the defeated – that’s why the once-formidable Germans and Japanese are now so well behaved. The US took 20 years to recover from its defeat in Vietnam, can it afford to give the Jihadists 20 years of victory? I don’t think so.

Myth 4: Democracy Is Too Difficult For Muslims

That enemy is not “poverty” and it is not the absence of democracy. We have “democracy” in Iran and look who won; we have “democracy” in the Palestinian Authority and look who just won. Real “democracy” in Lebanon would be fatal to the Maronites. Real “democracy” in Syria would bring down the Alawites and replace them with “real” Muslims.

As Churchill observed, democracy is the least bad form of governance. That why the US founders took over 10 years to figure out all checks and balances to minimize factionalism and the tyranny of the majority. And even under the US Constitution, most of the current opposition party is working for defeat in Iraq.

Iranians voted for just 6 candidates after 1,000 were excluded – that’s not democracy. The Palestinians voted in a bunch of terrorists because their constitution doesn’t stop terrorists standing. That was foolish, and may cost them support, but it’s no different to the Northern Irish nationalists electing terrorists. They got what they wanted, and will now have to live with the consequences.

I wouldn’t guess on what will happen in the Lebanon, Syria, and for that matter Iraq. At least Iraq has a well designed constitution, which is why the pols for the 3 different groups are squabbling about who does what. Of course like most parts of the world outside the Anglosphere it’s low trust and corrupt. But so are Greece and Italy, are they so bad?

Myth 5: Passivity Is A Winning Strategy

The venture in Iraq at this point can only be turned to Infidel advantage if, in the spirit of divide-and-conguer, the Americans leave, and let the natural fissures widen – naturally.

If the Americans had used that logic in 1945, I’d be writing this in Russian – if at all. Divide and rule – the policy followed by the Brits until WW1 – requires focused action, like Iraq, not inaction.

Myth 6: We Can Defeat Jihad Wihout Fighting It

Jihad is worldwide, and is central, not tangential, to Islam. This does not require “boots on the ground” here and there and everywhere. Not at all. It requires diminishing Muslim oil revenues. It requires mass education of Infidels, including persistent mockery of the press for not dealing truthfully with the tenets of Islam. Infidels should be moving heaven and earth to split, demoralize, constrain, and tie up the forces of that Jihad. Iraq is the perfect place to do it — and in that case, without even lifting a finger. In fact, by simply putting that finger down altogether, and leaving.

Building nuke plants is highly desirable and can be done without a cent of government money – just less regulation. It won’t diminish Muslim oil revenues much since China and India will take up the slack, but it will reduce US exposure to blackmail.

Encouraging civil wars is daft – they just lead to piles of dead innocents and a single victor – in this case probably Iran.

Of course our societies must constrain Islam immigrants to respect our values, but that gets harder if we run from battle, not easier. Conversely, if they fear us in their homelands, it’s more likely that immigrants from those lands will respect our laws.

So, in spite of the cost, we have no alternative but to fight our enemies.

Countering Iranian Mini-Nukes

January 29, 2006

There’s no doubt that Iran is building nukes, but we don’t know what type. A report today suggests (to me) that they may plan bombs that can be detonated by Palestinian suicide bombers inside Israel. Israel should quickly block this option by promising Iran with massive retaliation if any nuke explodes in its vicinity.

The drab compound that houses the Iranian embassy in Pyongyang is the focus of intense scrutiny by diplomats and intelligence services who believe that North Korea is negotiating to sell the Iranians plutonium from its newly enlarged stockpile — a sale that would hand Tehran a rapid route to the atomic bomb.

The Americans were aghast to learn last year that while engaging in disarmament talks, North Korea had made enough plutonium to amass a stockpile of about 43 kilograms, perhaps as much as 53kg

…Plutonium is the element used to fuel the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945. Between 7kg and 9kg are needed for a weapon.

Actually, this suggests (page 55, hardcover) that a full implosion bomb can be made with under 1 kg (2 pounds) of Plutonium, and is about six inches in diameter. The yield isn’t stated, but I’m guessing it’s around a kiloton. That’s too small to bust a city, but it would make a mess of a nightclub full of kids, or targets like this, hat tip American Future:

On the West Bank, a Palestinian university in Nablus has been putting on an exhibition celebrating the Palestinian suicide bombing of a family pizza restaurant in Israel. The exhibition consisted of a replica of the Sbarro’s restaurant complete with Hebrew inscriptions. Inside the exhibit, replicas of human body parts and pizza slices were strewn. Pictures published on the Internet showed Palestinians waiting in line to see the exhibit.

Conventional wisdom is that the Mullahs wont dare hit Israel, and will just use their weapons to control the oil in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and to scare the Europeans into subservience.

I’m sure they’ll do that, but it’s worth looking carefully at what they’ve said about Israel – just because they’re nutters don’t mean they don’t have a plan. Here’s Alazeera quoting Iran’s president:

“The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the president told a conference in Tehran on Wednesday, entitled The World without Zionism. “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said. “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.

He’s not saying that Iran will do the wiping, just that it will happen as part of the Palestinian war on Israel.

So they might provide small nuclear weapons to the Palestinians, and when the weapons detonate squeal as loudly as possible “it wasn’t us!”. If they arranged to be surrounded by lots of Euro diplomats in Tehran when the hit was made, that might delay Israeli retaliation, giving the Euros time to apply maximum pressure on Israel to give peace a chance, etc.

Israel should block this with a public statement that any nuclear weapon detonating on or near Israeli territory will trigger massive and immediate retaliation against Iran.

Double Post

January 28, 2006

My apologies to readers who got two not-quite-identical posts. The Blogspot editor is misbehaving – I’ll use something else form now on, so won’t happen again.

Defend The British Army Against Blair

January 28, 2006

The Brits are deploying 6,000 troops to clean al Qa’eda out of the Afghan badlands – that’s excellent news. Sadly, a senior officer has had to promise the troops that he’ll do his best to stop Blair’s government prosecuting them as war criminals. The army needs our help.

Paras to have Army’s full backing over any Afghan prosecutions

The commanding officer of the paratroopers being sent to Afghanistan said yesterday that Army chiefs would give him their “full support” over any incident in which his soldiers might be prosecuted.

Following a raft of prosecutions of troops in Iraq, Lt Col Stuart Tootal, the CO of 3 Bn, The Parachute Regiment, said it had been made clear that if his men found themselves having to open fire but “made an honest mistake” they would be fully backed.

The regiment has already experienced the Army’s prosecution system after seven members were cleared of murdering an Iraqi following a court martial last year in which the judge heavily criticised military investigators.

The Paras are keen that the “rules of engagement” for Afghanistan will be robust enough that soldiers will not have to hesitate before getting involved in potentially lethal fire fights.

Can you imagine the Para commander needing to give such reassurance before this battle?

…during Operation Overlord on D-Day (June 6 1944)…the task of the airborne forces was to secure the flanks of the landing beaches in Normandy Including)…operations designed to take the specific hardened targets notably the guns of the Merville gun battery. Buried under 12ft-thick concrete, the four 105 mm guns, just miles from the beaches of Sword, Juno and Gold, had the capability to engage warships out at sea and sink landing craft heading for the beaches. The task of putting them out of action fell to the 9th Parachute Brigade which they succeeded in doing for 36 hours by killing all but a handful of the gunners.

Lt Col Tootal is doing the best he can to lead a fighting force, but it won’t work because the shots on army prosecutions are called by politicians – not just in Iraq but in the war against the IRA (my emphasis):

…hundreds of British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles face the prospect of extensive investigations – and possible prosecutions – for their involvement in past operations in which terrorists were killed.

On the evidence so far, the Government intends to give better treatment to terrorists than to its soldiers. The IRA members who murdered 11 people at a Remembrance Sunday service in Enniskillen in 1987, for example, would be effectively pardoned without ever having to attend a court.

No such warm assurances have been extended, however, to the SAS men who took part in the controversial ambush of an eight-strong IRA unit at Loughgall that same year. The IRA men had blasted a hole in the wall of a small police station – and were about to enter the ravaged station to gun down any survivors – when they themselves were ambushed and killed by the SAS.

Although the SAS action was sanctioned at ministerial level, senior Ministry of Defence officials now believe that the soldiers involved could face prosecution under the terms of the Historic Review.

The IRA objected to being pardoned, so Blair has dropped that plan. But – no doubt at the IRA’s request – he’s forging ahead with his persecution of Brit veterans.

The Army can – and must – endure until the Brits elect a decent government. Meantime, we should support our troops in the same way Americans support theirs – I’ll research this and post suggestions.

China Overtakes UK!

January 27, 2006

The Chinese economy only just passed that of the UK and has a long way to go before it approaches the US. Their growth is very fragile, and they’re most likely to implode as one or more of their systemic weaknesses bites them.

The news comes via the New Economist:

China’s economy grew 9.9 percent in 2005, probably overtaking the U.K. as the world’s fourth largest, powered by record exports and investment in manufacturing. Gross domestic product rose to 18.2 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) after expanding 10.1 percent in 2004…

The economy grew 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier after expanding a revised 9.8 percent in the previous three months, the NBS said today. Economists forecast growth of 9.5 percent in the quarter and 9.8 percent for the full year, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

…The U.K. economy was worth $2.14 trillion in 2004, according to the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has forecast 1.7 percent growth for the country in 2005. The U.S. economy, which measured $11.7 trillion in 2004, is the world’s largest.

China’s problem is that most if its technology is stolen, and the rest is imported. It’s also a very corrupt Fear State and these don’t prosper. Plus, it depends on the US buying its exports – if the US buys elsewhere, devalues the $, or forces a big revaluation of the Chinese yuan, they’ll hit the wall. Finally, they’re tooling up for a war with Taiwan, which – even if they win – will leave them severely trashed.

I wouldn’t put money into China.

Carter Shows The Way

January 27, 2006

Jimmy Carter continues to be an invaluable aid to moral clarity – what he says is right is actually wrong, and vice-versa. So funding Hamas by the back door, as he suggests, is plain wrong and the US should cut all direct and indirect funding of Palestinians (my emphasis).

Former President Carter said the United States, by law, would have to cut off direct funding to the Palestinian Authority as soon as Hamas takes control, but it should look for other ways to give money to the Palestinians, such as through the United Nations. Hamas has been branded a terrorist group by the U.S. and Europe.

“United States law would require that the money would be cut off if Hamas is in the government, so that’s a foregone conclusion,” Carter told The Associated Press.

Carter said the United States should increase its donations to U.N. and other aid groups earmarked for the Palestinians to make up for the cut in direct aid “so that the people can still continue to have food and shelter and health care and education.”

He’s saying that a nation that’s elected a government of100% certified terrorists should be funded by the US in a manner that circumvents US law. Because any money we give a terror state simply frees funds for it to spend on killing. And that assumes that earmarking works in a terror state – it doesn’t because the money provided for “food and shelter and health care and education” is simply taken by men with guns. If Carter doesn’t realize this, he’s a fool – and if he does, he’s a knave.

Here’s the record of the people he wants the US to finance:

Hamas has set the destruction of Israel as its goal. Between September 2000 and April 2004, Hamas perpetrated 425 terrorist attacks against Israel and murdered 377 Israelis – nine every month.

377 dead out 6 million Israelis are equivalent to 18,850 dead Americans, that’s six 9/11s at the rate of about two every year.