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Hippercritical's Winds Of War: 2004-03-15

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Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by (a well-rested) Glenn Halpern of HipperCritical. TOP TOPICS * The people of Spain and the rest of the world are getting back to their feet following last week's terror attacks. The entire web is covered with messages of condolence and analysis of the attack from every angle. Winds of Change provided extensive coverage of Spain's 3-11. * The sponsors of this murderous attack remain a mystery, but theories abound, and Spanish authorities are working their way through the clues and making arrests. Perhaps the USA is to blame for all this. * In an upset, the Socialist party has declared victory over Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party in Spain's government elections. Joe Gandelman declares that it's the 'first election determined by terrorists'. * The authors of HispaLibertas were guest-bloggers on Tim Blair's site and expressed their grief, and Iberian Notes has been posting regular updates from Spain on the developing circumstances. Tread lightly though, the mood is low due to the outcome of the election. The implications are yet to be fully understood. Other Topics Today Include: Insurgents strike in Iraq; Kidnapping market thrives; Military procurement problems; Iraqi bloggers remain optimistic; Iran postpones nuclear inspections; Iranian Kurds rise up; New anthrax stockpile; NY mock terror drill; Missile defense shield to be rolled out; DARPATech conference; Counterterror efforts in Africa; The hunt for Bin Laden continues; US-Pakistan cooperation; Former British Gitmo detainees speak
IRAQ BRIEFING * Iraqi and/or foreign insurgents managed to strike at American soldiers this weekend in a string of attacks. * Juan Cole is disturbed, as should we all be, by the continuing expansion of Iraq's kidnapping market. Iraq has surpassed Colombia (and by a wide margin) as the world leader in the sad category of kidnapping per person per annum. Perhaps Iraq’s new police force will learn how to tackle this problem effectively, let’s hope this happens soon. * Phil Carter examines the causes behind the problems faced by the armed forces with procurement of body armor and other military equipment for the troops in Iraq. * Despite the difficulties, Iraqi bloggers remain optimistic about the future of Iraq. Ali, a guest blogger on Iraq the Model, offers his personal thoughts on the constantly evolving situation while Hammorabi has a vision of a future United States of Iraq. * Last week, an American soldier posted some parting words on Boots on the Ground. Kevin's time in Iraq and in the blogosphere is up. Welcome Back! * Last Wednesday, Jubilee Iraq led a peaceful demonstration outside the offices of the UN Compensation Commission, which was busy awarding more reparations for atrocities ordered by the dictator Saddam Hussein. The people of Iraq continue to pay for his crimes and they aren't happy about it. * The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. IRAN REPORTS * Iran postponed a planned visit and all future visits by the UN's nuclear inspection team. * Tensions are rising among the Kurdish population in Iran, and the government reacts with typical force. * Hossein Derakhshan has noticed a change in behavior from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameini, but it doesn't seem to affect his politics. * US soldiers killed one man and injured another in a clash on the Iraq-Iran border. The tangle may have involved Iranian border guards. * Some people are having fears that the Bush administration is going soft on the Iranian mullahs. Would there be any difference then between the policies of this administration and that of a future potential Kerry administration? U.S.A. HOMELAND SECURITY BRIEFING * The United States is planning to buy a load of experimetal anthrax vaccine (enough for twenty-five million people), and will soon have the necessary stockpile to protect America's big cities, thanks to an adjustment in the incentive structure for the pharmaceuticals. * Bombs are going off at Shea Stadium and baseball season hasn’t even begun. New York's largest terror drill ever was held at the stadium to prepare more than a thousand first-responders for an actual attack. Mets fans still have hope. (Hat Tip: Matt Drudge) * Here’s a spooky story from the twisted and murky world of American intelligence operations. The voice of a former analyst who raised concerns over Osama Bin Laden’s move to Afghanistan five years ago will likely not be heard by the 9-11 commission. We will never know what happened if those in the know are silenced. * The Bush Administration may roll out the missile defense shield this year despite concerns from the Pentagon that the system is not ready to be effective. Kevin Drum sniffs a campaign ploy. Maybe the plan was merely to bluff the enemy, but it's no help when someone's calling out your cards. Heh. * Phil Carter took a trip to the DARPATech Conference to get a feel for the latest developments in military technology. He highlights some of the success stories, including the always dangerous Phraselator, which allows troops to communicate with speakers of many different languages. * By the way, if you like military weaponry, then you’ll certainly like this new gun. Scary, it looks so much like a play toy. THE WIDER WAR * The US military is pushing forward with its counterterror efforts in Africa, and a few generals speak out on the matter. * The hunt for Bin Laden continues with Operation Mountain Storm. The Bahrain Tribune is in the neighborhood and it reports that the heat is definitely on. * Paul Wolfowitz clarifies that the Pakistani government has indeed been providing 'better cooperation' in the fight against the remnants of the Taliban and in the hunt for Bin Laden. Earlier, Mr. Wolfowitz had aired to a media outlet that cooperation with the Pakistani government 'continues to be a bit of an issue'. So now it's all cleared up, right? * Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell is shuttling to Pakistan this week to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and a host of other issues, including cooperation in the War on Terror. * Spain's 3-11 has stoked emotions around the world. Macallan posts a masterful lament about the mental paralysis which grips American society. Meanwhile, Norman Geras presents the prose of two famous Jewish writers. * British prisoners freed from Guantanamo Bay are looking forward to large bids from international media to tell their story of life in Camp X-Ray. London’s Daily Mirror nabs the first world exclusive for a cool sixty k. * A Japanese company sold nuclear technology to Libya during the 1980's, with the knowledge of the Japanese government. It's no biggie, the Japanese weren't the only ones nuking it up with a Middle Eastern dictator back then. * What is Hizbollah? A party representative in the Lebanese government projects a kindler, gentler image of the organization in an interview with Tim Cavanaugh, and I still get the chills. * Here is a review of the latest literature to take on the popping question of American empire. Does it or does it not exist? And if so, does that necessarily make it e-vil? * The fury of Islamic militarism has not spread to the Muslim population of India, at least not yet. Here's why. * There's the War against Terror, and then there's the Struggle for Freedom. The concept of democracy may have begun to take hold in the Middle East, but the concept of liberty is lagging. Can a nation truly be free without it? * In a completely different terror war, several Israelis were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the seaport city of Ashdod. Yes, it's completely different. We try to close on a lighter note if possible. Balloon Juice suggests that this image be used by the Bush campaign as the picture of a run-of-the-mill foreign terrorist in America, so as not to offend anyone. What about Mr. Nolte's feelings?? Thanks for reading! If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". If you think we missed something important, use the Comments section to let us know. MAR 15/04 TOPICS INCL: Spain recovers; Terror sponsor remains a mystery; Socialist Party victorious; Insurgents strike in Iraq; Kidnapping market thrives; Military procurement problems; Iraqi bloggers remain optimistic; Iran postpones nuclear inspections; Iranian Kurds rise up; New anthrax stockpile; NY mock terror drill; Missile defense shield to be rolled out; DARPATech conference; Counterterror efforts in Africa; The hunt for Bin Laden continues; US-Pakistan cooperation; Former British Gitmo detainees speak

2 TrackBacks

Tracked: March 15, 2004 4:47 PM
Excerpt: While I am in the midst of fending off a migraine and taking the advice of my Zen master (watch the Weather Channel), you can peruse today's required reading. Wait, first an important reminder: Let us not forget that today...
Tracked: March 15, 2004 7:07 PM
Excerpt: Obviously, liberals do not want to let it be known that their policies and beliefs have walked straight into a terrorist trap. After all, if it weren’t for the terrorist attacks in Madrid, the socialists would have gone down to defeat.

11 Comments

First an outrage, then an election. We hope that will not become a pattern in the years to come. How would we react to another outrage just before an election? We shouldn't be too hard on Spain, since the fallout from the bombings has just begun.
They should know that they (Spain) have been on the AQ hitlist for many years. The islamofascists are gunning for anyone who looks good on a wanted poster. Andalusia should be muslim--it was muslim once--maybe will be again. OBL wants Andalusia back.

The DeptState review of the Euro press was eye opening this morning. Most pulps saliently criticized the Socialists in Spain for claiming a mandate to reverse Aznar's foreign policies. What 90% of the Europeans said (left, right, middle) was that Aznar's cabinet blew the preliminary investigation and this caused a dramatic reaction in just one day. In that sense, the lesson for GWB is not to fool around with the investigations into intelligence failures and get the truth on the table.

As was pointed out, the Spanish were coming out of Spain soon anyway due to the June turnover of sovereignity.

"As was pointed out, the Spanish were coming out of Spain soon anyway due to the June turnover of sovereignity."

is this true? The CNN reports on what the Socialists were saying were saying exactly the same thing. "Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a news conference Monday that if the U.N. did not take over control of Iraq, he believed Spanish troops would come back on June 30." (From http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/03/15/spain.election/index.html )

Does this mean there is, in fact, no difference in Iraq policy between the PP and the Socialists?

>Does this mean there is, in fact, no difference
>in Iraq policy between the PP and the
>Socialists?

In a word: NO.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4522638/

"Zapatero said Monday he would probably withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from the "disaster" in Iraq and attacked U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He also indicated a swing away from Madrid's recent pro-American stance toward a "pro-European" foreign policy.

"The war has been a disaster, the occupation continues to be a disaster. It has only caused violence," Zapatero said.

"There must be consequences. There has been one already -- the election result. The second will be that the Spanish troops will come back," he said. "Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush must do some reflection and self-criticism. You can't bomb a people, you can't organize a war with lies," he told Spain's Cadena SER radio station."

From where I sit (in Paris, France), there are a number of interesting developments in the WoT that are beginning to take shape:

- I think there may have been some minimal basis for the "Aznar lied" meme that has been circulating in Europe (and now the U.S.), but it seems pretty bogus to me. The Aznar government made it clear by the end of the day of the Madrid bombings that an Islamist lead had been discovered and was competing with the ETA lead as the culprit. Nevertheless, for the folling three days, what appeared to be a somewhat fabricated hysteria regarding Aznar's supposed "lies" (in particular in the Spanish Socialist party circles and Spanish press) became a major theme.

- As of Friday and continuing throughout the weekend, the French political/press establishment picked up big time on the manufactured "Aznar lied" theme as a major issue in the Spanish elections and the cause of his downfall, rather than the somewhat more obvious (or at least equally plausible) "Al Qaeda has controlled the Spanish elections" theme. Nowhere in the French media - and I have not seen in the Spanish media either, but I don't read it as much - is there even a suggestion that Al Qaeda or Islamist terrorists have had an effect on the outcome of the Spanish elections, let alone the idea that this would be a major problem for European democracies.

- Also, the French papers this morning all went with the "Aznar lied" theme. (The front pages of LeMonde and Libération are shown at http://merdeinfrance.blogspot.com/)

- Aznar's misleading the Spanish doesn't seem much more convincing than the "Blair lied about the 45 minutes!" or Bush's-sixteen-word. Aznar also suddenly becomes the third liar in the Azores trio, which seems a bit too convenient. My impression is that it is more palatable for the Spanish/French press/political establishment to push the idea that Spain voted to punish a lying manipulating politician rather than face the reality of naked appeasement.

This is a sort of a long comment, but I wanted to tie together a couple of thoughts.

The French establishment is trying to push the idea that there is another way to combat terrorism instead of the war mongering U.S. way. That is reflected in the willful refusal to acknowledge the possibility of the Spanish vote being interpreted as appeasement (which is an awfully big elephant in the room to ignore) as well as, for example, in Jean-Marie Colombani's editorial in today's Le Monde.

Amazingly, Colombiani states that "it would be futile, absurd and cowardly to believe that any one country is more or less protected depending on the orientation of its foreign policy: France is no more sheltered than Spain or Italy. It was moreover targeted (in Karachi) just like Australia (in Bali), Morocco (Casablanca) and now Spain. The territory is one, the target is the same, as seen by Al Qaida. Our societies are easy targets. They are hit in the name of a battle 'against the crusaders and the Jews' on the basis of a supposed oppression which the countries in the Muslim community are supposedly a victim of."

Sounds like a great epiphany. Except that Colombiani doesn't draw the logical conclusions and there is not even a hint that Spanish (or French) appeasement may not be a good idea (or even exist). Instead, he proceeds with a long winded diatribe against the Bush administration based on a series of strawman arguments depicting the Bush administration as engaging in only a simple minded bomb-the-hell out them militarism. Colombiani's self-deception is really quite amazing.

Basically, the French propaganda is that the Americans are primitive warmongerers and the Spanish have now opted for another model (the French one, of course) for really fighting terrorism.

I also noticed today that Greece is asking for NATO help in assuring security during the Olympic Games this summer (as well as Victor Davis Hanson's comments on the irony of this - http://victorhanson.com/) The French establishment is trying to push the idea that there is another way to combat terrorism instead of the war mongering U.S. way. That is reflected in the willful refusal to acknowledge the possibility of the Spanish vote being interpreted as appeasement (which is an awfully big elephant in the room to ignore) as well as in Jean-Marie Colombani's editorial in today's Le Monde.

Amazingly, Colombiani states that "it would be futile, absurd and cowardly to believe that any one country is more or less protected depending on the orientation of its foreign policy: France is no more sheltered than Spain or Italy. It was moreover targeted (in Karachi) just like Australia (in Bali), Morocco (Casablanca) and now Spain. The territory is one, the target is the same, as seen by Al Qaida. Our societies are easy targets. They are hit in the name of a battle 'against the crusaders and the Jews' on the basis of a supposed oppression which the countries in the Muslim community are supposedly a victim of."

Sounds like a great epiphany. Except that Colombiani doesn't draw the logical conclusion and there is not even a hint that Spanish (or French) appeasement may not be a good example. Instead, he proceeds with a long winded diatribe against the Bush administration based on a series of strawman arguments depicting the Bush administration as engaging in only a simple minded bomb-the-hell out them militarism. Colombiani's self-deception is really quite amazing.

Basically, the French propaganda is that the Americans are primitive warmongerers and the Spanish have now opted for another model (the French one, of course) for really fighting terrorism.

I also noticed today that Greece is asking for NATO help in assuring security during the Olympic Games this summer (as well as Victor Davis Hanson's comments on the irony of this - The French establishment is trying to push the idea that there is another way to combat terrorism instead of the war mongering U.S. way. That is reflected in the willful refusal to acknowledge the possibility of the Spanish vote being interpreted as appeasement (which is an awfully big elephant in the room to ignore) as well as in Jean-Marie Colombani's editorial in today's Le Monde.

Amazingly, Colombiani states that "it would be futile, absurd and cowardly to believe that any one country is more or less protected depending on the orientation of its foreign policy: France is no more sheltered than Spain or Italy. It was moreover targeted (in Karachi) just like Australia (in Bali), Morocco (Casablanca) and now Spain. The territory is one, the target is the same, as seen by Al Qaida. Our societies are easy targets. They are hit in the name of a battle 'against the crusaders and the Jews' on the basis of a supposed oppression which the countries in the Muslim community are supposedly a victim of."

Sounds like a great epiphany. Except that Colombiani doesn't draw the logical conclusion and there is not even a hint that Spanish (or French) appeasement may not be a good example. Instead, he proceeds with a long winded diatribe against the Bush administration based on a series of strawman arguments depicting the Bush administration as engaging in only a simple minded bomb-the-hell out them militarism. Colombiani's self-deception is really quite amazing.

Basically, the French propaganda is that the Americans are primitive warmongerers and the Spanish have now opted for another model (the French one, of course) for really fighting terrorism through some undefined means that presumably doesn't include American militarism.

I also noticed today that Greece is asking for NATO help in assuring security during the Olympic Games this summer (as well as Victor Davis Hanson's comments on the irony of this - http://victorhanson.com/).

What tied all of these events together for me was hearing on French radio about an hour ago that apparently the terrorist suspects arrested in Spain are part of Zarqawi's group Ansar al Islam. Now, we know that the U.S. bombed the hell out of Ansar al Islam, that the U.S. has (militaristically) been combatting Ansar al Islam in Iraq and trying to track down Zarqawi.

What is emerging quickly as a clear pattern for me here, and one that is becoming inescapable, is, on the one hand, a bunch of free-riding Europeans appeasing terrorists while pretending not to, deflecting blame upon the U.S., and decrying U.S. militarism, and, on the other, the U.S. putting up the real force - including the bodies - to actually deal with the problem. I find this disgusting.

Oh! Sorry for the repetition.

Hate to disagree with Trent, as he generally knows of what he speaks. But the Socialists have to first form a government and the PPP may be a caretaker in the interim. The Socialists can now propose, but the current situation will determine who disposes. They also cannot just pack up and leave as, being Europeans, they have no logistical tail to get them home other than to march bodily down to Basra and board a rented cruise liner. Even that might be a little thirsty for the heirs of Pizzarro and Cortes in the late spring in Mesopotamia.

So I don't think that any Spanish Government will physically be able to pull out their troops that quickly. Diplomacy will work in concert with logistics as no Spanish government will want to gratuitously enrage Washington by 'switching sides' in the best of mercenary traditions.

The only thing we know is that Madrid's desire to support our effort in Iraq is now expended, much as Italy's desire to support Fascism was expended after the Salerno landings in 1943 or Italy's desire to support the Allies in 1917 after Caporetto. As these two examples show, allies are fine as long as they Stick. After that, they are useless mouths.

Gabriel's post is in serious need of going to the front page and off the comments section.

A fine briefing, Glenn - I'm delighted to see your recovery from surgery going well. Welcome back.

Tom, Gabriel's post does indeed deserve guest blog status.

Dennis The Menace - Gosh Golly, Gee Whiz, Mr. Wilson, I guess the COMMIES are the only "good people" we ordinary Americans can trust now, and maybe SOCIALISM and GLOBAL GOVERNMENT IS RIGHT AND GOOD FOR AMERICA! I ca't wait until I grow up so I can join the FSB or the People's Army of the USSA [Unitarian Socialist States of Amerika]!". Poor, poor ol' FORT SUMTER - its nothing short short of a miracle how much of a pounding from the Failed Left and anti-American Americans that little fort has withstood since Florida 2000, soon again to be Florida 2004, 2006, and 2008! Gotta be nice for the Left to demand and argue for GLOBAL FAIRNESS while simultaneously working to ensure that only America, and American taxpayers, pays the bulk, if not all, the bills of the future ANTI-AMERICAN AMERICAN GLOBAL WELFARE STATE - you know, the pro-Confederatist anti-Confederate INTEGRATIONIST, read SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, FEDERALIST, one Bill Clinton supports, the one that Bill again now admits "won't work" without YET ANOTHER OR SOME LAYER OF ADDITIONAL/ADD-ON INTEGRATED NEUTRAL SECULARIST BUREAUCRACY OF GOVERNMENT at the already integrated global and extra-global level!

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