Update about the killings in Texas, perhaps another crack in an Army near the breaking point (second post)

As the news flows in, the Texas incident might be another example of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” (SJS), a term coined by Daniel Pipes.  This is the second (or 3rd) publicly-known such incident in the US military.  Is this another crack in the structure of the US military, as predicted by the Decline of the State theory?

Contents

  1. Definition and examples of SJS
  2. Previous incidents in the US military
  3. Significance of SJS
  4. For more information and an Afterword

(1)  Definition and examples of SJS

From Conservapedia (information has not been verified, go to their site for links):

Sudden Jihad Syndrome is a term coined by Daniel Pipes to describe Muslims that suddenly or unexpectedly turn against civilized, Western society and engage in acts of terror. Pipes has argued that due to this phenomenon all Muslims must be considered potential terrorists.

Examples include:

  • John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo, the so-called Washington snipers. John Allen Muhammad was a Muslim convert, but some people allege that his motivations may not have been religious.
  • Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian school teacher who engaged in a shooting rampage on top of the Empire State Building. He killed one and wounded six before taking his own life.
  • Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, an American Muslim born in Tehran who ran over students at the University of North Carolina to punish the United States. Taheri-azar was the first terrorist to be explicitly called an example of Sudden Jihad Syndrome by Daniel Pipes.
  • Mujtaba Rabbani Jabbar who shot up a movie theater in Baltimore. Rashid Baz, a Lebanese can driver living in New York City who shot at a van full of Orthodox Jews. [8]. In a burst of political correctness, the FBI initially refused to label this act a terrorist act.
  • Sulejman Talovic, a Bosnian Muslim, opened fire in a Salt Lake City mall, killing 5 people before being shot dead by police.

In another example of Bias in Wikipedia, Wikipedia has refused to allow any article on this topic and even refused to let an editor work on a draft for a rewrite of the article.

(2)  Previous incidents in the US military

[Hasan Akbar and] Murder in the 101st Airborne“, Daniel Pipes, New York Post, 25 March 2003 — Excerpt (red emphasis added):

“How did the enemy get into our camp?”

That’s what Bart Womack, a command sergeant major of the elite 101st Airborne Division, asked himself as a grenade rolled past him after 1 a.m. on Sunday at an American camp in Kuwait.

The attacker worked methodically, destroying an electricity generator, throwing grenades into Womack’s tent and the two other command tents, then shooting tents. One soldier died and 15 sustained injuries.

The enemy in this case appears to be not what one might expect – an Iraqi soldier or a Kuwaiti Islamist. The only suspect in custody is Hasan Karim Akbar, 31, a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division.

If Akbar were responsible for the rampage, what might be his motivation? First reports suggest that, as a devout African-American convert to Islam, he identifies with the Iraqi enemy against his fellow soldiers.

The Los Angeles Times quotes him stating, after he was apprehended, “You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.”  NBC found that he “was opposed to the killing of Muslims and opposed to the war in Iraq.” Reuters quotes one source saying, “He’s a Muslim, and it seems he was just against the war,” while another told the news agency that the violence was “politically motivated.”

… Second, the Akbar incident points to the suspect allegiance of some Muslims in government. The case of Gamal Abdel-Hafiz recently surfaced: an FBI agent whose colleagues say he twice refused to record conversations with suspected financiers of militant Islamic terrorism (“A Muslim does not record another Muslim”).  [The Seattle Times reports 3 witnesses recalling that John Allen Muhammad, the man accused of the Washington, D.C.-area sniper murders last fall, had thrown a grenade into a tent during the 1991 war against Iraq.] Other cases are under investigation.

(3)  Significance of SJS

A central element in the theory of 4th generation war is the decline of the state, as originally conceived by Martin van Creveld — and developed by many others (e.g., John Robb).  This forecasts that the loyalty to the State will fade over time, replaced by loyalty to entities larger (e.g., Islam) or smaller (ethnic groups, clans, gangs). If true, we will see increasing number of incidents like this, as well as increased criminality (e.g., increased number of gang members in the military, see here for links)

This splintering of loyalties would create mistrust within the military, weakening the cohesion which is the foundation of its power.

While too early to evaluate the significance of this phenomenon, it clearly is example of rising individual violence in the military, another crack in an Army near the breaking point.  See the FM reference page of that name for links to information about these problems — and what DoD is doing about them.

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

39 thoughts on “Update about the killings in Texas, perhaps another crack in an Army near the breaking point (second post)

  1. As for the 4th generation of war, my two cents is that the polyglot state will fracture and reconstitute itself along ethnic lines. Similar to what happened in the former Yugoslavia. In some places it may be a peaceful like what occurred in the former Czechoslovakia or in others ethnic cleansing or worse. Militant Islam is incompatible with any non Islamic state by it’s own terms. When it reaches a certain level(each state will have it’s own unique level of tolerance before the tipping point) in the host non Islamic state either it will triumph (no doubt in some) or be violently rejected in others.

    As for the Army being near the breaking point, that remains to be seen. Of course it would help if the mission was more clearly defined and the rules of engagement relaxed so the Armed Forces can do what they traditionally are meant to do; kill people and smash things to the point the enemy concludes surrender is preferable to fighting. Since we no longer fight this way, it may be difficult to ever win a war again.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: That method has been tried by foreign armies and constently failed to defeat insurgencies since WWII. (local governments usually defeat insurgents, unless so weak that they must rely on foreign combat troops). From Chapter 6.2 in Martin van Creveld’s “Changing Face of War” (2006):

    What is known, though, is that attempts by post-1945 armed forces to suppress guerrillas and terrorists have constituted a long, almost unbroken record of failure … {W}hat changed was the fact that, whereas previously it had been the main Western powers that failed, now the list included other countries as well. Portugal’s explusion from Africa in 1975 was followed by the failure of the South Africans in Namibia, the Ethiopians in Ertrea, the Indians in Sri Lanka, the Americans in Somalia, and the Israelis in Lebanon. … Even in Denmark {during WWII}, “the model protectorate”, resistance increased as time went on.

    Many of these nations used force up to the level of genocide in their failed attempts to defeat local insurgencies. Despite that, foreign forces have an almost uniform record of defeat. Such as the French-Algerian War, which the French waged until their government collapsed.

    This is hidden history because we will not see it, to our sorrow.

  2. “kill people and smash things to the point the enemy concludes surrender is preferable to fighting.”

    There are many names for people who fight like that. One of those names is “loser.” Go to the dojo, get yourself a punching bag, or some clay targets :P

  3. From the Conservapedia link: Sudden Jihad Syndrome is a term coined by Daniel Pipes to describe Muslims that suddenly or unexpectedly turn against civilized, Western society and engage in acts of terror. [1]. Pipes has argued that due to this phenomenon all Muslims must be considered potential terrorists.

    This idea of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” strikes me as being a personalized version of the attitude that middle easterners are inherently irrational. (Example, Fabius Maximus, “Update: War Watch – Iran, comment #21” & ensuing discussion) If Iran’s irrational, you can’t deter it with MAD. If muslims are inherently irrational, then they must be constantly surveilled and suspected.

    Surprisingly, given his focus on Muslim terrorism, Daniel Pipes believes that the US need to work with the Mujahedin-e Khalq on Iran, and revoke its status as a ‘terrorist organization’: (“Unleash the Iranian Opposition, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq“, Daniel Pipes, The NY Sun, July 10, 2007). Note how positively Pipes describes an organization which, according to GlobalSecurity.org, has steadily carried out attacks in Iran since the late 1970s, with deaths that have included civilians (“Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization“, GlobalSecurity.org, under ‘para-military groups’).

    Daniel Pipes’ father, Harvard Professor Richard Pipes*, chaired the “Team B Strategic Objectives Panel“, (from RightWeb), “The Team B experiment was concocted by conservative Cold Warriors determined to bury détente and the SALT [Strategic Arms Limitation Talks] process.” This group existed to put forward exaggerated analyses of the USSR’s weapons programs and strategies, hoping to end detente between the USA and USSR. So it would not be the first time that the Pipes had used a non-reality-based point of view to attempt to sharpen differences between the US and its opponents du jour.

    *Richard Pipes profile at RightWeb.

  4. Sudden Jihad Syndrome is of course just plain old fashioned racism not even very well disguised.

    When the British or French occupied a colony there was always a group who went native,
    who formed an appreciation of local culture, learnt the language, married a local and formed the core of the colonial administration.

    Americans don’t do this, instead the occupation is run by people who do everything they can to separate themselves from the locals. I’ve seen servicemen who have been in country for a decade that’s still carry no local currency and have never purchased a single item from a local. The simplest of all interactions.

    The joke about coin is that even if the theory worked (which it doesn’t) and there were enough resources (which there aren’t) and the enemy did nothing (which it won’t) then the insular and xenophobic nature of American culture means that there is nobody to run the colony.

    One only has to look at Falluja that welcomed liberation from Saddam with open arms, and celebrations – and had to be evacuated and raised to the ground 2 years later once the locals had got to know the occupiers.

  5. For my first post on this website, I’ll simply note that for someone supposedly dedicated to reason and skepticism, for FM to apply this highly questionable notion of SJS (actually, speaking as an Arabic speaking former Special Forces officer with some concrete experience with the Islamic world, it’s horsedung–note the sourced, as athethist points out) to this incident, even heuristically, or even to place it into the context of the decline of the state and disintegration of the Army under a declining state, when we know virtually nothing about this Major Hasan or his motives, is simply an act of intellectual hubris. For all we know, this guy might simply have gone whacko. It’s not as if that hasn’t happened in the Army either.

    I have no doubt CID and the FBI have the investigation of this event well in hand. I suggest rather than cosmically inspired speculation in the absence of facts, we allow the authorities to determine what the facts actually are.
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    FM reply: Thanks for the comment. As you note, we’ll learn more over time.

    “cosmically inspired speculation”

    IMO to say “the Texas incident might be another example” is hardly “cosmically inspired speculation.”

  6. “we allow the authorities to determine what the facts actually are”

    And you trust them to do this effectively and communicate the results to you accurately on what basis?

  7. Of course, this is what Islam is all about. If the infidel will not submit you must kill him. Outsiders to the religion fail to understand how close to the heart these fundamental admonitions are to devout muslims.

    Your racist commentary implying a low intelligence among Islamic peoples reflects badly on yourself and your commenting readers. Shame.

  8. The only reason this SJS thing is controversial is because it names the phenomena, and the phenomena just happens to underpin a conventional (right wing) suspicion about the motivations of our ME policy in general. For the military this represents a conundrum because right wing propaganda will use the event as an prima-facie example of all bad things represented by Islam and why they cannot be trusted. For policy makers and the military, this is the worst nightmare because it will (politically) compel them to adopt a public response as a “security measure” that will have the net effect of confirming the narrative that we are indeed in a war against Islam both at home and abroad – while at the same time, eroding the official policy posture of exporting liberal values.

    I don’t find events like this remarkable at all, in fact what is remarkable is that it happens so infrequently. In many ways, the USA is predicated on the notion that nationalism, or at least national identity, can replace the void of ethnic/cultural (and to a lesser degree, religious) identities “we immigrants” supposedly left behind in “our” countries of origin. And when we see ourselves reverting back to original identities, the pastiche that is America is under serious threat.

  9. This idea of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” strikes me as being a personalized version of the attitude that middle easterners are inherently irrational.

    Well, it’s psycho-babble, of course. The need for such “explanations” arises out of the fact that our irreligious culture cannot understand why someone would want to kill for religious reasons. We consider ourselves “modern”—and translates to “rational” and “scientific”. We are tolerant of all religions because we do not particularly care about any of them. To most Westerners, strapping on an explosive belt and blowing up a bunch of people seems crazy. Just so, a U.S. Army major who guns down a bunch of our own soldiers must have somehow slipped over the line into insanity.

    In a sense, this is true: a very loose definition of “crazy” is “behavior we don’t understand”. A lot of people use the word in that sense. There isn’t anything scientific about this use, of course—it just means that we don’t understand; we can’t sympathize, we can’t put ourselves into their shoes.
    I’ve found that my own Christian faith and my knowledge of Church history helps me understand such actions better than might an agnostic or a member of the politically correct left. A mere 2 or 3 centuries ago, Christians were killing each other over what we today regard as very fine points of theology that can really only be understood by scholars of the most abstruse Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysics. Calvin and Zwingli fought a war over a point concerning transubstantiation of the Host that I don’t recall, and probably never understood. Compared to that, flying a couple of jetliners into the Twin Towers seems quite rational.
    The failure of our leaders and our intellectual “elites” to understand how religious faith can direct action, their refusal to see any patterns that could help us to prevent such actions, guarantees that they will happen over and over again.
    This major is alleged to have made public statements doubting the justice of our cause in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was known to be a Moslem. He even asked for a discharge. Why was nothing done about this? The answer is that addressing this question directly would threaten our central assumptions about the world and about ourselves: that assumption that everyone is basically rational—in the sense that they think and act just as we do—and that we must not only act with universal tolerance for every sort of religion, but that we can expect this tolerance to be reciprocated.
    What could have been done to prevent this tragedy? It’s very simple, actually. We should have long ago approached every Moslem in the U.S. armed forces, and asked them a simple question: “Is fighting fellow Moslems a moral problem for you?” If the answer is “yes”, then we give them an honorable discharge and Conscientious Objector status.

  10. Discussed this with a military friend. Says the military is very anti-gun. On a base all the guns are locked up. Only taken out under guard to march to a gun range, and some bases don’t have gun ranges. Often zero military police which are often contractors. Only guards on the perimeter would be armed. And… a base soldier going deer hunting has better keep quiet or else!

  11. What could have been done to prevent this tragedy? It’s very simple, actually. We should have long ago approached every Moslem in the U.S. armed forces, and asked them a simple question: “Is fighting fellow Moslems a moral problem for you?” If the answer is “yes”, then we give them an honorable discharge and Conscientious Objector status.

    Reynardine, that would make too much sense to actually be implemented. Besides, since our armed forces are fighting on at least 3 different fronts, frankly, we don’t have the people to spare.

  12. “On a base all the guns are locked up. Only taken out under guard to march to a gun range”

    Reminds me of the way the Romans controlled gladiator access to weapons. Gladiators were allowed to possess weapons only when training or in the arena – at no other time. Seems like the military is very anti-Second Amendment. They appear to be very much against private possession of weapons for personal reasons. Seems that – like the Romans – they only want their “gladiators” armed when they are training or in the arena.

  13. Reynardine, that would make too much sense to actually be implemented. Besides, since our armed forces are fighting on at least 3 different fronts, frankly, we don’t have the people to spare.
    I kinda knew that (*wink*). But I fell in love with the notion because I really do think it’s sensible and it would make everyone fill their pants. Liberals: “That’s religious discrimination! How dare you single out Moslems?” Conservatives: “Those stinking traitors should be shot! How dare you coddle them?”. [Ex]Neocon: But we need the soldiers for our imperial army!

  14. Military gun control…yes, I grew up on Army bases, and I do remember that the Army was very careful about who had access to guns and ammo. For example, the MPs were never allowed to actually carry a magazine in their .45s. MPs were always running around with obviously empty pistols. (They probably did have a loaded magazine, but the rules about when they were allowed to load their pistols were very strict.) Of course, that didn’t make them any less fearsome…MPs all went to Sadism School, and were trained in multifarious ways of inducing fear and pain. The guys standing guard at night had unloaded M1 carbines. About the only soldiers who had loaded guns all the time were the stockade guards…and their shotguns were loaded with birdshot. I doubt if that has changed much on bases considered to be on safe territory.

    As I recall, officers were allowed to keep sidearms and ammo in their quarters. And this guy was a major…yep, we’ve got to disarm all the officers. Sorry guys, but it’s for your own good. —I’m sure glad I’m a civilian and get to keep my arsenal.

  15. we allow the authorities to determine what the facts actually are”

    Hmmm…I predict “not terroism”! Oh wait, they ALREADY said that! Darn, those authorities are good!

  16. “I’m sure glad I’m a civilian and get to keep my arsenal.”

    I am also glad I am a civilian – so I can keep my arsenal – and for other reasons. I spent five years in the United States Navy (earned a good conduct medal and received an honorable discharge) – and I would not go back for anything. I am glad – very glad – to be out of that nonsense.

  17. Active duty Army Captain here: Putting aside the whole Muslim angle for the moment, I think this underscores the need to give recruits a psychological test as part of there medical screening before they join. Special Forces gives everyone who go to Selection the MMPI II, and prospective SF officers get an additional psych test. We need to expand that to the rest of the force. The standards might not need to be as stringent as they are for Green Berets, but we could at least weed out the obviously unbalanced or fragile. I’m studying Arabic right now, and the chain of command here is constantly struggling with Soldiers (and Sailors, and Marines, and Airmen) who attempt suicide or need mental health treatment because the strain of learning Korean or Arabic or Spanish or something has just broken them. We like to say that 10% of our Soldiers cause 90% of our problems. If we got rid of that 10% or, better yet, spotted some of them before they joined, we’d be smaller but more effective.

    Whatever happened in the last 8 years, I seriously doubt that MAJ Hasan would have tested out as John Q. Normal back when he joined in ’01. My degree is in Psychology, and something I learned is that the reason that psychological testing is so important for police forces is that jobs involving power and violence attract a disproportionate amount of mentally ill people. I’m willing to bet that the military is the same way. Some get weeded out because they just suck at life so much that they can’t keep it together long enough to complete training. Some others are more high-functioning and get to a unit to become burdensome time-vampires for the chain of command. Or flip out and kill people.
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    FM reply: Thank you for this informative comment.

  18. ““kill people and smash things to the point the enemy concludes surrender is preferable to fighting.”

    There are many names for people who fight like that. One of those names is “loser.” Go to the dojo, get yourself a punching bag, or some clay targets :P

    Comment by Mikyo — 6 November 2009 @ 9:39 am”

    You must of never heard of General WT Sherman and the March To The Sea. Then again you may have missed HS Truman and a couple of atomic bombs way back in the prehistoric year of 1945.

  19. FM: “That method has been tried by foreign armies and constently failed to defeat insurgencies since WWII. (local governments usually defeat insurgents, unless so weak that they must rely on foreign combat troops). From Chapter 6.2 in Martin van Creveld’s “Changing Face of War” (2006): … This is hidden history because we will not see it, to our sorrow.

    FM your observation is post 1945. Modern sensibilities one supposes. However there is no absolute certainty that those sensibilities are forever the norm. France and Portugal along with the Belgians were quite capable of killing millions in African during the 19th century to insure their rule and were quite successful at it as well. So were the Dutch in Java. There is nothing certain that given a certain prolonged level of provocation the western states would simply endure or collapse rather than reverting to past practices. Indeed just how do you think the Indians were subdued here?

    However the original point was that nation states would collapse over time as loyalties gave way due to the corrosive effect of unassimilable groups as radical Muslims in their midst. My point was some will, others won’t. Those may deal with these groups in various ways from mass expulsion to genocide to some mixture of the two. Yugoslavia no longer exists but a lot of it’s former constituent states are now more ethnically “clean’ than they were before the break up. As for your comparisons Saudi Arabia and Kuwait expelled 300 thousand Palestinians in 1991. Darfur is happening as we speak. Tibet is now largely Han Chinese. The Germans pretty much eliminated any real resistance in Czechoslovakia after committing several massacres and contrary to popular belief they did not have any real resistance to deal with in Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France for most of the war and this at the time the German Army was largely deployed against the Soviets to the east and the Western Allies in either North Africa or Italy. The French killed a million Algerians and pretty much won the war, it was de Gaulle who pulled the plug and the resulting loss was a politically based loss not a militarily based loss. He had his reasons and he had his pressures from both the US and the USSR to contend with along with other economic considerations. However the Algerians did not win as such and if the French Army had been given a freer hand to kill however many necessary to accomplish the goal Algeria may well have been a French Oversees Department today. Indeed the current Algerian government used very French methods to put down an Islamic insurgency. Very bloody but successful. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not making a case for genocide or other barbarous tactics,but simply stating that states have employed such methods in the past effectively and there is no reason to believe that such things can never happen again. Just ask the Chechens.

  20. “Sherman? Bah! REAL men read Nathan Bedford Forrest. He he he.”

    Yep. Nathan Bedford Forrest gave the United Sates Army hell. And he did not have to cause civilian collateral damage doing it.

  21. Dig Dug: I don’t think testing is the answer. First of all, successful testing would imply that psychology is more of a “hard” science than it is (and I’m being gentle here). Second, if we grant for the sake of argument that we have workable tests, what would we be looking for? I think you’re assuming that there is some sort of defect in Major Hasan—an undetected psychiatric disorder. Maybe that is so; but as I’ve said, the same behavior could be the outcome of a crisis of conscience, the result of an inner conflict between his Islamic faith and his duty to the U.S. Army.

    I’d better be very clear about this: if Major Hasan is not clinically insane, then I consider him an enemy. That’s kind of a “duh!” statement…but I’m trying to say something fairly complicated, and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I’m trying to fight the notion that a person who commits suicidal violent acts against the United States has to be crazy. That’s not so, and making that assumption is about the most dangerous mistake you can make in assessing an enemy.

    People, listen: a dedicated, intelligent enemy is a bad thing; but the worst enemy is one who fights you for what we might call transcendental reasons—matters of religion or ideology (which may amount to the same thing). Such an enemy does not count costs, and his own death is something he can take with equanimity. After all, he is fighting for something far more important than one individual. Moreover, since this is a war of ideas, enemies can spring into existence from among your own most trusted soldiers. It is merely a matter of persuasion, and the process whereby a friend can become an enemy may be invisible to all those around him, because it takes place in the heart.

    The worst thing of all about engaging in this sort of war is that we, as a culture, are completely unequipped for it. The notion that someone might be willing to die for an idea is completely foreign to our leaders and to most of the people. Nor are we prepared to accept the fact that “suicide tactics” are tactics—most of us feel compelled to class such actions as “insane”. And that is no help at all; the only way to win a war of ideas is with ideas, and the first step is always to understand your enemy’s ideas.

    By the way, everyone knows Major Doctor Hasan is not dead, right? Perhaps he will have something to add to this discussion…

  22. In our relatively short history, beginning in the 17th century, mass murders of several kinds have been a constant feature of crisis and changing circumstance. Over the past two years we have experienced a number of mass murders and many more are coming. Unlike John Muhammed, the sniper who hopefully will be executed very soon, as should his accomplice, preferably by firing squad and in public, most of these are apolitical and unplanned. The Fort Hood massacre remains unclear but it has more in common with the series we are experiencing than not. The murderer was a Muslim but he was also an American period! As soon as he is recovered, if he does, I hope he will get a fair trial and then be shot in public by firing squad. There may be dimensions to this we do not know but why presume. America has entered a period of economic crisis whose dimensions remain unclear. A. is almost an irrelevance to what is happening throughout this very great land. The political dispensation we have lived with for 50 years is coming to and end. Pelosi and company will kill its least breath soon.
    We are in for an amazing and very exciting ride. It will make the 1850s seem tame.

  23. FM, this has benn a debate before. There is only so much you can put people through.

    Some of these guys are on (what?) 5th, 6th more deployments. Everyone has their breaking point,some very low, some very high but a breaking point no less. Differnt people showit different ways, drugs, alcohol, self violence, suicide, murdering someone close to them, etc are the most common. But murdering many people (berserker mode) is sadly not that uncommon in any society (some have called it suicide for those who are unable to take their own life, since nearly all of them die in the process).

    Now I’m sure all the real facts will eventually come out in time, but he was a psychiatrist who was dealing with other people broken’s minds all the time. That has to affect you .. referred PTSD or something like that? Choosing (and I know I’m just speculating) a profession like perhaps indicates a more sensitive mind?

    The US forces cannot keep this up for much longer, the attrition on people and machines (the average age of aircraft and their duty cycles for example) is so great you are just watching the whole system burn itself out, while the leadership is plotting ever more grandeous schemes (e.g. Columbia, Iran, the long war, whatever)?

    As for Daniel Pipes, that person is so …. for once I’m actually lost for a non swearing adjective, that if he said to me “the sun’s out” … I wouldn’t believe him until I got outside and checked for myself … and I’d automatically assume – at first – that it was actually raining.
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    FM reply: You might be correct. It’s early days yet, and first reports can be misleading — as we saw with the OK City bombing (initially reported as certain work of Islamic terrorists). As for Pipes, I know zip about him.

  24. anna nicholas, thanks for the sanity check. We can add Port Arthur in Australia (World record in berserker killings for quite a while), Melbourne Australia – twice, Scotland of course … I won’t bore you with the whole list but a quick Google will show everyone that it is a sadly a universal phenomena.

  25. Cubanbob, you make a common mistake in analysing insurgencies and comparing them across time.

    The differential between firepower is far less nowadays than, say, when the ‘great’ British Empire was forming or the US was clearing the Indian areas.

    Basically if you have a spear and I have a Maxim gun or even just a .303, then the differential in killing power is immense. With the advent of and access to cheap weapons (especially the AK-47), then that differential is far smaller. Yep, you can have tank or an aircraft but as long as I’ve got an AK-47 and half a brain I can take quite few down with me.

    A major part of the reason is that if I can live through your artillery and bombs eventually you have to send in troops to control the territory .. and I can take some out with me.

    The other significant differential is communication and travel. In many areas of the World before WW2 there was no communication or travel. Therefore it was easy for an invader to defeat the locals in detail (not always, the British got thumped in Iraq in 1920). Go there, kill a whole village (ah lah British, poison gas in the 20’s was a favourite of them) that was creating trouble, quick surgery.

    Nowadays you will lose troops doing it and everyone else knows about it via radios and mobile phones and many escape to tell others and can fight again.

    Example: Israel in Lebanon in 2006. Tried the old, take out everyone in a village. Bomb it to bits, even dropped leaflets to tell eveyone to get out and then straffed the buses etc. Unfortunately the fighters stayed in the rubble (great shelter) and fought for every inch (especially if their wives and children had been killed) when the Israeli troops arrived. The cost quickly became intolerable for the Israelis, despite their massive hardware and numerical advantage.

    Basically unless you use WMD to kill everyone in an area (even then there is no guarantee) then your troops will bump up against their troops and even if they only have some explosives and few AK-47s you will suffer casulties. And there is always more of them than you.

  26. The Major took a free pass, got an education and a career. He wanted out. This story tells us all we need to know about the current state of military medicine and what National Health is likely to bring us. Instead of letting him out, the Army chose to punish him. Some say that Muslims should be granted C.O. status. That is fine, but overlooks the simple fact that joining the military is a VOLUNTARY ACT. No doubt there will be Muslim extremists who will inveigle their way into positions — spies and agents with various motives is a part of human behavior. What we cannot any longer allow is the free pass given to Saudi and other Arab oil moguls who support Islamic radicalism and jihad which we have given them for decades. That is a suicide pact now.

  27. Daniel Pipes, true neo-con. From just Wiki:

    ” Pipes used to accept being described as a “neoconservative”, once saying that “others see me that way, and, you know, maybe I am one of them.”[44][45”

    “Pipes has advocated that the U.S. “unleash” the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) against Iran.[56] Though MEK is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Iraq and Iran,[57] Pipes describes this listing as a “sop to the mullahs”. He writes, “the MEK poses no danger to Americans or Europeans, and has not for decades. It does pose a danger to the malign, bellicose theocratic regime in Tehran.”[56]”

    “In October, 2001 Pipes said, before the convention of the American Jewish Congress. “I worry very much, from the Jewish point of view, that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims, because they are so much led by an Islamist leadership, that this will present true dangers to American Jews.”[33][34]”

    … “In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Pipes for the board of the United States Institute of Peace. After a controversy including a filibuster by Democratic Senators,[10] Pipes obtained the position by recess appointment.[5]”

    “In 2002 and 2003, Pipes was a strong backer of the Iraq War, saying that Saddam Hussein posed an “imminent threat” to the United States.[4] In a New York Post article published April 8, 2003, Pipes expressed his opposition to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s concerned prediction that “[the] war [in Iraq] will have horrible consequences…Terrorism will be aggravated…Terrorist organizations will be united…Everything will be insecure.” Though this concern was echoed by various other politicians and academics cited by Pipes in his article, Pipes argued that “the precise opposite is more likely to happen: The war in Iraq will lead to a reduction in terrorism.” Pipes has since admitted in response to the latter statement that, “Mubarak got this one right and I got it wrong. It could have been otherwise, but the too-close involvement of the coalition troops in Iraq has spurred Muslim anger and fostered more terrorism.”[51]

    “Pipes has criticized the policies of the occupation of Iraq. He called for “a third position” of “Iraqification” (in reference to Vietnamization). He advocated “getting foreigners quickly out of the business of running Iraq… that elections be delayed and that authority be turned over to a democratically-minded Iraqi strongman.”[52] He also stated that “I think it is possible and necessary at times to go to war without taking responsibility for the country that you make war on.”[44]”. Ignoring the little fact that this is against international law.

    Background? Quell surpise.

    “Both Pipes’ parents were from assimilated Polish Jewish families that fled from Poland in 1939. The couple met in the United States in 1944 and married two years later. Daniel was their first child.”
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    FM reply: While fascinating to Pipe’s biographer, why is this of any interest — or relevance? To see real pond scum, read about Rousseau’s life. In his well-named “Confessions”, Rousseau wrote that he persuaded Thérèse to give each of the newborns up to a foundling hospital, for the sake of her “honor”. For which, in a just universe, he would rot in Hell forever. Yet he was one of the West’s major philosophers.

    As for Pipe’s views, he’s just another war-loving American. One of the crowd, Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal. We’re just one bombing, happy family. He belongs in the Institute of Peace, teaching Doublespeak.

  28. >I’m trying to fight the notion that a person who commits suicidal violent acts against the United States has to be crazy.

    Of course he must be crazy, for if he was sane then the core belief that American values are universal is in peril.

    > The worst thing of all about engaging in this sort of war is that we, as a culture, are completely unequipped for it. The notion that someone might be willing to die for an idea is completely foreign to our leaders and to most of the people.

    The exact opposite is the case. The US is perfectly prepared for such a conflict it spent the last 60 years in the cold war honing and preparing it’s society for just this moment. All it took was 18 guys one incident and it’s WW3 against a verb in a tsunami of pent up overreaction.

    The very fact that the US is so ideologically entrenched in the cold war still and will be for generations makes the future of the war on terror look very grim indeed. It will take decades before the realization dawns ‘that you can’t solve the problem using the same methods that created it’.

  29. Lighten up folks. Daniel Pipes is hardly the issue. Yes, he is a conservative ideologue, yes his father is a conservative anti-Soviet historian. None of this is news. Pipes is also one of the most diligent and creative researchers on how our oil-corrupted Congress and government has permitted the Saudi government to select and train Muslim clerics working in the federal correctional system over the past forty years, spreading their Salafi message. It is still going on. Major Hasan is part of the consequences of these policies. This has little to do with our traditions of tolerance which are threatened by the venal stupidity which has paralyzed our institutions for decades. We need to clean house. I believe that Sudden Jihad Syndrome is silly, expect Pipes views it simply as a journalistic trope — not a good one — but it is not worth five seconds of discussion. The simple reality that we have yet to confront is that you cannot beat something with nothing. If you believe American consumerism is going to stand vs. Islamist revivalism, we are looking at very long winters ahead.

  30. Ah but Pipes and the ilk are important in that they frame the debate and come up with catchy phrases like “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” (notice in his education his incredible expertise in psychiatry, PTSD, etc …. not).

    The neo-cons (and their fellow travellers) have been brilliant at what is called agit-prop (agitating propoganda). There is no lie that they will not stoop too, no depths that they will not plummit too, no vilification that is too low for them selling their endless messsage that all Muslims are evil and we have to have the “Forever War” against them.

    That’s why it is important to check their backgrounds when someone comes out with something contentious. If they are a non-neocon then they may be right/wrong/interesting/idiotic but it might be an honest if wrong and misguided opinion or analysis.

    If they are a neocon then you know it is propoganda aimed at one or a combination of: (1) In favour of a hardline Israeli position (2) anti-Muslim (3) anti- Arab (4) pro endless war (5) pro the US Empire and ‘full spectrum dominance’. Straussians and Trotskyites to the core. And still very, very dangerous. The US Airforce, as one example, is committed to the neocon doctrine of ‘full spectrum dominance’.

    This is an important filtering mechanism (BS detecting basically) that saves a lot of valuable reading time. You can immediately discount anything they say or do as there is always an ulterior motive behind it.
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    FM reply: That’s depressing but powerful reasoning. Their lies have been so effective that extreme measures like this might have become necessary.

  31. I love the neocons as much as the last guy but the history of scheming and perfidy in international politics is long and glorious and the neocons bring nothing new.

    What the neocons are and why the are so dangerous is that they are true Americans. They are a pure American ends shorn of the practical means. Their greatest enemies are not American values they are the neo-realists who think that values don’t matter and that geopolitics is just a big zero sum game.

    What we are seeing now is the result of the disastrous failure of the simple-minded application of those values, the reaction has not been to revalue the values but to try to refine the methods, create new and more sophisticated ways to implement those values.
    They are just getting the bugs out of the system so that in the second round things can be done ‘right’.

    It will unfortunately result in larger disasters because the fundamental conflicts between America’s values and the rest of the world cannot be finessed away, particularly by an empire in decline.

  32. oblat, if you want to see real American value then go to Antiwar.com. Follow the links to their parent.

    Neo-cons do not have Anerican values:

    (1) They are anti-domocratic to the extreme.
    (2) They really believe in war as a way of fortifying the population. The ‘Spartan’ civilisation’ in many ways is their ideal society (expect for all the homosexuality of course .. and them they are the ‘brains’ after all).
    (3) Peace is alien to them, except of course their personal peace, ‘chicken hawks’ to the limit they are.
    (4) They have contempt for democracy, check and balances, social ideals, freedom … the list of American values they hate is endless.
    (5) They love the idea of ‘Empire’, the American founders explicitly rejected that idea.
    (6) ‘Domination’ of the World is also an total anti American ideal (which was to lead by example).
    (7) Freedom is alien to them, worse they actually abhor the idea of ‘proles’ having freedom. Freedom for them, true to their Trotskyite roots, is just the ‘freedom’ to obey them.
    (10) Truth is also alien to them, remember the ‘we are an Empire and create our own reality …..’ comment. They are at one with Goebells (or ‘Big Brother’) is that words are just a weapon to use. Their great hero Strauss made it clear that lies to the proles was the ‘correct’ form of behaviour, to con them into doing the neocon’s ‘elites’ job.
    (11) Anti-science. Because it conflicts with their desire to change reality with their desires and words. Science is built on observation, objectivity and repeatable experiments. Thus they are total enemies to the neocons, check out how biological and agricultural research was crushed in the USSR beacuse it conflicted with their idio(t)ology. The result was that they couldn’t feed themselves.

    I could go one for 12,13, …. but my hands would get tired.

    Yep, there are clear idio(t)logical parallels with the USSR, Nazi Germany, etc. The triumph of the ‘will’ over reality. And we have all seen how well that worked out in history.

    Another way of looking at that is that they are sociopaths (even psychopaths). Intellegent in that cunning way of manipulating peoples attitudes, even to the extent of the mass following policies that are totally against their own personal self interests. Every elite through time has, for example, sponsored predudice against a sub-group in their societies. Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims … the list is endless of elite (=Govt) sponsered predudice and even terrorism against them at one time on another.

    The reason is simple. “Don’t blame me (the eilite) for your problems, it’s them (Jews, Blacks, Mulim, etc etc etc) that are the problem.. Kill surpress, punish, torture thme and you will be ok.”

    Sad fact is too many people fall for this every time. “Yep, gay marriage and abortion are the reason why I lost my job and have to live in a hole in the ground”.

  33. The neocons frame no debate. During 8 years of Clinton we enforced a no-fly zone in Iraq and bombed the country EVERY week! Clinton said Iraq had WMD and indeed if Saddam had remained in power Iraq would be working on a bomb again and Israel would have stopped them as it did Syria. The real world is out there and we have to deal with it. If you believe Bush is the cause of our sorry ass place in the world, and Bush and Co. were terrible, but hardly worse than the two cretins who preceded them, you need to take a deep breath,step back, and ask yourself, what has America been doing for the last half century?
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    FM reply: I strongly agree. US national security policy has been strongly bipartisan since WWII, with only slight changes of emphasis and a few substantial policy disputes between the two major parties.

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