December 04, 2005

Still Overselling?

From the Victory Strategy:

Significant progress has been made in wresting territory from enemy control. During much of 2004, major parts of Iraq and important urban centers were no-go areas for Iraqi and Coalition forces. Fallujah, Najaf, and Samara were under enemy control. Today, these cities are under Iraqi government control, and the political process is taking hold.

"(T)aking hold" is one way to put it, over Najaf way. That's one of the problems with the Victory Strategy doc. There's a bit too much over-selling for my taste sprinkled throughout the doc. After all, the reference to Najaf above as being under "enemy control" is, of course, a reference to when Sadr's insurrection was under way. But who really controls Najaf today? A pan-national multi-ethnic Iraqi Army, a bulwark of stability like, say, the Army in Turkey? Or mostly barely concealed Mahdi (with some Badr) militia whose basic allegiance runs to Sadr (or at least Shi'a rather than national interests)? My guess, alas, is more the latter.

And Fallujah? Surely great progress has been made there indeed. But is it "under Iraqi government control"?


A little more than a year ago, thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops leveled much of Fallujah -- which had become Iraq's main insurgent stronghold -- in the largest offensive since the 2003 invasion. During two weeks of fighting, they established a strict cordon around the city, 35 miles west of Baghdad, establishing four heavily guarded entry points equipped with metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Following the assault, according to local politicians and military commanders, Fallujah had gradually become one of the safest and most stable cities in Anbar province, which spans the vast desert west of Baghdad to the Syrian border and is considered the heartland of the country's Sunni Arab-led insurgency. In August, 14 Marines were killed by a roadside bomb that tore apart their armored personnel carrier in the Anbar city of Haditha, but Fallujah has experienced little heavy fighting and few large-scale attacks in recent months.

The city's police force, disbanded before the offensive last year, has returned to duty and numbers about 1,200, local officials said. A pair of Iraqi army battalions now patrol much of the northern half of the city, together with a single battalion of U.S. Marines. And while turnout in Anbar for Iraq's October constitutional referendum was only about 40 percent, it topped 90 percent in Fallujah, a city of about 250,000.

"One year ago, major combat operations in Fallujah. And in the referendum, 200,000 folks voted in Fallujah," the main U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said at a news conference this week. "Great improvement."

On a visit to the city this week, the provincial governor, Mamoun Sami Rashid, spent the first half of a 10-minute speech praising the city's progress. "The first thing that came to my mind when I entered Fallujah is the stability," said Rashid, who rarely leaves the violence-plagued provincial capital, Ramadi, and has survived at least seven assassination attempts since taking office on June 1. "What you had before the invasion is what we have in Ramadi now."

But insurgents retained a strong presence and continue to operate in Fallujah, according to soldiers and Iraqi politicians and civilians interviewed there this week.

"We knew al Qaeda wouldn't leave the city, and it happened. They came back," said Khalid Muhsin, a preacher in a local mosque. "Now they attack in different ways. They kidnap and assassinate people. People in the city are tired of the fighting and want to rest."

On Tuesday, gunmen in a silver BMW shot dead Hamza Abbas Asawi, the city's mufti, or top religious cleric, as he was leaving an evening prayer service. Asawi was considered an ally by U.S. forces. A day later, two Marines were killed by small arms fire, the military reported.

The last lethal car bombing in Fallujah was in early summer, but roadside bombs and sniper fire are constant threats, said Lt. Patrick Keane, of Aberdeen, N.J. Keane is a member of the 8th Marine Regiment, which patrols the city.

"It's a whole lot quieter now than it was, even back in March," Keane said Tuesday during a visit to the city by U.S. diplomatic officials, Iraqi election workers and journalists to discuss plans for the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. "But you can't say it's safe here."

Asked how many insurgents there were in Fallujah, a U.S. official said, "It's hard to say, but there's sympathy for the insurgency. Basically everyone here has the potential to be an insurgent."

Progress, to be sure. But not a done deal yet fellas. Not by a long shot. And not yet ready for hand-off to the Iraqis alone, I fear...

Oh, and Samarra? Real progress there too, but still "far from peaceful."

Real victory is still very far indeed.

Posted by Gregory at December 4, 2005 04:46 PM | TrackBack (1)

Good points. Najaf could become a battleground for rival Shiite factions in the future. I think US presence in primarily Sunni-populated cities will continue to attract attackers to them; just as in Baghdad, only 25 miles away. NO amount of political progress is going to make this completely go away, and the white house stragegists are aware of this.

The way forward, it seems to me is to have Iraqi army garrisons which are loyal to the central government present to guard against abuses and infiltrations in the locally-recruited police. Sort of a local-federal balance of power type of thing. Meanwhile, the Americans are moving to bases outside the cities, which will do a lot to reduce casualties; and remove an irritant to the political process.

Posted by: Chuck Betz at December 4, 2005 06:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm starting to think about the ways in which the war plan resembles a Ponzi scheme.

On another note, Mr. D, I've developed a short-hand response to those who think we can create a national Iraqi army with allegiance beyond clan/tribe/sect. I say "Robert E. Lee" or "REL" for short. I have a hard time imagining the circumstances under which I (if I was Sadr, Barzani, or Hakim) would relinquish control over my armed force, or allow it to be integrated away from me. To any of those people, a true national army has to look like the only available path to Sunni Arab domination over Sumer and/or Kurdistan, and placating the Americans is just not worth risking that. I'd want a weak central government -- capable of protecting me from Sunni Arabs and administering Baghdad, but certainly not capable of enforcing anything "national" against my community.

Put yourself in the shoes of either of these three men. What do you do?

Posted by: CharleyCarp at December 4, 2005 06:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

the uk, sri lanka, india, israel, algeria, russia and NUMEROUS other nations have each suffered nearly constant terrorist attacks for several years - (some still ongoing) - and none were crippled or overthrown or devolved into choas, civil war, or totalitarianism.

so: your reaction to prolonged terror in iraq is over-the-top and unrealistic ESPECIALLY since we're in a friggin TERROR WAR WITH FRIGGIN RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS.

we should expect the jihaodtererorists to continue their attacks in iraq for as long as they do in israel and chechnya and as long as the tamils have in sri lanka.

and we should NOT give up in the face of that onslaught. that is what the enemy wants.

YUP: by whining and hand-wringing and knee-shaking GREG: you are playing RIGHT into their hands.

GET REAL: we have a decade or more to go before we wipe out the enemy. we have to deal with syria and iran - meaning REGIME CHANGE IN BOTH THOSE NATIONS MUST COME BEFORE THE GWOT WILL BE OVER.

so STEEL yourself boy!

get some damn COURAGE and stop whining.

Posted by: relaipundit at December 5, 2005 03:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

the uk, sri lanka, india, israel, algeria, russia and NUMEROUS other nations have each suffered nearly constant terrorist attacks for several years - (some still ongoing) - and none were crippled or overthrown or devolved into choas, civil war, or totalitarianism.

so: your reaction to prolonged terror in iraq is over-the-top and unrealistic ESPECIALLY since we're in a friggin TERROR WAR WITH FRIGGIN RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS.

we should expect the jihaodtererorists to continue their attacks in iraq for as long as they do in israel and chechnya and as long as the tamils have in sri lanka.

and we should NOT give up in the face of that onslaught. that is what the enemy wants.

YUP: by whining and hand-wringing and knee-shaking GREG: you are playing RIGHT into their hands.

GET REAL: we have a decade or more to go before we wipe out the enemy. we have to deal with syria and iran - meaning REGIME CHANGE IN BOTH THOSE NATIONS MUST COME BEFORE THE GWOT WILL BE OVER.

so STEEL yourself boy!

get some damn COURAGE and stop whining.

Posted by: relaipundit at December 5, 2005 03:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

the uk, sri lanka, india, israel, algeria, russia and NUMEROUS other nations have each suffered nearly constant terrorist attacks for several years - (some still ongoing) - and none were crippled or overthrown or devolved into choas, civil war, or totalitarianism.

so: your reaction to prolonged terror in iraq is over-the-top and unrealistic ESPECIALLY since we're in a friggin TERROR WAR WITH FRIGGIN RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS.

we should expect the jihaodtererorists to continue their attacks in iraq for as long as they do in israel and chechnya and as long as the tamils have in sri lanka.

and we should NOT give up in the face of that onslaught. that is what the enemy wants.

YUP: by whining and hand-wringing and knee-shaking GREG: you are playing RIGHT into their hands.

GET REAL: we have a decade or more to go before we wipe out the enemy. we have to deal with syria and iran - meaning REGIME CHANGE IN BOTH THOSE NATIONS MUST COME BEFORE THE GWOT WILL BE OVER.

so STEEL yourself boy!

get some damn COURAGE and stop whining.

Posted by: relaipundit at December 5, 2005 03:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" we have a decade or more to go before we wipe out the enemy. we have to deal with syria and iran - meaning REGIME CHANGE IN BOTH THOSE NATIONS MUST COME BEFORE THE GWOT WILL BE OVER."

Yeah? So where's the tax increases to pay for it? Where's the draft? Where's the commitment from hawkish Republicans?

Why doesn't Bush have the balls to tell the country that we're going to be fighting for a decade or more, it'll cost a trillion dollars or more, and we need a draft?

Posted by: Jon H at December 5, 2005 04:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg - are you saying we shouldnt claim control over Fallujah till its quieter than Baghdad is now? Are you saying we dont have control over Baghdad?

Sure theres a long way to go. ANd that was precisely the impression I got reading the white house document. And it seems to me a very good thing that they finally admitted, in retrospect, how FUBAR the situation was in April 2004. The unwillingness to admit failure on the part of the WH heavily contributed to the loss of control over the narrative, and the sense here in the US that NOTHING was going well in Iraq, and that every month only took us deeper into quagmire.

And yes, local provinces are going to be run, day to day, by local interests. Which will in many cases be illiberal, and in a few cases not very democratic. We signed up to end totalitarianism, and put Iraq in the right direction, not to stay until its Sweden. If Iraq ends up looking (politivcally) like India circa 1955, or the USA circa 1925, I think the admin has enough confidence in the general democratic trend in the world, to feel theyve done the major part of the job. Not that we dont want to continue to support democracy in IRaq after that, but is Iraq as much of a problem then as Pakistan or Egypt?

Posted by: liberalhawk at December 5, 2005 03:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"A pair of Iraqi army battalions now patrol much of the northern half of the city, together with a single battalion of U.S. Marines. "

so are these Badr brigades in disguise? If so, how are they managing to keep order in Fallujah, and why arent we hearing more from credible sources about their atrocities? If not, are these the only two Iraqi army battalions that are not militia in disguise?

How does this reconcile with all the "all current Iraqi forces are ineffective cause of their ethnic makeup" meme?

Posted by: liberalhawk at December 5, 2005 04:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No, they aren't, LH, and this underscores an important distinction made repeatedly by senior American officers in Iraq and routinely ignored by much of the blogosphere. Iraqi police, recruited locally, are often deeply infiltrated by sectarian militias. Iraqi army units, trained and often sent to serve far from their soldiers homes, are much less so. They are also better at what they have to do -- granting that in the abstract a soldier's job is less complex than a policeman's -- than Iraqi police, largely because they get better equipment and more American training.

Why, then, go to the trouble of training an army and a police force? Why not run all law enforcement and security through the military? Because that would address one problem at the cost of creating others. Law enforcement, even in Iraq, is different from combat; policemen from outside the local community are less likely to avoid conflicts with the community. Moreover a military in charge of all security and law enforcement would be by far the most powerful institution in the country. Any hope of sustaining a democracy in Iraq would go right out the window.

That said, the infiltration of Iraqi police units by sectarian militias is a very serious problem, a problem incidentally made much worse by the provocation given by the largely sectarian insurgency. It just isn't the pervasive problem depicted by some casual observers of the war here in the United States.

Posted by: JEB at December 5, 2005 11:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

to reply to the charge from 'jon h', i will use EXCERPTS FROM bush's OWN SPEECHES. they are good words - matched by good deeds.

i believe that lefties like 'jon h' NEVER listen to any of bush's words, never read them, and only see his deeds through a filter of leftisit/msm deceit. here goes:

1 - from bush's - the famous "mission accomplished" speech:

"We have difficult work to do in Iraq.

We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous.

We are pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes.

We have begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We are helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.

The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time,

but it is worth every effort.

Our coalition will stay until our work is done.

And then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

The Battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001, and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men the shock troops of a hateful ideology gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the "beginning of the end of America." By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.

In the Battle of Afghanistan, we destroyed the Taliban, many terrorists, and the camps where they trained. We continue to help the Afghan people lay roads, restore hospitals, and educate all of their children. Yet we also have dangerous work to complete. As I speak, a special operations task force, led by the 82nd Airborne, is on the trail of the terrorists, and those who seek to undermine the free government of Afghanistan. America and our coalition will finish what we have begun.

From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down al-Qaida killers. Nineteen months ago, I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight, nearly one-half of al-Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed.

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of al-Qaida, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.

Our war against terror is proceeding according to principles that I have made clear to all:

Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice.

Any person, organization, or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.

Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups, and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction, is a grave danger to the civilized world, and will be confronted.

And anyone in the world, including the Arab world, who works and sacrifices for freedom has a loyal friend in the United States of America.

Our commitment to liberty is America's tradition declared at our founding, affirmed in Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, asserted in the Truman Doctrine, and in Ronald Reagan's challenge to an evil empire. We are committed to freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in a peaceful Palestine.

The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope.

When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life. American values, and American interests, lead in the same direction: We stand for human liberty.

The United States upholds these principles of security and freedom in many ways with all the tools of diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence, and finance. We are working with a broad coalition of nations that understand the threat, and our shared responsibility to meet it.

The use of force has been, and remains, our last resort.

Yet all can know, friend and foe alike,
that our nation has a mission:

We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace.

Our mission continues.

Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed.

The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations, and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people.

The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. Our government has taken unprecedented measures to defend the homeland and we will continue to hunt down the enemy before he can strike.

The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless.

We do not know the day of final victory,

but we have seen the turning of the tide.

No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or alter their fate.

Their cause is lost. Free nations will press on to victory.

2 - in his west point speech, bush compares the gwot to the cold war - which lasted DECADES:

For much of the last century, America's defense relied on the Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment. In some cases, those strategies still apply. But new threats also require new thinking. Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.

We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systemically break them. If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. (Applause.)

Homeland defense and missile defense are part of stronger security, and they're essential priorities for America. Yet the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. (Applause.) In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act. (Applause.)

Our security will require the best intelligence, to reveal threats hidden in caves and growing in laboratories. Our security will require modernizing domestic agencies such as the FBI, so they're prepared to act, and act quickly, against danger. Our security will require transforming the military you will lead -- a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives. (Applause.)

The work ahead is difficult. The choices we will face are complex. We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries, using every tool of finance, intelligence and law enforcement. Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires. Some nations need military training to fight terror, and we'll provide it. Other nations oppose terror, but tolerate the hatred that leads to terror -- and that must change. (Applause.) We will send diplomats where they are needed, and we will send you, our soldiers, where you're needed. (Applause.)

All nations that decide for aggression and terror will pay a price. We will not leave the safety of America and the peace of the planet at the mercy of a few mad terrorists and tyrants. (Applause.) We will lift this dark threat from our country and from the world.

Because the war on terror will require resolve and patience, it will also require firm moral purpose. In this way our struggle is similar to the Cold War. Now, as then, our enemies are totalitarians, holding a creed of power with no place for human dignity. Now, as then, they seek to impose a joyless conformity, to control every life and all of life.

America confronted imperial communism in many different ways -- diplomatic, economic, and military. Yet moral clarity was essential to our victory in the Cold War. When leaders like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan refused to gloss over the brutality of tyrants, they gave hope to prisoners and dissidents and exiles, and rallied free nations to a great cause.

Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. (Applause.) Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities. (Applause.) Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place. Targeting innocent civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong. (Applause.) Brutality against women is always and everywhere wrong. (Applause.) There can be no neutrality between justice and cruelty, between the innocent and the guilty. We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name. (Applause.) By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposing it. (Applause.)

As we defend the peace, we also have an historic opportunity to preserve the peace. We have our best chance since the rise of the nation state in the 17th century to build a world where the great powers compete in peace instead of prepare for war. The history of the last century, in particular, was dominated by a series of destructive national rivalries that left battlefields and graveyards across the Earth. Germany fought France, the Axis fought the Allies, and then the East fought the West, in proxy wars and tense standoffs, against a backdrop of nuclear Armageddon.

Competition between great nations is inevitable, but armed conflict in our world is not. More and more, civilized nations find ourselves on the same side -- united by common dangers of terrorist violence and chaos. America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge -- (applause) -- thereby, making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.

Today the great powers are also increasingly united by common values, instead of divided by conflicting ideologies. The United States, Japan and our Pacific friends, and now all of Europe, share a deep commitment to human freedom, embodied in strong alliances such as NATO. And the tide of liberty is rising in many other nations.

Generations of West Point officers planned and practiced for battles with Soviet Russia. I've just returned from a new Russia, now a country reaching toward democracy, and our partner in the war against terror. (Applause.) Even in China, leaders are discovering that economic freedom is the only lasting source of national wealth. In time, they will find that social and political freedom is the only true source of national greatness. (Applause.)

When the great powers share common values, we are better able to confront serious regional conflicts together, better able to cooperate in preventing the spread of violence or economic chaos. In the past, great power rivals took sides in difficult regional problems, making divisions deeper and more complicated. Today, from the Middle East to South Asia, we are gathering broad international coalitions to increase the pressure for peace. We must build strong and great power relations when times are good; to help manage crisis when times are bad. America needs partners to preserve the peace, and we will work with every nation that shares this noble goal. (Applause.)

And finally, America stands for more than the absence of war. We have a great opportunity to extend a just peace, by replacing poverty, repression, and resentment around the world with hope of a better day. Through most of history, poverty was persistent, inescapable, and almost universal. In the last few decades, we've seen nations from Chile to South Korea build modern economies and freer societies, lifting millions of people out of despair and want. And there's no mystery to this achievement.

The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance. America cannot impose this vision -- yet we can support and reward governments that make the right choices for their own people. In our development aid, in our diplomatic efforts, in our international broadcasting, and in our educational assistance, the United States will promote moderation and tolerance and human rights. And we will defend the peace that makes all progress possible.

When it comes to the common rights and needs of men and women, there is no clash of civilizations. The requirements of freedom apply fully to Africa and Latin America and the entire Islamic world. The peoples of the Islamic nations want and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation. And their governments should listen to their hopes. (Applause.)

A truly strong nation will permit legal avenues of dissent for all groups that pursue their aspirations without violence. An advancing nation will pursue economic reform, to unleash the great entrepreneurial energy of its people. A thriving nation will respect the rights of women, because no society can prosper while denying opportunity to half its citizens. Mothers and fathers and children across the Islamic world, and all the world, share the same fears and aspirations. In poverty, they struggle. In tyranny, they suffer. And as we saw in Afghanistan, in liberation they celebrate. (Applause.)

America has a greater objective than controlling threats and containing resentment. We will work for a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror.

The bicentennial class of West Point now enters this drama. With all in the United States Army, you will stand between your fellow citizens and grave danger. You will help establish a peace that allows millions around the world to live in liberty and to grow in prosperity. You will face times of calm, and times of crisis. And every test will find you prepared -- because you're the men and women of West Point. (Applause.) You leave here marked by the character of this Academy, carrying with you the highest ideals of our nation.

Toward the end of his life, Dwight Eisenhower recalled the first day he stood on the plain at West Point. "The feeling came over me," he said, "that the expression 'the United States of America' would now and henceforth mean something different than it had ever before. From here on, it would be the nation I would be serving, not myself."

Today, your last day at West Point, you begin a life of service in a career unlike any other. You've answered a calling to hardship and purpose, to risk and honor. At the end of every day you will know that you have faithfully done your duty. May you always bring to that duty the high standards of this great American institution. May you always be worthy of the long gray line that stretches two centuries behind you.

On behalf of the nation, I congratulate each one of you for the commission you've earned and for the credit you bring to the United States of America. May God bless you all. (Applause.)

3 - bush sept 20, 2001 speech:

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)

Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes.

Americans should not expect one battle,

but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.

It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me -- the Office of Homeland Security.

And tonight I also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor, a true patriot, a trusted friend -- Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge. (Applause.) He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and respond to any attacks that may come.

These measures are essential. But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows. (Applause.)

Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents to intelligence operatives to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud. (Applause.)

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded -- with sympathy and with support. Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.

The civilized world is rallying to America's side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what -- we're not going to allow it. (Applause.)

Posted by: reliapundit at December 6, 2005 03:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Relaipundit, it's called a link. And reading only part-way through one of those speeches, I found one flat-out, unambiguous lie (about Iraq being an ally of Al Qaida).

Posted by: Barry at December 8, 2005 04:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Here ya go, don't forget "boogie to Baghad"

Posted by: Chuck Betz at December 8, 2005 07:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks for the link Chuck - I wasn't aware of that piece of information. In some respects though I think your both right. Al Qaeda and Iraq cannot be said to be allies - in the true sense of the word. As I've discussed previously there is/was a massive gulf between the ideological positions of Saddam Hussein (Pan Arabist, Secular Baathist ideology) and Al Qaeda (A Theocratic Pan-Islamic Ideology).

Given Al Qaeda's clear ideological position being in many respects the antithesis of Saddam's Baathist regime, unless clear incontovertable evidence comes to light, at this point in time its hard to see how any sort of long lasting relationship in the sense of Allies could be formed. After all Al Qaeda's desired Pan Islamic Caliphate Stretching from North Africa to SE Asia, would mean that Saddam would have to go at some point to realise that aim.

However given their mutual hatred of America, its also quite clear that on that basis there would have been sufficient common ground (The enemy of my enemy is my friend), to have warranted some obvious discussions - of the nature indicated in Chuck's link. It would also seem reasonably obvious that if OBL had to leave Afghanistan then a regime with great emneity towards the US would be a logical place for him to consider decamping to, at least in the short term.

However its also seems a logical conclusion (at least to me) that because Al Qaeda is so ideologically driven, that whilst short term joint interests may have been explored, I personally think its unlikely and long term alliances may have been reached, given the quite different ideologies.

So I guess in my view that makes both of you partially right...

Posted by: Aran Brown at December 8, 2005 09:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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