The World According to Imal

Musings on Life, the Universe and Everything.

"Imal is a warrior poet, a modern day Nostradamus without all the annoying quatrains."
-Greg Packer

"Heed the need to read my screed."

Published Wheneverly. A Proud American and Citizen of the Free Republic.

"Come for the coffee, stay for the pie."

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Geopolitical Chess Under A Blanket 

My friend randog on the Free Republic posted the following to a thread on Iran sending a diplomatic warning to the U.S. over Iraq, I was inspired to respond as shown below, and thought I would share my thoughts thus revealed with my dear, rare and esoteric readership:

My spidey sense has been tingling, too. I feel like I'm watching a grand chess game, but the board is covered by a blanket and all I can see are the players' arms moving.

I did a big "Huh?!" over the Abu Graib incident, then got even more suspicious when Chalabi got busted, and now this.

Something big is going on behind the scenes but I can't make heads or tails of it. Imal--you got any ideas or insight?

Your chess game analogy is a good one, and I'm not sure if anyone gets to see under the blanket, even the players. Without a doubt, there are big doings afoot.

There is much to puzzle over these days, and though attention is fixed on Iraq, the contest is global in scope. Several other nations, notably China, have their mitts all over the Middle East, but that's not getting a lot of attention. In truth, Iraq is the fulcrum of a major geopolitical struggle that most of the world does not want the U.S. to win.

The highly-publicized-by-the-U.S. falling out with Chalabi appears to be a necessary prelude to his future political career. It seems contrived, and the only reason the world knows anything about it is our government's insistence that the world know about it.

After all, if Chalabi really sold us out, we'd make him disappear into Abu Ghraib or a successor, not turn him into an international media darling. I mean come on, does Chalabi or any member of his court really have a security clearance for sensitive classified material? This is cinema.

My take on this is that we're cutting Chalabi's umbilical cord. If he survives, he may well become Iraq's first "freely-elected" president of the new millennium. Thus the U.S. will "lose control" of the new Iraq to a leader who is publicly treacherous to the U.S., "his own man" (just look at the way he slapped the U.S. in the face!), a true "Iraqi patriot" and, all the while, he'll be privately in our pocket (we have a lot more on him than he has on us). Not a particularly new game to play, but you go with what works.

As for Iran, it has been in our sights for decades. They know we're after them, and they are justifiably concerned. With Iraq nailed down (watch, it will be sooner than it looks from this vantage point), we'll have Iran in the vice, with Afghanistan on the other side. We might use our dear friend Chalabi as leverage against them when he has his inevitable "falling out" with Iran (again, to prove he's not in anyone's pocket).

Of course, we'll blame Iran (and at some point Syria) for the lingering problems we face in both neighboring countries, while we quietly work to set up the next revolution, which will probably (and hopefully) be comparatively short in happening. With U.S.-occupied countries on their eastern and western borders, Iran's theocrats can plainly see the handwriting on the wall. "Diplomatic messages" like this one are laughably feeble attempts to salvage some dignity while they have their country taken out from under them.

After Iran's inevitable revolution inevitably succeeds, then the U.S. can count Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan as staunch allies. Perhaps Iran's deposed mullahs, imams and ayatollahs might find refuge in France, in accordance with tradition.

Syria will really start sweating bullets then (more than they are already), and I think we can expect a more genuinely free version of Lebanon to grace the Mediterranean soon, followed soon by a more "democratic" Syria, also soon to become more tolerant of the U.S., if not an overt ally (although that may very well be in the cards).

Meanwhile, the world will see the latest incarnation of the "Domino Theory", as boldly played by an "arrogant cowboy". Most will complain endlessly about it, but no one will be able to stop it. In light of their demonstrable impotence against this "threat", I suppose we can begrudge them some grumbling and grousing, all while they line up for their economic blessings from an ever benevolent Uncle Sam.

Ultimately, I suspect Bush the younger may someday be able to claim that he was the first U.S. president to actually take meaningful steps to secure a true and lasting peace in the Middle East (albeit not during his presidency, per se, but we don't credit his dad for the fall of the Berlin wall, either), while simultaneously presiding over a dramatic national shift from oil to alternative primary fuel sources (another story not getting a lot of press these days, but watch).

A wild card in all this is Al Qaeda, and I think it would be unwise to underestimate their ability to throw some very large wrenches into the plan. Every strike they make, however (even in Spain), will succeed only in galvanizing resolve against the radical Islamist agenda. If they succeed in striking hard in the U.S. prior to the November elections, we can expect a very different response from that which we saw in Spain, and I don't think it would go well for Kerry (not that it would anyway -- he's the Dems' "disposable candidate").

While it's true that Al Qaeda seeks to divide the world into Muslims and infidels, and thus foment world war, it seems they might already have overplayed their hand. Opposition to Russia's operations against Muslim insurgents in Chechnya, for example, has already faded to a whisper, and the stooge turnout for other anti-West causes is on a long, downward decline. Soon even Palestine will garner little sympathy, as the game they are a part of becomes more transparent.

Time will tell if I'm right or completely off-base on one or all of these topics. In the meantime, it's fun to speculate.

I am sure "Fahrenheit 9/11" is as fine a film as this year's Cannes jury is capable of appreciating.

posted by Imal  # 4:39 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004

Innocent until proven guilty? 

It's a common phrase in the press these days. It is most frequently used by those who are, in fact, guilty to attempt to deflect pre-trial notoriety, although those who are innocent can and should maintain their innocence, and this popular phrase fills the bill.

You get a special prize if you can tell me where that phrase comes from. (Hint: It's not in the U.S. Constitution.)

I prefer "presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

Public discussion, whether in the press, on the Internet or on the sidewalk, isn't a court of law, either for purposes of presuming innocence or proving guilt. Attempts to impose courtroom rigor on public discussion are oppressive and contrary to the spirit of American freedom, as well as contrary to U.S. law if attempted by government.

If I see you commit a crime, I know you're guilty, and don't need to pretend I don't know you're guilty. In fact, to do so would be to disqualify myself as a witness to the crime, and that would be grossly irresponsible. If I as a witness have a reasonable doubt, so should a jury. If you reasonably believe I am guilty of a crime, it's your duty as a citizen to say so, and testify accordingly if called to do so in court.

Likewise, if someone behaves suspiciously, it is perfectly reasonable to take note and say so, and, in fact, it would be irresponsible not to. To publicly speculate about someone's innocence or guilt is speech protected under Amendment One to the U.S. Constitution. As long as one is not defaming or libeling someone else, such speculation is not only acceptable, but commendable.

It is our duty as citizens to keep an eye on what our government and legal system are doing. If we fail to do so, we fail as Americans, and will deserve the very unpleasant consequences of our dereliction of duty. Part of this duty involves observing and discussing criminal acts and legal proceedings, and assuring ourselves that our legal system is doing what it should.

"Justice is blind," but Americans need not be. In fact, we'd better not be if we want to remain Americans.

Sarcasm is the first refuge of a scoundrel.

posted by Imal  # 6:12 PM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Muslim "Honor" 

A statement accompanying the posting of a video showing the beheading of Nick Berg in Iraq closes with this statement:

And you see the slaughter, your fighting brothers suspend the head of this unbeliever on one of Baghdad bridges so that they teach a lesson to others from the infidels and serves as a witness to the honour of the Muslims.

The world has seen what "Muslim honor" means. That is why the world will never tolerate it. The apocalyptic death-cult interpretation of Islam is an evolutionary dead end, as the coming decades will demonstrate.

The Muslim Enlightenment will be late and bloody in coming, but it will eventually come. Then, but not before then, we can live in peace.

The murderers of Nick Berg, and their families, friends and associates, will be hearing from our black ops troops soon enough. Then they will be able to continue the discussion of "Muslim honor" in greater depth.

Oh, and by the way, our women can still kick their men's asses.

Revenge is a dish best served often.

posted by Imal  # 3:16 PM

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Iraqis: Please Pardon Our Women 

The photographs of apparent "abuses" of insurgent prisoners by U.S. servicewomen are the scandal du jour. At first blush, it seems to be a devastating blow to America's efforts in Iraq. However, things are not always as they seem. There is definitely more to this than meets the eye.

I'm pretty sure this all got whipped into a scandal because it benefits the U.S. to direct and control its course. Someone released those photographs, and did so purposefully. Their apparent source is a DoD investigation into prison abuses that dates back some months. The DoD even issued a press release when it opened the investigations, but it didn't get traction -- then.

Now we have photographs, most of them featuring U.S. servicewomen humiliating Iraqi men. And the press has run with it, giving the resulting scandal worldwide resonance, and rousing the usual suspects to rail against the abusive, arrogant Americans. The general in charge claims her troops were probably acting under CIA directions, and indeed, they most likely were.

U.S. interrogation techniques are noteworthy for their almost exclusive reliance on psychological techniques versus relatively crude physical pain techniques. We use fear, discomfort, sensory deprivation, lighting, sound (including carefully chosen music), a wide variety of drugs and yes, humiliation to break the wills of interrogation subjects.

In this case, I smell psyops and clever manipulation. Jihadis will fear humiliation in our prisons (a fate worse than death) and suffer a general sense of demoralization. It's already happening.

Specifically, being humiliated by women is terrifying to them. They value their masculinity, bravado and machismo above all, and are consequently very insecure about it. If we want to make jihadis feel uncomfortable and squirmy about alternatives to glorious martyrdom, we have done so.

Whether deliberate or not (and I think it was), the viral meme is working its way through the Arab mind. Threats of "greater rage" are absurd in the face of already constant rage. The practical threat of humiliation instead of glory will work its doubt into even the most devoted insurgent.

Bush's contrition only rubs salt into the wounds to Arab pride. Not only are these jihadis reduced to naked, groveling miserables -- in front of the world, and without a mark on them -- but we act like it didn't even require effort.

The message: "We didn't do it on purpose! Some of our women got out of control and abused your men." Ouch! Anathema to the Arab man. That's gotta hurt.

Meanwhile, Bush and Rumsfeld will weather a ridiculous partisan tempest in a teapot and come out looking more noble than before, while once again leaving their opponents with egg on their faces. But first, they must face the same old music they've always faced, just louder and more shrill for a short time.

And perhaps most important of all, U.S. troops have, in the course of a single "scandal", been elevated from the dubious status of being "beaten down by entrenched insurgents" to being "abusive occupiers". That's quite a change in perception. Indeed, it is a master stroke in public relations.

The only real losers in all this are the soldiers who were played for patsies as part of the operation. But America has ways of taking care of its own. I see money in their futures.

I may be wrong, but it looks like a queen's pawn opening to me. We'll see who wins the game. My money is on the United States.

I like militant feminism. It's so CUTE!

posted by Imal  # 7:55 PM

Monday, May 03, 2004

Democrats: Stop Supporting Our Troops 

Throughout the Iraq campaign, we have heard the same refrain from the Democrats: "We oppose the war in Iraq but we support our troops." This alleged support manifests itself in many forms. But first, let me explain why I am singling out the Democrats for my request.

There are some who take pains to claim that effort to undermine our troops in Iraq is not the work of Democrats, but of "Leftists". Where we might have been able to reasonably distinguish between "Democrats" and "Leftists" in the past, such a distinction no longer makes sense. This is particularly true in light of the fact that so-called "Conservative Democrats" are effectively extinct.

A comparison of the platforms of the Democratic National Committee and the Communist Party U.S.A. reveals no significant differences. Delineations between them are increasingly cosmetic and increasingly meaningless. Thus I address my request not to the "Leftists", but to the Democrats.

Lest I give the wrong impression, I am adamant that the "opposition party" do its work in keeping the "ruling party" under control. That includes holding the Bush administration accountable for any discrepancies or improprieties that may need investigation. It does not include spreading rumors, false charges, whispering campaigns, propagandizing against America or opposing the use of force in Iraq after having voted to support it. Throughout, the Democrats have done all these things, to their eternal and historical disgrace.

So, in what forms do Democrats support America's troops?

For starters, they claim that the war they are fighting is a sham, that it is an illegal war, that it is a war for oil, that it is "Bush's War", that it is a war intended to line the pockets of Halliburton, that Saddam posed no threat to the U.S., that the war is distracting America from the War on Terrorism and thus undermining U.S. security, that the war is driving away our allies and alienating us from the world, that the war violates U.N. "sovereignty" and international law, that Iraq is a quagmire, that our troops are deliberately targeting innocent civilians and committing atrocities, that our troops are incapable of winning and that they are dying in vain.

Democrats of all stripes denounce U.S. "unilateralism", dismissing coalition partners as "window dressing" and demanding that the United Nations, which itself disgracefully and impotently withdrew from Iraq following a terrorist attack, somehow find the will and ability to return and take control of Iraq.

Democratic activists on MoveOn.org, a website originally founded to urge America to "move on" and forget about President Clintons sexual trysts in the Whitehouse and subsequent perjury, claim that Iraq is "Out of Control" and that "America, acting alone, is no longer capable of reaching the hearts and minds of Iraqis, who increasingly see us as an occupying power, not a liberating one."

They offer an online petition demanding a transfer of "management authority" to the U.N. Perhaps, someday, after they reconsider their retreat from Iraq, that might even be feasible. For now, the message to our troops is clear enough: "You can't win."

Democrats carp and criticize President Bush for his carrier landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, his daring and dramatic visit to Baghdad to have Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. troops, all the while apparently oblivious to the ways in which their criticisms dismissively and cynically insult not only the sailors and soldiers who were involved in these events, but the very idea of the president visiting them in the field.

Is there any circumstance where President Bush might visit our troops without arousing the breathless indignation of the Democrats? Or should the president ignore our troops instead? How does Democratic chest beating over "publicity stunts", effectively seeking to place presidential troop visits off-limits, support our troops?

If they have a better way to stimulate troop morale, they are keeping it far more secret than the war plans, intelligence briefings and classified memos they routinely leak to the press.

On the floor of the senate, Democrats offer denunciations ranging from the demented ramblings of Senator Robert Byrd to the podium-pounding, purple-faced condemnations of Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kerry boasts of having voted for funds necessary to conduct the Iraq campaign before voting against them -- after voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

Their messages, that our soldiers are dying needlessly, engaged in a wrongful war, fighting "Bush's Vietnam" and are unworthy of U.S. funding for their operations and protection no doubt cheer up our troops. I am sure America's soldiers unanimously wish to thank these senators for their kind and thoughtful words, and for their "support".

Regarding Vietnam, the senators are right in some respects. There are parallels. "Anti-War" protesters are indeed just a step away from calling our soldiers "baby killers" and spitting on them. Just as in Vietnam, Democrats voted to authorize military force, and then later sought to undercut financial support for the war. Are they committed to once again giving us another Fall of Saigon like they did 30 years ago?

There is an inescapable sense of deja vu when one witnesses the hedonism and carnival atmosphere surrounding the protests aimed at the War in Iraq, that condemn our president and our troops as "murderers". All of which takes place under the approving nods of Democratic leaders, galvanized publicly and loudly in their opposition to "Bush's Quagmire".

The Democrats' bizarre notion of supporting our troops is best summed up by their own flagship statement "We oppose the war in Iraq but we support our troops". This puzzling declaration explicitly claims that our troops are fighting and dying for a cause not worth fighting and dying for, that their mission is wrong, and that what they are doing is therefore wrong. "We despise the evil that you are doing, but we support you personally." I'm sure our troops are gratified every time they hear this.

In no uncertain terms, Democrats are telling our troops that while they "support them", they also believe that our troops are fighting an immoral war, murdering innocent civilians and harming our nation. With support like that, our troops don't need enemies.

The bottom line is this: If you oppose what our troops are doing, you are opposing our troops.

So Democrats, if this is the kind of support you have to offer our troops, please be so kind as to stop supporting them.

The author of this blogsite is not a Conservative, Neo-Conservative or a Republican.

posted by Imal  # 8:57 PM

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