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Conventions wisdom is useless vs. jihadists (Heads Up - Steyn Strikes Again!)
Chicago Sun Times ^ | January 16, 2005 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/16/2005 6:14:20 AM PST by finnigan2

A third of a decade after 9/11, it's hard trying to maintain a war footing against a nebulous enemy. At the Senate confirmation hearings for the new attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, Democrats seem to have decided that the very concept of an "enemy" is dubious, cheerfully cranking up their sanctimonious preening for CNN and berating Judge Gonzales for declining to extend the Geneva Conventions to captured terrorists.

To be covered by Geneva, a combatant has to have (a) a commander who is responsible for his subordinates; (b) formal recognizable military insignia; (c) weapons that are carried openly, and (d) an adherence to the laws and customs of warfare.

Islamist terrorists meet none of these conditions, and extending the protection of the conventions to them would simply announce to the world that, from a legal point of view, there's no downside to embracing terror. Blow up a nightclub or a schoolhouse or a pizza parlor and you'll still get full POW status.

Ah-ha, say the Dems. But, if we don't treat our prisoners with respect, America's brave men and women in uniform will pay the price when they fall into enemy hands.

Hello? Does anyone in the Democratic Party still read the newspapers, other than the fawning editorials of the New York Times?

If an American falls into the hands of the enemy, he's going to be all over the Internet having his head hacked off for a recruitment video or dragged through the streets and strung up on a bridge in Fallujah.

The military historian Sir Max Hastings made the point last week that, in an age of overwhelming U.S. military supremacy, for her enemies asymmetric warfare -- i.e., terrorism -- is the only logical way to go. But the urge by the Democrats and the media to raise them to the level of lawful combatants only makes things even more asymmetric: They can decapitate us while screaming "Allahu Akbar!" and clean up on the DVD sales, while we're only supposed to ask name, rank and serial number, two of which they don't have and they're flexible on the first. The wish to gentrify the enemy and, by extension, their tactics will only result in more kidnappings and more decapitations.

In late summer, three hostages were seized in Iraq -- the two Americans were murdered immediately, but the third, a Briton, was kept alive while his jailers very adroitly played off U.K. Muslim lobby groups and public opinion against her majesty's government. As I wrote back then, "the feelers put out by the foreign office to Ken Bigley's captors . . . confer respectability on the head-hackers and increase the likelihood that Britons and other foreigners will be seized and decapitated in the future. The United Kingdom, like the government of the Philippines when it allegedly paid a ransom for the release of its Iraqi hostages, is thus assisting in the mainstreaming of jihad."

I was proved right a few days later when poor Margaret Hassan, an aid worker who'd lived in Baghdad for decades and was married to an Iraqi, was seized -- in the hopes of extracting further gestures of deference from British officials -- and then, like Bigley, murdered.

It's depressing that after three years the Democrats seem incapable of any kind of characterization of the enemy that approximates to reality. But it's not surprising. In the landscape of modern progressive pieties, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.

But out there in the field a good glimpse of how things really work was provided by Moayad Ahmed Yasseen, who was captured in Fallujah a couple of months ago and turned out to be full of interesting information. He was a colonel in Saddam's Iraqi Army, and after the fall of the Baathists last spring was sent to Tehran, where he says he was received by Iran's head honcho, Ayatollah Khamenei, and various Iranian intelligence officials.

He returned with cash, weapons and car bombs for his new outfit -- something called Jaish Muhammad, which means Muhammad's Army. It's closely allied with Abu al-Zarqawi, insurgent numero uno in the new Iraq. A few weeks later, Saddam ordered Yasseen west, for a meeting with Syrian intelligence to procure more money and weapons from Boy Assad.

So who's the enemy there? Take your pick. Saddamite remnants, Iranian theocrats, Syrian Baathists, ad hoc insurgents, a Jordanian terrorist commander; states, non-state actors, Islamic fundamentalists, secular dictatorships, wily opportunists -- you name it, Col. Yasseen's plugged into it. And, even though Osama has anointed Zarqawi as his viceroy in occupied Iraq (somewhat post facto), it seems unlikely he or anybody close to him in the luxury caves with en suite latrine has anything to do with what's going on in the Sunni Triangle, or Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia, or anywhere else.

We were encouraged after Afghanistan to see al-Qaida as less of a hierarchical structure and more of a loose franchise operation. But it seems doubtful that these days it's anything at all -- except perhaps a meaningless media shorthand for a network of diffused autonomous Islamist groups operating from Central America to the Balkans to Southeast Asia, not to mention gazillions of British, Canadian and European Muslims who graduated from the Afghan terror camps and either returned home to await instructions or sallied forth to join the jihad in Chechnya, Gaza and Bali, plus various disaffected individuals who just got the Islamist fever, like the July 4th shooter at Los Angeles Airport and, indeed, the Washington sniper duo, the younger of whom liked to draw pictures of planes crashing into skyscrapers, etc.

How do you deal with an enemy that encompasses everything from the U.N.'s favorite dictatorships to free-lance nutters? You need methods that are as diverse as they are. You need to be smart and at times improvisational.

You don't do what the senators puffing all over the TV want to do: Box in the United States and give free Geneva upgrades to terrorists.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jihad; jihadists; marksteyn; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 01/16/2005 6:14:20 AM PST by finnigan2
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To: finnigan2
How do you deal with an enemy that encompasses everything from the U.N.'s favorite dictatorships to free-lance nutters? You need methods that are as diverse as they are. You need to be smart and at times improvisational.

You don't do what the senators puffing all over the TV want to do: Box in the United States and give free Geneva upgrades to terrorists.

2 posted on 01/16/2005 6:23:16 AM PST by aposiopetic
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To: prairiebreeze; Mo1

Steyn classic:

"...and give free Geneva upgrades to terrorists."


3 posted on 01/16/2005 6:24:29 AM PST by Peach (The Cl intons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: aposiopetic
WOW
4 posted on 01/16/2005 7:00:17 AM PST by andyandval
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To: Peach
while we're only supposed to ask name, rank and serial number, two of which they don't have and they're flexible on the first.

*snicker!*

5 posted on 01/16/2005 7:16:34 AM PST by prairiebreeze (George W Bush: Spending well-earned political capital.)
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To: prairiebreeze

I laughed out loud when I read that too. Steyn is one of the best.


6 posted on 01/16/2005 7:31:10 AM PST by Peach (The Cl intons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: finnigan2

"Hello? Does anyone in the Democratic Party still read the newspapers, other than the fawning editorials of the New York Times? "

Ain't that the truth!


7 posted on 01/16/2005 7:48:31 AM PST by Smartaleck
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To: finnigan2; Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

8 posted on 01/16/2005 8:31:47 AM PST by Pokey78 (11/02/04: The death of Zogby's "sterling" reputation.)
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To: finnigan2
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. ,20016

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Our administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Although Ahmed is extremely violent, and a sociopath killer, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome these character flaws.

Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. He will bite you, given the chance. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We do not suggest that you ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him, and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the new dress code that Ahmed will recommend as more appropriate attire. I'm sure they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka - over time. Just remind them that it is all part of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs" - wasn't that how you put it?

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you, who know so much more than we do, even though they have never been there, keep us informed of the proper way to do our job. You take good care of Ahmed - and remember...we'll be watching. Good luck!

Cordially...Your Buddies, "W" & Don Rumsfeld

9 posted on 01/16/2005 8:45:38 AM PST by yoe (John Kerry, the Quintessential looser - the embodiment of arrogance and stupidity!)
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To: Pokey78; finnigan2
Steyn....not the usual hilarious stuff. Maybe because he sees very little humor in the rotten party's treatment of cold-blooded killers. He sounds a bit.....put out.

He still nails it. On an 'off' day, (and I'm not saying this is one), Steyn writes better than 99% on their best days!

Thanks for posting an FR icon, and thanks for the ping, poke!

10 posted on 01/16/2005 8:55:20 AM PST by 1john2 3and4
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To: yoe

Perfect!


11 posted on 01/16/2005 8:57:47 AM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: finnigan2
In the landscape of modern progressive pieties, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.

************

Wow. He nailed it here.

12 posted on 01/16/2005 8:59:34 AM PST by trisham
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To: trisham
Yeah....

"Can't we all just get along?"

13 posted on 01/16/2005 9:16:45 AM PST by DCPatriot (I don't do politically correct very well either.)
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear; yoda swings

Ping


14 posted on 01/16/2005 9:18:57 AM PST by knighthawk (We will always remember We will always be proud We will always be prepared so we may always be free)
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To: Pokey78
Im so Happy to see that Mark is back.

And Mark hit it on the head again.

In the landscape of modern progressive pieties, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.

We are fighting a war on 2 fronts.

We had best sucseed at getting bleeding heart Libs to recognize the ENEMY if we hope to defeat them.

This country was founded using guerrilla tactics and we shouldnt allow our military to be trapped in decorum while fighting this rabble

15 posted on 01/16/2005 9:32:43 AM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: trisham

bump


16 posted on 01/16/2005 9:37:34 AM PST by Stultis
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To: andyandval

Yes, wow. Steyn is the best opinion writer in the English-speaking world.


17 posted on 01/16/2005 9:59:19 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: finnigan2

"But it's not surprising. In the landscape of modern progressive pieties, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated."

Ain't it the truth!


18 posted on 01/16/2005 9:59:55 AM PST by Max Combined
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To: yoe
ROFL!!! :^D


19 posted on 01/16/2005 10:09:05 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: Pokey78

Thanks for the ping!


20 posted on 01/16/2005 10:12:40 AM PST by UnklGene
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To: finnigan2

My personal opinion is that we should fan the flames of the Dim's unhappiness so it burns even brighter. All they will accomplish is to swell the numbers of (a) our side and (b) the used to be Dims but now independent, leaning toward our side.

I say, go Dims go!


21 posted on 01/16/2005 11:06:53 AM PST by Chu Gary (USN Intel guy 1967 - 1970)
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To: Pokey78
Hello? Does anyone in the Democratic Party still read the newspapers, other than the fawning editorials of the New York Times?

Who said Democrats can read? Oh wait, they don't send their own kids to the public schools, so maybe they can.

22 posted on 01/16/2005 11:22:41 AM PST by irv
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To: Chu Gary

That'll preach, brother, Amen!


23 posted on 01/16/2005 11:25:16 AM PST by JusPasenThru (http://giinthesky.blogspot.com/)
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To: yoe
. . . to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

LOL! Would that it were so!

24 posted on 01/16/2005 12:00:07 PM PST by maryz
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To: finnigan2

BTTT


25 posted on 01/16/2005 1:16:11 PM PST by Gritty ("For Leftists, we have no enemies,... just friends with unaccomodated grievances-Mark Steyn)
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To: Pokey78
Steyn Bump-a-Roo!

Thanks Pokey!

26 posted on 01/16/2005 1:29:47 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: finnigan2

BTTT for later


27 posted on 01/16/2005 2:19:07 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Proud Patriots dot ORG!!! Operation Valentine's Day!!)
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To: 1john2 3and4

He sounds a bit.....put out.


%%%%%

Perhaps it's because W has ok'ed the release of 4 Brit and 1 Aussie Gitmo residents back to their home countries.


28 posted on 01/16/2005 2:48:54 PM PST by maica (Dems play to "MSM"...and we have learned they cannot defeat anyone.)
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To: finnigan2

BTTT


29 posted on 01/16/2005 3:07:11 PM PST by spodefly (This message packaged with desiccant. Do not open until ready for use or inspection.)
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To: Pokey78

Another scathing indictment of the dullards of the left; Steyn is incomparable. Thanks for the ping, Pokey!


30 posted on 01/16/2005 5:45:57 PM PST by alwaysconservative (Being a Democrat means you don't have to live in the same reality as the rest of us.)
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To: finnigan2

Steyn BTTT


31 posted on 01/16/2005 10:41:22 PM PST by hattend (Liberals! Beware the Perfect Rovian Storm [All Hail, Chimpus Khan!])
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To: finnigan2

I sure hope GW reads Steyn religiously.


32 posted on 01/16/2005 10:47:09 PM PST by Texasforever (It's hard to kiss the lips at night that chew your butt out all day long.)
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To: finnigan2

The last thing we need is JetBlue upgrades for terrorists.


33 posted on 01/16/2005 11:01:10 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pokey78

bttt


34 posted on 01/16/2005 11:10:47 PM PST by lainde
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To: finnigan2
I have seriously been needing a Steyn fix. Thank you!
35 posted on 01/17/2005 12:41:05 AM PST by Ruth A.
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To: finnigan2
But it's not surprising. In the landscape of modern progressive pieties, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.

"there are no enemies" -- except the Bush administration, of course.... and I doubt the "progressives" are planning any accommodation there.

36 posted on 01/17/2005 2:38:43 PM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative (Have you visited http://blog.c-pol.com?)
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