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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Monday, 8 December 2003

Topic: Iraq

"Who would Jesus assassinate?" We ask our consultants.
Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin and his Christian Army learn from the Israelis

This is interesting. Israeli consultants at Fort Bragg.

If you've followed the news, we have started doing in Iraq what the Sharon government does so well in Gaza and the Left Bank: targeted assassinations, destroying homes as a "disincentive" to those who support our enemy, capturing and holding the relatives (wives and children) of the bad guys to get them to give themselves up. And that last item, although it kind of sounds like kidnapping and a sort of ransom demand from one point of view, from another point of view it's simply a way to win this thing.

Here we have and interesting item:

Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq
Julian Borger in Washington, The Guardian (UK), Tuesday December 9, 2003
Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US Special Forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.

US forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centres of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.

But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba'athist-led insurgency ahead of next November's presidential elections.

US special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralisation" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.

"This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.

"It is bonkers, insane. Here we are - we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."
Well, I guess it gets the job done.

Some of us may find such activities objectionable, either morally, or for strategic reasons, thinking such tactics cause more problems in how this will all work out. When the immediate tactics (get the bad guys) work against the overall strategic goal (make them understand our way of life is great stuff so they want to be just like us) - then there is a problem.

The justification for using the "Sharon Method" for getting things settled over there?
...Colonel Ralph Peters, a former army intelligence officer and a critic of Pentagon policy in Iraq, said yesterday there was nothing wrong with learning lessons wherever possible.

"When we turn to anyone for insights, it doesn't mean we blindly accept it," Colonel Peters said. "But I think what you're seeing is a new realism. The American tendency is to try to win all the hearts and minds. In Iraq, there are just some hearts and minds you can't win. Within the bounds of human rights, if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area."

The new counter-insurgency unit made up of elite troops being put together in the Pentagon is called Task Force 121, New Yorker magazine reported in yesterday's edition.

One of the planners behind the offensive is a highly controversial figure, whose role is likely to inflame Muslim opinion: Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin.

In October, there were calls for his resignation after he told a church congregation in Oregon that the US was at war with Satan, who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army".
You see on bumper stickers and on shirts and baseball caps, "What would Jesus do?" It seems clear. He smites the enemy, hard, to get their attention. He makes examples of civilian villages. He sends assassination teams into faraway places to "take out" the bad guys - before they can do bad things. Just like you learned in Sunday School, right? Jesus was no wimp. And this is war.

It's hard to raise objections here. I may not be very religious, but most of the nation is, and I suspect thinks Boykin is right - slap these dusky, godless folks upside the head to make `em behave.

And it is unfair to object to this policy as something we, as the good guys, the civilized people, shouldn't do - because we are the people who clearly and unambiguously elected the current folks in power to act in our name, and do these things. We put them there, fair and square - sort of.

And the senators and congressmen we elected to represent us voted to sanction whatever was necessary to fight terrorism, and that included this war, the Patriot Act and the business of those we hold incommunicado at Guant?namo (the new "disappeared" as it were).

If you don't like all this, elect other people to represent you. If you can. Ha, ha.

Posted by Alan at 21:47 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 13:27 PST home

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