Monday, October 29, 2007

Krugman the Ostrich

Paul Krugman, NY Times columnist and previously noted mostly for his economic ignorance has in a new op-ed piece called Fearing Fear Itself demonstated his ignorance of foreign policy and national security.

Krugman is upset that Rudy Giuliani has advisers that do not seek to appease Iran:
Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible.”

Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative, tells us that Iran is the “main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11.” The Islamofascists, he tells us, are well on their way toward creating a world “shaped by their will and tailored to their wishes.” Indeed, “Already, some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia.”

Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?
Actually, it makes every bit of sense, at least for those willing to look at the facts. Let's see if we can answer some of Krugman's objections. First:

For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination.
Well, I thought in this case Christopher Hitchens, hardly a neocon, put it best:

Does Bin Ladenism or Salafism or whatever we agree to call it have anything in common with fascism?

I think yes. The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.
I think I am personally okay with any of the following terms: Islamism, Islamofascism, Radical Islam, Jihadism, etc. The key is that a certain version of Islam is the guiding force of our enemies. I don't know that Islam has to be interpreted in such a way that it leads to conflict with the West. I happen to know some self-declared Muslims who seem no more threatening than the average Western Christians. But at this point it really is up to Muslims and particularly their leadership to demonstrate otherwise.

Krugman continues:
And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 — in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.
To gain a good understanding of Iran's relationship to Al Qaeda, as well as how hostile it has been to the United States over the last 29 year, I recommend Thomas Jocelyn's excellent report on Iran's Proxy War Against America as well as the 9-11 Commission Report. Well, did Iran have anything to do with 9/11?

Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al Qaeda figures after Bin Ladin’s return to Afghanistan. Khallad has said that Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with al Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, but was rebuffed because Bin Ladin did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.Khallad and other detainees have described the willingness of Iranian officials to facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan.For example, Iranian border inspectors would be told not to place telltale stamps in the passports of these travelers. Such arrangements were particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda.

Our knowledge of the international travels of the al Qaeda operatives selected for the 9/11 operation remains fragmentary. But we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi “muscle” operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001. [p. 258, 9/11 Commission Full Report]

I guess the aiding and abetting of terrorists does not count as having anything to do with the operation. What is it with the Left and it's inability to accept the fact that we are at war with Iran? Apparently we need to review the list of assaults by Iran and Iranian sponsored organizations on the West. Such a list can be found in Jocelyn's Report on page 74 in the appendix.
November 4, 1979
Fifty-two American citizens are taken hostage by “students” loyal
to Ayatollah Khomeini. They are held for more than a year, until
January 20, 1981. The kidnappings are part of the Iranian revolution,
which serves as a model for Sunni terrorist groups like Ayman
al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
April 18, 1983
Iran’s master terrorist, Imad Mugniyah, orchestrates the first significant
Islamist suicide attack against America: the bombing of
the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Establishing a modus operandi for
terrorists in the years to come, the attacker utilizes a van packed
with explosives.
October 23, 1983
Using massive truck bombs, Hezbollah’s suicide bombers simultaneously
attack the U.S. Marine Barracks and a housing complex
for French Paratroopers in Beirut, Lebanon. Al-Qaeda would later
adopt simultaneous suicide bombings as its preferred method for
committing attacks.
December 12, 1983
Iranian-backed terrorists bomb the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. A
close relative of Imad Mugniyah is convicted by a Kuwaiti court
and sentenced to death for his role in the bombing. Other attackers,
also supported by Iran, are imprisoned. The terrorists come to
be known as the “Kuwait 17” or “Dawa 17.”
iran’s proxy war against america 75
March 16, 1984
William Buckley, the CIA’s station chief in Beirut, is kidnapped
and later tortured-to-death by Imad Mugniyah’s Hezbollah. Buckley’s
kidnapping is one in a series of Hezbollah’s kidnappings from
the early 1980s through the early 1990s. Dozens of Americans are
kidnapped and Hezbollah frequently demands an exchange for
the Kuwait 17. Hezbollah’s kidnappings lead to the biggest scandal
of President Ronald Reagan’s tenure, the Iran-Contra affair,
after the Reagan administration agrees to exchange arms for the
September 20, 1984
Hezbollah terrorists strike the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut with
a truck bomb.
December 3, 1984
Mugniyah’s operatives hijack Kuwait Airways Flight 221. The hijackers
attempt to barter for the release of the Kuwait 17.
June 14, 1985
Mugniyah’s terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847. Once again, the
hijackers attempt to barter for the release of the Kuwait 17. When
the hijackers’ demands are denied, they beat and kill a U.S. Navy
serviceman, Robert Dean Stethem, who happened to be on the
flight. Incredibly, Germany granted parole to one of the hijackers
in December 2005.
According to Ali Mohamed, a top al-Qaeda operative in U.S. custody,
Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad partners with
Iran in a planned coup attempt in Egypt. Tehran trains EIJ terrorists
for the coup attempt, which is ultimately aborted. Iran also
pays al-Zawahiri $2 million for sensitive information concerning
the Egyptian Government’s plans to raid several islands in the Persian
Iran and Sudan, then the world’s only Sunni Islamist states,
forge a strategic alliance. They begin to jointly export terrorism
throughout the world.
April 1991
Hassan al-Turabi hosts the first Popular Arab Islamic Conference
in Sudan. The conference provides a forum for disparate forces in
the Middle East who oppose American presence in the region to
come together. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iraqi and Iranian representatives
all attend the meeting.
February 26, 1993
Terrorists connected to al-Qaeda and the global terror network
bomb the World Trade Center using a rental truck packed with
explosives. The bombers’ colleagues plot a follow-on attack
against landmarks in the NYC area. There is no known evidence
that Iran had a hand in these events. It is clear, however,
that several of the plotters had ties to Hassan al-Turabi’s Sudan.
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of the two
leading Egyptian terrorist groups (both of which will join al-
Qaeda) and who was living in the New York metropolitan area,
is later convicted for his involvement in the attacks. Reports
surface that he and his organization received financial assistance
from Iran.
According to Ali Mohamed, Imad Mugniyah and Osama bin
Laden meet in Sudan. Bin Laden expresses his desire to model al-
Qaeda after Hezbollah. In particular, bin Laden expresses interest
in Mugniyah’s bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983
iran’s proxy war against america 77
and similar attacks. They agree to work together against America
and the West.
According to Jamal al-Fadl, an al-Qaeda operative in U.S. custody,
bin Laden meets a leading Iranian sheikh in Sudan. The purpose
of the meeting is to put aside any differences between their
competing brands of Islam in order to come together against their
common enemy: the West. The meeting is just the first of several
between bin Laden and Iran’s spiritual leaders.
Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps train al-
Qaeda’s terrorists in camps in Sudan, Lebanon and Iran. Among
the terrorists trained are some of bin Laden’s most trusted lieutenants
and al-Qaeda’s future leaders.
Egypt and Algeria cut off diplomatic ties with Iran. Both nations
accuse Iran and Sudan of supporting Sunni terrorism, including
terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda. Egypt will blame Iran
for supporting both the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic
Group throughout the 1990’s.
November 13, 1995
Two bombs are detonated, nearly simultaneously, at the Saudi National
Guard training facility in Riyadh, killing five Americans. The
suspects are captured and confess to being inspired by Osama bin
Laden. Bin Laden denies responsibility, but praises the attack. It is
likely al-Qaeda’s first terrorist attack inside the Saudi Kingdom.
November 19, 1995
An al-Qaeda suicide bomber destroys the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad,
Pakistan. The CIA’s Bob Baer later learns that Mugniyah’s
deputy assisted al-Qaeda in the attack and that one of bin Laden’s
top terrorists remained in contact with Mugniyah’s office months
May 1996
Bin Laden is expelled from Sudan, but the 9/11 Commission
reports that “intelligence indicates the persistance of contacts”
between al-Qaeda and Iran even after al-Qaeda’s relocation to Afghanistan.
Bin Laden and al-Qaeda maintain an ongoing presence
in Sudan, despite not being “formally” welcome.
June 21 - 23, 1996
Tehran hosts a summit for the leading Sunni and Shiite terrorist
groups. It is announced that the terrorists will continue to focus
on U.S. interests thoughout the region. Mugniyah, bin Laden,
and a leading member of the EIJ reportedly forge the “Committee
of Three,” under the leadership of Iran’s intelligence chief, to
focus their joint efforts against American targets.
June 25, 1996
Hezbollah terrorists, operating under the direction of senior
Iranian officials, bomb the Khobar Towers apartment complex
in Saudi Arabia. Contemporaneous reports by both the State
Department and the CIA note that al-Qaeda is also suspected of
playing a role. The 9/11 Commission would later find “indirect
evidence” of al-Qaeda’s involvement. The evidence includes intelligence
indicating that al-Qaeda was planning a similar operation
in the months prior and that bin Laden was congratulated by
other al-Qaeda operatives, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, shortly
after the attack.
iran’s proxy war against america 79
July 1996
According to Bob Baer, the Egyptian Islamic Group—an ally of
bin Laden’s al-Qaeda—is in contact with Mugniyah.
According to Bob Baer, there is “incontrovertible evidence” of a
meeting between bin Laden and a representative of the Iranian
Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
August 7, 1998
Al-Qaeda’s suicide bombers simultaneously destroy the U.S. Embassies
in Kenya and Tanzania. It is al-Qaeda’s most spectacular
attack prior to 9/11. The attack is clearly modeled on Hezbollah’s
attacks in the early 1980s. Indeed, the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible
were trained by Hezbollah in the early 1990s. There is evidence
that Iran also provided explosives used in the attack.
October - November 2000
Imad Mugniyah and his lieutenants personally escort several of
the 9/11 muscle hijackers out of Saudi Arabia on flights to Beirut
and Iran. In all, eight to ten of the hijackers travel through Iran
on the way to 9/11.
December 2000
Ramzi Binalshibh, al-Qaeda’s key point man for the 9/11 plot,
applies for visa at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin. His visa application
is approved.
January 31, 2001
Ramzi Binalshibh arrives at Tehran International airport. He does
not return to Germany until February 28, 2001. The purpose of
his trip to Iran remains a mystery. The 9/11 Commission does not
mention Binalshibh’s trip to Iran.
Early September 2001
Binalshibh flees to Iran shortly before the 9/11 attacks.
September 11, 2001
Nineteen al-Qaeda hijackers execute al-Qaeda’s largest operation
to date, killing nearly 3000 Americans. Many of the details surrounding
the plot, including who financed the attack, remain a
October 2001
According to a high-level Taliban detainee at Gitmo, Iran offers
the Taliban Government assistance in retreating from Afghanistan.
October 2001
Numerous press reports indicate that Iran aids the retreat of hundreds
of al-Qaeda and Taliban members from Afghanistan. Some
al-Qaeda operatives enjoy safehaven in Iran to this day. Among
them is Said al-Adel, who is reportedly the third highest ranking
member of al-Qaeda and was trained by Hezbollah during the
early 1990s, and Saad bin Laden, Osama’s heir apparent.
April 11, 2002
Al-Qaeda carries out the first attack ordered by bin Laden since
9/11: a suicide bomber destroys a synagogue in Tunisia, killing
nineteen people. According to NBC News, Saad bin Laden contacted
the cell responsible for the attack from his safehaven in
Iran. Suleiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s spokesman, also claims
al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the attack from his abode in Iran.
End of 2002 - Spring 2003
According to former Director of Central Intelligence George
Tenet, senior al-Qaeda leaders discuss the acquisition of nuclear
weapons from their safe haven in Iran. In fact, al-Qaeda’s “nuclear
chief,” Abdel al-Aziz al-Masri, is one of many senior terrorists living
in Iran.
May 12, 2003
Under orders from Saif al-Adel and Saad bin Laden, who are operating
from Iran, al-Qaeda’s terrorists simultaneously strike three
separate housing complexes in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Another al-
Qaeda agent thought to be responsible for the attack flees to Iran
before he can be captured.
May 16, 2003
One dozen al-Qaeda bombers attack several targets in Casablanca,
Morocco. Saad bin Laden, living in Iran, is reportedly in contact
with the cell shortly before the attack.
2004 – present
Iran supplies advanced IED technology to the insurgents in Iraq.
There is growing evidence of Iranian support for both Sunni and
Shiite insurgency groups in Iraq. Iran continues to harbor senior
al-Qaeda leaders as the terrorist network reorganizes.
January 20, 2007
IRGC and Hezbollah terrorists kill five American soldiers in Karbala,
January 2007 – present
Numerous IRGC and Hezbollah terrorists, who are responsible
for arming and training terrorist groups in Iraq, are captured by
American and Iraqi forces.
No, Mr. Krugman you're the one who's delusional. We need to fight back and we need to fight back now.


madmax said...

"I don't know that Islam has to be interpreted in such a way that it leads to conflict with the West. I happen to know some self-declared Muslims who seem no more threatening than the average Western Christians."

Actually, I think that terms like Islamo-fascism or radical Islam, etc are wrong and dangerous. They suggest that there is some version of Islam which is peaceful and that if we just remove the radical part then everything will be ok in time. Well Islam has been waging war against non-believers for its entire 1400 year history.

My serious reading on the subject since 9/11 has lead me to believe that to be faithful to Islam is to be either a Jihadist or someone who is sympathetic to Jihad. The polling data from the Muslim world bears this out. Jihad is central to Islam. To follow in the path of the Prophet (may piss be upon him) is to identify with a conquerer. Islam never developed an interpretive tradition as did Christianity and Judaism. And of course Islam rejected Aristotle and the Hellenistic tradition.

I'd state it like this: there are moderate Muslims but there is *no* moderate Islam. Actually I'll go further. I don't really think Islam should be considered a religion proper. Its better to think of it as a political / military ideology with religious trappings. And central to this ideology is the conquest of the world. In that sense it should be considered a religious Communism.

I have no doubt that your Muslim coworkers are good people. But they are not pious Muslims. If they were, if they were to immerse themselves in the Koran, the Hadith, the Suna and all the atmospherics of Islam there would be a high probability that they would harbor hostility to Westerners and to you. Of course they wouldn't show it. They would be trained in the Koranic arts of deceit which Mohamed excelled in.

I agree with your points about Krugman but to me Islam if taken seriously can only lead to Jihad conquest. Its not Islamo-fascism that is our enemy. *Islam* is our enemy.

Gideon said...

Well, I said "I don't know" because I'm just not sure about this. I've read Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq as well as Efraim Karsh's Islamic Imperialism, and certainly Islam, taken straight as it were, is what you describe.

But people can twist religions and ideologies in all sorts of directions, including benevolent ones. The important thing is to proudly state our values of reason, egoism, capitalism and deny any validity to the forceful imposition of alternative views. However, what people want to believe in private should remain their business.