They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dexter Filkins On ISIS (Audio)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

William R. Polk: Iraq, Syria, and the Region

William R. Polk on American Grand Strategy for Iraq, Syria, and the Region

"We win each battle, but the battles keep happening. And to our chagrin, we don't seem to be winning the wars. By almost any criterion, we are less 'victorious' today than half a century ago." 
The Mental Block and The Broadside
by William R. Polk
Analysis of foreign affairs problems often ends in a mental block.  As we have seen in each of our recent crises—Somalia, Mali, Libya, Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine and Iran—"practical" men of affairs want quick answers:  they say in effect, 'don't bother us with talk about how we got here; this is where we are; so what do we do now?'  The result, predictably, is a sort of nervous tick in the body politic:  we lurch from one emergency to the next in an unending sequence.
This is not new.  We all have heard the quip:  "ready, fire, aim."  In fact those words were not just a joke.  For centuries after infantry soldier were given the rifle, they were ordered not to take the time to aim; rather, they were instructed just to point in the general direction of the enemy and fire.  Their commanders believed that it was the mass impact, the "broadside," that won the day.
Our leaders still believe it.  They think that our "shock and awe," our marvelous technology measured in stealth bombers, drones, all-knowing intelligence, our massed and highly mobile troops and our money constitute a devastating broadside.   All we have to do is to point in the right direction and shoot.
So we shoot and then shoot again and again.  We win each battle, but the battles keep happening.  And to our chagrin, we don't seem to be winning the wars.  By almost any criterion, we are less "victorious" today than half a century ago [...] Link

ISIS 'a Saudi project'

[...] Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.” Link

Friday, June 13, 2014

Joe Biden Iraq Spiel 2010 (Video)

Go on, admit it. You WOULD buy a used car off this guy.