a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Archive for September, 2001

Hot pursuit

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 28th September 2001

Source: Special Forces in Afghanistan AP reports that Bush announced “hot pursuit” of terrorists, and that special forces have conducted scouting missions.

Posted in Post | No Comments »

Better late than never, jerks

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 28th September 2001

BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Saudi base ‘available for US strikes’, but no word on what convinced them. Just anonymous complaints of being “railroaded.” Surely the main stick used was simply that otherwise there was no point in the US continuing to be at these bases.

Posted in Post | No Comments »

How does this affect Israel?

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th September 2001

This Slate “breakfast table” discussion — It’s More Than Israel by Emily Yoffe,Slate colleagues— takes up Mickey Kaus’ assertion that the US now has a green light to put more pressure on Israel (I believe he summed it up something like “If we’re in the same boat, we now have some say in where it should go”).

My own belief is that
(a) Bin Laden already wants more than that.
(b) Even if he got everything he now wants (Israel gone, US out of Saudi Arabia), he’d look around for more to want. While I’m open to the latter (especially now that the Saudis apparently won’t let us use the air base for any retaliation), I’m not at all open to ditching Israel because of Bin Laden.

Posted in Post | No Comments »

True or false

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th September 2001

An excellent all-purpose rumor-dispeller/confirmer can be found at Urban Legends Reference Pages: Rumors of War.

Among the *FALSE* rumors:

  • CNN used old footage to fake images of Palestinians dancing in the street after the 9/11 attacks.
  • A man “surfed” the tower collapse to safety.
  • 4000 Jews employed at the WTC had prior knowledge of the attack and stayed home.
  • “Q33NY” was a flight number of one of the planes used in the attacks.

Among the *TRUE* rumors:

  • A bound pair of hands was found atop a building near the WTC.
  • A Starbucks outlet charged rescue workers $130 for 3 cases of water intended for WTC victims.

Posted in Post | No Comments »

A conspiracy quite vast enough

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th September 2001

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism Security: found this recommended on one of the other blogs I’ve started reading. Although it has a bit of a “Dr. Bronner’s” look and feel to it, it seems to have some insider knowledge about the Bin Laden crisis. None of it is terribly encouraging:

  • (23 September) This is not a ragged rabble, but a well-drilled, dedicated Islamic legion of at least 110,000 zealots, raring to take on Western armies and unafraid of elite US Delta, Rangers and Seals or British S.A.S. commandos descending on their strongholds.”
  • (23 September) In North America, together with his closest ally, the Egyptian Jihad Islami, some 2,500 hard core fighting men; in Yemen, where his family originated before migrating to Saudi Arabia – 2000 directly.
  • (26 September) Jihad activists in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia – an estimated 6,000 men – [are] to report for duty and prepare to open a second Islamic front against the United States in the Balkans.

We’ll see, I guess. 2500 men could do a lot of damage. You’d think some would have already, since 9/11; I suppose the FBI dragnet can be credited with slowing them down, but I also think

(a) 2500 seems like a hell of a lot; I know bin Laden is rich, but he and his cohorts would have to be Croesus to support all that and everything else they’re credited with.

(b) Not all of them may be as committed as Mr. Atta. On the other hand, again, not all of them need to be: I’ve read some reports suggesting not all of the hijackers may have known it was a suicide mission.

Posted in Post | No Comments »

The Soul of Battle

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 26th September 2001

Doctrine, Heal Thyself by Jacob Weisberg nails it: the Powell Doctrine is all about optional wars like Viet Nam, and not about unavoidable ones like this one. I am distressed that a common-sense understanding of what the American people want is not at all a part of Powell’s calculations.

I am reminded frequently of a book I read this summer, “The Soul of Battle.” In it, author Victor Davis Hanson essentially argues that true citizen armies and generals who know how to use them can defeat just about anything. The examples are Epaminondas, Sherman, Patton and their armies.

This review, “Laying Down Arms”, in the Wilson Quarterly by Andrew Bacevich, fairly lays out the objections to Hanson’s examples and analysis, but still concludes: “Disguised as a work of scholarship, The Soul of Battle is in fact a timely and bracing polemic. Its true purpose is to indict the democracies of our own day, the United States foremost among them, for fabricating a new military tradition that is paltry, mean spirited, timorous–and explicitly designed not to engage the passions of the people. Victor Davis Hanson summons those sharing his faith in democracy to restore the connection between that faith and our military policies, so that the purposes for which democratic nations employ power and the way they fight reflect the will of the people. For citizens of the democracy that has arrogated to itself the role of world’s only superpower, that message demands thoughtful consideration.”

The times are different, as is the enemy, but I would still be very interested in learning Mr. Hanson’s take on current events.

Posted in Post | 3 Comments »

Backpedaling already?

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 25th September 2001

US-Militäraktion heißt jetzt „Operation dauerhafte Freiheit“ Continued signs of backpedaling in the Bush administration? “Infinite Justice” renamed to “Enduring Freedom”, Powell saying we’re not out to topple the Taliban. Why the hell not? They fit the description of “harboring terrorists” better than anyone else in the world.

Posted in Post | 1 Comment »