It’s really quite unimaginable.

Suspected Muslim separatists stormed two houses in a southern village early Wednesday and opened fire on the families with assault rifles, killing nine people and injuring nine others, a regional governor said.

Authorities had not yet entered the area where the attack occurred because about 500 villagers had gathered and were blocking them from entering, said Narathiwat Gov. Pracha Terat.

“The assailants cruelly murdered these villagers and spread rumors among other villagers that state officials did this,” Pracha told The Associated Press.

Just imagine if we hadn’t bankrupted the country (in more ways than one) with out excellent Iraqi adventure. Imagine if we were able to focus our once-vast resources on fighting the real war on terror, the huge difference we could be making. Meanwhile, terror is flourishing, given a big shot in the arm by our floundering efforts in Iraq, and to say that the world is a safer place because of it is nothing less than bizarre.

The Discussion: 16 Comments

The Iraqi woman suicide bomber who failed to blow herself up in the hotel in Jordan was radicalised by the US attack on Falluja. The “war on terror” creates more terror. One of the excuses for invasion and regime change was that Saddam was destabilisng the region. Now the US invasion is destabilising Jordan, Syria and maybe even Saudi. What a mess.

November 15, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

While I sympathize with the Thai authorities, one should remember that Thailand’s problems in the South have absolutely nothing to do with the “Global War on Terror” and everything to do with a conquered minority Malay state that has never been completely integrated into modern Thailand. There was an intelligent editorial on this same subject in this weekend’s Bangkok Post.

November 15, 2005 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

What precisely would you have the US do to end the Muslim opposition in southern Thailand that it is not currently doing?

Invade Thailand? I don’t think so.

Send US troops in support of the Thai army? They are not wanted.

Military aid? Thailand receives all the aid it has requested from the US.

Training the Thai military? Already being done to the full extent Thailand wants.

Intelligence sharing? Being done.

Pressure Malaysia to increase border security? Being done.

The fact is that the there is not a damned thing the US can do that it is not already doing that is likely to have any impact on the situation in southern Thailand. Neither Iraq, the US budget deficit nor the policies of Chimpy W. Hitler have anything to do with it.

November 16, 2005 @ 12:34 am | Comment

Thanks Lirelou, as always, for your insights. I know it’s a long-standing issue in Thailand (as is Islamic terrorismin the Middle East); like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, I’d hope we could assist with intelligence and some manpower.

Conrad, I’m just sayin’, you’d think some of those tens (hundreds?) of billions we’re spending to lose our McWar in Iraq maybe could have gone to some more productive ventures, where we really might have made an impact on Islamic terror. And I’m glad to see you’ve come around and are calling him Chimpy. Feels good, doesn’t it?

November 16, 2005 @ 1:15 am | Comment

Zhuanjia, just saw your comment and your point is absolutely crucial: so many of the new international terrorists are now being spawned in Iraq. If Guangzhou is the petri dish for infectious disease, Iraq is the petri dish for a new breed of terrorists. Iraq, fought in the name of the war on terror, has been a godsend to terrorists, a recruiter’s wet dream. Thanks, Mr. Chimp.

November 16, 2005 @ 1:22 am | Comment


While it is deluded to say that the post invasion operations in Iraq couldn’t have been handled better, it is truly disturbing to hear the left bellow that the war is lost.

First, it simply isn’t true. I am confident that US troops will eventually be drawn down, Iraqi forces will be able to take over and a demcratic government will be established in Iraq. That would be a victory and, despite the mistakes, it is by no means clear that that cannot still happen.

Second, such talk gives succor to the insurgents who hope for a Vietnam like abandonment of the field.

Third, such talk is bad for the moral of the US troops who are putting their lives on the line in Iraq.

I have no problem with anyone condemning the mistakes and seeking to place blame. I do have a problem with defeatism because it is not warranted and it can be self-fulfilling.

November 16, 2005 @ 7:16 am | Comment

Right now, the west is really stiring up a hornets nest in the islamic world, but it is not always the one to suffer. This is part of a global issue.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:29 am | Comment

Question: If we’re not gaining ground in the WOT, then why have all but a handful of Osama’s top-ranking officers been captured or assassinated?

November 16, 2005 @ 9:38 am | Comment

Every other week we hear the No. 2 or No. 3 Al Qaeda leader has been captured. Seriously. It only means something if they have a finite pool ofleaders. But they’re a hydra; kill on and 10 sprout up in their place, especially in the great terrorist incubator of Iraq.

November 16, 2005 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

From today’s news:

Five U.S. Marines were killed in fighting with al-Qaida-led insurgents near the Syrian border and an Army soldier died of wounds suffered in Baghdad, making Wednesday the second deadliest day for American forces in Iraq this month.

To Conrad’s earlier points, I really don’t believe the Marines facing the horrors of war on the ground are thinking much about what bloggers are saying; they are fighting for their lives, and in that situation the opinions of bloggers a million miles a way are of little concern. Neither do I think the enemy cares much either. Let’s face it, we’re losing, and even if we ultimately “win,” it will most likely be a face-saving Pyrrhic victory followed by a Vietnam-like calamity. Two and a half years, and we only last month managed to secure the 8-mile strip on highway from the airport to Baghdad, and only by literally walling it in. Those who criticize the war aren’t giving succor to the enemy and endangering our troops. Bush put our troops in danger, not us. Who cares more about them, those who would bring them home alive or those who would keep them their, ill equipped and fighting for an amorphous cause for an indefinite period? Seems pretty obvious to me….

November 16, 2005 @ 7:00 pm | Comment

To Conrad’s earlier points, I really don’t believe the Marines facing the horrors of war on the ground are thinking much about what bloggers are saying; they are fighting for their lives, and in that situation the opinions of bloggers a million miles a way are of little concern.

Richard, with all due respect, that is one of the dumbest things I’ve read from you. It just goes to show how very little you know about morale amongst soldiers.

November 16, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

With all respect, do you really think the soldiers being fired upon are thinking of what bloggers are posting about from the comforts of their home? I really don’t think so. Seriously; why do you think this is a dumb contention?

November 16, 2005 @ 8:04 pm | Comment


As a former Marine officer let me say a few things in response:

1. The Marines ARE NOT fighting for their lives. Tell that to an actual Marine and be prepared to get punched in the nose. The Marines are enganging and killing the enemy. That’s what Marines do. Insurgent casualties are many times more than those suffered by US forces. Are there US casualties? Of course, that’s the nature of combat, but the image of the Marines battling for survival is absurd and offensive and very wrong.

2. I am still in touch with former collegues who are now in Iraq. To think that they are not aware of what is being said in the media and on the internet is incorrect. They are very aware of it and the negativity and defeatism pisses them off.

3. “ill equiped”??!!!??? The US forces in Iraq are the best equiped and maintained fighting force in the history of the world. That’s a fact. The average jarhead today has equipment that I could only have dreamed about when I was in an elite Recon unit a few years ago. I never imagined a day when every infantry unit would carry laptops into combat and have real time direct links to spy planes and headquarters. There’s not another force in the world that can do that. People clammor about armored Humvees, but there is an inevitable tradeoff between armor and speed and the invasion proved the military maxim that “speed kills”. When the nature of the conflict changed from invasion to occupation, armor was provided. It took some time, but anyone who thinks it could have been done instantly has never served in the military.

4. I specifically said that there is nothing wrong with criticizing the conduct of the occupation. What I candemned was unwarranted defeatism. I’d love to see the Democrats say “Chimpy has made a big mess, but its crucial that we win and here is our specific plan to do that.” Unfortunately, that has not happened. Instead we get the “Bush lied” meme and Cindy goddam stupid Sheehan. It would be helpful to see the constant recriminations leavened with some constructive suggestions.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

I realize they are fighting and killing the enemy, but they are also fighting for their lives, as were the six Marines whose deaths I just cited. Either way, whether fighting to kill or protect themselves during attack, they are focused on destroying an enemy, and i don’t believe blogs are top of mind as they do so. Could be, but I’m skeptcal.

Ironically, they are the best-equipped fighting force in the world, but I’ve been shocked at the reports by our own Very Finest of their being sent out on dangerous missions without proper body/vehicle armor. If you haven’t seen these reports, there’s not much I can say. They are also poorly equipped in terms of manpower, with a lot of support and blood coming from an unprepared National Guard. Thus, the need to extend their engagements,generating all kinds of bitterness and rancor over a “backdoor draft.” I am sure these soldiers are far more irate and depressed about their own government’s games than they are over blog postings.

As to practical solutions, I can’t offer any. I only know that staying the course is the very worst one. As one blogger famously stated, “I have no idea how to unshit the bed. But I do know who shit the bed.”

November 16, 2005 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

The armored vehicle meme is deceptive. The Humvee was never designed to be an armored vehicle. It was a replacement for the also unarmored jeep. Putting armor on a Humvee reduces top speed by about 15 mph and acceleration substntially. I also substantially reduces fuel efficiency, and the useful life of the suspension and other components.

All of those trade offs are important in combat. In exchange for somewhat greater survivablilty, you have shorter patrol ranges, more breakdowns, and less ability to quickly escape. It may well be that armored Humvees cost more lives than they save, I cant say, but it wouldn’t surprise me either way. I do know that a lot of the special forces aren’t using armored Humvees, instead they are stripping down the standard Humvee for even greater speed, mobility and range.

The fact that the military lacks an armored-up troop transport vehicle suitable for the Iraqi occupation can’t be blamed on Bush or Rumsfeld. Those procurment choices date back to Clinton and even Bush 1. Not that I blame them either, one must make predictions and sometimes the future turns out different from what was anticipated.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Nicely put Conrad. That’s better than I could have stated it.

November 17, 2005 @ 7:17 am | Comment

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