A blog by Patrick Crozier

War on Terrorism

October 12, 2004

That spiked Steyn article
Patrick Crozier

Oh, you didn't know Mark Steyn had an article pulled from the Telegraph? Well, he did and it's here. It's about the murder of Ken Bigley. And it's about mawkishness and Dianaism. And it gets close to hitting the nail on the head, though like Anthony Daniels earlier this week, not quite close enough.

October 10, 2004

Saddam “didn’t understand international relations perfectly”
Patrick Crozier

…you can say that again. Hilarious (if you forget the torture, human experimentation, mass murder etc) Times account of the last days of Iraqi Ba'athism. Watch out for Saddam's Catch 22: if he admits he has WMD he gets clobbered by the Americans; if he denies it he gets clobbered by the Iranians

March 15, 2004

The Treaty of Westphalia
Patrick Crozier

This document (vintage 1648?) has attracted rather a lot of attention recently. Tone reckons it's dead meat. As far as I remember what it says is that states must not interfere in the internal affairs of other states. The corollary is that if one state does interfere in the internal affairs of another then the second state has every right to interfere in the internal affairs of the first state. Clear?

If that is what the ToW says then I am in favour of it. For starters it did stop the Thirty Years War which was a pretty appalling conflict. For the most part it kept the Cold War cold - another Good Thing. And when did the Cold War get hottest? Cuban Missile Crisis. And, is a missile interfering with someone's internal affairs? Moot point. And, it's precisely because it was a moot point ie the ToW was not clear on this, that the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to get nasty.

I don't think the ToW's dead yet either. In fact I would go as far as to say that the War on Terror vindicates it. Afghanistan (by allowing al-Qaeda to organise on its territory) breaks the ToW. The US invades. Bye, bye terrorists. By the same token the invasion of Iraq is a far less certain thing.

The only real debate seems to be where did the terrorists come from in the first place? Often a tricky question.

There is another debate. Who is allowed to threaten the United States? See aforementioned Cuba Missile Crisis. Almost no one.

And one question? Is swamping a country with thousands of unwanted immigrants tantamount to breaking the Treaty of Westphalia? Would be an interesting world if it were now wouldn't it?

February 08, 2004

This isn't about Blair's future. It is much more serious
Patrick Crozier

Matthew d'Ancona takes the high view:

…the beneficial consequences of the conflict have already been plentiful. Libya has agreed to disarm its WMD. Iran has admitted the International Atomic Energy Authority to inspect its nuclear plant. UN investigators in Tripoli and Tehran helped to uncover the astonishing trade in nuclear technology masterminded by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. These are notable victories in the struggle to prevent rogue states developing WMD which might fall into the hands of fundamentalist terrorists.

Worth a read I'd say.

December 17, 2003

Useless Idiots II
Patrick Crozier

Reporting on troop entertainment in Iraq the Times says:

Robin Williams and Bruce Willis are turning out for the GIs while British troops have to make do with Jim Davidson and Bjorn Again.

Pardon me, but shouldn't that be the other way round?

December 12, 2003

Mark Steyn in the Spectator
Patrick Crozier

He says of Salam Pax:

But personally I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.
 
September 30, 2003

An audit of war
Patrick Crozier

Or, in other words, how are we doing and how are we likely to do in the War on Terrorism?

So far, we, the West, have done pretty well. We won the war in Afghanistan, we deposed the Taliban, scattered al-Qaeda and (probably) killed bin Laden. We've even managed to install a reasonably stable regime there. Pretty good stuff I would say - especially seeing as many (including me) didn't think it could be done.

We also won the war in Iraq, or at least its first phase. What sort of man could not have experienced at least a tinge of delight when that statue came crashing down? Dull of soul, that's for sure. Saddam is gone and it is highly unlikely he's ever going to come back.

The Iraq question is what happens next? And that is all bound up in the question of why we went to war in the first place? Well, why did we invade Iraq? Was it to:

  • topple Saddam
  • destroy Saddam's links with al-Qaeda
  • destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
  • liberate Iraq
  • democratise Iraq
  • turn it into a politically correct paradise?
I ask because the answer to the question of what we do next is intimately bound up in the answer to the question why we got involved in the first place. It is significant that we were never told the precise reason before we went to war.

If the aim was solely to topple Saddam then it would appear we've done the job. If it was to destroy Saddam's links with al-Qaeda then by getting rid of Saddam we've accomplished that as well no matter what al-Qaeda might feel about the issue.

If it was to destroy WMDs then, well, it looks like Saddam may have done the job for us. But what I do find odd is that there do not seem to be people in American custody or at least in contact with the Americans who have not been able to tell us where and when these acts of destruction took place or, if not, where the weapons or the facilities that created them are now.

If the aim was to liberate/democratise/whateverise Iraq then it strikes me that we are a long way to achieving it. It is easy enough to get rid of a dictator but to put in place structures that might prevent his or another's re-emergence is another matter entirely. Indeed, if this was the aim then one might well wonder if the invasion of Iraq had anything to do with the War on Terrorism at all.

Talking of which, on that, the War on Terrorism (as opposed to terrorists), we do seem to be winning. The number of outrages on American soil since 9/11 is very small. Off the top of my head I can think of only two and they are (in the grand scheme of things) pretty small beer: the Washington sniper and the shooting up of Los Angeles airport. Yes, there has been the Shoe Bomber and the Bali and Morocco bombings but we were expecting a lot worse than this. Terrorism is very definitely in abeyance.

We shouldn't forget that civil liberties have taken a knock in this war. This is not only bad in itself but may well be bad for the prosecution of the war. In a prescient piece written just before 9/11 Brian Micklethwait argued that if there's one thing you need to fight a war it's community spirit and if you want community spirit then you'd better have freedom.

What next? Where do we go from here? Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

The West/Anglosphere/America has two great strengths: the US military and the experience of 9/11. The US military is amazingly powerful. Should every other country in the world simultaneously declare war on the US they would lose. 9/11 told us several things about our enemy: he would stop at nothing and his aims were unlimited. He wants the world and then some. In doing so he broke the first rule of terrorism: never do something so outrageous that your opponent has to act. That is a rule that the IRA has assiduously kept to over the years and they have had considerable success. This is an enemy for whom compromise and conciliation is an impossibility.

But there are weaknesses. Public opinion is divided - especially over Iraq. A generation of intellectuals and their acolytes have grown up despising freedom in general and America in particular. Unfortunately, those intellectuals dominate education and their acolytes dominate the mass media - especially television. There does not seem to have been much of a backlash. At least not yet.

It is difficult to spot opportunities. Fighting terrorism is a long drawn out and messy affair. But should the West in Iraq be able to establish a regime that was able to preserve peace, freedom and prosperity that would be a hell of an achievement. It would act as a beacon for people in the Middle East and a threat to the 57 varieties of dictatorship that exist there. But I worry. Any successful regime must have freedom as its cornerstone and in a world where we bow to the gods of Democracy and Political Correctness I fear that we have forgotten just how central freedom is to our own way of life.

The threat is obvious: collapse of the will to fight. If you are fighting a big war you need a big majority on your side. It is quite possible that the tide of public opinion will turn against the war, perhaps starting with Britain and Australia. It is all very well people arguing that the losses in Iraq are on nothing like the scale of those in Vietnam but if the perception grows that we are bogged down and that this is a war without end then it will count for nothing.

I do feel (and this is very much a gut thing) that war should be an all or nothing enterprise. Either you put your full effort into the business of winning it or you don't even bother. This feeling has been fuelled by knowledge of the Vietnam war and the experience of the Northern Ireland Troubles. In both cases these wars could have been won but in both cases the good guys (for want of a better term) never really fully committed themselves. As Michael Gerber said: "If you are going to go to war... then win it."

We are a long way from putting our full effort into the war. One of the symbols of this is the way we continue to play lip service to the international game. We are still not prepared to tell the tranzis of the UN, EU etc to fuck off. The US continues to allow the legal grey area of Camp X-Ray rather than just saying: "These are our prisoners, we've going to interrogate them and possibly kill them and we don't care what you think.", moving the camp to the mainland and changing the law to suit.

There is also the threat of imperialism. I don't hold with this argument that America is already an empire - it isn't - but it could become one if it gets sucked into ever more operations like the ones it has had so far. I hope it doesn't. Empires, with their demands for permanent garrisons are draining affairs. It's all very well if you can bash and bolt but if, for strategic reasons, you have to occupy a territory things can get very expensive. Think Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Rome even. If it has to be done better it be done by private enterprise à la East India Company, at least that way disasters can be contained. But that doesn't seem to be on the agenda right now.

September 25, 2003

One thing I don't get about the search for WMD...
Patrick Crozier

...is why they just don't ask all the scientists they have captured. Wouldn't they know what programmes there were and what state they'd reached? Isn't there at least a good chance that they'd be able to tell us where the labs are? OK, so they might be keeping schtum but surely not all of them can be observing purdah.

Sometimes the nasty thought crosses my mind that the whole of Saddam's WMD programme was a hoax cooked up by the scientists to save themselves from the plastic shredder. "And this is a drum of anthrax", says the scientist pointing to the vat of Slime. "And this is an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile", he says pointing to the object knocked up earlier that morning by his 10-year old using some old Rice Krispie packets and a roll of tin foil. How the Hell was Saddam to know?

September 11, 2003

Steyn on the War on Terror
Patrick Crozier

I know I have been rather lukewarm about the invasion and occupation of Iraq but it is difficult not to admire one of its chief proponents: Mark Steyn, here writing in the Spectator:

Really? Osama is replicating? That’s news to me...

Meanwhile, in Europe, the tinfoil-hat brigade has gone mainstream...

Indeed, the awesome divide between the postmodern sophists and everybody else is the real legacy of 11 September...

And does Miss Hawley really think Saddam is ‘gloating’ right now? His dynastic ambitions died with his sons, he’s kipping at the back of his second cousin’s donkey stall, and he’d kill for a new box of Quality Street but George Galloway’s nowhere in sight...

But the advantage of sour oppositionism is that whatever happens there’s always something to sneer at...

Even in the Hindu Kush at the all-U-can-eat scorpion buffet, you can’t dine out on 9/11 for ever...

I particularly liked the quote about oppositionists always having something to sneer at. Quite.

Via Commonsense and Wonder

August 20, 2003

Oh shit
Patrick Crozier

In a well-written article, Michael Ledeen, writing in the Telegraph writes:

The terror masters are wounded and frightened, but they are still on the battlefield and they are determined to prevail. They understand, correctly in my opinion, that it is all a matter of will. We have more than enough power to prevail, but we have yet to demonstrate the resolve to impose victory on our enemies.

This frightens the living crap out of me. Partially, because of the war being "asymmetrical" it speaks of a long-drawn out affair, Ulster-style and partially because I have no great faith in the will of our domestic populations. It's all eerily similar to a line in Alan Clark's Barbarossa where the Germans (who had been told that the war was all about will) discovered that the Russians had stacks of it. And we all know who won that one.

June 25, 2003

War on drugs kills 6 Brits
Patrick Crozier

Some interesting lines from the Telegraph's report on the killing of 6 British soldiers in Iraq:

The willingness of the Shi'ites to embrace the British occupation masks Amarah's role as one of the main centres for the smuggling of heroin from Afghanistan...

...Yesterday's incidents began with an attack on a police post, suggesting that they were related to crime rather than to activity by Ba'athist loyalists, who have few supporters in the area...

...No Iraqi policemen were killed, indicating possible collusion...

...British troops have been mounting anti-drugs patrols along the Huwaizah marshes east of Amarah on the border with Iran and the Iraqi police have been ordered to crack down on crime...


By whom, I wonder?
There has been a growing problem with tribesmen who have refused to hand over their weapons. The Royal Military Police have been at the forefront of the drive to cut crime and round up weapons.

Oh yeah.

So let's get this right. We deprive them of their main means of self-defence and then we deprive them of their livelihoods. And we wonder why they start shooting at us.

June 01, 2003

Mark Steyn in Iraq
Patrick Crozier

It seems that Iraqis and anarchy are getting along just fine:

I managed to determine that the Oxfam crowd was holding a meeting with the Red Cross to discuss the deteriorating situation. But just what exactly was "deteriorating"? As my groaning table and the stores along Main Street testified, there was plenty of food in town. Was it the water? I made a point of drinking the stuff everywhere I went in a spirited effort to pick up the dysentery and cholera supposedly running rampant. But I remain a disease-free zone.
From the Telegraph.

May 30, 2003

Where have all the weapons gone?
Patrick Crozier

Richard Littlejohn thinks he has the answer:

Maybe they’re in Syria now. Or Iran. Given Chirac’s links with Saddam, we could do worse than search another country the size of France.

France.

From the Sun.

May 27, 2003

Quote of the day
Patrick Crozier

From Au Currant:

...Islamic terrorism has been like a Rorschach blot of the Left

May 24, 2003

The Colonel Collins saga
Patrick Crozier
"Word has gone round that the [American] major was heard to say: 'You do your job and I will do mine.'

"Majors do not speak to colonels like that. The colonel apparently blew his top and stormed: 'Do you realise who you are talking to? This is Col Tim Collins of the Royal Irish Regiment. Stand to attention when I'm talking to you.'

"The major stood up in a sloppy, disrespectful manner while saying 'Yeah, fine' instead of snapping to attention.

"At that point, Col Collins got angry and ordered a sergeant major to arrest him for insubordination."

LOL. From the Telegraph.